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Rather than write about my uncertainty over what will come post-graduation, which I am sure is relatable to everyone (but makes me sad), I’d like to write about something that makes me happy!
One such thing is You’re Wrong About, a podcast that is probably more popular than I realize, but is worth an Op-Ed piece nonetheless! You’re Wrong About is a podcast that focuses on modern historical events that we, as a society, get wrong, from about the 1970s onward. The journalist-hosts, Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall, especially love covering moral panics (like the Satanic Panic) and correcting the narratives of maligned women (like Monica Lewinsky and Tonya Harding). Both hosts are incredibly smart, and they put a lot of effort into researching topics, which is refreshing. For most of the episodes, they take turns between presenting research and listening, so one host tells the story and the other listens.
I first discovered the podcast last December after I got home from studying abroad and had to quarantine. Alone in Hiett, I tried watching a lot of different shows while doing some craft projects to make the time pass by more quickly. Since season four of The Crown had come out while I was in Oxford, I had gotten very obsessed with the Royal Family. Since I missed England a lot, I decided to look up “Princess Diana” on Apple Podcasts. The very first podcast that popped up was one with a rainbow logo and bubble letters: You’re Wrong About. I clicked on it, but being used to popular shows from Wisconsin Public Radio and even My Favorite Murder (now’s my chance to say SSDGM), I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I ended up discovering my favorite podcast. I started with the episode “Princess Diana Part 1: The Courtship” and quickly listened to the whole five-part series in one sitting. I really do like true crime, but I always finish episodes of MFM in a state of paranoia or disgust, no matter how funny the hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark are. My experience with You’re Wrong About was so much different! I left each episode feeling like I was becoming more historically knowledgeable, and I felt encouraged (instead of reluctant) to continue. I can’t remember the individual episodes I continued with after the Diana series, but I know that I was hooked. So far, my favorite episodes are probably “‘Yoko Ono Broke Up The Beatles’” and the Tonya Harding episodes, because I had always heard that it was Yoko’s fault, when really it happened because John Lennon was abusive and generally a bad person, and I had heard that Tonya was responsible for the crime, when it was really the abusive people around her.
For me, I think good podcasts need to have good hosts (with likeable voices) who cover interesting topics, such as true crime or historical events. Even if a podcast has promising content, I stop listening if the host’s voice annoys me. But Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall are amazing. They both bring so much to the table. Mike is so good at in-depth research, and Sarah is so good at bringing these topics of maligned women or moral panics on to our radars. They are also very funny together, and even though most (if not all) of their episodes are recorded over Skype, it never feels like there is distance between the hosts.
To get more of Mike and Sarah’s energy, I’ve listened to Mike’s other podcast about health myths, Maintenance Phase, and Sarah’s other podcast about movies, You are Good (formerly Why are Dads?). Unfortunately, neither of their respective dynamics with the other hosts are as strong, even if their other podcasts follow in the same, miraculous vein of You’re Wrong About.
The real shame is this: on Monday, while I was working, I clicked on the episode “Mike Lives in a Downtown Hotel,” subtitled: “an announcement!” As soon as I started to listen, I quickly wanted to cry. Michael Hobbes, our beloved co-host, is leaving the show after three years and Sarah will continue it with a series of guest hosts. Now, as listeners, we have no idea what the podcast industry demands of its hosts or what the dynamic between Sarah and Mike was after running this show since 2018. But I really liked to believe that their friendship was strong and that they would never stop telling us what we are wrong about.
I have three things to comfort me, though. First, the show is not ending; Sarah is continuing to host and the topics will be the same. Second, I can listen to Mike’s other show and keep up with his journalism. Third, I still have so many more episodes to listen to, and I am at part ten of the O.J. Simpson Trial series (with many more parts to go). Something tells me, too, that with as many facts and anecdotes as they cram into each episode, I could even re-listen to every episode without remembering specific parts of the episodes from my first listen!
I just really want to stress again that You’re Wrong About is an amazing, educational podcast with great hosts. If you have never listened to it before, you should try it, even if you don’t like podcasts. Maybe start by scrolling through their library of 144 episodes and pick a topic that interests you. I bet you’ll even end up listening to a whole episode devoted to something you hadn’t even heard of because you weren’t alive in the 1980s. Enjoy!