18-25 Segment 1: Domestic Violence: How It Happens and How to Stop It

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Domestic violence statistics show that one in three females and one in four males will be the victim of physical or emotional abuse by an intimate partner over the course of their lifetime in the US. The immediate questions from these staggering statistics are why does this happen and what can be done to stop it? Dr. Shannon Karl, Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and Dr. Jay Richards, forensic psychologist on the faculty of Washington University and Seattle University and author of the novel Silhouette of Virtue, discuss the answers to these essential questions about domestic violence.

The risk factors for becoming an abuser were found to be previous exposure to violence in the home, difficulty  managing emotions like anger, substance abuse, and other environmental and social stresses. While women can also be abusive, a study that profiled abusive men found that, stereotypically, they are egocentric, super ‘macho,’ and dominant, often projecting an aggressive masculinity. These traits are, in many cases, concealed during courtship, but Richards points out several signs that can give them away. Making an entitled demand on a woman’s time or activities is one such sign that this demand will later be enforced with violence. Karl says that children are especially at risk after having witnessed violence, as that can continue the cycle of domestic abuse later on in their own lives.

Domestic violence often functions in a cycle. Richards says that after the abuse the violent partner may feel regret and low self-esteem for what they have done.The aggressor then starts a make up cycle, causing their partner to stay in the unhealthy relationship. He suggests that for those seeking to get out of this situation, they must first find a safe and secure place to get away from the abuser and then seek outside help. A counseling center may be especially helpful, because secrecy helps domestic violence to continue.

Some progress is being made in how law enforcement and government are handling domestic violence, with strict fines and many different programs for counseling. Karl suggests for those seeking help to visit the National Coalition for Domestic Violence website or call the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

To get help or to learn more about domestic violence and our guests, visit the links below.

Guests:

  • Dr. Shannon Karl, Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at Nova Southeastern University at Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Dr. Jay Richards, forensic psychologist on the faculty of Washington University and Seattle University and author of the novel Silhouette of Virtue

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18-25 Segment 2: How Comedy Became King

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We love to laugh. Our lives are filled with humor in various forms, from comedy shows to joke books. Ken Jennings, former Jeopardy champion and author of Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over Our Culture, calls Twitter “one big joke contest.” Jennings explains more about the abundance of comedy in our culture and whether it’s a good thing.

Comedy was not always king. In fact, people used to value strength, hard work, and skills over humor. But as the world has become more automated, humor is one of the few human skills that can’t be replicated by a robot and, thus, is considered of prime importance. Often, it tops the list in what people are looking for in a partner.

Jennings points out two milestones in comedy’s takeover of our society, in advertising and in politics. Once this trend was started, everybody else had to keep up. This is why, now, we get our news from comedy shows and watch the Super Bowl for advertisements.

Humor, no doubt, makes people happy and has many positives. The increase of humor for activism purposes is one example of it being used for good. But, Jennings’ book has a punchline: “if everything is funnier, why aren’t we happier?” It may be that jokes are too plentiful, or it may be that they have infiltrated in areas where they aren’t appropriate. Comedy can often be used for ignoble purposes, to sell or cover up scandals for example. So, Jennings encourages us all to reevaluate our attitudes toward humor and make sure it plays an appropriate role in our culture.

To get your own copy of Jennings’ book, see the links below.

Guest:

  • Ken Jennings, former Jeopardy champion and author of Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over Our Culture

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Culture Crash 18-25: A new Spider-Man movie worth getting excited for

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

Summer is the time of year when blockbusters are released and when the trailers for the fall slate of movies begin coming in earnest. Some recent highlights include the trailers for Steve McQueen’s Widows and Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star Is Born. One preview  that stood out to me and many others is the trailer for the forthcoming animated film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

I know what you’re thinking- another Spider-Man story? The answer is yes, but you should be very excited. This ain’t your father’s Spider-Man, and that’s a good thing. Into the Spider-Verse will focus not on Peter Parker’s Spiderman, but Miles Morales’s.

If you’re not familiar, Morales is half-black, half-Latino and also, of course, becomes part spider. His 2011 debut was met with the predictable cries that all diversity is a publicity stunyt, but forget about the whiny internet trolls, because diverse storytelling is good storytelling and on merit, Morales is an incredible character.

In addition to sharing most of Parker’s abilities, Morales can also totally camouflage himself and has a special tool called his venom strike, allowing him to temporarily paralyze his foes. Additionally, yeah, he’s a minority Spider-Man, and that’s awesome. Young black children and Latino children deserve representation, and Morales gives them a fresh, young character to cherish… and he offers all of us a nice breath of fresh air from the overly familiar, oft-retread story of Peter Parker.

Into The Spider-Verse looks visually stunning as well, employing a signature comic-book look in its animation style that isn’t trying to look as real as possible. It’s animated… and that’s what can make it great. Since the Marvel Cinematic Universe hit its full stride with The Avengers in 2012, superhero movies have grown to look more and more bland. Into the Spider-Verse looks like it will show us what’s possible when studios stop worrying about earning tax breaks by filming in Atlanta or saving money by shooting on sound stages, and instead create with their imaginations totally unleashed.

