Four Political Podcasts You Should Be Listening To (If You Aren’t Already)

Politics podcasts are a dime a dozen these days. For one to stand out, there has to be something about it that keeps them coming back every week.

The New Abnormal: Hosted by Molly Jong-Fast (daughter of author Erica Jong) and Andy Levy, the light is held up to the darkness that is threatening our country. Told with humor, guts, and a few four-letter words thrown in along the way, I feel better knowing that I am not alone in my fears for the future.

New episodes air every Tuesday and Friday.

The Meidas Touch: Started during the pandemic by the three Meiselas brothers (Ben, Brent, and Jordan), their mission is clear: save our American democracy, get rid you know who, and force the Republicans to take responsibility for what they have done.

New episodes air every Tuesday and Friday.

The Mary Trump Show: Hosted by author Mary Trump (the niece of he who shall not be named), she is not afraid to speak the truth. Seeing the world as only she can, it’s a refreshing, no-bullshit take on what is happening around us.

New episodes air every Wednesday.

Fever Dreams: Hosted by journalists Asawin Suebsaeng and Will Sommer, the purpose of this podcast is to call out certain persons and political parties who are using our long-held beliefs and norms to fit their perspective.

New episodes air every Wednesday.

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Mansfield Park Character Review: Thomas Bertram

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the novel Mansfield Park. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or watched any of the adaptations. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In a world in which primogeniture is king, being the eldest son is not what it seems to be. The upside is the potential inheritance of the estate, the title, the family fortune, etc. The downside is the pressure that comes with this status. In Mansfield Park, Thomas Bertram is the eldest son and heir of Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram. With three younger siblings, he has certain responsibilities that his younger brother and sisters do not have. That does mean, however, that he is doing what he is supposed to be doing.

Instead of being the son his parents want him to be, Thomas initially prefers to drink, waste money, and schmooze with his friends. His inability to understand how his actions affect everyone around him would push anyone to the breaking point. He gets so far into debt that Sir Thomas is forced to sell the living or the benefice, putting his younger brother Edmund‘s future in doubt.

Taken by his father on a year-long business trip to Antigua, the hope is that this time away will set Thomas on the right path. Though it appears that he has changed, it is just that. His real transformation is represented by both a literal and figurative fall. Left at death’s door by his friends, Thomas returns home in a vegetative state. While he lies in a coma, Mary Crawford is already planning for her future as Lady Bertram with Edmund as the heir. It is a statement that does not go over well.

Like Marianne Dashwood, he only learns his lesson after hitting rock bottom. We are told by Austen that he is no longer the drunken wastrel that he was. He is the son that his parents need him to be.

To sum it up: Sometimes, the only way to understand where we have gone wrong is to go to depths that we never expected to go. Though the climb back up can be painful in multiple ways, it is the only way to understand where we went wrong. It is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination. But it is necessary if we want to grow beyond our past mistakes.

Which is why Thomas Bertram is a memorable character.

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