Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Moonlight (USA: Barry Jenkins, 2016)

 



Moonlight (USA: Barry Jenkins, 2016: 110 mins)


Adams, Amy, et al. "Watch Isabelle Huppert, Emma Stone, Amy Adams & More Discuss Acting in 50-Minute Roundtable."  Film Stage (January 30, 2017) [" Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Emma Stone (La La Land), Amy Adams (Arrival), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Annette Bening (20th Century Women), and Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures)."]

Als, Hilton. "Moonlight Undoes Our Expectations." The New Yorker (October 24, 2016)

Art of the Title. "Know Your 2017 Below-the-Line Oscar Nominees." The Film Stage (January 30, 2017) ["The major below-the-line categories are Cinematography, Production Design, Sound Editing/Mixing, Visual Effects, Costume Design, and Makeup and Hairstyling . On the best productions (including those that the Academy labels Best Picture), the work of these crucial visual elements often blend together so seamlessly that it's hard to pick their creators' work.Thankfully, Art of The Film has created a series of supercuts called Oscars in One Minute that isolate the work of these artists so we can fully recognize their importance and beauty within each respective production."]

Atad, Corey. "Talking with Moonlight's Trevante Rhodes: For this young actor, reflecting on a breakthrough role, it's all about the empathy." Keyframe (October 20, 2016)

Bastién, Angelica Jade. "The Empathy Machine: Why Moonlight Isn’t Universal and That’s a Good Thing." cléo 5.1 (2017)

Bordwell, David. "Fantasy, flashbacks, and what-ifs: 2016 pays off the past." Observations on Film Art (January 2, 2017)

Brody, Richard. "The Unbearable Intimacy of Moonlight." The New Yorker (October 28, 2016)

Buder, Emily. "Moonlight: Barry Jenkins on Why the Exquisite Film Nearly Killed Him." No Film School (October 10, 2016)

Clark, Ashley, Violet Lucca and Amy Taubin. "Identity." Film Comment (January 17, 2017) ["Ideology and aesthetics have somehow come to be positioned opposite one another—in film criticism, should one be privileged over the other? This episode of The Film Comment Podcast discusses how race, ethnicity, and other markers of identity factor into film criticism and cinema generally. FC Digital Editor Violet Lucca unpacks the topic with Amy Taubin, Contributing Editor to FC and Artforum, and Ashley Clark, FC contributor and programmer, in a conversation that spans multiple decades of film history—from Taxi Driver to OJ: Made in America to Notting Hill to I Am Not Your Negro, to the canceled Michael Jackson episode of Urban Myths starring Joseph Fiennes."]

Clifton, Derrick. "Why Moonlight Should Win Best Picture at the Oscars." NBC News (January 24, 2017)

Collins, K. Austin. "The Radical Intimacy of Moonlight." The Ringer (October 18, 2016)

Eggert, Brian. "Moonlight (2016)." Deep Focus Review (November 20, 2016)

Jasper, Marykate. "These Tone-Deaf Reviews of Moonlight and Hidden Figures Are Why We Need Critics of Color." The Mary Sue (February 19, 2017)

Jenkins, Barry. "Moonlight." IndieWire Filmmaker Toolkit (October 21, 2016)

Kacprzak, Mikolaj. "Behind Moonlight." (Posted on Vimeo: March 2017)

Koski, Genvieve, et al. "In the Mood for Love / Moonlight, Part 1." The Next Picture Show #51 (November 22, 2016) ["Inspired by one of the year’s biggest indie sensations, Barry Jenkins’ MOONLIGHT, we’re looking at another highly romanticized tale of unrequited love: Wong Kar-wai’s beautiful 2000 film IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. In this half, we talk about how affecting LOVE’s central non-love-story is - and why - and consider how the film reflects Wong’s improvisational methods and his desire to create a dreamlike return to the Hong Kong of his childhood."]

---. "In the Mood for Love / Moonlight, Part 2." The Next Picture Show #52 (November 24, 2016) ["Our discussion of lyrical portraits of unrequited love turns its attention to Barry Jenkins’ MOONLIGHT, the look and feel of which—the final third in particular—recalls the bittersweet tone of Wong Kar-Wai’s IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. We share our reactions to MOONLIGHT, and consider the two films’ shared qualities, including their use of unusual framing and the thematic importance placed on food."]

Marinacci, Alesso. "Moonlight and Wong Kar Wai." (Posted on Youtube: Posted January 28, 2017)

May, Kate Torgovnick. "How Color Helps a Movie Tell a Story." TED (April 5, 2017)

Mayer, Sophie. "In Praise of Soft Cocks." cléo 5.1 (2017)

McDonald, Soraya Nadia. "New American Songbook." Film Comment (January/February 2020) ["Composer Nicholas Britell nurtures storytelling melodies into being that are acutely attuned to the contemporary moment."]

Ramos-Taylor, Zachary. "The Intimate Look." (Posted on Vimeo: March 2017)

Schotz, Mal. "How to Praise Moonlight." Situation Critical (November 5, 2016)

Scott, A.O. "Moonlight: Is This the Year's Best Movie." The New York Times (October 20, 2016)

Shoard, Catherine. Should Critics of Moonlight Be Hounded for Having an Opinion." The Guardian (February 22, 2017)

Sims, David. "Moonlight is a Film of Uncommon Grace." The Atlantic (October 26, 2016)

Smith, Nathan. "Chopped and Screwed: This hip-hop subgenre could be the best thing that's happened to movies in years." Keyframe (March 21, 2017)

Swinney, Jacob T.  "Reoccurring Imagery in Moonlight." (Posted on Vimeo: March 2017)

Tallerico, Brian. "The Best Films of the 2010s: Moonlight." Roger Ebert (November 6, 2019)

---. "Moonlight." Roger Ebert (October 21, 2016)

Zaman, Farihah and Nicolas Rapold. "Song of Myself." Film Comment (September/October 2016) ["Barry Jenkins confirms his talent with a heartwrenching and gorgeous portrait of a man grappling with his sexuality in a rough corner of Miami"]





































































 PICK ONE from Catherine Grant on Vimeo.








Thursday, August 26, 2021

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Romania: Cristian Mungiu, 2007)

 


4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Romania: Cristian Mungiu, 2007: 113 mins)

Bjelić, Dušan. "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days at the moment of neoliberal catastrophe." Jump Cut #58 (Spring 2018)

Cho, Seongyong. "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days." Roger Ebert (April 3, 2019)

Eggert, Brian. "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days." Deep Focus Review (March 3, 2008)

Jones, Kristin M. "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days." Film Comment (February 2008)

Kasman, Daniel. "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Mungiu, Romania)." Notebook (January 31, 2008)

Mungiu, Cristian. "Oppression and Abortion in Mungiu's '4 Months'." Fresh Air (February 7, 2008)

Parvulescu, Consantin. "The cold world behind the window: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and Romanian cinema’s return to real-existing communism." Jump Cut #51 (Spring 2009)

Ratner, Megan. "Stunted Lives: Unsettling and Unmissable. Bright Lights Film Journal #59 (February 2008)

Roman, Denise. "Film Notes: Three Romanian Movies (On Belonging and Corporeality in the New Wave of Romanian Cinema)." UC Los Angeles: UCLA Center for the Study of Women. (April 1, 2008)

Smith, Damon. "Once Upon a Time in Romania." Filmmaker (Winter 2008)

Taylor, Ella. "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days: Late Term." The Current (Jan 25, 2019)





Adam Curtis: Documentary Filmmaker/BBC Journalist/History/Power

 Archives on/by Adam Curtis and his documentaries:


Thought Maybe: Adam Curtis' Films

Wikipedia: Adam Curtis

The Guardian: Adam Curtis


Resources by/about Adam Curtis and his documentaries:

"Adam Curtis, the contrarian documentarian (part 1 of two)." Media Funhouse (October 16, 2013)

"Adam Curtis, the contrarian documentarian (part 2 of two)." Media Funhouse (October 17, 2013)

Adams, Tim. "Anonymity is a shield for bigotry; if you don’t believe me, ask Schopenhauer." The Guardian (February 14, 2021)

Atkinson, Michael. "Archival Trouble: The fiction-free science fiction of Adam Curtis." Moving Image Source (February 16, 2012)

Ball, Norman. "The Power of Auteurs and the Last Man Standing: Adam Curtis' Documentary Nightmares." Bright Lights Film Journal #78 (November 2012)

Brand, Russell and Adam Curtis. "Do We Really Want to Change?" Under the Skin #3 (July 22, 2017) ["... filmmaker Adam Curtis about the rise of individualism, where real power lies, and whether we really want change."]

Can't Get You Out of My Head (BBC: Adam Curtis, 2021: 6 episodes) ["Can’t Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World is a six-part series that explores how modern society has arrived to the strange place it is today. The series traverses themes of love, power, money, corruption, the ghosts of empire, the history of China, opium and opioids, the strange roots of modern conspiracy theories, and the history of Artificial Intelligence and surveillance. The series deals with the rise of individualism and populism throughout history, and the failures of a wide range of resistance movements throughout time and various countries, pointing to how revolution has been subsumed in various ways by spectacle and culture, because of the way power has been forgotten or given away."]

Curtis, Adam. "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace." Little Atoms (May 20, 2011)

---. "The Baby and the Baath Water." The Medium and the Message (June 16, 2011)

---. "Bugger." The Medium and the Message (August 8, 2013)

---. "The Curse of TINA." The Medium and the Message (September 13, 2011)

---. "Paradiabolical." The Medium and the Message (January 30, 2013)

---. "TV needs 'new tools' to tell its stories." The Guardian (August 22, 2012)

Harrison, Phil. "Massive Attack: 'You resurrect ghosts when you bring something back from the past.'" The Guardian (February 6, 2021) ["Robert Del Naja, of the Bristol pioneers, talks about the power and danger of nostalgia as well as his work collaborating with Adam Curtis."]