Miles Morales will swing into theaters in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse this December, but the movie’s trailer is online now, and it’s worth seeking out.

I’m Evan Rook.

Coming Up On Viewpoints Show 18-25

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Domestic Violence: How It Happens and How to Stop It

Domestic abuse is something many women and men will experience in their lives. We talk to two psychologists familiar with the subject about what victims can do to remove themselves from the abuse and how being a witness to or a victim of abuse affects the intimate relationship, children, and the family dynamic.

How Comedy Became King

Comedy is all around us: all over social media, in advertisements, even on church signs. Former Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings says that while it can be fun, it does come at a cost when jokes are made in arenas where they’re inappropriate. We discuss the history and impact of jokes on our culture.

Culture Crash: A new Spider-Man movie worth getting excited for

Spider-Man movies have been done and redone several times now, but a new animated movie about the web-slinger is coming out in December, and it will finally tell the story from a fresh perspective.

18-24 Segment 1: Creating Better Teams

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Teamwork makes the dream work. Our culture loves teams, but Shane Snow, entrepreneur and author of Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart, argues that teams have more potential than we realize. While many think of a successful team as one with peace and harmony, Snow says that signs of disagreement and friction are better indicators of a good team. He explains more about cognitive friction and diversity and their role in making teams live up to their reputation.

Cognitive friction is the first element in Snow’s suggestion for transforming a team. When everyone agrees, the work slows down and often comes to a standstill. Having healthy dissent and discussion encourages growth and change. Snow describes cognitive friction as when “you don’t get along, but you don’t get along well.” One way to get this friction is to pursue cognitive diversity in your team. Different perspectives on the world coming from different experiences and backgrounds bring with them varied strategies for problem solving. With more diversity, a team uncovers more options, leading to healthy discussion and, ultimately, a solution.

Snow gives several examples of how teams with friction have worked well in the past. From improv comedy to the Wu-Tang Clan, entertainers know the benefits that come from disagreement in a team. Snow also brings up the examples of American presidents and their cabinets, such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. By harnessing the friction in their teams, these leaders were able to make a difference and produce tangible results. But, the push and pull of this friction only works well when every member is willing to listen and respect the rest of the team. With these kinds of team, Snow says, change can happen.

For more information about teamwork and Snow’s book, see the links below.

Guest:

  • Shane Snow, entrepreneur and author of Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart

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18-24 Segment 2: The Value of Our Public Libraries

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With recent governmental budget cuts, many public services are beginning to suffer. Not least among these are public libraries. While some still consider the work of libraries as outdated and unnecessary, Dr. Timothy Crist, president of the Board of Trustees for The Newark Public Library in New Jersey, and Karin Slaughter, author and founder of Save the Libraries, explain why taking funds away from libraries can result in long-term detriments to the community.

Crist argues that libraries are essential because of the work they do in preparing the community for the future. Helping people find jobs, providing Wi-Fi, encouraging family literacy, and much more is part of the everyday responsibilities of many public libraries around the country. The stuffy, quiet library of the past has transformed, in many cases, into a progressive, vibrant resource to help communities in modern society connect to and exchange information.

Save the Libraries, Slaughter’s organization, strives to provide funding for libraries in underprivileged communities. Slaughter speaks of the impact of libraries on her own life, explaining how the institution provided her with the chance to discover new worlds as child. Even now as a successful author, she uses libraries to access research and history records that are often unavailable anywhere else. She encourages individuals to reach out to their local governments and explain the need for libraries in the community, as well as donating to libraries that need it. Slaughter says that one dollar spent in the library returns five dollars to the community.  

To learn more about libraries and our guests, visit the links below.

Guests:

  • Dr. Timothy Crist, president of the Board of Trustees for The Newark Public Library (Newark, NJ)
  • Karin Slaughter, author and founder of Save the Libraries

Links for more information:

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Culture Crash 18-24: What’s a comedy award to do when no books are funny?

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

Since the year 2000, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction has been given to what a panel of literature judges in the UK deem to be the funniest book of the year. The award is a big bottle of champagne, over 50 volumes of comedy writing, and the prestige of having a pig named after your novel. While the prize is silly, the competition is fierce. Since the award’s inception, it has been given to notable titles like Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Bridget Jones’s Baby: The Diaries. Some years, the competition has been incredibly stiff, like in 2003 when Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi was named as a finalist but did not win.

This year, the judges ran into a different problem. According to David Campbell, a publisher and one of the judges for the prize, none of the submissions made the panel laugh. He explained that because none of the books were deemed worthy, he and his fellow judges quote “decided to withhold the prize this year to maintain the extremely high standards of comic fiction.”

While it is seemingly bad news that no books published in a year span were deemed worthy of a comedy prize, there is some good news: The judges announced they will be rolling this year’s prize over to next year. So aspiring comedy writers, take note: You have several months to get a hilarious manuscript published to have a shot at two bottles of champagne and maybe they’ll even agree to name not one but two pigs after your novel.

I’m Evan Rook.