Lies Agreed Upon
Lies Agreed Upon
Lia Paradis and Brian Crim
Lies Agreed Upon looks at how Hollywood uses history to talk about today. Hosts Lia Paradis and Brian Crim explore the plots and themes of movies and tv shows and discuss how they were influenced by the historical events of the moment.
Shaken and Stirred
We couldn’t do a season on the Cold War without talking about Bond . . . James Bond. He was there from the beginning and has of course survived into the post-Cold War era. So many films, so many Bonds. We’ve talked about nuclear warfare, espionage and intrigue, evil deep state corporations and corrupt national security institutions, and human stories of love and loss behind the Iron Curtain. Bond’s been through it all. Our films cover four Bonds - Sean Connery’s From Russia With Love (1963), Roger Moore’s For Your Eyes Only (1981), and Pierce Brosnan’s Goldeneye (1995). We end with a discussion of the post-9/11 Bond, Daniel Craig, especially 2012’s Skyfall. We demonstrate how Bond transcends the Cold War, acts as an avatar for a Britain that no longer exists, and, despite a number of cosmetic changes after 9/11, demonstrates surprising continuity over 60 years. Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 2
1 hr 3 min
Shall We Play A Game?
Remember Khrushchev-Nixon Kitchen Debate? America recognized its consumer culture was a Cold War weapon. By the early 80s, the home computer in the hands of teenagers further demonstrated American dominance on the economic and cultural fronts. But what happens when teenagers check out of real life and responsibilities too much? We look at films that can be taken as cautionary tales about the dangers of teenagers (or young adults) who don’t take the Cold War seriously. The focus is on the seemingly apolitical, irresponsible and anti-social nature of the modern, video game playing white, affluent American youth. Our more serious films are Wargames, from 1983, and The Falcon and the Snowman, from 1985. But we also throw in a little bit of The Last Starfighter (1984) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) just to spice things up. Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 26
51 min
Wolverines!
This episode and the next look back at films that came out in the 1980s, a decade when Hollywood seemed to cater to teenage audiences like never before. So it makes sense that the geo-political structure that shaped and influenced so much of global political action - the Cold War - would show up in movies targeting teen audiences. In the broader media landscape, the question was being asked: Could these post-Vietnam teenagers hack the reality of conflict like their dads and granddads had to? We break down two films about teenagers as soldiers - Taps, released in 1981, and Red Dawn, released in 1984. In both cases, what we see is a conversation about American military culture, whether it can still be counted on when times get tough. And if it can’t, if America’s youth reject it, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 19
56 min
Bonus Episode: A Conversation about Past Episodes and Current Events
Lia and Brian revisit the first two seasons of Lies Agreed Upon for new listeners. Their conversation relates some specific episodes to current events in 2022. The first season traced the long cultural shadow of 9/11 in films about historical events. How did 9/11 influence our collective memory about ancient history and the Middle East? What about McCarthyism? Other incidents of terrorism? And how did Hollywood eventually take on the event itself? Season two is about revolutions and revolutionaries. From the American Revolution to the Bolshevik Revolution to feminists and labor organizers, Hollywood is always attracted to human stories amid great upheaval. What happens to our myths when we look at history from below? How do we incorporate the darker side of the mythologized American Revolution at a time when the history wars rage in public schools. And how does Vladimir Putin’s manipulation of imperial and revolutionary Russian history stack up against the reality of his regime? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 12
36 min
The Two Russias
In the late 1980s, Hollywood reflected the real world thaw in the Cold War by depicting the idea of two Russias: the cold bureaucratic state run by grey men intent on propping up a crumbling regime, and the beautiful, little known country of real, everyday Russians who live rich and full lives despite it all. Our three films this week show the two Russias in different ways and in different stages of the 1980s Cold War. White Nights, the story of a Russian ballet dancer who defected to America and is forced to return, came out in December 1985. The Hunt for Red October, based on a 1984 Tom Clancy novel, was released in March 1990, a few months after the world changed. The Russia House, based on John le Carre’s 1989 novel came out Christmas Day, 1990, exactly one year before the Soviet Union closed up shop for good. Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 5
