Podcast of the Week: CHAPO TRAP HOUSE
If podcasting is going to move out of the realm of niche, solitary entertainment and into the larger cultural lexicon, it will be thanks to podcasts like CHAPO TRAP HOUSE. The bi-weekly politics and comedy podcast has exploded in recent months thanks to its deeply irreverent point of view and razor sharp cultural critiques. While the show routinely draws scorn from other factions of the left, it’s offering something simply not available anywhere else in leftist politics right now: a coherent and complete ideology.
The CHAPO hosts are vindictive, and oftentimes just as critical of moderate liberals as they are of right wing ideologues, so the show’s tone can elicit strong responses from a wide variety of listeners, many of whom have labeled the show problematic. What’s more, their steadfast reliance on irony has caused many listeners to write them off as disaffected millennials, people who don’t really care about politics and really will do anything for a punchline. The truth is, the show couldn’t function without a high degree of ironic distance. The subjects they talk about are so dark when considered directly, that without a certain level of ironic detachment, the show would be practically unlistenable.
The show is highly literate and informed on basically any subject they choose to touch on, which means they’re rarely wrong, even if you happen to personally disagree with them. Their wide breadth of knowledge on history, Marxist philosophy, pop culture, Islamic fundamentalism, and political tactics make them an intimidating force to listen to at times; there’s no better way to realize how little you currently know about any given subject. They may have been wrong about the election (like everyone else), but on so many other issues, they have proven to be spot on. A new generation has found itself suddenly needing to become politically engaged for the first time, and outlets like CHAPO are going to be essential. That’s not to say that CHAPO is actively leading any sort of political revolution, but they are giving a stagnant generation its voice, at a time when it’s desperately needed.