Culture Crash 19-15: The Increasing Cost of Cutting the Cord


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

With Apple’s recent announcement that the company will launch a new streaming service called Apple TV+ this fall, we all have another subscription to consider paying for. Of course, this will be in addition to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, the leading streaming providers already up and running. And joining the fray soon will be Disney’s streaming option, Disney+, which is scheduled to include the company’s library of animated classics. If that wasn’t enough, Criterion recently launched a streaming channel of its own which aims to fill the hole left in the marketplace to watch Indie and foreign films. Sounds like a lot, right?

Well, we haven’t even mentioned CBS All Access which will exclusively air the new Twilight Zone, and none of this includes cable. For that, you’d have to subscribe to a traditional cable provider or an internet provider like Sling, PlayStation Vue, or Hulu + Live TV. Premium channels, like HBO, Showtime, and Starz cost even more.

Of course, this is just streaming movies and TV at home. If you want to see a new movie, you’ll still have to go buy a ticket at your local theater. And if you want to listen to music, well, there are other monthly fees for Spotify and Apple Music.

Sounds expensive, doesn’t it? A few years ago, cutting the cord and eliminating your cable package in favor of Netflix or Hulu was supposed to be a cost-saving move. Now, streaming is getting to be just as expensive as that cable package was in the first place. And if you rely on streaming, then you already know you’re dependent on the ever-evolving libraries these services provide and a reliable internet connection, which, you know, costs even more money.

In our digital world, there are more entertainment options than ever before. But the days where you could just subscribe to everything may be drawing to a close. Now, many of us will be forced to decide if we’re Netflix people or Apple TV+ people. And you’ll have to get used to ignoring all the chatter about the great new show on whichever option you simply can’t afford anymore.

I’m Evan Rook. 

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Culture Crash 19-13: Summer Concerts

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

Summer is almost here, which means the concert and music festival season is almost in full swing. We talk a look at why a day at an amphitheater can stick with you for life.

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Culture Crash 19-11: Do we all have the cultural taste of our 15 year-old selves?

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

There’s an anecdote from a 2015 Hollywood Reporter profile on Lorne Michaels, the famed producer of Saturday Night Live, that has always stuck with me. Michaels has been the man in charge of SNL since its inception back in 1975, which means he’s overseen the iconic series through generations of new writers and performers and he’s heard time and again that his show just ain’t what it used to be. Michaels has seen this cycle often enough and in regards to so many different casts that he has reached a simple conclusion: Everyone says the show peaked when they were in high school.

One high school senior’s favorite cast is a disappointment to a bunch of 20-somethings.

This is a tale as old as time. Older generations lament younger generations’ taste in everything. Famously, this is true of music. Older generations despised the music of Elvis, then the Rolling Stones, and now, I guess, Kanye West. In fact, in a similar vein to Michael’s anecdotal discovery, data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz writes in his book Everybody Lies that Spotify data suggests our favorite music is what we grew up with. Specifically, he says women’s musical taste is formed between 11 and 14, while men’s taste is formed between 13 and 16. Stephens-Davidowitz says for instance, that “Creep” by Radiohead, is the 164th most popular song among men on the cusp of 40, but it doesn’t even rank in the top 300 of men nearing 30 or 50.

We like what we liked in high school. 

And I can add to the phenomenon: My favorite movie is Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. I’ve often said nothing will ever top the experience I had of going to the theater at midnight when I was 15 years old, tagging along with my brother and watching the comic book crime epic unfold and… it turns out, I’m probably right. It’s not necessarily because it’s the best movie of all-time, but it mattered to me the most when my receptors were at their height.

I appreciate new music and new books and new music, and I flock to see new movies. I often love them. Maybe I’ll even watch some Saturday Night Live highlights. But for me, those things all peaked in the late 2000s. For you, they probably peaked when you were 15. And of course, this is all fine. But let’s get along about it. People can like different things, and we should probably try to keep these things in mind and cut younger generations some slack when they say anew movie or a new song is their favorite ever. It’s just human nature.

For links to the Hollywood Reporter profile (on Lorne Michaels) and to purchase Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s book (Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are) head to our site

I’m Evan Rook. 

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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.


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

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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.


  • 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

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Culture Crash 18-14: Concerts

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The first concert I ever attended was a  Collective Soul show. I went with my family during the 1997 Taste of Chicago. I was 4 years old, so forgive me if my memory is a little hazy, but I do remember it being really, really hot and having a good time, even if I probably was a little confused as to why all those adults were dancing so strange.

Since ’97, I’ve been to my fair share of concerts. I’ve gone to Lollapalooza and been evacuated in the middle of a lightning storm. My friends and I saw a free Mumford and Sons concert in Austin, Texas over spring break. My wife and me trekked through a blizzard to see Hozier at a small club in Chicago right as his song Take Me To Church was blowing up.

I’ve seen Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, and Paul McCartney just…not all at once.

What I’ve learned in all my trips to concerts from dive bars to sold-out stadiums full of people is that there really is something special about being a part of a crowd and watching live music.

There are very few feelings in the world quite like the excitement that runs through your body when the first few notes of your favorite song come on and you know you just get to revel in it for the next 4 or 5 minutes.

You may not be much of a screamer, but once you feel the elation of finally see your favorite artist walk on stage and start playing, you can at least understand what was going on in one of the most famous live music clips of all time, when all those fans lost their minds for The Beatles at the Ed Sullivan show back in 1964.

With summer just around the corner, there will surely be a few bands coming to town you’d love to see. So whether that means buying a ticket to Camila Cabello or Chris Stapleton, splurge a little for the good seats and try to let yourself get carried away half as much of those Beatles fans did 54 years ago.

I’m Evan Rook.

18-12 Segment 2: The Benefits of Music Education

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Over the years, school budgets have faced detrimental cuts that have forced schools to eliminate programs that are not necessary in meeting state curriculums. In many instances, one of the first programs removed from schools is music education. While music education is not a requirement in many state curriculums, researchers believe that educators may want to rethink this decision because of the many benefits that learning an instrument can have on the development of a child.

While learning how to play an instrument is a good hobby for children to take on, it can actually have many more positive benefits than simply being an activity. Dr. Nina Kraus, Director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University, explains that there is evidence that supports the belief that music education can help students become better learners in a number of tasks. Furthermore, Dr. Aniruddh Patel, Professor of Psychology at Tufts University, states that learning a musical instrument can enhance the brain’s ability to process the sounds of speech which can play a role in the development of reading abilities, hearing and noise, and memory and attention. This is caused by a biological effect that music can have on the nervous system, as well as the brain. In one study conducted by Dr. Kraus, it showed that trained musicians were better at interpreting emotional sounds which Dr. Kraus explains is due to aspects of music, such as pitch and timing, having a role in speech, too. Dr. Patel supports this evidence by stating that many people who have taken music education have a larger capacity with some verbal and linguistic tasks.

However, in order to cultivate these different developments, it is not enough to just hear music. Dr. Kraus explains that the biological changes found in studies are more prevalent in individuals who actively participated in playing and creating music. Even a minimal amount of music training has been shown to impact brain development. Dr. Kraus states that less than five years of music education still had an impact on many individuals. In order to obtain the most from music, an individual must embark on the task of learning an instrument instead of just listening to it.


  • Dr. Nina Kraus, Director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University
  • Dr. Aniruddh Patel, Professor of Psychology at Tufts University

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