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The Real Question

The Real Question

Author: Not Sorry

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Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile learned in divinity school about the art of paying attention. In this podcast, they turn that attention to a variety of everyday scenarios in their own lives to see what’s really at stake. Each week, Vanessa and Casper walk each other through the process of figuring out what their ‘real’ questions are with help from texts ranging from movie musicals to theological treatises. In this intimate, thoughtful podcast we explore how friendship can be a tool for living a more intentional life.

9 Episodes
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Evil: Part 1

Evil: Part 1

2021-04-1944:45

Casper used to believe that there was no such thing as evil. But since the Trump presidency, he can't suppress the creeping feeling that some people genuinely don't have good intentions. Does that count as evil? Drawing on the philosophy and letters of Hannah Arendt and the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Vanessa and Casper work through what Casper truly believes about what evil is and how it operates in our world. This episode is Part 1 of a two part series, we'll be back next week with further conversation on the topic of evil! -- We are so grateful to our supporters on Patreon who make this show possible. If you can, please considering chipping in!  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Clothes and Size

Clothes and Size

2021-04-1241:10

CW: We discuss weight loss and size in this episode. Vanessa owns the perfect polka dot dress. It’s sophisticated yet flirty, it makes her feel amazing every time she wears it, and it has the cutest gold button on the back. The problem is: Vanessa no longer fits in this dress. She hasn’t fit in it for a while now. Should she hold onto it just in case? Or is it time to say goodbye? Drawing on the poem One Art by Elizabeth Bishop and the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch, Vanessa and Casper work through the questions and difficulties of body positivity. -- We are so grateful to our supporters on Patreon who make this show possible. If you can, please considering chipping in!  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Neighbors

Neighbors

2021-04-0540:422

What do we owe our neighbors?  When Casper first moved to New York, he put a lot of effort into getting to know the other people in his apartment building. He even threw a rooftop party so that everyone could have the chance to meet one another. Now, as he’s settling into his life in NYC, he’s asking himself how much effort he really wants to put into knowing his neighbors. Should he throw another party for the new people moving into the building? Or is okay to spend his time building community with friends and family instead? Drawing on the book Community by Peter Block and Game of Thrones, Casper and Vanessa think through how much we should be valuing neighborliness and local community in our lives. -- We are so grateful to our supporters on Patreon who make this show possible. If you can, please considering chipping in!  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Apologies

Apologies

2021-03-2943:001

Sometimes apologies that seem 'good' technically, don't actually make Vanessa feel any better. Is there a formula for a good apology? How do you explain yourself, but still take responsibility? Drawing upon Dirty Dancing and Letter From Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr., Casper and Vanessa think through which apologies feel the most genuine and why. -- We are so grateful to our supporters on Patreon who make this show possible. If you can, please considering chipping in!  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Grandparents

Grandparents

2021-03-2241:002

Casper wants to feel closer to his paternal grandparents. But there’s a problem: they’ve been dead for a few years now. Is there a way, as he grows older, for him to keep his grandparents an active part of his life? Drawing upon The Suitcase by Frances Stoner Saunders and Children and Art from the musical Sunday in the Park with George, Casper and Vanessa think through how grief changes over time. -- We are so grateful to our supporters on Patreon who make this show possible. If you can, please considering chipping in!  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Voyeurism

Voyeurism

2021-03-1546:001

CW: This episode discusses multiple instances of sexual assault and violent crime. In 2014, Vanessa was obsessed with the Woody Allen/Dylan Farrow case. Now that there’s a new documentary out on the topic, she knows she’s in danger of falling back into the ‘story’. But what’s the virtue of following a story of sexual assault so closely? Is it good to know the facts? Or is it just using the horrors of someone else’s life as our entertainment?  Drawing upon The Art of Cruelty by Maggie Nelson and the TV show Veronica Mars, Vanessa and Casper try to define how to have a healthy relationship with news stories about sexual assault specifically, and the True Crime genre in general. -- We are so grateful to our supporters on Patreon who make this show possible. If you can, please considering chipping in!  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Driving

Driving

2021-03-0833:362

If you don’t learn to drive, are you failing to equip yourself for adult life?  Casper has promised himself every summer that *this* is the year he’s going to learn how to drive. And yet each year passes and Casper is no closer to having a license. Drawing upon The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel and the song Walk the Road by Kate Rusby, Casper and Vanessa try to sort out which goals it’s okay to give up on.  -- We are so grateful to our supporters on Patreon who make this show possible. If you can, please considering chipping in!  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Tooth Fairy

The Tooth Fairy

2021-03-0143:561

Is it weird to steal children’s body parts in the middle of the night and teach them that it’s okay? After playing the Tooth Fairy for her two step-daughters, Vanessa is having doubts about the appropriateness of this supposedly silly childhood ritual. Drawing up a recent article about the Marquis de Sade and the song Super Trouper from Mamma Mia, Vanessa and Casper try to wade through the fears that a parent can have for their kids. -- We are so grateful to our supporters on Patreon who make this show possible. If you can, please considering chipping in!  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Welcome to The Real Question, a new show from Not Sorry, hosted by Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile! Each week we’ll explore life’s questions through a surprising mix of pop culture and academic insight. Episodes come out weekly on Monday.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Comments (3)

Madeline Barr

I love this podcast, highly recommend. Both hosts are highly intelligent, charismatic, and engaging. It is so new and already a new favorite.

Apr 19th
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Karë Galloway

@TheRealQPod Can Vanessa teach both Casper and me? I'm the lamest 23 year old and don't know how to drive either, and I'm a nervous wreck behind the wheel. 😂

Mar 10th
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Patti Sadler

Vanessa and Casper are the dream team. They’re so charming and hilarious! They answer questions with poignance, humor, humanity, and insight. I can only hope to be as good of a trooper as the two of them.

Mar 3rd
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