Knight, Sam. "Adam Curtis Explains It All." The New Yorker (January 28, 2021)



Obrist, Hans Ulrich. "In Conversation with Adam Curtis." E-Flux #32 (February 2012)

Ronson, Jon. "In Conversation with Adam Curtis." Vice (January 15, 2015)

Stewart-Ahn, Aaron. "How Adam Curtis' film Bitter Lake will change everything you believe about news." Boing Boing (March 19, 2015)

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

ENG 281: Fall 2021 Student Response Tally


Tally of responses:

Addison Pevley: 6 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Blindspotting; Cam; Blackkklansman)

Alexander Giagios: 6 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You)

Benjamin Miller: 9 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You)

Brandon Ford: 5 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Moonlight; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Sorry to Bother You)

Brooklyn Wiggington 6 (Get Out; Moonlight; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman)

Dayne Chrisco 8 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You)

Emily Caldwell: 6 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas)

Emily James 7 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas)

Eric Hayes 9 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You)

Graceyn Earlywine: 5 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Moonlight; Annihilation; Cam; Blackkklansman)

Hannah Holbrook: 5 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Annihilation; Cam; Blackkklansman)

Isaac Cothern 6 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Annihilation; Cam; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You)

Jacob Skaggs: 6 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Sorry to Bother You)

James Parrish: 9(Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You)

Justin Moya: 9 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You)

Kaylee Childers: 3 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Cloud Atlas; Sorry to Bother You)

Kris Traynor 7 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You)

Kristen Fuchs 8 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman)

Madison Weis: 7 (Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You)

Matthew Carpenter 5 (Get Out; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Sorry to Bother You)

Mika Pasqual 9 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You)

Samuel McGhee 5 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Moonlight; Cam; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You)

Thomas Kinchen 3 (Get Out; Annihilation; Cam)

Tiffany Madden: 1 (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Timothy Skidmore: 9 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You)

Weston Lamb 6 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Moonlight; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You)


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Mad Max: Fury Road (Australia/USA: George Miller, 2015)





 Mad Max: Fury Road (Australia/USA: George Miller, 2015: 120 mins)


Adkins, Ashleigh. "Mad Max: Fury Road." Letterboxd (October 10, 2019)

Anderson, Jake. "Mad Max: Fury Road." Letterboxd (August 16, 2018)

Benedict, Steven. "Mad Max: Fury Road." (Audio: May 16, 2015)

Bourke, Liz. "Sleeps With Monsters: Mad Max: Fury Road." Tor (May 26, 2015)

Bures, Frank, et al. "Dispatches From the Ruins: Why do we crave the awful futures of apocalyptic fiction?" Aeon (May 16, 2017) ["In the first two decades of the new millennium, stories of the post-apocalypse have permeated pop culture, from books such as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006), Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl (2009) and Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven (2014) to films and TV programmes such as The Walking Dead (2010-), the Hunger Games series (2012-15) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). While post-apocalyptic fictions of previous eras largely served as cautionary tales – against nuclear brinksmanship in On the Beach(1959) or weaponised biology in The Stand (1978) – today’s versions of these tales depict less alterable, more oblique and diffuse visions of our doom. So why can’t we seem to get enough of humanity’s unavoidable collapse and its bleak aftermath? "]

Cahput, Edgar. "Mad Max: Fury Road modernizes the franchise without losing its identity in the slightest." Sound on Sight (May 17, 2015)

Chang, Justin. "Film Review: Mad Max: Fury Road." Variety (May 11. 2015)

Digging Deeper. "Vehicles of Masculinity." (Posted on Youtube: October 26, 2015)

Dockterman, Eliana. "Vagina Monologues Writer Eve Ensler: How Mad Max: Fury Road Became a ‘Feminist Action Film.’" Time (May 7, 2015)

Futrelle, David. "Furious about Furiosa: Misogynists are losing it over Charlize Theron’s starring role in Mad Max: Fury Road." We Hunted the Mammoth (May 12, 2015)

Galibert-Laîné, Chloe. "Why Framing Matters in Movies." (Posted on Vimeo: January 2016)

Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra. "Furious and Furiosa." Overland (May 15, 2015)

Lerer, Diego and Adrian Martin. "Mad Max: Fury Road Wins FIPRESCI Grand Prix." FIPRESCI (September 1, 2015)

"Mad Max Special Part 1." Sordid Cinema #98 (May 19, 2015)

"Mad Max Special Part 2." Sordid Cinema #99 (May 24, 2015)

Mancini, Vince. "Mad Max: Fury Road Might Be The Best Action Movie Of The Last 10 Years." Uproxx (May 13, 2015)

McKenna, Juliet, et al. "Fight Scenes and Women Warriors." Breaking the Glass Slipper 2.8 (April 13, 2017) ["As Kameron Hurley discusses in her Hugo Award-winning article, ‘We Have Always Fought‘, women have always fought. So why don’t we see more women warriors in science fiction and fantasy novels? History is full of women on battlefields and in brawls, even if the history books might gloss over it. Remember: much of the history we hold as the gold standard was written by men who were reinforcing the social structures they created. When it comes to fight scenes, there’s already enough to think about without worrying about gender representation (and no, that’s not an excuse…). A well-written fight scene is a rare gem. We talk to writer and martial artist Juliet McKenna about the common mistakes writers make when writing fight scenes, from grand military battles to a pub fight, we talk weapons, fight styles, point of view, and more. What makes a fight scene interesting? How much detail is too much? And it wouldn’t be an episode of Breaking the Glass Slipper without us championing some of our favourite examples of great women warriors in SFFH."]

Pelan, Tim, et al. "In Search of Our Better Selves: The Rebirth, Redemption and Road Warriors of George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road." Cinephilia & Beyond (ND)

Selby, Jenn. "Mad Max heroine Charlize Theron on female roles in Hollywood: 'You're either a really good mother, or a really good hooker.'" The Independent (May 15, 2015)

Sobczynski, Peter. "'I'm Just Here for the Gasoline': An Overview of the Mad Max Saga." Balder and Dash (May 11, 2015)

Swinney, Jacob T. "The Chameleonic Charlize Theron." Keyframe (Match 13, 2017)

Vaughn, L.J. "My Reaction to Mad Max: Fury Road and the Utter Perfection That Is Imperator Furiosa." The Mary Sue (May 29, 2015)













Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Brainstorming for ENG 102 Essay Topics: Fall 2021

The earlier we start this, the better!

Finding a book:

ENG 102: Books for Argument Essay Research Projects (Interviews and Analysis) 

ENG 102: Books for Argument Essay Research Projects


Finding topics/subjects:

Look on the right hand side of my website in the Dialogic Cinephilia Resources (literally look to the right side of what you are reading right now and scan downward). There are a series of links to archives on subjects and various thinkers. I'm a Film Studies professor, so there is a lot of archives on that subject. I also teach Peace & Conflict Studies so there is a wide range of links looking at history and politics. I'm also a Humanities professor with a strong interest in arts and creativity, plenty of links exploring art, culture, science, technology, philosophy, psychology, animals, food ... all kinds of subjects :)

Very important!!! Choose a topic/subject that is going to motivate you to learn more about it :) Think about it, a rare opportunity here, to pick what you want to study. I'll help you to learn to research and write the essays!  

Last, you are not required to choose something from here, these are just provided to help students that want examples. You should run your topic and book by me asap so I can provide feedback to help you with your annotated bibliography.  If you are having trouble choosing a book or a topic, contact me, lets chat about it.

BlacKKKlansman (USA: Spike Lee, 2018)





BlacKkKlansman (USA: Spike Lee, 2018: 135 mins)

Abdurraqib, Hanif. "Blackklansman and the Art of Code Switching." Pacific Standard (August 20, 2018) ["Beyond tics in dialect, code-switching often requires a shift in ideology."]

Brown, Rembert. "Spike Lee Wants BlacKkKlansman to Wake America Up: The director’s provocative new film will change the way you think about racism." Time (August 9, 2018)

Creech, Lydia and Andrew Swafford. "BlacKkKlansman (2018) by Spike Lee." Cinematary (August 13, 2018)

Enzo and Eve. "Wakanda Deferred." Hammer & Camera #16 (July 12, 2019) ["Enzo and Eve of the Marxist "propaganda circle" Unity & Struggle to discuss their article, "Black on Both Sides: Grappling with BLM in Movies", and to review the past year of Black cinema. Among the films discussed are Black Panther, Blackkklansman, Sorry to Bother You, Blindspotting, and Us."]

Kiefer, Halle. "Spike Lee Defends BlacKkKlansman’s Depiction of Police After Boots Riley Critique." Vulture (August 24, 2018)

King, Gemma. "In Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, language is power." The Conversation (September 9, 2018) 

Kohn, Eric. "Spike Lee’s Secret Weapon For 30 Years: ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Composer Terence Blanchard." IndieWire (December 31, 2018)

Koski, Genevive, et al. "Blackkklansman/Malcolm X (Pt. 1)."  The Next Picture Show #144 (September 4, 2018) ["Spike Lee’s new BLACKKKLANSMAN is an urgent call to look to the past to understand the present, an approach it shares with many of Lee’s films, though perhaps none as strongly as his 1992 epic biopic MALCOLM X. The films revisit two different chapters in 20th-century history, and star two different members of the Washington family — Denzel and his son, John David — but both are pure Lee in both their narrative motivations and their filmmaking technique. In this half, we consider what makes MALCOLM X the rare cradle-to-grave biopic that works, how Lee finds the dynamism in near-constant speechmaking, and whether Angela Bassett elevates a thankless role, or simply channels its innate nuance. "]

---. "Blackkklansman/Malcolm X (Pt. 2)." The Next Picture #145 (September 11, 2020) ["Though BLACKKKLANSMAN is, like MALCOLM X, drawn from real life, Spike Lee’s newest film takes more liberties in telling its ostensibly true story (something that’s drawn criticism from some corners). And also like MALCOLM X, it’s a film set in the past that’s commenting, often directly, on the present. Together the two films give us a lot to talk about, from their respective uses of speechmaking and divided identities, to their perspectives on white allies."]

Lee, Spike. "Blackkklansman." The Film Comment Podcast (August 1, 2018) ["Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman—a story about incredible events in America’s past that feel well-suited to our incredible present. “In a case where the events of history improve upon the fantasies of fiction, BlacKkKlansman, the latest Spike Lee joint, is based on the 2014 memoir written by Ron Stallworth, a black undercover police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in 1979,” Teo Bugbee writes in her feature. “However, Lee does not get lost in the details of Stallworth’s life story, and BlacKkKlansman is no straight biopic. Instead, it follows the beats of a traditional cop movie, where a man of the law is torn between allegiances in his efforts to solve a case. In this regard, the film represents the latest chapter in the underrated career of Spike Lee, genre filmmaker.” For this episode, I joined Bugbee and Ashley Clark of BAMcinématek to discuss Lee’s wide-ranging, and chronically misunderstood, career."]

Lee, Spike and Lawrence O'Donnell. "On Blackkklansman." Film Comment Podcast (February 22, 2019) [" ... an extended conversation between Lee and Emmy Award–winning writer and television host Lawrence O’Donnell (The West Wing, MSNBC), followed by a screening of BlacKkKlansman, presented by Film Comment. In the course of the conversation, Lee discusses the genesis of BlacKkKlansman, how he chooses collaborators, and what it would mean to him to win an Oscar for the film. Nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Director, BlacKkKlansman tells the story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department, who bravely sets out on a dangerous mission to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. In a feature on the film in the July-August 2018 issue of Film Comment, Teo Bugbee writes that, “BlacKkKlansman is no straight biopic. Instead, it follows the beats of a traditional cop movie, where a man of the law is torn between allegiances in his efforts to solve a case. In this regard, the film represents the latest chapter in the underrated career of Spike Lee, genre filmmaker.”"]

