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American Hysteria

Chelsey Weber-Smith

574
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4.5K
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American Hysteria

American Hysteria

Chelsey Weber-Smith

574
Followers
4.5K
Plays
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About Us

American Hysteria is a podcast exploring the fantastical thinking and irrational fears of Americans through the lens of moral panics, urban legends, and conspiracy theories, how they shape our psychology and culture, and why we end up believing them. Poet-turned-podcaster Chelsey Weber-Smith explores the sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying stories of historical and modern American freak-outs, and the real social issues they act to cover up. An in-depth alternative history, the show also analyzes how issues of race, gender, sexuality, and class have informed our beliefs from the Puritans to the present.Subscribe now on Apple, Google, Spotify, or where ever you get your podcasts.

Latest Episodes

Men's Rights

In 2014, a young man named named Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree as revenge for the beautiful women who had denied him the sex he believed he was entitled to. In February of 2020, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh was presented with one of the highest national honors, a man who has never shied away from his theories about the oppressive forces of “Feminazis.” There are growing subcultures of men who subscribe to the idea that is is American men, not women, who are the true victims of oppression, while at the same time, condoning and even committing violence against women. But we’ll look at the far more gentle roots of both the Involuntary Celibacy culture and Men’s Rights Movement, and how they were once spaces of support and solidarity. In order to understand the problems of toxic masculinity, we’ll have to look at all its victims, not just women, but the men that suffer under its demands as well. Please consider donating to A Call to Men (https://www.acalltomen.org/support) Become a patron of our show (https://www.patreon.com/americanhysteria) for extra content each month! Download Best Fiends FREE on the Apple App Store or Google Play Head to https://www.betterhelp.com/ah for 10% off your first month Written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith (http://www.chelseywebersmith.com) Audio production by Clear Commo Studios (https://clearcommo.com/) Co-researched and written by Riley Smith And co-produced by Miranda Zickler Voice acting also by Will Rogers Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: AmerHysteria (https://twitter.com/AmerHysteria) Instagram: AmericanHysteriaPodcast (https://www.instagram.com/americanhysteriapodcast/) Facebook: Americanhysteriapodcast (https://facebook.com/americanhysteriapodcast)

54 MIN1 d ago
Comments
Men's Rights

The Curse of the Lottery

Have you ever heard of the Curse of the Lottery? The legend that most, if not all big winners eventually face everything from bankruptcy to untimely death? We’ll explore whether there is any truth to this alleged phenomenon through a handful of stories that both support and refute this modern urban legend, a kind of folkloric Monkey’s Paw story that tells us, be careful what you wish for. If you like our show, please consider donating to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/americanhysteria) for extra content each month! We can really use your support right now. Visit http://www.betterhelp.com/ah for 10% off your first month of Betterhelp online therapy Download Best Fiends (https://bestfiends.com/) FREE on the Apple App Store or Google Play For 15% off your first order of Ray Con headphones, head to http://www.buyraycon.com/ah American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith (https://www.chelseywebersmith.com/) Sound production by Clear Commo Studios (https://clearcommo.com/) Co-written by Riley Smith (https://www.instagram.com/rileymsmith96/) Co-produced by Miranda Zickler (https://www.instagram.com/mirandatheswampmonster/) Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: AmerHysteria (https://twitter.com/amerhysteria) Instagram: AmericanHysteriaPodcast (https://www.instagram.com/americanhysteriapodcast/) Facebook: Americanhysteriapodcast (http://www.facebook.com/americanhysteriapodcast)

