Students are taking an active role in political conversations around the country. We talk to experts about how teachers and schools are teaching young adults to think critically about important topics and talk an active role in the ongoing debates.
The Value of Grit
Why is it that the same obstacles can cause one person to stop a pursuit and encourage another to keep going? The answer may lie in grit, the intangible “thing” that encompasses someone’s passion and perseverance.
Culture Crash: Oscar Sunday
Tonight is the big night: The Academy Awards. We run through five of the biggest contenders of the year and where you can watch them to prepare for the ceremony.
Like other mental illnesses, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is highly misunderstood within the culture. Many people believe that the disorder is just behaviors, such as persistent organization, washing one’s hands all the time, or checking the lock on the door constantly. But, what people do not realize is that OCD is a lot more than just these behavioral actions.
The misconceptions overlook one prevalent aspect of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. David Adam, reporter at Nature and author of The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought, explains that OCD begins with an obsession, which is usually a disturbing thought that will not stop, and a compulsion is usually a repetitive behavior in response to the thought. Once someone acts on this thought, they increase the likelihood that the thought will return which creates a cycle. Adam explains that this cycle is what defines the obsession and compulsion as a disorder because it has the ability to to affect the person’s quality of life. This cycle often makes the disorder debilitating for those who suffer from it.
Despite the severity of the disorder, it is undermined in society because its understanding is manifested through jokes. The ideas and depictions of OCD presented by these jokes has much larger consequences than many people realize. Adam explains that these expressions of the disorder can be harmful to those actually suffering from OCD because they are not able to recognize the symptoms.
David Adam, reporter at Nature and author of The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought
While grief is an innate part of human life and something everybody experiences, the way in which people manage this grief is different. Some people choose to sulk, others choose to listen to music. But, Tom Malmquist, author of In Every Moment We Are Still Alive, chose to write a novel after the death of his partner to deal with the pain he was feeling. Through the novel, he was able to create something meaningful out of his grief. Despite being based on real events, In Every Moment We Are Still Alive is not a memoir or an autobiography. Malmquist explains that he wrote this story as a novel because he made conscious decisions to include or add certain events, while leaving out others, and by choosing to focus more on some details than others. In sharing his grief in this novel, he hopes that other grieving people will read his book and realize that they are not alone. Listen in to hear Malmquist tell us more about his experiences with grief, and pick up a copy of his book.
Tom Malmquist, author of In Every Moment We Are Still Alive
Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.
Parent-and-child bonds can be nurtured in countless ways. You may remember your dad picking you up from school every day or reading you bedtime stories. You may have a family business where your mother taught you the tools of the trade.
Maybe you’re like Richard and Billy Chizmar, a father and son duo from Maryland who set out to write a horror story together.
Billy Chizmar: “We’ve always just been like natural collaborators. We’ve been best friends for as long as I can remember and he’s been my coach in every sport I ever played. So just collaborating on that level was just natural just because we had so much experience working with one another”
p>That’s Billy, the son, who co-authored the novella Widow’s Point with his father, the author and publisher Richard Chizmar.
The novella tells the story of Thomas Livingston, an author on the paranormal who sets out to spend a weekend in a haunted lighthouse where gruesome deaths and ghost stories have never been in short supply.
Both Billy and Richard raved about the fun of scaring people and their love for the horror genre. The novella is even dedicated to Stephen King, the master of horror and also the Chizmar’s family friend.
Widow’s Point is a creepy story that will get under your skin and keep you up at night. But the father and son who masterminded the whole thing say writing it was a blast- made even more fun because they did it together.
Richard says one of his biggest joys was watching each of their sensibilities and writing styles combine to create something entirely new.
Richard Chizmar: “When I go back and look at it I can absolutely pick some spots that were me, I can pick some spots that are him, and then there’s some gray areas where I cannot remember who wrote this and I think that’s how it should be. You know I think those lines should be blurred a little bit.”
Widow’s Point by Richard and Billy Chizmar is available now for purchase at CemetaryDance.com or as an ebook on Amazon.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A debilitating and misunderstood malady
David Adam is a reporter and author who has lived with OCD for almost 20 years. He joins the show to explain his disorder and clear up some common misconceptions about the debilitating disorder.
Processing Unimaginable Grief
Grief is something all humans experience in their life. But that doesn’t make it any easier. Author Tom Malmquist suffered a terrible loss: his partner of 10 years died after childbirth. This was compounded a short while later when Malmquist’s father died. He talks about how we processed his grief through writing, and the hope he finds in raising his daughter.
Culture Crash: A Father and Son Duo’s New Creepy Ghost Story
Authors Richard and Billy Chizmar aren’t just partners, they’re family. Their new horror novella, Widow’s Point, tells the story of a haunted lighthouse. Despite its scary plot, the father and son say writing it was a blast.
Even after 50 years, The Graduate is a film that has managed to maintain a significant place in American culture for many generations. While its consistent popularity over time could be due to a number of factors, Beverly Gray, author of Seduced By Mrs. Robinson talks with us about some of these elements that she truly felt has made the film so important.
When talking about the impact of this film, Gray believes that it benefits from a few different components. First, many Baby Boomers, herself included, felt that the film addressed some of their own confusion with the world, as kids entering adulthood looking to do something different with their lives than their parents. Not only is this a feeling that the Baby Boomer generation experienced, it is also an universal one that generations growing up today can relate to as well. Other factors that Gray uses to explain this movies impact is the time in which it came about, but also the revolutionary choices made in respect to film. To hear more about these different elements, listen to Gray further discuss these ideas and check out her book Seduced By Mrs. Robinson.
With technology constantly changing, new ways of documenting stories are being used to allow people access to reading them. These new inventions have led many people to wonder just how storytelling happened in the past, and what changes have allowed for stories to continue to be told over time.
Storytelling has always been an important part of human communication. In the past, stories relied on oral communication. Martin Puchner, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University and author of The Written Word: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization explains that before written word, stories had to be able to withstand being told from one generation to the next by remaining relevant. He also explains that there were rare exceptions to this rule, in which some stories were lost and then rediscovered, a feat that Dr. Puchner says is very lucky. The only way to ensure that a text survived from one generation to the next was to continue to verbally communicate the story.
Since then, many technologies have been created that increased the accessibility to written text. These developments have allowed for new writing techniques to surface. One of these elements of modern writing that Dr. Puchner explains is introspection, which was not always important in literature, but emerged about a thousand years ago when the first novel was written, and since then, it has become an important aspect of storytelling. The written word has had many other significant impacts, not just on the way humans write, but also on how humans understand the world.
Martin Puchner, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University and author of The Written Word: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization