Category Archives: Superheroes

Pop Conscious in July

Pop Conscious Topics from July 2015

Pop Conscious topics from July 2015

Spirited Advertising and Pop Culture – with guest co-host Michele Coles

Inspired by Michele’s visit to the creatively playful Duck Tape Festival, we talked about how Summer’s animated features, Minions and Inside Out seem ominpresent in advertising and merchandising. Then we looked at advertising aimed at kids, and the rise of action figures.

Then we made it spiritual too!

Looking at advertising with a critical eye can tell us about our culture today and help us experience nostalgia of days past. But looking at ads with your third eye, or through a lens of spiritual awareness, can help you see what’s important to you and what isn’t, and maybe even understand what’s important to someone else. In this episode, Malayna Dawn and Michele Coles will discuss how to use Unity principles to make the most of what we can’t avoid! We’ll talk about how to be in the world, but not of the world, play with what’s fun, and ignore what isn’t useful.

Unity Youth and Rewriting History

Throughout the past few weeks, Stacy has been busy in her role as the Southwest Unity Region’s Teen Consultant, overseeing Uniteens Camp and then accompanying our older teens to the International Youth of Unity event at Unity Village. Malayna has been reminiscing about her own youth in Unity, and thinking of movies and TV shows where characters get to do it all again. If you could go back, would you do things differently? What might we learn from such forays into our imagination? Can it make life better today? We’ll explore these questions this week on Pop Conscious!

Busting the Lone Hero Myth – with guest co-host Michele Coles and companion piece on (coming soon…)

There is a certain individualistic ideal which seems to tell us that it is possible, maybe even preferable, to do it on your own—whatever it may be. But if we look closely at our favorite heroes, most of them have backup—sidekicks, family, love interests, butlers, and the like. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto! He wasn’t alone after all! Join Malayna and team member Michele Coles as they scan pop culture for supposed heroic loners and their sidekicks or support teams. Then we’ll bust the myth and refine the ideal of individual empowerment to include supportive connections, because we know that “oneness” doesn’t mean being alone, but joined in Unity!

Sci-Fi Spirituality of Firefly and Serenity – with returning guest Dr. Tanya Cochran!

When you’re a fan, you have a passionate reverence for the subject of your fandom that is not unlike a spiritual experience. We welcome back our favorite scholar-fan, Dr. Tanya Cochran, to share insights found in the TV series Firefly and it’s follow-up film, Serenity. We’ll look at the resonance we find in the archetypes of the crew members and how belief plays a huge role in this space cowboy adventure by Joss Whedon. And we can’t forget the fans. There’s not a power in the ‘verse that can stop us!

Hear Dr. Tanya’s previous visit from June 2015 when we discussed Channeling the Devotion of Fandom !

Channeling the Devotion of Fandom

FB Banner Scholar 6-1When people are fans, they are passionate, devoted, and engaged. It makes fandom the perfect vehicle for riding a wave of devotion to create a more engaged life—one in which passion informs all the choices we make. We welcome author and scholar Tanya R. Cochran, who will tell us how she has channeled her passion for the works of Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams into her career, and as a means to deepen her inner journey. Join us and learn to follow your inspiration!
We so enjoyed our talk with Dr. Tanya Cochran!  We touched the work shown above, but also spent time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which featured heavily in her dissertation, and the latest controversy surrounding how Black Widow is portrayed in the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie.
If you’re not well-versed in the works of Joss Whedon, check out our companion piece on, “The Spirit of the Whedonverse“!
Here are a few excerpts from Tanya’s dissertation:

p 26 – But little has been written and published about finding God where we might least expect — in songs by Eminem, in sitcoms such as The Simpsons (1989 – present), in films such as Crash (2004), or in teen horror/action/science fiction/fantasy/comedy/dramas with campy titles like Buffy the Vampire Slayer .

Detweiler and Taylor { A Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture -November 1, 2003} argue that Jesus himself set the precedence for ‘shaking things up‛…[he] flipped the script on people’s understanding of power, life, and religion’ (8).

And flipping the script is exactly what Detweiler and Taylor intend to do by claiming that ‚God shines through even the most debased pop cultural products‛ (8). I was skeptical of their claims at first, but as I more fully realize what story it is that I find myself in, I take their words more and more to heart. My experience tells me I must.

Pg 27 – No more guilt, only critical curiosity. This whole person sees striking and moving metaphorical connections between the Bible ’s Gospel and Buffy ’s “good news.” This whole person makes meaning for herself that deepens and enriches her religious, spiritual, and academic experience. She hears a universal tune humming through both obvious and obscure texts.

P221 – Mark 9.15: “As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him” (New American Standard Bible). Wonder, a state in which one wants to learn more about something. The people are amazed by this person, curious about him. They want to know more.

