Culture Crash 18-40: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and the difficulty of classifying art

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

Sometimes, classifying art in one specific genre can be tricky. Look at Star Wars. It’s a space opera, sure. But what does that mean? It was built to be a Western. And sci-fi. With some fantasy aspects? And who is the intended audience? Is it for kids? Teenagers? Adults? All of the above? That can be the difficulty in classification.  

So it is with Hank Green’s novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. His brother is responsible for the young adult hits Looking for Alaska, The Fault In Our Stars, and Paper Towns, so many people are rushing to call Hank Green’s book YA as well. And the cover certainly makes it look like a YA book. But it’s not actually about teenagers. It’s about a 20-something woman with a career to think about. In fact, none of the main characters are under the age of 20.

The term YA can be limiting. Many people look down on that designation, which is itself an arbitrary reason to eliminate something from your radar because, in essence, all PG-13 movies are for young adults and adults still go see Jurassic Park movies and Marvel movies.

Ultimately, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing falls into that group… as do John Green’s books for that matter. They’re PG-13 stories that are appropriate for young adults and also just wonderful stories that everyone can embrace. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing tells one woman’s story as she is thrust in the center of an international affair. It tackles the issues of social media, of civic duty and tolerance, and it’s a fun story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s sort of a sci-fi adventure dramedy. Give it a chance, it’s good!

Hank Green’s book An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is available now.

I’m Evan Rook. 

18-07 Segment 1: The Graduate, 50 Years Later

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Even after 50 years, The Graduate is a film that has managed to maintain a significant place in American culture for many generations. While its consistent popularity over time could be due to a number of factors, Beverly Gray, author of Seduced By Mrs. Robinson talks with us about some of these elements that she truly felt has made the film so important.

When talking about the impact of this film, Gray believes that it benefits from a few different components. First, many Baby Boomers, herself included, felt that the film addressed some of their own confusion with the world, as kids entering adulthood looking to do something different with their lives than their parents. Not only is this a feeling that the Baby Boomer generation experienced, it is also an universal one that generations growing up today can relate to as well. Other factors that Gray uses to explain this movies impact is the time in which it came about, but also the revolutionary choices made in respect to film.
To hear more about these different elements, listen to Gray further discuss these ideas and check out her book Seduced By Mrs. Robinson.


  • Beverly Gray, author of Seduced By Mrs. Robinson

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