Pablo Puig, Staff Writer
When you think of evil, what kind of person comes to mind? A tyrant or a terrorist? A sexual predator or a cult leader? A mad scientist?
Most likely, you can think of at least one real individual for each type, but how much do you know about these people beyond their infamy? Probably not very much. It’s likely you’ve never had a chance to see past those reputations and find out just how fascinating and truly abhorrent such figures really are.
Fortunately, there’s now a free and easy way to have backstage access to several of humanity’s worst.
“Behind the Bastards” is a weekly podcast, fusing comedy and history into a series of amusing exposes on despicable people, groups and concepts. Hosted by the smooth-voiced Robert Evans, a former editor at Cracked and a war journalist, the podcast is among several informational programs published by Stuff Media, a company under mass media corporation iHeartMedia, the largest owner of U.S. radio stations.
Joined by fellow journalists, podcast hosts and comedians as contributors, Evans describes the reality behind each subject. Topics include Hitler’s lifelong flatulence problem and its effects on World War II, as well as his obsession with a series of young adult novels, the bizarre lives led by children of dictators, Saddam Hussein’s work as an erotic novelist, and the rise of chemical warfare and chiropractic medicine.
For over a year now, “Behind the Bastards” has produced perhaps the most extensive research I’ve ever encountered on these subjects. Each episode offers panoramic levels of detail and, though sources are infrequently made apparent, immediate online investigation has consistently validated any claims made. As an experienced comedian and journalist, Evans is remarkably effective at condensing information into a narrative, then presenting it in such a way that captures his audience’s attention. His guests, whether knowledgeable or uninformed on the episode topic, rely on him to answer sudden follow-up questions.In these moments, Evans will either elaborate or admit the limitations of his findings.
Combining history with comedy is a volatile but powerful process. Enjoyable though the podcast may be, it can’t be considered agreeable to everyone. Though I take no issue with it, some may find the attempts at humor while discussing atrocities and tragedies to be inappropriate, offensive or simply unamusing. Furthermore, the podcast’s political nature and inclinations is indisputable, with many episodes focused on right-wing figures, groups or movements currently alive and active. This aspect has caused a degree of frustration for certain reviewers, who either vehemently disagree with the hosts on these subjects or strongly object to the presentation of this information in anything other than an “unbiased” manner.
In my opinion, however, such neutrality is neither possible nor desirable in researching and discussing politically relevant people and forces. There are always discernible facts beyond one’s own attitudes; if the uncovering of little-known details provokes hostility or proves invalidity regarding a given subject, then disagreement ceases to be a matter of perspective, but of simple logic and commitment to truth.
Whether it’s historical or modern bastardry you take an interest in, “Behind the Bastards” has plenty to offer you. There’s no shortage of bad people in the world; why not learn and laugh about some of them?