94: John Lyden

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Manage episode 281929522 series 2312064
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It was a delight this week via Zoom to meet John Lyden for my latest Nostalgia Interview. John is Blizek Professor of Religion and Film at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has been editor of the Journal of Religion and Film since 2011, a field of study which John has been keen to get people to take seriously. We talk about the importance of interdisciplinarity and how his religion and film work was borne out of his teaching and his hobbies.
John was born in Seattle and grew up in Connecticut in the 1960s. We learn that he was raised a Lutheran, wanted to be a scientist at the time of the Apollo programme, and ended up doing a Theology degree due to his own religious questions. He has always loved movies, and his earliest memories include seeing The Music Man.
John reflects on how he appreciates pop music from the past more now than he did at the time and we learn that he comes from a musical family. His father was an accountant and had a naval career during the Second World War, and was at Normandy. His mother was a high school maths teacher. He talks about how culturally he feels he grew up in their era, and discusses the extent to which he is shaped by his family.
We talk about the change of sensibilities over the decades, e.g. over same sex relationships, and we touch on the Trump Presidency. We talk about how people with college degrees tend to vote differently to those outside the academy and John identifies the important role in getting students to discern sources and the danger with only looking for sources that support what you think.
We learn about John’s online Star Wars course, and how there shouldn’t be a distinction between education and something that is fun to do.
John’s memories tend to be positive, and John talks about the illusion of asking people to adjudicate on their own lives. His mantra, to paraphrase Tony Stark in Iron Man, is that ‘Everything works out the way it’s supposed to’. We discuss the dangers of only remembering the good times and reflect on this in the light of lockdown, and John explains that he is disappointed people are not pulling together now in the way they did during the War.
Please note: Opinions expressed are solely those of Chris Deacy and John Lyden and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of Kent.

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