Miller, Julie. "BlacKkKlansman: The True Story of How Ron Stallworth Infiltrated the K.K.K." Variety (August 10, 2018)

Murphy, Mekado. "How Spike Lee Created Three Signature Visual Shots." The New York Times (August 2, 2018)

Seymour, Gene. "Taming the Savage White Man: The Western Mythos Remade in the Age of Trump." The Baffler #43 (February 2019) 

Smith, Jamil. "Spike Lee on ‘BlacKkKlansman’ and Life in Trump’s America." Rolling Stone (August 2, 2018) 














Monday, August 16, 2021

ENG 102: Arts and Culture (Ongoing Archive)

This archive is being developed for my classes and has a focus on a conception of artistic creativity that troubles a limited market consideration of who is an "artist" (or what is art) and looks at the difficulties/successes of creative personalities.  It also includes retrospective analysis of works that exemplify an artist's creativity and vision.  As a Humanities professor I have a strong interest in the "stories" we tell about the world and the different ways we conceive of the reality of things. Last, but not least, it includes theorizations and discussions of artists/creativity and art forms/genres.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

"60 Words." Radiolab (April 18, 2014) ["This hour we pull apart one sentence, written in the hours after September 11th, 2001, that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. We examine how just 60 words of legal language have blurred the line between war and peace. In the hours after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a lawyer sat down in front of a computer and started writing a legal justification for taking action against those responsible. The language that he drafted and that President George W. Bush signed into law - called the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) - has at its heart one single sentence, 60 words long. Over the last decade, those 60 words have become the legal foundation for the "war on terror." In this collaboration with BuzzFeed, reporter Gregory Johnsen tells us the story of how this has come to be one of the most important, confusing, troubling sentences of the past 12 years. We go into the meetings that took place in the chaotic days just after 9/11, speak with Congresswoman Barbara Lee and former Congressman Ron Dellums about the vote on the AUMF. We hear from former White House and State Department lawyers John Bellinger & Harold Koh. We learn how this legal language unleashed Guantanamo, Navy Seal raids and drone strikes. And we speak with journalist Daniel Klaidman, legal expert Benjamin Wittes and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine about how these words came to be interpreted, and what they mean for the future of war and peace."]

Acocella, Joan. "Angela's Carter's Feminist Mythology." The New Yorker (March 5, 2017) ["A new biography shows how the British author made fairy tales psychological and sexy."]

Adam Curtis: Documentary Filmmaker Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive) [From People Pill: "Kevin Adam Curtis (born 26 May 1955) is a British documentary filmmaker. His favourite theme is "power and how it works in society", and his works explore areas of sociology, psychology, philosophy and political history. Curtis has called himself "fundamentally a historian", and has described his work as journalism that happens to be expounded via film. His films have won four BAFTAs. He has worked for the BBC throughout his career."]

Alexander, Elizabeth, Maya Angelou, and Arnold Rampersand. "W.E.B. Du Bois & the American Soul." On Being (January 7, 2016) ["One of the most extraordinary minds of American and global history, W.E.B. Du Bois penned the famous line that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line.” He is a formative voice for many of the people who gave us the Civil Rights Movement. But his passionate, poetic words and intelligence continue to enliven 21st-century life on the color line and beyond it. We bring Du Bois’ life and ideas into relief — featuring one of the last interviews the great Maya Angelou gave before her death."]

Annihilation (UK/USA: Alex Garland, 2018) Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive) [Description of the movie: "Lena, a biologist and former soldier, joins a mission to uncover what happened to her husband inside Area X -- a sinister and mysterious phenomenon that is expanding across the American coastline. Once inside, the expedition discovers a world of mutated landscapes and creatures, as dangerous as it is beautiful, that threatens both their lives and their sanity." Based on the 2014 novel of the same name, by Jeff Vandermeer.]

Argabright, Sachi, Bezi, and Kendra Winchester. "On Afrofuturism and Parable of the Sower." Reading Women (February 19, 2020) ["So Afrofuturism, in short—and as you will soon learn in the rest of the episode, nothing about this is short, but I will try and give a short version—Afrofuturism can be understood as the way that Black people think about and imagine futures that usually involve ideas about science fiction, aliens, post-apocalyptic futures, and fantastic devices and metaphors. So it can incorporate, as the title of this book suggests, science fiction, fantasy, dystopia, and a whole bunch of other subgenres beneath those. But the idea is that it primarily centers Black futures—and Black and African understandings of . . . and mythologies and worldviews."]

Armstrong, Karen. "The Lost Art of Scripture." Radio West (December 31, 2020) ["Sacred text – with their often ambiguous wording and metaphorical meanings – are ready-made for differing interpretations from various groups. In her book, The Lost Art of Scripture, Karen looks into the history of these texts, showing how religious practitioners' relationships with them have changed, and how many of us have lost sight of what they were originally written for."]

Arnove, Anthony and Viggo Mortensen. "10 Years of Howard Zinn’s Voices of a People’s History."Democracy Now (November 21, 2014) ["Actors including Viggo Mortensen, Peter Sarsgaard and Kelly Macdonald are gathering in New York today for a reading of “Voices of a People’s History of the United States,” based on the late historian Howard Zinn’s book “A People’s History of the United States” — which has sold over a million copies. The event marks the 10th anniversary of publication of “Voices,” which was edited by Zinn and Anthony Arnove. Mortensen, an Academy Award-nominated actor whose credits include The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has appeared in numerous performances of “Voices” and is a cast member of the television documentary version, “The People Speak.” He joins us along with Anthony Arnove to discuss the 10th anniversary of “Voices” and its continued political relevance today."]

Asher-Perrin, Emily, et al. "Dr. Who." Imaginary Worlds (January 24, 2018) ["We don’t know his real name. We don’t know who he was before he stole the TARDIS — a spaceship/time machine that looks like a police box on the outside, but is really a cavernous ship on the inside. He’s thousands of years old, but wears a different face every few years. He calls himself The Doctor, but Doctor who? In the first of my three-part series, I look at how a restless intergalactic time traveller became a global pop culture icon, and why The Doctor’s knack for physical regeneration resonates with fans on a more personal level."]

Attree, Lizzy. "Reclaiming Africa’s Stolen Histories Through Fiction." Los Angeles Review of Books (July 11, 2018) ["Are we on the cusp of a new age of African literature? If so, the key to new novels from African writers seems to be the fresh use of historical fiction to articulate a new future."]

Auiler, Dan, et al. "Vertigo." The Projection Booth #286 (August 30, 2016) ["Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo is a tale of obsession which has sparked an obsession in many of its viewers.Jimmy Stewart stars as John "Scottie" Ferguson, a disgraced detective who's hired by an old friend to follow his wife, Madeline (Kim Novak), who seems to have become possessed by a spirit from San Francisco's past. Professors Tania Modleski and Susan White (no relation) join Mike to discuss the film which was ranked as the best film in the world in a 2012 Sight & Sound poll. Authors Patrick McGilligan (Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light) and Dan Auiler (Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic)."]

Benton, Michael Dean.  "Exit Through the Gift Shop." North of Center (March 2, 2011) [A discussion of Banksy: "Humans are narrative creatures, homo fabulans, who seek meaning and are open to narrative constructions. We all laugh at the person who is unable to perceive that their favorite TV star is not the character they play, but is this all that different from those of us who are unable to perceive the surreality of the infotainment with which we are presented 24/7? When it comes to more important political and social issues, how does this play out in our perceptions of what is right and wrong? Do most people investigate for themselves and use their knowledge to produce their own meanings, or do they sit back and allow talking heads to tell them what to think? ... What do you do, though, when the populace has been colonized so heavily by the invading forces? How do you get them to recognize their enslavement or to begin to imagine something different? How do you deal with the lackey art world that supports the dominant structure of passive consumption, corporate branding and obsessive collecting? What does an artist do, when they know their art depends on a critical audience to respond as co-creators, to wake people up? Especially when all of their direct actions of defiance and critique are immediately repurposed and delimited for safe consumption in the 24-hour titillation news cycle."]

Berger, John. Permanent Red: Essays in Seeing. Writers & Readers Publishing, 2007. [“Why should an artist’s way of looking at the world have any meaning for us? Why does it give us pleasure? Because, I believe, it increases our awareness of our own potentiality.”]

Bogutskaya, Anna, et al. "Promising Young Podcast #1 - A Woman's Worst Nightmare." The Final Girls (April 16, 2021) ["A mini-pod dedicated to Emerald Fennell's blistering revenge fairytale, Promising Young Woman. The first episode is a (mostly) spoiler-free in-depth review."]

---. "Promising Young Podcast #2 - But I'm A Nice Guy ." The Final Girls (April 24, 2021) [" In this episode we discuss the nice guy trope and the way the film depicts it."]

---. "Promising Young Podcast #3 - Hell Hath No Fury Like a Critic Scorned." The Final Girls (May 3, 2021) [" In this episode we discuss the divisive reaction, accolades and critiques the film has received."]

---. "Promising Young Podcast #4 - Girls Just Want to Not Get Assaulted." The Final Girls (May 17, 2021) ["In this episode we discuss the real big bad of the film: rape culture."]

Bozdech, Betsy, et al. "Movie of the Week: Tove." Alliance of Women Journalists (June 4, 2021) ["It’s no surprise by now to discover that the private lives of the authors and artists behind some of the world’s most beloved children’s books were anything but calm (or G-rated). But it’s always fascinating to get a glimpse into the events, people, and places that shaped them and led to their iconic creations, and Zaida Bergroth’s Tove — which stars the excellent Alma Pöysti as Finnish Moomin mastermind Tove Jansson — is no exception."]

The Consilience Project. "Democracy and the Epistemic Commons."  (Posted on Youtube: September 26, 2021) ["Democracy cannot function without an epistemically healthy public sphere that makes it possible for democratic self-government to achieve successful outcomes, maintain its legitimacy, and avoid runaway concentrations of power in society. The institutional structures responsible for maintaining our epistemic commons have faltered. Only a new movement for cultural enlightenment can harness the energy needed to reboot and revamp our ailing institutions—or generate new ones entirely—and thereby restore our democracy."]

---. "We Don't Make Propaganda! They Do!" The Consilience Project (August 23, 2021)

"Dee Makes a Smut Film." It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia 11.4 (January 27, 2016) ["The Gang debates modern art after seeing Dee in a smut film; Mac and Charlie enlist the help of Frank and Cricket in order to prove that modern art is worthless, whilst Dee and Dennis adapt his erotic memoirs to prove that it isn't."]

Dorian, M.J. "Carl Jung • The Red Book (Part 1)." Creative Codex #11 (November 18, 2019) ["On this episode we dive into one of the strangest and most enigmatic books ever written: The Red Book. This is a book so infamous that it was kept locked away for fifty years after Carl Jung's death, raising concerns that it might prove that the world renowned psychologist was actually insane. Is it a work of visionary creativity or divine madness? Let's find out."]

---. "Carl Jung • The Red Book (Part 2)." Creative Codex #12 (February 3, 2020) ["In this episode we join Carl Jung as he meets Death, Satan, and his own soul. Join the journey as we deep dive with soundscape simulations of Jung’s visions, exploring the Archetypes, the Mundus Imaginalis, and Active Imagination."]

---. "Frida Kahlo (Pain Becomes Art)." Creative Codex #3 (February 25, 2019) ["Is creativity linked with emotion? Can life's tragedies and heartbreaks be resolved through creating art? In this episode we try to answer those questions with the help of one of the most iconic artists of all time: Frida Kahlo."]

---. "H.R. Giger: A Beautiful Darkness." Creative Codex #9 (September 2, 2019) ["H.R. Giger is considered by many to be the most evil artist in history. Join us as we take a deep dive into the abyss where Giger's strange ideas are born. In this episode we also explore: how did Giger create a style so distinct that people see it as 'out of this world'?"]

---. "Leonardo Da Vinci's Secret." Creative Codex #2 (September 3, 2018 ["What made Leonardo da Vinci so consistently inspired? What was his secret?"]

---. "Listener Q&A." Creative Codex #10 (September 2019) ["Our first Listener Q&A episode!!! So many compelling questions including: Are left handed people more creative? Was Nikola Tesla spiritual? How do you quiet the doubting voices in your mind? What was Frida Kahlo's life like after the accident? Is creativity a supernatural force? What is the nature of evil?"]

