Selena Quintanilla is a cultural icon for many, but for Maria Garcia, she's much more than that. For Maria, who was raised in El Paso, Texas, and lived and worked on the border for years, Selena was a figure that helped her — and many other young girls and women like her — find a place in a world where they didn't feel like they belonged. This week, Nick speaks with Maria about Anything for Selena, her new series from WBUR and Futuro Studios, which revisits the legacy of Selena, with an ear to trying to unpack how, exactly, she changed culture.
Why did the mullet become a thing? Why did everybody go crazy over Cabbage Patch dolls? And why would anybody ever go on a reality TV show? These are the typical questions you'd find asked in Slate's Decoder Ring, one for the smartest podcasts out there and one that more people should be checking out. In each episode, host Willa Paskin, usually the TV critic for Slate, picks up a different cultural object — a word, a phenomenon, a moment, a device — and subjects it to a simple question: why? This week, Nick talks to Willa about how she and her producer go about choosing the topics of their deep-dives, what makes her so interested in cultural histories and how they pulled together their epic two-part series on Jane Fonda.
Crooked Media was founded by a group of former Obama staffers in the wake of Trump’s surprise win in the 2016 presidential election. Over the next four years, the media company built a strong listenership by essentially serving as a focal point for a certain kind of progressive voter that stands in opposition to the Trump presidency. Now that the United States is due to be led by Democrats, the obvious question abounds: what does this mean for Crooked Media? Nick talks to Tanya Somanader, Crooked Media’s Chief Content Officer, about what comes next.
As they say: new year, new you... Or is it? In time for the expected flood of New Year's resolutions, Nick talks to Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer of By The Book, a fun reality-ish podcast that features the two hosts documenting their attempts to live by a different self-help book, down to the letter, every episode. Just how valuable are these books, anyway? And who are the people that write them? Have any of these books actually been life-changing?
Forget doomsday prepping – are there podcasts that could help us through the end of the world? In this episode, Nick speaks with two women grappling with this topic in very different ways. First, Amy Westervelt, creator of Drilled and the Critical Frequency podcast network, tells Nick about her work as a climate crisis reporter and how she battles rampant misinformation campaigns in order to inform her audience in a direct and entertaining way. Then Nick chats with Sophie Townsend, whose podcast, Goodbye To All This, addresses her personal end of the world: the death of her husband. She tells us what it's like to make a podcast about grief and death, and what it's like when your world has ended but it keeps on spinning for everyone else.