31 MIN3 w ago
Comments
The Curse of the Lottery

Get Rich Quick

The search for untold riches has always been at the heart of America, from its very beginning as a nation founded on the search for gold. For this episode, we’ll look at several manifestations of this hope to “get rich quick” and the psychology of luck and ritual, of dreams themselves, both dreams of the future, and dreams that predict it. We’ll start with the most modern get rich quick ideas in the style of The Secret, the 2006 self-help book that make Americans believe that all you need to do to become wealthy is to manifest it with your thoughts, and that the poor are poor because they are attracting poverty to themselves. Then we’ll look at the way that the colonies were funded by early lotteries, the strange rituals of treasure hunting, and the way the gold rush changed American psychology. We’ll look too at the stories happening in the background, the far more modest dreams of black enslaved and oppressed people, who had their own rituals and had their own dreams to get rich quick in a different sense, buying their freedom through winning the lottery and finding economic stability through the underground Harlem lottery known as the numbers game. We’ll ask the question of just who can get rich quick and ask if hope is the greatest American hysteria of them all. Please consider donating to Friends of Public School Harlem (http://www.fpsh.nyc/) . Their mission is to level the playing field so Harlem's students and schools can reach their full potential. Become a patron of our show (https://www.patreon.com/americanhysteria) for extra content each month! Written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Audio production by Clear Commo Studios (https://clearcommo.com/) Co-researched and written by Riley Smith And co-produced by Miranda Zickler Voice acting by Tamika Lawrence, check out her music here (http://https/open.spotify.com/artist/4EluKx55HoQgTLTEeASX2r) Voice acting also by Will Rogers, check out his podcast Guide to the Unknown here (http://http/www.talkbomb.com/gttupod) Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: AmerHysteria (https://twitter.com/AmerHysteria) Instagram: AmericanHysteriaPodcast (https://www.instagram.com/americanhysteriapodcast/) Facebook: /AmericanHysteriaPodcast (https://facebook.com/americanhysteriapodcast)

53 MINAPR 27
Comments
Get Rich Quick

Wondery Presents American Scandal

Join Lindsay Graham, the host of Wondery’s show American Scandal as he dives deep into the heart of the most shocking moments of fraud and deception in American history. In this six-part series “The Hare Krishna Murders” he explores an eastern religion with pure intentions that, in the hands of its western followers, became a criminal enterprise of drug running, molestation and murder. For the full episode go to http://wondery.fm/americanhysteriaAS.

7 MINAPR 22
Comments
Wondery Presents American Scandal

Introducing An Acquired Taste

Every week Bethany and Kathleen get together to chat about their lives and what's weird in the world, and they're inviting you to join them! Pull up a chair. Pour yourself something warm or strong or bubbly. There's room at the Table for everyone! Subscribe now on Apple! (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/an-acquired-taste-podcast/id1138061190)

8 MINAPR 7
Comments
Introducing An Acquired Taste

Confederate Monuments and The Lost Cause

Since the tragedies of the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville and the Charleston Church shooting that killed nine black members, the display of monuments and flags representing the fallen Confederacy have been hotly debated. Are they racist symbols of hate or are they symbols of an unshakable Southern pride? Arguing that the American Civil War was fought over states' rights instead of the preservation of slavery, this alternative narrative called The Lost Cause is still taught in the majority of high school classes today. On this episode, we will explore the true reasons for the Civil War in the words of confederate leaders as well as the words of Union president Abraham Lincoln, words which demonstrate that this heroes-versus-villains story isn’t as simple as it seems. We will also trace these monuments and symbols back to the movements for Civil Rights, when most of them were actually constructed, during the second rise of the KKK in the 1920s and the battles over segregation in the 1950s and 60s. We’ll ask the question, does the veneration of the Confederacy really represent Southern pride, or does it degrade it? And more importantly, is the story we tell worth the cost? If you like our show, please consider donating to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/americanhysteria) for extra content each month! We can really use your support right now. American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Co-written by Riley Smith Edited by Miranda Zickler Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: AmerHysteria (https://twitter.com/amerhysteria) Instagram: AmericanHysteriaPodcast (https://www.instagram.com/americanhysteriapodcast/) Facebook: /AmericanHysteriaPodcast (http://www.facebook.com/americanhysteriapodcast)

24 MINAPR 6
Comments
Confederate Monuments and The Lost Cause

Rednecks

For this episode we are dissecting the archetype of American rednecks, hillbillies, and those we call white trash, a group often accused of being the “real” racists who make up the deplorable “Trump Country." But we'll be examining who is really to blame, starting with the plantation elites of the 1700s who created categories of race to break up the poor who were revolting against the government, resulting in centuries of brutal slavery and what we now know as white privilege. We’ll look at the region of Appalachia and the construction of the dangerous, deviant, simple minded white hillbilly created by local color writers. I’ll explain how this area’s union battles that united black and white folks in a dramatic fight for their workers’ rights led to the migration of “hillbillies” into cities, eventually aiding in the success of the eugenics movement. By the civil rights era, we’ll see more racial solidarity, with Black Panther Fred Hampton’s Rainbow Party Coalition in th...

