Things Fell Apart

Things Fell Apart

By BBC Radio 4

If you've ever yelled at someone on social media about, say, cancel culture or mask-wearing, then you are a soldier in the culture wars - those everyday battles for dominance between conflicting values.

In Jon Ronson’s award winning first series of Things Fell Apart, he explored the origin stories of these culture wars which have divided us so toxically for decades. But now new battle lines have been drawn. Many of them are linked by one extraordinary thing: they all snowballed within days of each other, just weeks into lockdown. And so in Season Two of Things Fell Apart, Jon Ronson uncovers intriguing and wholly unexpected origin stories, but this time of the culture wars that ignited during lockdown, and now dominate society.

Episodes

S2. Ep 8: Mikki’s Hero’s Journey

How a former actor and model, burned by Hollywood and devastated by the death of his brother, has become an important culture warrior, fueling the flames of every story we tell this season.Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Original music by Phil Channell
09/01/24·37m 9s

S2. Ep 7: You’ll Own Nothing and You’ll Be Happy

How a young man with a novel idea for affordable accommodation, and an Oxford man with a plan for bus lanes, and a Danish woman writing a thought experiment about car rentals, unwittingly became hate figures for conspiracy theorists.Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Original music by Phil Channell
09/01/24·33m 24s

S2. Ep 6: A Hierarchy of Trauma

How a bestselling book about trauma - lockdown’s number one bestseller - helped the culture war over free speech burst out of colleges and into the workplace. A shift some people pejoratively call the Great Awokening. Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Original music by Phil Channell
09/01/24·33m 8s

S2. Ep 5: Things Weren’t Going Back to Normal

How a schism between a mother and her teenage daughter during lockdown contributed to Governor Ron DeSantis enacting new and far-reaching laws in Florida.Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Original music by Phil Channell
09/01/24·36m 29s

S2. Ep 4: Spicy Brando

How a disenfranchised young man, maddened by the strict lockdown laws in Michigan, joined a club of like-minded men and suddenly found himself under arrest for the most unlikely and horrific crime. Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Original music by Phil Channell
09/01/24·34m 55s

S2. Ep 3: Tonight’s the Night, Comrades

How an American media polarized over Antifa led to an innocent family on a Twilight-themed lockdown-escaping camping trip getting barricaded in the woods by armed, hostile townspeople.Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Original music by Phil Channell
09/01/24·31m 6s

S2. Ep 2: We’re Coming After You, Honey

How a chance encounter in a yacht club in the early 2000s between a bartender and a very wealthy couple with a daughter sick with a mystery disease ended with the creation of the first great covid conspiracy theory.Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Original music by Phil Channell
09/01/24·33m 59s

S2. Ep 1: The Most Mysterious Deaths

How the mysterious deaths of 32 black sex workers in Miami in the 1980s led to a whole new (and spurious) mental health diagnosis, ending with another murder that occurred during the height of lockdown.Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Original music by Phil ChannellArchive credits: NBC News June 1984; Fox Television’s A Current Affair 1989.
09/01/24·34m 29s

S2. Things Fell Apart is back

Since Jon Ronson’s first series, new battle lines in the culture wars have been drawn. And many of them are linked by one extraordinary thing: they all snowballed within days of each other, in May 2020, six weeks into lockdown.Millions of us spent our days locked at home with only the internet for company. People lost their jobs. Politicians told us what to do. We lived in fear of an invisible enemy nobody understood. This bizarre experience changed people psychologically. People and institutions fell apart. The pandemic – and lockdown – were to become dangerously fertile ground for conspiratorial thinking, and for new frontlines in the culture wars.And so in Season Two of Things Fell Apart, Jon Ronson again uncovers intriguing and wholly unexpected origin stories, but this time of the culture wars that ignited during lockdown, and now dominate society.Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Original music by Phil Channell
02/01/24·3m 12s

S1. Bonus Episode: Jon Ronson Live at Hay

In front of a live audience at the Hay Festival 2023 in Wales, Jon Ronson and journalist and author Dolly Alderton discuss Jon’s multifarious adventures in nonfiction, and all things Culture Wars, including an appearance from a mystery guest from series one of Things Fell Apart. Producer: Sarah Shebbeare
05/07/23·45m 1s

S1. How Things Fell Apart, with Jon Ronson and Louis Theroux

In this bonus episode of Things Fell Apart, Jon Ronson's friend and fellow documentary maker Louis Theroux asks him all about how he made the series. They take a deep dive into Culture Wars battles and explore Jon's storytelling methods, all while chatting about Jon's broken arm, putting old rivalries to bed, and how they deal with difficult interviewees when they both hate conflict. Produced by Sarah Shebbeare
30/03/22·43m 50s