I want to know more even as I believe that Jesus, as God, is infinite. And because he is infinite, he cannot be fully known. To know more is to know that knowing never ends. To know is to seek, to wonder about him, to wonder of him.

This seeking, this wondering is a conversation, a dialogue with truth and love embodied. There is no monologue. Monologues lead to guardianships. Dialogues, however, lead to searches, to journeys, to paths of wonder. Years ago when I was swallowed by intellectual crisis and depression, I could have chosen any one of many paths. But if I had chosen any other journey but the journey of wonder, I may not have ended up here at this moment because wonder gives birth to ever – increasing wisdom.

We also talked about our shared love of J.J. Abrams works, which include the much beloved TV series Alias, Lost  and Fringe.

And there is plenty more to talk about!  We’ll have to have Dr. Tanya back!

Star Wars Day, Disney Way

Original air date: Monday, May 04, 2015

May the fourth be with you! Things have changed since the originally-released, history-making, Star Wars Trilogy. A prequel trilogy came out, and in 2012 the brainchild of George Lucas was adopted by Disney. Disney is known for magic, fantasy, and imagination. Stacy and Malayna will talk about the impact both have had on pop culture, and how we can use what they’ve taught us so far as tools to improve our lives, as we look forward to when The Force Awakens!

Retro Outlaw interprets Princess Leia as the Coppertone girl

Retro Outlaw interprets Leia as the Coppertone girl. Google it!

We must admit, there was a disturbance in The Force as we attempted to present our podcast on May 4th.  Here’s your guide to navigate around the technical difficulties!

We started off with some poor pronunciations of Organisms named after Star Wars characters, which you can find detailed at the link included here.

We discussed a timeline of Star Wars films releases and our memories.  I mentioned that I remembered seeing the original one at The Egyptian (but it may have been Return of the Jedi, actually….).  Stacy thought that I might have been referring to The El Capitan, across from the Chinese Theater, but nope!  Links included to show that we eventually checked our facts!

Aside from a dog barking about 5 minutes in, all was well until we mentioned the documentary The People vs. George Lucas.

The Force responded by kicking us off the air for 2 full minutes.

So skip to 18:00 minutes into the show, when we pointed out the metaphor — the idea that people being upset with the creator of the Star Wars universe is like us shaking our fists at our Creator (God, or whatever name you choose) for something we don’t like about our world.  George Lucas created this whole universe that we all love, and then we got mad at him for what did with his creation.

Han Shot First!

Han Shot First!

Around 24 minutes into the show, another glitch of about 15 or 20 seconds hit us, but we course-corrected and continued to talk about the  Han Shot First issue!  (Shooting who? Greedo!  I was right!  I second guessed myself into thinking I meant Boba Fett.  But I didn’t.  I totally meant Greedo.)

The rest went without a hitch:

Between the 26 and 27-minute mark, we got into the next installment, The Force Awakens, with JJ Abrams directing.  (Click to see a trailer!)

Stacy, as a one time, Star Wars Fan Club member, examines why it had such an impact on her young self:  1) the excitement of living in the unknown of space * Leia as a strong female role model * Technology as our friends – (Wall-E, Big Hero 6 – Androids are our phone friends) * It’s a story about family and reconnection * Embrace others – like Wookies, Ewoks, etc.

Malayna pointed out the Joseph Campbell / Hero with a Thousand Faces connection – mythical language of all human stories, from King Arthur to Beowulf… The Hero’s Journey inspired us all using the same tools. And the book The Writer’s Journey – written by a story consultant at Disney- impresses the importance of these archetypal characters, on a journey we’re all on. Any of our holy books, can be a description of our spirit’s journey through the human experience. These stories are that too – all stories are.

People vs George Lucas 2 – due out later in 2015 – the Disneyfication of Star Wars franchise.  JJ Abrams did a great job with the Star Trek universe.

We looked at the messages of Disney movies, and what we can learn from them if we look.

We talked about the TV show Heroes, which was on NBC and created by Tim Kring.  (Not Disney, not ABC.)

And finally we summed it up that all these stories about princes or princesses are about us – we are all heirs to the kingdom! As such, we have a responsibility to self, community, and environment – to being our best selves, take on that royal role.

Resonate with stories that call us to be better – step into those roles, and use them as tools to inspire!

Inner Mean Girls Tea Party

Original air date: Monday, April 13, 2015
Mean Girl Party

We are so excited to welcome the authors of Reform Your Inner Mean Girl, Amy Ahlers and Christine Arylo to chat with us at Pop Conscious! They’ll share steps to help us stop bullying ourselves and how to get to know our inner mean girls and what they want so we can bring them over from the dark side. Identifying these archetypes for transformation can be creative and fun. Party over here!

Just like we used to have tea parties with our imaginary friends, today on Pop Conscious we’ll host a tea party for our INNER FRENEMIES, our shadow selves, refereed by the authors of Reform Your Inner Mean Girl, Amy Ahlers & Christine Arylo, we’ll learn how to work together for wholeness and happiness.


