‘Nice Try:"  Does utopia exist? One podcast explores the concept

My commute  to work is shorter these days --  six minutes to be exact --  so finding a podcast to get into can be hard since many of them run for an hour or more.

That’s why I’m grateful for podcasts like “Nice Try.” This season of the show focuses on utopias and why they didn’t turn out to be the perfect worlds intended.

Each episode looks at one or two utopian societies that, in the end, weren’t.

So far I’ve dived into Jamestown. Yes, the same Jamestown we learned about in school, but the details that surround why the settlement didn’t work out—food shortages, disease and possible cannibalism-- are more grisly than my fourth-grade teacher let on. 

Other communities that I knew nothing about before they were featured on the podcast are Levittown and Concord Park. The episode that discusses both of these “utopias” explains that one community--  Levittown—was created to ensure that the scourge of segregation stayed in place after WWII. The other—Concord Park—was created as an equalizer that allowed African Americans to own their homes, build a community and be equals to their 1950s, Caucasian counterparts.

I guess at this point in my column you can tell I’m a bit of a sociological nerd, since the show solely focuses on what people considered utopias.

Even if you’re not into this sort of thing, I recommend you give the Oneida episode of “Nice Try!” a listen.

Did you know that the flatware on your table may have been created by a cult? I didn’t until listening to an episode weaving the story of the Oneida community, which eventually got into the business of  making forks, knives and spoons as a way to fund their utopian society with a very cult-like structure.

You can catch up on “Nice Try” episodes by downloading an episode through the podcast store on your iPhone or podcast capable device. It’s worth a Google, as they say.

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