Monday, October 17, 2016

5 Podcasts to Stretch Your Bubble, Gain Some Empathy, and Survive This Election

Me and Grandmom, May 1984. I'm so precocious!
One of the legacies my maternal grandmother left was an incredibly diverse family. I don't mean diverse in the way you're probably thinking; in fact, there are some remarkable physical similarities between us. What I mean is that her five children inhabit the entire political and religious spectrum, from very liberal to very conservative, from born again to atheist. It's truly amazing to me that these siblings all came from the same parents and were raised in the same home.

In this season year era of American divisiveness, my family actually gives me hope that we really can all get along. You see, all of these relatives (and there are a lot) are good people who believe strongly, though differently. While not everyone agrees about, well, most issues this election, and certain topics are understood to be off the table at dinner, there's not the visceral hatred of "the other side" I see online or the assumption that "the other side" is dumb. Wrong, yes; stupid, no.

I was talking to a cousin a little bit about this the other night. We had a conversation where she admitted she's "pretty sure [she's] a liberal" and joked that this isn't always taken well. This got me thinking that one of the best ways to be like my mother, aunts, and uncles, is to have a little empathy and respect for everyone, and perhaps especially for the so-called "other side." Expanding our bubbles to learn more about everyone, and, again, especially about those who are different than ourselves, is truly the way to go.

This is not always possible In Real Life, but it is absolutely possible virtually. So I'd like to recommend five podcasts that I listen to partly because they expose me to diverse voices, and partly because they're just good. Podcast listening is a baby step, I admit, but it can be done virtually anywhere, anytime, and with privacy should you want or need it.

These are all available wherever you find your podcasts; I use the podcast app on my iPhone, though there are plenty of other options out there for both Android and iOS.

  • Call Your Girlfriend, "a podcast for long distance besties everywhere." It's hosted by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, two funny, smart, often irreverent, and relatable friends and they cover a huge range of topics from periods to politics to Black Lives Matter and Kim Kardashian. 1 episode/week
  • Code Switch, from NPR. Conversations about race and identity in America that are definitely worth hearing. They're not always comfortable, but the journalist-hosts are smart, honest, and never condescending. 1 episode/week
  • NPR Politics. These are a breath of fresh air in the current political climate. I can count on this podcast to be fair, balanced, truth-telling, and entertaining. The hosts are a rotating band of NPR journalists who provide both facts and analysis. 2+ episodes/week
  • #GoodMuslimBadMuslim. Taz and Zahra talk about what it's like to be Muslim in America, and for a non-Muslim, this can be eye-opening. Episodes are always funny and serious and happy and sad and make me think. 1 episode/month
  • Working. Slate's Jacob Brogan interviews normal people doing normal jobs and it's fascinating. I've learned about the everyday, working lives of tailors, museum curators, horticulturists, and White House staffers. 1 episode/week
Those are my suggestions. What are yours?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Weekend Reading

A photo posted by Kate Spaulding (@shortandsweets) on

Happy Friday! I hope you all had a good week. I spent a lot of time in what my family calls "house manager" mode this week - phone calls, grocery shopping, bills, etc., along with school and work. So, a pretty tame week I suppose.

Of course, the UK took care of that feeling last night. APW's point has really stuck with me:
now scores of people—including those who graduated college a month ago and thought they were entering into an exciting, open new world—can’t travel or work in 27 countries! When 75 percent of those ages 18-24, 56 percent of those 25-49, 44 percent of those 50-64, and 39 percent of those 65 and older voted to remain, it’s a little hard not to be super pissed that older generations are making decisions that my contemporaries and our children will have to live with for decades

Now, granted, people in the UK will still be able to travel, at least for pleasure, though it will be more complicated than it's been. But I think the point is still a valid one. It's especially upsetting in the face of reporting about how people didn't know what they were voting about

Other things worth clicking on:
An online calculator that determines the cost of being a stay-at-home parent. Whether this applies to your situation or not, Go Look. The dollar amounts are staggering. To me, they add up to a million (more) reasons to institute paid family leave, flexibility, affordable and high-quality childcare, and compassion. 

I haven't gotten through the whole series yet, but a reporter spent four months working as a guard in a private prison and then wrote about it. Journalists aren't welcomed in prisons, so this was his "in." The editor's letter is worth a read as well. 

In lighter news, this week, winners from the kitchen included no-bake energy bites (if you make them, use jarred pb, not the grind-your-own-kind, as it didn't seem to have enough oil to hold together), veggie pad thai (warning: crashy website), and pasta "alfredo."

This made me happy. Still not on Snapchat, but it was the best reason I've seen thus far. 

A school library in rural California asks for Just One Book

This week, I enjoyed reading The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson, set in England before and during WWI. I'm about halfway through The Confidence Code, which is interesting. I'm hoping for All the Answers in the second half. 

Some of these links are affiliate links.

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