Calm down dear

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American Hysteria review

Rating –

If there’s one thing the Americans love, it’s a good kerfuffle. I’m not being prejudiced, it just seems that from a UK perspective (which is my perspective), Americans just seem to love getting stirred up about something or other. There could be many reasons for this, it’s not for this British, atheist, lefty, non patriot to possibly comment on.

Thankfully, American Chelsey Weber-Smith is on hand to do just that. So let’s take a deep dive into the numerous things that get those pitchforks raised and those torches burning shall we?

So what’s it about?

The podcast title is rather self explanatory. Very self explanatory in fact. Each episode, Chelsey looks at stories that have caused major outcries over the years. There are many urban myths and controversies dissected here. Some I was aware of, some not.

She lifts the curtain on subjects as diverse as the Satanic Panic, Furbies (yes, Furbies), The Illuminati and even Hipsters. A lot of the exaggeration and downright lies are exposed and countered with in depth research. I guarantee you’ll learn something new in at least one episode. Actually, I mean you’ll learn at least one new thing in every episode.

Is it any good?

This is a great show. Despite its mostly rather dark subject matter, Chelsey keeps things pretty light-hearted. I think this is mainly because most of these stories are rather silly at heart. The problem is that once you convince someone that something is true, then they are incapable of seeing how silly it is. Take your pick of conspiracy theories there.

This is a truly bingeworthy show that is easy to spend many days on. Even if there are subjects you would normally avoid for whatever reason, I would encourage you to listen. The truth behind the stories are often more mundane than you’d imagine, and therefore possibly not as upsetting.

As someone who is a smart-ass pedant, and a sponge of useless information, there is nothing I like more than correcting people (ask my family). This podcast is perfect for that. There are a great many facts now locked away in the 3lb hard drive that sits atop my shoulders, just waiting for someone to worry about the dangers of trick or treating, or “the war on Christmas” (only because we are quickly approaching that time of year).

Final thoughts

I heartily recommend this podcast to everyone. I don’t think that anyone would be worse off from listening to this brilliantly researched show. In a world where social media clickbait has become a major source of “news” and “research”, the danger of ill informed panic and conspiracy spreading is worse now than when we only had a few TV channels and newspapers for information.

It does beg the question though that why do people not look for the truth when these stories break? I don’t mean “DO YOUR RESEARCH SHEEPLE” type research, but there are things here that even I knew, but which seem to get glossed over in light of more salacious, or untrue revelations. I think I’ve probably answered my own question there.

You can get American Hysteria here:


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