Episode 150: Wonder Woman

I’m such a believer in the genre because I’m a believer in mankind turning stories into about what it means to be a hero and what would I do if I was a hero and how would that feel...And this is such an important time in the world for people to think about what kind of hero they would want to be and what we’re going to do to save this world that I was honored to get to join in the dialogue.
— Patty Jenkins, speaking with Screen Rant on May 31, 2017
Gal Gadot is a revelation; she fully owns the role as much as Robert Downey, Jr. owns Iron Man or Chris Evans owns Captain America. She is Wonder Woman, and it’s impressive to watch her walk the fine line between naiveté without stupidity, sexually aware without being sexualized, a warrior bred for battle who still retains a compassionate heart.
— Alisha Grauso of MoviePilot, on May 30, 2017

Modern film has become a dynamo for discussions about our world, our culture and our humanity. This role has been especially prominent with the release of a Wonder Woman film, starring Gal Gadot. Audiences have come out en masse to marvel at her superhuman strength, commitment to justice and to appreciate her role as a female superhero in a comic landscape which often highlights male narratives. As many critics of the film have pointed out, it serves as a tent-pole of sorts, one which may determine the market viability of future female-led superhero movies. This week we're joined by Aayesha Siddiqui to examine the commentaries made by the film and to explore its unique and widespread influence. What does the movie articulate about heroism, gender and personal growth? What arguments does it put forward about the horrors of war and the conflict between bravery and cowardice?

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Episode 149: The Changing of Rooms

So much of our experiences as people rests upon the spaces and environments we occupy and traverse. In particular, the rooms where we socialize, rest, eat, learn and work have a heavy bearing on who we are and how we live. But when these spaces change, how does that process affect us? This week, Mark Ashin joins us to discuss the phenomenon of rooms shifting in time and how our memories and perceptions are tied not only to rooms themselves, but particular decorations or appearances the room might take on.

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Episode 148: What We Can Say In Music

Cultures and societies around the world have embraced and leaned upon music since time immemorial and for various reasons. Music can soothe, invigorate and stir deep reflection and profound emotional reactions. But when we introduce lyrics, perspectives and personally-charged stances into songs, how do they change? How does music allow us to communicate ideas that speech or other means of communication might not? This week, we welcome Evan Rasch to work through this concept. What are the dangers that music, as a form of communication, might present? Do we utilize music for messaging out of fear of being more direct?

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Episode 147: The Bed and The Shower

Those minutes where I am alone, just me and my pillow. I think. A lot. I think about everything, anything. It varies from ‘What am I doing with my life?’ to ‘Did I have homework?’ The room is so silent, but my mind is so loud. It drives me crazy because the things I would never think about, I think about. Sometimes, I hate it because it brings up things I rather never think about again. The split second before sleep is the most active second of my life.
— Sylvia Plath

Many of us point to people, stories or experiences that really make us think or open our minds. But how often do we go to spaces or habits and rituals to actually deviate from the typical or mundane thoughts we have? This week we welcome Liam Leonard-Solis to examine this idea by looking specifically at the bed and the shower as spaces where many of us have time alone at the beginnings and ends of our days. How might that solitude offer us a freer space for thinking? What could we draw from these places and apply elsewhere in our lives?

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Episode 146: The Hurtful and The Critical

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
— Ira Glass

In living our lives and putting our experiences, creations and selves into the world, we also draw attention for various types of scrutiny and critique. While it's certainly valuable to have feedback - ideally constructively so - many people take an aggressive or hostile tone under the guise of criticism. This week we're joined by Amy Young to explore the distinctions between "the critical" and "the hurtful". How might typical human tendencies presume input to be negative when that may not be intended? How could we avoid the discomfort that many of us associate with criticism by proactively seeking it out? Are there certain figures or relationships which permit criticism more openly or with lower potential for conflict than others?

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