---. "Nikola Tesla & the Paradox of Genius." Creative Codex #5 (May 9, 2019) ["Nikola Tesla's unique genius is the stuff of fantasy; he electrified the world, feuded with Thomas Edison, invented a death ray, and caused an earthquake in Manhattan. In this episode we try to untangle the paradox of Nikola Tesla's life: how can a man of unrivaled genius change the world but die a hermit with no money to his name?"]

---. "The Origin of Art." Creative Codex #1 (August 18, 2018) ["Travel back 40,000 years to the first known art made by human hands. How did creativity begin? Why does 'art' exist?"]

---. "Salvador Dali (Saint of Delusion)." Creative Codex #7 (July 3, 2019) ["Salvador Dali is one of the most successful artists of all time. Join us as we find the origin of his unmistakable style, discover the secret to his creative process, and unravel the lies of the enigmatic: Dali."]

---. "Vincent van Gogh • A Strange Boy (Madness, Genius, & Tragedy: Part 1)." Creative Codex #22 (May 26, 2021) ["Can madness and genius be contained in one individual? Can psychosis and the rarest artistry be contained in one mind? These contradictions pervade the story of Vincent van Gogh. And in the final three years of his life, they culminate in a whirlwind. You may think you know Vincent, you may have heard about him on a TV show or a podcast. But not like this. Over the next three episodes, we will explore Van Gogh’s personal letters, doctor’s reports, police reports, and family letters, to paint a vivid picture of Vincent in his three final years, these are the years that produced his most famous and beloved works, and the years in which Vincent’s final tragic descent begins. Was he actually psychotic or just misunderstood? Did he really cut off his ear and commit suicide? Was he actually a creative genius or is it all just hype? Let’s find out."]

---. "Vincent van Gogh • The Ear Incident (Madness, Genius, & Tragedy: Part 2)." Creative Codex #23 (June 11, 2021) ["On this special episode, we dive into the full truth about the most infamous event in art history: Vincent van Gogh's ear incident. The 'ear incident' serves as a catalyst event, which signals the onset of a mental affliction which will torment Vincent van Gogh for his final three years. Paradoxically, at the same time his mental health is in decline, his paintings are showing the signs of a creative genius. "]

---.  "Vincent van Gogh • The Asylum (Madness, Genius, & Tragedy: Part 3)." Creative Codex #24 (July 29, 2021) [MB: I was just listening to this on a stroll in the morning sun and I was struck at the incredible love & support of Theo van Gogh for his tortured brother Vincent. MJ Dorian's exploration of it literally brought me to tears and I marveled at how important the sibling relation is (blood or otherwise). Here's to all the equally supportive & loving brothers and sisters out there - much love and gratitude to you all :) Episode description: "On May 8th, 1889, Vincent van Gogh checks in to a mental asylum. What begins as a three month stay extends into a year. A period of time during which Vincent paints 141 masterpieces in between bouts of debilitating psychotic attacks. On this episode, we dive into Vincent and Theo's letters to finally uncover all of the details about Vincent's yearlong stay in the asylum."]

---. "Vincent van Gogh • At Eternity's Gate (Madness, Genius, & Tragedy: Part 4)." Creative Codex #25 (August 26, 2021)  [MB: "Working around the household this afternoon, I finished Pt. 4 of MJ Dorian's 4 part Creative Codex series on Vincent van Gogh. It is one of the most impressive podcasts I have listened to: providing the intellectual & artistic biography of Vincent's early years, the inspiring story of his relationship with his brother Theo, Vincent's battles with mental illness, serious myth busting of the misconceptions of his illness & art, a riveting true crime investigation of Vincent's death, Theo's ultimate fate, and the unfairly ignored Johanna van Vogh-Bonger's pivotal, tireless role of rescuing Vincent van Gogh from the dustbin of history, through posthumously exhibiting Vincent's art and building his legacy, translating the brothers hundreds of letters into multiple languages, and literally being the reason we know Vincent van Gogh as an artistic giant, rather than as a tragic footnote. I was left breathless :) Episode description: "On this episode we explore the tragic death of Vincent van Gogh. We seek to answer, once and for all, was it: suicide or homicide? In the process we discover that the two popular theories explaining Vincent's death are deeply flawed, and a new theory emerges. This episode follows the events of that fateful day through Theo's perspective. After a thorough investigation, we explore the aftermath, and meet the woman who made Vincent van Gogh a household name: Johanna van Gogh-Bonger."]

Flight, Thomas. "This is Atlanta - How Donald Glover Creates Social Commentary." (Posted on Youtube: May 22, 2018) ["An exploration of techniques Donald Glover and Hiro Murai use in the Childish Gambino music video "This is America" and TV show Atlanta to create unique social commentary."]

Ford, Phil, Connor Habib and J.F. Martel. "On Joy Williams Breaking and Entering." Weird Studies #107 (September 29, 2021) ["Joy Williams' third novel, Breaking and Entering, is the story of lovers who break into strangers' homes and live their lives for a time before moving on. First published in 1988, it is a book impossible to describe, a work of singular vision and sensibility that is as infectious in its weird effect as it is unforgettable for the quality of its prose. In this episode, the novelist, spiritual thinker, and acclaimed podcaster Conner Habib joins JF and Phil to explore how the novel's enchantments rest on the uniqueness of Williams' style, which is to say, her bold embrace of ways of seeing that are hers alone. Williams is an artist who refuses to work from within some predetermined philosophical or political idiom. As Habib tells your hosts, she goes her own way, and even the gods must follow."]

Ford, Phil and J.F. Martel. "Garmonbozia." Weird Studies #2 (February 1, 2018) ["Phil and JF use a word from the Twin Peaks mythos, "garmonbozia," to try to understand what it was that the detonation of atomic bomb brought into the world. We use the fictional world of Twin Peaks as a map to the (so-called) real world and take Philip K. Dick, Krzysztof Penderecki, Norman Mailer, William S. Burroughs, Theodor Adorno, and H.P. Lovecraft as our landmarks."]

---. "Introduction to Weird Studies." Weird Studies #1 (January 31, 2018) ["Phil and J.F. share stories of sleep paralysis and talk about Charles Fort's sympathy for the damned, Jeff Kripal's phenomenological approach to Fortean weirdness, Dave Hickey's notion of beauty as democracy, and Timothy Morton's hyperobjects."]

---.  "On Hyperstition." Weird Studies #36 (December 19, 2018) ["Hyperstition is a key concept in the philosophy of Nick Land. It refers to fictions which, given enough time and libidinal investment, become realities. JF and Phil explore the notion using one of those optometric apparatuses with multiple lenses -- deleuzian, magical, mythological, political, ethical, etc. The goal isn't to understand how fictions participate in reality (that'll have to wait for another episode), but to ponder what this implies for a sapient species. The conversation weaves together such varied topics as Twin Peaks: The Return, Internet meme magic (Trump as tulpa!), Deleuze and Guattari's metaphysics, occult experiments in spirit creation, the Brothers Grimm, and the phantasmic overtones of The Communist Manifesto. In the end we can only say, "What a load of bullsh*t!""]

---. "We'd Love to Turn You On: 'Sgt. Pepper' and the Beatles." Weird Studies #104 (August 4, 2021) ["It is said that for several days after the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in the spring of 1967, you could have driven from one U.S. coast to the other without ever going out of range of a local radio broadcast of the album. Sgt. Pepper was, in a sense, the first global musical event -- comparable to other sixties game-changers such as the Kennedy assassination and the moon landing. What's more, this event is as every bit as strange as the latter two; it is only custom and habit that blind us to the profound weirdness of Sgt. Pepper. In this episode, Phil and JF reimagine the Beatles' masterpiece as an egregore, a magical operation that changes future and past alike, and a spiritual machine for "turning us on" to the invisible background against which we strut and fret our hours on the stage."]

---. "Whirl Without End: On M.C. Richards' Centering." Weird Studies #35 (December 5, 2018) ["The first step in any pottery project is to center the clay on the potter's wheel. In her landmark essay Centering: In Pottery, Poetry and the Person (1964), the American poet M. C. Richards turns this simple action into a metaphor for all creative acts, including the act of living your life. The result is a penetrating and poetic reflection on the artistic process that values change, unknowing, and radical becoming, making Richards' text a guide to creativity that leaves other examples of that evergreen genre in the dust. Phil and JF get their hands dirty trying to understanding what centering is, and what it entails for a life of creation and becoming. The discussion brings in a number of other thinkers and artists including Friedrich Nietzsche, Norman O. Brown, Carl Jung, Antonin Artaud, and Flannery O'Connor."]

Ford, Phil, J.F. Martel and Tamler Sommers. "Fire Walk with Tamler Sommers." Weird Studies #105 (August 18, 2021) ["The Twin Peaks mythos has been with Weird Studies from the very beginning, and it is only fitting that it should have a return. In this episode, Phil and JF are joined by Tamler Sommers, co-host of the podcast Very Bad Wizards to discuss Fire Walk with Me, the prequel film to the original Twin Peaks series. Paradoxically, David Lynch’s work both necessitates and resists interpretation, and the pull of detailed interpretation is unusually strong in this episode. The three discuss how Fire Walk with Me, and the series as a whole, depicts two separate worlds that sometimes begin to intermingle, disrupting the perceived stability of time and space. Often this happens in moments of extreme fear or love. Through their love for Laura Palmer and for the film under consideration, JF, Phil, and Tamler enact their own interpretation, entering a rift where the world of Twin Peaks and the “real” world seem to merge, demonstrating how Twin Peaks just won’t leave this world alone, and can become a way for disenchanted moderns once again to live inside of myth."]

Haider, Arwa. "The Film That Captures Millennials' Greatest Fear." BBC Culture (April 21, 2021) ["As Hayao Miyazaki's Oscar-winning anime Spirited Away turns 20, Arwa Haider asks why the film's powerful magic still captivates today."]

Hampton, Timothy. "Bob Dylan's Poetics: How the Songs Work." Berkeley Book Chats (April 17, 2019) ["The 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature recognized Bob Dylan as a major modern artist, elevating his work beyond the world of popular music. In his book Bob Dylan's Poetics (Zone, 2019), Timothy Hampton (Comparative Literature and French, Townsend Center director) focuses on the details and nuances of Dylan's songs, showing how they work as artistic statements designed to create meaning and elicit emotion. Locating Dylan in the long history of artistic modernism, Hampton offers both a nuanced engagement with the work of a major artist and a meditation on the contribution of song at times of political and social change."]

Hofer, Hélène Biandudi and Tina Rosenberg. "The Power of Solutions Journalism." Your Undivided Attention #40 (September 3, 2021) ["What is the goal of our digital information environment? Is it simply to inform us, or also to empower us to act? At the Solutions Journalism Network, the team understands that simply reporting on social problems rarely leads to change. What they’ve discovered is that rigorously reporting on responses to social problems — can more often give activists and concerned citizens the hope and information they need to take effective action. For this reason, SJN trains and encourage journalists to report on “solutions angles,” ​​and more broadly seeks to rebalance the news, so that every day people are exposed to stories that help them understand problems and challenges, and stories that show potential ways to respond. In this episode, Tina Rosenberg, co-founder of SJN, and Hélène Biandudi Hofer, former manager of SJN’s Complicating the Narratives initiative, walk us through the origin of solutions journalism, how to practice it, and what impact it has had."]

