Episode 145: Cross-Artistic Inspiration

Many of us who pursue artistic or creative passions look to those who have succeeded in a particular field. Writers inspire the linguistically-inclined, musicians often look to top artists and bands for a model of creative success. But what about the possibility of drawing inspiration across artistic disciplines? This week we speak with Jibri McLean about the phenomenon and discuss the foundations of his creative drive. How does self-confidence help cultivate a sense of personal and artistic liberty? What are the foundations of artistic inspiration that touch something profoundly human? 

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Episode 144: The Impact of Best Friends

As we get to know other people, we gradually filter them into distinct boxes or categories. Some we associate with work, recreation or competition. One particular social category worthy of further examination is the idea of a best friend. What makes someone a best friend? Is this title always applied mutually between or among groups of friends? How do these particular individuals shape our lives and growth. This week, we're joined by Jack Quigley to examine how we choose or evaluate friendships that may fall under this label. How do our preferences for best friends change as we grow older?

Episode 143: "Can Democracy Stop Terrorism?"

Democracy must be our answer to terrorism.
— Angela Merkel
Democracy is necessary to peace and to undermining the forces of terrorism
— Benazir Bhutto
But this begs a fundamental question: Is it true that the more democratic a country becomes, the less likely it us to produce terrorists and terrorist groups?
— F. Gregory Gause III in Foreign Affairs magazine, September/October 2005 issue.

Since the September 11th terror attacks, the United States has continued to wage a "war on terror". It has been the catalyst for numerous political and ideological shifts around the globe over the past sixteen years and reflects a turning point of sorts. It is important to examine, given attacks in recent years, how democracy plays into the topic of terrorism. This week we're joined by Sam Whipple to look at a 2005 article by F. Gregory Gause III entitled "Can Democracy Stop Terrorism?" and to explore the role democracies play in combating 21st century terrorism. How are democracies organized in ways that prove especially vulnerable to terrorist aims? How does terrorism take advantages of the freedoms permitted under democracy?

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Episode 142: "Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter"

When sexual topics are brought into a conversation via joke or interjection, a common response is “Get your mind out of the gutter!” Prevailing cultural attitudes discourage us from bringing up sexual topics unless they are given a substantial and specific context. What are some of the consequences of avoiding these topics and treating them as taboo? This week, we welcome Charneil Bush to examine the underlying meaning behind this common phrase and how dialogue could alter our perspectives on sexual topics. We explore how the absence of such conversations makes it more difficult to broach the subject. What does the current discourse, or lack thereof, indicate about our understandings of one another as sexual beings?

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Episode 141: Embarrassment Surrounding American Culture

We often take a critical look at cultural elements or sections of our behavior and thinking. Is it possible to apply a similar lens to an entire culture? This week, we welcome Kendall Theroux to talk about reservations of claiming an American identity during her travels abroad in Germany. Are there fair ways to criticize and correct a culture? Is it even possible to conceptualize and properly address a nation of millions with so many subsections and intimate multitudes? Can one be concerned about or embarrassed by a national culture and still claim to be patriotic?

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