Coming Up On Viewpoints 18-21

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Discovering the Maya Civilization

Discovering one of the most well-known ancient civilizations was no easy task. We talk to author William Carlsen about the two men who ventured into the jungle and discovered the Mayans.

Communicating with School-Aged Boys: A psychologist’s advice

Most parents with adolescent boys at home can tell you all about the difficulties of communicating clearly with them. We talk to a clinical psychologist about how to best talk with young men and understand their perspective better.

Culture Crash: The End of New Girl

Fox’s hit sitcom New Girl ended this month after 7 seasons. We take a look back at the show’s run and what makes sitcoms so special to us.

Culture Crash 18-20: Should We Really ‘Save Barnes & Noble?’

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture.  What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

When Barnes and Noble first rose to national prominence, it was feared to be an industry-killer. The chain currently operates over 600 stores across the country and that’s after considerable cuts in the recent decade.

Like all massive chains, criticisms came about how it was price-slashing the little guys. Independent bookstores, once a staple in most communities were made a rarity thanks to Barnes and Noble and its now-defunct competitor, Borders.

The disdain for these corporate behemoth booksellers was so widespread, it became a plot point in the 1998 Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan romcom, You’ve Got Mail: his family owned a chain of bookstores, she ran an independent shop. You get the picture.

Now, though, times have changed. Amazon has already ousted Borders and is working on Barnes & Noble. In a New York Times editorial earlier this month, it was argued that we, as consumers, need to “SAVE BARNES AND NOBLE!” The title even had an exclamation mark.

The argument is, of course, that Amazon is getting too big. They can make unfair demands on publishers, they can dictate prices and they can really control which books succeed and which don’t just by featuring certain titles on their homepage. On the flip side, Amazon has done a pretty good job of promoting reading and they still push book sales, even though their business has grown beyond it.

And now the debate comes down to readers: Should we support Barnes and Noble to maintain a rival for Amazon, or do we let capitalism run its course? Amazon’s prices are usually lower, so why should consumers take a hit just to keep another massive corporation in business?

Some will say that we shouldn’t support either Amazon or Barnes and Noble, but rather that we should support the few independent bookstores we have left istead..

And as for which side is right- well, who’s to say. But no matter which side you fall on, it feels funny to see an attempt to rally book readers around Barnes and Noble, the villain in this saga for so many years.

I’m Evan Rook.

Coming Up On Viewpoints 18-20

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Helping Save the Bees

You’ve probably heard that bees are in trouble, and that we need bees for many of the foods and plants we have come to love. We learn what we can all be doing to do our part and help save the bees before it’s too late.

Financial Corruption and the Fed’s Corruption of SAC Capital

The financial world was shocked when the FBI began investigating Wall Street big shot Steve Cohen and his company SAC Capital. We discuss what they were looking for, what they found, and what it all means going forward.

Culture Crash: Should We Really ‘Save Barnes & Noble?’

For years, Barnes & Noble was the big enemy to independent bookstores. Now, Amazon is the big bad and some are calling for consumers to ‘save” Barnes & Noble…but should we?

18-19 Segment 1: Honoring the Soldiers Who Fought in Vietnam

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The Vietnam War was an unpopular war and soldiers came home to a society that didn’t approve of or appreciate their service. Elizabeth Partridge, author of Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam, first got involved with the war as a protestor. Partridge didn’t have much to do with Vietnam for many years after until she visited the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial and found herself overcome with emotion while reading the soldier’s names.

The event had sparked her interest in the war and the men and women who served in Vietnam. Partridge, being a writer, decided to write her own book about the war that she had protested so many years ago. She wanted her book to be different than the thousands of Vietnam War books that already existed. So she set out to find veterans to interview who could tell her their personal experiences of the war. The stories of six men and one woman who Partridge interviewed were interspersed between chapters on politics and culture.

The switching between large-scope ideas to laser-focused personal experiences creates a uniquely informative non-fiction book that achieves an impressive feat; it brings humanity back to the tragic war in which nearly 60,000 American soldiers lost their lives. Partridge can’t raise the dead but she can bring their lost stories back to life. To purchase a copy of Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam and read more about Partridge and her other works visit the links below.

Guest:

  • Elizabeth Partridge, Former Vietnam protestor and author of Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam

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18-19 Segment 2: Men’s Place in the #MeToo Movement

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The #MeToo movement has been getting headlines for months now. The movement was started by women, but men still have a role to serve in the fight for equality and in the elimination of sexism and misogyny.

Guest:

  • Brendan Kiely, author, Tradition

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Culture Crash 18-19: The Hamilton Mixtape, Hamildrops and the Hamiltome: Keeping Hamilton alive

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture.  What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

By now, it’s well-known that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2015 musical Hamilton is a cultural sensation. The musical won all sorts of awards including 11 Tonys, a Grammy, and a Pulitzer. The lyrics were quoted by President Obama, and the original Broadway recording has spent over 130 weeks on the Billboard Top 200 and has reached as high at number three on the list. Some even credit the musical with convincing the US Treasury to keep Alexander Hamilton on the ten dollar bill.

But Miranda has ensured his musical lives beyond just the musical itself. Since its premiere, he has co-authored a book about the development of the show, participated in a PBS documentary about the show, and released 28- yes, 28- bonus songs.

First came The Hamilton Mixtape, born out of Miranda’s self-professed love of cassette mixtapes from the 90s, the album was full of songs cut from the show and remixes by notable musicians including Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Chance the Rapper, and Asher.

In recent months, Miranda has begun what he called the Hamildrops – one new song per month until he runs out of material. The Hamildrops have included a song about Benjamin Franklin, a pro-gun control collaboration with the musical Dear Evan Hansen made to benefit the March for Our Lives, and the first draft of one of Hamilton’s many showstoppers, Burn performed by five different actresses who has portrayed Eliza Schuyler-Hamilton in the musical.
Hamilton is a cultural moment, but it’s also proving to have some endurance. Over three years since its premiere, new songs released under its brand-name still zoom to the top of iTunes and Spotify charts, and keep Hamilton’s rabid fanbase delighted and excited.

I’m Evan Rook.

Coming Up On Viewpoints 18-19

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Honoring the Soldiers Who Fought in Vietnam

The Vietnam War was an unpopular war. As such, soldiers would come home to a society that didn’t approve of what they did… even if they themselves were drafted into the war. We talk to a former Vietnam War protester about what we can do now to honor and remember those who served in Vietnam.

Men’s Place in the #MeToo Movement

The #MeToo movement has been getting headlines for months now. The movement was started by women, but what men still have a role to serve in the fight for equality and in the elimination of sexism and misogyny.

Culture Crash: The Hamilton Mixtape, Hamildrops and the Hamiltome: Keeping Hamilton alive

Hamilton is over 3 years old, but it still tops the iTunes and Spotify charts every few weeks or so thanks to the “Hamildrops,” where creator Lin-Manuel Miranda releases new Hamilton-adjacent material every few weeks or so.