Coming Up on Viewpoints Show 18-31

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The Shocking Truth of Who We Really Are

Have you ever lied on a survey or a social media post? Researcher Seth Stephens-Davidowitz says that almost all of us do. He researched the data of big websites like Google and Facebook to discover that what people say or post about themselves often seems contradictory to what their internet searches reveal about their interests or beliefs.

Racial Diversity in Opera

Opera is a beloved art form, but its racial history is as flawed as the rest of our culture. We talk to Naomi Andre, a professor at the University of Michigan, about the history of race in opera and how this traditional art form is hopefully getting with the times.

Culture Crash: TV Episode Bloat: Too much of a good thing

Streaming networks have opened up the length an episode of television can run. Gone are the days when writers needed to accommodate advertisements. But episodes that run long often present a new slate of problems – namely, staying interesting.

18-30 Segment 1: Serious Play: Using tactical performance as protest

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We all love a good theater performance. But are theater and performance good strategies to affect social change? Our guest thinks so. He’s a performer, writer and educator who uses serious play and theater to help change people’s minds and change society for the better.

Guest:

  • Larry Bogad, professor at the University of California-Davis, and author of the books, Electoral Guerilla Theatre: Radical Ridicule & Social Movements, and Tactical Performance: The Theory and Practice of Serious Play

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18-30 Segment 2: The Power of Picture Books

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Picture books can teach children valuable lessons that will stick with them for life. Our guests discuss the importance of producing books about social issues like race, gender, and disability. And how as a combination of text and images picture books have an advantage when it comes to depicting diversity.

Guests:

  • Dr. Susan Corapi, Assistant Professor of Education at Trinity International University
  • Kathleen Merz, Acquisitions and Managing Editor at Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

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Culture Crash 18-30: The Life of Funnyman Robin Williams

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

Robin Williams has been gone four years now, but a new HBO documentary is keeping his story alive.aims to tell the story of the beloved funnyman.

Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind is HBO’s latest original documentary and explores the late comedian’s rise in comedy clubs and into his reign as one of the world’s biggest superstars.

As someone who grew up watching his movies- Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire and of course, Aladdin were favorites of mine as a child, while Good Will Hunting was one of the first movies for adults that I remember really enjoying-the documentary taught me much about his early years. I always knew he was an energetic, zany comedian, but seeing clips from the 70s demonstrated it in a way I had never seen before.

The film also sheds a touching light on his friendship with Billy Crystal, and gives us glimpses of the man Williams was when the cameras were shut off.

One thing I loved about the film was that director Marina Zenovich let Williams speak for himself. She never narrates the action, instead opting to use interviews Robin Williams gave in his life, along with interviews with his friends and family, to tell the story. The result is a shockingly personal documentary that reminds you why we all loved Robin Williams so much, and why his career means so much to people around the world.

Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind is available to stream on HBO Go. Resources for people struggling with suicidal thoughts are always available by calling 1-800-273-8255. That’s 1-800-273-TALK.

I’m Evan Rook.

Coming Up on Viewpoints Show 18-30

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Serious Play: Using tactical performance as protest

We all love a good theater performance. But are theater and performance good strategies to affect social change? Our guest thinks so. He’s a performer, writer and educator who uses serious play and theater to help change people’s minds and change society for the better.

The Power of Picture Books

Picture books can teach children valuable lessons that will stick with them for life. Our guests discuss the importance of producing books about social issues like race, gender, and disability. And how as a combination of text and images picture books have an advantage when it comes to depicting diversity.

Culture Crash: The Life of Funnyman Robin Williams

A new documentary from HBO, Come Inside My Mind, explores the life of actor Robin Williams as told by his friends and family. The documentary is cleverly narrated by the actor himself using audio from earlier interviews.

18-29 Segment 1: The Italian Mothers Who Stood Up To The Mafia

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While we know about the Sicilian mafia from the Godfather movies, another more powerful Italian mafia has recently come to light: the ‘Ndrangheta. Established in the late 1800s from a group of 140 families, the secret to this mafia’s success is secrecy. But, their secret was revealed when four women from the clan testified against their own families to bring their works to light. Alex Perry, author The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia, gives more details about this mafia and the brave women who exposed it.

The ‘Ndrangheta are highly influential globally and part of practically all our lives at one point or another. We work in their businesses, eat in their restaurants, and vote for their candidates, but most of us have never even heard of them. They are responsible for running 70% of the cocaine industry in Europe, running global arms businesses, dumping nuclear waste in the Red Sea, and much more, earning themselves 50-100 billion dollars a year. The reason for their success is a reliance on a brutal family structure, where betrayal becomes unthinkable.

The secrecy and misogyny in this mafia are what ultimately led to their exposure. The men in the family are raised to run the business and be killers, but the women are treated as slaves. They are confined to the home from birth and married off at a young age to clan alliances, where beatings are a regular occurrence. Any misbehavior or unfaithfulness will result in their murder, where their bodies are dissolved in acid to get rid of the family shame. But, a few courageous women went against their families to expose this mafia. Two of them were murdered, but their legacy stands behind them, as they exposed the ‘Ndrangheta for the first time and were able to put 64 of their members behind bars. While these women made a difference, the mafia is still alive and well, due to their adaptability. Perry says they are concealed in every part of the financial market, and you could be doing business with them any time you make a transaction.

For a copy of Alex Perry’s book, visit the links below.

Guest:

  • Alex Perry, author of The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on the World’s Most Powerful Mafia

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18-29 Segment 2: Learning How To Identify and De-bunk Actual Fake News

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Fake news has been a hot topic in recent days, but it’s often misunderstood. Stories written by non-journalists to intentionally mislead readers are a real danger to our society, especially when those in power are misusing the term or employing it for their own benefit. Dr. Robert Probst and Dr. Kylene Beers, educators and co-authors of the book Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters, explain more about how we can identify fake news and stop its progress.

Fake news does not apply to stories, satirical or otherwise, from a credible, professional organization. Rather, it refers to fictitious stories, although sometimes loosely connected to real events. They are usually written in order to create bias, start controversy, or serve as clickbait for an organization’s profit. Dr. Beers explains how sharing news started as a way to encourage an informed democracy, but it has now become a way to chase profit.

Many students, adults, and teachers are untrained in how to recognize fake news stories. Dr. Beers says this is largely a result of seeking a simple answer to a complex problem with many perspectives. Learning to think critically, ask questions, and have an open mind are the crucial skills needed in our digital generation. Those growing up in the digital environment or those with age and experience are not immune to being tricked by fake news. By asking three questions of a news story, readers can spend more time noticing suspicious details and thinking about its validity: How does it look? What does it say? How does it make me feel?

To learn more about spotting fake news or to get a copy of our guests’ book, visit the links below.

Guests:

  • Dr. Robert Probst, educator and co-author of the book Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters
  •  Dr. Kylene Beers, educator and co-author of the book Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters

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