Nice Try!

A podcast about utterly predictable failures to remake society


Nice Try! is a great name for a podcast, and it perfectly captures the tone of this series about utopias—from the Oneida Community to Biosphere 2 to the suburban developments of Levittown. The host, Avery Trufelman, manages to strike a balance between genuine admiration for the gumption of her subjects and cheerful resignation about their utterly predictable failure to remake society.

Many of the episodes have an understated rubber-meets-the-road moment when the utopias start to falter: In "Herland," it's when the older revolutionary female separatists realize that younger women no longer want to join them. In "Oneida," it's right about the time the eugenics kick in.

Trufelman, whose voice you might recognize from the popular podcast 99 Percent Invisible, brings a straightforward sensibility to her storytelling, employing the explainery tone you'd expect from this collaboration between Curbed and Vox.

NEXT: Brickbat: Hear Something, Say Something

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  1. Vox. It’s always Vox around here.

    1. They have to be paying Reason something. Right?

    2. To be sure Vox can occasionally be every bit as biased as Fox-thus also incurring a pox. (Oops did I forget the trigger warning?)

  2. >> In “Oneida,” it’s right about the time the eugenics kick in.

    In the case of Amana the demise was FDR. A separatist and voluntary religious commune didn’t fit into his central plan. How do you tax a town that doesn’t have the infrastructure for taxation? So the New Deal forced them to be “capitalist”.

    It was the longest lasting “socialist” commune in America. It worked because it was voluntary. Not defending socialism here, I’m defending the freedom to voluntarily associate with others. Sometimes the efforts to form a new society fail, other times the government steps in to destroy it. Who knows what we would have without the government?

    Anarcho-Capitalists imagine a homogeneous society of capitalists and entrepreneurs and salesmen from shore to shore. Anarcho-Socialists imagine a sea of homogeneous syndicates and committees and kumbaya. In truth we could have a patchwork of variety, with each community doing their own thing peacefully and constantly evolving.

  3. I started this podcasts on Katherine’s recommendation, but contrary to her review (maybe she hadn’t gotten far in the series yet) I found it going way past ‘casually woke’ by the end of season one.

  4. Yeah, nice try, KMW. No thanks.

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