Welcome to Cultural Cachet
What are We Getting Out of Reality Dating Shows?
This week, Amanda and Julia tackle the wild and wacky range of reality dating shows. From the Bachelor to FBoy Island, they discuss the looks and behavior of the contestants and the never ending heteronormativity of TV dating. Why are we so intrigued by watching a gaggle of hot guys and girls be mean to each other? Does cattiness make a show better, or ruin it? We all know not everything on reality TV is real, but it would certainly be easy to make earnest connections when you're isolated and stuck on and island with no phone, friends, or family. Dipping into a different kind of reality TV relationship, 90-Day Fiancee seems to cast "normal" people over walking hot messes. Juli and Amanda ask what's so intriguing about watching our immigrations system at work. Is it easier to form parasocial connections with reality stars who feel more real, or those who feel polished and airbrushed?
This is the season one finale. Tune back in in six to eight weeks for season two!
The Billionaire's Space Race
Today, Amanda and Julia jump into a topic making headlines: billionaires going to space. Are these men really competing with each other, or is the media just assigning and old narrative to a new decade? (It's probably both). Every billionaire we discuss has a different motivation for space exploration, but what's their responsibility in wealth inequality? Does it make sense to pour so much capital into private space exploration when people on the ground can't afford healthcare? Through the lens of global wealth disparity, Bezos's cowboy rocket ship adventure feels like an affront to those who need help now, unable to wait until we've established Mars colonies and satellite communities.
We Love You, New York
This week, Amanda and Julia craft a love letter to the city of New York as Julia prepares to move away. They discuss Betty and How To with John Wilson, dissecting the way New York itself functions as an entire character in both series. From the invincible feeling of being a 20-something skateboard chick in NYC to the dry humor of John Wilson's documentation of everything (EVERY. THING.) New York is, they reflect on the gritty, the gruff, and the good-natured people who call New York home. Where else can you get yelled at by the bodega lady two seconds before watching a stranger help someone carry a stroller up the subway stairs?
The Olympics from Ancient Greece to Tokyo
In this episode, Amanda and Julia use the 2021 Tokyo Olympics to engage in content they both enjoy: Amanda's love for international sports (and the Olympics themselves) and Julia's love for ancient Greek history. Together, they examine the Olympics from the sports included to the gender disparities between events through the historical lens of what the Olympics were like when they began.
The Holistic Approach: Substance Use Disorders and 12-Step Programs
Today, Amanda and Julia discuss the way Americans consume alcohol. Do we drink too much, or is our cyclical binge-abstain relationship with alcohol just dysfunctional? After a quick history lesson, they discuss the most common treatment for alcohol use disorder: Alcoholics Anonymous. Addiction is a mental illness, not a choice or a moral failing, but are we treating addiction the right way? What combination of medication, therapy, and group processing leads American people to a healthier relationship with alcohol? Amanda and Julia break down misinformation, stigma, and misconceptions.
Mystical Wellness: An Interview With a Tarot Reader (feat. Aaron Harris)
Today, Amanda and Julia interview tarot reader and astrology student Aaron Harris. Aaron covers how he got interested in tarot and magical wellness, as well as how he thinks it overlaps with (and differs from) organized religion. Afterwards, Amanda and Julia share their personal experiences with tarot, psychics, and mysticism. They deep dive into the intersection between nontraditional values and the far right, from Q Anon to Woo-Anon, vaccine hesitancy, and more. Tune in to hear about the ways class, mental health, and power structures affect and inform new age spirituality.