Posted in extra credit

Alternative Facts Follow-Up

(Written by Martha S.)

I wanted to follow up our episode on news media with a short discussion of why I picked the topic to begin with. As I have said on the podcast many times, I’m a librarian, and specifically I am a teen services librarian. One of the foundations of my profession is providing access to, and helping people find, reliable information, a principle which is more important than ever these days and particularly for teens, who are far less likely to go beyond their curated social media feeds to find alternate or corroborative sources of information. Teaching information literacy is no longer optional for librarians, it is a necessity. Because of that, I thought it would be useful for us to look at how pop culture presents the news and journalism, and how we react to that.

This past Saturday, Melissa McCarthy returned to SNL to reprise her role as Sean Spicer. Her portrayal has been brilliant, I think it’s fair to say, and highlighted something about the way Spicer is dealing with his role as the disseminator of information for an administration that tells us nothing but lies: hostilely. Spicer, and our current White House, are our antagonists, and they are helping foster a culture of distrust and skepticism when it comes to the news. Our first reaction is to assume that he’s lying (because he is).

One of the things I thought was striking about all the homework we talked about in this episode was that the news sources in them are treated first and foremost as being trustworthy, and then only later shown not to be: CJ is a trustworthy source of information, which is how she gets away with sidelining stories that should be a bigger deal. The Daily Prophet can spread misinformation about Harry Potter because it has a reputation for telling the truth. No one questions Glass’ articles because the New Republic has a good reputation. When we find out those things aren’t true (in the case of The West Wing, we see this develop over the course of the episode), we are meant to feel betrayed. This isn’t how the news is supposed to work! And yet, it does, and recently, it does often and without shame.

Anyway, I don’t really have any more profound thoughts than that I’m sad that our news media culture has turned into one of distrust and hostility. I don’t think it’s new, clearly news has always been a cultivated experience for us so that the people in charge can control the way the population thinks and feels about things (which sounds WAY more 1984 than I thought it would, yikes). I hope some day we get back to a place where I can read a headline and not feel the urge to cross-check in on four other sites, if for no other reason than that I don’t have time for that every day.

Supplementary Materials

Lois Lane: Fallout
The first Lois Lane YA novel by Gwenda Bond, this series follows a teenage Lois as she investigates and exposes scandals for her high school newspaper. Clark Kent shows up only occasionally as a texting partner for Lois to bounce ideas off of, which is really the best use for Clark. I mentioned (awkwardly) in the episode that the relationship between journalism and superheroes is fascinating to me, and it’s fun to read about one of comics’ most famous journalists in her nascent teenage years.

Wag the Dog
A 1997 film directed by Barry Levinson that shows some truly epic misdirection from a president’s shenanigans (Dustin Hoffman invents a war in actual 1984 style to take attention away from a president’s sex scandal, and oh man do I wish that our president would actually be punished for a sex scandal to the magnitude that would necessitate a fake media war).

“Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer
Political music was something we didn’t really have a chance to touch on in the episode, and maybe that’s because it wasn’t totally germane to the conversation. Music, after all, doesn’t really get used as a delivery tool for news – it can’t be timely enough. The closest it gets, I think, is as a way for musicians to enter the news conversation; it’s commentary on the environment rather than an informative source itself. But I appreciate deeply the lyrics from this song (despite not being a huge fan of John Mayer), particularly the lines “And when you trust your television/ What you get is what you got/ But when they own the information/ they can bend it all they want.”

Posted in episodes

Episode 7: Alternative Facts, or, How We Relate to News Media

The homework for the episode:
Pete: The West Wing, episode 1.13: “Take Out the Trash Day”
Martha: Shattered Glass, 2003 film starring Hayden Christensen
Calee: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (book)

Martha uses the podcast as a thinly veiled excuse to watch Shattered Glass again, and to plumb the depths of Slate to read about the real world scandal. Pete is way more politically savvy than anyone else in the room (natch), and Calee keeps us all grounded by reminding us that teenagers really are the future of the resistance (a thematic callback to Episode 2, even if we all forgot to point that out!). Martha ALSO awkwardly shoehorns in a discussion about superheroes and news coverage of vigilantism, but maybe it comes out all right in the end?

