In the last few weeks, as the coronavirus transformed from an interesting but far-removed story into something that required me to work remotely and become a reluctant prepper, I’ve been reminded of the build-up to the millennium and the global apprehension of the Y2K bug. I was young at the time and didn’t really understand much, but I’ll never forget the palpable unease and picking sides that occurred as society marched closer to the year 2000.
Dan Taberski’s second season of his “Headlong” podcast series (sandwiched between equally interesting seasons focusing on Richard Simmons and the “Cops” television show) is a brilliant, six-episode deep dive into this strange moment in human history, one with some obvious and not so obvious parallels to today. Taberski examines Y2K from all angles: his own extremely personal story, the stories of doomsday preppers, religious zealots, bank robbers, pregnant women racing to have the first baby of the millennium and those both stoking the flames of panic and those seeking to blow the whistle on what they viewed as a hoax. It is a highly engrossing examination of how society fractures and responds to disruption and chaos, a topic made even more interesting by listening to it during a pandemic. If you’re looking for a podcast that provides both escapism and a case study on our current predicament, then look no further.