It wasn’t until quite recently that I started listening to podcasts. I had always been ambivalent about the medium. I find radio frustrating, because I want to be able to choose my own music, thank you very much. I often find talkshows boring, and I also didn’t quite see how podcasts would fit into my daily routines. Either I’m devoting my full attention to one thing, like reading a book, and there’s lot’s of things I would rather be paying attention to than a podcast, or I’m splitting my attention, for example while doing laundry and listening to music, and I thought podcasts would have too much of a narrative for that kind of half-engaged listening. Oh boy, how wrong I was.
Podcasts are ideal. They make you feel like your time on autopilot was actually well spent. I can listen to a podcast during laundry or cleaning or basically any chore, or I can listen to it during my daily commute, and I will feel like that was time well-spent instead of time spent doing boring responsible stuff. This change of heart was brought about by one podcast in particular: Witch Please.
Witch Please is a fortnightly podcast that offers an in-depth analysis of the Harry Potter books and movies from an academic perspective. It is produced and presented by two scholars of literary studies with a focus on feminism and the materiality of print. Their film-focused episodes also feature their colleague Neale who has a degree in Film Studies. So it’s Harry Potter related, it’s academic and it’s feminist, but most importantly, it’s hilarious. These ladies have the best banter I have heard since Aaron Sorkin last wrote a TV script.
Which brings me to my second-favorite podcast of all time: The West Wing Weekly, an episode-by-episode analysis of The West Wing, cohosted by Joshua Malina who played Will Bailey on the show.
I’m also a big fan of Fansplaining, “the podcast by, about and for fandom.” This podcast also has some academic undertones as both of its hosts are academics on top of fangirls. They are what is known as “acafans.” If you were to ask me: “Frenzied Fangirl, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I would say without hesistation: “An acafan.” So there you go.
There are A LOT of other podcasts on my to-listen list. Most of them were recommended to me by people whose taste and judgement I trust. I am especially excited about The Guilty Feminist, Gilmore Guys, Banging Book Club, Mugglenet Academia and The Hilarious World of Depression. There’s just so much to choose from! Tell me about your favorite podcasts in the comments.