Your podcasters’ credentials:
Pete: Cheated and has two, but we’ll forgive him since Knox Fortune, the talent behind the single “Help Myself” is his little brother. Also the Legion playlist on Spotify.
Martha: Brave Chef Brianna, issue no. 1, by Sam Sykes and Selina Espiritu
Calee: Tangled: the Series, episode 4

Alternative Facts – Additional Material
All the President’s Men (film)
Daredevil, 1.11 and 1.12 (Netflix tv show)
“Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga (song)
Spider-Man (specifically the 2002 film starring Tobey Maguire, by J. Jonah Jameson is a character that transcends media formats)
Spotlight (film)
The Wire, season 5 (tv show)

Pete also notes the life and real life escapades of Jayson Blair, a journalist for the New York Times who was fired in 2003 in the wake of a plagiarism scandal of his own. You can read about him, and some candid hot takes from a talk he gave at Duke recently, here.

We also refer to a couple of additional articles found on Slate, covering the Stephen Glass scandal (including Hannah Rosin’s, the inspiration for Chloe Sevigny’s character Caitlin, review of Glass’s fictionalized account of his story The Fabulist). You can find those here:

“Steve and Me: How accurate a portrayal of journalism is Shattered Glass?” by David Plotz

“Glass Houses: Why did I – vain skeptic – fall for the too-good-to-be-true journalism of Stephen Glass?” by Jack Shafer

“Glass Houses: Stephen Glass still doesn’t believe in the world around him” by Hannah Rosin

“Lies, Damn Lies, and Fiction” by Adam L. Penenberg (The Forbes article that outs Glass)

Also, Pete found an archived version of Glass’s “Hack Heaven” piece, find it here

Our theme for our next episode is going to be: Caring (or Not) for the Natural World. Enjoy doing your homework!

Your homework for April 26:
Pete: Avatar, 2009 film by James Cameron
Martha: Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind, vol. 1 by Hayao Miyazaki
Calee: Idiocracy, 2006 film by Mike Judge

Posted in extra credit

Sacrifice Follow-Up: The Art of Intent

(Posted by Martha S.)

Let’s talk about intent.

Pete and I got into possibly our most pedantic argument yet in our sixth episode, where we realized we’d been thinking about “sacrifice” in two very different ways: as a function of the story (for Pete), and as a function of character intent (for me). I’ve been giving this a lot of thought and unfortunately for Pete, I’m going to have to double down on my position: I think sacrifice is something that a character does, not the plot.

Mirriam Webster is pretty non-partisan on the issue: the dictionary defines “sacrifice” as “something offered in sacrifice; destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else; something given up or lost.” Phrased like that, you could look at the active agent as being the story or plot – giving something up (say, killing a character) in service to the story that is being told. However, I think intent is too important to ignore in this case, and I don’t think a story can be said to have intent. An author absolutely has intent. Characters have intent. Those things combined create your story, which in and of itself has no existence outside of those intents.

Pete’s definitions work fine as a guide to how sacrifice works inside of a narrative, but I’m not sure how useful that is if we’re talking about what a sacrifice means to a character or to that narrative.

Other supplementary materials we couldn’t quite squeeze in:

The Book of Life
A seriously beautiful fable set against the backdrop of the Day of the Dead. Not only does it feature an unwitting (not unwilling – for the distinction, see below) sacrifice, but it also manages to give us a lovely hero’s journey in the bargain. Manolo, our hero, gives up his life to be reunited with the woman he loves – only to find out he’s been tricked, she isn’t actually dead, and now he has to journey through the Land of the Dead to regain his life and save his village.

