In this week’s episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil debate the dissolution of the Jolie-Pitt marriage, the price of EpiPens, and Dr. Oz and medical entertainment.
Dissolution of Brangelina
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, famously known as Brangelina, have announced they are divorcing. Neil argued Angelina Jolie’s public remaking as mother and humanitarian repeated a common pattern for actresses in the history of Hollywood, like Loretta Young. Natalia remembered W Magazine’s 2005 issue that officially introduced the couple to the world with a photospread of them as members of an unhappy 1960s suburban family, and recommended the celebrity gossip historian Anne Helen Peterson’s writings on Brangelina. Niki responded to those who have argued Brangelina were the last great Hollywood couple.
Price of EpiPens
EpiPens now cost $600, an increase of more than 500% since 2009. Natalia noted some had argued during Congressional hearings on EpiPens that pharmaceuticals ought to be under price controls like utilities. Niki discussed a 1905-06 Collier’s Magazine article series, “The Great American Fraud,” that examined the patent medicine business and led to the creation of the Food and Drug Administration. Neil shared how EpiPen’s technology had military origins.
Dr. Mehmet Oz has been called “America’s Doctor,” but his many critics call him a huckster and a quack. Natalia recommended the New Yorker’s 2013 profile of Dr. Oz. Niki connected Dr. Oz to the history of medical quackery.