Johnson, Nicholas. "Great Books #19: Samuel Beckett." Think About It (July 15, 2019) [""Another heavenly day" is the opening line of Beckett's play Happy Days, where Winnie sits buried to her waist in sand with her husband Willie stuck a few feet away from her... but language, memory and consciousness are not all she has. Beckett's plays, novels, poetry, radio plays and prose reveal our deepest humanity by stripping language to its bare essentials. Beckett wrote some of his works in French, a language he learned mostly as an adult, and translated it back into his native English to purge it of clichés and stock phrases. In the resulting works he reveals how our bodies moving through space are far more than vessels for a roving consciousness. They contain a hint of transcendence which manifests itself as the human need for self-expression through which we locate ourselves in time, in relation to others, and in relation to ourselves. I spoke with Beckett expert, scholar and theater director Nick Johnson at the Samuel Beckett Theatre at Trinity College Dublin, where Beckett taught for a short time in the 1920s before giving up on academia, moving to Paris, and becoming a writer next to James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Hemingway and others. Our conversation shows how Beckett's work is surprisingly optimistic about the power of art and language to give us meaning. "You can't go on, I must go on, I'll go on" is the final line of Beckett's novel The Unnameable. Nick explained how these words show Beckett's relentless commitment to strip our existence down to the basics (who we are, what we have, what we want) and then move deeper from there. Instead of adding more words and complexity, Beckett shows that our searching may be our life's meaning and that not knowing what we want is in fact the key to knowing ourselves. "You have to pay attention and be as informed as possible, you have to try to understand things, and you have to speak out!" is Nick's summary of what Beckett's works mean for him. In a time of historic and political turmoil, it's an urgent imperative and we would do well to heed it."]

Jones, Kent. "Black Narcissus: Empire of the Senses." The Current (July 19, 2010) ["It is always tempting to uncouple the unearthly visual beauty and formal control of a Powell and Pressburger film from its psychological exactitude—and that urge is built into the films themselves. The characters (and the audience) are always on the brink of being overwhelmed by beauty, the beauty of the world on the one hand and of art on the other, which holds the impossible but ever present promise of a permanently heightened state. At the same time, however, the action is always firmly anchored in the fallacies and disturbances and longings of being human. We get the lure of beauty and its potentially dangerous effect at the same time. For instance, Powell’s remarkable precision with distances and angles of perception is as elegant and ingenious here as it is in all his great work, particularly the continued refrain of looking down—Kerr’s Sister Clodagh surveying the sisters gathered at the dinner table or, in a reverie, fixating on her grandmother’s footstool back in Ireland; Sabu’s Young General gazing down at Simmons’s Kanchi; Byron’s Sister Ruth spying from a series of heights within the open corridors of the newly christened convent on Sister Clodagh and her interactions with Mr. Dean; each of the sisters in turn contemplating the distant valley below. This insistence on up-down relationships (a constant in Powell’s work) gives the film a musical development akin to a slowly evolving theme or pattern and results in “mental images” as lasting as Hitchcock’s point-of-view shots. The moment when the screen goes red, as Sister Ruth passes out, is a startling reiteration of a powerful visual idea, but it may also be a representation of a genuine neurological phenomenon known as a “redout,” as Diane Broadbent Friedman postulates in her fascinating book on A Matter of Life and Death and its prob­able origins in real neuroscience."]

Kirkpatrick, Kate. "Becoming Beauvoir." Bloomsbury Academic (April 8, 2020) ["Simone de Beauvoir was an existentialist philosopher who laid the foundation for the modern feminist movement. We sat down to talk to author Kate Kirkpatrick about everything Beauvoir, from her childhood, to her personal relationships, to her commitment to social justice movements such as the decolonization of Algeria. This episode is for anyone interested in discussing Beauvoir’s social ideals and discovering how they remain relevant today." Publisher page for Becoming Beauvoir.]

Kuo, Rachel and Alice Marwick. "Critical disinformation studies: History, power, and politics." Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review (August 12, 2021) ["This essay advocates a critical approach to disinformation research that is grounded in history, culture, and politics, and centers questions of power and inequality. In the United States, identity, particularly race, plays a key role in the messages and strategies of disinformation producers and who disinformation and misinformation resonates with. Expanding what “counts” as disinformation demonstrates that disinformation is a primary media strategy that has been used in the U.S. to reproduce and reinforce white supremacy and hierarchies of power at the expense of populations that lack social, cultural, political, or economic power."]

Lessons From the Screenplay. "Get Out - A New Perspective in Horror." (Posted on Youtube: February 27, 2018) ["Get Out takes a situation that is universally relatable and adds a specific and unfamiliar protagonist. In doing so, the film unlocks new ways of creating tension and establishing trust."]

---. "Gone Girl: Don't Underestimate the Screenwriter." (Posted on Youtube: June 8, 2016) ["Gone Girl uses classic screenwriting techniques to tell its twisty, modern noir story. This video examines three of the techniques used by screenwriter Gillian Flynn to see how and why they work so well."]

Like Stories of Old. "The Archetype of the Warrior - How Film Helps Empower Us All." (Posted on Youtube: January 15, 2018) ["Exploring the Archetype of the Warrior in films, based on Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette’s King, Warrior, Magician, Lover and Carol S. Pearson’s The Hero Within."]

---. "Baby Driver: Introversion Done Right." (Posted on Youtube: October 13, 2017) ["An examination of introversion in Baby Driver and how Edgar Wright subverts the stereotypical introvert in an extroverted society." Uses Laurie Helgoe's Introvert Power – Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength in the analysis of the characterization of Baby in the film.]

---. "The Before Trilogy: Performing a Real Relationship." (Posted on Youtube: November 10, 2017) [I would easily include this trilogy in my best of cinema. The first time I saw Before Sunrise I was floored because I had never seen a film that captured the magic, mystery and mood of unplanned romance (I won't ruin the end for those that haven't seen it) in such a realistic way. The second and third film, made 9 years later each time, continues to defy the Hollywood/Hallmark co-optation of our romantic ideas. The collaboration of Richard Linklater (director/writer), Kim Krizan (co-writer), Ethan Hawke (actor/collaborator), and Julie Delpy (actor/collaborator), is a major achievement in collaborative filmmaking and escapes the stunt feel of the later unrelated Linklater film Boyhood. I've been dreaming of my film class next semester and how I could explore B. Ruby Rich's call to move past Hollywood's/America's singular focus on individualistic experience and maybe this could be the start from a masterpiece on an evolving dyad experience that avoids privileging one perspective and moving outward to more fully collective depictions. "A video essay exploring how Richard Linklater created one of the most unique portrayals of a real relationship in his Before Trilogy; consisting of Before SunriseBefore Sunset and Before Midnight."]

---. "Fight Club: How (Not) to Become a Space Monkey." (Posted on Youtube: November 16, 2019) ["Video essay on Fight Club; examining how charismatic leaders like Tyler Durden turn men into Space Monkeys." Ernest Becker book The Denial of Death is used to formulate the critique/interpretation.]

---. "Gladiator: Turning Spectacle Into a Meaningful Story." (Posted on Youtube: March 20, 2018) [MB: Gladiator is one of my all time favorite action films and I have often pondered/studied the political uses of spectacle, so this Like Stories of Old video essay was a welcome analysis of the action film & genre. Think about the narcotizing uses of spectacle in our mediated society/world.]

---. "The Grey - A Philosophy of Heroic Suffering." (Posted on Youtube: November 24, 2017) ["A video essay exploring how The Grey, although poorly marketed at the time of its release, is an underrated survival film about the importance of finding meaning in desperate situations. Resources: Viktor Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning."]

---. "How Ken Burns Changed the Way We Look at History." (Posted on Youtube: September 15, 2017) ["An exploration of the academic validity and public value of the work of renowned documentarian Ken Burns. Content: 0:00 Introduction; 1:34 What is History?; 4:57 The Ken Burns Approach; 9:22 Bringing History to Life."  Uses two books in its analysis: Ways of Knowing by Jonathan W. Moses and Torbjorn L. Knutsen, and What is History? by E.H. Carr.]

---. "In Search of the Distinctively Human: The Philosophy of Blade Runner 2049." (Posted on Youtube: Jan 29, 2018) [Uses Ernest Becker's The Birth and Death of Meaning and Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.]

---. "The Lover Within: How Moonlight Relates to ALL Men." (Posted on Youtube: April 9, 2017) ["... Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette’s archetypes" in their book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine  "are a very interesting way to analyze media and provide personal insights, similarly to Joseph Campbell’s related concept of the Hero’s Journey."]

---. "The New World: The Lost Art of Grief." (Posted on Youtube: September 29, 2017) ["An examination of sorrow and grief in Terrence Malick’s The New World based on Francis Weller’ The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief. North Atlantic Books: "The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and be stretched large by them. Noted psychotherapist Francis Weller provides an essential guide for navigating the deep waters of sorrow and loss in this lyrical yet practical handbook for mastering the art of grieving. Describing how Western patterns of amnesia and anesthesia affect our capacity to cope with personal and collective sorrows, Weller reveals the new vitality we may encounter when we welcome, rather than fear, the pain of loss. Through moving personal stories, poetry, and insightful reflections he leads us into the central energy of sorrow, and to the profound healing and heightened communion with each other and our planet that reside alongside it. The Wild Edge of Sorrow explains that grief has always been communal and illustrates how we need the healing touch of others, an atmosphere of compassion, and the comfort of ritual in order to fully metabolize our grief. Weller describes how we often hide our pain from the world, wrapping it in a secret mantle of shame. This causes sorrow to linger unexpressed in our bodies, weighing us down and pulling us into the territory of depression and death. We have come to fear grief and feel too alone to face an encounter with the powerful energies of sorrow. Those who work with people in grief, who have experienced the loss of a loved one, who mourn the ongoing destruction of our planet, or who suffer the accumulated traumas of a lifetime will appreciate the discussion of obstacles to successful grief work such as privatized pain, lack of communal rituals, a pervasive feeling of fear, and a culturally restrictive range of emotion. Weller highlights the intimate bond between grief and gratitude, sorrow and intimacy. In addition to showing us that the greatest gifts are often hidden in the things we avoid, he offers powerful tools and rituals and a list of resources to help us transform grief into a force that allows us to live and love more fully."]

---. "The Philosophy of Cloud Atlas: How Beauty Will Save the World." (Posted on Youtube: February 14, 2018) [The philosophy of the movie Cloud Atlas through the lens of Fyodor DostoevskyJose Saramago, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.]

---. "Prometheus & Covenant: Building a Mythos of Savage Creation." (Posted on Youtube: October 27, 2017) ["On the road towards Alien: Awakening; this in-depth analysis explores how Prometheus and Covenant built a mythos of savage creation around one of the most iconic movie monsters."]

---. "Stoicism in The Shawshank Redemption: Meditations 1." (Posted on Youtube: February 28, 2018) ["The Stoic Philosophy of The Shawshank Redemption, presented in a few brief meditations based on the writings by Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus and Chrysippus. Primary sources: Marcus Aurelius – Meditations; Seneca - Letters from a Stoic; Epictetus – Enchiridion; Secondary Sources: Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman – The Daily Stoic."]

---. "The Ultimate Antidote for Cynicism: It’s a Wonderful Life." (Posted on Youtube: December 21, 2017) ["A video essay looking at It’s a Wonderful Life and its discussion on individualism that is arguably more relevant than ever."]

