You may have heard of best selling author John Green’s novels before, but what you may not know is that along with writing books such as “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Looking For Alaska” and “Turtles All the Way Down,” he also hosts the podcast “The Anthropocene Reviewed.” The podcast is based upon the principle of rating aspects of the Anthropocene, which is the current geologic age, defined by humans’ impact on the planet. From scratch ‘n sniff stickers to the human capacity for wonder, John Green can rate anything on a simple five star scale.
When I first found this podcast, Green had only released two episodes, one titled “Canada Geese and Diet Dr. Pepper” and the other “Halley's Comet and Cholera.” While this may seem like an odds and ends list of items, I was enraptured by his intense discussion of the role each of these things play in our world. Many may think rating geese on a five star scale is an uninteresting task; however, Green manages to truly analyze both the most mundane and fascinating aspects of the Anthropocene all while maintaining a soothing and engaging tone, truly befitting a podcast host such as himself.
To date, there are 32 episodes, and in each you can count on Green to make you consider the things around you in a whole new light. If you ever thought you understood all there was to understand about pineapple, I implore you to listen to the episode “Hawaiian Pizza and Viral Meningitis.” Whether you think pineapple belongs on pizza or not, Green’s analysis of Hawaiian Pizza on the Anthropocene is delightful.
However, if podcasts aren’t your preferred method for consuming existential reviews of the world, you will be delighted to know Green is converting many of his existing reviews as well as new ones into a book. The book is set to be released in May of 2021 and will dive further into the world as we know it. Although it is listed as an autobiography, it is bound to be an insightful look into not only Green’s life but the state of the human inhabited world. While not much is known about the content of the book, available descriptions mention reviews of the QWERTY keyboard and the Taco Bell breakfast menu.
When listening to the podcast, you will often find Green is hesitant to give anything five stars. However, in the episode “Capacity for Wonder and Sunsets,” Green does finally give sunsets five stars.
“This whole thing you've been doing where almost nothing gets five stars because almost nothing is perfect, that’s bs (bull shit). So much is perfect. Starting with this. I give sunsets five stars.”
Although so much in the world seems to be falling apart, it is this quote, along with many others throughout the podcast, that give me hope the world’s beauty cannot be soured. In a fitting reference to that wonderful episode, I find myself very willing to call this podcast perfect, or at the very least as close to perfection as the wildness of the Anthropocene can come. It is for this reason I give “The Anthropocene Reviewed” five stars.