Jason Pargin

Jason Pargin

Jason Pargin is the author of the humor and horror novel John Dies at the End and is also a senior editor at Cracked.com under the pseudonym David Won. He has written a second novel, This Book Is Full of Spiders.

Guest Appearances

Why Fear-Based Democracies Aren’t Free (with Jason Pargin)

The Cracked Podcast #328January 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…


Why The Holidays Are Secretly Crucial To Our Survival

The Cracked Podcast #323December 22, 2019

This is an evergreen episode of The Cracked Podcast -- and not just because it involves Christmas trees. “Evergreen”, in case you don’t know, is a media term for stuff that’s worth listening to any time after its publication. And on this…


15 Archaeological Discoveries Scarier Than Any Horror Movie

The Cracked Podcast #315October 27, 2019

The Indiana Jones movies are true to life. Not about that specific guy being real, or about certain magical canon being real, or about the archaeological profession being a parade of sex ’n Nazis. Still, here’s what ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’…


14 Polls That Explain America (And Raise Huge New Questions)

The Cracked Podcast #303August 4, 2019

Empathy is down 40% among American young people. That’s the finding of a study analyzing dozens of other studies across decades of responses. That also sounds sort of insane -- if nothing else, empathy might not be something you think percentages can…


The End-Of-The-World Mentality (And Why That’s Ridiculous)

You’re going to live a long time. Congratulations! That’s good! There are zero ways that is bad news! Yet if you talk about our future 50, 40, or even 10 years from now, people might tell you that’s fantastical wishful thinking. They…


How Lousy Life-Shortening Jobs Became America's Gig

The Cracked Podcast #289April 28, 2019

Be glad you don’t work in turn-of-the-century America. It was a time of lethal accidents, legal child labor, lecherous tycoons and more sick problems we've (mostly) left behind. Things got better in the past hundred years. That's a fact. But have things…


5 Mainstream Health Habits That Trick You Into Feeling Lousy

The Cracked Podcast #280February 24, 2019

The most successful people in the world are SO EXCITED to call themselves that. Hard-charging, in-leaning, unstoppable titans of industry want everyone to know it. One of their favorite brags: never sleeping more than a few hours a night. Is that actually…


How A Loneliness Epidemic Snuck Up On Us (with Jason Pargin)

The Cracked Podcast #277February 3, 2019

“Social atomization” is a term that sounds like science fiction. It could be the title of a 1950s B-movie where a mad scientist vaporizes a dance party. But when sociologists use that term, “social atomization” is a complementary set of shifts you…


The Creepiest Hidden Truths Behind The Origins Of Monsters

The Cracked Podcast #263October 28, 2018

Thought experiment: imagine an alien. Great, experiment complete. Now examine what you came up with. It’s almost definitely one of two things: 1) a specific extraterrestrial from a movie or show, who you can point to as from that movie/show. 2) what’s…


9 Supposedly Important Words (That Don’t Mean Anything)

The Cracked Podcast #258September 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…


The Bizarre Way Marketers Boil You Down And See Your Future

The Cracked Podcast #254August 26, 2018

When you fire up Netflix, you’re looking at it...and it’s looking back at you. Which is weird, right? Even though you already paid for Netflix’s entire service, and even though it shouldn’t matter to Netflix how you spend your time there, every…


Why Everyone Is Wrong About Violent Video Games & Your Brain

As long as real-life gun rampages go unchecked, first person shooter video games will be a major battlefront of The Culture War. After all, today’s new hyper-realistic gun games must be causing today’s hideous violence! But what if twenty years of perfecting…


Creepy Propaganda Hidden In Your Favorite Modern Pop Culture

The Cracked Podcast #235April 16, 2018

If you look back at old Westerns, you might see “Indians” portrayed like senseless alien villains. If you go back through O.G. ‘Twilight Zone’ episodes, you’ll find a lot more Christianity than today’s pop culture fans are used to. And if you…


Why We're Terrible At Taking Care Of Our Mental Health

The Cracked Podcast #224February 4, 2018

Monty Python once taught us the following neuroscience: “The human brain is like an enormous fish. It is flat, and slimy, and has gills through which it can see.” That obvious bullshit is obvious bullshit. It’s also not much sillier than our…


