The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them while you’re doing other things: Washing dishes, going for a run, coloring, and especially, driving. But there are so many podcasts these days that it’s simply impossible to keep up. There are new ones debuting all the time, and it’s hard to know whether they deserve a spot in your feed.
Every week, we highlight new and returning podcasts we couldn’t turn off. Whether you’re looking for the latest and greatest or you’re just dipping your toe into the vast ocean of podcasts, we’ll find you something worth listening to. This week, we’ve got podcasts about a big cat rivalry, the 1619 anniversary, American Girls, and kinda being an adult.
True crime podcast
Over My Dead Body: Joe Exotic
The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries only accredits organizations where members of the public can’t interact with the wildlife, and the animals aren’t taken out of their enclosures for exhibition purposes. To make wild animals, like lions and tigers, “safe” for humans to handle, their keepers will often sedate them and separate cubs from their mothers.
Joe “Exotic” Schreibvogel used to cart wildcat cubs around to malls so shoppers could pose for pictures. Carole Baskin, the owner of a big cat sanctuary, was his nemesis. She wanted to shut down his shows, but he accused her of mistreating her own animals. In the second season of Over My Dead Body, Robert Moor follows the twisted tale of tigers, treachery, and YouTube.
On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass said during a speech that celebrating the Fourth of July while slavery still exited was “a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity…” The principles of the Declaration of Independence didn’t extend to him, said Douglass, and yet, he added, “I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery.”
Four-hundred years after a ship carried over 20 enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia. They weren’t the first enslaved people in what would become the United States, but The New York Times’ 1619 Project is using the anniversary to explore the ways slavery shaped the country. In the accompanying 1619 podcast, Nikole Hannah-Jones explains that originally Thomas Jefferson called slavery a crime and blamed it on the king of England. Those words never made it into the Declaration, and so that hypocrisy that Douglass would later decry wasn’t even acknowledged.
The American Girls Podcast
Am I late to the boat on this one? Yes, yes I am. But The New York Times had an article about an American Girl podcast last week, and I had to listen.
Hosts Allison Horrocks and Mary Mahoney love American Girls. The dolls represented different historical eras, and in their accompanying books often dealt with problems that were fairly relatable to ‘90s kids. Now that Horrocks and Mahoney have their Ph.D.s in history, they can reread the books with fresh (and professional) insight and humor, along with a dash of pop culture. You wouldn’t think the Fyre Festival has much in common with the pre-Revolutionary War era, but Ben Franklin was an influencer in his day. They start with Felicity and move on to Josefina for Season 2. The two describe themselves as Mollys, but Samanthas are still welcome.
Over the past several years, hundreds of women have come forward to accuse University of Southern California gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall of sexual abuse. Some of the accusers said they’d never had gynecological exams before and therefore didn’t realize his comments and behavior were inappropriate. The truth is many people learn what happens in the exam from the doctors themselves. It’s devastating to think a doctor would use his patients’ inexperience against them.
With that in mind, the first episode of the second season of Adult Ish includes some basic information about what to expect from an exam. The podcast is meant for teens and twenty-somethings, but it’s also a window for parents who wonder what their children are talking about their friends. Hosts Nygel “Nyge” Turner and Angela “Merk” Nguyen banter with each other and their friends about what’s on their minds but also don’t shy away from getting personal, like when telling stories about their moms.