October 27, 2014
EP. 51 — The Economics of Brainwashing
We all have addicts in our lives — that friend or relative who fell prey to alcohol, heroin or some other drug. Nobody pretends those aren’t “real” addictions. But when a D-list reality star checks in to rehab for porn addiction or a major study warns of smartphone addiction, we roll our eyes. If an obese person claims they’re addicted to eating, we tsk their lack of self-control.
Why isn’t every addiction created equal in the court of public opinion? Compulsive smartphone use doesn’t have the same consequences as smoking crack, but ‘Candy Crush’ still makes use of the same addictive feedback loop. Whether you’re gambling or eating Cheetos, you’re trading your time and money in exchange for regular hits of dopamine.
This week on the podcast, Cracked editors Jack O’Brien and Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) discuss the science and culture of addiction in the 21st century. They’ll look at all the ways giant corporations are exploiting our brains to control our behavior — and ask if there’s any way this addiction train can be stopped.
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.