Episode 46: Institutionalized

The Overthinkers tackle induring instutions—college and the Catholic church—in honor of graduation season and Angels and Demons.

Matthew Wrather hosts a panel including Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and John Perich, overthinking enduring instutions—college and the Catholic church—in honor of graduation season and Angels and Demons.

Tell us what you think! Email us or call 20-EAT-LOG-01—that’s (203) 285-6401. If you haven’t yet, take the very short survey! And… spread the overthinking by forwarding this episode to a friend.

Download Episode 46 (MP3)

7 Comments on “Episode 46: Institutionalized”

  1. Gab #

    Toni Morrison? I didn’t like her writing all that much. I understand why she’s “important” or whatever, but… And I didn’t like _Paradise Lost_ all that much, either. But I guess that leads to something to overthink at a different time: can something (book, movie, song, game…) be bad but still be important, and what makes it “important” in the first place?

    Fenzel: Don’t people who say, “That’s bullsh*t,” or something close usually then take flack from their peers, though? Look at Bill-O. If you ignore the sheep following him, the intellectuals and talking heads at best ignore him. And saying something like that usually has the opposite result during a debate: the person being called “wrong” becomes even more steadfast in whatever position they have. Sorry, I just thought you were wrong and had to call you on it. Now I hope I have changed your mind. ;)

    Re: The social aspect of college- I think it’s okay to want to relive your college days, but only to a certain extent. It can get unhealthy, to the point where a person just can’t move on and loses direction and motivation. Having met (and lived with) people like that, I could elaborate more if I’m not being clear enough, but for now I’ll just say there’s a difference between an alum that attends events open to the public that ANYONE can go to or that shows up on alum-ni weekend versus one that goes into the dining halls and asks (or even expects) students to get them food or that joins a club the fall after they graduated.


  2. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Gab: “can something (book, movie, song, game…) be bad but still be important”?

    Atlas Shrugged.


  3. Matthew Wrather #

    Edgar Allan Poe. Hundreds of lines of The Canterbury Tales. Pericles, Prince of Tyre. The Marquis de Sade.



  4. Milton #

    @Gab….. Paradise Lost? Into a limbo large and broad, since called The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown.


  5. Gab #

    See, I agree with a lot of those examples in their being bad AND important, but if they’re bad, then WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?! If it sucks, why does it still matter? I asked that in high school, in college, and never really got an answer that didn’t boil down to something like, “Because academia says so.” I know crappy stuff gets analyzed all the time when it’s current, but it then gets forgotten soon enough; yet we’re still analyzing so many bad pieces of literature today, ones that get shrugs of defeat from teachers and professors when criticized for quality by students. And isn’t it the case that sometimes the stuff we’re told is “important” NOW was totally irrelevant THEN? (I know _The Great Gatsby_ wasn’t a success in its first go-around, for example, but that one, at least, isn’t crap.)

    I think I’m just getting rhetorical, and I apologize. But maybe one of the English majors could help me out here. I didn’t take much literature AS LITERATURE courses in college (it was almost always used as a lens of analysis for some other topic), so I hope you got better answers than I did. I can guess why we study GOOD literature, but bad? It hurts my soul and brain at the same time.

    Oh, and for some reason I was thinking _Heart of Darkness_ when I heard _Paradise Lost_ earlier. Uh, I’m not sure why. _Paradise Lost_ is one of those books on the syllabi for a bunch of classes I ALMOST but never actually took, so I haven’t read it. Yeah, I know, I know. I should, I should. Mea culpa.


  6. Milton #

    @Gab…. How are we to judge the quality of Literature as in the case of _Heart of Darkness_ in our current society? What relevance do we see in a dark piece about the ideology of imperialism. I know that Francis Ford Coppola was able to adapt it into the movie _Apocalypse Now_. But does the current generation now see even this movie as dated…. not relevant? What political Literature will endure time?


  7. Gab #

    Milton: Oh, I read that book in a class about European imperialism, so it isn’t like I don’t get it and what it represents. I just personally found it poorly written and couldn’t give it the general label of “good” because of that. There are other examples of political literature I felt were genuinely good, in every sense, when I was reading them, and they’re plenty old; _Heart of Darkness_ just didn’t do it for me. I know I’m an oddball for this, though, so _Heart of Darkness_ isn’t really the kind of book I’m talking about. The themes and tropes in that one are blatantly obvious with regards to why they make it important- the evils of imperialism, the barbarism “civilized” peoples will resort to in the name of “rescuing” the “barbarians” they encounter, etc. I’m talking about books nobody ever really says are “good” but that still get pounded into the heads of students every year, be it in high school, college, whatever. Mlwaski’s example is perfect: I’ve never heard a SINGLE person say Ayn Rand books are GOOD, but time and again I’ll hear about how “important” they are, and everybody and their goldfish needs to read them, etc. (I’ve made it a personal life goal NOT to read them, though, because of the horror stories I’ve come across, haha.) And what you get at in the last two sentences bolsters another question I sort of hinted at, too: The relevance of literature changes sometimes, but who makes that call, and how and why do they do it?

    (Oh, and yes, I do enjoy _Apocalypse Now_ very much. It’s disturbing, but, well, GOOD.)


Add a Comment