I’ve been gravitating toward comedy this last month with shows like Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend and How Did this Get Made. With the stress of the pandemic and the election, I just want something that goes down easy and makes me feel good.
But because CAHSS and Effect is inherently an academic platform, I’m gonna pretend I’m more scholarly and list some more highbrow options for you. It’s not that I don’t love these two shows I’m about to tell you about. I do. But they take more emotional effort to listen to than some other shows.
Here are two shows that encourage me to think differently about the world. Listening to the two above make me happy, but listening to these two make me a better person.
The Show (for adults): Code Switch
Before there was a podcast, Code Switch was already a “multi-racial, multi-generational team of NPR journalists who cover race and identity.” The podcast, which launched in 2016, offers some really important perspectives on a variety of topics related to race and identity. One of the things that makes it interesting is that some episodes are clearly tied to current events while others are exploring some idea or topic I’ve never really considered. For instance, You’re a Grand Old Flag explores the relationships between people of color and the United States flag. Meanwhile, Hold Up! Time For An Explanatory Comma looks at how much context journalists should have to provide when talking about race and culture.
Episode to Start With: Can We Talk About Whiteness? This was their first episode. It’s not necessarily their best (their three-part series in 2017 on President Obama’s legacy is really good), but it nicely sets the tone for the show. It’s thoughtful, honest, and made me think about what it means to be white in a whole new way.
The Show (for kids): Stories Podcast
The name says it all. Hosted by Amanda Weldin and Dan Hinds, this show is a collection of stories (one each week). It is a combination of original stories, written by them, and classics like Rumpelstitltskin or Snow White. They describe it as great for bedtime, but honestly, it always got my kids a little too wound up for bedtime. They would laugh uproariously (see the episode to start with for the best example of this) and always wanted to hear the end (I can’t tell you how many minutes I spent in the parking lot at their school because they wanted to hear the end before I brought them inside).
Episode to Start With: The Golden Screw. My kids really like The Dog King episodes (there’s a whole series of these), but I’m partial to The Golden Screw. It’s the story of a boy born with a golden screw in his bellybutton. He travels the world to get it removed. It’s super silly and hilarious and I love it.
Dr. Ryan C. Martin
Ryan Martin is the Associate Dean for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and a member of the Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He researches anger, manages the website All the Rage, and teaches courses on mental illness and emotion. Follow him on twitter at @rycmart or All the Rage on Facebook.