Constantine: Hellblazer
Oooh, John Constantine. The master of what I’m going to refer to as the “screwball sacrifice” – the sacrifice that looks serious on the surface, but underneath you find that he has given away nothing and taken everything (and then underneath THAT you realize he’s given up more than he perhaps banked on in the first place). In one of his key stories, “Dangerous Habits,” he sells his soul three times and somehow ends up cured of lung cancer; in “Critical Mass,” he separates the worst parts of his soul (and all the other stuff he doesn’t want to deal with) and sends them to hell in his stead. Not to mention all the times he’s put unwitting or unwilling sacrifices into play “for the greater good.”

The Wicker Man
Perhaps the one kind of sacrifice I am willing to admit is plot-driven rather than character driven is the unwilling sacrifice – the people who offer someone up for their own gains, without that victim’s consent. The Wicker Man (the 1973 masterpiece featuring Christopher Lee, not the hilariously misguided 2006 remake starring Nicholas Cage) is a prime example of this, with a whole group of people not only sacrificing the poor unwitting Sergeant Howie to ensure their own prosperity but also thoroughly misleading, confusing, and abusing him. They offer up something that is not theirs to give, but I think it qualifies as a sacrifice nonetheless.

A note about Disney films: almost the entire Disney oeuvre contains a sacrifice of some kind. Typically, it involves our female lead giving up something in order to save someone (Anna in Frozen, Pocahontas in Pocahontas, Jasmine in Aladdin), or to be with the man she loves (Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Belle in Beauty & the Beast, Tiana in The Princess & the Frog). The use of sacrifice for the main character to gain something they want seems to be a distinctly female trope; selfless sacrifice (or heroic sacrifice, for the sake of others), seems to be distinctly male – unless we’re talking about sacrifice for the sake of family, which again, is codified as very female.

I was going to try and rewrite that last paragraph to make more sense, but I think the point is actually salient, so instead I’m just going to add: in general, female characters seem expected to make personal sacrifices in order to preserve familial structures (I’m including marriage as well as sibling/parent family in this generalization), while male characters are expected to make physical sacrifices for the sake of heroism. Obviously, there are exceptions to everything and characters that do not fall in any of those neat categories (Mulan springs pretty immediately to mind, but then, her story is all about subversion of gender roles so she may be reinforcing my point anyway), but it seems to me to be pretty clear: women are expected to sacrifice for the things they want. Men are expected to sacrifice for the greater good.

In conclusion: bees.


Posted in episodes, homework

Episode 6: Sacrifice

The homework for the episode:
Pete: X2: X-Men United (movie)
Martha: Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Beginnings (movie)
Calee: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (book)

It’s here! It’s here! Martha takes a victory lap when Pete admits that one of these items is his most favoritest homework he’s been assigned yet (which one may surprise you), we argue intent of story versus intent of character, Calee feels skeptical about deconstructed magical girls, and we once again forget to talk about Logan even though it’s apparently relevant to absolutely everything we’re doing anymore.

Your podcasters’ credentials:
Pete: Hour of Code (check it out here!)
Martha: Mad Men, season six
Calee: Star vs. the Forces of Evil (tv show)

Sacrifice – Additional Material
The Expanse (tv series on SyFy)
The Hunger Games
 (book or movie)
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
Mass Effect 3 (video game)
The Matrix
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
episodes 3.16, 4.20, 5.10, 5.22
– (Look, this whole show is people falling over themselves to die for the greater good. I picked a handful of episodes that stand out as being particularly meaningful examples of the theme. -Martha)
The Twilight Saga 
by Stephanie Meyer

Our theme for our next episode is going to be: Alternative Facts: How We Relate to, and Experience, News Media. Enjoy doing your homework!

