AudioFiles: IQ2US

January 9, 2015


If you see me at any given time on any given day, it might appear that I’ve managed to grow a set of white wires out of my ears. Particularly if you see me at work, at the gym, at the grocery store, in my kitchen, on my couch. etc. My earbuds are a semi-permanent fixture for my daily goings-on. Unlike in my 20s when I listened to a lot of music (sometimes the same album on repeat), 99% of the time now I’m listening to podcasts. Some of which are about music, or play music. I typically only listen to music when I’m working out – I need a ratchet and thuggy soundtrack to help me go beast mode.

So I figured I’d share some of my favorite podcasts on the blog, just in case anyone is interested in listening to something new, or wants to cosign (or bash) my great (or questionable) taste in digital radio 🙂

Though I had initially thought of featuring a fun and light podcast for my inaugural “AudioFiles” post but with the recent incident in France and the subsequent coverage around it, I had a change of heart. I’ll explain why…

A few days ago 3 gunmen shot and killed 12 people at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. The gunmen were Muslim. So, yeah, that automatically equates to terrorism, in American logic. You can read for yourself the details of the incident, but I will say I think the categorization of this as a “terrorist attack” is a bit extreme.

ANYWAY… Don Lemon, the anti-brilliant, pseudo-journalist, along with countless other Americans seem to believe that Muslims must apologize for and denounce any and all acts of violence and crime committed by other Muslims (whether these are truly acts of terrorism or not). I find this thinking completely asinine and lazy.

As a result of the conversation around this incident, and numerous others that have occurred in the recent past involving our Muslim brethren, I thought of a very interesting debate I heard on one of the first podcasts I ever listened and subscribed to – NPR’s Intelligence Squared U.S. – entitled, “Islam is a Religion of Peace.” General gist of the debate: Is the rise of terrorism and violence justifiably traced to the teachings of Islam, or is this call to war a twisted interpretation of the true Muslim faith?  Most of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims are moderates who see Islamic terrorism as a violation of their sacred texts. Is it wrong to let a radical minority represent authentic Islam? Has fear blinded us to its lessons of tolerance and peace?

I thought it was a great, but frustrating debate. I’ve posted the full video here (sidenote: I prefer not knowing what the debaters look like lol).

Why IQ2US is Audio-Awesomeness

I love learning and knowing about what’s going on in the world around me, thinking both conceptually and practically, and challenging my own beliefs and notions about certain topics. I also love to debate (read: construct informed arguments) and philosophize and fact check and dig into the meat of an issue. IQ2US allows me to do all of these things! Without actually engaging in a war of words lol. The shows are based on the traditional Oxford-style debate format, with one side proposing and the other side opposing a sharply-framed motion, with 2 well informed people on each side. The debates can get heated, but most of them are deeply rooted in brilliant, well researched arguments. There are so many complex topics that I’ve learned a lot about (such as the common core, genetically modified foods, and the US drone program) by listening to these debates that I might not have normally absorbed just by reading or hearing about them in the media.

The debate structure can be so frustrating when you’re the one debating, but its great for listeners. The debate format is easy to follow and the moderator keeps everyone on time and task, and often nudges the debaters to answer directly (no duckin, divin, dippin, dodgin, and duckin questions allowed). It’s also fun to see scholarly people shout at each other or clapback with facts over insults. It’s so brilliant!

I highly recommend IQ2US to those who appreciate intelligent shade-throwing and like to challenge their thinking and beliefs. If you’re the “just to play devil’s advocate, here” type, then this is definitely the podcast to help you sharpen those otherside of the coin views.

Do you listen to podcasts? Are you more likely to listen to music or podcasts when you want to be auditorally-stimulated? Have you ever listened to IQ2US? Do you find the art of argumentation intriguing?

Listening & Learning,

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  • Reply madscientist7 January 9, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    i might subscribe to this. the two episodes we listened to seemed pretty good. although i don’t think i agreed with the results of the one on standardized tests. good post.

    • Reply Gem January 9, 2015 at 6:17 pm

      haha yeah. whats worse is when the side defending the position you take does a terrible job conveying that to the audience. i just wish i could intervene and save the sinking ship.

  • Reply Wu Young, Agent of M.E. January 9, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    I’ve never listened to this podcast but it sounds like it may remind me of my high school debate days. (Shouts to the fighting Possums!) I’ll check it out.

    The podcasts that I listen to run the gamut of topics from sports to comic books.

    I listen to:
    Microphone Check on NPR
    His & Hers
    Combat Jack
    Cinema Bun
    The Nerdist
    Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler

    • Reply Gem January 9, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      i should have known you were on the debate team!

      funny enoughm i only listen to one of the podcasts you listen to other than Serial – Cinemabun. i’m sure they’ll make their way here at some point.

      may have to check some of the others out

    • Reply madscientist7 January 12, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      i tried girl on guy and couldn’t get with it for some reason. i heard combat jack while he was on the ice t podcast. might have to check it out. i love his and hers.

      • Reply Gem January 12, 2015 at 3:01 pm

        i couldn’t get into Girl on Guy either. or His and Hers.

  • Reply That Damn African January 12, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    o/o You know I’m here for Intelligence Squared! One of my favorite podcasts. Always a treat to listen to. I usually learn a lot from both sides. Plus, it’s such a nice change of pace from the one-sided “debates” or screaming matches that you get from cable news and social media.

    • Reply Gem January 12, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      it’s such a nice change of pace from the one-sided “debates” or screaming matches that you get from cable news and social media.

      exactly this!!! i like when ppl make good points, period. doesnt matter their stance/side, i just need you to support your argument well. that’s how productive conversations take place

  • Reply That Damn African January 12, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Other shows I listen to (although I don’t get to listen to every episode cause there are too many shows!!!):
    -StarTalk Radio
    -The Bugle
    -NWAP (not that I need to advertise them here lol)
    -Two Guys One Show
    -Mental Illness Happy Hour
    -Mad About Movies
    -How Did This Get Made
    -The Black Guy Who Tips

    • Reply Gem January 12, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      i’m a huge fan of NWAP, TBGWT, and TWiB – they’ll all eventually be featured in AudioFiles at some point.

      mental illness happy hour sounds intriguing, i’ll have to check it out! thanks for your list!

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