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Mar 27, 2018

The Hero's Journey, as described by Joseph Campbell, is one of the most influential ideas in modern storytelling. Every Hero's Journey starts with a call to adventure.

But what happens when the call is confusing or contradictory... or when it never comes?

This is the final episode of Season One of Quite Useless.


Nov 15, 2017

First Blood, the first installment in the iconic Rambo franchise, was released 35 years ago this fall. In this episode, I take a look at how the franchise has both reflected and influenced American culture--and question both the ethical and epistemic implications of the films' success.

This is the second part of a...


Nov 15, 2017

Eric Poulin, host of the political podcast The People's Soapbox, takes a look at the classic 1988 action movie Die Hard, asking what its development and continued popularity tell us American cultural--both then and now.

Also, Eric and I discover something shady as we're preparing the episode to air...

This is the first...


Oct 25, 2017

What do Anton Chekhov, Dr. Seuss, and Bruce Springsteen have in common (aside from similar haircuts)? Their work has been misunderstood and misconstrued--whether they knew it or not. Episode two kicks off a four-episode mini-arc about the ethics and ironies of interpretation and adaptation. Fair warning: after hearing...


Oct 4, 2017

For our first episode, we zoom out to look at the long arcs of artistic expression.

Bring to mind a painting. Then bring to mind a piece of instrumental music. Chances are, the painting depicts something in the world, while the musical piece doesn't. Why is that? And what might past developments in art and music tell us...