We talk to two experts on sociology and racism who say that racism still exists in 2018. We discuss what racism looks like in our modern world and what we all can be doing to help make the world more tolerant and less racially biased.
The Benefits of Music Education
Often during a budget crunch, music education is the first thing to go from our schools. But we talk to two experts who give us some insight into the many benefits learning music can have on our brains and how our children develop.
Culture Crash: Hype for The Crimes of Grindelwald and Jude Law as young Dumbledore
A new installment to JK Rowling’s Wizarding World is coming in November. With it comes a new portrayal of an old favorite. We look into the film’s teaser trailer and what to expect of our Judge Law’s take on Professor Dumbledore.
The recent shooting in Parkland, Florida has ignited a public debate over gun reform, but what are the real facts about gun violence in America? And, who is actually researching the phenomenon?
Adam Pah, Clinical Assistant Professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and gun violence researcher, has attempted to cut through the rhetoric and organize the essential data points, which he says should be used in policy decision-making. Pah explains the Federal Government not only does not but also cannot fund research on gun violence, due to the 1996 Dickey Amendment. The Amendment, which bars the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from funding any research on gun violence, lobbied for by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and, ultimately, passed by Congress. Due to these restrictions, Pah began researching gun violence independently, assisted by a research team at Northwestern University. What he found was the statistics on school shootings were scarce and had no consistent standard of what constituted an incident. Pah and his team decided the definition of school shooting should entail there was actual danger present to the people on a school campus, not just the discharge of a weapon, which was the standard for most of the previous research, or violence on the way to or from a school campus.
Pah and his team ultimately concluded there was a strong correlation between the shootings and indicators of economic security, such as unemployment and consumer confidence. He argues these indicators can and should be used to predict rises in mass shootings. Further research is desperately needed. Mainly, research into what types of intervention can be used once the violence is predicted. Without Federal funding, independent researchers like Pah are all that we have to uncover the facts associated with the devastating reality of gun violence in America.
Adam Pah, Clinical assistant professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
As the season’s change, the thought on a lot of minds may be warmer weather or Spring-cleaning, but recently this time of year has also been marked by a surge in book releases. One such book is Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time. It is based on the premise of the main character being burdened with a disease that causes him to age extremely slowly, so that every fifteen years he ages roughly one year. Haig said this allowed him to delve into the topic of depression, an issue with which the author has had personal struggles. Haig has a specific interest in how mental health was viewed and treated in previous time periods and, because the protagonist ages so slowly, Haig was able to visit fourteen different time periods. He took the time to meticulously research all the settings and their stance towards mental health, so take the time to check out How to Stop Time this Spring.
A second book that will grab your attention this Spring is The Immoralists, written by Chloe Benjamin. Benjamin explores the psychology of mortality, as well as the complex nature of sibling bonds. This is just Benjamin’s second published piece, but she displays a maturity of a very experienced writer. Benjamin says the best part of the response to her book is the discussion it’s sparked among readers. She hopes it will continue to serve as a bridge to an in-depth discussion about the issues we often choose to ignore.
The final book you can’t miss out on this Spring is The Chalk Man, from the first-time author, CJ Tudor. With a backdrop of 1980’s Britain, Tudor described a group of adolescents who find themselves in a very precarious situation. The author then refocuses the reader on the same group, but now in modern times, as they attempt to fully understand what went wrong so many years ago. The thriller has been compared to recent hits, such as Stranger Things and It. Tudor chalks this up to her multiple 1980’s influences, such as The Goonies, Stephen King, and Spielberg. She makes sure to mention that her book isn’t simply another story piggybacking on the recent crime/thriller phenomenon. In fact, Stephen King himself gave the seal of approval to Tudor’s debut novel. For more information on all three books, see the links below.
Adapting a book into a movie can be tricky. The Lord of the Rings movies were praised for how faithful they were, but Peter Jackson’s subsequent Hobbit trilogy was criticized for stretching its source material too thin. The Harry Potter movies are beloved, but can never quite capture the magic of the books, in part because of the condensing that needed to take place to turn long books into palatable movies.