Why Conservative Comedy Is Almost Impossible In Trump Times

The Cracked Podcast #216December 11, 2017

Thought experiment: if you made a list of the biggest 10 comedy institutions in your life, what would be on it? Probably stuff like ‘Saturday Night Live’, ‘The Daily Show’, John Oliver, network late night shows? Well if you look back over that…


How Your Germs Control Your Politics (with David Wong)

The Cracked Podcast #210November 6, 2017

Stop me if you've heard this one before: a charismatic populist leader rises to power by warning of immigrants who are are "filthy" and "bring disease." It's no coincidence the greatest deplorable leaders through the ages use the same coded language to…



John Carpenter month continues on Cracked Movie Club! In 1978, a young independent filmmaker named John Carpenter was approached to direct a movie called The Babysitter Murders, about a group of teenage girls being stalked by a killer. A title change and a…


Why Society Is Very Bad At Helping People Choose Jobs

The Cracked Podcast #196August 7, 2017

Do you know what you want to do with the rest of your life? Well the good news is nobody really knows. You’re not alone! The bad news is you were supposed to know by age 13 or so. And if you…


A Farewell To Cracked Editor-in-Chief Jack O'Brien

Serious Talk. It's Jack's last episode. After 11 years at Cracked, our intrepid editor-in-chief and podcast host extraordinaire Jack O'Brien is hanging up the cleats to tackle new projects, end world hunger and find the Zodiac killer. But that doesn't mean this…


How Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos Are Playing You

The Cracked Podcast #170March 13, 2017

It's become your daily morning ritual. Wake up. Open Twitter. And here come's your fix. It's something like, "Trump Surrogate Says Jews in the Holocaust Didn't Have it So Bad!" and you're off to the races. How could he!? Do they know…


The Enormous Lie About Modern Life (You Likely Believe)

The Cracked Podcast #163January 30, 2017

Once you hit your mid-twenties, everything starts beginning to suck. Your favorite band? Not as good as when they first came out. Favorite hangouts? All gone to shit since all the young people started showing up and ruining everything. The world? Basically…


The 25 Coolest Things We Discovered In 2016

The Cracked Podcast #158December 26, 2016

It's not just us right? There are too many damn movies and TV shows to keep up with. When we're not in the middle of a season of Game of Thrones, Westworld, Silicon Valley, Stranger Things, or House of Cards, there are…


Movies That Teach Men Horrible Lessons About Sex

The Cracked Podcast #156December 12, 2016

You know how when you watch and old movie and there's a Y2K joke or a WAZZZZUUUP and you think, "man, this hasn't aged well." There's now a whole category of those movies that are just classically heroic dudes being absolute dicks…


What The F**K Just Happened? Election Autopsy

The Cracked Podcast #151November 9, 2016

Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States of America. It's going to be okay. Sit down, have a cookie, breathe into this bag and put on your mandatory 'Make America Great Again' baseball cap. We'll survive this, right?…


Why Science Has Really Basic Stuff Wrong About Humans

The Cracked Podcast #145October 10, 2016

How many times a week do you see someone posting a headline to Facebook with a ridiculous scientific claim about your health? '9 out of 10 Doctors Say You Should Stop Exercising,' 'New Report Shows Milk Prevents Cancer,' 'New Study Shows Milk…


Stupid Lies From Pop Culture That Everybody Believes

The Cracked Podcast #143September 26, 2016

We all know Rome wasn't built in a day. But in the fake Hollywood adaptation, "Rome Wasn't Built in a Day," it's probably built over the course of a short montage set to peppy music, where it feels like it's built in…


How Evolution Made Us Unfit For The Modern World

The Cracked Podcast #139August 29, 2016

Are you ever so overwhelmed by the thought of going out to socialize that you just stay home instead? And then once you stay home, you're bummed out at yourself for not leaving the house in the first place? Is your typical…


