Better late than never, right, y’all?
The homework for the episode:
Pete: The Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Pitchfork review of the album, and the Wikipedia page for it
Martha: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
Calee: Scrubs, episodes 5.20 and 5.21
A musician familiar with the sounds and strains of death exorcises his grief through a brief, but haunting, album.
Mara Carlyle, high school senior, leads a pretty normal (albeit substance-fueled) life – until her schoolmates start spontaneously combusting.
Dr. Perry Cox makes a call with the best information he has, which kills three patients. This is the aftermath.
Grief is something that everyone experiences in some shape or form during their lifetimes, and pop culture can help us develop the tools to deal with and overcome it. We thread our way through three stories that show us how characters overcome their grief, and also how an artist can use his art to express it.
Your podcasters’ credentials:
Pete: Plizzanet Earth
Martha: Awful Squad: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds stream from Polygon (here)
Calee: “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” trailer
Martha’s new zen place is watching Polygon employees get shot a lot in Battlegrounds; we debate how long is too long for an animated short before a Disney movie; and Pete tries to explain Snoop Dogg to Martha (J/K; she gets Snoop Dogg, she just doesn’t quite grokk his unique method of speech).
Martha also mentions the trailer for the upcoming Disney/Pixar feature Coco, which you can watch here.
Pop Culture and Mental Health: Discussion Questions and Big Ideas
- How do media portrayals of grief and loss align with “typical” experiences?
- Does knowing the story behind a highly personal work of media change the way we view it? How?
- How can media/pop culture help people deal with loss, both as consumers and creators?
- How do others respond to those grieving? What responsibility do we have to people?
There’s a whole lot to unpack here, and not just the notion (a carry-over from last episode) that the idea of “normal people” and the “normal way” of dealing with things is a whole lot of B.S. We all agree that one of the things media can do is normalize the fact that there IS no one way of dealing with grief, but that seeing characters we love go through the grieving process can help us when we suddenly have a heft of it and no tools of our own to process it.
We’re getting our Joseph Campbell on in our next episode, which is going to be all about The Hero’s Journey. Background reading of The Man With the Thousand Faces is 100% optional (PETER). Enjoy doing your homework!
Your homework for June 28:
Martha: The Book of Life
Calee: Shrek (the first one)
Pete: The “Beren and Luthien” chapter from The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkein
And remember, if you have questions, comments, or ideas for a show, give us a shoutout here or send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!