Your homework for April 12:
Pete: The West Wing, episode 1.13: “Take Out the Trash Day”
Martha: Shattered Glass, 2003 film starring Hayden Christensen
Calee: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (book)

Posted in extra credit

Sidekicks Follow-Up: Logan, the Tragedy of Carrie Kelly, and Other Ephemera We Forgot

(Post by Martha S.)

So if you listened to our fifth episode on heroes and sidekicks, you may have noticed that we all got a little riled up right at the end – en masse, right when we were out of time, we all remembered that we had not touched on the film Logan or Wolverine’s long string of cute girl sidekicks that he’s had throughout the history of the X-Men comics. I wanted to that a bit here, and also address some of our additional materials that didn’t make it into the episode, and also ruminate on the tragedy of Carrie Kelly (particularly in contrast to Wolverine’s many female sidekicks). Here we go!

Logan is a wonderful movie, and a lot of the reason for that is the relationship between Logan and Laura, the tiny homicidal X-23 character. (X-23, if you’re not familiar, is a female clone of Wolverine that shows up first in the TV show X-Men: Evolution and then later on in a handful of X titles.) Laura is a feral, powerful, tragic little girl who is more comfortable decapitating bad guys than obeying rules. She needs the gruff, militaristic hand of Logan in order to pull back from the edge, and it turns out he needs someone to protect and defend. I’m not sure that Laura quite makes the leap from “escort quest” to sidekick, although others may disagree – but the fact remains that Wolverine has a history of mentoring younger women who then grow up and get their own solo books or at least get to be the principal at mutant academy.

Over the course of his history, Wolverine has mentored Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, Armor, and X-23 (and Rogue in the original Bryan Singer films), and even has one fantastic comic issue with Kamala Khan. His take-no-bullshit attitude seems to do well with angsty teenagers, who bounce off of his tough exterior and come out stronger on the other end (while he gradually softens). It is a relationship I consistently enjoy reading about, especially when you contrast it with…

Carrie Kelly.

Oh, Carrie. The one bright spot in the (unpopular opinion) dreary and drudging The Dark Knight Returns, no Robin has been treated as unfairly by creators as Carrie (although Jason Todd may disagree). In TDKR, she’s fun, spunky, bright and humorous, even when she is totally and age inappropriately saving Bruce’s butt. I love HER and hate the way she’s handled in the book – she’s thirteen, has no connection to Bruce other than an idolizing fascination, and basically gets stolen from her apathetic family to help run his brigand of Batboys in The Dark Knight Strikes Again. She also gets a horrible costume change and dramatically declares her love for Batman when she appears to be dying, a love Mark Millar contends is paternal in nature (I think the text strongly disagrees with this assertion).

There is also the case of Batgirl, who can arguably be counted amongst Batman’s various sidekicks, and who while having a very successful solo comic career has also been forced into the “actually I’m in love with you” sex vehicle character (this jumped the shark in the horrible animated rendition of The Killing Joke released last year).

So why the difference? Batman and Wolverine are both serious, world-weary men with a penchant for attracting young people. Why do Wolverine’s female protegees get to go on to bigger, better and more independent (and less lovesick) endeavors? I don’t really have an answer for you, except that historically Marvel treats their female characters better than DC. Please feel free to discuss below.

Other supplementary materials we wanted to make note of:

Captain America: The First Avenger. Notable for its bait-and-switch narrative: Steve begins the sidekick to suave, handsome, tall Bucky Barnes, before being embiggened and taking on the leadership role after he’s Captain America-ified. I love this flip of the trope because Bucky could get all gross and emasculated, and he totally doesn’t. His bromance with Steve is there to the end of the line, and he’s not only happy to follow Steve, but proud to do so.

Grayson, vol. 1: Agents of Spyral by Tom King and Tim Seeley. The short-lived spy drama that Dick Grayson occupied for a while in between Nightwing books. Shows the versatility of his character, and also lots of great action and good use of Helena Bertinelli.