Inspire instead of torture ourselves with comparisons

The end to outer mean girls has to also include an end to inner mean girls.

… where science & spirituality meet, we find superpower!

Bitstrips are just too fun!

Bitstrips are just too fun!


Malayna your highest scoring Archetype is:

Comparison Queen with a score of 19.

Fixer and Rescuer with a score of: 17

Perfectionist with a score of: 17

Achievement Junkie with a score of: 16

Overly Optimistic, Partying Cheerleader with a score of: 15

Invincible Superwoman with a score of: 14

Good Girl with a score of: 13

Doing Addict with a score of: 12

Mean Girls in movies and TV

  • Mean Girls (2004) – Lindsey Lohan / Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfriend = “The Plastics” (Tina Fey wrote screenplay, was in it with Amy Poehler, and a great “grown up” cast)
  • Heathers (1988) – Winona Ryder + Christian Slater/ Shannon Doherty
  • Easy A (2010) – Emma Stone + Penn Badgely / Amanda Bynes, Cam Gigandet, (Lisa Kudrow, Stanley Tucci, Thomas Haden Church)
  • Never Been Kissed (1999) 0 Drew Barrymore + Michael Vartan/ Jessica Alba “The ones that even as you grow up will remain the most beautiful girls you’ve ever seen close up.”
  • Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion (1997) –
  • Clueless
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • Gossip Girl
  • 90210

“It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.” -Sally Kempton

Attend their Los Angeles book launch event on April 25th!  Find out more at


To Live Long and Prosper

Original air date: Monday, March 09, 2015
Episode Description:
Thanks to Emily's Quotes for this...

Thanks to Emily’s Quotes for this…

This week, as a tribute to the long and fruitful life of Leonard Nimoy, Pop Conscious will discuss the impact of one character, namely Spock, on pop culture, and on fandom. He taught so many of us about the importance of listening to both logic and the heart, and about the true meaning of friendship. What is it about this character and the Star Trek universe that has moved so many to a sort of religious devotion? And is there really any such thing as a final frontier? Listen as Malayna and Stacy, along with team member Michele Coles, take the discussion where no man has gone before!

 Notes that spurred the conversation – which often goes directions we can’t predict…

From CNN

Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock in the re-booted feature film incarnation of “Trek,” is excellent in the role. (Nimoy himself said so.) Quinto must know that however much he brings to the role, he will only be its custodian. Spock is Nimoy. Nimoy is Spock. It is, as Spock himself would intone, only logical.

Nimoy often insisted otherwise, especially as the show went from canceled outcast to global phenomenon. He even wrote a book with the title, “I Am Not Spock” (1977) that was bought by millions of readers who didn’t buy the title for a nanosecond. By 1995, he cried “uncle” by publishing a followup autobiography, “I Am Spock.” In the years before and since, he carried his character’s legacy with the grace and class he exhibited in other areas of his life.

And the life of Leonard Nimoy, irrespective of Spock, was a rich and varied feast. Those two “Spock” books weren’t the only things he’d published. A couple of books of poetry are also credited to him as were a collection of photographs celebrating what he termed “the feminine aspect of God.”

Which reminds me. Nimoy had a hand, so to speak, in creating one of Spock’s most indelible traits: The “live-long-and-prosper” split-finger salute that Nimoy had borrowed from an approximation of the Hebrew letter shin, the first letter in the word Shaddai, one of the Hebrew names for God.

Roddenberry didn’t think of that. Nimoy did. And in doing so made an implausible character as much a part of our waking dreams as members of our own family.

He also directed movies, two of which were part of the “Trek” franchise: 1984’s “The Search for Spock” and 1986’s “The Voyage Home.”

I got to meet him when the latter film opened. It was at a press conference that was part of the promotional junket in Los Angeles and Nimoy was very un-Spock-like in his jocular, freewheeling enthusiasm for the movie (which was, in fact, one of the very best, certainly the warmest, of the big-screen “Trek” iterations.)

TREKKIES – the documentary film – 1997

Not every idea is worth a TV series, and of these only a few are hits, spinning off sequels and eventually movies. Rarest of all is the TV show that somehow reaches beyond mere entertainment, creating some kind of looking-glass in which we see ourselves.

Why this particular show? What meaning has this show had in these people’s lives? What kind of spiritual or psychological impact does it have? Does the show’s message hold some kind of utopian ideal for the future? Does the show somehow create a way for people to feel they “fit in?” How has it inspired real life scientists, doctors, astronauts, and engineers?

The subjects profiled in the documentary span the entire spectrum of fans, from non-uniform wearing doctors, scientists, and teachers to Trek-uniform-wearing Dentists, Jurists, mothers, kids, and others.

