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Quite Useless

18 EpisodesProduced by Greg BeamWebsite

A podcast about art and its role in our lives. Artist and armchair aesthetic philosopher Greg Beam probes various topics in the arts, asking how art both reflects and shapes our perceptions of the world.

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Platonic Irony | The Republic, Part IV

February 5th, 2021


What if everything you thought you knew about Plato's Republic... was wrong?

Another Name for Chaos | The Republic, Part III

November 10th, 2020


An exploration of the art of philosophy, starring Plato, Simone de Beauvoir, Zhuang Zhou, Soren Kierkegaard, Diogenes of Sinope, Audre Lorde, and more!

This is the third in a four-part series inspired by Plato's …

American Myths

August 31st, 2020


Joseph Campbell was a proponent of the power of myth in framing human life. But in America in the 21st Century, what myths do we have to live by?

Well... there's always Star Wars...

Madmen | The Republic, Part II

November 26th, 2019


Antonin Artaud was a self-described 'madman' and persistent failure in the theatre... He was also one of the great artistic geniuses of the 20th Century.

Raising the Curtain, Lifting the Veil | The Republic, Part I

September 23rd, 2019


Bertolt Brecht was the force behind some of the most popular and influential theater of the 20th Century. But he didn't make plays to entertain. He …

Angels & Demons

March 10th, 2019


What lies at the intersection of art and commerce? Is it possible for these two categories of human endeavor to get along, or are they like cats and dogs, fated to engage in an endless struggle for dominance? (Okay, not …

The Use of the Useless

February 9th, 2019


For the first episode of season two, I examine what the experience of creating and contemplating art does for us at the deepest level. A dip into the philosophy of art with some help from Tao master Zhuangzi, Thomas …

PREVIEW - The Use of the Useless

February 5th, 2019


Season 2 of Quite Useless is on its way! Here's a sneak peek at the first episode, in which I take a few steps in the direction of a general theory of art (and arts education), with reference to Zhuangzi, Thomas Merton, …

Choices | In the Waiting Room | Appetite for Distraction

March 27th, 2018


The Hero's Journey, as described by Joseph Campbell, is one of the most influential ideas in modern storytelling. Every Hero's Journey starts with a call to adventure.

But what happens when the call is confusing or …


February 26th, 2018


Why should the idea of a person having sex with a dead chicken bother us? And what insight can films like Deliverance, Indecent Proposal, and …

Boundaries Preview

February 19th, 2018


After a bit of a delay, Episode 6: Boundaries, will be landing soon. In this episode, we wade into some of the murkiest terrain in modern moral philosophy, seen through the lens of movies. Forget your grandparents' …


December 18th, 2017


Screenwriter Charlie Kaufmann couldn't figure out how to tell the story he was trying to tell... until he figured out how to frame it.

A story about …

The Rambo Effect | Heroes Part II

November 15th, 2017


First Blood, the first installment in the iconic Rambo franchise, was released 35 years ago this fall. In this episode, I take a look at how the …

What Dies Hardest | Heroes Part I

November 15th, 2017


Eric Poulin, host of the political podcast The People's Soapbox, takes a look at the classic 1988 action movie Die Hard, asking what its development …


October 25th, 2017


What do Anton Chekhov, Dr. Seuss, and Bruce Springsteen have in common (aside from similar haircuts)? Their work has been misunderstood and misconstrued--whether they knew it or not. Episode two kicks off a four-episode …

Long Arcs

October 4th, 2017


For our first episode, we zoom out to look at the long arcs of artistic expression.

Bring to mind a painting. Then bring to mind a piece of instrumental music. Chances are, the painting depicts something in the world, …

Long Arcs Bonus Material

October 4th, 2017


An extended cut of my interview with Melissa Warak. Professor Warak shares a lot of cool information and insight about the history of art and music, …

Episode Two Preview

August 2nd, 2017


When it comes to art, everything is a matter of interpretation--and misinterpretations come with the territory. But it's a question of taste and temperament how these misinterpretations are dealt with...

This snippet …

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