The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. If you’re not familiar with the sprawling mythos of the Warhammer: 40K universe, let me sum up quickly: for a while there were hulking supersoldiers who defended a galactic empire from hideous, beyond-our-comprehension forces and gross aliens. The most important of these turned traitor, gutted the empire, and now everyone lives in a really shitty universe where there’s an equal possibility of being eaten by aliens or disemboweled by a demon. The First Heretic tells the EXTREMELY compelling origin story of the guy who’s fault it was, and is a really cool example of someone who thinks he’s in charge very much not being so. His adviser, a perfect Bastard Understudy, feeds him BS until he’s compelled to unravel the very fabric of the empire of man. I highly recommend you check out the Horus Heresy series of novels.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. A YA novel about all the OTHER characters in a YA story, and what they’re doing while the heroes are off saving the world. I mentioned it as my pop culture credentials back in one of our early episodes.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. The beautiful thing about the titular Wee Free Men in the Tiffany Aching novels of the Discworld series is that not only are they totally dedicated to helping Tiffany as their patron witch, but they do so in a DELIGHTFULLY cheery and bloodthirsty manner.

Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein. Everyone needs a Sam to their Frodo, amiright?

Posted in episodes

Episode 5: The Hero/Sidekick Relationship

The homework for the episode:
Pete: Batman & Robin, vol. 1: Batman Reborn by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (graphic novel)
Martha: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (graphic novel)
Calee: Adventure Time 1.04, 1.05, 1.06 (TV show)

Have you ever wanted to put the relationship between Batman and his many, many sidekicks under a microscope and really get to the bottom of them? Good news! In this week’s episode, we dig into the hero/sidekick relationship in all its forms, including a rough history where Martha asks Pete to show his work and he doesn’t immediately strangle her with her headphones cord. We talk a whole lot about Star Trek and never come to a conclusion about whether or not it’s relevant! All this AND MORE.

Your podcasters’ credentials:
Pete: The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth
Martha: You Are Here: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds by Jenny Lawson
Calee: The Venture Brothers tv show

Reboots and Reimaginings – Additional Material
Big Hero 6
Hawkeye, vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon
by Matt Fraction and David Aja
The Illiad

Sherlock Holmes (books, movies or tv show)
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Venture Brothers
 tv show

Our theme for our next episode is going to be: Sacrifice. Enjoy doing your homework!

Your homework for March 29:
Pete: X2: X-Men United (movie)
Martha: Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Beginnings (movie)
Calee: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (book)

Posted in episodes

Episode 4: Reboots & Reimaginings

The homework for the episode:
Pete: The Magicians 1.01 (TV show)
Martha: Riverdale 1.01 (TV show)
Calee: Sailor Moon Crystal 1.01 (TV show)

It’s our fourth episode, which means we’ve officially been doing this for over a month! Hooray! This week, we dive into the concept of remakes, reboots, reimaginings and adaptations and Martha realizes that each of these concepts could probably be their own episode? What makes a good reboot, motives, and purpose are all discussed, and we all unanimously agree to strike the phrase “[X] ruined my childhood” from our cultural vernacular.

Your podcasters’ credentials:
Pete: SPQR by Mary Beard (audiobook as read by Phyllida Nash)
Martha: Tagalong Girl Scout cookies
Calee: Outlander tv show

Reboots and Reimaginings – Additional Material
Archie by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples (ongoing comic)
Coupling (Britain – 2000-2004) and Coupling (America – 2003)
Eat Drink Man
 Woman (China – 1994) and Tortilla Soup (America – 2001)
Fargo (The Coen Brothers, 1996) and Fargo (F/X TV show, 2014-current)
The Hobbit (novel by JRR Tolkein; film by Peter Jackson, 2012)
The Jungle Book (Jon Favreau, 2016)
Let the Right One In (Sweden – 2008) and Let Me In (America – 2010)
The Office (Britain – 2001-2003) and The Office (America – 2005-2013)
Seven Samurai (Japan – 1954); The Magnificent Seven (America – 1960); and The Magnificent 7 (America – 2016)
Shall We Dance (Japan – 1996, America – 2004)
Star Trek (JJ Abrams, 2009)
Transformers (Michael Bay, 2007)
Yojimbo (Japan – 1961) and A Fistful of Dollars (America – 1964)