---. "Venturing into Sacred Space | Archetype of the Magician." (Posted on Youtube: April 21, 2018) ["In this conclusion of my Archetype Series based on the book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, I examine the archetype of the Magician and explore some related concepts such as initiation, ritual process and sacred space." Other sources discussed:  Carol S. Pearson – The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By; Robert Moore – The Archetype of Initiation: Sacred Space, Ritual Process and Personal Transformation; Mircea Eliade - The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion; Victor Turner – The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure.]

---. "What Makes a Great King? Exploring the Archetype of the King in Movies and Television." (Posted on Youtube: August 18, 2017) [MB: I think this has a great message about the leader role/archetype (not comfortable with the king thing, but I recognize it is an archetype) and only wish that is wasn't limited to just a discussion of masculine archetypes. Easily beats the ocean of facile business leadership books. From the author: "... Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette’s archetypes" in their book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine  "are a very interesting way to analyze media and provide personal insights, similarly to Joseph Campbell’s related concept of the Hero’s Journey."]

Luckhurst, Roger. "Making Sense of The Weird and the Eerie." Los Angeles Review of Books (November 11, 2017) 

Marshal, Colin. "Korean Provocateur: the Harrowing Films of Kim Ki-duk (1960-2020)." Los Angeles Review of Books (January 3, 2021) 

Martel, James. "Histories of Violence: Why We Should All Read Walter Benjamin Today." Los Angeles Review of Books (February 3, 2020) ["... it helps to specify what Benjamin means in terms of a critique of and resistance to modern forms of mythic violence. The key thing to resist is not physical violence per se but rather projections of some kind of external source of authority (whether it is God or gods, nature or some mystical origins) which become the basis for illicit and anxious — hence often physically violent — forms of control."]

McInroy, Jack and Steve Walsh. "'The Man Whom the Trees Loved' by Algernon Blackwood." Sherds #5 (ND) ["In this episode, we look at Algernon Blackwood's story, 'The Man Whom the Trees Loved', which was published in his collection Pan's Garden (1912). The story concerns David and Sophia Bittacy, a married couple living on the edge of the New Forest. Under the influence of the bohemian painter, Sanderson, David becomes increasingly obsessed with the inner life of the trees in the neighbouring forest. Over the course of our discussion, we consider Algernon Blackwood's place in the Gothic tradition, the symbolism of cedars, and explore the dual possibilities of supernatural and psychological readings of the story."]

Orlando, Christina. "Feral Monstrosity: On Rivers Solomon’s Sorrowland." Los Angeles Review of Books (July 24, 2021) [Description on Goodreads: "Vern - seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised - flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world. But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes. To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future - outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it."]

Schmachtenberger, Daniel. "A Problem Well-Stated is Half Solved." Your Undivided Attention #36 (June 25, 2021) ["We’ve explored many different problems on Your Undivided Attention — addiction, disinformation, polarization, climate change, and more. But what if many of these problems are actually symptoms of the same meta-problem, or meta-crisis? And what if a key leverage point for intervening in this meta-crisis is improving our collective capacity to problem-solve? Our guest Daniel Schmachtenberger guides us through his vision for a new form of global coordination to help us address our global existential challenges. Daniel is a founding member of the Consilience Project, aimed at facilitating new forms of collective intelligence and governance to strengthen open societies. He's also a friend and mentor of Tristan Harris."]

Schwartzberg, Melissa. "Great Books 24: Jean-Jacques Rousseau." Think About It (October 19, 2019) [""Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." The opening sentence of 18th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Roussau's Social Contract poses a central question for all of us. Why do we live under conditions of inequality, violence, dependency and general unhappiness (just look on twitter!) if society is made by us and for us? I spoke with Melissa Schwartzberg, who is Silver Professor of Politics at New York University and a specialist in political theory, about Rousseau's importance today."]

StudioBinder. "Denis Villeneuve & His Cinema of Ambiguity — Directing Styles Explained." (Posted on Youtube: April 6, 2020) ["Denis Villeneuve movies are made to confuse you. At every opportunity — in the story, in the cinematography, editing, and music, Villeneuve wants to keep you guessing. Watching Denis Villeneuve movies is to be placed in an environment of uncertainty. And that’s what makes them so interesting. In films like Enemy, Prisoners, Polytechnique, Blade Runner 2049, and Arrival, Villeneuve consistently creates awe and wonder with images and sounds we’ve never seen before. In Enemy, Adam (Jake Gyllenhaal) must confront the possibility that he is more than a single person. In Sicario, Kate (Emily Blunt) is pushed into the world of drug cartels by a tight-lipped company man (Josh Brolin) and a near-silent assassin (Benicio Del Toro). In Prisoners, Keller (Hugh Jackman) ventures into murky moral territory to find his kidnapped daughter. In Arrival, Louise (Amy Adams) and Ian (Jeremy Renner) are tasked with bridging the communication gap between beings from another dimension. In all these movies, the characters find themselves in new worlds without answers. In this video, we’ve cracked the code on Villeneuve’s love of ambiguity and we explain how his directing style works across 7 areas of focus including sound, color, production design, and more. Villeneuve creates movies that can be enigmatic but there’s no denying that he is a film artist in complete control of his medium. If you’re studying directing, cinematography, editing, or pursuing ANY career in filmmaking, there are a ton of lessons to be learned from Denis Villeneuve. This is the ultimate breakdown of Denis Villeneuve’s directing style."]

Swenson, Kristin. A Most Peculiar Book: The Inherent Strangeness of the Bible. Oxford University Press, 2021. [Excerpt: "Besides lofty wisdom, inspiration, comfort, and guidance, the Bible contains bewildering archaisms, inconsistencies, questionable ethics, and a herky-jerky narrative style. Yet those features barely get a passing glance these days. Some believers simply explain them away, while nonbelievers use them as a reason to dismiss the Bible entirely. This book looks squarely at what’s so weird, difficult, and disconcerting both about and in the Bible, and in the process shows how those qualities can actually enrich one’s relationship, religious or not, to the text. I am not trying to convert anybody to anything except to learning. I’m committed to providing information, digging into the text and its background, and sharing questions of my own that might resonate with you. Those questions are both what make me love the Bible and what make that love so complicated … The Bible invites— nay, demands—interaction, even argument. And I don’t mean simply argument about what the Bible says or means (though that’s inevitable) but argument with the text itself. For the qualities I have cited—its disparate voices and images of God, its fissures and cracks and the endless ways and things to learn about it—the Bible defies the simplistic treatment of so-called literalism. (I say “so-called” because what exactly does it mean to “read the Bible literally,” especially if what one is reading is itself a translation from the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek?) The Bible’s diversity of perspectives and tone, not to say those texts in blatant disagreement with each other, actually models conversation, dialogue, and debate. It could issue no bolder invitation to engagement, no more compelling demand to bring the best of one’s faculties to bear on any interpretation of it."]

"We Don't Make Propaganda! They Do!" The Consilience Project. (August 23, 2021) ["In an information war, it is essential to be able to distinguish education from propaganda. Unfortunately, it is not always easy. Today’s citizens are swamped with manipulative information, and often crave truly educational environments that they can trust. In this, the second paper of our series on information warfare, we argue that propaganda can be thought of as the “evil twin” of education. They often look the same, but with some careful examination, their differences become apparent. Exploring the historical dynamics of propaganda and considering its various forms helps us understand the telltale signs of coercive, manipulative, and propagandistic information. Understanding the difference between propaganda and education, and how complicated the distinction can be at times, allows for better situational awareness. Clarity about the difference allows us to protect both ourselves and our communities from being casualties of the information war. This is an essential step toward creating a healthier epistemic commons for everyone."]

West, Stephen.  "Antonio Gramsci on Cultural Hegemony." Philosophize This! #131 (May 23, 2019) ["Gramsci begins his explanation by evoking and repurposing a word that had been thrown around all throughout human history but it was a word that he thought in recent years was starting to take on an entirely new meaning. The thing that was responsible for allowing a particular social class to ascend to power and then maintain a privileged status…was what he called Cultural Hegemony. This concept of hegemony is going to become massively important to the political conversation of the 20th and 21st centuries and by the end of this arc of the show we’re going to have looked at it from a lot of different perspectives. Maybe we should start from the origins of the word…the word hegemony originates in ancient Greece…the root of the word comes from the greek word meaning “to lead”, some translators say it’s closer to “to rule over”…but either way during antiquity there were things called hegemons…now in the context of ancient Greece a hegemon was typically a state that had a significant military advantage over another state…the arrangement being that if the weaker state didn’t comply with certain demands from the hegemon they would be annexed or dominated militarily or burned to the ground, take your pick. The term hegemony implied the threat of physical dominance over a population of people…this was the case all throughout human history. But Gramsci is going to say that in our modern world the definition of the word hegemony needs to evolve with the political reality we are living in. We are no longer living in a world where most political control is exercised by military dominance over a population of people. Since the advent of mass media people in positions of power have realized that a much more effective way of controlling populations is by manipulating the cultural parameters that citizens have to navigate. The general idea is this: to be a human being living a life in our modern world…you always HAVE to be living that life immersed within a particular culture. But what IS a culture other than an elaborate collection of norms, rules, structures, mores, taboos, rituals, values, symbolic gestures…these things are not exactly abstract concepts…they are acute. They are visible. This is the cultural custom of a handshake to pay deference to someone else. This is not talking with your mouth full. This is the sum total of every ritual we engage in on a daily basis that all come together to create a cohesive society. But what Gramsci is going to ask is: who exactly created all of these norms and taboos that we abide by?"]

---. "Being and Becoming." Philosophize This! #147 (November 10, 2020)  ["So a philosopher that favors the concept of Being believes there is a way that things are...and our job as scientists and philosophers is to go out there and use whatever tools we have available to figure out the way that things are. These people historically often look at the world spatially because they often think about existence in terms of subjects and objects, they often favor terms like substances, concepts, forms, eternal truths...the basic idea is look around you...there's obviously a way that things are, let's categorize and understand what it is. Now people that are fans of Becoming ...or the process oriented way of thinking we've been talking about the last few episodes...they don't believe there's a way that things are in the traditional way that phrase is used. Things are fundamentally a process of constant change and if we haven't intuitively recognized it in the past it's really just because, what's the famous saying? We're mayflys in the cosmos? We just don't live long enough or are born into a historical tradition of ideas...or lack the perspective to be able to see it. "]

---. "The Buddha." Philosophize This! #9 (November 10, 2013) ["On this episode of the podcast, we learn about the life of Siddhartha Gautama and his Heisenberg-esque transformation into Buddha. We learn how Buddha left a lifestyle of being fed grapes and being fanned with palm leaves to pursue a life of celibacy, starvation, and sleep deprivation. We also learn about how Buddha reached enlightenment while sitting beneath a fruit tree à la Isaac Newton, and about the four noble truths which he believed were the key to ending human suffering once and for all."]

