The Merchant of Venice, Part 2

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Welcome back for part 2 ofThe Merchant of Venice podcast! In this episode, guest star Anthony Funari returns to wrap up the discussion. We cover the stuff we didn’t quite get to in part 1, such as Shylock. He’s just a little bit important. We also discuss whether the fifth act is even necessary, how this play stands out compared to other plays of its time, and give a few suggestions on what other Shakespeare plays you might want to read. We once again set the bar high in broadcast professionalism as this episode was almost titled “Revenge of the Landscapers.” As it turns out, they get upset when you keep them off the air for a few weeks.

Administrative note: There have been a couple of minor changes to the schedule, due primarily toThe Stand being 1,745,122 pages long. Check the schedule page if you want to see what’s really going to happen around here the next couple weeks.

The music bump is once again Mendelssohn’s “Overture to a Midsummer’s Night Dream” for the same reasons as last week, with the additional reason of “we’re too lazy to come up with a new piece of music this week.”

10 – The Merchant of Venice, Part 2 – Shylock’s Revenge

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The Merchant of Venice

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Welcome to a very special episode of Novel Ideas, featuring guest star Dr. Anthony Funari, an expert on renaissance literature. This week we discussed The Merchant of Venice by… William Shakespeare? Almost certainly. This episode was running long, so we went ahead and broke it into two parts, so you’ll have to tune in next week for the exciting conclusion. In part one, we cover concepts of racism and sexuality that didn’t even exist in 1600, as well as which characters in this play should (probably not) be portrayed by modern film characters. The spoiler alert is weaker than usual because this play is kind of old. That being said, the joke in the title won’t make sense until part two.

The music bump this week is “Overture to a Midsummer’s Night Dream” by Felix Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn, like Shylock, is Jewish (hope I didn’t need to spoiler tag that one) and this concert overture was written for a Shakespeare play, just not this one.

09 – The Merchant of Venice, Part 1 – A Four Act Tragedy

Childhood’s End

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Giant spaceships appear in the sky and hover over major cities across the globe! Soon they start wiping out cities and hunting down the beleaguered survivors… or am I getting Childhood’s End confused with “Independence Day?” Turns out that these aliens want to bring unprecedented peace and virtual utopia to the people of Earth. But at what cost? This week, we get away from dystopia and examine utopia. Is it realistic? Is the cost too high? We discuss these issues, along with our usual hot buttoned topical pals, feminism and religion. And for good measure, we throw in a discussion of race because nothing makes people feel more comfortable than a discussion about racial issues. Our new recording studio (aka our “new” recording “studio”) is refreshingly free of sirens, barking dogs, and leafblower engines, but does neighbor a bird who badly wants to be a guest on the podcast.

The music this week is “The Darkest Day” from David Arnold’s soundtrack for “Independence Day,” because that joke really needed to come full circle.

08 – Childhood’s End – Most Depressing Utopia Ever

A Handmaid’s Tale

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Welcome back, book lovers! This week’s episode features A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, a dystopian future where women are second class citizens. The conversation is a little longer and darker than average as we take turns atop the feminist soapbox. We also attempt to offend the whole world by discussing religion and motherhood. Our high standards of broadcast quality are maintained as a landscaper starts his leafblower and leaves it sitting outside the window. Prepare to be slightly depressed and more than slightly outraged as we explore yet another dystopian future.

The music this week is Rockapella’s arrangement of “Amazing Grace,” because: 1) Rockapella is awesome, 2) Amazing Grace appears in the book, and 3) we find it difficult to take even twenty seconds of Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel.”

A quick administrative note: If you are reading along at home, there is now a schedule link at the top of the page so you can follow us more easily.

07 – A Handmaid’s Tale – Feminism Gets Boned

A Wrinkle in Time

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This week we talked about Madeline L’Engle’s classic YA fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time. We got a little carried away this week and forgot to leave our spoiler policy on air, so know that we will spoileverything. If you’re the sort of person who is bothered by this, you might want to go read the book before you click on the link. For those of you brave, stubborn, or just plain different enough to continue, join us as we trip balls with the Murry family and friends. Hear what local ambient noise thinks about the book as dogs, trucks, and leafblowers join the podcast through our very not soundproof studio walls.

The music bump this week is “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News because that is the one thing humans have that IT doesn’t.

06 – A Wrinkle in Time – Tessering Balls

Dracula

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Vampires are hot right now. Sexy, sexy vampires. So this week we decided to talk about Bram Stoker’s Dracula. We’re kicking it old school with the Count and his band of noble adversaries. Check out the podcast where we discuss the diverse and interesting cast of the book, sexism, and a very interesting modern screen adaptation of this frequently movie-ized classic. So strap on your man-brain and prepare to find out how much Dracula sucks. Blood, that is.

This week’s musical selection is “Sortie (Le Vent De l’Espirit)” by the great Olivier Messiaen. It’s a tad anachronistic, but what self respecting, centuries old, avatar of evil doesn’t want some creepy organ music in the background?

05 – Dracula – Man Brain Fever

The Giver

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Do you see things in black and white or do you see shades of gray? Or both. Literally. If you live in the world of The Giver, by Lois Lowry, then you do. Unless you are one of the lucky (Possibly unlucky?) blue-eyed minority who can see beyond. This week’s podcast is a colorful discussion of the world of sameness, brought to you by insightful blue-eyed siblings who have a strangely hard time keeping memories of a book they just finished reading. The professional quality of the broadcast is quite evident this week with special guest appearances from sirens, motorcycles, and the neighbor’s dog.

The music bump this week is “Hey Nineteen” by Steely Dan. If you read the book closely enough, the joke will be apparent. If you have no idea what that means, drop a comment.

04 – The Giver – You Have Been Released