55 MINMAR 30
Comments
Rednecks

Beards

On this episode we explore the history of one of the most hipster of trends, how facial hair has come to represent masculinity, the pastoral fantasy, and of course, white supremacy. Whether our men wear beards or go clean-shaven says more than you might expect about the culture of the time, and it certainly says some interesting things about the trend that defines the modern hipster. If you like our show, please consider donating to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/americanhysteria) for extra content each month! We can really use your support right now. To try Shudder free for 30 days, go to http://www.shudder.com and use promo code ah. For 20% off your first order, head to http://www.nativedeodorant.com and use promo code 'ah' during checkout! American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Co-written and edited by Riley Smith and Miranda Zickler Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: AmerHysteria ...

23 MINMAR 23
Comments
Beards

Hipsters

Throughout my lifetime I have been both a middle class college student and a summer hitch-hiker dead set on finding the real heart of America, and on this episode I’ll cop to the facts: I’m a poser. We will explore one of the most hated archetypes of the modern age: the ironically-dressed middle and upper class young adults whose aggressive individuality is anything but. The hipsters we know today are not a new phenomenon, and neither is the phenomenon we know as ‘cool.' We’ll look at the long term history of the hippest white kids who shirked their privilege to experience to the life of the marginalized, copying black, queer, and blue collar culture and pouring into spaces where the mainstream forbade them to go. From the transcendentalists of the 1800s and the ‘slumming parties’ of their urban counterparts, to the jazz age popularity of cool black musicians and wild queer drag parties, to the beat poet Jack Kerouac’s hitchhiking days and Nirvana’s grungy working class flan...

53 MINMAR 16
Comments
Hipsters

School Spirit

Whether you were a cheerleader, a football player, a painted fan, or a bad kid under the bleachers, you will certainly remember this very American phenomenon called school spirit. Beginning with the creation of the modern high school after the Great Depression, we’ll take a look at the development of this aggressive pride, of cheerleading, of the pledge of allegiance, and how school spirit has acted since its beginnings as a kind of training wheels for nationalism. Head to mejuri.com/AH (https://mejuri.com/ah) for 10% off your first order of affordable jewelry! Text AMERICAN to 64-000 to get 20% your first order from Ettitude and free shipping. If you like our show, please consider donating to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/americanhysteria) for extra content each month! American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Co-written by Riley Smith Script editing by Miranda Zickler Enjoy our Beach Boys Cover? Che...

24 MINMAR 9
Comments
School Spirit

Latest Episodes

Men's Rights

In 2014, a young man named named Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree as revenge for the beautiful women who had denied him the sex he believed he was entitled to. In February of 2020, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh was presented with one of the highest national honors, a man who has never shied away from his theories about the oppressive forces of “Feminazis.” There are growing subcultures of men who subscribe to the idea that is is American men, not women, who are the true victims of oppression, while at the same time, condoning and even committing violence against women. But we’ll look at the far more gentle roots of both the Involuntary Celibacy culture and Men’s Rights Movement, and how they were once spaces of support and solidarity. In order to understand the problems of toxic masculinity, we’ll have to look at all its victims, not just women, but the men that suffer under its demands as well. Please consider donating to A Call to Men (https://www.acalltomen.org/support) Become a patron of our show (https://www.patreon.com/americanhysteria) for extra content each month! Download Best Fiends FREE on the Apple App Store or Google Play Head to https://www.betterhelp.com/ah for 10% off your first month Written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith (http://www.chelseywebersmith.com) Audio production by Clear Commo Studios (https://clearcommo.com/) Co-researched and written by Riley Smith And co-produced by Miranda Zickler Voice acting also by Will Rogers Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: AmerHysteria (https://twitter.com/AmerHysteria) Instagram: AmericanHysteriaPodcast (https://www.instagram.com/americanhysteriapodcast/) Facebook: Americanhysteriapodcast (https://facebook.com/americanhysteriapodcast)

