17-22 Segment 2: From Fan to Collaborator: How Richard Chizmar wrote a novella with Stephen King

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Richard Chizmar is an author, publisher, and Stephen King fan. He joins the show to discuss his career, his process, and his opportunity to write a novella with one of the world’s biggest authors.

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Culture Crash 17-22: Stephen King’s Mastery of Storytelling

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

On the dedication page before the novel It, Stephen King writes, “Kids, fiction is the truth inside the lie, and the truth of this fiction is simple enough: the magic exists.”

Horror has never been my thing, so growing up, I generally avoided Stephen King books. The extent of my knowledge of king was watching the Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me. Sure, and I love those movies but I thought they were the exception and that the rest of his catalogue was cheap thrills, monsters, and gore. But there’s a reason he’s one of the best-selling authors ever, and it’s not just chance.

Several years ago, I was finally brought fully into the world of Stephen King by my girlfriend and, more specifically, her father. Ignoring my distrust of horror media, I dipped my toes into the King library. I read Carrie and Salem’s Lot, then, I dove all the way in – Night Shift, It, The Stand, on and on.

Here’s what I discovered. First: there’s more to King than black cats and stormy nights. 11/22/63, The Green Mile, Joyland, Different Seasons, and many more of his works manage to be page-turning reads without being horror.

Even when he is writing horror, King writes deeply realized characters who we really care about. Yeah, he creates terrifying universes – in Christine, an evil car controls a high schooler, in The Shining, a hotel transforms a father into a monster, and in It, a clown hunts down children.

But when you get past the fantasy, you can see that they’re really parables: of addiction, of losing your innocence, and growing up and moving on. They’re scary, but they’re relatable. King writes about things we’ve all experienced. He just externalizes them as the boogeyman. It’s fiction. But like he said, fiction is the truth inside the lie.

Stephen King allows us to feel with his characters, get inside their heads, and understand what they’re thinking.

800-some pages into It, King writes: “maybe there aren’t any such things as good friends or bad friends- maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you’re hurt and who help you feel not so lonely. Maybe they’re always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for.”

It’s passages like that where King really shines.

And that’s not so scary, right?

The magic exists.

I’m Evan Rook.

17-21 Segment 1: Video Game Evolution

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Video games have long been seen as child’s play, but now they are the source of massive TV ratings and legitimate artistic expression. We talk to author Andrew Ervin about the transformation.

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Culture Crash 17-21: Rap with a Message

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

Suicide and depression are hard topics for anyone to discuss. But the rapper Logic recently wrote a song about it called 1-800-273-8255. The unconventional title is for a good reason. That’s the number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Logic recently explained the genesis behind writing a suicide prevention anthem to the lyrics analysis site genius.com, He says he was inspired by conversations he’s had with his fans.

The song, which features Alessia Cara and Khalid, is a single off of Logic’s album titled, Everybody, and has a structure designed to confront suicide and depression as frankly as possible.

In the first verse, Logic raps the thoughts of someone who has called the lifeline with suicidal thinking . In the second, he speaks from the point of view of the lifeline worker explaining some of the reasons why suicide is not the answer, and at the end, he returns to the caller, suddenly with a new perspective on life and no longer in crisis.

The song is raw and emotional and, Logic hopes, it could help save some listener’s lives.

1-800-273-8255 is on Spotify and Apple Music. Logic’s album Everybody is available now.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 to anyone considering suicide at 1-800-273-8255. That’s 1-800-273-TALK.

I’m Evan Rook.

17-20 Segment 1: The Most Wanted Man on Wall Street: The Fed’s pursuit of SAC Capital

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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.

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17-20 Segment 2: A look inside this year’s biggest books

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With summer around the corner, many of us are looking for some fresh books to read on the beach or on the porch. We talk to three authors about the themes and messages written into their latest novels.

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Culture Crash 17-20: Aziz Ansari Has a Lot to Say in “Master of None”

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

This weekend, you may have noticed a Netflix banner for the new season of Master of None. The show was created by, and stars, comedian Aziz Ansari and made a big splash in the fall of 2015 when it first debuted.

Ansari, a veteran of the NBC hit Parks and Recreation, created the show with friend and Parks writer Alan Yang. Master of None follows the life of an Indian-American actor named Dev, played by Ansari, and his life in New York City.

We watch as Dev and his friends date, travel, and visit food trucks around the city. Like Seinfeld or Louie, the show embraces the slice-of-life approach. But unlike Seinfeld, Master of None abandons the idea of being about nothing.

Most episodes of Master are self-contained but they deal with personal and political issues that we have all faced at one time or another. The second episode of the show is called Parents and the audience watches as the relationships between characters and their parents are put under the microscope. We see the sacrifice parents make for their kids, especially immigrant parents, and how easy it is for younger generations to dismiss that sacrifice.

Similar statements are made in later episodes about respecting the elderly, the mistreatment of women online, and a particularly powerfully episode titled, Indians on TV shows just how comfortable American media is with stereotypes and whitewashing minorities, especially when it comes to depicting Indian culture.

Master of None is just one of many shows Netflix is advertising. The banners and promos may well quickly fade when Frank Underwood makes his return in the latest season of House of Cards later this month.

But Master of None is worth seeking out. Each episode will make you laugh and give you food for thought about how we treat each other and what we all take for granted.

Seasons one and two of Master of None are now streaming on Netflix.

I’m Evan Rook.