Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Children are right to be lying little turds, posits <i>Overheard At National Geographic</i>

Children are right to be lying little turds, posits Overheard At National Geographic

Photo: Elva Etienne/Getty Images
PodmassPodmassIn Podmass, The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at podmass@avclub.com.

Confronting O.J.Simpson With Kim Goldman

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You might not know Kim Goldman, but it’s likely you know about her brother Ron. He was the additional victim O.J. Simpson allegedly murdered alongside ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson in 1994. In Confronting O.J. Simpson, Goldman reminds listeners that these were people with families that loved them. The third episode opens eerily with a tour (one that’s still running now) on which participants can take photos of the place where Ron and Nicole died, while a guide delivers an embellished retelling lacking in any respect for the victims. Goldman goes on to discuss Brentwood, the Los Angeles neighborhood where the murders occurred. She sits down with Kato Kaelin and Jill Shively, who were witnesses to events the night of her bother’s murder. Kaelin discusses how he has lived in infamy ever since testifying and being perceived as a hostile witness. Shively, meanwhile, sold her account to the tabloids for $5,000, an account that would’ve placed Simpson near the crime scene and established a timeline. Shively admits she considers it the biggest mistake of her life. Confronting O.J. Simpson grounds the infamous court case in reality after 25 years of seeming practically mythical. [Nichole Williams]

Dawson Eats America
Man. Verses. Food.

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The thought of food conjures up memories of certain smells, tastes, places, and events, and such experiences have led journalist Will Dawson to explore the who, what, why, and how of food culture. On this Father’s Day tribute edition of Dawson Eats America, Will takes time to reflect on his dad, Albert Oscar Dawson Sr. Bonding moments with his father are encapsulated by the ever-present combination of sardines and Yoo-Hoo, rides to the grocery store for premium meats and cheeses, and keeping Will calm after hitting a parked car during his first time behind the wheel. Recollections also include cleaned and packaged fish for the neighbors from Albert’s latest fishing trip, and when mentioning his father’s special rib sauce, Will says, “I think The Cosby Show stole that from him.” Will’s friends also share their memories of their own fathers and food, with guest Michelle focusing on the passing down of family recipes, history, and learning how to cook with love. Danielle relays a story of creating a meal out of pure hunger and what was left over in the kitchen, which resulted in a dinner that her father loved, a meal she still makes to this day. [Jason Randall Smith]

Death, Sex & Money
Mahershala Ali and Rafael Casal: Envy Is A Hell Of A Drug

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Filling in for host Anna Sale, Mahershala Ali sits down for a conversation with poet, writer, and musician Rafael Casal that starts with a look back at Casal’s Bay Area boyhood. Casal says he often felt like “a minority among minorities” as a young white kid growing up in a racially and ethnically diverse neighborhood where most of his friends and neighbors were people of color, an experience he believes shaped his artistic perspective and early career as a rapper and poet. Casal got his start as a spoken-word performer on the local scene, later touring the country with slam poetry performances that included an appearance on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. More recently, Casal co-wrote and co-starred in the 2018 film Blindspotting alongside best friend and creative partner Daveed Diggs, known for his roles in Hamilton. Ali and Casal both lament the many struggles involved with getting an indie film off the ground (like actually losing money to get it made) and touch on some of the ways fame and career envy can complicate a friendship, especially one with a Grammy and Tony award-winning actor like Diggs. Envy is strong, but their partnership is stronger. [Sofia Barrett-Ibarria]

Relationship Advice

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In 2019, when your favorite queer idols can turn corporate in a heartbeat and your least favorite corporations don rainbow colors for thirty days while continuing to destroy the planet, Girl-ish feels like a quiet room at the party: a place to hang out away from the mess of it all (and maybe play a little Love Island: The Game). Hosts Gage Adkins and Jae Noel created Girl-ish to talk about their lives as young trans women of color in America, something they do with honesty and warmth. In this episode, Adkins and Noel answer questions from listeners about navigating transness in romantic relationships. They discuss what it means to have an affirming partner as a trans person, exploring both how to find those partners and how to be those partners. The two also share relationship stories from their own lives, including the heart-melting story of how Noel met her girlfriend, Emily. In a world that still isn’t safe for many queer people, particularly trans women of color, it feels important to emphasize the safety that positive relationships create. Girl-ish is a sweet-tempered listen for trans people and those who love them—or want to love them better. [Adrian Jade Matias Bell]

Keeper Chat
Animals Are Gay!!!!

