Podcast Animal

I’ve found a new way to lose myself (forget you, Netflix Showhole): podcasts.

Here are a few that have risen to the top of my playlist lately:

Invisibilia: This show, featuring two women whose voices are notoriously similar (in fact, I still can’t tell them apart), pulls apart the invisible forces that make us who we are — emotions, personality, thoughts, and so forth. I’m always fascinated.

Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell & Hari Kondabolu: Great discussions of important racial issues, complete with gentle nudges to people, including myself, still blind to some of the ways in which our whiteness privileges us.

The Moth:  Ordinary people get up in front of a microphone and tell their stories without notes. I always learn something. And I often get teary.

StoryCorps: Like The Moth, this podcast involves story telling. But it’s derived from a conversation between two people. Sometimes, these people know each other intimately. But sometimes they’re strangers. I really like the way these very short snippets of lives make me think deeply about everyone who passes me on the street. I always think: who is that person? What’s her story? What moments is he remembering?

This American Life: Like Invisibilia, this podcast dives into topics of relevance to us today using a narrative model (interviews with experts, interested and interesting people). I’ve learned a lot from it.

Modern Love: A classmate from the MFA program at the University of Arizona, the talented editor and writer Daniel Jones, edits this NYT column and now serves as commentator to these dramatic renderings of the personal essays he publishes each week.

Dear Sugar Radio: Advice from two amusing pundits on life and love.

On Being with Krista Tippett: I feel spiritually uplifted and challenged after listening to an episode of this.

The Nerdist: Where else can I figure out just what’s getting discussed in the latest hipster dufus hangout?

TED Radio Hour: Saves me from wading through digital square miles of TED broadcasts on YouTube by pulling together relevant snippets into a feature length exploration.

Basically, I’ve had my ears plugged with NPR stories for weeks now, and I feel enlarged by the experience. Again and again, I learn that we need to communicate, and to connect with each other, in order to create a more cohesive and loving community.

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Laurie MacDiarmid serves as Director of Faculty Development and Professor of English at St. Norbert College, a small Catholic liberal arts college on the banks of the Fox River in De Pere, Wisconsin.

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