In this final episode we look at just what controversy is, what purpose it plays in society, and how the media shapes our conversations.
Over the past 4 episodes we’ve looked at controversies of various magnitudes, across various different medias.
We’ve heard about the upset caused by video game violence, and some problematic marketing; we’ve heard about fan backlash to movie casting; about how difficult topics within children’s literature can unsettle and upset parents and others’; and about how imagery, as immediate as it is, can offend instantly.
In some cases, the outcry was short-lived; in other cases there was a very real message being spoken, and the controversy forced the issue into the public forum.
In other words then, some of it was deeply meaningful… and some of it was just stupid.
And so to finish this series off, I wanted to get a different perspective, from the viewpoints of people who think about society and media in a scholarly way, to learn about what controversy is, what it tells us about ourselves and the societies we live in, and what purpose it serves.
And so I spoke to two academics one an expert in sociology and one in journalism, to hear their thoughts.
Controversy in literature is nothing new, with racy books like Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Tropic of Cancer having become legendary… but kids’ books? Surely no one could get upset about kids’ books, right?
Well, of course they can.
So we take a crash course in offensive literature, before honing in on our two guests this week.
First up is Lesléa Newman, who talks about a book she wrote to reflect families with same-sex partner – Heather Has Two Mommies. The outrage towards the book saw it make it all the way to the Senate – it ruffled plenty of feathers. Read more about Lesléa at her website.
Next is Lois Lowry, talking about her book, The Giver, the themes of which saw it ranked 11th on the list of the American Library Association’s books most frequently requested for removal between 1990 and 1999.
Visit Lois’s website to find out more about her, and her work!
Imagery is everywhere, trying to tell us something, sell us something, or make us feel something. So this episode we look at graffiti, contentious as it always is, and how we feel about having someone else’s perception of art forced into the public space.
And then we move onto the most controversial T-shirt of all time – the loved and reviled ‘Vestal Masturbation’ shirt, from legendary British Black Metal band Cradle of Filth.
So listen in as I talk to the band’s front man, Dani Filth, about the history of the shirt, what happened, and what he really feels about it.
This episode we look at a tall, muscular hirsute comic book hero jumping from the page to the big screen! Portrayed by a not so tall, not so muscular, and not so hirsute actor.
So listen in as I talk to Executive Producer Michael Uslan, and professional Bat fan Bill Ramey, about the casting decision that would see over 50,000 angry letters flood in to Warner Brothers Pictures.
We also take a walk down memory lane to when a small boy saw his parents gunned down in front of him… and so he took up a gun, too, and started blasting criminals away, inspired by hero-of-the-day The Shadow.
And we learn about the many difficulties that the film makers faced in bringing The Dark Knight Detective to the silver screen.
Michael Uslan is a film producer best known for producing every Batman movie since 1989. His list of credits are impressive and voluminous, so take a look at his imdb page.
But it is his book, The Boy Who Loved Batman, where you can really get a sense of his long and strong relationship with the character. Find it on Amazon!
Bill “Jett” Ramey is the founder and Editor-In-Chief of Batman On Film, a website with a long history of banging the drum for quality Batman movies. Over the years Jett has inspired and provoked, all in the name of the Bat, and even got to visit movie sets during Chris Nolan’s tenure as Bat-Director.
Check out his website for all the Bat news you need, as well as podcasts, videos, reviews, and more.
Welcome to Outrage, Outrage, Outrage! a 5-part documentary podcast about controversies in our media. Each episode features two interview guests, a history lesson, and a few chuckles; and we look at movie casting, controversial literature, video games, and art.
In the inaugural episode of the podcast we take a look at a little game that told us war has never been so much fun… and ruffled a few feathers along the way.
So listen in as your podcasting host chats to game producer Jon Hare and magazine editor Stuart Campbell, who tell us about the furor surrounding the game and its marketing.
The game itself is a simple shooter, tasking you with controlling a small platoon across a map in order to wipe out the enemy. It’s retro gaming heaven.
But it was this promotional image which caused upset when the game was released for the Commodore Amiga in 1993. The British Legion took umbrage with the use of the poppy, and tabloid The Daily Star spotted a juicy story, and poor old Jon came under fire.
But if that wasn’t enough, The Star went after Amiga Power, too, due to their having the poppy (the Cannon Fodder version anyway) on the cover of the December 1993 issue.
This is not the original cover, but rather the hastily altered version that publishers cobbled together to dodge the ire of the British Legion.
And before we even get to all that, we take a little stroll through the annals of controversial video games past, such as Mortal Combat and Night Trap. These two games so worried people at the time of their release that congress took up the issue, ultimately resulting in the establishment of the video games ratings system.
Jon Hare is a legendary computer game producer, known for his time with Sensible Software, and particularly flagship games like Sensible Soccer and Cannon Fodder – now retro gaming classics – among many more.
These days Jon is still making killer games, and you can find the Sensible Soccer revival, Sociable Soccer on Steam here or the game’s website.
Stuart Campbell is a games designer and former journalist, who was the editor of Amiga Power at the time of Cannon Fodder’s release. He then went on to join Jon is Sensible Software, working on Cannon Fodder 2 among other titles.
In the beginning there was an explosion, that filled an impossible void. And then there were planets that defined something from the nothingness. Then came life… first minute, then large and cumbersome, and then… man. And man had to learn to survive, to make fire, to find meaning in life. And once all that was sorted out, man learned to get annoyed about stuff. So this is a podcast about some controversies… not the big stuff… not war or politics or corporate fraud or any of that… controversies you may not have even know happened, or how weird they were.
So join Andy Smith on a five-part miniseries delving into four little controversies in four different aspects of our media.
Another humorous ramble through the inanity of life, as Andy takes aim at door-knockers, one of nature’s most evil creations.
It seems you just can’t get any peace anymore – if there’s not someone at the door, there’s someone on the phone. So put the headphones on, and put the NNLH in your ears, to truly get away from it all.