  • One was Gabriel Koerner is the fourteen-year-old from Bakersfield, California, who has attended 28 conventions so far. He and his “Star Trek” club are planning to shoot their own “Star Trek” movie. And Gabriel is creating special effects on his home computer that make some of Hollywood’s best work pale by comparison. Now 32 yrs old and a visual effects artist nominated Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects – Series
  • a dentist in Orlando, Florida, who has trademarked the name, “Starbase Dental,” and whose office has a “Star Trek” theme. He, his wife Shelly, and his entire dental staff wear “Star Trek” uniforms while working on their patients.
  • A woman who rarely leaves home without her rank pips, tricorder, phaser, and communicator badge, even appearing for jury duty dressed in uniform.
  • Joyce Mason hosted a radio show called Talk Trek, starting every episode by saying “Hello, Gentle Beings.” Cable Radio Network with nearly 2.5 million listeners from about 1990 to 1998. Both Joyce and her co-host Evelyn de Biase were featured in the documentary Trekkies. She ran the Wm Shatner fan club and helped create his “Wells Fargo Hollywood Charity Horse Show” which William Shatner runs each year.
  • David, Laurel, and Tammi (their poodle) Greenstein, of Woodland Hills, California share a love of “Star Trek.” David wears his Starfleet uniform on a regular basis, and has a house full of “Star Trek” memorabilia. He is so enamored of the Vulcan approach to life, he has even considered plastic surgery to give his ears Vulcan-shaped points.

Toward a Rhetoric of Scholar-Fandom – TANYA R. COCHRAN

Office of Graduate Studies

College of Arts and Sciences

Georgia State University

December 2009

Trekkies and Joss Whedon fans!


The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have. – Leonard Nimoy

That is the exploration that awaits you! Not mapping stars and studying nebula, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence. – Leonard Nimoy

I’m touched by the idea that when we do things that are useful and helpful – collecting these shards of spirituality – that we may be helping to bring about a healing. – Leonard Nimoy

Spock is definitely one of my best friends. When I put on those ears, it’s not like just another day. When I become Spock, that day becomes something special. – Leonard Nimoy

My folks came to U.S. as immigrants, aliens, and became citizens. I was born in Boston, a citizen, went to Hollywood and became an alien. – Leonard Nimoy

My dream concept is that I have a camera and I am trying to photograph what is essentially invisible. And every once in a while I get a glimpse of her and I grab that picture. – Leonard Nimoy

My wife and I are affiliated with a temple here in Los Angeles. We feel very close to the congregation and to the rabbi, who happens to be my wife’s cousin and who I admire greatly. I talk to him regularly but I consider myself more spiritual than religious. – Leonard Nimoy

You know, for a long time I have been of the opinion that artists don’t necessarily know what they’re doing. You don’t necessarily know what kind of universal concept you’re tapping into. – Leonard Nimoy

Other times, you’re doing some piece of work and suddenly you get feedback that tells you that you have touched something that is very alive in the cosmos. – Leonard Nimoy


“We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.” – Gene Roddenberry

“If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.” – Gene Roddenberry

“I handed them a script and they turned it down. It was too controversial. It talked about concepts like, ‘Who is God?’ The Enterprise meets God in space; God is a life form, and I wanted to suggest that there may have been, at one time in the human beginning, an alien entity that early man believed was God, and kept those legends. But I also wanted to suggest that it might have been as much the Devil as it was God. After all, what kind of god would throw humans out of Paradise for eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. One of the Vulcans on board, in a very logical way, says, ‘If this is your God, he’s not very impressive. He’s got so many psychological problems; he’s so insecure. He demands worship every seven days. He goes out and creates faulty humans and then blames them for his own mistakes. He’s a pretty poor excuse for a supreme being.” ― Gene Roddenberry

“Ancient astronauts didn’t build the pyramids. Human beings built the pyramids, because they’re clever and they work hard.” ― Gene Roddenberry

The Upside of Bad Guys

Original air date: Monday, January 26, 2015

Criminal acts change our lives with ever-increasing security measures, and crime dramas are highly successful—throughout the history of mass media. What can we learn about our culture, our beliefs, and ourselves as we look at “bad guys” and those who bring them to justice? Are there laws that cannot be broken?

The above video included some great ones, and we came up with many more!  Listen now! and learn!

Malayna’s pre-show notes:

Talking about cyber security with a volunteer at church, they mentioned that the steps we take will only work until another criminal figures out a way around them. And I thought that hackers and the like are don’t accept social boundaries, looking for ways around them. And are people who already think outside the box. They push our boundaries. So there’s something positive about criminals!

EW Oscar special double issue – Oscar nominations by character profession – “It’s better to be bad” – Lawbreakers steal more nods than cops and detectives combined. But good guys are more likely to win. 69 nominations over 87 years, 11 wins. (Crime fighters were only nominated 16 times, but had 7 wins.)

