Top Episodes This Week
Anna May Wong: Death of a Trailblazer
Mobituaries with Mo Rocca
Amazing chronicle about Anna May Wong: the very first Chinese-American star. I discovered Anna when I wrote a paper for my 'Feminist Studies' class in University. Anna was a trailblazer and pioneer. With no role models to look up to at the time, she went after her dream of being in movies against the desires of her father and made her way to the top of the box office. I had no idea she learned German, French, AND British English to land roles in Europe. Unbelievable retelling of stories of racism against Asians in America such as marriage restrictions, travel restrictions, yellow face, . She was a true talent and was able to express a sense of sensuality on screen without any physical touch (since that was illegal at the time). Respect for her stepping up and making a movie about China and fundraising for the Chinese when Japan invaded - and nobody in America cared.
400 - Ronald Reagan w/ guest Patton Oswalt (Part 1)
The Dollop with Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds
Oswalt should be a regular. His deep knowledge, quick witt, and audible laughter bring something great to the table that I didn't know I was missing.
The Paul Bernardo Murder Trial - Part 1
History of the 90s
This is a must listen for true crime fans. I remember following this in the news but was unaware of a lot as I was so young. Kathy Kenzora's in-depth look at the trial was fascinating. Love this podcast in general (I was oblivious to so much as a teen!) and Kathy is so easy and pleasant to listen to.
Reinventing Miss America
The Documentary Podcast
Listen to the attempted revival of Miss America "2.0" as they call it - as the revamped competition removes the swimsuit component and tries to stay relevant by allegedly removing the traditional 'objectification'. Can Miss America 2.0 really be it 'all' and make everybody happy? They claim that looks no longer matter. Is that a naive statement in an Instagram obsessed world? Super sad to hear that a judge told a 14-year old to lose weight. Hear the traditionalists and progressives sound off on the meaning of the pageant. Horrified to hear a former Miss America state that 23 year olds need to be skinnier than her. You CANNOT determine physical fitness just by looking at someone. Interesting take on pageants: watching reality dating shows like The Bachelor is not that much different than Miss America. Truth! I WAS happy to hear that at one point in 2019, all 5 titles of major pageants were held by black women. Impressed that Miss America 2020 is a woman in STEM I grew up watching pageants because Miss Hong Kong was a big deal in our house (for some odd reason). As a young child, I grew up listening to traditional old Asian men talk about Miss Hong Kong, who was prettier, who was skinnier, who deserved to win, etc. After listening to this episode I only realize now how much that would have contributed to my subconscious programming around body image. They really tried to drive in the "Miss America is the largest provider of scholarships for women" in this episode"... reminded me of Miss Congeniality.
The teashop empire
History Extra podcast
An unexpectedly interesting episode about the rise of one of the UK’s first conglomerate corporations in the late 19th century. They launched the country’s first tea shop chain that focused on providing a safe and accessible environment for middle and lower class women to have a cup of tea and a light bite to eat. At that time, there were no safe, socially acceptable options where ordinary women could eat out. They deliberately made the environments safe and attractive for women, including hiring women servers at a time when wait staff were exclusively male. This episode reminds me of one I heard maybe a year or two ago (99pi? Under the Influence?) about a pioneering black advertising executive who realized that the black community represented a community of customers who had their own valid wants and needs. This episode gave me a sense of hustle and innovation that may now look somewhat questionable (fast food has contributed to so many health ills; this company also launched Wimpy’s in the UK) but at the time was a highly innovative force for democratization.
The Constant: A History of Getting Things Wrong
I had no idea that the Nazi regime in Germany originally planned to send Jews to Madagascar; this is an important episode that brings to light a forgotten part of the Holocaust, while also making the point that we often think about Madagascar as a unpopulated wilderness full of lemurs and other interesting animals. But Madagascar is not devoid of people and these people have a history!