Illustration for article titled Children are right to be lying little turds, posits iOverheard At National Geographic/i

It wasn’t that long ago when fashionable debates about gay rights hinged partly on arguments about the “naturalness” of homosexuality in the animal world. We seem to have moved past that now, but that won’t deter the hosts of this show, because boy howdy do animals have a lot of hot gay sex. Several species of birds, fish, insects, and mammals exhibit confirmed same-sex behaviors, which the two professional zookeeper hosts are eager to tell you about in vivid detail in honor of pride month. Most of these animals aren’t gay all day, as homosexuality is rarely observed to be a lifelong predisposition, despite the seemingly perpetual gay penguin “it” couple. But researchers have found that when the mood strikes, animals might pursue same-sex escapades to the exclusion of heterosexual mating or even eating. Like so many Tinder profiles, researchers draw a distinction between sex and relationships: nine of 10 giraffe pairings are male-male, which actually creates sustainability headaches for the species. The hosts also touch on asexual reproduction and gender-swapping creatures that can Animorphs their genitalia. Special shout-out to the female spotted hyena, who grows a penis-shaped clitoris and sports fused labia that resemble a scrotum. [Zach Brooke]

Nice Try!
Levittown/Concord Park: Utopia In Our Backyard

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Utopias do not exist. If you learn nothing else from Avery Trufelman’s mind-bending podcast Nice Try!, then it should be that simple yet provocative lesson. Trufelman spends each week exploring the trial-and-error utopias that went horribly awry. This week, she delves deep into the American dream and how the tradition of classic suburbia began. Suburban developments built in the 1950s were supposed to offer an idyllic lifestyle that was safe for the whole family. The beginning of this experiment was Levittown, which quickly became a breeding ground for racism and segregation. The town, founded by William Levitt, attempted to create all-white spaces with restrictive covenants, and that plan, however ludicrous, was semi-successful until the creation of Concord Park, a town built on racial quotas that began to bring change to these communities. Trufelman discusses how some of these racist practices have carried over into modern society and have resulted in a real-estate landscape tailored to white people. But don’t lose hope: As usual, Trufelman doesn’t just spend her time breaking down the myth of utopias, but offers options for redemption and advice for listeners seeking more information. The perfect society might not exist, but thank God this podcast does. [Vannessa Jackson]

Overheard At National Geographic
Evolution Of A Little Liar 

Illustration for article titled Children are right to be lying little turds, posits iOverheard At National Geographic/i

Children begin to lie as early as age 2 or 3, and they will continue to practice the art of lying for the rest of their developing lives. Is that a bad thing? Science say no, and that it’s actually important that they do this. On National Geographic’s new podcast series, Overheard, senior photo editor and host Vaughn Wallace talks the evolution of child lying, its effects on cognitive development, and just how hard it is for kids to be good at lying at an early age. Dr. Kang Lee, professor of child psychology at the University of Toronto, introduces a case for the little lair being an important stepping stone in development, detailing how a child’s lie can build emotional intelligence and “mind reading” talents. He also describes the sorts of experiments that are conducted when focusing on a child’s cognitive development, and on a lighter note, how to reward a child who tells the truth. Bottom line: If your child lies, it’s not a big deal, and if it bothers you, you could probably just ask them to promise you to tell the truth. [Kevin Cortez]

The Thread
A Team Of Their Own

Illustration for article titled Children are right to be lying little turds, posits iOverheard At National Geographic/i

With the Women’s World Cup currently being fought in Paris, The Thread is taking us back 20 years in its latest season to tell the tale of the legendary 1999 U.S. women’s champions. Well, with this particular episode, they’re actually taking us all the way back to 1985 and the creation of the first U.S. women’s national soccer team. Before World Cup glory and even the existence of the tournament, there was a ragtag group of players picked from across the country and told that in two weeks they would be playing a tournament in Italy. They had never played as a team before and were given uniforms obviously meant for men that they themselves had to tailor to fit correctly. From these almost Bad News Bears-like origins, the team would develop into an international powerhouse in the years to come. Hearing directly from the women who played on this original squad, you can’t help but feel deep admiration. They played for no money and knew that there was no future in this sport for them. They were true pioneers, and their sacrifices forever changed the state of women’s professional sports in America. [Anthony D Herrera]

The Two Princes
All episodes (1–7)

Illustration for article titled Children are right to be lying little turds, posits iOverheard At National Geographic/i

