The Cracked podcast is listed as a comedy podcast on a comedy podcast site (Earwolf). The truth is it’s not. It is an insightful, interesting and often challenging look at pop culture, current events and modern myths. I believe the podcast is the comedy world being critical and having an editorial commentary on the world. Of course comedians generally being very intelligent and generally being depressed and cynical have a good take on the events happening around them.
This episode is particularly interesting and being a former youth worker, hard hitting episode. There is an entrenched myth that by forcing people to hit rock bottom by shaming them, abusing them and basically torturing them, they will see the light and change their ways. It is also how cults work, specific methods of torture will make the abused start the sympathize with their captor and buy into the program. We know this doesn’t work in the long run and only causes the person, in this case teen lifelong trauma. These programs became popular in the 90’s with being scared of your teen phenomenon. These programs are similar to the pray out the gay centers that has no evidence of working but guilt ridden and shamed parents continue to use these organizations.
Cracked hosts Jack O’brien and Michael Swain interview writer Maia Szalavitz and kidnapped teen Sarah Cummins to tell the story of these programs. This is a particular long podcast (1h1/2) that takes the long form to tell it’s story. It is compelling listen and reveals an often hidden world of worried and overly scared parents sending their children to these camps. However not only do these children who often have mental health issues come out worse with PTSD and trauma and have has numerous deaths due to exposure. As a youth worker for the last fifteen years I can tell you that most of the “troubled” teens I worked with have become well adjusted adults who worked out their issues and the tried and true “cure” for their problems was time.