From pagan horror to chronic pain

Plus: how to become a UN member state

Horror Show

Episode: "Midsommar With Ryan Meharry And Amy Ruffle of Fantasy Flix League" | Podcast: My Neighbors Are Dead | 46m46s

Conversational podcast about horror films. The first half an hour of this episode is a pleasant and wide-ranging discussion between the host and his two guests (who make a popular "fantasy film league" podcast themselves) about their taste in cinema. The final 15 minutes are where it gets really funny, though — the trio improvise a conversation as if the guests are imaginary background characters from the recent folk horror film Midsommar. Ted and Sally had such a great time they're setting up their own pagan cult in California (46m46s)

Pain Scale

Episode: "Sarah Perry" | Podcast: Medicine Unboxed | 34m39s

Interview with the novelist Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent and Melmoth, about illness and pain. She was diagnosed with Graves disease, an autoimmune condition affecting the thyroid, while hard at work on a book. While it was manageable with medication, it set off a chain reaction in her body that lead to severe chronic pain and ultimately major surgery. Her reflections on the solipsistic nature of suffering and its relation to empathy are fascinating, as is her belief that fiction has a responsibility to be both entertaining and moral (34m39s)

Mapped Out

Episode: "Becoming A United Nations Member State" | Podcast: The Lost Geographer Podcast | 15m57s

Geographic literacy podcast explains how a state becomes a United Nations member. There's discussion about the differences between a "nation", a "country" and a "state" — terms I otherwise tend to use interchangeably — and why these distinctions matter. Surprisingly, there are only four steps to joining the UN, although they aren't necessarily that straightforward to tick off. International support and backing from Security Council members is vital. The grey area of disputed territories is also touched upon here (15m57s)

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