Episode 196: The Celebrity Crush

The concept of a celebrity crush has become commonplace in our culture - the famed folks after whom we pine, lust and dream. Many of us look to celebrities as icons of romantic or sexual interests. Their fame helps us describe our feelings and attractions. But why does the term have traction? Why do we find it so appealing and accessible? How does the term reflect a tendency towards or preference of the visible?

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Episode 195: The Pressure to Parent

Of the many near-universal life experiences shared across the world, parenthood is near the top of the list. For as long as humans have roamed the earth, their parents have brought them to the very pale blue dot we all inhabit. But what of the numerous folks who choose not to have children? This week, we speak with Susannah O'Neil about her experiences being judged or confronted by others (including strangers) about her decision. Why do some feel comfortable and permitted to make such remarks? How does a biological interest in procreation give rise to social commentary on others' decisions?

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Episode 194: Knowledge, Trivia and Shame

Knowledge and our ability to capture it has lifted our species to great heights. It has been our foothold in scientific discovery, feats of eloquence, community and profound understanding. But we don't all prize the same knowledge or in the same ways. This week, Ian Fox joins us to discuss the ways in which we shame those who do not know what we know and how we approach knowledge in a societal context. How does shame factor into the approach many have to learning? How do cultures distinguish between knowledge and trivia?

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Further Reading:

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Episode 193: Creepy vs. Romantic

Intense emotion has been revered, feared and everything in between since our species began introspecting. When it comes to the intensity we show others, especially in the realm of romance, complications emerge. How do we determine the proper amount of emotion to show? Where does flattery slip into fixation? This week, we explore some of the distinctions between creepy and romantic gestures and behaviors.

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Episode 192: Ticket Philanthropy and Representation

Recent films like Black Panther, Wonder Woman and Love, Simon have amplified a desire among moviegoers to promote better representation of our society. In the past year they have been record-breaking films, sparking conversations about topics like gender, race and sexual orientation. Celebrities like Octavia Spencer and Matt Bomer have even purchased full theaters to share these movies with children and those who can't afford tickets. What does the film industry say about issues of representation in contemporary society? How to the identities of these celebrities speak to the roles or expectations of distinct demographics and communities?

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