Culture-Specific Things We Do That We Assume Are Universal

There are parts of our daily lives that we just take for granted as being normal, but science proves us wrong. One of the best ways to look at this is language. We've previously discussed on the podcast how languages with future…


Design Tricks Marketers Use To Control Your Mind

The Cracked Podcast #118April 11, 2016

If you're afraid big corporations will one day try to beam ideas directly into your mind, too late. They've been doing this for years and you haven't even noticed it. Think about your grocery store. Right after you walk in, there's probably…


America's Secret Caste System

The Cracked Podcast #115March 28, 2016

We tend to think of the class system as money thing. Rich people are high-class, poor people are of a lower class, and those things can change with the purchase of a lottery ticket or one bad financial investment. But that common…


Why Narcissism Is Our National Mental Disorder

The Cracked Podcast #111February 29, 2016

If you go back one hundred or even fifty years ago to ask kids what they wanted when they grew up, they'd say they wanted to have families and to have good jobs. Now when you ask that question to kids the…


Great Ideas Nobody Uses Correctly Anymore

The Cracked Podcast #104January 11, 2016

Remember when memes actually made sense and weren't just screencaps of Minions with text like, 'Obama: You Only Had One Job!' Remember when 'First World Problems' wasn't an excuse to complainbrag about your yacht running out of champagne? Remember when 'LOL' wasn't…


A Cultural History Of Star Wars (So Far)

The Cracked Podcast #101December 14, 2015

Take a trip in your mind back to May 18th, 1999. Bill Clinton was the president, 'Livin La Vida Loca' and 'No Scrubs' were at the top of the music charts, and there was hope that 'The Phantom Menace' would be a…


BONUS EP! What Zombie Movies Get Right About Real Pandemics

The Cracked Podcast #92November 1, 2015

Last year's worldwide Ebola outbreak brought into harsh reality the kind of imagery we typically only see in movies like 'Outbreak' or 'Contagion': the faceless officials in hazmat suits, the quarantine tents, the sudden fear of anyone who sneezes on an airplane.…


The 1st Annual Cracked Halloween Podcast Spooktacular

The Cracked Podcast #91October 26, 2015

Last year we covered in a podcast how truth is stranger and often scarier than fiction, especially when it comes to the history genre. Case in point: the story of Henry Rathbone. You're probably thinking, who's Henry Rathbone? That's kind of the…


Ben Franklin's Secret Hack to Make People Like You

The Cracked Podcast #85August 31, 2015

Growing up we were taught to abide by the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But that's hard to maintain. People get in the way and always seem to let you down, right? A  co…


Why Getting Away With Murder Is Easier Than You Think

The Cracked Podcast #82August 10, 2015

Here's a potentially scary statistic: Of the 330 people freed by the Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted prisoners, 10% of them actually admitted to committing the crime they were innocent of. They even estimate that as many as…


Horrifying Things Implied By Famous Movies

Think about every time a movie villain asks the hero something like, "you and what army?" You know what happens next: a door opens, a roof explodes, or the camera pushes out the window to show, you guessed it, our hero's army.…


The Gun Show

The recent tragedy in Charleston, SC sparked, among other things, another flurry of debate in what appears to be our new twisted national pastime: arguing about guns. We'll hear in the media proposed solutions to the problem of gun violence in America,…


Unspoken Stereotypes Movies Trick You Into Believing

Source material aside, did you find yourself watching 'Daredevil' on Netflix and thinking: Matt Murdock is a very capable blind man in New York, why does he need the cane, the sunglasses, and the wide-eyed stare? He walks the streets with ease…


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…


Why Documentaries Lie

The Cracked Podcast #68March 30, 2015

Anthropomorphic goatee and director of 'The Jinx' Andrew Jarecki has recently taken criticism from many sides regarding the ending of his documentary series. Some condemn the way he sat on critical evidence and withheld it from the police, while others criticize how…


Cracks in Human Perception

We know it's old news already, but last week when that blue/black/white/gold dress tore the internet and countless marriages apart, it brought up a theme that we like to talk about a lot at Cracked: how our senses are about as trustworthy…


