Culture Crash 18-45: Dave Eggers and his boundary-pushing writing

Throughout his career, Eggers has pushed the boundaries of writing, and no book better illustrates his desire to innovate than his 2014 novel, Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? It’s a book that consists only of dialogue. Each line is introduced with a single dash, and while it sounds complicated, the form actually makes it very straight-forward and easy to follow. It’s a revenge fantasy ethical debate featuring an unreliable main character who keeps kidnapping people.

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Culture Crash 18-44: Serial, the podcast that captivated America, returns for its most important season yet

While seasons one and two told the stories of specific, extraordinary cases, season three sets its sights on the mundane. This time, the team at This American Life and Serial took on telling the story of criminal justice in Cleveland over the course of a year. The reporters follow little cases: a bar fight, a drug bust, individuals who break parole. It tells the story of a fractured system: a system where the community doesn’t trust the police. A system where prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges alike are overtaxed and overly reliant on plea deals. A system that determines years of people’s lives, and could affect any of us at any time.

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Culture Crash 18-43: Netflix’s Binge-worthy Horror Drama, The Haunting of Hill House

Earlier this month, Netflix released The Haunting of Hill House, a 10-episode horror series loosely based on the novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson. The series follows the Crain family; two parents and five children, over the course of multiple timelines. We watch their time spent decades earlier in the Hill House, a creepy old mansion they moved into in an effort to flip the house, and we watch them in the present day. We know from the onset that whatever happened back in that mansion, it wasn’t good, and it still haunts them even now. 

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Culture Crash 18-41: Better Call Saul’s unique pacing and why it works so well

One of the traditional ways that TV shows have kept these shock-and-awe moments coming is by moving things along quickly. As soon as some incredible act of deceit takes place, the show starts speeding toward that next signpost.

That’s where Better Call Saul, AMC’s Breaking Bad spin-off, differentiates itself. The show often moves at a glacial pace. It’s a law show with no case of the week format. It’s a show about drug cartels that has focuses on the politics of the cartels much more than actual drug deals.

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Culture Crash 18-40: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and the difficulty of classifying art

Sometimes, classifying art in one specific genre can be tricky. Look at Star Wars. It’s a space opera, sure. But what does that mean? It was built to be a Western. And sci-fi. With some fantasy aspects? And who is the intended audience? Is it for kids? Teenagers? Adults? All of the above? That can be the difficulty in classification.

So it is with Hank Green’s novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. His brother is responsible for the young adult hits Looking for Alaska, The Fault In Our Stars, and Paper Towns, so many people are rushing to call Hank Green’s book YA as well. And the cover certainly makes it look like a YA book. But it’s not actually about teenagers. It’s about a 20-something woman with a career to think about. In fact, none of the main characters are under the age of 20.

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Culture Crash 18-38: The funny and philosophical TV comedy, The Good Place

Two years ago, NBC debuted a strange new comedy show called The Good Place. It was written by Michael Schur, a writer on The Office and the creator of Parks & Recreation, so people were willing to get it a change… but it’s logline was pretty out-there. It’s a half-hour comedy about people who died in the afterlife and, specifically, about Eleanor Shellstrop, a bad person who made it to heaven the good place thanks to a clerical error.

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Culture Crash 18-37: Fall Sports

Fall is upon on. September is underway and with it comes the apex of the sports calendar. Last weekend, the NFL season kicked off and all month, the MLB’s pennant races and Wild Card hunts are shaking out. Then will come the MLB playoffs and the dawn of new seasons in both the NBA and NHL. Plenty of sports intrigue abounds this time of year- Four divisions in baseball are coming down to the wire, Jimmy Garoppolo has taken over at quarterback in San Francisco for a massive contract with very little in the way of experience, and you may have heard LeBron James is taking his talents to LA.

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