Episode 235: Thordis and Tom

***The following episode deals with issues of sexual violence.***

Over twenty years ago, Thordis Elva of Iceland shared a teenage romance with Tom Stranger, an exchange student visiting from Australia. After a school dance in 1996, when she was 16 and he was 18, he raped her. After parting ways and independently examining their own feelings and responses to the traumatic event, Thordis got in touch with Tom. The two would go on to correspond for years and later meet in South Africa to navigate the pain surrounding Tom’s actions together. In October 2016, they recorded a controversial joint TED Talk exploring this journey. This week, we’re joined by Nari Malkhasyan to discuss the talk and its implications regarding shame, trauma and humanity. As we felt the original talk pursued, we hope we also touch on the uncomfortable nuance and difficult questions in our conversation. Lastly, like any episode, this conversation is about reflection and inquiry, not conclusion and declaration. What we discuss may clash with your perspectives and similarly, what Thordis and Tom explored (and acknowledged) is not a prescription for all survivors and perpetrators.

Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger

Episode 234: "Catching Up"

As our lives grow more complex and our social ties accommodate different schedules, timezones and obligations, a common refrain for friends (especially in adulthood) is to find the time to “catch up”. This week we welcome Leland Holcomb to explore the phrase and the ideas behind it. In what ways does it acknowledge the sometimes chaotic pace of social life? How does this approach to friendship sculpt a particular lane within which to call someone a friend? Do we limit ourselves to recollection rather than deeper inspection of our experiences? Do these friendships tend towards image over substance?

Episode 233: How We Nourish Creativity

Creative individuals have been supported in many ways across humanity’s storied history. They’re relied upon generous benefactors, municipal commissions and in modern times, crowd-funding such as Patreon. Some might argue about the value of creative work in our society, but in the belief that they should be supported, how do we nourish that creativity? This week, we welcome Matt DiBiase, a musical artist, to explore the idea. How do friends, family and thoughtful gifts nudge those with the creative spark to make something of their passions and perspectives?

Episode 232: ...And Perhaps Our Things Own Us

As many of us are encouraged to purchase, acquire and own items and objects around them, how do our possessions affect us? What is our relationship to them and what rationale do we give to keep them around? This week, we welcome Ayelet Ronen to discuss the ways in which our ownership of things may actually work in the reverse: that to an extent, they own us. We create space for them, take out insurance policies, polish, guard and at times personify them. But how do possessions prevent or limit certain actions and lifestyles? Are we at our happiest, best or healthiest because of our belongings?

Episode 231: Rejection, Overheard

Of the many great, palpable fears that connect us as human beings, the fear of rejection is high among them. But how often do we have the strange experience of learning why we were rejected? This week, we welcome Ian Cooper to explore and review these ideas as their described by popular YouTuber, Hank Green. Do we ultimately want to know these humbling reasons? Do they help us to grow? How does rejection change when it’s done anonymously?