Why Pop-Culture Hates Poor People

When your favorite sitcom characters take their obligatory once-a-series trip to Vegas, unless that specific episode is about how Chandler loses it all on black, or Kramer comes up with a scheme to count cards, we never see them face the mundane…


How Internet Subcultures Combat Free Speech

The Cracked Podcast #62February 2, 2015

Here's the easiest experiment in the world. Go to YouTube. Click on ANY video. Scroll to the comments. How long did it take you to find a comment that was the most horrible and vile combination of words you've ever seen? If…


How the PG-13 Rating Took Over the World

The Cracked Podcast #57December 15, 2014

No matter how cool, young or hip you are, eventually the world of mass media will leave your increasingly-saggy ass behind. Recently, the YouTube channel of PewDiePie, a Swedish video game commenter, became the most viewed YouTube channel in history with over…


Why Hollywood Always Gets the Apocalypse Wrong

The Cracked Podcast #55December 1, 2014

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…


Decisions Your Brain Makes Behind Your Back

The Cracked Podcast #53November 10, 2014

Hollywood never fails to remind us that we only use 10% of our brains. That statistic is bullshit, but it's true that around 90% of the activity in our brains is completely unconscious. We make most of our decisions without even knowing…


The Economics of Brainwashing

The Cracked Podcast #51October 27, 2014

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…


How One Logical Fallacy Keeps Making You Wrong

The Cracked Podcast #49October 6, 2014

You may be the first to admit that your Facebook page is simply a highlight reel of your life -- a carefully collected stream of only the best pictures, moments, and one-liners -- but why is it hard to make that same…


Statistics That Prove We're Wrong About Everything

The Cracked Podcast #47September 15, 2014

You're on the 1970s game show "Let's Make a Deal," and you get to pick between 3 doors: behind one is a new car, and behind the other two are gag prizes. After choosing your door, the host shows you one of…


Disney Orphans

The Cracked Podcast #46September 8, 2014

Why don’t heroes have parents? Think about it: from Harry Potter to Luke Skywalker, orphans make up a dominant percentage of the heroic population. There’s something about dead parents that can make any character into an instant underdog. Even Superman, literal god-being,…


Why Your Brain Is Sabotaging You

The Cracked Podcast #44August 18, 2014

Why do we listen to self-help gurus? It's not because they're all so much better at living than we are -- it's because we want to believe the path to success starts by asking "how" rather than just nutting up and starting.…


Your Memory Is a Filthy Liar

Did you know Michael Jordan is convinced no one ever believed he’d be a great basketball player? It seems inconceivable -- just as crazy as that pristine, perfect image of the 1950s so many old white people seem to believe in. Or,…


Why the Food Industry Is Evil

Did you know it's easier to quit heroin than it is to quit being obese? Whether you try Weight Watchers, Atkins, or whatever fad diet is popular this week, they all have the same efficacy five years down the line. We love…


Tipping Points: The End of Seafood and Tequila

It took 45 years before landline phones went from "rich person's toy" to normal. Cell phones made that same journey in just seven years, and smartphones bridged the gap from frivolous to ubiquitous in five. You're probably familiar with the concept of…


The 11 Nations of America?

Where you live in the United States determines a hell of a lot more than whether "coke" means Coca-Cola or "every single carbonated beverage." It can also mean the difference between sauce on your pizza or nothing, the difference between honor killings…


Shockingly Sexist Messages in the Modern World

The Cracked Podcast #30April 14, 2014

Why is Hollywood allergic to female protagonists? It's not a conspiracy -- men and women alike tend to prefer films with male heroes getting the girl. Even Disney's most progressive princesses still wind up with huge eyes, tiny hands and every other…


Insane Conspiracies That Actually Happened

The Cracked Podcast #28March 31, 2014

Hey, did you know a group of America's wealthiest business owners once tried to lead a military coup against the President? It sounds like something a lunatic would shout at you from a bus stop, but it actually happened while FDR was…


Why You Don't Know What You Look Like

The Cracked Podcast #27March 24, 2014

Have you ever wondered why everyone on Earth knew how crazy post-surgery Michael Jackson looked except Michael Jackson? If you’ve ever come into work with a terrible pimple or smudged makeup (that made you look like a clown) and been shocked when…