54 min
Cold War Homefront
We could do a whole season on Vietnam war films, but in this episode we chose three films that highlight the Cold War’s omnipresence in daily life. You wouldn’t associate any of these films with how Vietnam figured into the Cold War dynamic because they are about the homefront. The Deer Hunter (1978), Coming Home (1978), and Da Five Bloods (2020) are reminders (or are they revelations?) that the Vietnam War deeply wounded American society from top to bottom. Whether it’s working class immigrants in rural Pennsylvania, severely wounded veterans and their caretakers, or Black and Brown soldiers contending with racism and shattered lives decades removed from the war, our three films depict the Cold War homefront in vivid detail. We often think of the Cold War as an impersonal contest between global powers that nearly ended the world, but the Vietnam War was incredibly personal for millions of Americans and Vietnamese. Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sep 28
1 hr 3 min
It’s The End Of The World As We Know It
Last episode we discussed films about how a nuclear war would start, particularly the insane logic of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). In this episode we explore how American, British, and Australian filmmakers imagined the unimaginable - Armageddon and the literal and figurative fallout. We look at On the Beach (1959), The Day After (1983), and Threads (1984). We challenge the conventional wisdom that the West only seriously worried about nuclear after the Cuban Missile Crisis, provide some background on the history of anti-nuclear social movements, and compare how these three unforgettable films chose to depict nuclear destruction. How accurate were they? Did they make a difference? And, how many of us are still traumatized by seeing them? Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sep 21
1 hr 13 min
A MAD, MAD, World
The world lived under the shadow of the acronym MAD for forty years. Mutually Assured Destruction was no laughing matter, but Stanley Kubrick thought dark comedy was the only way to approach a topic as ridiculous as MAD. In this episode we compare and contrast Dr. Strangelove (1964) with Failsafe, a serious film about the same subject that came out the same year. We reveal just how spot on Dr. Strangelove was about MAD versus Failsafe’s unwarranted optimism that limited nuclear war was possible. An army of political scientists and bureaucrats game theoried fighting and winning a nuclear war like it was just another social science problem. Civilians are the warmongers in our MAD films. Dr. Strangelove may be a deranged Nazi freak, but everything he said was seriously considered by real life MAD Men. Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sep 14
58 min
Who Can You Trust?
Can you imagine living in a society that is ostensibly a democracy but secret forces are working behind the scenes to manipulate events? What if our intelligence agencies run amok with no oversight? What if the president is a criminal and would do anything to stay in power? These sound like current events, but they were major preoccupations during the 1970s in the wake of Watergate and congressional hearings about CIA and FBI abuses. Hollywood responded by dramatizing the unfettered power of what some like to call “the deep state” in three films we cover this episode - The Parallax View (1974), The Three Days of the Condor (1975), and All The President’s Men (1976). Each features protagonists unraveling conspiracies at the heart of our national security state, but is exposing the truth enough? Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sep 7
56 min
He May Be a Communist!
We are back for a third season! The Russian invasion of Ukraine reminded us all that “everything old is new again” and that includes Cold War tensions, nuclear fears, and paranoia about “unseen enemies.” With our organizing principle of the Cold War and Hollywood representation, we begin with the Red Scare. We discuss Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), and The Way We Were (1973). Together these films reveal how the Red Scare cast a wide and enduring shadow on our culture. We highlight three themes. First, Cold War paranoia was a bipartisan issue. Second, the Korean War cast doubt on the relative strength of the military and our institutions long before Vietnam did. And finally, we dispute the comforting lie that progress is inevitable, that we are always on a path towards improvement, advancement, an expansion of rights, and a greater equality among people. Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Aug 31
1 hr
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