Feb 27th, 2017 by paradoxproject
Journalist and author Emily Esfahani Smith joined the Paradox team this week to talk about her new book, The Power of Meaning, and share insights from her research about why your main goal in life shouldn’t be simply happiness.
Emily and Jordan both contribute pop culture opinions, while Matthias gets somewhat political. With just a few hours to go until the Oscars at the time of recording, Emily pans “La La Land,” saying it was a nice film but overrated and not Best Picture-worthy. Jordan thinks Carrie wasn’t the true protagonist in “Sex and the City,” instead arguing that Charlotte kept the show anchored and quietly influenced all of the other main characters. Matthias wants Chelsea Clinton to “slide into the background” for a while since everyone is still Clinton’d out after the election.
Meaning >>> Happiness
Emily talks about pursing happiness versus pursuing meaning in life and how research shows that the latter is actually much more satisfying in the long run.
As her book details, people find meaning through four pillars: belonging, purpose, storytelling and transcendence. To find meaning, we need strong relationships with other people; a sense of purpose in the work we do; an internal narrative that makes our lives into powerful stories; and experiences of beauty and/or religion that make us part of something bigger.
We get more in-depth with questions like “Do people find meaning by looking for it?” and “How do you move forward and find a sense of meaning again after failure?” Emily describes how a “meaning mindset” is more important than results in a meaningful life.
Feb 13th, 2017 by paradoxproject
Attorney and writer Gabriel Malor was our guest this week to provide expert analysis on the “travel ban” executive order and to explain why virtual reality games are dangerous (for him at least).
Jordan starts Terrible Opinions with a rant about how both the right and the left are way too eager to cry sexism when a woman, any woman, is in the news cycle. Gabriel says that President Trump will serve as a check on the people in his administration with white nationalist sympathies. Matthias points out that enforcing immigration law is a normal thing, not cause for panic the way people panicked this week as ICE agents did their job.
Gabe explains ICE has so much trouble deporting illegal immigrants who have committed crimes. We then shift into the topic of the hour: President Trump’s executive order banning people from seven countries from coming into the U.S. Gabe gives a breakdown of the EO itself and then explains why the Ninth Circuit ruled against President Trump as well as why the ruling was made on shaky grounds and could be challenged in the near future.
We wrap up with some fun topics: “Resident Evil” and the survival-horror genre; virtual reality; and a quick preview of Oscar rants.
Feb 3rd, 2017 by paradoxproject
Katrina Jørgensen, formerly with the Young Republicans and currently vigilant about foreign policy, dropped by this week to discuss the executive order banning refugees, immigrants and travel from seven countries as well as the unnerving change to the National Security Council.
To open this episode, our Terrible Opinions range from resume submissions to F. Scott Fitzgerald (listen to see who thinks he's a terrible writer).
As part of our topics, Katrina brings up two very important questions: 1) What is an effective means of protest? and 2) What would be a real sign that we're in trouble when it comes to Russia and Trump?
She talks about the intricate U.S. immigration process when it comes to both legal immigrants and refugees, clearing up some of the myths around refugees and talking about her experience helping transplanted families in her community.
Jan 17th, 2017 by paradoxproject
Becket Adams from the Washington Examiner stopped by for our 50th podcast episode to talk about media bias, Meryl Streep, movies and why Twitter just isn’t as much fun anymore.
Jordan kicks off terrible opinions by telling people to stop picking on Tomi Lahren and anyone else who tweeted something ridiculous and non-news-worthy a million years ago. Becket objects only on the grounds that that’s not a terrible opinion. We talk about the risks of having a Twitter account with countless tweets that could be taken out of context. Becket says what we’re all thinking: Twitter isn’t fun anymore now that every joking tweet between friends could be a liability.
Matthias brings us back to politics with his terrible opinion that he is apprehensive about Republicans repealing Obamacare. While Obamacare has had definite negative effects, we don’t know what effects its replacement will have.
Stop freaking out about Meryl Streep
Becket shares some of his experiences and insights as a reporter on the 2016 election, comparing Trump’s campaign to Clinton’s. He points out that the seemingly ridiculous Make America Great Again hats were ultimately a brilliant strategy, comparing them to the big scene in sports movies where the scrappy underdog team gets their own uniforms.
We talk about Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech, mostly to express exasperation at both the right and the left for losing it over her digs at Trump and (the people she perceives to be) his voter base. Becket’s advice for resisting Trump as needed: Pick your battles. He chides media for constantly being “at an 11” over every cabinet pick and tweet instead of digging deeper to find the real story and criticizing Trump on genuine grounds.