---. "Dewey and Lippman on DemocracyPhilosophize This #130 (May 23, 2019) ["True democracy shouldn't just be a form of government...it shouldn't be defined by just a bunch of people voting for what they want...Democracy is more than that to John Dewey...see a true democracy should allow every citizen within it to realize their full potential, the good news being that allowing people to realize their potential helps society immensely as well.Yes, certain people are going to go down rabbit holes of information and become enraged political zealots, but that shouldn't discourage us when it comes to democracy, to John Dewey, it should cause us to re-up on our commitment to education and teaching the citizens the skills to be able to not fall into those traps of simplified thinking. Remember, society is an organism and government is part of what that organism produces, like bees produce a hive. This is the much more accurate way of looking at society...which is why he takes extreme issue with many earlier political philosophers that approach questions of government from the perspective of a "social contract" that is automatically signed at birth somehow. First of all, the idea that you're just born into a society and you are automatically enrolled in some subscription to that society is just wrong to John Dewey. This is nothing more than yet another example of philosophers trying to use "the natural order of things" or "human nature" as a means of pretending they know a lot more about the way societies work than they actually do. The world is no where near that simple, in his view. And as we continue on talking about 20th century political philosophy this dichotomy between nature and culture is going to become more and more relevant. Whether you attribute to the behavior of human beings some aspect of their "nature" or whether you think cultural influence has much more of an effect on political matters will ultimately dictate a lot of things about which side of the political spectrum you fall on. For example, do you think that climate change is a byproduct of natural processes that we have very little control over, or do you think it is highly influenced by humans and that we should do something about it. Do you think that gun violence is the byproduct of a certain natural percentage of people that are mentally ill, or do you think something about the way we structure our societies is causing gun violence. There are tons of examples of this that you could point to and in many ways these disagreements come down to this distinction between nature and culture that flourished during the 20th century."]

---. "The Frankfurt School - Introduction." Philosophize This #108 (August 17, 2017) ["The Frankfurt School, also known as the Institute of Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung), is a social and political philosophical movement of thought located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It is the original source of what is known as Critical Theory. The Institute was founded, thanks to a donation by Felix Weil in 1923, with the aim of developing Marxist studies in Germany. The Institute eventually generated a specific school of thought after 1933 when the Nazis forced it to close and move to the United States, where it found hospitality at Columbia University, New York."]

---. "The Frankfurt School (Part 2) - The Enlightenment." Philosophize This #109 (August 26, 2017) ["The Frankfurt School…pulling ideas from Marx, Hegel and more recent revelations in Freudian Psychology…makes the case…that the only reason there hasn’t been a workers revolution in the west…lies in a problem of what they call “class consciousness”. The workers of the west, were sort of bewitched and beguiled when they saw all the cool new stuff humans are able to do now that capitalism is responsible for…the power of industry…increased levels of efficiency…the scientific and technological progress that capitalism produces…they’ve seen these changes, have been raised to believe that this stuff is the measure of progress and that this is just how the world is now and to not question it…all the while immersed in a system that from birth tells them they are first and foremost a worker and consumer, through media tells them how to act, think and feel, programs into them false needs, sells them one product after another to satisfy these false needs, socially alienates them, keeps them confused and scared, provides them with an illusion of political freedom and through many different types of coercion gets them never to question the fact that all of this rapid technological progress is only made possible by the exploitation of other human beings. In other words, the workers of the west no longer resemble the free-thinking proletariat that Marx talked about rising up…they’ve been indoctrinated to love their chains in a sense."]

---. "The Frankfurt School (Part 3) - The Culture Industry." Philosophize This #110 (September 7, 2017) ["So it’s been said about the workers in the United States post World War II… that they found themselves in a very unique situation in terms of what options are made available to them. Capitalism... massive improvements that come along with it in technology and efficiency…has made it possible for the average person, to do things only the super rich had been able to do throughout human history. That for consumers in this post World War II world…people no longer need to live together under one roof like it’s little house on the prairie, sharing a communal horse and doing shadow puppetry on the walls for entertainment…no we live in a new world now. We live in a world where, it is entirely feasible for the average consumer, to buy their own house (far better than a shack on a prairie) buy their own car (with the power 300 of those communal horses) and through the advent of mass media and entertainment broadcasting have instant access to mountains of art and cultural artifacts to consume with the push of a button. (little bit better than trying to make your hand look like an alligator chomping on the wall). Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, two members of the Frankfurt School who co-wrote the book The Dialectic of Enlightenment, would no doubt agree that Capitalism is responsible for these changes in what is possible for the average person. But they’d want to ask the question: Why is it... that there seems to be such a strong correlation between the trappings of Capitalism, and the alienation of society? In other words, when people get the house and they get the car and they have access to more art than they could ever consume…why is it that the worker in the 20th century seems to be the most alienated from other people around them, and the most alienated from the process of creating world they’re living in… in human history?"]

---. "The Frankfurt School (Part 4) - Eros." Philosophize This #111 (October 20, 2017) ["Today we talk about the first half of Herbert Marcuse's most important work, Eros and Civilization."]

---. "The Frankfurt School (Part 5) - Civilization." Philosophize This #112 (November 6, 2017) ["Part of the art, of propaganda... is getting people to believe that they arrived at this set of conclusions all by themselves. When you look at different examples of the great propaganda campaigns throughout history...you start to see certain tactics being used over and over again because they're just so effective at shaping the way that people see the world.Fear...is an effective tactic. Appealing to people's tribal tendencies is effective...us vs. them thinking...Manufacturing false news stories or events that fit a particular narrative. Manipulating the way that a story is delivered, blowing certain details out of proportion that tells the story you want it to tell. These have been used time and time again, and in 1930's Germany there was a handful of people whose job it was to use these tactics to ensure that the average German citizen remained a good foot soldier...had a view of Germany and the rest of the world that made them behave the way a good German behaves. That was the goal of propaganda. Marcuse would ask: when you take a look at the culture industry... and the role it plays in shaping the way that people see themselves and the world...by the way, the delivery system for most people on the American way of life...life imitates art...where selfless hard work is one of the most admired qualities, where every day is a transaction between work time and consumption time, where people chase the American dream which is defined by your relationship to materialistic stuff, two cars a house and a white picket fence...a fence that in a really aesthetically pleasing way keeps out other human beings, so that you can sit in your box being entertained in isolation...do you think it's possible, Marcuse would ask, that the culture industry keeps people thinking in a narrow American capitalistic sort of way that keeps things moving forward, the same way Nazi Propaganda kept German citizens thinking in a narrow way that kept their interests moving forward?"]

---. "The Frankfurt School (Part 6) - Art As a Tool for Liberation." Philosophize This #113 (December 2, 2017) ["... if the average american worker would rather jump off a building than have to do the work of challenging the way they see things...those words and ideas are effectively doing nothing when it comes to shifting class consciousness. What tools do we have that can get through to people? Well to Marcuse, one of the answers is art. Great works of art have the ability to deliver people a message that normal speech just can't deliver on it's own. Great works of art have the ability... to make people feel...and feel intensely...masses of people...not just people that happen to be a graduate student under Marcuse. Works of art have the ability to show the average person an alternative view of themselves, the way the world is, their subjectivity...and because of this...to Marcuse...works of art have the potential to be a tool for liberation. Liberation from the narrow subjectivity given to Americans by the culture industry. Marcuse says: “The truth of art lies in its power to break the monopoly of established reality to define what is real.” The truth of art. See, in a way Marcuse's looking at great works of art the same way we might look at a great science experiment. What's a great science experiment? Well they're all equally great, I'm not playing favorites...but how about the ones that lead us to what seems like a more accurate picture of the universe? What happens? Formerly, before we did this science experiment, knowledge about a piece of the universe was obscured from us. Now it should be said, the result of this experiment has always been the way that things are...I lived every day of my life up until that point ignorant of this little piece of the universe...and now here I am. A little more enlightened...my view of things around me a little more accurate thanks to this great science experiment. Well to Marcuse, works of art have the ability to do this very same thing at a cultural level. They can show people pieces of reality that were going on all around them that they never noticed before because they were immersed in it. Works of art have the ability to actually shift a person's subjectivity, and broaden it. "]

---. "The Frankfurt School (Part 7): The Great Refusal." Philosophize This! #114 (December 23, 2017) ["Such an easy trap...to have all the theories right, but the wrong kind of praxis. What's ironic to Marcuse, because of the power of Capitalism...is how easy it is to know the theories of the Frankfurt School and become as complicit in the way that things are as the people you're screaming at.When average american goes to their job, feel alienated, never question anything, and consume products by the culture industry that reinforce their idea that nothing is wrong with the United States, they will go on to change the subjectivity of a grand total of zero people. Doesn't matter how right your theories are...if your method of praxis is not actually changing people's minds...if it's not finding a way to relate to your fellow people as a human beings and convey a message...if it's only serving to scratch some personal itch you have of feeling like something drastic needs to change about the world...you're not changing people's subjectivity...you're being selfish...all the while perpetuating the vice grip Capitalism has on the country, where in your own small way you ensure that people will continue to be polarized in this country, dogmatic about their beliefs, talking towards each other, talking past each other...but never talking with each other."]

---. "The Frankfurt School: Erich Fromm on Freedom." Philosophize This! (February 6, 2021) ["Both the young adult from our example before and the citizen of modernity are in a similar place to Erich Fromm. They are free now. They are the person at the helm of the ship with a lot of different directions they can go. When you finally find yourself in this place...seems like things would have to feel really good for you. So why is the book by Erich Fromm that we’re covering today called Escape From Freedom? Why would anybody want to escape from freedom? Freedom is one of those things...what person doesn't want freedom...pretty commonly considered to be a universally good thing. Fromm makes the case that for both of our examples here today, this initial state of freedom that we’re born into can be both a good or a bad thing….because on one hand...becoming an autonomous free individual certainly gives you a new level of independence, a new level of rationality because now you’re making the decisions, a new level a responsibility for the things you decide to do...your parents aren’t making the itinerary you have to follow anymore...you don’t have the chains of a village or a profession or a particular church...and all this is great! But on the flip side what comes along with that is that now you are responsible. You know sometimes kids can’t wait until they’re a grown up so that they can make decisions for themselves...but once you’re an adult what you realize is that sure, you can decide to eat a half gallon of ice cream at 9am if you want...but you also are the only one that has to deal with the consequences of that choice. You choose your own adventure now...but now you’re responsible for the adventures you choose. To quote Kierkegaard anxiety is the dizziness of freedom...so no wonder...when you finally find yourself individuated and free...in this new place...you naturally feel more anxious about decision making than you did as a child. You feel more alone and isolated...because now you don’t have a village or something greater than yourself you’re attached to...you’re an individual. For Fromm there is always this trade off going on between you having higher levels of freedom and lower levels of security. Having independence can mean both that you have greater levels of freedom and greater levels of isolation all at the same time. "]

---. "The Frankfurt School: Erich Fromm on Love." Philosophize This! #150 (January 30, 2021) ["So Erich Fromm in his 1956 book The Art of Loving famously wrote this about love: “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” But what did he mean by that? ... Well, I think the best entry point into understanding what he meant would be to look at the two most philosophically loaded concepts in that statement and that would be one, love. What did he mean by love? And two, What does he mean when he says the fundamental problem of human existence? "]

---. "The Frankfurt School - Walter Benjamin, Part 1." Philosophize This! (March 19, 2021) [With a focus on "The Task of the Translator."]