S1. Ep 8: A Mock Slave Auction

An incident of racist bullying on Snapchat is currently tearing apart a small town on a lake in Michigan. As the ripples spread, practically every conflict we’ve encountered throughout our series rears its head.Presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Assistant Producer Sam Peach Music composed by Phil Channell
25/01/22·36m 15s

S1. Ep 7: A Secret Room Behind a Fake Wall

It’s 2017. Late one night after a party a Hollywood actor plays a prank on a friend. But the prank backfires terribly and the ripples are seismic - taking us inside Donald Trump’s White House and the Capitol insurrection of January 2021.Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sam Peach Original music by Phil ChannellArchive with credit to:Videos discussing Isaac Kappy: Lisa Crapella.– Youtube , The Truth Blog Part 2 – Youtube , Miss M – Youtube , Truth Crossing - Youtube Clip from the movie THOR (2011) – Produced by Marvel Studios, distributed by Paramount Pictures and Directed by Kenneth Branagh Coverage of 2016 Democratic National Convention from ABC News Coverage of Pizzagate and Isaac Kappy interview from Infowars Coverage of Edgar Welch's arrest from ANV News Coverage of Nicholas Sandmann incident from MSNBC, CNN and Fox News Interview with Lin Wood from Fox News Clip of Lin Wood’s speech from Ronnie N – Youtube Coverage of 2021 US Capitol Attack from CNN
25/01/22·32m 44s

S1. Ep 6: Many Different Lives

This story is about how the unique experiences of a little girl growing up unconventionally in America in the 1970s seismically changed the face of feminism in the 90s and beyond. It's a story too about the invention of a word - one that's contributed to a ferocious schism in the British culture wars.Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Original music by Phil Channell
25/01/22·35m 3s

S1. Ep 5: A Scottish Jewish joke

This is the story of the very first person to be publicly shamed because of something they did online. It’s 1988, the internet exists only in its most nascent form, and a software designer, Brad Templeton, uploads onto a message board a joke in poor taste. How the architects of the emerging internet respond to the joke will create a set of rules that the rest of us have lived under ever since…Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Assistant Producer Sam Peach Original music by Phil Channell
25/01/22·33m 7s

S1. Ep 4: Believe the Children

In the mid 1980s a new conspiracy theory proliferates across America - that cabals of Satanists are secretly preying on children and polluting the culture. This ‘Satanic panic’ is a madness with bizarre and dreadful consequences – as an unsuspecting young woman in New Jersey is about to discover…Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Original music by Phil Channell
25/01/22·32m 17s

S1. Ep 3: A Miracle

It’s the early 1980s and a hugely popular television evangelist is having a crisis of conscience. She wants Christian evangelism to be less bigoted. And so, to the horror of her peers, she invites a very unexpected guest onto her TV show…Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Original music by Phil ChannellArchive from the PTL network's 'Tammy's House Party' and the 'PTL Club'.
25/01/22·33m 12s

S1. Ep 2: Dirty Books

1974. A church minister's wife in West Virginia learns of a brand new curriculum being introduced into her children's school. So she decides to read all 325 new textbooks herself. What she discovers horrifies her so much she instigates a State-wide insurrection. But were some of her concerns based on a misunderstanding?Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Assistant Producer Sam Peach Original music by Phil ChannellWith thanks to Trey Kay for helping us tell this story.
25/01/22·31m 49s

S1. Ep 1: 1000 Dolls

It's the early 1970s. Frank Schaeffer is an American kid living in the Swiss Alps – the son of an influential Christian art historian - who daydreams of one day making Hollywood films. But for that he needs a show-reel to prove himself. The ripples of Frank's creative ambitions will help trigger one of America's most violent culture wars around the legalization of abortion and Roe vs Wade.Written and presented by Jon Ronson Produced by Sarah Shebbeare Original music by Phil Channell
25/01/22·31m 53s

S1. Introducing Things Fell Apart

If you've ever yelled at someone on social media about, say, cancel culture or mask-wearing, then you are a soldier in the culture wars - those everyday battles for dominance between conflicting values. The acclaimed writer and podcaster Jon Ronson has seen friends swallowed up in them to the extent that it's ruined their lives. Jon was curious to learn how things fell apart, and so he went back into the history of the culture wars to find some of the origin stories: the pebbles thrown in the pond, creating the ripples that led us to where we are today. He had no idea what he’d find, but he's uncovered some extraordinary people and the strangest, yet most consequential tales.
05/01/22·3m 7s
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