There’s been a new drive ignited in me recently. I can blame this entirely on my longstanding interest into the Crusades. As I’ve mentioned, I have become fully invested in the History of the Crusades* podcast. It not only follows a linear timeline but interjects occasionally with episodes coinciding, such as the individual rulers, kings and queens, Egyptians, Mongols, Latin Christendom, The Knights Templar, etc…
Through the search bar option in my podcast app, I’ve been able to track down other podcasts with overlapping themes (e.g. The History of Byzantium) or just download a specific episode (e.g. A Knight’s Tale via The History of England podcast)
It is a prolific rabbit hole either way. I mention this because it’s exciting; and where I’d been lagging (in French, Constitutional studies) has been jump-started again too. I’m back to the routine of my French language videos, and I’m back into the flow of my Hillsdale College lectures.
All of the aforementioned are free.
This being said, optimizing my time efficiently has taken some tweaking. The upside is I listen to considerably fewer political podcasts; there is no downside to this. But if my pendulum of a personality is any indication, I will soon follow up with a blog post on the most wonky political podcasts ever that I love.
Back to the smarts.
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently put out a list of the most influential books of the past twenty years. A few I agree with, a few are obviously quite left-leaning, and a few authors have taken themselves way too seriously.
Hot Pod News mentioned an article in The New Yorker, a publication I stopped subscribing to years ago, about the ‘seduction -and sometimes slippery slope of storytelling and binge listening’ The title alone makes me defensive; and the article doesn’t even make the case for the title. Are investigative podcasts too intimate? You can’t rush through a story or hate-listen? The article gets disjointed when it discusses the advertising read-outs within podcasts; but the last three paragraphs sum up what the whole article is trying to get at.
I would argue humans are predisposed to story. Listening requires more focus than tv watching. The podcasts choices are limitless, and as my example above lays out, the format can be used for education rather than entertainment. Storytelling is especially important to learning and retention by giving narrative to otherwise boring names and dates.
And sadly, on the radicalization of bedtime stories ‘teaching social justice and activism’ essentially.
The wave of politicized children’s books has come more from the left than from the right. (ya don’t say!)
Still, she noted that most American children actually aren’t raised with much political instruction. “That may sound crazy to those of us who came from very, very politicized homes, but the vast majority of Americans come from other kinds of homes where that’s not true,” she says. Buying woke picture books may be a popular political statement for some parents, but it seems plenty of households don’t have any use for them. (thank god!)
Well then. I guess head in the books can also be a bit of head in the clouds.