April 21, 2019
EP. 288 — What Fascist Italy Reveals About Modern America
If you ask the average American to name ten things from World War II, Benito Mussolini won’t often make the list. But “Il Duce” seized power long before Hitler, spent more than two decades reshaping Italy in his image, and coined that “Fascist” term we all yell these days. Isn’t it strange that we never focus on Mussolini when we hearken back to WW2? Could he be a useful historical touchstone for understanding the present day? And did you know modern Italy is so steeped in Mussolini, its rising political stars CELEBRATE his brutal genocidal legacy?
On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by historian & scholar Ruth Ben-Ghiat and by comedian & podcaster Adam Tod Brown. They’re taking a timely look at the most ignored fascist government of all time. They’ll debunk common myths about Mussolini’s train-centric reign. They’ll reveal the shockingly brazen Mussolini acolytes in modern Italian politics, supported by Fascism’s soccer subculture and normalized legacy. Also stick around for the shocking parallels between 2010s world leaders and Mussolini’s 1920s quest to Make Italy Great Again.
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.