Tag Archives: Podcasts

My Quick & Easy Guide to Curing Housework Boredom

If you’re anything like me, there’s always one thing that you end up dreading throughout your week: the ever-growing mountain of household chores. Whether it’s the dishes staring at you judgmentally from the sink or the endless piles of laundry, it’s just always there and it’s tough to find any fun in it. It’s why it usually stays that way, at least until Mount Housework decides it’s time to have its weekly avalanche. Plus, add in either a move or a renovation like I am next month, and it just makes things worse.


I sometimes try to fill the time with music, but you need to be in the right sort of mood to listen to it. Plus, after the tenth time of having a verbal struggle with Google Home where it’s determined to send you to the abyss of YouTube’s repository for strange cover bands, you end up wanting to listen to anything but. That’s where I found myself when I stumbled upon the wonderful world of podcasts (ironically, thanks to YouTube. Sometimes the algorithm knows what it’s doing).

The great thing about podcasts is you can take them pretty much anywhere no matter what you’re doing, so long as you have a phone and some headphones (hooray for mobile entertainment!). There’s such a wide range of podcasts too, from self-help to science lessons to my personal favorite, the fiction stories. I think there’s something to be said about how full circle these kinds of podcasts are, taking so much from radio theatre from the 1920s. But that’s another blog post for another time. I’m here to introduce you to my go-to for making housework anything but a pain and a bore: the fun world of aural storytelling.  

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The Secret History of Bennington College

In May of 2019, journalist Lili Anolik published a doozy of an article in Esquire chronicling “The Secret Oral History of Bennington: The 1980’s Most Decadent College”. This past September, Anolik turned that juicy piece into a season-long podcast called Once Upon a Time…at Bennington College, utilizing her previous research to explore themes of talent, fame, privilege, and excess more deeply. The piece and the podcast concern Gen-X literary stars like Bret Easton Ellis, Donna Tartt, and Jonathan Lethem, the Bennington class of 1986 who would go on to shape the face of literature in the 1980s and 90s. To recap: Ellis scandalized with Less Than Zero and American Psychotwo works so vulgar and soulless (on purpose) that they sent older generations into a tizzy with concern for “the youth”. Tartt’s debut novel The Secret History was immediately dubbed a classic shortly after its release (and is a current TikTok sensation). Lethem gained fame with his National Book Award winning Motherless Brooklynwhich captivated Hollywood actor Edward Norton so thoroughly that he held the film rights for 20 years, finally releasing an adaptation in 2019.  

But more than that, the podcast is about the glittery mystique of literary circles that flourished in the pre-social media age. This was a time when culturally resonant authors were treated like celebrities, scoring invites to the MTV Video Music Awards, for some reason. Reminiscing about Ellis’s launch into stardom as an enfant terrible, Bennington alumni recall the author’s glitzy college graduation party, which was attended by Andy Warhol (Jean-Michel Basquiat would make appearances at later parties as well). While all this glamorous success took place in New York, Bennington College, a small liberal arts school in Vermont, is key to these authors’ works, and is memorialized by its most (in)famous students. In Ellis’s The Rules of Attraction, the school is dressed up as “Camden College”, home to a host of despicable, ultra 80s characters. The Bennington of Donna Tartt’s world (this time called Hampden College) is one of old world Romance (capital R), a Brideshead-esque place of philosophy, decaying decadence, and not-so-secret drinking problems (the two might occupy the same universe: Ellis’s work mentions a group of students who “dress like undertakers”; presumably the Classics group in Tartt’s novel). 

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