A new crop of podcasts to challenge conspiracies, unpack history and set the record straight
Helen Keller is the most famous deafblind person in history. But recently, an unfounded conspiracy theory claiming she was a fraud exploded on TikTok. When Elsa Sjunneson saw the videos, she was torn — the deafblind fantasy writer had spent her life trying to distance herself from Keller, but suddenly found herself compelled to defend her. We'll dive deep into Helen Keller's very flawed, very human character through Radiolab's investigation.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. This week we're sharing the best new and notable podcasts this spring. From a mysterious village that's connected to a neurological miracle in new audio fiction podcast Don't Mind: Cruxmont, to the truth about what the war in Afghanistan accomplished — and what it left undone — to a Korean-Canadian hip-hop artist who found himself at the heart of a bizarre conspiracy theory.
Plus: 30 years ago, Anita Hill shared her story of sexual harassment before an all white, mostly male, middle-aged U.S. Senate. But she was not alone. We'll hear about the witness who came forward to back her up, but was never heard from at Judge Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearing. The feminist icon sets the record straight in Getting Even with Anita Hill.
Podcasts featured this week:
Radiolab: "Fantasy writer Elsa Sjunneson has been haunted by Helen Keller for nearly her entire life. Like Helen, Elsa is deafblind, and growing up she was constantly compared to her. But for a million different reasons she hated that, because she felt different from her in a million different ways. Then, a year ago, an online conspiracy theory claiming Helen was a fraud exploded on TikTok, and suddenly Elsa found herself drawing her sword and jumping to Helen's defense, setting off a chain of events that would bring her closer to the disability icon than she ever dreamt. It's a story of ghosts, surprises, a few tears, a bit of romance, some hard conversations, and a possibly psychic dog."
Commons: War: "The War in Afghanistan was Canada's longest war. More than 40,000 Canadian troops served. And countless Canadian civilians went to work in the country. But after 20 years, billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives lost, Afghanistan is worse off than before. When the Taliban marched into Kabul last August, the world watched as Afghans clung to planes in an attempt to escape. We bring you the true story of the end of one of the forever wars through the eyes of the people who were there."
Getting Even with Anita Hill: "Sukari Hardnett was one of the witnesses who was never called to testify at Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991. She submitted a sworn affidavit to the Committee, describing the sexual harassment she witnessed while working with Thomas at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. But Hardnett was never contacted by the Committee or its Chair, then-Senator Joe Biden. Hardnett and Hill speak for the first time about Hardnett's experience of being excluded from this historic hearing and how that impacted her life and the country."
Authentic: The Story of Tablo: "Korean hip hop star Tablo was at the height of his career when a rumour started spreading on the internet that he was a liar. As a trivial accusation explodes into an international obsession, host Dexter Thomas Jr follows a bizarre conspiracy that asks one fundamental question: are we who we say we are?"
Don't Mind: Cruxmont: "After his brother, Colin, goes missing on a UK road Trip, American Neal leaves his comfort zone in search of Colin at his last known location; Cruxmont, UK, Neal meets Dr. Kingston, a Neurologist with her own goal in mind; finding the source of an unrecognizable miracle."