Category: Real Life

Shaving with Occam’s razor

Some Dare Call It Conspiracy review

Rating –

Tying in rather nicely, albeit unintentionally (but then that’s the nature of synchronicity isn’t it) with last week’s post I am going a tad more serious with this one. I say a “tad”, because today’s review doesn’t take itself too seriously.

I only discovered this show a few eeks ago when I was scrolling Twitter, and saw a post by host Brent Lee about the structure of the World Trade Centres. So of course, I immediately subscribed, and about 15 minutes into the first episode, this podcast had already jumped to the top of my review list.

So what’s it about?

In each episode, the hosts Brent Lee and Neil Sanders take a deep dive into a subject beloved of conspiracy theorists. From David Icke’s royal reptilians to COVID vaccines, to Jeffrey Epstein to climate change.

In the earlier episodes they are joined by guests and they examine the aforementioned conspiracies. The later episodes are almost solo efforts. There is a huge series by Neil Sanders on Cambridge Analytica that covers the COVID lockdown, the recent elections and data mining. Brent Lee’s episodes on the Grand Conspiracy Myth are also brilliant, and while they are a touch more serious than Neil’s output, they are no less entertaining and infuriating in equal measure.

The early episodes follow the same format each time. The first half of the show, the guests and the host discuss that shows topic from the perspective of the conspiracy. The second half of the show dismantles each point with evidence and critical thinking. The later ones are really just the hosts presenting former blog posts in an audiobook style.

Is it any good?

These are not bitesize episodes by any means. They regularly clock in well past the 90 minute mark, but then I would prefer it that way. These are subjects that should not be glossed over. Whereas conspiracy theories are often reduced to soundbites and memes, the counter arguments have to be watertight.

This fact means that each episode is a weighty undertaking. This isn’t some breezy podcast that you can drop in and out of. It requires a fair amount of concentration to get through, only because the detail requires it. This is quite easy thankfully, due to the fact that both the hosts and the guests are entertaining to listen to. The generous sprinkling of humour throughout also helps stop this just being a stuffy lecture.

These episodes are quite literally lessons in critical thinking. There is a great deal of history, psychology and even virology crammed in to each subject. The interview and subsequent debate featuring “Swaledale Mutton” is an outstanding example of that. The main thing that I think is important to mention, is that at no point to Brent or Neil say “There is no such thing as a conspiracy” . To do that is ridiculous. The point of this podcast is that yes, conspiracies are real, but they are not in the places most people look. Listen to the Cambridge Analytica series for proof of that, just dont blame me for any dental damage from gnashing you teeth.

It’s funny because it’s true

Final thoughts

Due to the uptick in the popularity of conspiracy theories and right wing propaganda on social media in the last 4 or so years, I would say that this podcast is absolutely essential listening. Despite the episode length, I can really see myself going back and listening to some episodes more than once.

This is a review I tried really hard not to get all ranty about. Not because I don’t believe what the guys say, but because I know so many people who despite preaching “do your own research”, do the exact opposite and seem to thrive on the very same confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance that they sneer at “the sheeple” for believing in. There were many times during these episodes I actually got angry, not at them, but the fact that critical thinking and common sense seem to have fallen so far from the norm. Their arguments make sense, and they have the paperwork to back it up. As I type this last section I realise I may sound as fanatical as the most paranoid conspiracy theorist. This is a fact that is causing me some stress.

You can get Some Dare Call It Conspiracy here:

Being good is not enough?

Dear Alana review

Production company – Tenderfoot TV

Rating –


Another seeming departure for me this week. Yes, I know that Sunday is my usual day for posts. As you can see, it’s another release day exclusive. It seems that nobody releases new shows on a Sunday. I was lucky enough to get contacted by Tenderfoot TV directly to get the first two episodes of this series in advance of the release date. Nearly a month in advance actually, so I’ve been sitting on this one for a while.

I should warn you all before we start that this one is worthy of a trigger warning. It deals with discussion of bullying, suicide, conversion therapy and other subjects that are genuinely upsetting to listen to.

So what’s it about?

Alana Chen was a happy, outgoing, ultimate frisbee fanatic. She was also a devout Catholic, and as she entered her teens, her devotion became more pronounced. Whereas most kids her age were sneaking off to parties, she would sneak off to church. She acquired a spiritual director and decided she wanted to become a nun. However, there were elements to Alana’s life that were in direct conflict with her dream to devote her life to god. A conflict that cost her her life. From a relatively young age, she was attracted to girls. Her spiritual director recommended conversion therapy to help her realise her dream of entering a convent, and from that point Alana started living a double life.

Simon Kent Fung heard about Alana’s death, and realised the importance of this tragic tale. His life mirrored Alana’s closely, so he was inspired to tell her tragic life story. Through speaking to her family, and reading her journals, he uncovers Alana’s secret life. A life full of self doubt, desperation and psychological harm caused by those meant to guide and offer hope.

Is it any good?

In much the same way as Hoaxed, or Hunting Warhead, I’m reluctant to use the term “good”. I tend to think of it in the same manner as “nice”, and that term might almost make light of the situations in both Alana and Simon’s early lives. I would say however, that it’s a brilliantly made show that tells an important story.

There were moments in the first two episodes that nearly did bring me to tears, although strangely it was the events of Simon’s early life that affected me most. Maybe that’s because it was him recounting the events first hand.

One thing that is clear though, is that both Alana and Simon had a very very tough time at the hands of people who were supposed to offer the highest spiritual training. The juxtaposition of who you are, and who you want to be must be an incredible, almost insurmountable barrier to cross. Unfortunately it seems not everyone can make it through.

Final thoughts

Since I got hold of the first two episodes, I have also been sent the next three episodes of the series. While I can’t go into any details about what’s coming up, I can tell you that this is a truly heartbreaking podcast, but one that I would recommend to anyone. Devoting your life to god is abviously one of the biggest commitments anyone can make. The thought of not only being denied that, but having to undergo conversion therapy as well is something my mind simply cannot fathom. I guess being a good person isn’t good enough. Hearing about all the things that both Alana and Simon had to confess and undergo psychologically, I’m really not surprised that people don’t make it through.

Tenderfoot TV really is releasing some amazing shows at the moment, and I’ve been a fan for a long time. To get this opportunity for a release day review from them is something I’m most grateful for, so thanks guys!

You can get Dear Alana here:


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