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This Week in Podcasts
The strongest takes, best storytelling and most intriguing guests across the podcast universe.
#2 ·February 23, 2018 · By Michael Yessis

10 Pod Takes

1) “When you get crushed and you live to fight another day, you realize that bravery is a muscle that you're constantly exercising.”

Skimm’d from The Couch: Reshma Saujani: Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, Feb. 20 (13:47)

  • Says Saujani, who once ran for a House seat in New York. Vote earned: 19 percent.

  • She knows of what she speaks.  

2) “When teens are on the airwaves saying don't shoot my fellow classmates, that argument works.”

The Gist with Mike Pesca: Free Money City, Feb. 20 (28:30)

  • Could students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who have impressed Pesca (and millions of others) with their response to the mass shooting on their campus, lead us to a safer future? Hope so.


3) “Losing is our best option.”

House Call with Dr. J: Mark Cuban - Dallas Mavericks Owner, Feb. 19 (21:15)

  • Costliest pod take ever? Cuban’s crack on Dr. J’s debut pod cost him $600,000 for “public statements detrimental to the NBA.”

  • Must have forgot the first rule of tanking.


4) “He was Che Guevara meets Oskar Schindler meets Mother Teresa.”

Deviate with Rolf Potts: Baseball writer Rany Jazayerli on fandom, and growing up Muslim in America, Feb. 20 (24:59)

  • Potts invokes a power trio in summing up an incredible story by Jazayerli, about his ancestor Abd el-Kader.


5) “I read the Michael Wolff book with amazement and fascination. But the risk of that book is it points us toward the wrong problem and the wrong questions. Because [it says] this is all about Donald Trump. And it’s not.”

How to Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black: #79 David Frum, Feb. 21 (4:28)

  • It’s a time of democratic crisis, says Frum.

  • He points out that, among younger people worldwide, preference for living in a democracy is eroding.


6) “He brings in what he sees as easy targets for him to kind of perform this bonkers William F. Buckley-at-a-frat-party character.”

Recode Media with Peter Kafka: How Lauren Duca became and internet star overnight, Feb. 22 (18:40)


7) “Afrofuturism is the underrated movement of our time.”

The Indicator from Planet Money: The Olympics, Afrofuturism and Sichuan Food, Feb. 22 (3:31)

  • “Deeply, deeply underrated,” says guest Tyler Cowen.

  • “Black Panther” should move that needle.


8) “There’s no grammar for mutant bears.”

Channel 33: ‘Annihilation,’ ‘Ex Machina,’ and Alex Garland’s Disturbing Sci-Fi Vision, Feb. 23 (12:04)

  • That’s host Sean Fennessey, teed up by writer and director Alex Garland.

  • Lesson: The challenges of movie making are substantial when you need to render mutants or “psychedelic twilight.”


9) “It brings me great comfort to see a guy drinking at 8 a.m.”

Otherppl with Brad Listi: Willy Vlautin - Episode 505, Feb. 21 (11:30)

  • That’s Vlautin’s take on dudes he can see through the window as he writes songs and novels in his “Sam Spade detective agency” office on the edge of Portland, Oregon.

  • Adds Vlautin: “It’s the greatest office of all time.”

10) “Twitter’s definitely undefeated.”

Pardon My Take: Blake Bortles and Paul Bissonnette, Feb. 20 (28:55)

  • So says the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback, who gets his share of online abuse.

  • His love from “The Good Place,” however, remains unmatched.

  • Bortles!

Go Deep


Dissecting the Netflix Effect

Business Wars: Netflix vs. Blockbuster, Feb. 6-22

Reed Hastings says broadcast television will go dark by 2030. This eight-part series goes far to explain why the Netflix CEO believes that.
  • It chronicles Netflix’s rise from wannabe to game-changer to cultural touchstone to harbinger of the demise of broadcast television, and it does so with over-the-top production and drama that reflect Hastings’s prediction.

  • Think conspiratorial asides by the host, action-movie music and tires-crunching-the-snow audio details.

  • It’s a riveting deep dive for anyone wondering how they’ll mainline their future favorite shows.  

Spoilers: Netflix vanquished Blockbuster with superior tech, long-term thinking and a little luck. HBO, Apple and Disney all should play a role in the future of streaming video.

Go deeper: The Watch asks, “Is Netflix Swallowing TV?” and a16z has a Q&A with Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

Guest Appearances By...

Abrams, Jonathan The Watch

  • His oral history of The Wire, “All the Pieces Matter,” is out

Duchovny, David Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

Duvernay, Ava The New Yorker Radio Hour

  • Jelani Cobb interviews the director of “A Wrinkle in Time”

Eichner, Billy Pod Save America

  • He wants to make the midterms more glam

Farsad, Negin The Sporkful

  • The comic riffs on lamb kebab and Allah

Goggins, David The Joe Rogan Experience

  • Dude owns the record for most pull-ups done in 24 hours

Graham, Heather The Adam Carolla Show

Jones, Duncan WTF with Marc Maron

Kirke, Lola Ask Me Another

Lennon, Thomas You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes

Min, Janice Recode Media with Peter Kafka

Morey, Daryl The Bill Simmons Podcast

Plemons, Jesse ID10T

Portman, Natalie ID10T

Tufekci, Zeynep Pod Save America

Waithe, Lena Death, Sex & Money

  • “You feel really small when you first move to Los Angeles,” says the Emmy winner

Walsh, Marty The Axe Files

  • The mayor of Boston speaks

Whitman, Christine Todd Stay Tuned with Preet

Williams, Ev Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman

Winkler, Adam Trumpcast

  • The author of “Gunfight” talks guns in America

Editors' Pick

A new-to-us podcast we loved this week.

Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People

I discovered Chris Gethard’s conversations with anonymous people pod just in time for its 100th episode. Gethard talks to one person he doesn’t know or know anything about on the phone -- for an hour.

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Copyright © 2018 Michael Yessis, All rights reserved.

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