18-45 Segment 1: Terrorism in America, 1920

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Over 95 years ago, New York City was the target of a terrorist attack that has yet to be solved. No suspects have ever been named in the attack that killed or injured over 400 Wall Street bystanders. In contrast to the attacks of September 11th, which occurred just around the corner from the 1920 bombing, this deadly event has been all but erased from the collective American consciousness.

Guest:

  • Jed Rubenfeld, author, The Death Instinct

Link(s) for more information:

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18-45 Segment 2: One Woman’s Life in Beatlemania, From Youthful Innocence to Personal Tragedy and Beyond

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Ann Hood was a Beatles fan all her life. Then, tragedy struck and she found herself unable to listen to the band at all. She tells the true story of how she regained her love for the iconic group, and how she channeled her story into a work of fiction pleasing multiple generations of readers.

Guest:

  • Ann Hood, author, She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah)

Link(s) for more information:

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Culture Crash 18-45: Dave Eggers and his boundary-pushing writing

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in entertainment.

Back in 2000, author Dave Eggers became a cult hero with his memoir titled A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. In it, he chronicled the death of both his parents and his role stewarding his younger brother in their absence.

Eggers is also the co-founder of McSweeney’s, a non-profit publisher that is known for its literary fiction quarterly journal, and has written an interesting collection of fiction and non-fiction in the ensuing years. In 2005, he was named a Time Magazine Most Influential Person. His 2012 novel A Hologram for the King was a finalist for the National Book Award and his myriad other books have been shortlisted and won prizes across the country.

Throughout his career, Eggers has pushed the boundaries of writing, and no book better illustrates his desire to innovate than his 2014 novel, Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? It’s a book that consists only of dialogue. Each line is introduced with a single dash, and while it sounds complicated, the form actually makes it very straight-forward and easy to follow. It’s a revenge fantasy ethical debate featuring an unreliable main character who keeps kidnapping people.

Your Fathers, Where Are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever? is a fascinating and challenging book. It certainly won’t be for everyone, but it’s a provocative quick-read and it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever read. Coming from an author with a pedigree like Eggers, it’s definitely worth reading and discussing.

I’m Evan Rook. 

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18-44 Segment 1: Looking Into Our Minds: How our brains perceive the world

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There are all sorts of myths about how we can avoid dementia or how to best brainstorm a new idea. We talk to a psychologist and author to get the inside scoop on how our minds really work, and why we just can’t resist the urge to watch cute animal videos online.

Guest:

  • Bob Duke, professor at the University of Texas-Austin, expert on music and human learning, co-host, “Two Guys on Your Head,” co-author, Brain Briefs: Answers to the most (and least) pressing questions about your mind

Links for more information

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18-44 Segment 2: Body Image and Weight Problems

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Body image, food addiction, societal pressure, and obesity can be tricky problems to talk about. Author Kristan Higgins tries to do just that in her novel Good Luck with That. She talks about her experiences, her research, and how we can approach discussing these pressing, but difficult, issues.

Guest:

  • Kristan Higgins, author, Good Luck with That

Links for more information:

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Culture Crash 18-44: Serial, the podcast that captivated America, returns for its most important season yet

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in entertainment.

Back in 2014, the podcast Serial stormed into our culture with its in-depth look at a 1999 murder of a high school student in Baltimore. The podcast revolutionized the form and brought podcasting to the forefront. The first season dominated the iTunes charts, was satirized on Saturday Night Live, and even won a Peabody Award.

Its second season, about Bowe Bergdahl, a US sergeant who went AWOL during the War in Afghanistan, similarly dominated the charts but didn’t reach the heights of season one. Frankly, its unlikely any podcast ever will. The first season of Serial was lightning in a bottle.

But now comes season three, and while it continues to be unlikely anything will ever match the popularity of season one, this third season is even more important. While seasons one and two told the stories of specific, extraordinary cases, season three sets its sights on the mundane. This time, the team at This American Life and Serial took on telling the story of criminal justice in Cleveland over the course of a year. The reporters follow little cases: a bar fight, a drug bust, individuals who break parole. It tells the story of a fractured system: a system where the community doesn’t trust the police. A system where prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges alike are overtaxed and overly reliant on plea deals. A system that determines years of people’s lives, and could affect any of us at any time.

Season three of Serial isn’t as flashy as season one. There isn’t quite as much intrigue week to week. But it is examining the daily workings of criminal justice in America, and shedding light on problems that have been accepted for far too long. It’s investigative reporting at its best, and it’s definitely worth checking out.

You can find episodes of Serial at https://serialpodcast.org/

I’m Evan Rook.