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

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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. 

18-43 Segment 1: Spiders & Bats: The truth behind the Halloween icons of fear

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Spiders and bats are two of the most indelible symbols of Halloween fear across the country. We talk to experts to get the truth behind these traditionally scary creatures, and hear why neither of them are nearly as scary as we’ve been made to believe.

Guests:

  • Nancy Troyano, entomologist and director of technical education and training for Rentokil North America
  • Merlin Tuttle, ecologist, wildlife photographer, conservationist, and author of the book, The Secret Lives of Bats: My adventure with the world’s most misunderstood mammals

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18-43 Segment 2: Halloween Frights & Traditions

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It’s the time of year when we dress up in costumes, head to haunted houses, and shell out candy to trick-or-treaters. But why do we do those things? We take a look at the traditions of Halloween and what makes being scared so fun.

Guests:

  • Ben Armstrong, co-owner of Netherworld Haunted House and president of America Haunts
  • Dr. Janina Scarlet, clinical psychologist and author

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Culture Crash 18-43: Netflix’s Binge-worthy Horror Drama, The Haunting of Hill House

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

It’s the week of Halloween, which means it’s the time of year to get a little spooked. Luckily, Netflix has your back.

Earlier this month, Netflix released The Haunting of Hill House, a 10-episode horror series loosely based on the novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson. The series follows the Crain family; two parents and five children, over the course of multiple timelines. We watch their time spent decades earlier in the Hill House, a creepy old mansion they moved into in an effort to flip the house, and we watch them in the present day. We know from the onset that whatever happened back in that mansion, it wasn’t good, and it still haunts them even now. 

It’s a scary show, and there are moments of pure horror, but mostly, it builds a lot of suspense. It’s also a well-done family drama. It features sibling rivalry, mental illness, drug addiction- it’s like This Is Us crossed with…The Shining.

Where many horror shows can feel like they exist just to gross us out with gore, this show feels created with a purpose. It will suck you in, thrill you, and haunt you. Perfect for a Halloween-week binge-watch.

The Haunting of Hill House is available to stream on Netflix now.

I’m Evan Rook. 

18-42 Segment 1: The Art of Video Games

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Video games are often considered child’s play, or at least something below “real” art. Author Andrew Ervin argues that’s not true, and that video games are now big-business for TV networks and advertisers, as well as a source of true artfulness.

Guest:

  • Andrew Ervin, author, Bit by Bit: How video games transformed our world

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18-42 Segment 2: What We Can Learn from Lists

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Lists are a part of our everyday. Often, they are a forgotten part of our everyday. But Shaun Usher read through countless lists to compile a stunning collection of lists throughout time that shed light on the times, our collective history, and the list makers themselves.

Guest:

  • Shaun Usher, author, Lists of Note: An eclectic collection deserving of a wider audience

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