Amir the photographic artist and prof (see amirzaki.net) joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to consider decision making in picture taking, how our purposes for photography have changed with the advent of new technologies, iconic images, witnessing vs. intervening, capturing the particular vs. the universal, and more.
On Gottfried Leibniz’s Theodicy (1710).
Why does God allow so many bad things to happen? Leibniz thought that by the definition of God, whatever He created must be the best of all possible worlds, and his theodicy presents numerous arguments to try to make that less counter-intuitive given how less-than-perfect the world seems to us.
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On the publication of his memoir, Remain in Love, Chris and your host Mark Linsenmayer discuss “Psycho Killer” and “Warning Signs” by Talking Heads from Talking Heads ’77 and More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978), plus “Bamboo Town” and “Who Feelin’ It?” by Tom Tom Club from Close to the Bone (1993) and The Good the Bad and the Funky (2000). We conclude with the title track to Tom Tom Club’s Downtown Rockers (2012). Plus, Tina Weymouth jumps in at one point! For more see tomtomclub.com.
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In 1919, the world seemed to have descended into anarchy. World War I had killed millions and profoundly altered the international order. Four empires, along with their aristocracies, had disintegrated. Russia was in a state of civil war, and Ireland was on the verge of its own. It’s these events that helped inspire William Butler Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming,” which famously tells us that “things fall apart,” that “the center cannot hold,” and that a new historical epoch is upon us. Just what rough beast is it that slouches, as Yeats has it, toward Bethlehem? Wes & Erin discuss.
Mark, Erica and Brian (all manga noobs) are joined by Japanese Studies prof. Deborah Shamoon to talk about barriers for Americans to appreciate manga, different manga types (Deborah works on shojo manga, i.e. for girls), Osamu Tezuka (the “god of comics” who created Astro Boy et al), classic vs. new manga, gender portrayals, and more.
We’re releasing JUST THIS ONE Nightcap to the wider public so induce you all to go support us and so gain the ability to hear these free-wheeling, feeling-sharing, email-reading fiestas between every regular episode.
This time we gripe about Habermas and reflect on what secondary sources we use. We consider whether to have an episode on anarchism and if we should ever have guests on who are hard-core adherents of the philosophy we’re discussing. We reveal which reading we’ve covered has pleasantly surprised each of us the most.
Finally, we talk about how to front-load our episodes so that folks who do not sign up to hear the part 2’s still get a satisfying, self-contained experience.
Do we owe parents our gratitude for our upbringing? What if they haven’t done such a great job? And anyway, perhaps we inevitably resent all the forces that have shaped the characters that confine and limit us. If so, the quest for filial gratitude is ultimately hopeless. It could even be a kind of madness: a foolish attempt to transcend the same formative forces that we resent in our parents, to be “unaccommodated,” free of the “plague of custom.” Wes and Erin discuss William Shakespeare’s King Lear.
On Jürgen Habermas’ “Actions, Speech Acts, Linguistically Mediated Interactions, and the Lifeworld” (1998), with guest John Foster.
What’s the relation between individuals and society? Habermas says that language has ethics built right into it: I’m trying to get you to agree with me, to engage in a cooperative enterprise of mutual understanding.
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Mark, Erica, Brian, and guest Mike Wilson discuss the director’s films from Eraserhead to Inland Empire plus Twin Peaks and his recent short films. We get into the appeal and hallmarks of his mainstays–Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Lost Highway, and Mulholland Drive–and also consider outliers like Dune, The Elephant Man, and The Straight Story. How many of these films actually make sense, and is failing to do so bad?
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Ward has issued about ten releases of lyric-driven, stylish pop since 2003. We discuss the title track from Leonard at the Audit (2020), “Titans” from Diminish (2018), and the title track from Pulling Out (2008). Intro: “Sabbath” from Ward White Is the Matador (2014). End: “Bubble and Squeak,” also from the new album. For info see wardwhite.net.
What’s the connection between voyeurism and what Jefferies calls “the intelligent way to approach marriage”? Wes and Erin discuss Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film Rear Window.
We’ve collected some highlights from the supporter-only aftertalks that we record with every episode to reveal to the general public. Feast upon these non-sequitur nuggets of wisdom and mirth!
Get all the aftertalks at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.
On “Theoretical Picture of a Free Society” (1934). What’s the ideal living situation for us all, given the peculiarities of human nature? Weil describes fulfillment as coming from being able to picture goals and plans and knowingly put them into effect, so social groups need to maximize that power by being small and cooperative.
End song: “Libreville” by Bill Bruford, as interviewed for Nakedly Examined Music #25.
Prompted by the release of new album Folklore and the 2020 documentary Miss Americana, Mark, Erica, and Brian speak with Amber Padgett about her love of Taylor, ranking the albums, why the hate, weird levels of fan engagement, double standards for female artists, and more. Designed to interest fans, haters, and folks curious as to what all the fuss is about.
Mark led Grand Funk Railroad through 13 albums in the 70s and early 80s and has had around eight solo releases.
We discuss “Nadean” from For the People (2006), “Not Yet” from Some Kind of Wonderful (1991), and the title track of Born to Die by Grand Funk Railroad. End song: “Take You Out.” Intro: “I’m Your Captain” from GFR’s Closer to Home (1979). For more see markfarner.com.
In this episode, we are discussing the Pardoner’s Tale from the Canterbury Tales, a book of stories by the Late Medieval poet Geoffrey Chaucer. This follows up on our last episode, where we discussed other selections from the book about a group of not-quite-pious pilgrims traveling to Canterbury Cathedral…telling each other stories.
Concluding on “The Needs of the Soul” from The Need for Roots (1943). This time we cover punishment, security, risk, private property, collective property, freedom of opinion, and truth.
End song: “Even Though the Darkest Clouds” by liar, flower. Mark interviewed KatieJane Garside on Nakedly Examined Music #127.
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The Norwegian philosopher Peter Zapffe is little-known to most Anglophone readers. “The Last Messiah” is a 1933 essay that stands out as an important work in the sphere of philosophical pessimism. The views expressed are a kind of evolutionary existentialism. For Zapffe, angst, despair, and depression are due to our overly evolved intellect: we have an overabundance of consciousness. We think too much for our own good.
Wes and Erin discuss how it is that aesthetic judgments can communicate a kind of truth that is not strictly descriptive or factual.
Remember when The Hunger Games was everywhere? Suzanne Collins returns to Just War Theory lessons with the prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
Mark, Erica, and Brian review the new book and look back on the YA novel/film franchise. Does the work critique yet glorify violence at the same time? Will the film version of the new novel be our next Phantom Menace?