13 episodes

Literate Machine explores media through the lens of culture, history, and politics, examining the ways capitalism, power, and ideology shape and are shaped by the stories we love.

Written and performed by Eric Rosenfield, Literate Machine is available as blog entries, newsletter, podcast, and YouTube channel.

Literate Machine is available on Apple Podcasts and finer podcast apps everywhere.

Literate Machine Eric Rosenfield

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Literate Machine explores media through the lens of culture, history, and politics, examining the ways capitalism, power, and ideology shape and are shaped by the stories we love.

Written and performed by Eric Rosenfield, Literate Machine is available as blog entries, newsletter, podcast, and YouTube channel.

Literate Machine is available on Apple Podcasts and finer podcast apps everywhere.

    The Confused Ideology of Schitt's Creek

    The Confused Ideology of Schitt's Creek

    How a show about poverty that can't ever bare to really show poverty illustrates everything we've been blind to. Support the show on Patreon and get early access to episodes and exclusive Authors Notes: https://patreon.com/ericrosenfield
    Text of the show and more information about other formats it's available can be found at: https://literatemachine.com
    Bibliography and Further Reading
    - Hallmark Christmas movie montage sourced from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Vu6GlstKl8
    - On the urban-rural divide of Christmas movies: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-24/the-urban-rural-divide-of-tv-christmas-movies
    - The TV Tropes entry for From New York to Nowhere: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FromNewYorkToNowhere
    - Ted Koppel's piece on The Andy Griffith Show and modern politics: https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2021/12/29/ted-koppel-mayberry-cbs-sunday-morning/
    - A fascinating video that explains how the ethos of "personal responsibility" leads naturally to white nationalism: https://youtu.be/jmT7nLDinhY
    - How and why small towns are in decline: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/12/14/opinion/rural-america-trump-decline.html
    - How teen birth rates are higher in rural areas: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/teen-birth-rate-higher-rural-areas
    - On the myth of welfare dependency: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/03/welfare-childhood/555119/ 
     

    • 18 min
    Defund the Paw Patrol

    Defund the Paw Patrol

    Is the Paw Patrol an unintentional conservative utopia? What can the show tell us about how the political spectrum views the police, its purpose, and its funding.
    For as little as $1 an episode (going forward) you can get early access to episodes, as well as exclusive author’s notes at Patreon.com/ericrosenfield.
    More information about the show and other formats in which it's available, including YouTube, can be found at https://literatemachine.com 
    Bibliography and Further Reading
    How the regulations around tv shows as toy commercials were repealed in the Reagan administration How square dancing was popularized as a tool of white supremacy How EMTs are underpaid, overworked, and underrecognized About police officer Joe Crystal, shunned by police for trying to hold them accountable Wikipedia entry on the Blue Wall of Silence NYPD internal investigator called a "rat" Prosecutors don't like to prosecute cops Attorney General Letitia James plan for civilian oversight of the NYPD Police departments aren't largely being defunded Crime is rising in cities that did not defund their police the same as those that did How torture doesn't work About Abner Louima who was sodomized with a broken broomstick by the NYPD The great Forced Adversity video about the Punisher/Police Problem Some More News video about the Warrior Mentality training given to the police How congress buys equipment for the military that it doesn't want or need as pork barrel Study finding conservatives lack a sense of humor Last Week Tonight's video about Tucker Carlson and his lightly veiled fascism and even less well veiled white supremacy Edmund Burke and the origins of conservatism Conservatism defending the status quo The myth of meritocracy Book about how billionaires are funding the radical right: Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer On prison labor in America The Thought Slime video that covers the video where John Doyle says that conservatives aren't about equality, they're about hierarchy and natural law Police will tell you to obey them if you value your life Republicans legalizing the automative murder of protesters Poor people can't just get a better job Why conservatives are more punitive than liberals The penal system as slave labor