We wrap up by discussing movies we liked (or were disappointed by) in 2016, highlighting “Finding Dory,” “Captain America: Civil War” and “Rogue One.” Becket and Jordan disagree over whether “Rogue One” was a worthy addition to the Star Wars franchise while trying not to give away any spoilers since Matthias still needs to see it.
Jan 11th, 2017 by paradoxproject
Matthias kicks off Terrible Opinions with an optimistic outlook on Trump’s administration. He asks us what success or failure would look like with Trump, pointing out that having extreme rhetoric before he has even taken office will only undermine your credibility. Jordan and Brandon agree that even in a best-case scenario, surviving four years of Trump does not mean America should risk taking on four more.
Jordan shares a Terrible Opinion about “La La Land,” contradicting the critics by expressing her disappointment in the film’s downer ending. She criticizes the film for trading on classic Hollywood touches and charm, then sidelining its audience with a postmodern ending.
Brandon was apparently unwise enough to share a Terrible Opinion on Facebook this week and received many many responses to a status about the dangers of making depression trendy. We talk about how as a society, we celebrate too many things that shouldn’t be celebrated.
#RepresentationMatters for #GamerGate too
Brandon talks about his experience as part of GamerGate as an example of people being shouted down by the extreme left, saying that “GamerGate showed that people with a lot of different views can come together and fight for something.”
Matthias points out the privilege gap when it comes to male tech industry figures who elevate women: Men who have already built their careers and been successful can afford to pass up tech panels and other opportunities and point out women who can represent their part of the industry instead.
Jordan believes the problem comes from people who think “diversity” means shouting down other opinions and marginalizing groups instead of simply celebrating how far we’ve come. As an example of a small step forward, she shares what it was like to vote in an election with historic choices that let her see someone like herself on the presidential ballot for the first time.
Jan 2nd, 2017 by paradoxproject
The Paradox team discusses a very important cultural event: the Netflix revival of "Gilmore Girls" (warning: MAJOR spoilers for "A Year in the Life"). D.C. writer and communications star Kate Bryan joined Jordan and Matthias to talk about what we loved, what we hated, and why two of the show's big storylines were redemptive and satisfying and one was definitely not (ahem, Rory).
Why "Gilmore Girls" and what the heck is up with Rory?
Jordan explains why we wanted to devote a podcast episode to "Gilmore Girls." Kate starts off our analysis with her theory that a certain Gilmore girl is a hot mess in "A Year in the Life" because creator Amy Sherman-Palladino originally envisioned this story for a 22-year-old Rory.
Are men important in Gilmore world? (Spoiler: Yes)
We contrast how male and female characters are depicted on the show. We talk some about the feminism of "Gilmore Girls" and Lorelai's powerful storyline as a single mom building her own life to make things better for her daughter. While the show is female-focused, men are important characters as well, so we take a look at individual male characters and analyze important connections like Rory's relationship with her father and Lorelai's relationship with Luke.
"My ancestors came over on the Mayflower."
Matthias kicks off a discussion of class tension on "Gilmore Girls" with an interesting point from @AllahPundit, who recently tweeted that the show is a battle between Lorelai and Emily over which class Rory should be part of.
We wrap up with predictions about whether or not Netflix will continue with another season of "A Year in the Life," which then morphs into expectations/fears/hopes for what would happen. Matthias predicts that there won't be another season. Kate hopes that Rory finds success with her book and that the baby is a boy. We try to predict exactly when Rory and Jess will get together.
Dec 7th, 2016 by paradoxproject
The Paradox team is back after a little post-election break. Confused, concerned Coloradan Brendan Loy was our returning guest this week to talk about listening to people better (and most especially the people who disagree with us) in a post-Trump world.
Matthias: I disagree with the recent piece from Rachel Held Evans about leaving evangelicalism. We should learn to listen to each other better instead of creating more distance.
Brendan: I love Rachel Platten's "Fight Song."
Jordan: Even though Twitter has been insane over the Hamilton stuff, I'm glad it happened because vice-president-elect Mike Pence's reaction was so kind and appropriate even in the midst of the crazy.
How can we be kind?
As people who opposed now-president-elect Donald Trump during the election, we wanted to chat about better ways to talk to people, how to rebuild trust, and what lines in the sand we want to draw going into a Trump administration.
Brendan points out flaws in the Hillary Clinton campaign's messaging, which he describes as "crafted by Brooklyn liberals for Brooklyn liberals," and analyzes why it failed to reach voters.
We detail our two biggest questions in the wake of the election: "How do we disagree without yelling at people?" and "Can journalists rebuild trust?" Brendan points out that we need to keep the lines clear between genuine bigotry and political incorrectness as well as the distinctions between policies we disagree with vs. actions that will destroy the Republic.
