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Ken and Robin Consume Media: We Did Not Have To Coordinate to Make It Adrienne Mayor Week

June 20th, 2017 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.

Oh, and while we’re talking media consumption, you might be interested to hear that the Kickstarter for Robin’s The Yellow King Roleplaying Game launches tomorrow night, Wednesday June 21st, at 8 pm.


Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World (Nonfiction, Adrienne Mayor, 2014) Combining classics, history, archaeology, and anthropology, Mayor advances on the Amazons across a broad front. Centering on the historical Scythian warrior women but reaching across the steppes both to modern eagle huntresses in Kazakhstan and to mythological armies besieging Athens, this should be anybody’s first (and almost anybody’s finest) resource on Wonder Woman’s iconic ancestresses. –KH

Beirut Noir (Fiction, ed Iman Humaydan, 2015) Character vignettes of trauma and yearning for escape predominate in short stories that paint a composite portrait of a city still devastated by war. Well-selected anthology of literary fiction culled from writers working in English, French, and Arabic. Gotta call BS on the misleading packaging though: this has nothing whatsoever to do with noir and only a couple of pieces that so much as nod to the crime genre.—RDL

Oh Hello on Broadway (Television, Netflix, Michael John Warren and Alex Timbers, 2017) Longtime NYC roommates and George St Geegland (John Mulaney) and Gil Faizon (Nick Kroll) put on a play loosely based on their own unearned grandiosity, plus tuna pranks. Mulaney and Kroll spin sketch characters into new stratospheres of eccentricity. Filmed live theater usually dies on screen but Warren shows how to do it right, by shooting it like a comedy special.—RDL

The Poison King (Nonfiction, Adrienne Mayor, 2009) Historical biography of Mithradates, the alternately generous and brutal Anatolian monarch who waged multiple wars against the hated Romans and set up a toxicology lab to immunize himself from the number one cause of death among ancient royals. Scholarship and storytelling fight alongside one another like the comrades they ought to be in an account laden with enough brilliant detail to launch a dozen KARTAS segments.—RDL

Thirst For Love (Film, Japan, Koreyoshi Kurahara, 1967) High-strung widow carries on an affair with her late husband’s stern father while lusting after the family’s hot but lunkheaded young gardener. Cross  A Doll’s House with Lady Chatterly’s Lover and add experimental flourishes and a touch of arterial spray and you’ve got this icy melodrama. Kurahara withholds sympathy for the protagonist until the very last moments, but those moments pay it off, making this one of those films that works better in retrospect than when you’re watching it.—RDL


The World Atlas of Pirates (Nonfiction, Angus Konstam, 2009) Indefatigable pirate-ologist Konstam returns with a sound, broad primer on the topic, ranging from the Sea Peoples to Somalia but with most of the attention of course on the 1560-1720 Caribbean. The sumptuous illustrations partially compensate for the relatively few and low-bandwidth maps, and even the most devoted student of the topic will find new nuggets of information while kvetching about the absence of their favorite obscure sea rovers. (There’s nothing on the Zambos Mosquitos of the 18th-century Nicaraguan coast, just saying.) –KH

One Response to “Ken and Robin Consume Media: We Did Not Have To Coordinate to Make It Adrienne Mayor Week”

  1. Tim Emrick says:

    “Amazons” sounds like a must-have for me. I’ve only been running a solo game featuring Amazons for my wife for 10 years (as of next month). Onto the Amazon (what else?) wish list it goes!

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