Adam and Eve. Two people synonymous with what many consider to be humanity's greatest mistake. By taking fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve catalyzed humanity's fall from grace. They ushered in a world where we experience suffering, pain, and loss of identity. All sons and daughters who descend from these two have to experience a world less than ideal, but still beautiful in its own right. It's just not quite as good as it could be.
Netflix's "Dark" recently finished its three season run and though it's one of the greatest time travel stories I've ever witnessed, that topic is not one I'm going to tackle with this episode. Instead, I'd like to discuss one of Dark's core components: the issue of causality and choice. Can one choice create a ripple so drastic that every other person, whether they know the origin of that choice or not, become affected by that choice? Can we adequately pin the centuries of undue pain on two people we've never met but only read about?
This episode is as deep and engaging as the show itself. Promise. #NeverBelieveAnythingElse
Forrest Gump stands as one of the great cinema treasures. It's a story about a simple man navigating his way through one of the most turbulent times in American history: the 1960s. And during that journey, Forrest remains unchanged. Whether it be his naive nature, his inherent understanding of what is good, or his limited mental faculties, Forrest experiences some of life's harshest trials yet remains seemingly unchanged by them. A trait of his that causes those around him to ask, "are you stupid or something?"
But who are the truly foolish ones in this story? Is it Forrest or the ones asking the question? This episode unpacks one of my all-time favorite films and its portrayal of one of mankind's oldest enemies: the world.
Netflix's Bodyguard is a story about gentleman tasked with guarding the life of another human being. Hence the name, "Bodyguard." Short observations aside, I sat down and watched this show alongside my wife and was pleasantly surprised by it. And what does a storyteller who has a podcast do, post-show? Well, he does an episode about it, of course.
In this short episode, I talk through some of the highs and lows of the Netflix drama. Warning, #SPOILERS are ahead.
In case you've been living under a rock for several years, there was this global phenomenon called "The MCU", aka the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that swept through movie theaters. Within that universe is a character called, "Captain America." Now, I was never a big fan of the Captain, but after seeing him on the big screen and doing more research on his inception and history, I've grown to really like him. You know, as far as fictional character-liking can go....
In his second movie, "The Winter Soldier", the Captain is confronted with an interesting dilemma. He is face-to-face with new and dangerous technology, the kind that is aimed at stopping criminals before they even act. This poses as a major conundrum for the Captain as he stands for the ideals of freedom, not fear. His observation is the catalyst for this episode, where I'll discuss the implications of personal freedom, oppressive government action, and whether we are being paranoid about the freedoms we covet. Doing so through the lens of a writer a writer and in just about a half an hour (simple, eh?).
C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors of all time. His literary works are popular outside of even the Christian community, for which he is most known. But one such title that is often overlooked is a short story called, The Great Divorce. It's about about a man riding a bus to somewhere. And that somewhere just so happens to be heaven. For those who get off, it's a path to hell. But there are more than a few ways to get off the bus and head to the underworld.
This analysis I attempt is a true deep dive. So it's lengthy, but like any of Lewis' works, it's chock full of meat to chew on. In particular, the topic of heaven and hell and why we might forget about one while in pursuit of the other.
It's one of the most watched documentaries in history. Though I had no intention of ever watching Tiger King, I found myself tuning in this past week. Maybe it's been the quarantine; maybe it's the stir-crazy environment I'm in; or maybe it's the endless memes and allegations about a certain character potentially feeding her ex-husband to a tiger.
No matter, I watched the series and have come away with some thoughts. Tiger King is a global phenomenon, but why? So again I'll ask: is it the quarantine forcing us all to watch it? Or is it something else that has caused so many to tune in?
Here's my review / observations on Netflix's Tiger King.
Many Americans (and others around the world) are shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. And by shaken, we mean that many are without work. Income streams are not as plentiful as they once were and the sobering reality that things may not go back to normal soon has become a real fear.
So with that in mind, what becomes of art and literature? Do our favorite paintings, stories, music, and other forms of expression have a place in the midst of a crisis such as this? A crisis that genuinely requires material resources to keep us going?
This episode is dedicated to looking at just that.
The coronavirus pandemic is affecting every human being on the planet. And in the midst of this crisis, voices are speaking to the pandemic in one way or another. Some are telling a story of fear, others a story of hope. It's caused me, a storyteller, to take pause and ask a question, "What story do I feel is being told right now?"
In times like these, there are servants, leaders, and voices waiting to step up and cut through the panic. Cut through the haze. It's what every great story is made of. So in this episode, I spend some time talking through that and how we might put our sights on a bigger picture as we move day to day through this storm.
In case you didn't know, Disney has been remaking its animated classics into live-action films (well, sorta. The Lion King isn't exactly 'live action' but you get the idea). And if you're still tracking with me, Mulan is the latest film to get the "live action" treatment. It's currently slated for a release later this year.
So far, the film looks good. The cast is impressive. The cinematography appears to be top notch too. So what about the story? You know, the one where a woman sneaks into the highly elite Chinese fighting force, pretends to be a man to save her aging father, is found out, but ends up saving the whole kingdom? Yeah, that one. But wait, there's more: she falls in love with her commanding officer. A man named Shang. And yet, this part of the love story, at least according to this most recent news story, is not gonna happen.
Why do you say? Well, that's what this episode is all about. So tune in, enjoy, and if you feel led to do so, let me know what you think of this latest creative decision by Disney.
It's another Narrative Wars! And this time we're talking about one of the oldest institutions of human experience: marriage.
There are a lot of narratives out there about marriage. There's the fairy tale, there's the broken-but-being-repaired, there's the "it's going to be another 1-in-2 divorce for these two" - the list goes on. So with this episode, I'll be zeroing in on which particular narrative I've found to be a myth. The myth being that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Say what now? You're saying that they don't?
Short answer: yes.
In addition to that, we'll be looking at how our culture develops these narratives. And what is a marriage anyway? What is the significance of it? And why would there be so many stories surrounding this ages-old commitment?
These are a few of the topics covered in this episode's #NarrativeWars.