From Allison Leotta:   – 17 June, 2012

For twelve years, Allison Leotta was a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. … she now writes legal thrillers, for which she has been dubbed “the female John Grisham.” Her goal is for John Grisham to be dubbed “the male Allison Leotta.”

Allison is also a contributor to the Huffington Post, where she reality-checks TV crime dramas like Law & Order: SVU. Her own blog, The Prime-Time Crime Review, was named one of the best legal blogs in America by the American Bar Association. Allison has provided legal commentary for outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, PBS, and Reuters TV. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Mystery Writers of America.

A graduate of Michigan State University and Harvard Law School, Allison lives outside of Washington, D.C., with her husband, Michael Leotta, and their two sons.

Now that I write about crimes instead of prosecuting them, I’ve been wondering: why are TV crime dramas so addictive? Why are we fascinated with them?


We love TV crime dramas because they play on (and relieve) our FEAR.

I think there’s a primal fear we all have, rooted deep in our lizard brains.We need to see good triumph over the bad in the world. We want to know society will stop those darker impulses. The murderer will be caught, the criminals will be held responsible. We want to see justice.

Crime dramas channel our ANGER.

There’s a famous saying: Bad men do what good men dream.

There’s a need to explore the dark side of our nature, to figure out what could make us so angry that we’d break from the restraints of civilized society, years of our mothers telling us to treat others the way we want to be treated. We wonder what the consequences would be. We both fantasize about this and fear this.

They express our LOVE.

Many of the best crime stories are also love stories. At the heart of many murder mysteries is the intersection of love and hate. Murder is often about intense emotions, and nothing makes emotions more intense than interacting with the people closest to you. The first story in the Bible is about Adam and Eve, and in many ways it’s a love story. And yet it wasn’t long before we heard about the first murder: brothers Cain and Abel.

Often, the killer is someone very close to the victim: a spouse, lover, sibling, relative, or friend.

As a prosecutor of sex crimes and domestic violence in D.C. I saw this all the time. It inspired my first book, Law of Attraction. We would do anything to protect the ones we love. Or we want to kill them.

The best crime dramas have great CHARACTERS.

Of course, at the heart of any great detective story are wonderful characters.

Heroes: someone who will right the wrongs, who won’t let us down. Men and women with a deep commitment to justice, to finding the truth.

Villains: someone worthy of our hero’s attention, who could really screw up the world if he gets away with his evil plan. But these heroes and villains can’t be one-dimensional.

What we really love are complicated characters. Flawed heroes. Appealing villains. Here are a few of my favorite.

  • Sherlock Holmes – We all love his amazing powers of deduction, his dedication, his intelligence. But he’s prone to extreme isolation and intense distrust of women, and he habitually uses cocaine and morphine.

In recent years, we’ve seen the development of the Antihero at the center of a crime drama:

  • Dexter – This is dark vigilante justice.
  • Walter White / Breaking Bad – After learning he has cancer, a high school chemistry teacher turns to using his expertise in chemistry to provide a legacy for his family – by producing the world’s highest quality crystal meth.

Crime dramas TEACH us.

The best crime dramas teach us about how our criminal justice system works — and how it doesn’t. They show us what the legal process is really like, the rules we’re all operating under. And they give us a glimpse of modern technology and know-how.

  • The Wire – This is the most realistic TV crime drama. It covered crime in Baltimore, especially the drug trade, and the techniques the police used to fight it. The show was so realistic, it was reported that criminals watched it to get tips on avoiding police detection.
  • Criminal Minds – An elite group of psychological profilers analyze the nation’s most dangerous criminal minds in an effort to anticipate their next moves before they strike again.
  • Bones – Solving crimes using forensic science, especially cold cases, where the main evidence is the bones of the victim.
  • Law & Order: SVU – SVU is great at doing ripped-from-the-headlines cases, and often shines a light on dark subjects. The episodes get people talking about taboo subjects, and may encourage other victims of similar crimes to come forward.
  • CSI – An elite team of police forensic evidence experts work their cases in Las Vegas, employing unbelievable science. I say unbelievable in the most literal sense. This is one of the most problematic shows, from my perspective as a prosecutor. More on that later.

TV crime dramas are FUN.

SVU had episodes last season featuring gypsy encampments, body modification, and vigilante justice doled out by regular Joes wearing superhero costumes. ..a lot more interesting than some of the real day-to-day work of prosecutors…

I HATE THEM When they’re fake.

You won’t get fingerprints off that gun.

Police stations don’t have huge plasma screen TVs

The bad guy will never confess with his lawyer sitting right there.

Other notes

Women may be drawn to ‘bad boys’, who demonstrate confidence, stubbornness, and risk-taking tendencies.

