When the present sucks, it’s time to study history, and if you’re like me—wracked with regret, especially now, that you never took a history class in college—podcasts are one of the best ways to catch up. The Dollop, co-hosted by comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds, is a weekly US history podcast that delves into some of America’s creepiest, weirdest, most embarrassing, and most iconic moments, and from the Whiskey Rebellion to the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916, it’s a reminder as a nation, we... have been through some shit. That’s good to know as we face the impending presidency of a person who didn’t win the vote of the people and skated into the Oval Office on hatred, sexual assault, and a vestige of slavery called the Electoral College.
Anthony and Reynolds are bringing The Dollop to Portland this weekend, and if you’re not already a regular listener, here’s where to jump in. Because the more you know, the easier it is to fight.
Episode 1: Cliven Bundy
Still reeling from the “not guilty” verdict in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupation trial? This episode probably won’t make you feel better about that embarrassing clusterfuck, but listening to Anthony and Reynolds tear into the Bundys’ Nevada occupation
is mildly cathartic. They laugh openly at Cliven Bundy, poke holes in his wackadoodle anti-government-while-benefiting-from-the-government stance and its low stakes (“$1.84 a cow! I’ll pay it!”), and call out Bundy’s well-documented racism and his sympathizers’ misogyny (“they’re literally talking about using women and children as human shields”) as well as the frivolity of far-right weirdoes the Oath Keepers (“military-trained guys fighting for cows”). Now more than ever, we need to call out ridiculous far-right agendas. It’s great to hear Reynolds and Anthony speak out against one of the worst, most counterproductive MOs I can think of.
Episode 213: Mashers and Hatpins
Speaking of catharsis: If you’ve ever been street harassed, you will enjoy this episode about how 20th-century women fought back against “Mashers,” the original Trumpian gropers/accosters. These early-1900s ladies did not fuck around: They retaliated against harassment by improvising weapons out of hatpins and parasols, fighting back physically (they were often publicly lauded for it), and, in at least one instance, throwing a man through a store window. “I think women should go back to wearing hatpins,” say the dudes of The Dollop. I couldn’t agree more.
Episode 220: Tylenol Man
If you’re looking for the escapism that weird history and true crime can provide, I recommend this episode, about the still-unsolved 1982 Chicago Tylenol murders. It’s fascinating and (sort of) educational, since the spate of deaths from Cyanide-poisoned Tylenol capsules is what led to federal anti-tampering regulations and packaging changes that protect consumers from tainted medicine today. Want to feel grateful for safety regulations on over-the-counter medicine? THIS SHOULD DO IT.
Bonus: My Favorite Murder broadcast from the LA Podcast Festival 2016
This is a different podcast altogether, but I’m including it because (a) I am obsessed with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark’s true-crime conversations, (b) you should always treat yourself to some necessary feminist gravitas after an abundance of white guy chatter (however well intended), and most of all, (c) co-host Anthony guest-stars on this episode. His retelling of the Trailside Killer murders in San Francisco somehow manages to be engaging and funny while also staying respectful given the horrible subject matter. Anthony also discusses the discomfort he feels with the case because “Our rule on The Dollop is no child killings or doing horrible things to children, no serial killers, and no sexual assaults,” and apologizes on behalf of all men for the horrible things they do to women. Meanwhile, Hardstark and Kilgariff laugh at him. It’s a beautiful misandrist moment. We could use more of those right now.