Massaging Your Mind-Grapes

Working on this book invloves long hours, and at times Ean and I both reach a stalemate in our work and need to take a break. With the realization that we need to take a break but don’t want to completely fall out of the working groove, we usually listen to podcasts to relax, learn, and be entertained. Both Ean and I are podcast junkies and since we both realized that I think our consumption of podcasts has gone up even more. With that said, we’re going to publish a weekly post of the top 3-5 podcasts that we’ve listened to through the week and think you should check out too. Check back every Monday for a few tested recommendations. Here’s the first week’s selection:

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Grammar Girl:  This one is all about editors.  How to treat them, when to turn work in, etc.  (Ean has yet to listen to this. Ahem.)

Stuff Mom Never Told You:  The wonderful ladies of SMNTY give us a two part podcast about pretty much everything you wanted to know about masturbation. 

Reasonable Discussions (AV Club):  AV Club critics discuss ‘Canon Fodder,’ a new column in GQ where its critic proposes that she doesn’t need to understand classic film in order to critique the ‘new canon’ of classics (i.e. movies released after 1985).  I strongly disagree with the GQ columnist, but I see her attitude as a larger zeitgeist of the millennial generation and Americans’ general distaste for and ignorance of history–even pop history.  I’ll never accept the anti-intellectualism and active ignorance first propogated by GW Bush and carried on by so many Americans to the present day.

Stuff You Should KnowZoot suit riot (riot)!  Throw back a bottle of beer…  Did you know that the Zoot Suit Riots were real?  It’s not too often that men’s fashion causes any sort of scandal, but the zoot suits of the WWII period were used as a marker of ethnic solidarity and opposition to the war and rationing, eventually leading to the Zoot Suit Riots in LA in 1943.

Stuff to Blow Your Mind:  So, we’ve all heard of people summoning incredible strength in fight or flight situations; that’s really nothing new.  But how this reaction is triggered by a certain hormone; the history of the isolation of that hormone and the donation of Washington DC’s cherry trees; and what really happens to your body when you are shocked by electricity definitely inspired some whoa–wait–what? moments.

**Please note:  totally a coincidence that I picked so many Discovery Networks podcasts this week (I guess they just brought it).

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2 responses to “Massaging Your Mind-Grapes

  • Max

    I realize this will come across as niggling…that said it drove me nuts when I read it.

    I don’t understand a lot of things I critique (caveat here my opinions are rarely paid attention let alone paid for.)

    Her column has a decidedly “cult” bent to it. When dealing with cult movies the moniker of “classic” generally pretty freely prescribed, though certainly not by the film “snobs” she derides.

    I don’t read GQ- as anyone who’s ever seen my wardrobe can attest, (this is somehow relevant to me.)

    Not zeitgeist, it is a good word, but not the right one here. For the sake of verisimilitude (my favorite,) let’s say meme.

    Pop history?

    I agree that anti-intellectualism is prominent and disturbing, but I’m not sure that ignoring Stromboli to write about T-2 Judgment Day is “active ignorance.” I think of it more as generational ownership in a sub-culture defining itself by “authenticity.” Myopic in hindsight sure, but degenerate? Doubtful.

    I disagree that anti-intellectualism was first propogated, or propagated even, by GW Bush. By making that argument you are falling into the same behavioral loop your challenging the GQ writer of, “millennial…distaste for history.” As a Wisconsinite and a progressive I’d expect the memory of McCarthyism to be more prominent.

  • tejota1217

    thanks for the comment.

    the funny thing about the word ‘cult’ is that one of its definitions means versed or lettered. so even in the ‘cult film’ category, i don’t think that gives her the right to dismiss the previous 80 years of filmmaking and the insights into more contemporary films that it can provide.

    i think that ‘zeitgeist’ is an appropriate term here. i’m using it in the sense of ‘the taste and outlook characteristic of a period or generation.’ in that way i don’t think the millenial generation (or americans at large) currently has an appreciation or understanding of history. i wouldn’t describe ignorance of history as a meme–‘a unit of cultural information…that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.’ but that’s my opinion and relation to the word. semantics is a fun, but bottomless rabbit hole (that i’ve been down far too many times)

    pop history: popular history (i.e. the points of history, usually cultural/artistic, that do manage to somehow infiltrate peoples’ minds. as opposed to, let’s say, traditional history–wars, laws, politics, etc.)

    i think the fact that she explicitly says she is ignoring film history is the definition of active or willful ignorance. and i don’t think that you can call blockbuster movies ‘sub-culture.’ if she wants to review newer movies and propose that they will be with us for generations and should be rewatched–great. however, revealing that you are not even going to acknowledge, much less analyze, the accomplishments that led to the production and success of these newer films is unacceptable to me.

    GWB is anti-intellectualism. the current attack and distrust of science and academia can be traced to him and his desire to be seen as a plain-talking cowboy coupled with his exaltation of religion over reason. this ignorance can be seen in the tea party’s flat-out denial of science and the reason why every candidate now needs to pretend like he/she has no experience in politics and is just the person next door. this, i think, has carried over to the population at large and is manifested in the GQ article. perhaps he’s not the first, but i believe he and his presidency ushered in the most recent wave of anti-intellectualism.

    in a sense, no one has the right to make broad generalizations about groups of people, but that doesn’t stop any of us, does it? i talk about the millennials and their attitudes, because i am one. my friends are millennials, things i read are produced by millennials, etc. the culture or cult that she claims to be representing is one that i’m a part of (and i feel misrepresented by her claims). i don’t have stats to back up these assertions about my generation; it’s just what i have observed having spent the majority of my life surrounded by and interacting with fellow members of this generation.

    i hope you get a chance to listen to the podcast. those critics definitely share my opinions but, i think, articulate them in a more coherent way.

    once again, thanks for the insight!

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