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What Can Superhero Media Teach Us About Ethics: A Pretty Much Pop Culture Podcast (#63) Discussion with Philosophy Professor Travis Smith

What Can Superhero Media Teach Us About Ethics: A Pretty Much Pop Culture Podcast (#63) Discussion with Philosophy Professor Travis Smith

in Comics/Cartoons, Film, Podcasts, Pretty Much Pop, Television | Tagged with: ,| October 7th, 2020 Leave a Comment

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Is there no end to the seemingly endless fascination with superhero media? Your hosts Mark Linsenmayer, Erica Spyres, and Brian Hirt are joined by Travis Smith, who teaches political philosophy at Concordia University, to discuss. Travis sees their resonance as a matter of metaphor: How can we do more with the abilities we have? His book Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes, 10 Ways to Save the World, Which One Do We Need Now? matches up heroes like Batman vs. Spider-Man for ethical comparison: Both “act locally,” but Batman would like to actually rule over Gotham, while Spider-Man engages in a more “friendly neighborhood” patrol.  What philosophy should govern the way we try to do good in the world?

Lurking in the background is the current release of season two of the Amazon series The Boys, based on Garth Ennis’ graphic novels, which assumes that power corrupts and asks what regular folks might do in the face of corporate-backed invulnerability. This cynical take is part of a long tradition of asking “what if super-heroes were literally real?” that goes through Watchmen all the way back to Spider-Man himself, who faces financial and other mundane problems that Superman was immune to.

Given Travis’ book, we didn’t really need supplementary articles for this episode, but you can take a look at this interview with him to learn more about his comic book loves and the Canadian heritage that led him to start fighting crime (you know, indirectly, through ethical teaching).

Learn more at prettymuchpop.com. This episode includes bonus discussion that you can only hear by supporting the podcast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network.

Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast is the first podcast curated by Open Culture. Browse all Pretty Much Pop posts


The Philosophy of Photography with Amir Zaki on Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #61

The Philosophy of Photography with Amir Zaki on Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #61

in Photography, Podcasts, Pretty Much Pop | Tagged with: photography,Pretty Much Pop| September 24th, 2020 Leave a Comment

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Amir Zaki teaches at UC-Riverside and has had his work displayed in numerous galleries, in his recent book California Concrete: A Landscape of Skateparks, and profiled via a short film.

Amir joins your hosts Mark Linsenmayer, Erica Spyres, and Brian Hirt to consider this common act that can stretch from the mundane to the sublime. How have our various purposes for photography changed with the advent of digital technology, the introduction of social media, and the ready access to video? What determines what we choose to take pictures of, and how does taking photography more seriously change the way we experience? We touch on iconic and idealized images, capturing the specific vs. the universal, witnessing vs. intervening via photography, and more.

See more of Amir’s work at amirzaki.net.

A few of the articles we looked at to prepare included:

Learn more at prettymuchpop.com. This episode includes bonus discussion that you can only hear by supporting the podcast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network.

Follow Amir on Instagram @amir_zaki_.

Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast is the first podcast curated by Open Culture. Browse all Pretty Much Pop posts

Food As Pop with Prof. C. Thi Nguyen (Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #55)

Food As Pop with Prof. C. Thi Nguyen (Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #55)

in Food & Drink, Podcasts, Pretty Much Pop | Tagged with: foodies,Pretty Much Pop,TV cooking shows| August 6th, 2020 Leave a Comment

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Your hosts Mark Linsenmayer, Erica Spyres, and Brian Hirt are joined by Utah philosophy prof and former food writer C. Thi Nguyen to talk food as art, foodies, elitism, food TV, cooking vs. eating, and how analyzing food is like analyzing games.

Read Thi’s work at objectionable.net, including the article on “outrage porn” we talk about that he co-wrote with Bekka Williams, and his general account of “the arts of action.” Also, check out his blog posts about cookbooks and his new book. Purchase Games: Agency As Art. Follow Thi @add_hawk.

Other sources we looked at include:

Learn more at prettymuchpop.com. This episode includes bonus discussion that you can only hear by supporting the podcast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network.

Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast is the first podcast curated by Open Culture. Browse all Pretty Much Pop posts.