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Reflector

Author: Rockwell

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Reflector is a documentary-style podcast that tells stories about how beliefs shape our world, the context behind the messy debates in our society, and on how deeply listening to one another can reveal a sense of shared humanity.

7 Episodes
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Today we’ve got a very special Hindsight episode that revisits the themes explored in our "Filthy Slime" episodes (Parts 1 & 2). We’re delighted to be joined by living legend and recent Grammy winner Killer Mike. He discusses his view of "rap on trial" and the complex relationship between art, crime, and life for young people in some of America’s toughest neighborhoods. We also explore the legend of Stack Lee – AKA Stagger Lee – and the hundreds of songs and performances inspired by his most infamous crime. Writer, poet, and Washburn University professor Eric McHenry explains why this story continues to resonate more than a century after the notorious saloon murder. As a new show, we’re still experimenting with different formats to tell stories and explore ideas. We’d love to hear your feedback! Please reach out to hello@reflector.show with your thoughts, questions, and story suggestions. Special thanks for this episode go to Killer Mike, Kmele Foster, Van Lathan, Megan Phelps-Roper, Claire Reynolds, and Eric McHenry. Links: Playlist of some of the music featured in this episode Listen to Killer Mike’s recent album Read more from Eric McHenry here or check out his essay on Stagger Lee, which he’s currently developing into a book called Original Gangster.
You Can't Say That (Part 2)

You Can't Say That (Part 2)

2024-07-0901:05:301

Today, we continue our examination of difficult public debates, one year after concluding our series, The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling. In Part 1, we provided updates on women's sports, women-only spaces, and transition medicine for minors. This week, we hear from three different trans individuals who share their perspectives on the state of the debate, J.K. Rowling in particular, and the larger idea that good-faith debates are necessary for progress in a pluralistic society. Our guests include Jacob Tobia, author of the book Sissy, and listener-favorite Noah, the teenager who shared his gender transition story with us in episode six of The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling. We also listen and respond to sharp criticisms from popular YouTuber and former Witch Trials guest, Natalie Wynn, aka Contrapoints. We do our best to engage in the kind of good-faith debating that we believe in. As always, we appreciate your time and attention and would be delighted if you shared this show and gave us a rating on Apple or Spotify. Thank you for your support, and please send us your thoughts, feedback, story ideas, or criticisms to our new email address: hello@reflector.show.
You Can't Say That (Part 1)

You Can't Say That (Part 1)

2024-07-0201:04:252

About a year ago, the team that makes this show (Matt Boll and me, Andy Mills) along with our dear friend Megan Phelps-Roper (who also helps with each episode of Reflector), put out the final installment of The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling.  The show was a big hit with millions of listeners, even as it split — and in some cases enraged — media critics. Our aim was to tell the story of Rowling’s two major public controversies — both the witchcraft accusations from the late 90’s and the current backlash around sex and gender — as a way to uncover deeper truths about human nature. Today, Megan again joins us to ask: Where do things stand now? For Rowling, for the debate around sex and gender, and for our society's willingness to have hard conversations in public. Here in Part 1, author and journalist Helen Lewis guides us through the latest developments in women-only sports, women-only spaces, and youth transition medicine. We explore the ways in which the United States is becoming more of an outlier, and how J.K. Rowling’s career has continued to thrive amidst the backlash against her. In Part 2, we dive into thoughts and criticism — of J.K. Rowling, of the series we made about her, and of our team itself — from three members of the trans community, each with a unique perspective. This includes two of listeners’ favorite guests from the original series: Natalie and Noah. For paid subscribers you can listen to that episode right away. To become a paid subscriber visit us at reflector.show As always we appreciate your time and attention, and would be delighted if you’d share this show and give us a rating on Apple or Spotify. If you have any feedback, story suggestions, or criticisms, feel free to shoot us an email at hello@reflector.show
Today we're excited to share the first Hindsight episode of Reflector. This is the free version of this episode. To listen to the full version you can become a subscriber today by visiting us at reflector.show The idea behind these particular episodes is to embody our commitment to transparency in journalism by following up on each of our stories with a less formal deep dive into our reporting and the larger social themes we explore. Today, Matt and I are joined again by our friend Katie from our episode “The Sea Change.” Together, we respond to listeners' feedback and criticism, expand on some important topics left out of the episode, share some fun recommendations, and more. And if you’d like to submit your own feedback for future Hindsight episodes you can always leave a comment on our website or shoot us a voice memo or email to: hello@reflector.show
Filthy Slime (Part 2)

Filthy Slime (Part 2)

