Sportscaster Dave Revsine (Big 10 Network) Joins Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast to Discuss the Role of Sports in Pop Culture

How is spectator sports different from other types of entertainment? Dave Revsine (lead studio host for the Big Ten Network and former ESPN anchor) joins your hosts Mark Linsenmayer, Erica Spyres, and Brian Hirt to discuss the various sources of appeal, team identification, existing in a sports-filled world as a non-fan, watching vs. playing, human interest stories, sports films, and more.

Some of the articles we looked at to prepare included:

The first two links above were part of a series of 2016 editorials in the Washington Post coinciding with March Madness. As the whole series is definitely worth a look, just follow the links at the bottom of those articles.

Dave wrote a book you might want to look at called The Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation. Follow him on Twitter @BTNDaveRevsine.

This episode includes bonus discussion that you can only hear by supporting the podcast at This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network.

Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast is the first podcast curated by Open Culture. Browse all Pretty Much Pop posts or start with the first episode.

Download Beautiful Free Posters Celebrating the Achievements of Living Female STEM Leaders

Remember the posters that decorated your childhood or teenaged bedroom?

Of course you do.

Whether aspirational or inspirational, these images are amazingly potent.

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit what hung over my bed, especially in light of a certain CGI adaptation…

No such worries with a set of eight free downloadable posters honoring eight female trailblazers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

These should prove evergreen.

Commissioned by Nevertheless, a podcast that celebrates women whose advancements in STEM fields have shaped—and continue to shape—education and learning, each poster is accompanied with a brief biographical sketch of the subject.

Nevertheless has taken care that the featured achievers are drawn from a wide cultural and racial pool.

No shame if you’re unfamiliar with some of these extraordinary women. Their names may not possess the same degree of household recognition as Marie Curie, but they will once they’re hanging over your daughter’s (or son’s) bed.

It’s worth noting that with the exception of the undersung mother of DNA Helix Rosalind Franklin, these are living role models. They are:

Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison

Robotics pioneer Dr. Cynthia Breazeal

Mathematician Gladys West

Tech innovator Juliana Rotich

Pharmaceutical chemist Tu Youyou

Biopharmacist and women rights advocate Maria da Penha

Biotechnologist Dr. Hayat Sindi

Kudos, too, to Nevertheless for including biographies of the eight female illustrators charged with bringing the STEM luminaries to aesthetically cohesive graphic life: Lidia Tomashevskaya,Thandiwe TshabalalaCamila RosaXu HuiKarina PerezJoana NevesGeneva B, and Juliette Brocal

Listen to Nevertheless’ episode on STEM Role Models here.

Download Nevertheless’ free posters in English here. You can also download zipped folders containing all eight posters translated into Brazilian PortugueseFrenchFrench CanadianGermanItalianSpanish, and Simplified Chinese.

Related Content:

Pop Art Posters Celebrate Pioneering Women Scientists: Download Free Posters of Marie Curie, Ada Lovelace & More

Women Scientists Launch a Database Featuring the Work of 9,000 Women Working in the Sciences

“The Matilda Effect”: How Pioneering Women Scientists Have Been Denied Recognition and Written Out of Science History

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Monday, January 6 when her monthly book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domaincelebrates Cape-Coddities (1920) by Roger Livingston Scaife. Follow her @AyunHalliday

Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #24 Considers Holiday Viewing: What’s Canon?

Join Mark Linsenmayer, Erica Spyres, and Brian Hirt for a special "snake draft," where we take turns picking the holiday films and TV specials that we think are (or should be) part of America's yearly viewing traditions.

Were I to list all the shows and films we mention, that would give away our picks now, wouldn't it? Compare your intuitions about what is classic or seminal or over-rated with ours!