54 MIN1 d ago
Comments
Men's Rights

The Curse of the Lottery

Have you ever heard of the Curse of the Lottery? The legend that most, if not all big winners eventually face everything from bankruptcy to untimely death? We’ll explore whether there is any truth to this alleged phenomenon through a handful of stories that both support and refute this modern urban legend, a kind of folkloric Monkey’s Paw story that tells us, be careful what you wish for. If you like our show, please consider donating to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/americanhysteria) for extra content each month! We can really use your support right now. Visit http://www.betterhelp.com/ah for 10% off your first month of Betterhelp online therapy Download Best Fiends (https://bestfiends.com/) FREE on the Apple App Store or Google Play For 15% off your first order of Ray Con headphones, head to http://www.buyraycon.com/ah American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith (https://www.chelseywebersmith.com/) Sound production by Clear Commo Studios (https://clearcommo.com/) Co-written by Riley Smith (https://www.instagram.com/rileymsmith96/) Co-produced by Miranda Zickler (https://www.instagram.com/mirandatheswampmonster/) Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: AmerHysteria (https://twitter.com/amerhysteria) Instagram: AmericanHysteriaPodcast (https://www.instagram.com/americanhysteriapodcast/) Facebook: Americanhysteriapodcast (http://www.facebook.com/americanhysteriapodcast)

31 MIN3 w ago
Comments
The Curse of the Lottery

Get Rich Quick

The search for untold riches has always been at the heart of America, from its very beginning as a nation founded on the search for gold. For this episode, we’ll look at several manifestations of this hope to “get rich quick” and the psychology of luck and ritual, of dreams themselves, both dreams of the future, and dreams that predict it. We’ll start with the most modern get rich quick ideas in the style of The Secret, the 2006 self-help book that make Americans believe that all you need to do to become wealthy is to manifest it with your thoughts, and that the poor are poor because they are attracting poverty to themselves. Then we’ll look at the way that the colonies were funded by early lotteries, the strange rituals of treasure hunting, and the way the gold rush changed American psychology. We’ll look too at the stories happening in the background, the far more modest dreams of black enslaved and oppressed people, who had their own rituals and had their own dreams to get rich quick in a different sense, buying their freedom through winning the lottery and finding economic stability through the underground Harlem lottery known as the numbers game. We’ll ask the question of just who can get rich quick and ask if hope is the greatest American hysteria of them all. Please consider donating to Friends of Public School Harlem (http://www.fpsh.nyc/) . Their mission is to level the playing field so Harlem's students and schools can reach their full potential. Become a patron of our show (https://www.patreon.com/americanhysteria) for extra content each month! Written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Audio production by Clear Commo Studios (https://clearcommo.com/) Co-researched and written by Riley Smith And co-produced by Miranda Zickler Voice acting by Tamika Lawrence, check out her music here (http://https/open.spotify.com/artist/4EluKx55HoQgTLTEeASX2r) Voice acting also by Will Rogers, check out his podcast Guide to the Unknown here (http://http/www.talkbomb.com/gttupod) Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: AmerHysteria (https://twitter.com/AmerHysteria) Instagram: AmericanHysteriaPodcast (https://www.instagram.com/americanhysteriapodcast/) Facebook: /AmericanHysteriaPodcast (https://facebook.com/americanhysteriapodcast)

53 MINAPR 27
Comments
Get Rich Quick

Wondery Presents American Scandal

Join Lindsay Graham, the host of Wondery’s show American Scandal as he dives deep into the heart of the most shocking moments of fraud and deception in American history. In this six-part series “The Hare Krishna Murders” he explores an eastern religion with pure intentions that, in the hands of its western followers, became a criminal enterprise of drug running, molestation and murder. For the full episode go to http://wondery.fm/americanhysteriaAS.

7 MINAPR 22
Comments
Wondery Presents American Scandal

Introducing An Acquired Taste

Every week Bethany and Kathleen get together to chat about their lives and what's weird in the world, and they're inviting you to join them! Pull up a chair. Pour yourself something warm or strong or bubbly. There's room at the Table for everyone! Subscribe now on Apple! (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/an-acquired-taste-podcast/id1138061190)