Gimlet’s latest audio fiction, the progressive fairy tale The Two Princes, is an astoundingly assured piece of podcasting. The central story is a bit of a trifle—and since it’s aimed at younger listeners, that’s understandable—but its performances, sound design, and irrepressible heart make for a winning experience. Its most striking achievement, however, is the way it sidesteps all the pitfalls attendant with this new wave of audio dramas. This is an artistic medium defined by its limitations; absent beguiling visuals, listeners are given more room to scrutinize any artificiality, whether in performances, dialogue, or sound design. Credit the entire creative team for this feat, but special recognition goes to the affecting performances from Noah Galvin (of Booksmart fame) and Tony Award winner Ari’el Stachel, who carry the show as the titular princes. One isn’t so much listening to as experiencing their journey through mires both literal and metaphorical. The rest is chock-a-block with fantastic delights, including Shoreh Aghdashloo and Christine Baranski as dueling queens, a thrilling score, and a dragon named Porridge. An appearance by Alfredo Narciso midway through the show would take the cake in any other podcast, but the gems here are so plentiful that it gets subsumed in the deluge. [Ben Cannon]

The War On Cars
Your Car Is Your Castle

Illustration for article titled Children are right to be lying little turds, posits iOverheard At National Geographic/i

Pretty much all environmentally conscious urban dwellers agree that we should be decreasing our dependence on gas-powered motor vehicles. The hosts of The War On Cars, however, commit to this cause with unapologetic militancy. These three New York City–based writers, cyclists, and self-proclaimed car-haters are patently aware of the ways in which urban planning proposals and road regulations unfairly cater to motor vehicles over all other forms of transportation, and they’ve had enough of it. This week, with a little help from Alissa Walker of Curbed and LA Podcast, they discuss the problems that arise at the intersection between the car crisis and the homelessness crisis. As local governments become increasingly more hostile toward the unhoused in their cities, more and more individuals are forced to take refuge in the only affordable shelter available—their car. This is especially true in a city like Los Angeles, where car is king and homelessness is at an all-time high. Thus, any solution to the ever-growing blight of cars must coincide with a solution for homelessness. Anything short of that and we might find ourselves living in the stacked trailer parks of Ready Player One sooner than we think. [Dan Neilan]

The Xmas Mistake: A Cursed Podcast
“The Christmas Spirit”

Illustration for article titled Children are right to be lying little turds, posits iOverheard At National Geographic/i

The Xmas Mistake: A Cursed Podcast is one part fancast, one part descent into madness. Hosts Chad Ellis (of Station Blue), Daniel Manning (of The Whisperforge), and Kate Dvorak watch one Hallmark Christmas movie each week and then discuss in full, attempting to both summarize the plot—a task that doesn’t seem difficult, but proves genuinely Herculean—and analyze the color symbolism, purpose, themes, and more in the film. The podcast embraces its borderline nihilistic absurdity so wholly. Their website just reads “HELP US HELP US HELP US” over and over again. Their analyses and summaries are desperate and baffled. This week, the three discuss The Christmas Spirit—a different film than The Spirit Of Christmas, which they have also discussed—trying to understand concepts like coma ghosts and the not-quite-witch who can see them. They also find a kindred spirit (of Christmas) in an IMDb reviewer whose sole purpose is to review Christmas movies and share their very intense, earnest opinions on them. If you want a classic-style fancast with an edge of incredulity, this is the listen for you. [Wil Williams]

Yo, Is This Racist?
The Juneteenth Special

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This very special Juneteenth episode of Yo, Is This Racist? features a huge mess of Andrew Ti and Tawny Newsome’s favorite guests, making you feel like you’re hanging out in a dorm at Hillman, laughing with your friends about their bougie-ass parents who don’t celebrate Juneteenth because they think the holiday is glamorizing that black people were late to freedom. If you missed celebrating Freedom Day, the gang’s all here sharing tips on what foods to eat (chicken and red Fanta), why to celebrate, and how Black Twitter has helped to spread the good word about this day. Breaking with the regular Q&A format, the hosts and guests work through hangovers with off-hours McDonald’s breakfasts, inciting a sparkling, free-spirited fever dream of what reparations could look like: free yacht rides (creating a positive association with boats), a lifetime supply of cotton clothes, or student loan forgiveness. Exploring the gap between the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement, Yo, Is This Racist? untangles Reconstruction-era America, teaching you shit you need to know in the most delightful, irreverent way. And as always, if you see something, say something at (323) 389-RACE. [Morgan McNaught]

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