Podcast Recommendations Part 6

Autism’s First Child

Nick Doiron
4 min readMay 19, 2022

The story of the first child diagnosed with autism: Donald Triplett from Forest, Mississippi. There are thoughtful tangents into early 20th century eugenics, race and autism diagnoses today, and so on. The podcast’s creators wrote a 2010 Atlantic article about Triplett and a 2016 book (In A Different Key: The Story of Autism) but this was my first time hearing about Triplett.
From April 2022-present.

Finding Quantum Quest

This might be the first mystery podcast to satisfactorily resolve their question in five episodes?

The legends behind the podcast contacted the director and producer of Quantum Quest, a 2010 passion project which won funding from NASA/JPL to promote the Cassini mission and from the Taiwanese government to promote the animation industry. The final product failed to find an audience (like, one planetarium showed it for a bit) because it is… not good. I was shocked that the producer and director agreed to be recorded, that they recovered the movie, and the episodes are much more positive than my original assumption that the movie is bad and laundering money is bad.
The movie is now on most streaming services as of May 2022.

Maintenance Phase and Oprahdemics

Maintenance Phase has excellent, sympathetic deep dives into fads and personalities in the wellness and diet world. Episodes began in October 2020 and might follow “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” or “the President’s Physical Fitness Test” — where the ideas and stats come from, where the players are today, whether they seem really scammy (yes).

Though Maintenance Phase covers characters who’ve launched on Oprah, such as Dr. Oz, the Oprahdemics podcast (started March 2022) is centering Oprah directly in health (veganism), in pop culture, in historical events (LA Riots). The hosts bring in experts (I’ve just realized the -demics is academics not epidemics).
It was strange to have a niche podcast start by explaining who Oprah is, because why would you subscribe to Oprahdemics? The hosts are reasonable with the positive and negative comments.

2023 edit: the Oprahdemics show is now renamed: YouGetAPodcast.com

QAnon Anonymous

This podcast, with a first episode in August 2018, has been through the highs, lows, and rock-bottom lows of American conspiracy politics. I recently caved and bought a Patreon subscription.
At one point QAA was the main place for scrutinizing or chuckling over the extreme things that Q followers were saying and doing. Through early days of Covid, the 2020 election, and 1/6/2021, QAA circulated in extremely online circles, but it never sold out or adjusted to a mainstream audience (like the ‘Into the Storm’ documentary).
After episodes on fringe views appearing in Q circles (flat earth, time travel, and JFK Jr.), QAA evolved into an analysis of what makes any conspiracy popular, how they evolve and grift, etc. It’s still a good reference for new Q-like conspiracies like the snake venom nonsense, or anti-Disney protestors. But recent episodes branch out and research a 1910s moral panic or an alternate history conspiracy popular in Russia.

From recent Patreon comments, listeners have mixed feelings about the hosts and guests probing too much, especially as these topics are less political and more delusional. I don’t have a solid answer on that.


The Bechdel Cast and Disaster Girls

Starting with Star Wars in late 2016, this podcast recaps the plot of popular movies and then discusses the (usually lacking) representation of women, non-binary, and queer characters. The hosts often look back at their own ‘problematic favorites’ from the ’90s and ’00s. If there’s something notable behind the scenes they will bring it to the forefront. At the end of the review, the hosts discuss whether the movie passed the Bechdel Test.

For a more niche cousin to this podcast, you can listen to Disaster Girls.

This Day in Esoteric Political History

This is a podcast which I just discovered through a Tweet about “The Condom on Jesse Helm’s House (1991)”. This recovers snapshots of American history and the news cycle, including serious subjects (for example: Clinton’s apology to the victims of the Tuskegee Study). I’m appreciating this for short episodes and looks into older pop culture (yes I am considering the 1980s ‘old’).