Coming Up On Viewpoints 18-17

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Our Right to Privacy in the Social Media Age

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal rocked Facebook, many of us have been left questioning what our right to privacy looks like in an increasingly digital world. When it comes to social media, who owns what information, and how do we assert the rights we do have? We talk to a professor of law about the legal issues associated with all those online profiles.

Religion In America’s Prisons

Since the beginning of the US prison system, religion has been suggested as a way to help rehabilitate criminals. We talk to Tanya Erzen, a professor of religion, about why that is and what role prison ministries play in the lives on inmates.

Culture Crash: Netflix’s Battle Against Film Traditionalists

Netflix is becoming a bigger and bigger player in the film world, which is leaving a bad taste in some people’s mouths. We look at the arguments for and against Netflix as a film distributor.

Culture Crash 18-16: HBO’s Westworld

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

When Westworld first premiered on HBO in October of 2016, we knew very little about the show. All we knew was that it was somewhat based on the 1973 film of the same name and it was created by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, the younger brother and frequent collaborator of director Christopher Nolan.

What followed was an intensely analyzed mystery of a show, constantly flipping what audiences think they knew on their head.

Immediately, Westworld proved to be one of the buzziest shows of all time. Each week, fans on Reddit were painstakingly sorting through the clues of the week and predicting the end game. Some theories were wildly off-base, but ultimately, the consensus was proved to be correct… which served as something of a dilemma for plugged-in audiences. Was it better to be constantly unsure of what you were watching, or to read the online analysis and watch it be proven correct week after week?

Regardless, the show was a hit. Deadline Hollywood reported that the show gave HBO its most-watched debut season of all time, and the creators announced a second season was being made… but that the program would take all of 2017 off and not return until 2018.

Well, 2018 is here and tonight marks the premiere of Westworld season 2. Details of what will unfold this year are fuzzy- samurais are coming, maybe? The robots are stronger than ever, maybe?

We’ll just have to tune in to find out. But if you’re confused and tempted to read theories online, just remember, they might just ruin all the fun. Or maybe this year, no one will guess what is coming. That’s just one more mystery Westworld fans will have to solve for themselves.

Season one of Westworld is available on HBO Go and HBO Now. Season two premieres on HBO tonight.

I’m Evan Rook.

Coming Up On Viewpoints 18-16

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Adventures and Explorers

Being an explorer may seem like a childhood fantasy, but it’s a real thing people do. We talk to two experts about some notable explorers of the past and ways you can see the world through fresh eyes yourself.

Tips and Tricks for Cooking at Home

Cooking at home can help you eat on a budget, or keep your diet on track. Chef Alison Roman joins the show to give advice on cooking at home to make sure you can eat deliciously even without spending a night out.

Culture Crash: HBO’s Westworld

Westworld, the show that mystified audience when it stormed onto the scene in 2016, is back tonight. We discuss the show and take a look at the perils of reading fan theories  online.

Culture Crash 18-15: Roger Ebert’s Legendary Criticism

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

Roger Ebert died 5 years ago this month. Ebert was probably the most famous and influential movie critic of all time, thanks to his sharp wit, passionate perspective, and yeah, his TV show.

If Ebert loved a film or a filmmaker, he’d champion it for years. In 1994, Ebert watched a documentary called Hoop Dreams, which followed two youth basketball players in Chicago as they navigated turbulent home lives and violent neighborhoods while hoping to one day play in the NBA. The movie was the product of documentarian Steve James. Immediately, Ebert loved the film. His review of it begins, “A film like Hoop Dreams is what movies are for. It takes us, shakes us, and makes us think in new ways about the world around us. It gives us the impression of having touched life itself.” The final two words of that quote, “life itself,” later became the title of a memoir by Ebert…and then, fittingly, the name of the documentary about his life released after his death that was made by, who else? Steve James.

Famously, though, Ebert was prickly. And if he didn’t like your movie, he’d also let you know. He even wrote a book called I Hated Hated Hated This Movie and another called Your Movie Sucks. His 2005 review of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo cut to the chase right in the first paragraph, saying “Deuce Bigalow is aggressively bad, as if it wants to cause suffering to the audience. The best thing about it is that it runs for only 75 minutes.”

