Podcast Madness: Midwest, Round 3

Recap: 40 podcasts, single-elimination brackets — 1 winner will emerge!

For the thesis, read the first post here, then come back for the results.

Midwest, Game 1: More Perfect v. Top 4


First is the Radiolab spinoff, More Perfect. I listened to the episode “The Political Thicket,” covering how much power the court should have, basically. At least, how much political power the Supreme Court ought to have.

It’s about a case that broke two justices because it brought the conflict between liberal and conservative justices to a head. The case in question, Baker v. Carr, a 1962 case was about voting districts, which seems fairly innocuous, right? Well, any case that goes all the way to the Supreme Court isn’t innocuous, and I appreciate about the podcast that they laid out the case from both angles and really brought it to life.

Next we have Top 4, this time, ranking holidays. This was an interesting episode, because it reminded me that if you aren’t a religious person, a religious holiday probably isn’t going to mean a lot to you. I mean, this should be obvious, and of course, everyone is different, so a holiday can still be a special time to people, but it was a reminder that the things I love about my favorite holidays aren’t shared by everyone. Unless you bring some meaning or have something behind a holiday, it can be a hollow day instead. Or it can be a downright anxiety-producing nuisance, bringing family arguments and insecurities to the fore.

The episode made me a little sad for the hosts, because I feel like I have so much to celebrate compared with their characterization of major holidays. I am very thankful to have a faith that includes deep celebration, and a wonderful family who enjoys each other. This is rare, I know, and this episode made me appreciate that and long to extend that to others as well.

Winner: More Perfect

Midwest, Game 2: History Chicks v. Stuff You Missed in History Class

The History Chicks tackled the life of Agrippina the Younger (daughter of Agrippina, which reminds me that I dislike people giving their children the same name — the paperwork is a nightmare, you guys! It’s so hard to keep everyone straight!). Politics in Ancient Rome were not for the faint of heart, or the squeamish. Or those without access to poison. Agrippina didn’t hesitate when it came to ambition for power.

She married several times (the last time to her uncle…who was the emperor at the time), she was the mother of another emperor you may have heard of (Nero), and her life ended in a Greek-tragedy-approved manner.

The hosts were fairly matter-of-fact about all the drama, but yes, Agrippina had a complicated life!

After this, I listened to the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast on Copernicus. I knew that Copernicus was an astronomer, but I didn’t know he also studied (and practiced) medicine! Like many who go against popular theories of their day, Copernicus had his work devalued and somewhat ignored during his lifetime, and the church was against his theory that the earth is not the center of the solar system with the sun revolving around us.

So interesting, and science and religion have a complicated history, which is really a shame, as science can help illuminate the amazing universe we live in.

These two podcasts were very close — it was hard to choose between them, but I think Stuff You Missed just edged out the History Chicks, Agrippina’s fascinating life notwithstanding.

Winner: Stuff You Missed in History Class

Next time, West, Round 3!

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