#AtoZChallenge | R is for Respectful disagreement and how a podcast gives me hope.

There is a poster that hangs in the attic. Would you date Dax Shepard? Apparently, the answer was a resounding no. I’ve never seen it but Dax has described it and a few guests have commented on it. I can relate. If I’d been polled when he and Kristen first got together. I would have been a no too.

I’ve changed my mind. I now understand his charms. Especially his love of learning new things and ability to engage with people and at times respectfully disagree with them. It’s one of the reasons that I’m a faithful armcherry and never miss an episode of the Armchair Expert podcast.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I love the podcast. What I realized is that it’s the long conversation format that has drawn me into the podcast world.

I’m on social media. I enjoy the adorable pet pictures on Instagram, the witty twitter posts I come across and keeping up with extended family through Facebook. Unfortunately, social media has a downside. I have to slog through a lot of vitriol to find those humorous tweets and I’m exhausted with Facebook “friends” shouting their opinions into the aether and showing little interest in differing viewpoints. So far, Instagram hasn’t disappointed me. It’s the kinder, gentler social media, at least in my experience. But, it will probably disappointment me someday.

What all of these platforms lack is the ability to have nuanced discourse. To talk about challenging topics and disagree, but continue the conversation to get a better understanding of one another’s perspectives. Treating others with respect and kindness.

That’s where Armchair Expert and other podcasts come in and why I think we’re seeing such a surge in them lately. The interview format allows for a more natural back and forth. When you’re listening to it, you’re not getting soundbites taken out of context but deeper, more fleshed out thoughts and ideas. When Dax disagrees he is always respectful and interested in hearing more from the opposing side. We could all use a little more of that these days.

You have to be committed to listen to Armchair Expert. Each episode is close to two hours, although the guest component is closer to one and a half followed by their fact check segment with just Dax and his co-host Monica.

The show has two types of segments. In the first, he interviews actors, many of them friends, and other entertainment personalities. He alternates those interviews with a segment called Experts on Expert where he talks with various experts in their field. I love both segments. Even when he’s interviewing actors the topics tend to get deeper and more interesting than the typical soundbites. For the Expert on Experts episodes, he also interviews an incredible range of guests. I always learn something new.

This podcast is not for everyone. It can be crude and a little raunchy at times. No topic is off limits for Dax so you’ll probably learn more about his past sexual experiences than you may want to know, but there’s also great conversation happening in the attic.

Keep the R’s coming….

Since we’re on R for our A to Z Challenge, here’s an Armchair Expert episode for you to check out: Ronan Farrow. I read Ronan’s book Catch and Kill about his investigative reporting that lead to his New Yorker articles on Harvey Weinstein. It is a fascinating read and a reminder of how important true investigative journalism is in today’s world.

If you’re looking for more of a narrative type podcast rather than an interview or discussion, check out Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell. No one weaves a story better than he does. He approaches topics with such an interesting perspective. He has a two part episode on memory that I reference all the time because it was so illuminating.

Or, if you’d like to listen to a podcast local to Maine, check out my previous post, Looking for a new podcast? Ten with a Maine connection for you to try.

Why does this bring me bliss? This brings me bliss on two levels. The first is that it reinforces my belief that we will figure out this new social media world and that in the end kindness and respect will win. The second is that I always learn something new listening to the podcast. Learning new things is definitely something that gives me bliss.

Do you have a favorite podcast? 

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I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2020. I will be posting new content every day this month except most Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Bliss. To read more of my A to Z posts from this year, click HERE.

18 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge | R is for Respectful disagreement and how a podcast gives me hope.

  1. Mikaela D'Eigh says:

    I agree – so much on social media these days is just an echo chamber. Some pockets have gotten worse with Covid-19. Friends who I respect have suddenly become conspiracy theorists. It’s one thing to question things, but quite another to just spout things without any data or credible references. I think a lot of it stems from fear. This virus isn’t something we can control by ourselves and that triggers flight or fight.

    To be honest, I haven’t been able to get into podcasts, because I’m more visual than auditory so I retain more when I read then when I listen.


    • Weekends in Maine says:

      I agree that things seem to be worse and more divided on social media with the current pandemic. You are probably right in that a lot of it stems from fear.

      Podcasts are not for everyone. I had little interest myself for the longest time but then got hooked on Armchair Expert and have really developed an enjoyment of the genre now.


  2. Lael-Heart says:

    Your post is timely for me, thank you! I was just thinking to myself how tired I am of Facebook. Its all so shallow and one sided. Like a group of little kids, each one playing their own game in the same playground. Together but apart and everyone is against everyone else in some way.
    Lots of food for thought here! I’ve been thinking about podcasts for some time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      I really think it is one of the reasons podcasts are becoming so popular. It can be a more nuanced discussion and positive experience for both the host and the listeners. I love your description of Facebook. It does feel like being a child on a playground stuck in our separate little cliques.


  3. Beth Lapin says:

    I am hopeful. As far as I can tell, no one has ever changed their mind by reading someone’s Facebook post. Many come with closed minds. But I hope we find the good in others during this difficult time

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Antoinette Truglio Martin says:

    I usually listen to a few podcasts when I go on a road trip (not too many trips these days). A daily podcast has not yey been found.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      That’s usually my prime listening time too but with our new normal I’ve switched to listening when I’m doing house projects. There are so many great podcasts to choose from. I just added the Happiness Lab to my rotation and that one has been great too.


  5. Tamara says:

    Kindness and respect go way beyond social media – it’s (supposed to be) the basis for any kind of human relationship. Apparently in times of crisis people seem to forget this even more.
    Glad there are still enough nice people around for me to interact with. You’re one of them. Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Shilpa Garg says:

    I so agree with you. Instagram is my happy place. I like Twitter but you have to wade through sea of hate, criticism or malice to find some interesting tweets.
    I havent explored podcasts as yet. Will check out Armchair Expert.
    Agreeing to disagree is literally absent these days. People are so quick to react and judge. I’d like to see Dax in action. Thanks for your recommendation and insight!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mollyscanopy says:

    Great post! I have several podcasts bookmarked, but have been neglecting to listen to them. Must get back to them — and check out Armchair Expert — after A to Z Challenge ends.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. dyannedillon says:

    I love podcasts! I used to listen at the gym, pre-Covid 19. I listen when I take my walks now, and it makes the time go by so quickly! I also listen in the car when on a trip (it only takes 20 minutes to drive all the way across town on a diagonal and if I hit all the lights wrong, so never enough time to listen when I’m just in town). I haven’t listened to Dax Shepard’s podcast yet, but I do love The Moth (want to be on it someday), This American Life, Snap Judgment, Stuff You Should Know, and my favorite, My Favorite Murder.

    Liked by 1 person

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