Insane Coincidences That Shaped History

The Cracked Podcast #26March 17, 2014

Why did the universe try so hard to make World War I happen? Was Hitler basically an evil Forrest Gump? In Hollywood, two bullets hitting in midair is too insanely coincidental for anything besides a Matrix sequel, but it happens constantly in…


Mind-Blowing Ideas About Alien Life

Have you ever wondered why UFO sightings aren't really a thing anymore? It's because cell phone cameras exist. On this week's podcast, Jack O'Brien, Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) and the ever effervescent Abe Epperson discuss aliens -- why we're pretty damn…


Dumb Movies That Will Be Studied by History

The Cracked Podcast #23February 24, 2014

The most important movies in history don’t always walk away with Academy Awards. In this podcast, you'll hear Jack O'Brien explain what Teen Wolf can tell us about the history of race relations in America, Dan O'Brien point out that Last Action Hero was basically…


Parallel Thinking

The Cracked Podcast #21February 10, 2014

Did you know there were like three different books about gawky, dark-haired 12-year-olds going to wizard school before ‘Harry Potter’? Two separate inventors actually filed patents for the telephone on the exact same day. On today's Cracked podcast, Jack O'Brien, Jason Pargin…


Every Movie is a Superhero Movie

The Cracked Podcast #20February 3, 2014

Superpowers! The word alone conjures up images of heroes stopping trains with their fists or shooting lasers from their eyes. But most desirable powers we can imagine don’t require a costume, just a camera.   In this week's podcast, Jack O'Brien, Michael…


Moral Panics

The Cracked Podcast #18January 20, 2014

The Knockout Game is part of a war on white people! Satanists are abducting babies all over the country, and if your kids live through that, some asshole's going to poison their Halloween candy! Every few months, the media cooks up a…


Pop Culture Expiration Dates

The Cracked Podcast #16January 6, 2014

Jack O'Brien welcomes Soren Bowie into the studio and calls up Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) to have a discussion about why certain types of music, like classic rock and old school hip-hop, can always seem cool, but why others, like hair…


Why Christmas Movies Are Political Propaganda

The Cracked Podcast #15December 16, 2013

Jack O'Brien rings in the holiday season with resident Scrooge and Executive Editor Jason Pargin to discuss 7 famous Christmas movies, from 'It's a Wonderful Life' to 'Die Hard.' They chart some of the faulty logic in their cheery resolutions and how…


Shocking Ways Reality Is Based on Movies

The Cracked Podcast #14December 9, 2013

Jack O'Brien calls up Executive Editor Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) to have a discussion about tropes in crime procedurals affecting jury deliberation, movies like 'Wall Street' changing the behavior of stockbrokers, and some of the other subconscious ways in which we…


Millennial Panic!

The Cracked Podcast #12November 25, 2013

Executive Editor Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) joins Cracked Editor-in-Chief Jack O'Brien for a discussion about millennials: why older generations seem to simultaneously fear and hate them, why a generation of people who don't want to be employed might help our economy,…


Why Every Movie Plot Follows Weirdly Specific Rules

The Cracked Podcast #9November 4, 2013

Jason Pargin aka David Wong joins Cracked editor-in-chief Jack O'Brien to discuss three-act story structure and how this formula is used in popular Hollywood blockbusters from 'Star Wars' and 'Jaws' to 'The Matrix'. They then discuss how these structures affect our thinking,…


Cultural bias

The Cracked Podcast #7October 14, 2013

David Wong aka Jason Pargin returns to discuss cultural bias with Jack O’Brien on this week’s episode of Cracked. They’ll get into why we overlook major plot points from real world origin stories of many cultural figures ranging from Bill Gates to…


Loss Of Privacy

The Cracked Podcast #4September 9, 2013

Jack O’Brien welcomes Executive Editor of Cracked/author Jason Pargin aka David Wong today to talk about our loss of privacy. They’ll get into why people aren’t that interested in the NSA scandal, how growing up during the Cold War affected Jason’s outlook…

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