This Week's Guest: Jason Merrell
My guest this week is Jason Merrell, who was desperate to leave his repressive religious community. Finally, he thought he'd found a way -- it just required that he make a deal with his parents. That seemed easy enough. But it was a deal that wound up nearly costing him his life.
This Week's Recommendation: Clueless
Like Jason, I missed a lot of the 90s, not because I was nearly dying in South America but because I was a child shut-in. It wasn't until many years later that I discovered one of my favorite artifacts of the 1990s -- my recommendations this week, the movie Clueless.
Watching it years later, it's hard to believe it was actually made in the 90s, because it's so aggressively of its time that it feels like a postmodern parody of the decade. Of course, if you listened to the recent episode with John Federico, you'll know that the story is actually based on the novel Emma. So it's not just of the 90s, it's also of the eighteen-teens.
This probably tells us something about ourselves -- that although the corsets and hats might change, people themselves really don't. Youthful pride always has been and always will be a thing, as well as stubborn lovers and social awkwardness.
Entertainment can serve as a sort of universal language, a way to talk when you don't know what to say or you don't understand what you're hearing. For instance, it might be hard to get to know someone new, but start a conversation about, say, Ghostbusters and you'll probably learn everything you need to know about each other pretty fast.
Current culture is a rich vein for making those kinds of connections, but there's also value to be found if you mine for pop culture that's no longer popular. Digging down to something old or obscure means you'll be a bit lonely when you bring up the novels of Jane Austen or the contralto of Alison Moyet. But it's all worth it for those moments when you find someone else who's wandered as deeply as you have, following paths dug by explorers decades or even centuries before you were born.