"Social atomization" is a term that sounds like science fiction. It could be the title of a 1950s B-movie where a mad scientist vaporizes a dance party. But when sociologists use that term, "social atomization" is a complementary set of shifts you might have noticed lately: more loneliness, less societal trust, and an increasing feeling that nobody's got your back. What does it mean if that's happening to all of us? How can that happen without anybody intending it? And can that impact everything from your personal health to your national government?

On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt sits down with Jason Pargin (who writes for the site as David Wong). They'll explore why prior generations with rampant crime (!), Richard Nixon (!!), and the music of disco (!!!) feel better off and more cohesive than we do today. We'll also take one step back and look at the awful reasons why some people are talking about this in the first place. And if we all stick together and trust each other, we might see a few ways out of this predicament.

Footnotes:

21 Weird Health Facts That Everyone Should Know (Pt 1) (Cracked)

21 Weird Health Facts That Everyone Should Know (Pt 2) (Cracked)

"What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured." -- Kurt Vonnegut in his book Palm Sunday (1981)

Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex? (The Atlantic)

Definition of "woods porn" (Urban Dictionary)

Pornography: what we know, what we don't (The Guardian)

The many reasons that people are having less sex (BBC Future)

Why are Americans so lonely? Massive study finds nearly half of US feels alone, young adults most of all (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Loneliness Rivals Obesity, Smoking as Health Risk (WebMD Health News)

The Decline of Trust in the United States (Josh Morgan on Medium)

Americans have lost faith in institutions. That's not because of Trump or 'fake news.' (The Washington Post)

America's Epidemic of Empty Churches (The Atlantic)

America's Changing Religious Identity (PRRI)

Increases in internet use linked to a loss of religious affiliation, study finds (PsyPost)

Third place (Wikipedia)

New research casts doubt on whether Lyft and Uber help traffic congestion (MarketWatch)

Meet The Polite Florida Teenager Who Was Berated By That Crazy Dunkin' Donuts Woman (The Smoking Gun)

A white lawyer threatened to call ICE on Spanish-speaking restaurant workers. Twitter is tearing him apart. (Vox)

More than a third of all US adults use Instagram now (The Verge)

Exciting Tour News!

See the first-ever Cracked Podcast LIVE TOUR this spring! Get your tickets now for: Thursday April 11th -- Lincoln Hall, Chicago IL and Friday April 12th -- Amsterdam Bar and Hall, St. Paul MN.

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