Picks of the week
Louder Than A Riot
This superlative hip-hop podcast promises to “trace the collision of rhyme and punishment in America”, and it does so in detail. Was there really a secret meeting in the early 1990s where privately-owned prison authorities promised a kickback for music industry executives who promoted rap music? Could incendiary lyrics really guarantee them more inmates? NPR’s Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden investigate the conspiracy, asking how rap became so dominant and whether it was exploited along the way, with thoughtful contributions from big hitters such as Killer Mike. Hannah Verdier
The Orgasm Cult
Goop-endorsed wellness company One Taste offered its followers a more than unusual form of therapy, using orgasms as a form of meditation – apparently to empower its largely female following. However, there was a dark side to the company’s mission, one which has now led to an FBI investigation and claims of prostitution and trafficking. Journalist Nastaran Tavakoli-Far delves into the shift from wacky startup to an organisation now accused of financial and sexual abuse in this intriguing new series.
Hannah J Davies
Chosen by Danielle Stephens
Maybe I’m just feeling particularly nostalgic for flying, but I was very excited to listen to this week’s episode of 99% Invisible, titled In the Unlikely Event. It’s a history of on-board flight safety, and those seemingly innocuous flight cards that tell you what to do in the event of a plane crash.
Have you ever laughed at how calm everyone on those cards looks, even though they’re apparently in a crisis situation? Well, there’s a reason for that. How about the fact that the only word that appears on those cards is the word “exit”? The rest looks more like a children’s book – all pictures. Well, there’s a reason for that too, and it’s all really interesting.
Throw in a couple of great interviews with the people who devised those cards, and currently design them, and a random reference to Fight Club and you’ve got yourself an enjoyable 30 minutes. However, a quick warning … if you’re like me and only take a quick glance at flight safety routines as demonstrated by air stewards, taking precisely no information in, this episode is also good at bringing about some guilt.