The Iliad V-VI on Core Curriculum

Diomedes casting his spear against Ares, illustration by John Flaxman

Diomedes casting his spear against Ares, illustration by John Flaxman

Episode three of Core Curriculum is here! I was honored to be a guest on this episode with host Victoria Reynolds Farmer and my friend and sometime host on the City of Man Pocast, Coyle Neal. In this episode we continue Core Curriculum’s slow walk through the Iliad by looking in detail at Books V and VI of Homer’s masterwork. We talk about the nature of the war dramatized by Homer, the gods, the heroes, arete and the aristeia, and the unforgivable fecklessness of both Paris and the movie Troy. Coyle and I also sing the praises of a criminally underrated character, the ferocious god-fighting hero Diomedes.

You can read the shownotes at the CHRN website here. You can listen in on the web here or in the embedded Stitcher player in this post. Please also add Core Curriculum to your usual lineup of podcast listening, which you can do via iTunes, Stitcher, and other fine podcasting services. Thanks for listening!

The Core Curriculum arrives

William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_%281825-1905%29_-_Homer_and_his_Guide_%281874%29.jpg

I’m pleased to announce that the latest show from the Christian Humanist Radio Network, The Core Curriculum, has arrived! This podcast will work through Columbia University’s list of core texts in the Western literary canon book by book, starting, in this series, with the Iliad.

This show is set up like a seminar or panel, with a stable of rotating hosts and guests for each of the eleven episodes in which we work through Homer’s masterpiece. I was honored to participate in a few episodes. Homer provoked great conversations among us and I’m excited to hear what everyone else talked about. If you’ve been looking for an excuse or a prompt to read through one of the great books of both Western and world literature, this is your chance for a deep dive into the story with some good company.

As with other shows on the CHRN, you can subscribe to the Core Curriculum and listen via iTunes, Stitcher, and other fine podcasting apps. I’ve embedded the first episode in this post via the network’s flagship show, The Christian Humanist Podcast. You can also download the episode directly here or look at the episode’s shownotes at the CHRN’s website here. I’m honored to have participated and really excited about this project’s future. Listen in and enjoy!

The End of the World! on City of Man Podcast

Desolation  from Thomas Cole’s  The Course of Empire

Desolation from Thomas Cole’s The Course of Empire

The final episode of the City of Man Podcast’s Ancient Asides series has arrived—it’s the end of the world as we know it! This episode covers the Roman Empire from the reign of Theodosius to the end of the empire in the west in 476 and the rise of the barbarian kingdoms that made medieval Europe, a story for another day.

You can view the shownotes here. Listen in via iTunes, Stitcher, and other fine podcasting apps, or by clicking “play” on the embedded Stitcher player in this post.

Here’s a complete listing of the Ancient Asides series, in case you want to catch up. Links will take you to City of Man’s shownotes pages on the flagship podcast’s website:

These episodes have been a labor of love for several years now, and I hope y’all have enjoyed listening to them as much as we enjoyed recording them. Please subscribe to City of Man if you haven’t already. Coyle and Ed are gracious and generous hosts and I was honored to be such a long-running guest on their show.

Thanks as always for listening. Until later, I’ll sign off with the words of St. Augustine’s City of God: “The Heavenly City outshines Rome, beyond comparison. There, instead of victory, is truth; instead of high rank, holiness; instead of peace, felicity; instead of life, eternity.”

The fourth century on City of Man Podcast

Emperor Julian “the Apostate”

Emperor Julian “the Apostate”

The latest Ancient Asides episode of City of Man Podcast has arrived! Tune in to hear regular host Coyle Neal and I talk about the upheavals besetting the Romans between the reigns of Constantine and Theodosius. Topics of conversation include the aftermath of Constantine’s reign, the mounting pressures of the Germanic peoples on the Rhine-Danube frontier, the last-minute attempt to roll back the legalization of Christianity by Julian, and the catastrophic Battle of Adrianople.

I’m excited to listen to this one because—with a few semesters and the birth of another baby intervening—I can barely remember recording it. Listen in and we can be surprised together!

Visit City of Man on Facebook or the Christian Humanist Radio Network’s flagship website, and listen in via iTunes, Stitcher, and other fine podcasting apps. I’ve also embedded the episode in this post for your convenience. You can read our shownotes and book recommendations here. Enjoy, and thanks as always for listening!

Constantine on City of Man Podcast

The City of Man Podcast’s Ancient Aside series returns with its tenth episode. In this episode, regular host Coyle Neal and I cover the life and reign of Constantine, one of the most consequential and controversial figures of the late Roman Empire—and in all of Western history. We talk about the post-Diocletian political context of Constantine’s career, his personal background, his military campaigns, his conversion to and patronage of Christianity, and much, much more.

