(sub)Text: Filial Ingratitude in in Shakespeare’s “King Lear”

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  Continue Reading …

(sub)Text: The “Intelligent Way to Approach Marriage” in Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”

L.B. Jefferies has the perfect girlfriend—beautiful, intelligent, wealthy—but too perfect, he insists, for marriage. And so he spends his time spying on the love lives of his neighbors, and ropes his girlfriend into this project as well. Which, strangely enough, turns out to be a really effective form of couples’ therapy. What’s the connection between voyeurism and what  Continue Reading …

(sub)Text: Truth as Beauty in Keats’ Ode on a “Grecian Urn”

The poet John Keats is famous for the concept of “negative capability,” his description of the ability to tolerate the world’s uncertainty without resorting to easy answers. Literary minds in particular should be more attuned to beauty than facts and reason. In fact, truth in the highest sense is the same thing as beauty, he tells us at the end of his poem Ode on a Grecian Urn.  Continue Reading …

(sub)Text: Love and Wit in Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”

At the center of every courting ritual, there’s a great unknown. How do we know when we’ve met someone we can love? How do we know the other person is actually who they seem to be? In the beginning, all we have to go on is surface appearances, which amount to a kind of hearsay. The question is how to get beyond them. Wes and Erin discuss Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing,  Continue Reading …

(sub)Text: Mastery and Repetition in “Groundhog Day”

When egotistical weatherman Phil Connors gets trapped in a time loop in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, he gets drunk, steals money, manipulates women, binges on breakfast food, plays God… and finally grows up. The story charts Phil’s development over the course of thousands of repeated February 2nds. Along the way, it raises questions about our own capacity for growth. How do we  Continue Reading …

(sub)Text: Marital Economics in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”

An advantageous marriage is Elizabeth Bennet’s only potential escape from a foolish mother, a disinterested father, three very silly sisters, and a house that’s entailed away to her idiotic cousin Mr. Collins. But she turns down fabulously wealthy Mr. Darcy because he’s prideful—and maybe a little prejudiced. But then, so is she. How do we know if two people are well-suited to  Continue Reading …

(sub)Text: A Discussion of Todd Phillips’ Film ‘Joker’

Todd Phillips’ Joker has broken several box office records, received an eight-minute standing ovation at Cannes, and is inspiring tourists to dance down the steps of a lengthy stairway in Queens. The question is, “why?” Joker is not a typical comic book film. There are no explosions or any other sort of spectacle; no superpowers; and nothing of the forces of good triumphing  Continue Reading …

(sub)Text Prototype #1: Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”: Poesis as Revenge Forsaken (Full Release)

In light of our Calderón discussion, and the fact that Wes Alwan has not yet committed to spin off his solo podcast, we thought it was high time to unveil in its entirety to the general public the full discussion between Wes and the excellent and renowned Broadway actor Bill Youmans covering Shakespeare's 1611 play about revenge, forgiveness, and authorship. Or maybe it's about  Continue Reading …

PREVIEW-(sub)Text#6: Melanie Klein’s “Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms”

Wes Alwan is joined by Dr. Glenn Mobray of the New Center of Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles to discuss this classic 1946 psychoanalytic text. This is a preview of a 63-minute discussion. You can listen to the whole thing by becoming a PEL Citizen or $5 Patreon supporter. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to learn how. Klein worked with small children and hypothesized  Continue Reading …

(sub)Text #6: Melanie Klein’s “Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms” (Citizens Only)

Wes Alwan is joined by Dr. Glenn Mobray of the New Center of Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles to discuss this classic 1946 psychoanalytic text. Klein worked with small children and hypothesized that the Oedipal complex happens not at 3–5 years as Freud thought but much earlier, and this innovation also made it possible for psychoanalysis to treat psychotics, and not merely  Continue Reading …

PREVIEW-(sub)Text#5: Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya”

Wes Alwan is joined by actress, podcaster, and educator Monica McCarthy to discuss Anton Chekhov's 1898 play about family dysfunction and potentially wasting your life. Monica draws on her theater experience to talk about method acting and what makes for a good Chekhov performance. This is a preview of a 54-minute discussion. You can listen to the whole thing by becoming a  Continue Reading …

Bonus: (sub)Text #3: Spielberg’s “AI: Artificial Intelligence”: What Is It to Be Human? (Part One)

For Episode 3 of (sub)Text, Wes discusses Steven Spielberg's AI: Artificial Intelligence with David Kyle Johnson, philosophy professor at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Note: Part two will NOT be appearing on this feed. Become a PEL Citizen to get the full discussion. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to learn how. You’ll find David's Great Courses  Continue Reading …

(sub)Text #3: Spielberg’s “AI: Artificial Intelligence”: What Is It to Be Human? (Citizens Only)

For Episode 3 of (sub)Text, Wes discusses Steven Spielberg's AI: Artificial Intelligence with David Kyle Johnson, philosophy professor at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. You’ll find his Great Courses lectures here, including a course on Science Fiction as Philosophy. Philosophers are wont to talk about artificial intelligence in terms of thinking and  Continue Reading …

Bonus: (sub)Text #2: Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five”: Is There Such a Thing as a War Story? (Part One)

For Episode 2 of (sub)Text, Wes discusses Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five with Phi Fic podcaster and PEL Blog Managing Editor Mary Ricci. Slaughterhouse Five is a story about war, yet one that seems to advance the thesis that there can be no war stories that don’t entirely falsify the experience and significance of war. That falsification is effected by the way in  Continue Reading …

(sub)Text #2: Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five”: Is There Such a Thing as a War Story? (Citizens Only)

For Episode 2 of (sub)Text, Wes discusses Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five with Phi Fic podcaster and PEL Blog Managing Editor Mary Ricci. Slaughterhouse Five is a story about war, yet one that seems to advance the thesis that there can be no war stories that don’t entirely falsify the experience and significance of war. That falsification is effected by the way in  Continue Reading …

Bonus: (sub)Text #1: Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”: Poesis as Revenge Forsaken (Part One)

Wes Alwan is joined by Broadway veteran and previous PEL guest Bill Youmans to discuss Shakespeare's 1611 play about revenge, forgiveness, and authorship. Or maybe it's about exploitation, or how we react to changes in status, or perhaps how a liberal education can give you magical powers! Note: This is only the first half; the second half will NOT be appearing on this feed.  Continue Reading …

(sub)Text #1: Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”: Poesis as Revenge Forsaken (Citizens Only)

Wes Alwan is joined by Broadway veteran and previous PEL guest Bill Youmans to discuss Shakespeare's 1611 play about revenge, forgiveness, and authorship. Or maybe it's about exploitation, or how we react to changes in status, or perhaps how a liberal education can give you magical powers! Listen and decide for yourself! This is a new podcast format for Wes, where he is  Continue Reading …