May 18, 2015

EP. 74 — The Horrible 90s Hit Song That Explains The Modern World

In his new column going up tomorrow, David Wong uses the hilariously outdated Billy Joel song ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ to illustrate a confounding problem with dominant white and western culture. The song chronologically lists everything that’s gone wrong in the world from 1949 to 1989 in between choruses of “We didn’t start the fire,” meaning, “Hey, it’s not my fault that the world is so fucked up.”

It’s a common and understandable knee-jerk reaction for people in the 21st century to think that just because they were born in the 1980s, or that their grandparents didn’t come to America until the 20th century, that they’re not responsible for something like slavery. Yes, it’s true that you’re not individually to blame for slavery, but you still may reap countless invisible benefits from being a white male in the 21st century that you just don’t get if you’re African-American, or from a poor family, or a woman. There’s an endless context to complicated social matters that doesn’t just begin or end with, “I didn’t start the fire.”

That was just one example of the ways in which many people are blind to the historical context in which we live–that every moment in the present is either consciously or subconsciously tied to the entire history of our species. This week on the podcast, Jack O’Brien is joined by David Wong (aka Jason Pargin) and Josh Sargent to discuss these historical blindspots and how they’re being slowly eroded by the human progress of the last two centuries.

Recent Episodes

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.