A.V. Club Podmass 05.11.15

Hound Tall
History of Hip-Hop: Jeff Chang, W. Kamau Bell, Kaseem Bentley, Natasha Leggero

If the title of this episode seems like a big topic to cover in less than two hours, you’d be right. Though the show only ends up scratching the surface of hip-hop’s storied history, it does so in such an excellent and hilarious fashion that it seemingly positions itself perfectly as just the first part of an ongoing series. It helps that Hound Tall host Moshe Kasher is a dyed-in-the-wool hip-hop head, evidenced by some of the deep-cut references that he drops offhandedly throughout. Some unfortunate recording issues lead to an odd opening for the show, but stick with it, as Kasher invites author Jeff Chang and comedians W. Kamau Bell, Kaseem Bentley, and Natasha Leggero on to discuss the story of the genre from its earliest days through the mid-’90s. The show is frequently funny, with the varied panel delighting in taking spirited shots at one another, or in Leggero’s continual attempts to steer the conversation toward the culture of sexism that came to pervade within the music. The show ripples with intelligence and wit, even when it is fixated on hot dogs and the lamentably named Duke Bootee.


Women Of Science: Raychelle Burks, Rachel Swaby, Vivian Underhill

There is a question posed at the beginning of BitchMagazine’s feminism and pop-culture podcast Popagandathat really lands hard. Host Sarah Mirk asks about the number of female scientists that listeners can name and, as the question hangs heavily in the air, Mirk goes on to detail how a recent survey discovered that 65 percent of respondents in the U.S. couldn’t name a single female scientist. The issue isn’t just one of the presence and visibility of women in STEM fields, but also that of their experiences. Popaganda takes time to look at several situations that relate to the sojourn of women in science. The show opens with Mirk conversing with analytical chemist Raychelle Burks about the depiction of women in science in pop culture. The findings are unsurprisingly sparse, though not without hope, as they are seeing an increase in representation of late. Additionally, the show covers the predominantly female science of veterinary medicine; journalist Rachel Swaby and her book Headstrong, about the lives of 52 female scientists whose contributions have gone largely unheralded; and an interview with Vivian Underhill on the issues facing LGBTQ people in the sciences. The show’s topic may seem heavy, but the conversation is lively, interesting, and very necessary.


Should I Worry About This?
Should I Worry About… Getting Sick And Going Bankrupt?

With each successive listen to the frequently excellent Should I Worry About This? one begins to feel that the answer to the rhetorical question posed in the title is always an unqualified “Yes.” This week’s dissection is no different, as hosts Cat Oddy and Eden Robins discuss the shocking statistics about American health care-related debt. This discussion is mainly brought on by Oddy’s recent expatriation to London and a conversation that she had regarding the cost of healthcare in America. Robins’ findings are staggering, with results of a survey from 2007 showing some 70 million Americans were affected by medical debt, that two-thirds of all bankruptcy filings were related to medical bills, and that up to 2 million people were facing illness and bankruptcy at the same time. Perhaps one of the more interesting pieces of information to come out of the show is the surprisingly antiquated link between employer-offered health care benefits and World War II. The passing of the Affordable Care Act has helped increase the rates of insured people in America, but the issue goes beyond just being insured. It is tied to the relaxed legislation of the marketing of credit cards to consumers, leading to a rather vicious cycle that is sure to give listeners nightmares.

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