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?

Talk to us on TwitterFacebook and leave us a review on iTunes! We would love to hear your thoughts!

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? 

Talk to us on TwitterFacebook and leave us a review on iTunes! We would love to hear your thoughts!

Further Reading:

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?

Talk to us on TwitterFacebook and leave us a review on iTunes! We would love to hear your thoughts!

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?

Talk to us on TwitterFacebook and leave us a review on iTunes! We would love to hear your thoughts!