Apr 23, 2021

New Useful Idiots: Bad Chauvin Verdict Reactions, Notes From the Anus-Having Club, And More Vanguard Time Travel

A nation is gripped a police-abuse trial, and Republicans and Democrats both find a way to suck about it

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Appears in this episode

Matt Taibbi
Katie Halper
Useful Idiots is an informative and irreverent politics podcast with journalist Matt Taibbi and podcaster/writer Katie Halper. Episodes feature on-the-road coverage of the 2020 campaign and exclusive interviews, with humor, commentary and dissection of the politics news of the week. Join Matt and Katie as they examine important stories that have slipped through the cracks and what the media got wrong – and laugh about whatever is left to laugh about.
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What separates the human being from the lower animals? Language? Morality? Comfortable shoes?

None of the above, says Live Science. The real differentiator, they say, is what lay beneath, explaining in a classic headline about comb jellies that became fodder for this week’s “Isn’t that weird?”:

YOUR MOST DISTANT COUSIN DOESN’T EVEN HAVE AN ANUS

As it turns out, the primitive jellyfish-like creatures have inspired a whole literature of anus headlines. “Animal with an anus that comes and goes could reveal how ours evolved,” wrote New Scientist a few years back. “An animal has been discovered with a 'transient anus' that only appears when it is needed,” was the take from Insider. “Meet the sea creature with an anus that disappears when not in use,” added the CBC.

In this episode, Katie and I review the comb jelly coverage, while also debating our favorite songs by the great eighties pop band, Simple Anus. Also, Katie explains the history of a “sponge the size of a minivan” found north of the Hawaiian Islands, we very briefly discuss a country that apparently disappeared after a volcano “unleashed ash” (say that five times fast) on it, and we continue pushing our self-referential joke involving the Vanguard podcast well past the point of being funny.

All that, plus news, commentary, awkward silences and more, on this week’s Useful Idiots. Check in to this space for additional content, including interviews with two guests, in the upcoming days.