“The world needs villains so there can be heroes,” claims Netflix promotion for the BBC show “Happy Valley.” Can that be true? Does the world really need villainy or can heroism exist apart from it?

Why Do Supervillains Fascinate Us? A Psychological Perspective

By Travis Langley  07.27.12

From a psychological perspective, views vary on what drives our enduring interest in superhuman bad guys.

Shadow confrontation: Psychiatrist Carl Jung believed we need to confront and understand our own hidden nature to grow as human beings. Healthy confrontation with our shadow selves can unearth new strengths (e.g., Bruce Wayne creating his Dark Knight persona to fight crime), whereas unhealthy attempts at confrontation may involve dwelling on or unleashing the worst parts of ourselves (as the Joker tries to get Batman and Harvey Dent to do in The Dark Knight).

Wish fulfillment: Sigmund Freud viewed human nature as inherently antisocial, biologically driven by the undisciplined id’s pleasure principle to get what we want when we want it — born to be bad but held back by society. Even if the psyche fully develops its ego (source of self-control) and superego (conscience), Freudians say the id still dwells underneath, and it wishes for many selfish things — so it would love to be supervillainous.

Hierarchy of needs: Humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow held that people who haven’t met their most basic needs will have difficulty maturing. If starved for food, you’re unlikely to feel secure. If starved for love and companionship, you’ll have trouble building self-esteem. People who dwell on their deficits may envy and resent others who have more than they do. Some people who are unable to overcome social shortcomings fantasize about obtaining any means, good or bad, to satisfy every need and greed.

Conditioning: Ivan Pavlov would say we can learn to associate supervillains with other things we value — like entertainment, strength, freedom or the heroes themselves. Behaviorist B.F. Skinner would likely argue that we can find it reinforcing to watch or read about supervillains, but without knowing what’s reinforcing about them, that’s a bit like saying it’s rewarding because it’s rewarding.

Our Motivations for Seeking Out Supervillains

Throughout history, humans have been captivated by stories of heroes facing off against superhuman foes. But what specific rewards, needs, wishes and dark dreams do supervillains satisfy?

Click the link above for the entire article — it rocks!




Blaming victims

Better villain than victim

Better villain equals better hero

Facing our fears

Exploring the unknown

From TV

The bad guys. The mad scientists, the cruel executives, the evil witches and wizards, the corrupt politicians, the mortal aspects of pure evil, and, more often than not, the people (or otherwise) that instigate the conflict and the story.

Despite how one is supposed to cheer for the hero to succeed, there has always been a long standing interest in the villains. Some are renowned for their intelligence and cunning Evil Plan, others are awe-inspiring with simply how evil they can be, and yet others are respected because of their determination. No matter how many times the hero kicks in the door and stops their plans, they’re always back at it soon enough, with another dark scheme to further their evil goals. On the other hand, not all villains can achieve that secret admiration.

It is said a hero is only as good as their enemies. Thus, a good story has to have a well-written villain, somebody that earns respect. After all, what is a hero without a villain to challenge them?

What We Can Learn from Walter White — and TV’s Other Bad Men

By Carly Milne for ESQUIRE on August 27, 2013

Back in the day when there were only three networks and you had to get up to turn the channel, TV’s manly men were a far different breed. Male virtues were often espoused through heroes saving the day in Wild West tales, saving the world as a covert super spy, or sometimes just saving baby birds in Mayberry. But as TV has evolved, so too have the characters from whom we’ve been learning lessons of masculinity.

Probably the most blatant example of this shift in consciousness comes from Breaking Bad, home of Bryan Cranston’s masterful performance as Walter White — a man who turns to cooking meth to support his family when it’s suspected he won’t live through his cancer diagnosis.

Walt was once a dedicated family man who was determined to support his dependents — even if it meant becoming a drug kingpin.

  • THE MAN: Sterling Archer from Archer
  • THE LESSON: The importance of self-care.
  • Sterling Archer does is what so few in TV land do — puts his needs first to take care of himself so that he’s capable of saving the world while everyone else is focused on each other’s drama.


  • THE MAN: Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy
  • THE LESSON: Making amoral decisions for moral reasons.


  • THE MAN: Cullen Bohannon from Hell on Wheels (AMC Civil War drama)
  • THE LESSON: Stand your ground, come hell or high water.

Looking Back, Looking Forward


Listen to this episode NOW, whether Looking Back or Looking Forward! 

Or download the podcast from iTunes

Original air date: Monday, January 12, 2015
Episode Description:

Looking back at the history of Hollywood has been a source of inspiration for us at Pop Conscious, so join in on our discussion about our recent outing to the Hollywood Costumes Exhibition at the Oscar Museum. We’ll play the prediction game, Unity-style, and affirmatively declare what we would like to see more of in pop culture and entertainment in 2015. Join us in shaping our collective future!

