Trends, Video Games, and Fandoms - September Podcast Picks

Happy International Podcast Day! As someone who's obsessed with podcasts, I'm surprised I haven't done more podcast posts. As someone also obsessed with reviewing things (and generally having opinions), I'm doubly shocked I haven't done more podcast reviews. I figure it's because I listen to so many damn podcasts so damn often that it's hard to keep track of them. Luckily, I remember some of this month's highlights, so I'm going to share my recent episode picks below. No particular order.


1) If you want something fun, surprising, and short.

99% Invisible #229: The Trend Forecast
Length: 17:41
Listen from their website 
Subscribe on iTunes 

This episode introduces Worth Global Style Network (WGSN), the company that predicts fashion trends. Turns out, WGSN is the secret weapon of the mass market. Pretty much every retailer, news outlet, and marketer relies on this company's trend predictions in order to stay current. All of this is incredibly fascinating. And it's not just about clothing, shoes, and hair trends; it's also food, behavior, technology, packaging trends, and more. Statistics and complex future projections play a major role in style prediction. This episode is a stimulating brain massage.


2) If you're a member of any fandom and have feelings. 

Full of Sith: Fixing Fandom - Ending Bullying and Gatekeeping
Length: 59:44
Listen on their website
Subscribe on iTunes

As almost any fan of anything knows, fandoms can be intense. What starts as a mutual love for a book or movie often becomes a pissing contest dead set on weeding out those with unpopular opinions, gaps in their knowledge, or newer points of entry. This episode is technically on a Star Wars podcast, but it's actually a very general discussion with panelists spanning different nerd worlds and perspectives. A lot of interesting points are raised here, including why gatekeeping may exist and be "important" for some people in the first place.


3) If you want riveting, well-reported, really fucking important.

This American Life #562: The Problem We All Live With
Length: 58:43
Listen on their website
Subscribe on iTunes

This one is about desegregation in schools (yes, in modern times). While all of the other podcasts mentioned in this post are fascinating, delightful, stimulating, educational, THIS one is like...super super important AND interesting. And it's not boring either, which I know is sometimes the danger when sitting down to specifically consume "something important." But I promise this isn't like that. You won't sit through it and think "I'm being a good citizen by listening to this" You will be riveted. And infuriated. I wish more people knew about these stories. Content warning: There are some intense, verbal moments of anti-black racism from parents at the recorded school district meeting. 


4) If you like playing games on your phone and/or if you struggle with anxiety, depression, or addiction.

Note to Self: The Secret to Making Video Games Good For You
Length: 26:29
Listen on their website
Subscribe on iTunes

When people talk about technology, I'm used to hearing skepticism, fear, and dismay. And negative conversation surrounding video games has been around since even before smartphones. As an unabashed technology lover, I always love a good discussion about the positive byproducts of tech, and this episode definitely provides that, complete with concrete research and tips on how can use games as a way of self-help and mood regulation. Lots of great points here, and a truly delightful listen, so I hope even the stodgiest of technophobes give it a try!


5) If you're an artist/musician who could use a quick pep talk.

The Entrepreneurial Musician #63: TEM Short: The Number One Trap For Artists
Length: 11:50
Listen on their website
Subscribe on iTunes

Be yourself. Don't listen to the haters. Don't send yourself into a spiral of self-judgment based on a couple less than perfect reviews. Just do you. I know this isn't new advice to anyone, but host Andrew Hitz does a good job quickly demonstrating how silly these vicious traps are and encouraging us artists to continue trucking on. Worked for me.