    • 24 min
    How the Hippies Became Yuppies: The Trial of the Chicago 7

    How the Hippies Became Yuppies: The Trial of the Chicago 7

    How Aaron Sorkin whitewashes the story of hippy activism, and how the hippy activists whitewashed themselves.
    Text and video version of this episode, as well as how to get it in your inbox, can be found at: https://literatemachine.com
    **Bibliography and Further Reading**
    * Abbie Hoffman testimony at the Chicago 7 trial: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Chicago7/Hoffman.html
    * Differences between the film and what really happened: https://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/trial-of-the-chicago-7/
    * Wikipedia page about COINTELPRO: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO
    * _Do It!_ (1970), Jerry Rubin
    * _Growing Up at 37_ (1976), Jerry Rubin
    * A profile of Jerry Rubin from the 1980s: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1981/10/18/jerry-rubin/beb88e6b-ba7e-4839-80ac-4442f6d47809/
    * Abbie Hoffman’s debate with Jerry Rubin in 1985, “Yippie vs. Yuppie” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOFBAJ8BlJs&t=913s, and another time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P1x9u-466A
    * NY Times obituary of Jerry Rubin: https://www.nytimes.com/1994/11/30/obituaries/jerry-rubin-56-flashy-60-s-radical-dies-yippies-founder-and-chicago-7-defendant.html
    * “The ‘Me’ Decade”, Tom Wolfe: https://nymag.com/news/features/45938/

    • 23 min
    Pixar's Soul: Finding Yourself Under Capitalism

    Pixar's Soul: Finding Yourself Under Capitalism

    Pete Doctor takes us into the meaning of life, but is there something hollow at its center of it?
    Bibliography and Further Reading
    * Soul using uncomfortable blackface: https://noripatterson.medium.com/whats-wrong-with-pixar-s-soul-animation-racism-and-blackface-c9a7709cd50f
    * Tom Wolfe’s famous article declaring the 70s the “me decade”: https://nymag.com/news/features/45938/
    * Google ngram of the term “personal fulfillment” showing its rise in the 1960s and 70s: https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=Personal+fulfillment&year_start=1800&year_end=2019&corpus=26&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2CPersonal%20fulfillment%3B%2Cc0
    * How distrust of the government among the hippy movement led them to embrace Libertarianism: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/may/19/comment
    * Twitter thread about conservative’s using the “money can’t buy happiness” slogan to say we don’t need to raise the minimum wage: https://twitter.com/cons_owned/status/1372670714201968641/photo/1

    • 11 min
    Why Stories? Henry Fool and What the Artist is For

    Why Stories? Henry Fool and What the Artist is For

    What does it mean to be an artist?
    Corrections:
    * The high school students put one of Simon's poems into their high school yearbook, they don't post it up everywhere. Henry puts the poem up in the mute woman's store at her request.
    * Fay puts Simon's poem on the internet after Henry asks her to. Henry doesn't know how to use a computer.

    • 14 min
    Doom, Myst, and the War for the Soul of Video Games

    Doom, Myst, and the War for the Soul of Video Games

    In the 1990s, Myst and Doom fought a war for the soul of video games. Myst sold almost twice as many copies. Within ten years, the entire industry had remodeled itself around Doom. Special call out to Jimmy Maher at the Digital Antiquarian (https://filfre.net) whose work covering early video games I drew on extensively.
    Some Corrections:
    * I mention the Nintento 64 as the rival to the Genesis when I meant the Super Nintendo
    * Doom was not Id’s last Shareware game; their next game, Quake, was also distributed as Shareware
    * First person mode was the primary mode of Ultima Underworld
    * There are 5 worlds in Myst, not 7
    * Jimmy Maher points out the Lucasfilm’s games declined in quality after 1993, and so poor design may still have been a factor in the decline of Adventure games.
    Bibliography and Further Reading
    Computer Programming Used to Be Women's Work: https://www.history.com/news/coding-used-to-be-a-womans-job-so-it-was-paid-less-and-undervalued, https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/10/21/357629765/when-women-stopped-coding, https://qz.com/911737/silicon-valleys-gender-gap-is-the-result-of-computer-game-marketing-20-years-ago/
    Sierra c-founder Ken Williams on the future of the medium: https://community.telltale.com/discussion/23327/roberta-williams-josh-mandel-discussion/p6]
    On the development and reception of Wolfenstein 3D: https://www.filfre.net/2020/05/the-shareware-scene-part-3-the-id-boys/wolf3d/ On Doom: https://www.filfre.net/2020/06/the-shareware-scene-part-4-doom/
    On Myst: https://www.filfre.net/2020/02/myst-or-the-drawbacks-to-success/
    On Doom: https://www.filfre.net/2020/06/the-shareware-scene-part-4-doom/ Computer ownership in the 1990s: https://www.bls.gov/cex/research_papers/pdf/computer-ownership-up-sharply-in-the-1990s.pdf
    Example list of the most popular games: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/entertainment/g30910862/best-video-games/
    Feminist Frequency, feminist critique of gaming and target of GamerGate: https://feministfrequency.com/
    More about GamerGate: https://slate.com/technology/2019/08/gamergate-video-games-five-years-later.html, https://slate.com/technology/2019/08/video-games-shootings-el-paso-gamergate-8chan-connection.html

    • 20 min

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