Jordan: Lorelai will say the famous last four words in the Netflix "Gilmore Girls" special that's coming out this weekend.
Matthias: More of a promise than a prediction: I'll stop attacking the crazy left. We need to engage and amplify voices we respect and like and that is what I want to do.
Nov 7th, 2016 by paradoxproject
To cap off this insane election year, we invited political strategist and One Direction fan Dina Fraioli back to talk about who held the line in 2016 and whether or not the GOP survives.
Matthias tries to make Jordan's head explode by saying Trump wouldn't be able to do that many horrible things as president even though he's a "monster." Dina praises "establishment" Mitch McConnell, saying he would "delight" in blocking President Hillary Clinton. Jordan says BuzzFeed, the land of endless cat listicles, actually has some great long-form writing and published "the piece of this election" with Katherine Miller's heartfelt How Donald Trump Broke The Conservative Movement (And My Heart).
Don't f*** with the Clintons (unless you're Mitch McConnell)
Dina taps her 15 years of experience working for in politics envision a Clinton presidency. She thinks Hillary as president would be willing to work across the aisle, and if Republicans hold Congress, McConnell can lead them in blocking her as needed (a big "if" when the GOP may not hold the House and the Senate).
We share some of our "silver linings" in 2016, a year when "everybody showed us who they were" and very few people held the line on their principles. Dina says this next period will be a "rebuilding year" since we don't even know what a Republican is anymore and it may be time for a conservative party.
Matthias and Jordan have some fun with pop culture predictions, with Matthias saying that Mel Gibson's new movie will be a moderate success that makes him viable again as a director. Jordan is hopeful that the new "Gilmore Girls" special on Netflix will be thoughtfully produced and please the show's devoted fans.
Oct 31st, 2016 by paradoxproject
Jordan and Matthias welcomed Marybeth Glenn of epic tweet storm fame this week to talk about the future of the GOP, Hillary Clinton’s scorn for the rule of law, and the real conflict of our time: Cubs vs. Cardinals.
Resident feminist and pop-culture-lover Jordan is uncomfortable with the report that the Netflix show “Jessica Jones” has only female directors in its second season. Marybeth demands that the Chicago Cubs lose the World Series. Matthias explains why he thinks Clinton is the true “burn it to the ground” candidate.
The GOP’s Woman Problem … and Millennial Problem … and Urban Problem … and …
We ask Marybeth what brought on her insightful viral Twitter rant about the GOP, sexism, Trump and Republican women.
Marybeth explores the idea of a new conservative party that appeals to “middle-of-the-road” voters and gives her argument why anyone who supported Trump should not helm the GOP moving forward. We discuss Evan McMullin and the possibility of a new party as well as the GOP’s issues with women, millennials, and minority and urban voters.
Jordan predicts that even in the age of binge-watching, it will take her several months to finish “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” because it’s such an intense show. Matthias says there will be no rioting after the election.
Oct 24th, 2016 by paradoxproject
Matthias and Jordan are back this week to chat with Ryan Moy (@alwaysonoffense) about the future of the GOP and whether or not it can find "basic values as a party" and rebuild after the election.
Ryan is apparently very, very particular when it comes to his Halloween candy. Jordan is upset that Jonah Peretti's bizarre tweet about Ivanka Trump is only one more example of the media industry tossing ethics out the window to get attention. Matthias thinks "journalists" like Kevin Robillard of Politico who take decent people out of context and sic Twitter trolls on them should be (metaphorically) burned at the stake.
Consultants! Reince! Dumpster fire!
Analysis, predictions, fears and hopes blend in our take on what the post-election conservative landscape will look like. Matthias really wants to know who exactly will be responsible for steering the GOP after Nov. 8. Is it enough for the GOP to replace Reince? Are those conversations already happening and is a plan for the party's future after Donald Trump in the works? Ryan discusses the possibility that Carly Fiorina will be tapped as the new GOP chair and details what she would bring to the table, while Jordan speculates on what the most powerful combination would be for 2020. We debate whether or not the alt-right will continue to infect the conservative movement after the election.
Matthias depresses everyone with the prediction that the media will continue to give the alt-right oxygen by covering white supremacist events and otherwise bringing attention to their cause. Jordan points out that Trump's reaction if he loses the election could determine whether or not the media continues to make a profit from that kind of coverage (if he goes on that long vacation as promised and disappears from public view, not so much). She predicts that most of the GOP will wake up after the election and attempt to shock everyone with how much Trump never happened. Ryan predicts that Trump TV will launch and will be a fairly successful enterprise.