I listen to a lot of podcasts. A lot of podcasts. Looking at my podcatcher, I have over seventy five on there. I can also say, going total hipster, that I was into podcasts way before Serial. I listen to podcasts, I’ve been on podcasts, I work with podcasts. I thought I’d share some of the podcasts I listen to and share some of the ones that may have passed you by with the current glut out there.
Cults are bad. We all know this. They engage in everything from financial predation and illegal drug use to child abuse, sexual assault and murder. But there are so many varieties. You have cults who base themselves on “unique” interpretations of the Bible or Eastern mysticism. Then there are those who base themselves on extreme political or social beliefs. And also those who base themselves around the occult, psychic power, or “self-improvement”. There are big ones, small ones, and ones that commit mass suicide. There are cults who you may not consider cults but…yeah, they really are cults. Its a big subject and you have a busy life. So let Cult Podcast tell you all about them so you can know what groups to run away from (and do so very fast).
Don’t worry. While the subject can and does get pretty heavy, the hosts, Armando Torres and Paige Wesley, are very funny and lighten the seriousness of the material. They cover the heavy hitters like Heaven’s gate, The Branch Davidians, and the Manson Family. However, they cover not-so-well-known groups like The Sullivanians, Unarius, and the Church of God with Signs Following. Don’t know who they are? That’s why you need to listen to the podcast. What’s really interesting is they look at groups who, at first blush, may not seem like cults. On examination, groups like the Hell’s Angels, the Crips, and the KKK definitely have that cult bouquet on them. So if you want to learn about cults, but don’t want to watch another super serious Netflix documentary, check them out.
Bastards are bad. Our history is full of them: mass murdering dictators, ruthless industrialists, tech bros..there’s a bunch to go around. It seems like a lot of bad people get into positions of unquestioned authority and make a mess for the rest of us whether it’s financial, political, or genocidal. We all know the big ones: Hitler, Stalin, Reagan… but there are a lot of bastards that either have been forgotten by popular culture, fly under the collective radar, or have managed to burnish their reputation over the years. The best way to limit the damage bastards can do is to learn about them, how they come about, and maybe change the systems that allow them the ability to fuck shit up. That’s why you need to listen to Behind The Bastards.
Every episode Robert Evans, author, journalist, and future revolutionary leader/cult leader, tells the well researched tale to someone who has no idea what they’re getting themselves into. We get the usual suspects: your dictators, your Nazis, your cults. We also get how the big tech bros, Zuckerberg, Gates, and Elon Musk, are all bastards. You get how Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, and Dr. Jordan Peterson are bastards. You get how the Catholic Church, corporations, and cops are bastards. There are a LOT of bastards. Don’t worry, Robert Evans does interject a fair bit of humor and ridiculousness into his recounting so its not a complete horror show. And you will learn the importance of a good machete and bolt cutters. How can you not listen to that?
Lolita is… good actually. It is a titanic example of literature that challenges on a lot of levels: from its unreliable narrator to showing the ugliness of desire, objectivation, and violation in beautiful language. But how Lolita has been portrayed in subsequent media and the popular conscious is not good at all. How the hell did we get from a twelve-year-old kidnapped rape victim named Dolores to a sexually precocious teenage nymphet sucking on a lollipop named Lolita? That’s what writer and podcaster Jamie Loftus wanted to know. So she explores the novel, its surprising numerous adaptations, and what we have gotten so wrong about tale and how we are slowly making it right.
First off, Jamie Loftus is not here to cancel Vladimir Nabokov, the author. She acknowledges that Lolita is a significant work of literature. If fact, the podcast doesn’t deal with the book per se, but instead how readers, adapters, and the general public interpret the book and, more importantly, how this has made the public perception of Lolita vastly different from the original text. She does this by differentiating between Dolores, the character from the book, and Lolita, the pop culture icon. This separation is explored by looking at the various (and mostly troubled) adaptations into movies, plays, opera, and, I kid you not, a Broadway musical. She also looks at how early psychology, advertising, movies, and pop music popularized and further entrenched the concept of middle-aged men having sex with teenage girls. Fortunately, we do see that there is finally pushback at this and treating it as the abuse that it is. This podcast really helps to get Dolores out of Humbert’s and Lolita’s shadow.