It's the most joyous time of the year. That time when we stop what we're doing. Take some time off work. And make lists in order to prove how smart we are.
Today's list: The Best Podcasts of 2009
Was 2009 the Year of the Podcast? It was in the DMS household, and I'm pretty sure it was in yours too. Now that everyone has an iPod and radio really really sucks now, podcasts are an essential listening experience. Side note: thank God the iPod has saturated the portable MP3-player market. I don't think I could call these "Zune-casts."
Anyway, if you have any sort of commute, you need to get into podcasts. If you have no dishwasher and need something to listen to to make you hate your spouse less while doing the damn dishes, you need podcasts. Here's a list of the best podcasts of the year, according to DMS. All of these can be found via iTunes (seriously, Zune-tunes? How dumb would that sound?)
10. "Le Show" with Harry Shearer. Takes a while to get into Harry Shearer's cadence, but well worth the time. And if it's too halting, feel free to let the following image get seared into your head.
9. Pardon the Interruption, from ESPN. If you don't have cable, you can still get your sports pep via audio podcast. Note: Around the Horn would rank 4,000th on this list.
8.NPR: It's All Politics. Fun, short podcast focusing on the politics, if not the policies, of the week.
7. Slate Political Gabfest. See, 8. Although regulars John Dickerson, Emily Bazelon, and David Plotz have incredible chemistry. Dickerson is an outstanding moderator, Bazelon is a Supreme Court guru, and Plotz is a curmudgeonly closet Libertarian. Then again, we're kind of a sucker for a political talk show that isn't either a total sham, populated by political hacks, or one big circle jerk.
6. Slate Culture Gabfest. If you were to take the best culture commentary from Slate.com, added some pretentiousness, and subtracted the ridiculous contrarian viewpoints, you'd get the Culture Gabfest.
5. Car Talk. Way back when, my treat on Saturdays was to sleep in, make a cup of coffee, and sip it while I listened to Car Talk. Now, I have kids, I drink straight espresso by the carraffe, and I listen to Car Talk whenever I damn well please.
4. Slate's Double-X Gabfest. This is a women's interest podcast. "Wait!" you're thinking to yourself. "Isn't this Dear MR. Supercomputer?" Yes. Yes it is. But the discussions are incredibly interesting and once again, Emily Bazelon is awesome.
3. Slate Hang Up and Listen (Sports Gabfest?). Just when you thought we were done being a Slate whore. Launched this year, this has quickly become the most relevent, funny, and thoughtful sports podcast. Even if you don't totally care for sports, you'll enjoy it. Hey, if I can listen to a women's interest podcast, you can listen to a sports podcast.
2. NPR: All Songs Considered. Actually, don't listen to this. Because then my music opinions will seem less cool. And I really want you to think I'm cool
1. This American Life. The best two hours of spoken word audio produced this year was not Glenn Beck's "The Christmas Sweater," but the TAL two-parter on the Health Care debate and the U.S. Health Care system. I listened to it twice. That's 4 hours of my life! I never spend more than 4 hours doing anything! Among other things I learned,
A) just how fucked up is the health care system we have,
B) how there's no incentives for anyone to not make it as expensive as possible,
C) how Baylor, our alma mater, started this whole jacked-up system, and
D) why we might have a smarter insurance system for our pets than we do for our humans.
Love that show. Love every TAL show. There's a reason they win all sorts of Peabodys every year. They deserve it.