Tag Archives: Television

#79 – The People Versus Saul Goodman and Lionel Hutz

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In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is speaking to Steven Keslowitz, author of books including The World According to the Simpsons, The Tao of Jack Bauer, and Why You Better Call Saul. Steven is a practicing attorney and pop culture expert, and in this episode, Steven explains the success within popular culture of disreputable fictional characters, including the lawyers Saul Goodman (Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul) and Lionel Hutz (The Simpsons). Also considered within this fun episode: ‘Cultivation Theory’ (an examination of the effect that watching television over the long-term may have on the ability to differentiate fiction and reality), what is the relationship between celebrities (including the late Stephen Hawking) and The Simpsons, how does The Simpsons deal with controversial issues, such as gun control, and how accurate are the legal proceedings in Better Call Saul? Also mentioned within this episode are the famous comments made about The Simpsons by former US President George HW Bush. At the 1992 Republican Convention, Bush said: “We’re going to keep trying to strengthen the American family. To make them more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons.” Steven has written about this very quote in The World According To The Simpsons, and shares his view of the relationship between The Simpsons and the ideal of the American family.

For more information on Steven, you can view his website at http://www.stevenkeslowitz.com/, his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/skeslowitz/, and his Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steven-Keslowitz/e/B001JS3LLC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1522146986&sr=8-1 (UK) and https://www.amazon.com/Steven-Keslowitz/e/B001JS3LLC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1522146986&sr=8-1 (US).

Expanded show notes:

‘Stephen Hawking would ‘just turn up’ to Simpsons script readings’, The Telegraph, 15 March 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/2018/03/15/stephen-hawking-would-just-turn-simpsons-script-readings/.

A selection of episodes with a popular culture element:

#29 – Project Extra: Under Siege
#15 – Project Extra: Folklore
#13 – Pokemon Diplomacy and Transnational Culture

#76 – The Evolution of Alternative Facts

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In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is talking to Dr. Gleb Tsipursky of the Pro-Truth Pledge about the battle for honest discourse. This is an important consideration. During a speech at the White House in January 2017, Donald Trump’s Press Secretary at the time, Sean Spicer, famously said: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.” This statement has been endlessly mocked, but, in more serious terms, it has come to represent, as stated shortly afterwards without irony by Trump advisor, Kellyanne Conway, as not being a lie, but an entirely different version of the truth. Spicer, explained Conway, was not being dishonest, but was dealing in “alternative facts”. Comparisons to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four were manifestly obvious and, indeed, were deeply indicative of a very real problem. What is the answer to alternative facts? Utilising research in behavioral science, Dr. Tsipursky is leading a team effort to address post-truth politics, fake news, and those unscrupulous alternative facts. Dr. Tsipursky is asking people, be they members of congress or members of the public, to sign the Pro-Truth Pledge as a commitment to deal in only one type of fact, and not the alternative variety. Dr. Tsipursky explains the motivation behind this movement, and outlines his hopes for a more honest arena of public discourse. Why are humans so easily misled? What can be done about fake news? Is it possible that Donald Trump would sign such a pledge? How has social media been manipulated to spread misinformation, and can this be prevented? These questions, including a fascinating look at why humans are, from an evolutionary standpoint, poorly equipped to deal with the modern age, are featured in this episode.

For more information on the Pro-Truth Pledge, or to sign the pledge, head to https://www.protruthpledge.org/take-the-pro-truth-pledge/

Expanded show notes:

‘Richard Dawkins: We’re too stupid to decide on EU (that includes me)’, The Times, 23 May 2016.

‘Nigel Farage backtracks on Leave campaign’s ‘£350m for the NHS’ pledge hours after result’, The Independent, 24 June 2016.

Related episode:

#10 – George Orwell Versus Alternative Facts
#17 – The Fake News Agenda
#63 – Tribalism Aboard the Ship of Theseus

#52 – Project Extra: Whitewashing Revisited

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Is there a real problem in Hollywood with casting agents hiring white actors for roles for which the source material rather seems to necessitate a non-white actor? On this bonus edition of the Aidan Project, Aidan and special guest Jared Miracle, who holds a PhD. in anthropology from Texas A&M University, revisit a subject from a previous episode – episode 27, ‘Project Extra: Whitewashing’ –  and explore the latest controversy surrounding Hollywood’s casting culture. Furthermore, delving into yesteryear, Jared explains the prejudicial challenges faced by Bruce Lee, and also gives his take on the precarious nature of silver screen gender politics. You can follow Jared on Facebook (facebook.com/jaredmiraclewriter) and Twitter (@DocKungFu).

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