Hello and welcome to another episode of the Well That’s Cool podcast! One of the things about this podcast’s origin was I didn’t really know what it was going to become. I started the show as a way to talk with cool people doing cool things during the pandemic. As the fall and winter of 2020 came around, things naturally evolved into a Zoom book club, a monthly chance for me to talk with authors, poets, and people working in the literary sphere. Let’s face it, those people are cool, and they’re pretty decent at communicating, since it is their day job. I hosted five club meetings and was very happy to have a small but mighty regular virtual audience join me, making the episode recordings both a fun time with friends and a cool way to keep the podcast going. As we’re heading towards one year living with this pandemic, and one year since I started this podcast, and with the temperature rising and people starting to find ways to live a bit more normally again, I’ve started thinking about wrapping up Season 1 and taking a break from the Well That’s Cool idea. We’ve had some great book club meetings, and they were – I hope – a useful and fulfilling activity for both the attendees and you listeners during the dark winter months. To wrap up Season 1, I decided to have one more conversation with an author, this time with someone who spends his time satirizing my very family history. If you listened to some of my earlier episodes you’ll know I spent a few weeks in 2019 traveling to Scotland to find out more about my mom’s side of the family tree. Well, part of my dad’s are Mennonites, coming to Canada most recently from the Ukraine, or what was then the Russian Empire, and going further back through Prussia and the Netherlands. I was also raised attending a Mennonite church and I have many Mennonite friends across Canada and the US, so it’s been an important identifier for me growing up, maybe even more ingrained than my interest in and connection with Scottish history that started a few years ago.For my guest on this episode, Andrew Unger, author of Once Removed and the man behind the website The Daily Bonnet, satirizing Mennonites comes from a deep family and personal connection to the Mennonite experience as well. His writing features more Mennonite references than I can catch, his subjects cover all aspects of Mennonite life through the ages and into today. Using that Mennonite history and culture that shaped his perspective of the world as a lens to look back on Mennonites and look at the outside world provides him with ample material to draw on, and a great opportunity to share a chuckle with Mennonites – and everyone else – along the way.In our conversation, we explore Mennonite history and culture, how to write (and teach) satire, just why his character Timothy Heppner is fighting to preserve heritage, and how articles about Mennonite sex positions are not as controversial as you may think!My thanks to Andrew Unger for talking with me about all things Mennonite, as well as his writing and approach to satire. I really enjoyed both my conversation and his novel Once Removed as a way to connect with and laugh alongside a part of my family story and my own identity. As Andrew mentioned, you can find his work at AndrewUnger.com or at dailybonnet.com.Now I said off the top that this interview was going to wrap up Season 1, but I actually have one more special episode left, which will drop on the one year anniversary of the first lockdown restrictions coming into effect here in Alberta. The first case was reported on March 5th, but on March 17, when total cases had already reached 97, the province declared a state of public health emergency. You know the rest of the story, it’s been a year to remember since then, or a year to forget I guess. At times it feels like the longest year, and at times I am amazed that a full year has already passed. To…commemorate? Acknowledge? I dunno, on the one-year anniversary of these restrictions, I’ll release the season-ending bonus episode. I’m going to talk with someone from right here in Edmonton who spent a good chunk of this winter in Europe, doing some pretty amazing things with large groups of other people. It’s getting back to the podcast’s roots: talking with cool people doing cool things, and I think the difference from our lives this year will be an interesting one. So watch for that episode coming next week and find out who did what!Thanks as always to Ron Yamauchi for the theme tune and to Anna Schroeder of Annather Design for the cool podcast logo, check out her work at annatherdesign.com. Other music heard during this episode and all the other podcast stuff is done by me, Ben Fast.Don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts! And as we count down the days of final week of people experiencing first-time pandemic birthdays, stay well, and happy isolation reading!
"U Talk Ep 11 - Andrew Unger." Released December 2020 What is a Mennonite? Andrew Unger is the creator of The Daily Bonnet, a satirical website that breaks down Mennonite culture and life. He recently had a book published, called “Once removed, a humorous book about Mennonites which explores the real costs of "progress." Andrew shares The Plautdietsch Code: Knacking the Mystery of Mennonites. (A little bit of Mennonite wordplay.) Music: Sergey Borovkov - Space Battlestar Galaxy by Tunguska Electronic Music Society
Our very own Andrew Unger speaks about the effectiveness of a Rule of Life in helping students make formational practices a part of everyday life. This is a recording of a breakout session from the 2019 Anglican Youth Ministers Gathering in Wheaton, IL.