Pod Academy

An International podcast combining pop culture and academics

In our third instalment of The Downfall of the U.S. in Movies, we go back to the most iconic Hollywood movie ever made: Gone With The Wind. How does the highest-grossing movie in history (adjusted for inflation) tell the story of the American Civil War and the following Reconstruction? Gil and Rutger dive in.

In our second installment of The Downfall of the U.S. in Movies, we go back to the official and popular stories of the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, which led to the formation of a new nation. The movie we chose for that dramatic event is A More Perfect Union (1989), with a sprinkle of Hamilton the musical (2015).

In so many countries and societies around the world, social unrest is flowing out from homes social media into the streets. In this episode, Dr Noga Ariel Galor joins Gil Kidron to break down the psychoanalytical perspective of this very tense moment in history, through a wide array of movies depicting fictional and real civil unrests and revolts.

We launch a new series of episodes titled The Downfall of the U.S. in Movies to draw a line from American history - and more importantly, their depiction of American history - to the political, social, and economic crisis it is living through now. The first episode is about America's creation story - its War of Independence. Its so-called Revolutionary War. The movie we chose for that momentous occasion is The Patriot (2000), starring Mel Gibson, encapsulating all that is wrong in the way Americans think of their beginnings.

The 2020 elections in the United States have rocked the nation and the world. How do these recent events inform us about the world's empire? Should we look differently at its history and meteoric rise to world superpower status? Gil and Rutger rant, scream and cry.

One of the largest scheduled events in the world is set to take place this week, and so are the US elections. Gil and Rutger give the inside scoop and talk baseball. Inside baseball. Attention: this is not the only episode for the week, we will record another one on Wednesday.

A month ago, Azerbaijan attacked the Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in its territory. This is at least the fourth war over this area and is among a number of recent wars in the wider Caucasus region. The conflicts are fed by the gradual decline of Russian influence being replaced by Westernization on the one hand and Islamization and rising Turkish influence on the other. In this special episode, Rutger Vos summarizes the events over the course of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and analyzes what might happen next.

To prepare for the upcoming presidential elections in the United States, we tackle movies that depict elections, from the 1970s all the way to this past decade. What can we learn about the way the Americans hold this process? About the lead characters? In this episode, Rutger and Gil start with the most recent movie, and then move back in time: The Ides of March (2011), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), Primary Colors (1998), Bulworth (1998), Wag The Dog (1997) and Being There (1979).

Amazon's The Boys season 2 picks up right where season 1 left off and takes it up a notch: portraying America as a capitalist empire that will cooperate with Nazis to make a buck, and corrupt ideas such as feminism, racial equality and gay right to sell more merchandise and movie tickets. Writer Dana Schweppe joins Gil Kidron for a very enthusiastic review.

With the elections in the United States coming up this November, we map out five different archetypes of fictional TV and movie presidents (Frank Underwood, Jed Bartlet, Charles Lindberg, the president from Independence Day and Dave), and what they tell us about how America sees itself through its president, what it wants to imagine about itself and what kind of image it wants to send to the world. Writer and editor Omri Harel joins Gil Kidron to look at it all from an outsider's perspective.

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