2024-06-0446:17

While all of hip hop prizes authenticity, as Van Lathan put it in Filthy Slime Pt 1: “In street rap authenticity is more important than skill”. Today we dive into the ways that this genre’s prizing of authenticity has evolved to a point where some rappers aren’t just merely making artful commentary or provocations about gang life, but are using their lyrics to document and at times admit their involvement in serious crimes, including murder. Here in the second installment of our deep dive into rap on trial, our guests Van Lathan and producer 4-IZE help us examine this cultural debate in the larger context of an evolution happening right now in rap music. We look at the role played by everything from social media to record labels, and try to grapple with what this means not only for Young Thug’s RICO case but for the future of artists living in high crime neighborhoods. Special thanks to Prince Paul, Jason Kramer, Bill Donahoe, Kmele Foster, 4-IZE, Megan Phelps-Roper, and Van Lathan. Music in this episode from Cobey Bienart and Peter Lalish Email your feedback, criticisms and story suggestions to hello@reflector.show We will read all feedback and respond in a future episode.  Our website: reflector.show Thank you to our sponsors. You can visit them here to learn more: FIRE GROUND.NEWS Other links: Van Lathan’s Higher Learning Podcast Spotify Playlist of Songs in this episode Check out 4-IZE's Music
Filthy Slime (Part 1)

Filthy Slime (Part 1)

2024-05-2859:12

Music has been a feature of American culture wars since at least the time of Elvis Presley’s gyrating dance moves on The Ed Sullivan show in 1956. But amidst all the moral panics about hip-shaking and backmasking, there is a legitimate and fascinating question about the role and influence that popular music plays on human behavior and on society more broadly.  Today, we are publishing the first episode in our breakdown of the debate around Rap on Trial and what it says (and misses) about the role of music in culture. We begin in 1985 with Tipper Gore’s fight against Prince and the obscenity of 80’s rock music, then dive deep into the rapper Young Thug’s current RICO case in Atlanta Georgia and other cases where music is being brought into criminal trials. Our goal, as always, is to try and understand this story and everyone involved in the best faith possible. Which, yes, means we are going to steel-man Tipper Gore, Young Thug and T.I. all in the same story. To listen to Filthy Slime Part 2 right now: SUBSCRIBE Special thanks to our guests, Billboard Magazine’s Bill Donahoe and Van Lathan from The Higher Learning Podcast. As well as Prince Paul, Jason Kramer, Kmele Foster, and Megan Phelps-Roper. Music in this episode from Cobey Bienart and Peter Lalish Email your feedback, criticisms and story suggestions to hello@reflector.show We will read all feedback and respond in a future episode.  Our website: reflector.show Thank you to our sponsors. You can visit them here to learn more: FIRE GROUND.NEWS Other links: Van Lathan’s Higher Learning Podcast Spotify Playlist of Songs in this episode
The Sea Change

The Sea Change

2024-04-3059:07

Why aren’t Americans embracing the most promising medications for treating over-drinking? Become a subscriber today: reflector.show/subscribe Alcohol consumption increased more during the COVID-19 pandemic than it had at any time in the past 50 years. Even though bars were closed for weeks on end and fewer people were out on the road doing their daily commuting, Americans were drinking so much that from 2020 through 2021 there were approximately 178,000 alcohol-related deaths - which is more deaths than from all drug overdoses combined, including opioids.  Yet, even as we return to 1960’s Mad Men era drinking habits - most Americans with a drinking problem never speak to their doctors about their drinking and less than 6% of them receive any form of treatment whatsoever. 12-step programs like Alcoholic Anonymous remain at the heart of a majority of American rehab programs, even though their “success rate” (which has historically been very hard to study) hovers around the single digits, while there are more effective medical options available.  Why?  On today’s episode, our friend Katie tells the story of her self-experimentation with the drug Naltrexone to combat her alcohol addiction and helps us grapple with why such medications are so rarely used to help problem drinkers in America.  Our thanks to our guests: Addiction psychiatrist Dr. Mark Willenbring and journalist Gabrielle Glaser. Music in this episode from Cobey Bienart and Peter Lalish Email your feedback, criticisms and story suggestions to hello@reflector.show We will read all feedback and respond in a future episode.  Our website: reflector.show Thank you to our sponsors. You can visit them here to learn more: FIRE GROUND.NEWS Other links: Glazer’s 2015 article in The Atlantic.  Andy’s 2015 public radio story on addiction treatments. Washington University’s National Survey Study.  CDC’s study on recent alcohol-related deaths. 2014 NYTimes stories on how Naltrexone and other drugs are rarely used. 2021 NYTimes story on how things have not changed. Begin your Sinclair Method Youtube Rabbit Hole here.
Comments (3)

Brian J Burke

Overall, I enjoyed the podcast. First off, I was not sure what you believed at the end of the Witch Trials. Probably too much time given Natalie since it still seems that by "honest conversation" TRAs mean believe what I tell you. Finally, let's be clear, being gay affects the individual, while for trans we are being asked to accept a belief. One that the inclusion of TW in women's sports or changing rooms is the next logical outcome. I can't accept those terms so I respectfully disagree.

Jul 9th
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Brian J Burke

Great episode, thanks.

Jul 2nd
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Jun 15th
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