8.18.16: Utopia Drive & Overheard: August

Aug 18, 2016

In the early 1800s, America was new - a wide and blank slate for backwoods prophets, reformers and salvation seekers to create their own versions of paradise. Today, from Shakers to radicals to polygamists, a road trip through some of the nearly 200 utopian communities that emerged in the 19th century.

Then, on Overheard, a podcaster kicks objectivity to the curb at the RNC. Plus a viral meme that proves nobody really understands Olympic sailing. 

Listen to the full show. 

Utopia Drive

It's been a tough summer, in many ways. In the words of Wordsworth, the world is too much with us. So, what would it take to create another? Between 1820 and 1850, preachers, radical behaviorists, backwoods prophets, and salvation seekers tried just that. They sought deliberate separation, and plotted their own versions of paradise in nearly 200 utopian communities across the eastern United States. The writer Erik Reece takes a road trip through several long-abandoned sites where utopian communities once dared to reimagine the future. His new book is called Utopia Drive.

Capes and Corsets

A sense of belonging draws people into a community. In the comic book universe, it's a love of heroic epics and villains, action and fantasy that unites readers. But for women, it's hard to fall in with fans of stories and images fueled by sexism and objectification.  Producer Frances Harlow brings us the story of two fans finding their place.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.   

Overheard: August Edition

We've all heard about the person who works at the ice cream counter, serving scoops all day who can no longer eat ice cream. Not this crew. All of us here at Word of Mouth love discovering and listening to audio at work - and in our off time, too. Our Overheard segment is a chance to share the intriguing, moving, baffling, and frequently hilarious stuff we come across. Today, executive producer Maureen McMurray and senior producer Taylor Quimby joined Virginia with their favorite audio from the month. 

(And here are Maureen's, Taylor's, and Virginia's picks!)

The Loneliest Creature on Earth

Whales are highly social and usually travel in groups. Normally, a whale will call out regularly, and others respond. So a group of scientists was surprised to discovered a whale that seems to swim alone. Some people have taken to calling him “the loneliest creature on earth.” Scientists call him “52 Hertz.” Lilly Sullivan brings us the story.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org