December 1, 2014
EP. 55 — Why Hollywood Always Gets the Apocalypse Wrong
Lately, you can’t swing an undead cat without hitting the end of the world. Whether it’s the pure escapism of ‘The Walking Dead’ or high art like ‘The Road’, every story hits the same beats: it’s every man for himself against the hoard of zombies or cannibals or nuclear Nazi mutants, and the only ones who survive are the badasses with shotguns willing to shoot their best friends for a Pop Tart. Even your general post-apocalyptic dystopia movies fall in the same lazy traps — every city looks like a warehouse or a desert, not because it’s an accurate depiction of such a society, but because they’re cheaper to film in.
But whether it’s a case of art reflecting society or storytellers accidentally tapping into a human desire — and running with it until it’s as bloated and decayed as their crew of extras — it says something about us that’s pretty uncomfortable to think about. The apocalypse is just the new Old West, but instead of conquering the “savages,” we just revel in being way better at savagery. We like the idea of the fall of civilization because it allows us to elevate basic human decency to heroic decency, and escape the complications of the modern world — even if most of us would die without it. But that’s why every disaster in the history of ever has shown that it doesn’t play out that way at all.
This week, Cracked editors Jack O’Brien, Soren Bowie, and Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) discuss the rote ways in which apocalypse movies and TV shows always get the demise of civilization wrong.
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.