Here are some articles with most of the likely suspects to get you warmed up:

We did NOT beforehand actually look at IMDB's Top 25 Christmas Movies or their Greatest Christmas Specials list, but YOU certainly can. Neither did we look this ranking of the various versions of A Christmas Carol by Dave Trumbore. While we're at it, here are times where TV shows ripped off It's a Wonderful Life.

Other references and information: 

When does A Christmas Story take place? 1940; read trivia about that film. The Dare Daniel podcast has a brutal take-down of the little-seen 2012 sequel  that serves as a great substitute for actually viewing that pile of garbage.

You can watch the quick version of the very funny Rifftrax running commentary on the Star Wars Holiday Special on YouTube or buy the whole thing. Did George Lucas really want to smash all copies of it as Mark said?

Brian refers to this article, "Diagnosing the Home Alone Burglars' Injuries: A Professional Weighs In" by Lauren Hansen.

It's actually the Thanksgiving Charlie Brown special that has been blasted as racist, not the Xmas one. Here's an article about the history of Franklin being included in the strip.

Whenever discussing or watching It's a Wonderful Life, I can't help but think of the Saturday Night Live "lost ending" to the film.

This episode includes bonus discussion that you can only hear by supporting the podcast at This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network.

Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast is the first podcast curated by Open Culture. Browse all Pretty Much Pop posts or start with the first episode.

Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill Podcast: Stream a Gripping ‘Audio Companion’ to His Bestselling Book

In late 2017, Ronan Farrow was on the verge of blowing open the story revealing the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. But then executives at NBC News killed the story, Farrow claims. Bewildered, he took his reporting to the New Yorker, which then vetted and published his reporting. Fast forward two years, Farrow has won a Pulitzer and Harvey Weinstein is now using a walker and getting ready to go on trial.

In his 2019 bestselling book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, Farrow delves into "the systems that protect powerful men accused of terrible crimes in Hollywood, Washington, and beyond." That system includes media executives, tabloids, high-priced lawyers, undercover operatives, private intelligence agencies, and even, it appears, officials within our own legal system. A complement to his book, Farrow has now produced The Catch and Kill podcast, whose first episodes you can now stream online. Find it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, and other platforms. You can stream the first three episodes below.

Episode 1: The Spy

Episode 2: The Producer

Episode 3: The Wire

The Singer or the Song? Ken Stringfellow (Posies, R.E.M., Big Star) and Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #23 Discuss

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What's your relationship to music? Do you just embrace the pure sound, or do you care about who made that sound? One way of seeing where you fall on this issue is whether you care more for singles or to whole albums or careers by artists.

Ken Stringfellow, who co-fronts The Posies and was a member of R.E.M. and Big Star, joins Mark Linsenmayer, Erica Spyres, and Brian Hirt to talk about what actually grabs us about music, whether being a musician yourself is a key factor in whether you pay attention to the context of a song, how music gets to your ears, singers vs. songwriters, what we think about the notion of "genius," and how this artist vs. song conflict relates to how we take in other media (e.g. favorite film directors).

The ideas for this discussion mostly came from reflecting on our own experiences and habits, but we did some warm-up research into:

Listen to Mark interview Ken on Nakedly Examined Music, presenting specifically some of his solo, Posies, and Big Star songs. After that was recording, Ken sang some harmonies on a tune on Mark's last album, Mark Lint's Dry Folk.

Other references: "Midnight Confessions" by The Grass Roots, Lil Peep, Tom Waits's most popular album, Lou Reed is not a one-hit wonder, the scene in Slacker with a fan getting Madonna's pubic hair, Damien Rice is still working, the band Live reunited, REM on Sesame Street (no, Ken is not on camera), Ken being "world music" by playing solo in foreign countries.

This episode includes bonus discussion that you can only hear by supporting the podcast at This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network.

Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast is the first podcast curated by Open Culture. Browse all Pretty Much Pop posts or start with the first episode.

