For our new listeners, here’s are some of our top episodes, entirely unscientifically compiled from our own faves, fan faves, and most-listened to episodes.
Culture in the Politics
Critical Race Theory: We dive into the history and evolution of Critical Race Theory and the right wing’s temper tantrum over what it means to teach children about America’s difficult racial history. In a follow-up episode, we talk to an actual ethnic studies teacher, who gets into the pedagogical nitty gritty of centering marginalized voices.
Cults! We bid farewell to the Trump era with a two-parter surveying the recent spate of cult documentaries and what they can teach us about the past four years of American politics.
The Plague Year: We make sense of COVID by watching pandemic movies, breaking down how mask-resistance connects to toxic masculinity, dissecting dancing doctor Tik Toks, assessing Anti-Vaxxers, and diving into the Plague Archives.
The Right Wing: We explore right-wing performances in pop culture, whether it’s online male supremacy and the roots of the “incel” phenomenon; how “trolling the libs” uses conservative grievance to produce All American Fascism; what conspiracy theorists reveal about the right-wing mindset, from John Birch to QAnon; and how the self-identified “cancelled” are performing bullshit rhetorical moves around academic free speech.
Mob Boss Trump: A two-part episode where we show how mafia narratives led to Trump’s rise.
Narrative Pleasure and the Mueller Investigation: how the Mueller investigation operates culturally as a real-life TV procedural.
Our favorite guest on all things politics, Kaitlyn Byrd, helps us all understand everything that’s wrong with Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Pete Buttigieg; takes us through VEEPSTAKES; and breaks down Biden’s 100 Days.
Politics in the Culture
We launch our series of “Problematic Faves” by taking on the Mother of them All: Gone With the Wind.
Guy Branum takes us through the history of straight actors playing gay as Oscar Bait.
We connect My Little Pony to the January 6 Insurrection.
Julia Sweeney ruins the Catholic Church with all the inside ball on Pope Francis, Opus Dei, and why there are so many damn Catholics on the Supreme Court.
Surviving Surviving R. Kelly: In this epic three-episode arc, we explain why Surviving R. Kelly hit audiences in a way that 20 years of journalism could not. In Episode 2, we’re joined by critical race and feminist media studies theorist Rebecca Wanzo, who illuminates a larger historical context and analysis; in Episode 3, political theorist (and former R. Kelly fan) Ainsley LeSure parses the larger moral responsibilities of the moment.
Is #MeToo feminism’s “Red Pill” moment? Men taken down by #MeToo are trying to come back–should we let them? How do we feel about the “Trauma Porn” documentaries turning abuse into prestige television?
We’ve ruined Dark Brandon, British Monarchy, Lesbian Dance Theory, Top Gun, Wordle, Succession, Cheap Old Houses, Ted Lasso, Baby Yoda, Cobra Kai, Tiger King, Bernie Memes, Adam Driver, our favorite 80s sex comedies, Watchmen, Quentin Tarantino, the World Cup, South Park, the Great British Bake Off, sex positivity, Top Gun, and of course, Christmas.
Our Origin Story–How Rebecca and Maya met over high school horniness and romance novels.