Introducing Pretty Much Pop (A Culture Podcast): Episode 1 — Pop Culture vs. High Culture

What is pop cul­ture? Does it make sense to dis­tin­guish it from high cul­ture, or can some­thing be both?

Open Cul­ture is pleased to curate a new pod­cast cov­er­ing all things enter­tain­ment: TV, movies, music, nov­els, video games, comics, nov­els, com­e­dy, the­ater, pod­casts, and more. Pret­ty Much Pop is the inven­tion of Mark Lin­sen­may­er (aka musi­cian Mark Lint), cre­ator of The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life Phi­los­o­phy Pod­cast and Naked­ly Exam­ined Music. Mark is joined by co-hosts Eri­ca Spyres, an actor and musi­cian who’s appeared on Broad­way and plays clas­si­cal and blue­grass vio­lin, and Bri­an Hirt, a sci­ence-fic­tion writer/linguistics major who col­lab­o­rates with his broth­er on the Con­stel­lary Tales mag­a­zine and pod­cast. For this intro­duc­to­ry dis­cus­sion touch­ing on opera, The Bea­t­les, Fort­nite, 50 Shades of Grey, real­i­ty TV, and more, our hosts are joined by the pod­cast’s audio edi­tor Tyler His­lop, aka Sac­ri­fice MC.

Some of the arti­cles brought in the dis­cus­sion are:

The Long War Between High­brow and Low­brow” by Noah Berlatsky from the Pacif­ic Stan­dard (2017)

Pop Cul­ture’s Progress Toward Tragedy” by Titus Techera from the Nation­al Review (2019)

Read more about the 1895 silent film that fea­tured a train com­ing right out of the screen, send­ing peo­ple scream­ing in ter­ror. Here’s more about the open­ing of Stravin­sky’s “Rite of Spring” at which spec­ta­tors riot­ed. You may also enjoy episode 137 of The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life about the tastes of social class­es that ana­lyzes Pierre Bour­dieu. Also see episode 193 on lib­er­al edu­ca­tion and the idea of a “canon” of essen­tial, high-cul­ture works. The open­ing music is by Mark (gui­tars, cel­los, djem­be) and Eri­ca (vio­lins). The pod­cast logo is by Ken Ger­ber.

The end­ing song was writ­ten by Mark just for this episode. It’s called “High Rollin’ Cult,” and fea­tures Eri­ca on vio­lin and har­monies.

For more infor­ma­tion on the pod­cast, vis­it or look for the pod­cast soon on Apple Pod­casts. To sup­port this effort (and imme­di­ate­ly get access to four episodes plus bonus con­tent), make a small, recur­ring dona­tion at

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.