It was these passionate praises and brutally honest take-downs that endeared Ebert to the masses. He said what he believed, and he would fight for it for as long as you had the time to listen to him or read his work.

Our current age of criticism has been boiled down to numbers and percentages. We don’t relate so much to a single critic or a single perspective, but to the aggregate. We don’t really care what any one review has to say, but rather, what percentage of critics liked a movie on Rotten Tomatoes, or what the average rating is on MetaCritic.

Ebert, though, inspired a connection. People would read his reviews and consider his perspective. He reviews would shed light on the film, the filmmaker, and even the fim’s connection to Ebert’s own life. Readers trusted Roger, in some cases, they trusted him more than they cared about the general consensus.

Whenever I finish a movie made before his death in 2013, I like to find his review of it and see what he thought of it. I don’t always agree, but there’s always some merit to his words.

You can read Roger Ebert’s reviews on Roger Ebert dot com. Steve James’s documentary about Ebert, Life Itself and Ebert’s own memoir Life Itself are both available now.

I’m Evan Rook.

Coming Up On Viewpoints 18-15

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The Rise of Confrontational Politics

Politicians have always stirred up controversy as a way to get ahead. But no politician has ever done it as often, or as successfully as Donald Trump. What is the attraction to these high-conflict politicians, and how do they argue their ways to the top?

The Overblown Importance of What College You Attend

When a high school student isn’t accepted into the college of their dreams, it can be devastating. But we look at whether college choice really matters as much as we may think, and how students can thrive at smaller schools.

Culture Crash: Roger Ebert’s Legendary Criticism

Movie criticism these days typically boils down to numbers and general consensus. But when Roger Ebert was alive, he cultivated a following that considered his opinions and perspective above all else.

Culture Crash 18-14: Concerts

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The first concert I ever attended was a  Collective Soul show. I went with my family during the 1997 Taste of Chicago. I was 4 years old, so forgive me if my memory is a little hazy, but I do remember it being really, really hot and having a good time, even if i probably was a little confused as to why all those adults were dancing so strange.

Since ’97, I’ve been to my fair share of concerts. I’ve gone to Lollapalooza and been evacuated in the middle of a lightning storm. My friends and I saw a free Mumford and Sons concert in Austin, Texas over spring break. My wife and me trekked through a blizzard to see Hozier at a small club in Chicago right as his song Take Me To Church was blowing up.

I’ve seen Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, and Paul McCartney just…not all at once.

What I’ve learned in all my trips to concerts from dive bars to sold-out stadiums full of people is that there really is something special about being a part of a crowd and watching live music.

There are very few feelings in the world quite like the excitement that runs through your body when the first few notes of your favorite song come on and you know you just get to revel in it for the next 4 or 5 minutes.

You may not be much of a screamer, but once you feel the elation of finally see your favorite artist walk on stage and start playing, you can at least understand what was going on in one of the most famous live music clips of all time, when all those fans lost their minds for The Beatles at the Ed Sullivan show back in 1964.

With summer just around the corner, there will surely be a few bands coming to town you’d love to see. So whether that means buying a ticket to Camila Cabello or Chris Stapleton, splurge a little for the good seats and try to let yourself get carried away half as much of those Beatles fans did 54 years ago.

I’m Evan Rook.

Coming Up On Viewpoints 18-14

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A Peek Into The Minds of Real Life Con Men

When you think of a con man, do you picture a charmer, like George Clooney in Ocean’s 11? Our guest discusses what con men are like in real life. She takes us through some of the most famous cons from the past and the techniques that make us all vulnerable to being swindled.

Religious Strife and Refugees: The 1947 Partition of India

In 1947, India was split into two countries: India and Pakistan. Now, author Veera Hiranandani is telling the story of the partition in her young adult novel, The Night Diary. She talks about the history of the partition and how that history is still tragically relevant in 2018.

Culture Crash: Concerts

Summer is getting closer, which means concerts are selling out across the country. We discuss the magic of live music and what makes it such a memorable night out.