---. "Hannah Arendt - The Banality of Evil." Philosophize This! (November 1, 2019)

---. "Isaiah Berlin Pt. 1 - Pluralism." Philosophy This #140 (March 11, 2020) ["... Isaiah Berlin began his career as an academic philosopher, then transformed into more of a historian of ideas, and then finished out his career making contributions to 20th-century political philosophy that ended up changing the world. And one of these subject matters within 20th-century political philosophy that needs some serious reevaluation to Berlin was the typical way that philosophers casually throw around the concept of freedom or liberty without ever really clearly defining what it is they’re even talking about. Berlin would say that practically every moral philosopher that’s ever produced anything of significance in Western philosophy has talked about freedom in these glowing terms as though it’s some sort of universal good and an unquestionably valuable thing that we should strive to have as much of as possible. They’ve talked about freedom in this way and, yet, no one has seriously tried to get to the bottom of what really is meant when philosophers talk about this stuff. We just assume we know what they mean when they say “freedom,” at a certain level. But, in reality, Berlin would say, when you actually look at the history of ideas, there are over 200 different definitions of freedom that have been laid out by thinkers over the years. Maybe it’s time we consolidate these into an understanding of freedom that deals with what’s common among all these individual takes." Transcript of the episode]

---. "Isaiah Berlin Pt. 2 - Pluralism and Culture." Philosophize This! #141 (March 28, 2020)

---. "Jürgen Habermas Pt. 1 – The Public Sphere." Philosophize This! #143 (May 1, 2020) ["When transnational corporations with very specific ends they’re trying to achieve own major media outlets. When there is so much power in controlling people’s values…Habermas thinks the economic/governmental system colonizes the lifeworld. Where we used to sit around the dinner table and have discussions to determine our thoughts about the world…we now turn on a screen and are sold ways to think about things. The further we got from the origins of the public sphere in those coffee houses back in France …the further we got away from communicative rationality. We got so far away from it we could barely see it anymore…to the point where brilliant thinkers like Adorno and Horkheimer wrote an entire book about rationality and didn’t even consider its existence! But for any chains we were supposedly wrapped in by the Enlightenment, Habermas thought the key to get us out of them was built into the Enlightenment all along. We just lost sight of it. The emancipatory potential of reason…reason’s ability to direct us away from treating people as a means to an end…the type of reason grounded in communication… grounded in the pursuit of genuinely trying to understand the other person’s perspective and then working towards agreement…the type of reason that can allow us to make our decisions about things not by buying into an endless sales pitch, but by talking to our fellow citizens in the lifeworld comparing our individual perspectives… True democracy, to Habermas, is when the lifeworld controls the system. Not the system controlling the lifeworld."]

---. "Leo Strauss: Moderns vs Ancients." Philosophize This! (October 9, 2019)

---. "Michel Foucault (Part 1)." Philosophize This (August 15, 2018) ["Foucault himself would never describe [Discipline and Punish] as a 'history' of anything. Foucault hated the word history and almost never used it in his writing. He used words to describe this book more like, a geneology of the way we’ve treated criminals, or an archaeology of how criminals have been punished over the years. He hates the word history…because so often the word history brings with it a connotation… that we exist in our modern world at the end of this long historical timeline of events that have led to near constant progress. This idea that, hey, we used to be these barbaric savages that followed the playbook of Machievelli, the ends justify the means, we used to believe that it was morally acceptable for the king or the people in power to brutally torture and kill someone that was guilty of a heinous crime…but then HISTORY happened. Time went on…progress was made. Great political theorists came along…great leaders, great ethical philosophers did their work and we all realized the error of our ways and brought into existence a more modern world where everyone is much more free…the people in power inhibiting the lives of the average citizen far less than they used to . Foucault is going to call this assumption about history into question and really dig deeper into the idea of: how much has really changed when it comes to the fundamental relationship between those in power and the citizens?"]

---. "Michel Foucault Pt. 2 - The Order of Things." Philosophize This! #122 (September 24, 2018)

---. "Michel Foucault Pt. 3 - Power." Philosophize This (September 24, 2018)

---. "On Media: Manufacturing Consent, Pt. 1." Philosophize This (December 17, 2020) [On Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman's landmark book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media and Noam Chomsky's later book Media Control: The Spectacular Achievement of Propaganda (1997). "Now...regardless of any sort of fourth estate mythology that could be tacked on about news media...forget about what our culture tells us the media is doing for us...want to consider on the episode today that both of these definitions of the word medium could equally describe the service that the news media provides for us. See to the thinkers we’re covering today it may be incredible useful to think of the news media as an intermediary between us and reality. Meaning...the reality of the world is that we can't get on a jet ski and rocket across the ocean to see what's going on in Bolivia, for example. But man isn't it great... we have these thankless, truth loving public servants out there on the news that can do it for us...then create a nice little short set of moving pictures that tell us exactly what is going on on the other side of the world. Media in this way serves as a filter. The intervening substance through which impressions are conveyed to the senses. But another thing the thinkers today would want us to consider is that...say you could somehow have control over those impressions that are conveyed...to give people their impressions of what the world is like...to have the only key to a lock on a door that people want opened for them every day...needless to say you'd have quite a bit of consolidated power. What would a media landscape look like if such a concentrated level of consolidated power existed? Would we even know it? Would it require a conspiracy on a level so vast that it would just be impossible? We're going to be exploring the origins of modern mass media today by looking at the work by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman published in 1988 entitled Manufacturing Consent with many other references to Chomsky's later work entitled Media Control."]

---. "On Media Pt. 2: Marshall McLuhan." Philosophize This! #149 (January 5, 2021) ["Now, McLuhan takes this one step further. He doesn't want to just stop with written language and the effects it has on people...he wants to examine all forms of media that communicate ideas and the effects they have. Because yes, reading printed text in the newspaper is going to have one type of effect on your reality...but what if you don't read the newspaper? What if you watch TV? What if you listen to the radio or podcasts for your information? Keep in mind that it's not just information media...roads, airplanes, clothes, any extension of ourselves...these are all media as well...that to McLuhan send similar messages and contribute to our way of perceiving the world. But by the word message... he's not talking about the specific content of a podcast, for example, or the specific image that a particular outfit is setting off. Just like written language...where the message that's being sent goes far beyond whatever specific thing is being talked about at the time...it is far bigger than that...so too with things like TV's, podcasts, newspapers...and yes also with things like roads airplanes and clothes. When Marshall McLuhan says his famous line at the beginning of Understanding Media when he says "The medium is the message." Whenever we have a medium, any extension of ourselves...the message that it delivers is so much greater than just the immediate content we might be receiving...just like with written language...it's bigger than that...he describes the true message of a medium as the change of "scale or pace or pattern" and then how those factors impact life as a person within that culture. He's more concerned with the human experience or effect that using a medium is going to have than whatever meaning the immediate content may have. "]

---. "Plato." Philosophize This! (June 20, 2013)

---. "Richard Rorty." Philosophize This! 142 (May 1, 2020) ["The spirit of the Enlightenment, to Rorty, was not to use reason to arrive at the truth about the universe...it was ultimately a call to subvert traditional forms of authority. The significance of the Enlightenment was not to land on new answers...it was to question old assumptions. So in that sense...yeah, the initial project of the Enlightenment ultimately consumed itself, but to Richard Rorty the initial project of the Enlightenment was meant to consume itself. Thinkers like Isaiah Berlin that would come along and suggest a Pluralistic vision of things...this wasn't an anti-enlightenment idea at all...to Rorty...this was the project of the Enlightenment left to play itself out...thinkers like Berlin were always going to eventually come along. See the project of the Enlightenment maturing through people like Isaiah Berlin, taught us a couple of extremely valuable insights. One of which, was that we don't need to try to use reason to appeal to some ultimate authority or universal to ground our ideas. Rationality, is not a tool that gets us to objectivity about things...but it may get us to a very effective mix of inter-subjectivity between cultures. Rorty wants to offer an alternative way to look at the legacy of the Enlightenment. Maybe it IS pointless to try to do our best impressions of Locke and Kant and try to access the universe through reason...but when it comes to strictly human institutions...for example, the political realm, where we're not trying to access "things in themselves"...we're just trying to figure out how we can live together the best...maybe that is where rationality thrives as a method."]

---. "Robert Nozick - The Minimal State."  Philosophize This! #138 (January 21, 2020) ["Robert Nozick and the book of his we're going to be talking about today is titled Anarchy, State and Utopia. Now, just to give the following conversation a little preliminary structure...that title, Anarchy, State and Utopia is referencing the three major sections that the book is divided into. The first section would be Anarchy...where Nozick spends a considerable portion of time being understanding of the Anarchist's aversion to government, but ultimately making a case that they go too far. The middle portion of the book, State, has Nozick laying out the TYPE of state that HE thinks is best...and in the Utopia section is where he describes WHY his version of a state is the best...Utopia is a sort of tongue in cheek musing by Nozick..he by NO MEANS thinks his system is an actual Utopia...but he thinks it's FAR BETTER than other systems that have been tried and he argues for why he thinks that is.See, Nozick is not a fan of there being a BIG state, with a lot of responsibilities...he's not a fan of there being no state...so what is he a fan of? How big should the government be and what exactly should it do? Nozick is a fan of what he would call "the minimal state". The best way to start understanding what he means by this is probably to contrast him with both the work of Rawls and the Anarchists of his time..."]

---. "Socrates and the Sophists." Philosophize This! #3 (June 23, 2013) ["This week we talk about the prosperity of Athens and how it led to the rise and ideas of a group of philosopher teachers called the Sophists, we tied up some loose ends and helped put all that we've learned in the last two episodes into context with a graph of the Presocratics, and we ended by talking about a man named Socrates."]

---. "Structuralism and Context." Philosophize This (January 28, 2018) ["On this episode, we talk about the origins of Structuralism. Included is a discussion on the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, (born Nov. 26, 1857, Geneva, Switz.—died Feb. 22, 1913, Vufflens-le-Château), Swiss linguist whose ideas on structure in language laid the foundation for much of the approach to and progress of the linguistic sciences in the 20th century."]

---. "Structuralism and Mythology (Part 1)." Philosophize This! (March 18, 2018) ["On this episode, we talk about the mythology that underlies the media we consume and how it serves as an access point to the structures of culture."]

---. "Structuralism and Mythology (Part 2)." Philosophize This! (March 18, 2018)

What's So Great About That? "Phantom You [Tube]: Fighting Our Digital Doubles." (Posted on Youtube: March 14, 2019) ["With our online and offline lives becoming increasingly connected, to what extent do we create our own other? And to what effect? Since the 1990s, horror and sci-fi have considered how we might create our own worst enemy - and the friendly face of this dystopian future is yours."]

The Wire (USA: David Simon, 2002-2008: HBO Series) [Helena Sheehan and Sheamus Sweeney: "No other program has ever done anything remotely like what this one does, namely to portray the social, political, and economic life of an American city with the scope, observational precision, and moral vision of great literature. . . . The drama repeatedly cuts from the top of Baltimore’s social structure to its bottom, from political fund-raisers in the white suburbs to the subterranean squat of a homeless junkie. . . . The Wire’s political science is as brilliant as its sociology. It leaves The West Wing, and everything else television has tried to do on this subject, in the dust."]


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Ursula K. Le Guin accepting the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2014: "I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. … We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words."




"The screen is a neutral element in the film-going experience. Or is it? It projects dreams but is also the receptacle of our dreams. It’s the vehicle for delivering the image to an audience — but does it also watch the audience at the same time? Is it a complicitous membrane which audience members can penetrate and which interacts with the spectators, despite its seeming passivity? Maybe — to all of the above …" -- Mark Rappoport