I am a long time fan of This American Life. I have had whole conversations (dare I say, friendships) that pivoted on a mutual familiarity of particular TAL episodes. And nothing has come close to This American Life for me in terms of story telling. That is, until now.
A friend recently recommended the podcast, Death, Sex & Money, and I’m so glad that he did. There are less intellectual podcasts I listen to just so I can listen to something, just so I have something to keep me company on a run or while I run errands. But this is not one of them.
Death, Sex & Money is a thoughtful podcast that shares stories from very specific standpoints. Each episode is intimately curated; it’s like a peak into someone else’s internal world. It feels almost voyeuristic to gain such a wide view of someone’s inner life. But I always feel better for it, like I understand the complexities of humanity as a whole.
I particularly recommend the five-part series recently released regarding New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. In the first episode, Ana Sale interviews Terry Coleman, a woman who experienced the hurricane, the aftermath, and the rebirth of New Orleans first hand. In reflecting on the years since, she says:
Progress is more complicated. And I think too, as an individual – and I think most New Orleanians will recognize – that we have made progress. Like, we were not perfect before the storm by any means. We had a literacy rate that was comparable to countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We are not a great city. We had a horrible (and continue to have) a horrible record of policing and corruption. In lots of ways, before the storm we were a poster child of the urban future gone wrong. And I’m not saying that change isn’t necessarily a good thing, because a lot of the change we had had to be progress because we were so messed up, we were so low. But progress and change comes at a cost. And I think in the narratives of progress that are told by outsiders there’s not an appreciation for what we’ve lost in order to make this progress.
I appreciate her honesty. It’s insights like these that make Death, Sex & Money so very good. It’s a podcast about “the things we think about a lot and need to talk about more.”
Give it a whirl. I also recommend the episode titled, “Siblinghood.” You can find it through iTunes or here.
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