I listen to a lot of podcasts lately. Mostly, political ones. I wish I could say that they make me feel better, but they don’t. Mostly, they make me not feel. They’re a way of numbing myself out, akin to pornography or commercial sex. I’ve put a list of my most regularly followed podcasts at the bottom of this post, and invite you to share yours with me.
Recently, on one of them, someone (I can’t remember who) described something as being “as hard as describing a sneeze, or an orgasm,” and I remembered writing this post, in which I did my best to describe the physical sensation of a solo orgasm. I think I did a pretty good job. When I wrote that, I was doing a series of writing exercises along those lines – describing memories using all five senses, and things like that. A long time has passed since then. I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words. Some here, some elsewhere. I don’t know if I’m a better writer – I think I am. Or really, I think I’m a better editor. As a result of which my writing is better. But you don’t often get to see the fruits of that particular improvement as I don’t really edit what I write here.
Anyway – here are some podcasts I like, in no particular order:
- The Moth
- The Ezra Klein Show
- The Daily (The New York Times)
- FiveThirtyEight Politics
- Pod Save America
- Pod Save the World
- Vox’s The Weeds
- Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me
- Real Time with Bill Maher (I don’t watch this – I listen – same with Sunday morning news TV)
- Slate’s Trumpcast
- The Axe Files (David Axelrod)
- This American Life
I’ve tried to listen to “The Tim Ferriss Show” and Ana Marie Cox’s “With Friends Like These,” and while I like some episodes, I find them of varying interest. Similarly, I used to listen to Politico’s “Off Message,” when it was hosted by Glenn Thrush, and I loved it. Since Thrush left for the Times, the podcast has been taken over by Isaac Dovere, and nothing against him, but he’s not (yet?) as good an interviewer as Thrush, and the podcast has fallen out of my rotation.
I’d love to find a good, thoughtful podcast on sex, other than Dan Savage’s “Savage Lovecast,” which I used to listen to, but have kinda tired of – nothing against him – I just have listened to literally hundreds of hours of him, and I pretty much know what he’s going to say at this point.
And then there are the ones that have fallen out of production, or are only seasonal. “Serial” is the ur-seasonal podcast, and “The Mystery Show” is my favorite defunct podcast. (I have no idea what happened between Starlee Kine and Gimlet Media, but something did.)