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The Best Things I Heard This Week (week ending June 30, 2023)

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Five podcast episodes for your Friday. Themes: Black queer elders and joy. Immigrants, baguettes, and French identity. Homemaker labor. Why U.S. transit projects cost so much. Are rich people bad people?

French Identity and the Battle for the Baguette
(30 minutes) Paris was a dream trip. I've loved the city and France from afar for most of life, but I'm also aware of its history of colonialism and present of racism. In this episode, host Ray Suarez has a charming interview with Maghrebi-French legal scholar and Rim-Sarah Alouane about the contours of French and hyphenated French identities. Sort of related: Did you know that this year's best Parisian baguette was baked by a Sri Lankan immigrant?
Are Rich People Bad?
(47 minutes) Jonathan Menjivar discusses class anxiety and class norms with sociologist Rachel Sherman. Sherman is the author of Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence. I don't think rich people are bad, but I definitely think that most are clueless about life below the fifth quintile.
The Labor Of Love
(52 minutes) If you have strong opinions about motherhood, unpaid labor, and feminism, this episode will be right up your alley. This episode of Throughline from NPR looks at the myths of the maternal instinct, the doting housewife, and the welfare queen.
Why building public transit in the US costs so much
(9 minutes) It's a case of the cheap coming out expensive! In the U.S., we don't have quite as many staff civil engineers and designers working in our government agencies. As a result, design and planning tasks get outsourced to consultants. In fact, we outsource a lot to very expensive consulting firm. If those people were government employees, our big infrastructure might not cost so much.
Aging with Pride
(54 minutes; MP3 file) MSNBC's Trymaine Lee interviews two elders and activists about their lives, work, and relationships to their community, and the joy of reaching their senior years as queer Black people.