Hannah Fitzpatrick and Anindya Raychaudhuri discuss a topical podcast that covers politics, power, and pop culture
What is the State of the Theory podcast?
Hannah Fitzpatrick: Like most podcasts, State of the Theory is a manifestation of our narcissism. It began as an optimistic hope (albeit with few expectations) that our casual conversations might be of interest to, and spark debate among, our friends and colleagues. We used to commute together a few times a week, and the car became a sort of impromptu seminar venue, but without the audience. After the last research auditing exercise undertaken by the UK government in 2014, Impact and Public Engagement became quantifiable entities that might be used for or against us later in our careers, so the podcast is a sort of compromise, a way for us to demonstrate that our thoughts have value beyond the walls of the Vauxhall Astra, while still doing it on our own terms. A way of selling out without entirely selling out, if you will. Also, we missed the long drive, where all we could do was chat, and we could have these long, multi-stage conversations over the course of a week or two, so the podcast was a way for us to recreate that time.Read More
“Julie Taymor’s upcoming adaptation of Gloria Steinem’s memoir has found a leading lady. My Life on the Road — which already seemed too good to be true — just got even better. Julianne Moore has signed on to portray the iconic feminist in the June Pictures project. Deadline broke the news.
Described as a coming-of-age story chronicling Steinem’s ‘growth from a reluctant spokesperson of a movement, into a galvanizing symbol for equality, with a focus on the encounters along the road that helped shape her,’ the film is being penned by Tony-nominated playwright Sarah Ruhl.”
“Didion’s writing […] can be deceptive: It pulses with the heady warmth of confession, but in fact has extremely little patience for the indignities of aimless admission. Didion’s confessions are controlled, always, and extremely strategic about what they share and what they keep hidden from view. More than admitting, they imply—Montaigne, definitely, but also Monet: Didion is an essayist who is also an impressionist. The words smear and splash and streak and, through precision and—you have to assume—a bit of magic, conspire to make the whole. (‘When I talk about pictures in my mind,’ Didion said, ‘I am talking, quite specifically, about images that shimmer around the edges. … Look hard enough, and you can’t miss the shimmer. It’s there.’)”
“I often wonder if Lynch is the era’s most original artist, or at least the creator of its most haunting images—the severed ear in Blue Velvet, the Red Room in Twin Peaks, the Mystery Man in Lost Highway—but his works feel too schlocky, seedy, tearful, too male, too white for me to want to say this often in conversation. His cinema is disreputably baroque, brimming with meaning that it seems to disavow. He’s of the same generation as Terrence Malick, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese, but where they now seem historical, Lynch still has the fragility of the contemporary. The greatness of his art seems directly linked to the kitsch of his materials, all the B-movie unheimlich maneuvers: doppelgängers, prosthetics, recurring numbers, dream sequences, animated corpses. And this, I think, is an enigma worth pursuing.”