Gatecrashers Podcast Review

College, as we all know, is supposed to open the door to professional opportunities. But the university experience, as we know it to be today, is not what it was only a few generations ago. The opportunity to attend a post-secondary higher educational institution was limited to Caucasian males of a certain social strata and background. It goes without saying back then that women and minorities could not even consider attending.

The new eight-part Tablet magazine podcast, Gatecrashers is hosted by Unorthodox co-host Mark Oppenheimer. It tells the story of how Jewish students tried to attend ivy league colleges in the 2oth century. If they were let in, there were limited social opportunities solely based on faith and unofficial quotas. If they were not let in, they were given the runaround about why their application was denied.

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The one thing that struck me (specifically in regards to the schools that gave BS reasons for rejecting Jewish students), was who they were saying no to. One of these young men was Isaac Asimov, who was originally denied admittance to Columbia University only because of which deity he prayed to and where he lived.

Looking back, that seems to be incredibly short-sighted. Granted, no one has a crystal ball to see what the future holds. However, knowing now what Asimov accomplished later in life, it seems foolish for the admissions department to have made the initial decision they made.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

New episodes of Gatecrashers are released on the Tablet site every Tuesday.

Throwback Thursday-Bicentennial Man (1999)

Science fiction has an eerie way of predicting the future.

The 1999 film, Bicentennial Man, based on the 1976 book by Isaac Asimov is about a robot who over time, changes from machine to man.

Andrew Martin ( the late Robin Williams) is purchased to be the home robot of the Martin family. He watches as the family grows and changes. He is especially close to the youngest daughter,  Amanda Martin (Embeth Davidtz), whom he refers as Little Miss. Andrew is no ordinary robot. While he is entirely machine, his emotions and reactions are closer to that of a human being.  When a scientist, Rupert Burns (Oliver Platt) offers to completely change Andrew into a human being,  Andrew jumps at the chance.  But he will soon learn that being a human is not as black and white as it seems.

There are some actors that are unfortunately stuck in one genre. As much as they try, they are unable to step out of that genre and into another. Robin Willliams was not one of those actors. While this movie does have some of the manic, humorous moments that the audience expects from a Robin Williams film, there is dramatic tone underneath. The film asks the audience to ponder about what it is to be a human being and what happens when we take chances, even when we don’t know what the outcome will be.

I recommend it.

 

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