8 MINAPR 7
Comments
Introducing An Acquired Taste

Confederate Monuments and The Lost Cause

Since the tragedies of the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville and the Charleston Church shooting that killed nine black members, the display of monuments and flags representing the fallen Confederacy have been hotly debated. Are they racist symbols of hate or are they symbols of an unshakable Southern pride? Arguing that the American Civil War was fought over states' rights instead of the preservation of slavery, this alternative narrative called The Lost Cause is still taught in the majority of high school classes today. On this episode, we will explore the true reasons for the Civil War in the words of confederate leaders as well as the words of Union president Abraham Lincoln, words which demonstrate that this heroes-versus-villains story isn’t as simple as it seems. We will also trace these monuments and symbols back to the movements for Civil Rights, when most of them were actually constructed, during the second rise of the KKK in the 1920s and the battles over segregation in the 1950s and 60s. We’ll ask the question, does the veneration of the Confederacy really represent Southern pride, or does it degrade it? And more importantly, is the story we tell worth the cost? If you like our show, please consider donating to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/americanhysteria) for extra content each month! We can really use your support right now. American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Co-written by Riley Smith Edited by Miranda Zickler Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: AmerHysteria (https://twitter.com/amerhysteria) Instagram: AmericanHysteriaPodcast (https://www.instagram.com/americanhysteriapodcast/) Facebook: /AmericanHysteriaPodcast (http://www.facebook.com/americanhysteriapodcast)

24 MINAPR 6
Comments
Confederate Monuments and The Lost Cause

Rednecks

For this episode we are dissecting the archetype of American rednecks, hillbillies, and those we call white trash, a group often accused of being the “real” racists who make up the deplorable “Trump Country." But we'll be examining who is really to blame, starting with the plantation elites of the 1700s who created categories of race to break up the poor who were revolting against the government, resulting in centuries of brutal slavery and what we now know as white privilege. We’ll look at the region of Appalachia and the construction of the dangerous, deviant, simple minded white hillbilly created by local color writers. I’ll explain how this area’s union battles that united black and white folks in a dramatic fight for their workers’ rights led to the migration of “hillbillies” into cities, eventually aiding in the success of the eugenics movement. By the civil rights era, we’ll see more racial solidarity, with Black Panther Fred Hampton’s Rainbow Party Coalition in th...

55 MINMAR 30
Comments
Rednecks

Beards

On this episode we explore the history of one of the most hipster of trends, how facial hair has come to represent masculinity, the pastoral fantasy, and of course, white supremacy. Whether our men wear beards or go clean-shaven says more than you might expect about the culture of the time, and it certainly says some interesting things about the trend that defines the modern hipster. If you like our show, please consider donating to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/americanhysteria) for extra content each month! We can really use your support right now. To try Shudder free for 30 days, go to http://www.shudder.com and use promo code ah. For 20% off your first order, head to http://www.nativedeodorant.com and use promo code 'ah' during checkout! American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Co-written and edited by Riley Smith and Miranda Zickler Follow American Hysteria on social media: Twitter: AmerHysteria ...

23 MINMAR 23
Comments
Beards

Hipsters

Throughout my lifetime I have been both a middle class college student and a summer hitch-hiker dead set on finding the real heart of America, and on this episode I’ll cop to the facts: I’m a poser. We will explore one of the most hated archetypes of the modern age: the ironically-dressed middle and upper class young adults whose aggressive individuality is anything but. The hipsters we know today are not a new phenomenon, and neither is the phenomenon we know as ‘cool.' We’ll look at the long term history of the hippest white kids who shirked their privilege to experience to the life of the marginalized, copying black, queer, and blue collar culture and pouring into spaces where the mainstream forbade them to go. From the transcendentalists of the 1800s and the ‘slumming parties’ of their urban counterparts, to the jazz age popularity of cool black musicians and wild queer drag parties, to the beat poet Jack Kerouac’s hitchhiking days and Nirvana’s grungy working class flan...

53 MINMAR 16
Comments
Hipsters

School Spirit

Whether you were a cheerleader, a football player, a painted fan, or a bad kid under the bleachers, you will certainly remember this very American phenomenon called school spirit. Beginning with the creation of the modern high school after the Great Depression, we’ll take a look at the development of this aggressive pride, of cheerleading, of the pledge of allegiance, and how school spirit has acted since its beginnings as a kind of training wheels for nationalism. Head to mejuri.com/AH (https://mejuri.com/ah) for 10% off your first order of affordable jewelry! Text AMERICAN to 64-000 to get 20% your first order from Ettitude and free shipping. If you like our show, please consider donating to our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/americanhysteria) for extra content each month! American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios Co-written by Riley Smith Script editing by Miranda Zickler Enjoy our Beach Boys Cover? Che...

24 MINMAR 9
Comments
School Spirit
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