Month: August 2021

EP31: Moral Kombat (ft. Liana Kerzner, Cyril Lachel, & Henry Jenkins)

EP31: Moral Kombat (ft. Liana Kerzner, Cyril Lachel, & Henry Jenkins)

You can learn much about a media and political culture by examining when it panics, and who it panics about. And we’ve always panicked about video games, from the early arcades until this very day. Whether you are a prudish Christian conservative, or a concerned liberal-minded paternalist, demonizing video games has long been good politics.

On this episode: guest host and lead producer Jay Cockburn travels back to the 90s, and looks at the story of Mortal Kombat. The game was violent, gory, glorious. It was a youth rebellion in miniature. Parents rebelled against the rebellion, staging their own petulant counter-revolution, and politicians embraced it. It  triggering a moral panic and even congressional hearings into violence in games. But why did it happen, who did it serve, and what does it tell us about our own culture?

  • First (@12:42), Liana Kerzner is a game developer and critic, YouTuber, and gamer. She takes us through her discovery of Mortal Kombat and the visceral attraction to…just how cool and groundbreaking the game was. Then, she looks at the moral panics around games today: panics about sex and nudity.
  • Then (@21:13), Cyril Lachel is a journalist and the editor in chief of Defunct Games. He explains the history and evolution of gaming in the 1990s as Sega tries to differentiate itself from Nintendo as an edgier system for its gamers as they enter their teenage years. Plus, he points out what parents and politicians got wrong about video games and how gaming media evolved around the time.
  • Finally (@37:55), Henry Jenkins is Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of South California. He tells us why moral panics keep coming back time after time, starting with comic books in the 1950s. Then he takes us through their generational politics and sociology. Plus, he takes us back to his appearance before the congressional hearings into video games.

——————-FURTHER READING AND LISTENING——————

——————-EVEN MORE FURTHER READING AND ACADEMIC SHOW SOURCES——————
  • Ferguson, C. J., & Colwell, J. (2017). Understanding why scholars hold different views on the influences of video games on public health. Journal of Communication, 67(3), 305-327. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12293
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2015). Do angry birds make for angry children? A meta-analysis of video game influences on children’s and adolescents’ aggression, mental health, prosocial behavior, and academic performance. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(5), 646-666. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691615592234
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2014). Violent video games, mass shootings, and the supreme court: Lessons for the legal community in the wake of recent free speech cases and mass shootings. New Criminal Law Review, 17(4), 553-586. https://doi.org/10.1525/nclr.2014.17.4.553
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2007). Evidence for publication bias in video game violence effects literature: A meta-analytic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 12(4), 470-482. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2007.01.001
  • Kline, Stephen (n.d.). Moral panics and video games (source)
  • Markey, P. M., & Ferguson, C. J. (2017). Internet gaming addiction: Disorder or moral panic? The American Journal of Psychiatry, 174(3), 195-196. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.16121341
  • Markey, P. M., & Ferguson, C. J. (2017). Teaching us to fear: The violent video game moral panic and the politics of game research. American Journal of Play, 10(1), 99-115.
  • Quandt, T., & Kowert, R. (Eds.). (2015). The Video Game Debate: Unravelling the Physical, Social, and Psychological Effects of Video Games (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315736495.

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to our show wherever you get your podcasts.

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW——————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

This week, Darts and Letters is hosted and edited by Jay Cockburn, who is also our lead producer. Our editor and usual host is Gordon Katic. Our managing producer is Marc Apollonio.. David Moscrop wrote the show notes.

Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop, and our marketing was done by Ian Sowden.

This episode received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor. This is also part of a wide project about the emerging politics of video games housed at UBC with advice from Lennart E. Nacke at the University of Waterloo.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Summer Bonus EP: Dan Denvir and The Dig

Summer Bonus EP: Dan Denvir and The Dig

This week, Darts and Letters brings you a summer bonus episode with the host of one of our favourite podcasts, The Dig. Dan Denvir joins us to talk about his podcast, the place of academia and intellectuals on the left, radical media, ideas and political change, and more. Then, we air an extraordinary interview from Dan and The Dig with Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò on “Identity, Power, and Speech.”

