18-07 Segment 1: The Graduate, 50 Years Later

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Even after 50 years, The Graduate is a film that has managed to maintain a significant place in American culture for many generations. While its consistent popularity over time could be due to a number of factors, Beverly Gray, author of Seduced By Mrs. Robinson talks with us about some of these elements that she truly felt has made the film so important.

When talking about the impact of this film, Gray believes that it benefits from a few different components. First, many Baby Boomers, herself included, felt that the film addressed some of their own confusion with the world, as kids entering adulthood looking to do something different with their lives than their parents. Not only is this a feeling that the Baby Boomer generation experienced, it is also an universal one that generations growing up today can relate to as well. Other factors that Gray uses to explain this movies impact is the time in which it came about, but also the revolutionary choices made in respect to film.
To hear more about these different elements, listen to Gray further discuss these ideas and check out her book Seduced By Mrs. Robinson.

Guest:

  • Beverly Gray, author of Seduced By Mrs. Robinson

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18-07 Segment 2: The Power of the Written Word

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With technology constantly changing, new ways of documenting stories are being used to allow people access to reading them. These new inventions have led many people to wonder just how storytelling happened in the past, and what changes have allowed for stories to continue to be told over time.

Storytelling has always been an important part of human communication. In the past, stories relied on oral communication. Martin Puchner, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University and author of The Written Word: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization explains that before written word, stories had to be able to withstand being told from one generation to the next by remaining relevant. He also explains that there were rare exceptions to this rule, in which some stories were lost and then rediscovered, a feat that Dr. Puchner says is very lucky. The only way to ensure that a text survived from one generation to the next was to continue to verbally communicate the story.

Since then, many technologies have been created that increased the accessibility to written text. These developments have allowed for new writing techniques to surface. One of these elements of modern writing that Dr. Puchner explains is introspection, which was not always important in literature, but emerged about a thousand years ago when the first novel was written, and since then, it has become an important aspect of storytelling. The written word has had many other significant impacts, not just on the way humans write, but also on how humans understand the world.

Guest:

  • Martin Puchner, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University and author of The Written Word: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization

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18-06 Segment 1: Making Philosophy Relatable Through Humor

 

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Philosophy is not often considered a light conversational topic, and it even more rarely is associated with being humorous. However, Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, authors of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes, would disagree.

“It’s not that philosophy’s so funny, it’s that the jokes explain philosophical ideas, and somehow make it funny,” said Klein. Cathcart and Klein use the storylines of jokes that do not initially appear to have any relation to philosophy, and then find a way to apply a philosophical belief to it allowing for the meaning to become more clear. According to Cathcart the study of philosophy arms people with the skills needed to think, argue, and make a point more clearly.

Listen to Klein and Cathcart explain some philosophical thought by using jokes, and hear their opinion on whether they think the deepest thinkers of the past would have benefitted from using jokes to explain their ideas.

Guest:

  • Thomas Cathcart, co-author of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes
  • Daniel Klein, co-author of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes

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18-06 Segment 2: Norwich, Vermont’s Olympic Formula

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During the Olympics, most of the focus is on the talent and success of the individual athletes. Yet, Karen Crouse, a writer for the New York Times and author of Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence, believes that one small town deserves the same attention.

Norwich, Vermont, a town with a population of 3,000, has produced eleven Olympians since 1984. Inspired by the instant connection she felt with the tiny town because of her personal experiences as a swimmer in Santa Clara, California, another Olympic powerhouse, Crouse wanted to discover just what it was that was helping Norwich become so successful.

After talking with the athletes and their families, she noticed two factors that contributed to these athletes’ successes. The first was a domino effect, when one individual witnesses the excellence of another, it normalizes the experience and allows the goal to appear more attainable. Another reason Crouse attributes to Norwich’s success is the role that the adults play in the athletes lives. They do not tell them what to do, but rather, encourage them to make their own choices. These practices have allowed Norwich to create a community that promotes a healthy environment that breeds future success.

Guest:

  • Karen Crouse, writer for New York Times and author of Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence

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18-05 Segment 1: Reworking a Classic

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Many directors and authors have used Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window as a frame for their own story line. The plot details the events of a person who is spying on their neighbor and witnesses a murder. A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window, talks about his book that follows a similar narrative, and how he used his personal experience to make it a story of his own.


Despite sharing some of the same details with other books, Finn wanted his version to rely on the emotional aspects of the story because of his experience with mental illness. He explains, “ …I plugged into the narrative this character who had experienced much of what I’ve experienced, who had struggled much as I had struggled, whose grief felt to me comparable in intensity even though our circumstances were different, and if The Woman in the Window is notable for anything, and I hope it is, I would like it to be the emotional resonance.”  Listen to Finn tell us more about the inspiration behind his debut novel, as well as his own story of mental illness.

Guest:

  • A.J. Finn, Author of The Woman in the Window

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18-05 Segment 2: Super Bowl Ads

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With the Super Bowl quickly approaching, many people are excited about the big game, but far more find the commercials just as appealing as the game itself. While the Super Bowl is one of the most expensive times for a company to run an ad, many companies invest not only in an ad slot, but expensive production for the ad, too. Aaron Goldman, Chief Marketing Officer for 4C Insights, addresses this explaining that the Super Bowl is an appealing time to run an ad for a company because it is one of the only times to get a message across to a massive audience in real time which has become more rare in recent years.

Even though the commercial is guaranteed to reach a large audience, companies cannot always predict the effectiveness of their ads. David Stewart, President’s Professor of Marketing at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, says that smaller companies typically benefit the most from Super Bowl ads because it increases the attention and positive awareness. However, it is important that these companies use social media to maintain and enhance this positive engagement before and after the ad airs

But before companies can reap the benefits of their Super Bowl commercial, they must make an ad that will appeal to a large audience, specifically those watching the Super Bowl.  Richard Krevolin, branding consultant and author of the book, The Hook: How To Share Your Brand’s Unique Story to Engage Customers, Boost Sales, and Achieve Heartfelt Success, explains the importance of using the ad to tell a story, one that is meaningful and emotional to their brand and the viewers. Stewart also says that it is important for brands to focus their ad on a general campaign that the company can continue to market after the ad has aired during the Super Bowl. While there is no way to predict if an ad will be effective, brands can increase the likeliness of this by appealing to the emotions of the audience and making an ad that is unforgettable.

Guest:

  • Aaron Goldman, Chief Marketing Officer for 4C Insights
  • David Stewart, President’s Professor of Marketing at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles
  • Richard Krevolin, branding consultant and author of the book, The Hook: How To Share Your Brand’s Unique Story to Engage Customers, Boost Sales, and Achieve Heartfelt Success

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18-04 Segment 1: The Real History Behind the Evacuation of Dunkirk

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In the last year, two movies including Christopher Nolan’s latest blockbuster have introduced the story of Dunkirk to American audiences. We talk to Michael Korda, a historian and author, who explains some of the real history, including why Hitler and Churchill acted the way they did throughout the ordeal.

Guest:

  • Michael Korda, author, Alone: Britain, Churchill, and Dunkirk: Defeat into Victory

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