If all goes well, I should have time to record an episode this week. I was obligated to accompany others to three different movies over the weekend and just about had my fill of film for now and wish I had more time to read (for pleasure rather than work). I’m having a little trouble justifying working on the site lately since any polish or production really should go towards a client’s matter. Not for any mandated reason. It’s just my own personal professional standard of quality I give my clients.
While I’d love for every answer I go over to be represented as a short FAQ answer, longer exhaustive and analytical essay, audio podcast, and video presentation… there’s no way I can do that all in the time that I have. The podcast is the main outlet, but with the other mediums and formats as opportunity allows.
Anyways, in lieu of a post which addresses any specific questions or concerns, here’s some assorted materials, linked in a bit of a stream-of-consciousness, which could be applicable to analysis of Man of Steel and the DCCU.
- Mansa Musa, one of the wealthiest people who ever lived
- What’s the Loudest Possible Sound?
- The moral dangers of non-lethal weapons
- The lost art of democratic debate
- What makes a hero?
- Why is Beer for Boys?
- DP/30: Interstellar, Hans Zimmer
- 1, 2, 3, 4…
- Superman and Philosophy: What would the Man of Steel Do?
Mansa Musa, one of the wealthiest people who ever lived – Jessica Smith | TED-Ed
In MOSAIC Episode 18, I briefly mentioned Mansa Musa in reference to the kind of wealth it would take to single-handedly rebuild Metropolis and put it beyond even his grasp.
What’s The Loudest Possible Sound? | It’s Okay To Be Smart | PBS Digital Studios
The sensory range on sound is humanity’s greatest (between how soft and loud we can perceive), additionally, I will reference the rocket launch in Episode 23.
The moral dangers of non-lethal weapons – Stephen Coleman | TED-Ed
An interesting argument for why we can’t simply look to less-lethal technology as an answer. Questions of lethal force, of course, arise in Man of Steel, but for some reason I was more concerned about Harley Quinn with a baseball bat.
The lost art of democratic debate – Michael Sandel | TED-Ed
This is essentially the same lecture Sandel gives as part of his Justice series at Harvard, which boils down to encouraging arguments about civics to engage and raise their most deeply held, personal beliefs- rather than shy away from them- in order to get to the essence or purpose of things and forward the discussion. We’ll articulate this more precisely when we get to virtue ethics and their applicability to Superman eventually.
What makes a hero? – Matthew Winkler | TED-Ed
Illustrating the basics of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth or hero’s journey observation. The structure is fairly easy to line up with Man of Steel given how broad and abstract the buckets can be.
Why is Beer for Boys? – Laci Green | MTV Braless
Raising the issue of assigning genders to beverages and their marketing. I might only briefly mention this in Episode 23 in reference to Lois drinking Scotch… maybe.
DP/30: Interstellar, Hans Zimmer
I’ve spent countless hours listening to interviews from this channel: DP/30: The Oral History of Hollywood. They do long-form interviews where they really let the people talk. You still get the canned junket-style answers, but with the long format that usually starts to fall away and you get some more insight into their less guarded thoughts. You can hear from Zimmer, Adams, Leto, Ayer, Goyer, Terrio, Affleck, Eisenberg, and more.
1, 2, 3, 4… etc. | VSauce
Raising the issue of logarithmic intuition and perception. Two interesting insights: 1) Kryptonians being “human scaled” and 2) Our tendency to “curve” our scoring of subjective things.
I didn’t have nearly the time I needed to research journalism ethics like I wanted, but I did “watch” Citizenfour and the last season of Sorkin’s The Newsroom on 2x speed while working on something else. Still no synthesis yet… hoping for something to click before I record. I don’t know that there is anything to click here to begin with… that might be as much insight as I can offer. There’s something buzzing in the back of mind that sort of resembles Kohlberg’s stages of moral development, but I’d rather not speak out-of-turn.
What’s funny is that I have a lot of access to different current and former journalists, but I can’t ask the questions I want to ask without making them think I asking about Edward Snowden and thus dragging me into conversations I just don’t have time for right now. I may table this for a later date… it may be more salient when the first issues of the Truth storyline come out.
Short reactions so far… this book is filled with ideas and strikes a decent balance between introductory philosophy and entertainment. I think the earlier essays are maybe a little too light and the ones at the end a little too meticulous for the casual reader, but the overall mix is good and they do a fair job of presenting an essay with one position, followed by one that tends to take something of the opposite position, so that every argument gets examined from multiple facets. I think an entire podcast could be done on this book but I’ll leave that to someone else.
Interestingly enough, the book was published right before Man of Steel and the book’s editor had a really adverse reaction to Man of Steel once it released, despite many of the essays in the book- even some of his own- supporting the actions presented in the film! His position really boiled down to a tautological viewpoint of what Superman is and disliked that the filmmakers would actually allow Superman to engage in and be relevant to all the ethical dilemmas raised by his own book! Unsurprisingly, the writers of the book are split on their reception of the film, some adoring it and others less pleased. I’m obviously completely biased in this regard but those who liked it tended to articulate their positions with more nuance and consistency with their actual published essays… and those who didn’t tended to default to more simplistic arguments of what they wished to feel or expected Superman to be, external to, the film itself.
With the stew of ideas and positions presented by the book it’s hard not to get swept away, so I think I’m going to consciously forget about it for a bit, lest I find myself citing to it constantly. I recently reread Malcom Gladwell’s Blink for the podcast and found myself drawing dozens of parallels, but had to step back lest I do the same. Although Blink is a compelling read as well, the context in which I read it a decade ago was that it was capturing the minds of jury members… a little like the CSI Effect did. So we were tasked with disassembling it so that juries would not be seduced by its theories, which culminated in Judge Richard Posner laying down his critique of the book.