Podcasts & Appetizers
Remembering Oliver Sacks
Over the past weekend, famed British neurologist Oliver Sacks would have celebrated his 83rd birthday. The author, known for his eclectic work in documenting curious cases of neuropathology and its effects on behaviour and mental health, captured the imagination of his readers with his narrative style of unravelling the unusual, often seeking inspiration from his own patients and the maladies that he saw in his day to day life. Sacks was a dedicated patron of RadioLab, one of the most popular podcasts today that makes science accessible and relatable.
This interview between him and Robert Krulwich, one of the last that he recorded, gives a glimpse into his life, his perspectives, his relationship with his patients, his love for medicine, for writing, finding beauty while experimenting with drugs, living with cancer, falling in love, growing up questioning his sexuality, reconciling between the brain (his favourite organ!) and the heart.
Websites & Main Dishes
I discovered this website this past week – and I can’t believe I have never heard of it before. The website showcases stories that probably would not get made into animated films (hence the name) because they’re not your typical run-of-the mill fairytales. What I found most interesting was the fact that it was created by a “straight white dude from Kentucky,” while the stories are multicultural, feminist, and body positive, which is crucial because creating fairytales for children, in the early mental development phase, is so much more beneficial than being exposed to these ideas in adolescence or adulthood.
I was skeptical initially because I was worried Jason (the author) would “mansplain” or “first-world-splain” (I think Edward Said would be proud of this term!), but he usually manages to get away with ridiculing traditional patriarchal cultures. He also does the art work, which represents real women- all sizes and shapes. The stories themselves are unconventional, but Jason doesn’t shy away from mocking the genre and his own work. These women are complex and layered, likeable and repulsive, real and fictional. I’m still exploring, but some initial favourites are Tirgatao (http://www.rejectedprincesses.com/princesses/tirgatao) & Tomyris (http://www.rejectedprincesses.com/princesses/tomyris).
TV Shows & Desserts
Bloodline (Seasons 1 & 2)
“We’re not bad people – but we did a bad thing.”
This quote, uttered by one of the characters in the show, perfectly encapsulates the show and its portrayal of the Rayburn family. The premise is such: the Rayburns are the first family of a holiday resort in Florida, the epitome of the town. But like any family, they have secrets – some of them horrible. So when the black sheep of the family returns, for his parents’ wedding anniversary, after a self-imposed exile, all the past history, resentment & bitterness comes to the fore, culminating in a downward descent for the entire family.
What struck me about the show, aside from the stunning cinematography, in-depth character examinations & just the realistic ‘feel’ of the whole series (credit to the actors here – Ben Mendelsohn & Kyle Chandler’s acting will go down as iconic in the years to come, especially the former) was its attempt to touch a very taboo subject: to what end do you stay loyal to your family? Everyone is brought up to never question blood ties, because as the proverb says, blood is thicker than water. But does that automatically give your family a free pass to do as they please? Do they get more leeway to be morally corrupt than other people? The irony of Bloodline is that as the Rayburns descend in moral depravity, they justify their acts by saying that whatever they did was for their family. To witness a terrific takedown of the notion of family ties, this series is an absolute must-watch.