——————-FURTHER READING AND LISTENING——————

—————————-SUPPORT THE SHOW—————————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content.

Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to our show wherever you get your podcasts.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

This week, Darts and Letters was hosted and edited by Gordon Katic. Our lead producer was Ren Bangert. Our managing producer is Marc Apollonio. For the Dig content, it Dan Denvir from The Dig hosted the interview with Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò.

Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop, our marketing was done by Ian Sowden, and David Moscrop wrote the show notes.

This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Summer Bonus EP: Ivy League elitism versus Black Power (w/ Stefan Bradley)

Summer Bonus EP: Ivy League elitism versus Black Power (w/ Stefan Bradley)

Universities and colleges are often caricatured as hotbeds of radicalism. In reality, they’re institutionally conservative and elitist — especially Ivy League schools. What happens when folks push back against that? What happens when Black scholars, activists, and others demand better? On this summer bonus episode of Darts and Letters, we speak with Stefan Bradley, Professor of African American Studies and Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts Coordinator for Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at Loyola Marymount University, about his book Upending the Ivory Tower: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Ivy League. He takes us through the racialized history of higher education — a history that persists into and shapes the present.

——————-FURTHER READING AND LISTENING——————

—————————-SUPPORT THE SHOW—————————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content.

Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to our show wherever you get your podcasts.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

This week, Darts and Letters was hosted and edited by Gordon Katic. Jay Cockburn co-hosted and was our lead producer. Our producer was Ren Bangert. Our managing producer is Marc Apollonio. The lead research assistant on this episode was Franklynn Bartoll.

Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop, and our marketing was done by Ian Sowden.

This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor. This is also part of a wider project looking at neoliberal educational reforms, led by Professor Marc Spooner at the University of Regina. Professor Spooner provided research support for this episode.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

EP4: The Conquest of Bread [Rebroadcast]

EP4: The Conquest of Bread [Rebroadcast]

Note: Hey all, We’re on break this week as we rest up and prepare for more top-notch programming, so this week’s episode is a rebroadcast of one of our favourites.

You know McKinsey and Co. They worked for a company that was fixing the price of bread in Canada.  They helped on Trump’s immigration policies, but their ideas were too extreme even for ICE. More recently, they proposed that Purdue Pharma “turbocharge” their sales of OxyContin by offering $14,810 rebates for ODs. Yeah, that’s McKinsey.

We could go on and on. They have a long and sordid record as ‘capitalism’s willing executioners,’ to quote a Current Affairs article by an insider. Now, they’re coming onto our turf: higher education. So, we take a closer look. What is even is management consulting, and is there anything to the methods?

  • First, in his opening essay, host Gordon Katic reminds listeners of the infamous case of General Motors and the side saddle gas tank defect of the 1970s and 80s. This story takes us to the world of cost-benefit analysis; a cold, hard logic that puts profits above people.
  • Next (@9:43), Kate Jacobson is co-host of the podcast Alberta Advantage, a left-wing podcast in the heart of Canadian conservatism. She warns us that Premier Jason Kenney is using McKinsey as a pretext for his slash-and-burn approach to higher education.
  • Then, (@32:22) Matthew Stewart turned away from a potential career in academic philosophy to enter the world of management consulting. His tell-all book The Management Myth: Debunking the Modern Philosophy of Business takes us through his own time in consulting, and the broader intellectual history of management science—AKA the art of wringing every last ounce of labour from workers.
  • Finally (@55:02), Joel Westheimer is University Research Chair in Democracy and Education at the University of Ottawa. His work asks the basic, core question “what is education for?” He thinks McKinsey does not know how to measure what really counts about education—because ‘not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.’

—————————-SUPPORT THE SHOW—————————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content.

Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to write us, email darts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

This week, Darts and Letters was produced by Jay Cockburn. The lead research assistant on this episode was Franklynn Bartol, with support from our research coordinator David Moscrop.

Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, and our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop.

This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor. This is also part of a wider project looking at neoliberal educational reforms, led by Professor Marc Spooner at the University of Regina. Professor Spooner provided research consulting on this episode.

This show is produced by Cited Media, which makes other great shows like Cited Podcast and Crackdown.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.