September 23, 2018
Have you visited America’s heartland? And if you have…why are you so sure? “The heartland” is not a defined thing, with borders or flags or land made of literal hearts. The term actually comes from a British geographer named Halford Mackinder (a fantastic name), who coined “heartland” in 1904 to describe one central part of pre-WWI Europe. So why do we use “heartland” in the present day, to describe an aspect of the U.S.? Is it to imply ideas about it, without letting you consider those ideas on their merits? And are there other words in our language that get used the same way?
On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt sits down with Jason Pargin (better known as David Wong) to explore the most celebrated words in the English language that also trick us constantly. They’ll examine how throwing around the term “real” messes with everything from our gender roles to our dinner plate to our politics. They’ll uncover the creepy way certain words throw entire generations under the bus. And they’ll explore why philosophies like socialism and fascism are making a comeback in places like America’s Heartland (whatever that is).
January 26, 2020
Freedom sucks…and that is why we have to defend it. Because our democracy involves doing a lot of stuff that takes energy, takes time, and lacks that Michael Bay Quality that only a surprise missile launch can provide. So on this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt and special guest Jason Pargin (who writes for Cracked as David Wong) are exploring the ways being afraid of everything (an easy action) can stop us from being free. Discover the decades-long tradition of some Americans wanting to give up everything in exchange for not needing to think, the centuries-long tradition of people inciting fake panics, and the reasonable ways you can help change things for the better.
January 19, 2020
How’s your local shopping mall doing? Have you checked on it lately? Swing by sometime, because its department store might’ve turned into a call center or a hospital or a go-kart track. On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by the one and only Kai Ryssdal (Marketplace, Make Me Smart) for a look at surprising, strange, and shocking stories from all over the U.S. economy. Discover an international pig flu, a 26-word statement that built the modern Internet, and more amazing ways cash is ruling everything around you. By the way, if you’re an American listener, you spent the past few years funding an astonishingly huge bailout. Surprise! Listen for details!
January 12, 2020
Movies, TV, gaming: three things that are theoretically a waste of time. Oh sure, they deliver value in the art sense, and comfort in the goofing-off sense. But what if they’re more valuable than that? What if consuming shows and playing video games (accidentally) turns people into real-life heroes? On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians/writers Caitlin Gill and Alex Watt for a look at the surprising number of times that exact thing happened. They’ll explore stories of regular people who saved a life thanks to skills gained randomly from cartoons, sitcoms, ‘World Of Warcraft’, and more silly entertainment.