But few adaptations go the route of Annihilation, a sci-fi adventure/horror movie currently in theaters. The movie was written and directed by Alex Garland and is based on the book of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer.
Garland has gone on the record explaining that he wrote the script after having read the source book one time and didn’t bother to try to adapt it page-by-page. And readers of the book can understand that decision- Annihilation is an ethereal stream-of-consciousness type of book that may defy adaptation.
So the end result is a movie and book experience that are wildly individual experiences. The basic architecture remains the same- an inexplicable force of nature is consuming a swampy area and a group of explorers head in to discover what is happening, and why. But the characters motivations, decisions, and even the nature of the land they are exploring are fundamentally different things.
The debate has been raging about how successful the movie version is, and ultimately, it depends on what you want from an adaptation. For me, the movie actually elevates the material, Garland has given us new backstories, and tweaked the story to examine the nature of change and human nature. The movie gives audience a lot to think about…and it gives us this cool new musical cue:
Sometimes, we just want to see a beloved story play out exactly as we imagined. But with Annihilation, an abstract story that defies easy explanation, a departure from the source material feels just right. Annihilation the book is available online and in stores now, Annihilation the movie is currently in theaters.
Since the shooting in Parkland, Florida, gun reform debates have been happening all across the country, but researcher Adam Pah says one thing missing from the debate are the essential data points that he says can and should be informing future policy decisions.
Spring 2018’s Biggest Books
Springtime is almost here, and with it come an onslaught on books. We talk to three authors about some of the biggest books of the year.
Culture Crash: Adapting a Book into a Movie: Annihilation
The new sci-fi adventure movie, Annihilation, is based on a book but the adaptation is looser than what we typically expect. How director Alex Garland created something new.
Due to federal law, all kids are guaranteed the right to an education. But, this education has proven to be limited for students with special needs, especially students with autism. With the increased number of autism diagnoses, it is becoming more important to provide these children with an education that will benefit their future.
With special education, not all students require the same curriculum. Mark Claypool, CEO of ChanceLight Behavioral Health and co-author of How Autism is Reshaping Special Education, explains that students with autism would benefit from much more intensive services that are often applied in behavioral therapy, as well as other services, like speech and language therapy. He further explains that studies show that if you begin working with an autistic child early in their life that it can help the child grow into an independent adult. However, the current structure of school days do not allow for these services to easily fit into a regular school day.
Yet, this should not hinder the education system from working to change their special needs programs. Claypool believes that pursuing a better system is a worthwhile endeavor because special needs education already benefits from teachers who truly want to be there and the inclusivity of these programs. In order to aid autistic children in reaching their full potential, it is important that they are given the opportunity to receive a beneficial education.
Mark Claypool, CEO of ChanceLight Behavioral Health and co-author of How Autism is Reshaping Special Education
Often times, events that affect an entire population are not easily forgotten. But, the Spanish Flu is one of those that has not received as much attention as other events of similar merit. Susan Meissner, author of As Bright As Heaven, explains that 100 years ago in 1918, the Spanish Flu travelled around the world killing around 50 million people. Despite its death toll, it is one of the few diseases that many people know very little about.
How did a disease with such a massive death toll garner so little attention? Meissner believes that the lack of media attention at the time when the Spanish Flu occurred is part of the reason why it was forgotten. However, she also explains that the Spanish Flu began during World War I and ended around the same time, and people dealt with the combined death toll of both of these events by disregarding the pain entirely. Due to the immense feeling of loss during the 1920s, the Spanish Flu became almost absent in history. In her novel, Meissner gives details about the flu by contextualizing it in the midst of a modern day story. With her novel, Meissner explains that her main goal is to acknowledge the emotions embedded within the Spanish Flu that affected the entire world. Check out her novel As Bright as Heaven, and listen to her explain more about the Spanish Flu in this week’s show.