You can see this episode’s shownotes here. Visit City of Man on Facebook or the Christian Humanist Radio Network’s flagship website, and listen in via iTunes, Stitcher, and other fine podcasting apps. I’ve also embedded the episode in this post for your convenience. Enjoy, and thanks as always for listening!

The Highwaymen on City of Man Podcast

Kevin Costner as Texas Ranger Frank Hamer in  The Highwaymen

Kevin Costner as Texas Ranger Frank Hamer in The Highwaymen

 
Used to be, you had to have talent to get published. Now you just have to shoot people.
— Maney Gault in The Highwaymen
 

Last week I sat down to talk with my friend Coyle of the City of Man Podcast. Our topic of discussion was the new Netflix film The Highwaymen, directed by John Lee Hancock and starring Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson. The film, set in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana in the spring of 1934, tells the story of Frank Hamer (Costner) and Maney Gault (Harrelson), retired Texas Rangers tasked with tracking down and killing legendary spree criminals Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker.

The Highwaymen dramatizes a great true story in (broadly) accurate ways and poses some interesting questions about crime, law and order, the role of force in upholding the law, progressive modern assumptions about crime and civilization, the idolization of celebrities—even criminals—and whether our sins are our own fault or forced upon us by our circumstances. Coyle and I had a great time discussing the film, the history, the themes and questions raised by the story, and more.

The only thing I wish we could’ve dug into deeper was more specifics on accuracy and authenticity. But who knows—I may resurrect Historical Movie Monday for a Highwaymen post somewhere down the road. The Highwaymen is a solid movie and I hope y’all will both watch it and enjoy our discussion of it.

You can find the City of Man Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and other fine podcasting platforms. You can find a link to this episode’s shownotes here. I’ve also embedded the episode in a Stitcher player in this post. Please listen in, and I hope y’all enjoy!

Diocletian on the City of Man Podcast

The City of Man Podcast’s Ancient Aside series returns with its ninth episode. In this episode, regular host Coyle Neal and I cover Diocletian, the first great emperor after the imperial anarchy of the third century; his administrative reforms, including the creation of the Tetrarchy; his changes to the nature of the imperial office itself; his savage, empire-wide persecution of Christians; and our own crippling allergies.

Visit City of Man on Facebook or the Christian Humanist Radio Network’s flagship website, and listen in via iTunes, Stitcher, and other fine podcasting apps. I’ve also embedded the episode in this post for your convenience. Enjoy, and thanks as always for listening!

Office Space on the Sectarian Review

Stephen Root as Milton WADDAMS in  Office Space

Stephen Root as Milton WADDAMS in Office Space

Workplace comedy classic Office Space arrived in (a few) theaters twenty years ago this week. To celebrate, Sectarian Review host Danny Anderson asked me to join him and Jeffrey Carter for a quick discussion of the movie: what’s so great about it, why it flopped, why it’s funny, and why it’s real—so horribly, uncomfortably real—even after twenty years. Along the way we discuss our favorite characters, compare the film to “Dilbert” and “The Office,” examine what it is about Mike Judge’s comedy that works so well, and talk about our own experiences roaming with the herd in cubicle farms. We also try, with only partial success, to resist quoting the entire movie.

You can listen in by downloading the episode or subscribing to the Sectarian Review Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and other such fine podcasting apps, or via the embedded Stitcher player in this post. Thanks as always to Danny for having me on, and thanks to y’all for listening. Enjoy!

Hallmark Xmas Movies on the Sectarian Review

Merry Christmas! Earlier this week, I sat down for a chat with Danny Anderson of the Sectarian Review Podcast, his wife Kim, and fellow guest Chris Pipkin. This week’s topic: the Hallmark Christmas movie phenomenon. We had a real blast talking through our own histories with Hallmark, the rise of the Christmas movie machine, how we pass the time while enduring these movies, what these movies do and do not do well, and, perhaps most importantly, what these movies are trying to say—if they’re trying to say anything. I had a great time recording this and hope y’all enjoy listening.

So drop your snooty big city fiance, head to a small town that’s planning its annual Christmas event, wrap up in a tasteful and modestly priced scarf, bake something, decorate something else, and listen in while you wait for the inevitable third-act snow!

You can find the episode embedded below, or at iTunes, Stitcher, and other fine purveyors of podcasts.

Heresy and Apologetics on City of Man Podcast

Another Ancient Asides episode of City of Man has dropped! In this episode, regular host Coyle Neal and I talk about the early Church’s incubation—including issues of heresy, persecution, and apologetics—under the heel of the Roman Empire between AD 150 and 300. Come for the history, stay for the gratuitous ragging of Dan Brown.

You can find the Christian Humanist Radio Network’s City of Man Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and other fine podcasting hubs, or listen in via the Stitcher player embedded in this post. Thanks for listening! Hope y’all enjoy.