I hear with my little ear: podcasts to 31 Jan 2019

I usually listen to podcasts while I’m walking down to the Heidelberg Historical Society museum on a Monday and/or Thursday, or when walking to Watsonia Library for a Spanish conversation class. (Nearly) everything stops in Australia during the first weeks of January, so I’m only just gradually picking up my usual routine again. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been listening to:

News in Slow Spanish Latino  I listen to this in bites of three stories at a time which is about as much Spanish as I can cope with in one session. Episode #293  had an interesting commentary about the Mexican film ‘Roma’, which has been recognized in several industry awards, and slated for others. Apparently when Netflix showed it in Spain, they subtitled it – even though it’s in Spanish! Not the hard-of-hearing type subtitles, but the hard-copy foreign language ones. Unsurprisingly, this caused quite a bit of offence in Latin America. [Having said this, I often feel that I need subtitles for films from Scotland] To add to the transgression, they used ‘Mother’ instead of ‘Mum’ (rough translation), and substituted the name of a Mexican lolly with a Spanish one. There was such controversy, that Netflix dropped the subtitles.

Rough Translation.  War Poems is an absolutely fantastic episode about two translators working in Afghanistan as the United States flailed around in its policy on engagement with the Afghani population. But it’s about more than this. It had me crying in the train, then telling a total stranger about it. It’s really good.

Presidential. Abraham Lincoln: His hand and his pen. I borrowed ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ from the library, but didn’t get round to reading this. I had downloaded it to listen to before I read the book because I really know nothing about Abraham Lincoln. I do now. It’s about Lincoln’s love of language in his own writing and in his oratory.

History Hub. While I was on an Abraham Lincoln kick, I also listened to the five- part ‘  series ‘Abraham Lincoln: The Life and Death of a Statesman‘, presented by Brian Schoen.

In Our Time. I must say that Melvyn Bragg is becoming more and more curmudgeonly the older he gets, particularly with women guests I think.  I listened to an interesting podcast about the 12th Century Renaissance, when the Crusades brought Arabic learning to Europe and universities began to be established. In the episode on Anna Akhmotova, I just wanted to give Melvyn a good hard kick.

Caliphate. I know that I’m probably the last person in the world to tune into Caliphate, but I’ve finally started listening to this series about how ISIS recruits and exploits its followers. Rukmini Callimachi, who covers terrorism for The New York Times, is the main presenter in this NPR-y-sounding podcast. I’ve listened to the first two and a half episodes.

Duolingo podcasts Episode 18: La testigo (the witness) is about a young Argentinian girl who inadvertently witnesses the Argentinian dictatorship during the 1970s. If you don’t understand Spanish, you’ll still be able to follow the story, and there’s a transcript as well.

Earshot (ABCRN) Related to the Duolingo podcast was this week’s Earshot program Argentina’s stolen generation, about the ongoing discovery, 40 years later, of the children affected in different ways by the ‘dirty war’ in Argentina in the 1970s, both as children of the ‘disappeared’ and as children of the perpetrators.

99% Invisible. I haven’t seen ‘The Green Book’ film yet, but this podcast called The Green Book Redux is about the original Green Book and how and why it came to be written. It finishes with an excerpt from ‘The Memory Palace’, another podcast I must check out.

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