Supplementary reading:
“Don’t Call It a Reboot: How “Remake” Became a Dirty Word in Hollywood” from The Guardian (located here)
“The Mary Sue Interview: Lexi Alexander on Why Hollywood Loves Remakes” from The Mary Sue (located here)

Our theme for our next episode is going to be: Exploring the Hero/Sidekick Relationship. Enjoy doing your homework!

Your homework for March 15:
Pete: Batman & Robin, vol. 1: Batman Reborn by Grant Morrison (graphic novel)
Martha: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (graphic novel)
Calee: Adventure Time, episodes 1.03, 1.04, 1.05 (TV show, available streaming on Netflix)

Posted in episodes

Episode 3: Not All Wounds are Visible

The homework for the episode:
Pete: Dazed and Confused (film)
Martha: Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher (YA novel)
Calee: Hjørdis (mini series on Netflix – 4 half hour episodes)

In our third episode, things get a little dark as your hosts discuss bullying in all its ugly forms, including but not limited to: the differences between girls and boys, adult-on child bullying, adult-on-adult bullying, our culture’s fascination with real-life bullying, and how our society has normalized bullying in a really discomfiting way.

Content warning for discussions of depression, suicide, violence. And your hosts would like to remind you that if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, help is available to you and you are not alone. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. Depression lies and you are not alone.

Your podcasters’ credentials:
Pete: The Weeds podcast
Martha: Rose Buddies podcast
Calee: Outlander on audiobook, written by Diana Gabaldon and narrated by Davina Porter

Mirriam Webster Dictionary’s Definition of Bullying:

Definition of bully



  1. 1a :  a blustering, browbeating person; especially :  one who is habitually cruel, insulting, or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller, or in some way vulnerable <tormented by the neighborhood bully>

    bullied ; bullying

    1. transitive verb
    2. 1:  to treat (someone) in a cruel, insulting, threatening, or aggressive fashion :  to act like a bully toward <bullied her younger brother>

    3. 2:  to cause (someone) to do something by means of force or coercion <was bullied into accepting their offer>

    4. intransitive verb
    5. :  to use language or behavior that is cruel, insulting, threatening, or aggressive

Bullying – Additional Material
A Few Good Men (film)
Back to the Future (film)
Butter by Erin Jade Lange (YA novel)
Carrie by Stephen King (novel, 1976 film, 2013 film)
Glee 1.20, “Theatricality” (tv series)
Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling
Heathers (film)
Hurricane Bianca (film)
Mean Girls (film)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Beck Albertalli (YA novel)
Stranger Things 1.06, “The Monster” (Netflix tv series)
Supernatural 4.13, “After School Special” (tv series)
Zootopia (film)

Our theme for our next episode is going to be: Reboots and Reimaginings. Enjoy doing your homework!

Your homework for March 1:
Pete: The Magicians 1.01 (streaming on Netflix)
Martha: Riverdale pilot (streaming on the CW)
Calee: Sailor Moon: Crystal 1.01 (streaming free on Crunchyroll)

Posted in episodes, homework

Episode 2: Welcome to the Resistance

The homework for the episode:
Martha: The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson (novel)
Pete: Heavn by Jamila Woods (album, streaming on SoundCloud)
Calee: In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

In our second episode, we all get real fired up about the current political climate, while also DEEPLY admiring the role that people of color, teens, and especially teenage girls are playing in our resistance. We talk about music for the first time! Warning: this episode is deeply biased and reveals the biases of all your hosts (spoiler alert: our biases influence the things we love and how we react, and thus will always be an inherent part of our podcast).