Malayna’s Pre-Show Notes:  LISTEN to hear how the conversation REALLY went!  (Especially the part about Jesus Versus the Aliens!)

The Inspiration cycle – an artist is inspired –> inspires others to help create and market –> inspires the audience –> who are inspired to create!


Hollywood Costumes Exhibition at the Oscar Museum – #Hollywood Costume

  • Mary Poppins, Indiana Jones, royalty: Shakespeare in Love, Marie Antoinette,
  • Birds, Django Unchained, Sweeney Todd
  • Cleopatras, Superheroes, Darth Vader, Meryl Streep
  • Titanic, Moulin Rouge, Marilyn Monroe, Wizard of Oz shoes

As You Wish book by Cary Elwes – Heart is the magic ingredient

Downton Abbey ornaments exchanged at Christmas

NEWish shows I checked out and wanna see more like them:

  • Agent Carter – 1940’s capable woman agent, after Capt American disappears,
  • Scorpion – geniuses solve real word, real-world problems
  • Elementary –
  • Galavant – Timothy Omundson (Psych) – saw him at the Magic Castle (built 1908)



  • Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media – – You have the power to change the face of children’s programming. With your help, if she can see it, she can be it. Your donation will further our research efforts and fund continuing curriculum development for young children.
    • “In a World” – Lake Bell
    • 2015: The year women take back tech
    • Hedy Lamarr – Invention of Spread Spectrum Technology –

Although better known as an actress, she was also an inventor and a pioneer in the field of wireless communications, along with co-inventor George Anthiel, she developed a “Secret Communications System” to help combat the Nazis in World War II. Lamarr and Anthiel received a patent in 1941, but the enormous significance of their invention was not realized until decades later. It was first implemented on naval ships during the Cuban Missile Crisis and subsequently emerged in numerous military applications. But most importantly, the “spread spectrum” technology that Lamarr helped to invent would galvanize the digital communications boom, forming the technical backbone that makes cellular phones, fax machines and other wireless operations possible.

  • BFF’s have it all
    • Tina Fey & Amy Poehler should play us in a new movie.
    • Bentonville Film Festival – Celebrating Women and Diversity in Film is First to Guarantee Theatrical, Television, Digital and Retail Home Entertainment Distribution for Winning Films – Geena Davis : “my message is to look at the world of the movie and make whatever you were already going to make, already planning to write — maybe it’s already written — but before you cast it, go through and change a bunch of first names to women, figure out where you can add characters of diversity and, bam, you’ve really improved the film and broadened the audience and probably made it much more interesting than it was in the first place.
  • Shift from lowest common denominator to highest we can reach – celebrating the strength and power within each of us, the heart and the beauty, and not the worst of us. What Oprah did for daytime talk shows, everyone in entertainment can do for whatever media they use.   Let’s use pop culture to harness what people are naturally drawn toward and raise them up.

Things We’re Bringing Back

Original air date: Monday, November 03, 2014
Episode Description:

While Malayna and Stacy were busy celebrating bringing things back to life, they thought this would be a good time to look at other things that have been brought back. Remakes of popular films and TV series, fashions from the past, reboots and retooled fan favorites and mash-ups. Is everything old new again? Should it be? We’ll discuss and see if we can find new ways to look at it!

Connection, Oneness, spirits, animals, nature, each other


  • Back to Life (Back to Reality) – Soul II Soul
  • Bring it Back, Sing it Back – Moloko
  • Evanescence – Bring Me To Life – “Wake me up inside”

Justin Timberlake already brought Sexy back in 2006, so that’s not on us.

My Bonnie – traditional Scottish folk song, and connects to OUTLANDER!

The origin of the song is often suggested that the subject of the song may be Charles Edward Stuart (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’):[1] after the defeat of the Prince at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 and his subsequent exile, his Jacobite supporters could have sung the tune in his honour; and thanks to the ambiguity of the term “bonnie”, which can refer to a woman as well as to a man, they could pretend it was a love song.

Bring Back:

Paid Vacation Time! – The US is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee any paid vacation days. It’s time for change.

Vacation Equality Project.  or tweet #vacationequality

Community – Rev. Kristin Powell (Soulstream) mentioned So Cal not feeling like a sense of community. Never snowed in! Rock the Vote – talk to your neighbors!

Music Empowers Foundation – and art as basic education

Renaissance People – educate, explore other fields

Respect, compassion,


Handwritten notes

Read the rest of this entry

Openness + Oneness = Vulnerability


Listen Now in our Unity Online Radio Archives or from iTunes

Original air date: Monday, October 20, 2014

With Contagious Optimism Live and two Uniteen events, Malayna and Stacy have been on a bit of a spiritual high, with hearts wide open to Oneness.  But with all our walls down, vulnerability is inevitable.  So this week, join Pop Conscious in exploring how being vulnerability is an essential part to any heartfelt story, we’ll find courage from the Hero’s Journey to support us as we walk our own paths consciously.

