In this extended Father’s Day episode, Asher doesn’t laud fathers (since that’s what everyone else is doing). Instead, he explores the mission of fatherhood to convey a child from uncertain youth to confident adulthood. And what can anyone do about it, if a father abdicates that responsibility?
Why John Wick is a Wuss
Who’s a tough guy?—John Wick, Rambo, or Walt Kowalski (Gran Torino)? Asher makes the argument that the John Wick TYPE, while a fantasy meme for self-appointed warriors in general, is actually a wussified representation of their delicate disposition. These cultural icons are fundamentally different beings with a distinct ethos, and John Wick represents the sociopathic prig among us who is just as likely to participate in a mass shooting or overreact to a mask mandate. Asher also conflates Gran Torino w. El Camino (faux pas!).
That Thing You Always Meant To Do But Never Did—Manning Up to Boyish Dreams
A lot of us would like to go back and do things differently (learn guitar, study karate, skipper a boat) except, to start over we’d have to go back. Or do we? Asher cast shade on bucket lists, giving up, and getting old (in the sense of setting aside childhood dreams). He makes the case for telling “Dad” to go to Hell (if need be), relabelling 50 (if that’s us) the new 16, and getting off our ass to do something cool. Screw the midlife crisis. There’s a midlife awakening!
Rock Music as Masculine Energy—Sex, Art, and American Feminism
Asher introduces the rock music writings of non-traditional feminist Camille Paglia (in extenso). Quoted with interspersed commentary by Asher, Paglia’s paean to RAWK comes through, effectively “mansplained” by Asher (because just reading books on the air is not fair use). Asher underscores Paglia’s observation that one cannot simultaneously laud masculine energy and denigrate the experience out of which it arises. Paglia calls rock musicians “America’s most wasted natural resource.”
Will There Ever Be Another Bowie—Or Dire Straits, Deep Purple, or Queen?
Asher invites guest and colleague Steve Pruneau to answer the question, “Will there ever be another David Bowie?” (or The Clash, Blondie, The Police, etc). Steve agrees to search for “good” 21st century version of classic rock music, and Asher bets hard against him. Inevitably “Free Bird” comes up, but also Mumford and Sons and Townes Van Zandt.
WTF Happened to Music (with balls)? “We NEED to Rock.”
Asher wants to know why there’s no good contemporary rock music, why there’s not a current Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Rush, or Pink Floyd. Comments on Classic Rock, Prog Rock, and music with balls. Asher argues something has changed, and it’s not just the ‘natural evolution’ that always happens, but a dilution from which you can’t get back to awesome.
Where Plain Speech Went (to die)—Has it Died?
Asher invites guest and colleague Steve Pruneau to comment on the “Talk Like a Man” episode. Asher shames modern movie dialogue and the cultural fad of avoiding words that contain commitments. In a world of indirect utterances, there are no tough guys, only understatements. Comments on Aaron Sorkin, Jerry Brown, Ed Rendell, and others.
Please Talk Like a Man—Bogie, Don Draper, and Rhett Butler
Tired of circuitous speech, vocal fry, upspeak, endless qualifiers, and the word “like” in every sentence? Asher goes through examples of categorical speech from Mad Men, Humphrey Bogart movies, and Gone With the Wind. He calls for us to embrace rather than fear ManHearted communication. Asher argues current, fashionable speech patterns and fad-banter lacks heart, soul, and brains.