Your podcasters’ credentials:
Pete: Brooklyn Nine-Nine (tv show, streaming on Netflix and Hulu)
Martha: The Great British Baking Show (available through your local PBS outlet for a monthly donation – support your local arts and education station!)
Calee: Steven Universe (streaming on Hulu)

Show Corrections and Additions: Pete references the film Chi-Raq, but attributes it to Spike Jonze. The film was actually directed by Spike Lee.

Calee would like to pull out the following quote from The Summer Prince as being particularly relevant:

“I wish…is it so hard to just be honest? To just say, no, this is wrong, and stand up for that, and not think about advantage and placement and promotion and all that Auntie bullshit for just one second? Is that all you grandes are? Is anything real?”

Resistance and Revolution – Additional Material
A Seat at the Table, Solange Knowles (music album)
Captain America: Civil War (film)
Drawing Blood,
Molly Crabapple (memoir)
, Beyonce (music album)
Little Brother, Cory Doctorow (novel)
March, vols. 1, 2, 3 by Sen. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (graphic novels)
Pirate Cinema, Cory Doctorow (novel)
Pussy Riot YouTube channel (here)
Telefone, Noname (music album)

Supplementary reading:
Support the ACLU and CAIR by buying original art from In Real Life! (here)

Our theme for our next episode is going to be: Bullying. Enjoy doing your homework!

Your homework for February 15:
Pete: Dazed and Confused (film)
Martha: Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher (YA novel)
Calee: Hjørdis (mini series on Netflix – 4 half hour episodes)

Posted in episodes

Episode 1: Who Am I? Identity As a Story Tool

The homework for the episode:
Martha: Sense8 holiday special (Netflix streaming)
Pete: The VVitch (film)
Calee: The Orphanage (film)

It’s here! Our debut episode, in which we discuss how identity functions as a narrative tool, get used to the flow of conversation in a podcast, and Martha gets a little cranky about what people view as “feminist” narratives.

Your podcasters’ credentials:
Pete: The Staves (musical group)
Martha: The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness
Calee: The Monster Factory Youtube Channel (here)

Before we get to the syllabus, I (Martha) want to apologize for forgetting to give Sense8 a proper introduction – I can blame only my inexperience as a podcaster, and my tendency to skip things when I get nervous. Sense8 is a Netflix show written and developed by the Wachowski siblings that premiered in 2015. It’s the story of eight individuals from all corners of the globe who, one day, suddenly become psychically interconnected. The first episode of the second season debuted as a holiday special, while the rest of the season comes out in spring – it is one of the most significantly diverse shows currently airing, and even when I find the plot incomprehensible, it is beautiful to watch.

Anyway, here’s your guide to further exploration of identity in different forms of media – this is a pretty prevalent theme, but I think we’ve got some non-obvious things for you to take a gander at. If you have other suggestions, please let us know!

Identity as a Story Tool – Additional Material
Grace & Frankie, Netflix original show
Hurricane Bianca 
The Lie
 Tree, by Frances Hardinge (YA novel)
Ms. Marvel, vol. 1: No Normal, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (graphic novel)
The OA (Netflix original show)
Transparent (
Amazon Prime original show)
The Wicked + the Divine, vol. 1: The Faust Act, 
by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (graphic novel)

Supplementary reading (or, articles Martha alluded to vaguely):
“The Witch is Sinister, Smart, and Wildly Feminist,” Scott Pierce on Wired (here)
The Witch Movie Isn’t a a Horror Flick – It’s a High Powered Feminist Manifesto,” Diane Cohen on Marie Claire (here)

Our theme for our next episode is going to be: Welcome to the Resistance (Resistance and Insurgency). Enjoy doing your homework!

Your homework for February 1:
Pete: Heavn, by Jamila Woods (musical album – streaming on SoundCloud)
Martha: The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson (YA novel)
Calee: In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang (graphic novel)