Combs-Port Interview

Chris Combs and Daniel Port interviewed me recently on my life and work, as well as my thoughts about cinema as an art medium and on specific films they asked about because they’re my recommendations in my video store (like Pulp Fiction, the Cohen Brothers, my taste in teen films and romantic comedies), and various other related topics (from William Lane Craig to Jesus, philosophy, racism, the Coast Guard, and 80s movies and arcade games). It’s mostly me just rambling on about myself and my thoughts about things as they asked me to do. There was some sound editing that I think removed or compressed some breath pauses, so it sounds a little more frantic than it actually was when we recorded. It’s almost an hour long, and it kind of sounds a lot like an NPR radio interview. If you’re interested, the audio is here on YouTube.


  1. Uncle Ebeneezer says

    Interesting movie/tv list. But how is HBO’s “Rome” not on your list??? It’s fantastic (if you haven’t seen it.) I’d be curious to know how it looks from a scholarly perspective. Also, big applause for having “Frontier House” on there. My wife absolutely adores that show, and I found it pretty interesting as well. In a similar vein (technology/history) you should check out the old James Burke series “Connections” and “The Day The Universe Changed” if you haven’t already. Both are on youtube. Pretty dated (early 80’s) but still a very cool approach to history.

    • says

      That’s a very good question, because I’m a historian of Rome, and generally that series achieves satisfactory technical accuracy.

      The answer: I don’t like any of the characters in it. Not one of them is heroic or admirable, or even really all that interesting. So I saw found enjoyment or point in watching the series. Maybe it got better after I gave up on it. But one shouldn’t have to wait that long. Artistic fail.

      In a sense that also offended me as a historian, since it perpetuates the stereotype that ancient times were all backstabbing and politicking and dickheadedness and arrogance and plotting, when in reality most people were reasonably nice (though mired in a system of bigotries and false beliefs) and there were a lot of impressively likable (even if flawed) people.

      If you want an idea of how to do ancient Rome right, see Agora. (Which I can’t believe I didn’t already have in my recommended videos list; remedied. Also: warning, danger of balling your eyes out at the end.)

      NB, it’s as a historian of technology especially that I loved Frontier House, as well as its honesty in production and its educational rather than commercial goals, two rarities for reality shows. Indeed, the tech everyone was reduced to in that show is not unlike the tech available during the High Roman Empire, even the consequences of the railroad they depict reflect the impressive commercial expansion of transported goods by ship and cart; only a few things are disanalogous, like guns and eventually barbed wire, but even those arguably had analogs.