Malayna’s Notes — from before the show.  You’ll have to listen to hear where it went in reality!

Contagious Optimism – videos on YouTube Smile TV Group

Harold Payne – Trust and Vulnerability song he created for us –

Share from Contagious Optimism Program – esp: Sekou, Tim Harris, Kathy Buckley,

Grey’s Anatomy – I love voice over narrations! (Sex & the City, Twilight movies) – most recent –

On an operating table, a person is at his most vulnerable. Naked, exposed. Skin is not a very tough armor. It’s soft, easily broken.…

Surgeons are bred to be invulnerable. It’s very hard to lay ourselves spare because we know how deep some injuries can go. But vulnerability isn’t the opposite of strength. It’s a necessary part. We have to force ourselves to open up, to expose ourselves, to offer up everything we have and just pray that it’s good enough. Otherwise we’ll never succeed.

– Meredith Grey (Season11, Ep.3-Got To Be Real)

A few episodes ago…

There can be beauty in getting lost. Sometimes we have to get lost to find each other and sometimes we find each other, only to get lost all over again. We can’t always control it, the thing that’s going to set you adrift. And as you stand there on your front porch staring at the life you are about to leave behind, you have to accept it’s gone, it’s lost. Just like you. All you can do now is stand very still, breathe in the moment and try to be open to wherever the wind’s going to take you next.

– Meredith Grey (Season11, Ep. 1-I Must Have Lost It on the Wind)


Harry Potter – had to be willing to die…

Hero’s Journey – little deaths

Brene Brown – research professor on a range of topics, including vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. She is the author of two #1 New York Times Bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection (2010) and Daring Greatly (2012). She and her work have been featured on PBS, NPR, TED, and CNN.[2][3]

Her TED talk went viral: Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability – 2.5 million views

She’s in the top 20 of TED Talks –

  • Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity? – 7 million
  • Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are – 4.8 million
  • Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight – 2.9 million
  • Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius – 1.9 million
  • Colin Stokes: The hidden meanings in kids’ movies – 1.9 million
    • Watching “The Wizard of Oz” and “Star Wars” with his son and daughter made communications expert Colin Stokes wonder about the stories we celebrate. Thanks to a growing awareness of gender representation, the world is now safe for girls in armor – but is the hero journey we’ve gotten used to inherently limiting? This funny and thought-provoking talk from TEDxBeaconStreet will make you look twice at your favorite films.


In 2011, Spider-Man co-creator and former Marvel president, Stan Lee launched his first Indian superhero, Chakra the Invincible, and now three years later, he’s actively developing a film version to bring the character to life in the world’s largest film industry, Bollywood. The project is being co-developed by Lee‘s POW! Entertainment and the Indian character entertainment company Graphic India with meetings currently taking place between the production companies and several leading Bollywood directors, producers, and writers.

The original comics series centers on Raju Rai, a tech genius living in Mumbai, who in an attempt to unlock the secrets of human potential, develops a technically-enhanced suit that activates the mystical Chakras of the body and unleashes newfound abilities and powers. The film version would focus on a grown-up version of the character going up against his arch-enemy, Boss Yama.

This also wouldn’t be Bollywood’s first attempt at the superhero genre as in recent years they’ve seen the likes of 2011’s Ra.One, which starred and was produced by international megastar Shahrukh Khan, and the long-running Krrish trilogy (2003-2013), which stars Hrithik Roshan. Both proved to be huge international successes at the box office.

Crazy for Comic Con


Listen NOW to the madness and the magic in our archives on Unity Online Radio!

So excited! On Monday we were  joined by our friend Lucky Yates (@luckyyates), AKA Dr. Krieger on “Archer”, fresh from Comic Con to help us learn why we’re all so Crazy for Comic Con! We wish he was wearing a t-shirt with our logo there. Maybe next year! 

Show topic:

Crazy for Comic Con
Why is Comic Con so awesome? We’ll take a Pop Conscious look with our friend Lucky Yates, the voice actor known as Doctor Krieger on the animated series “Archer”! Stacy and Malayna met Lucky at the International Youth of Unity Conference back in the day, so join us as we examine how Comic Con has become a religious experience of pop culture power.


Lucky YatesDr Krieger from Archer Fan SiteProm with Lucky and Stacy

Above, Lucky and Stacy dodging the paparazzi on the way to prom, while Stacy wears Barbie’s dress!


What we learned: Comic Con is a great place to let your freak flag fly and know you’ll be celebrated for being fully who you want to be!

Kids who were part of the Youth of Unity got to experience that as well.  And it has impacted our lives positively!


Pre-Show Notes:

For a more thorough wrap of Comic Con, read Charlie Jane Anders’ article on entitled: Comic-Con Wrap-Up: The Shiniest Things We Saw In San Diego!