Clive James & Jonathan Miller (Both RIP) Talk Together About How the Brain Works

"Were they the last representatives of a special kind of public intellectual?" asks John Mullen in the Guardian. He writes of Clive James and Jonathan Miller, two figures who exemplified "the polymath as entertainer." The Australian-born James became famous on the back of the television criticism that turned him into a television fixture himself. The combined TV critic and TV host also played the same dual role in the realm of poetry, and as his life and career went on — and his bibliography greatly expanded — it came to seem that there were few forms, traditions, time periods, or languages his cultural omnivorousness didn't reach. Trained as a doctor before he redefined British comedy as a member of Beyond the Fringe, Miller retained his scientific interests, using his fame to write books and present a television show on anatomy, psychology, and language, and much more besides.

Since the deaths of both James and Miller were announced last Friday, the outpouring of tributes (most of them lamenting the seeming loss, in our time, of high-profile roles for entertaining polymaths free to move between "high" and "low") has been accompanied by a renewed enthusiasm for both men's considerable bodies of work.

Despite having known each other, James and Miller seem never to have explicitly collaborated on anything — except, that is, an episode of Talking in the Library, an early example of what we would now call an interview web series. Produced from 2006 to 2008, the show has James pioneering a form that has now become standard among podcasters: recording the conversations he wanted to have with his friends anyway.

In James' case, his friends include the likes of not just Miller but Martin Amis, Ruby Wax, Ian McEwan, Stephen Fry, and Terry Gilliam. With Miller, James spends the half-hour talking science, and specifically neuroscience. Miller, who specialized in neurology while studying medicine (and who counted Oliver Sacks as a close friend since age 12), returned to the subject in the early 1980s for his book and BBC series States of Mind. Not long thereafter he returned at the age of 50 to his medical studies, diving into neuropsychology at McMaster University and becoming a research fellow at the University of Sussex.

Though James abandoned his own university studies in psychology by 1960, his curiosity about the workings of the human brain — and how it could produce all the art, literature, film, and indeed television to whose appreciation he dedicated his life — never abandoned him, as evidenced by the eagerness with which he asks questions of his more neuroscientifically savvy friend. "The brain is the most complicated thing in the universe," says Miller, "so complicated, in fact, that by contrast the universe itself it not much more complicated than a cuckoo clock." Fair to say that both Miller and James had the good luck to possess more complicated, or at least more interesting, brains than average — and that it's our good luck to be able to enjoy their work in perpetuity.

Related Content:

Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief, with Jonathan Miller

John Cleese & Jonathan Miller Turn Profs Talking About Wittgenstein Into a Classic Comedy Routine (1977)

The Drinking Party, 1965 Film Adapts Plato’s Symposium to Modern Times

Join Clive James on His Classic Television Trips to Paris, LA, Tokyo, Rio, Cairo & Beyond

Your Brain on Art: The Emerging Science of Neuroaesthetics Probes What Art Does to Our Brains

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinemaand the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future? Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Pretty Much Pop #18 Discusses Stephen King’s Media Empire

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Is the most popular writer of our time actually a good writer? Or maybe he used to be good but has long since run out of inspiration? What are the most effective ways to adapt these very readable short stories and novels? Does showing us the evil in a film lessen its impact? While you've been thinking about those questions, King has already written another book.

Mark Linsenmayer, Erica Spyres, and Brian Hirt share their experiences with and opinions about King's oeuvre and the films and shows that have come out of it, including It, "The Body" (aka Stand By Me), The Shining, In the Tall Grass, The Dark Tower, The Stand, Children of the Corn, From a Buick 8, Under the Dome, The Outsider, Mr. Mercedes, Castle Rock, Pet Sematary, Misery, The Shawshank Redemption, and more.

Some articles we read to prepare for this discussion include:

If you've never actually read a Stephen King novella, go ahead and read "The Body."

This episode includes bonus discussion that you can only hear by supporting the podcast at This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network.

Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast is the first podcast curated by Open Culture. Browse all Pretty Much Pop posts or start with the first episode.


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