Pretty Much Pop #3: CONFORM with Yakov Smirnoff

Is media try­ing to brain­wash us into being ALL THE SAME? Are the excess­es of the mob scar­ing us into con­for­mi­ty? And does this in turn keep us from being actu­al­ly cre­ative, with healthy rela­tion­ships?

Mark Lin­sen­may­er, Eri­ca Spyres, and Bri­an Hirt muse on cul­tur­al homog­e­niza­tion and a few sci-fi takes on forced same­ness and then bring out our first celebri­ty guest, beloved come­di­an and now psy­chol­o­gy Ph.D. Yakov Smirnoff, who tells us about grow­ing up in a repres­sive soci­ety and his fears that polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness and a lack of appre­ci­a­tion for the “rec­i­p­ro­cal oppo­sites” nec­es­sary for authen­tic com­mu­ni­ca­tion is lead­ing us in that direc­tion. We con­clude with a bit of host-ful response.

We touch on Cat’s Cra­dle, Aladdin, Rosanne Barr, The Twi­light Zone, Bri­an’s wear­ing a Cubs hat in Mis­souri, and per­form­ing com­e­dy in the U.S.S.R. as well as var­i­ous sen­si­tive audi­ences here. Will you not join us and dress as Devo every day?

Here’s that arti­cle that comes up on Kurt Von­negut Jr.‘s terms “karass” (vol­un­tary, organ­ic group­ing) and “gran­fal­loon” (inher­it­ed, basi­cal­ly mean­ing­less group­ing).

No, we are not a pol­i­tics pod­cast, but some­times when we reflect on the dynam­ics involved with our being enter­tained,  pol­i­tics is hard to avoid! You may enjoy lis­ten­ing to The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life (Mark’s phi­los­o­phy pod­cast) dis­cuss Adorno on the Cul­ture Indus­try, or per­haps their dis­cus­sion of the world of tech­no­log­i­cal unem­ploy­ment.

Get more at Sub­scribe on Apple Pod­casts, Stitch­er, or Google Play. Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is pro­duced by the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life Pod­cast Net­work.

Fol­low Yakov:  @Yakov_Smirnoff. Not enough Yakov? Well, of course there are scads of YouTube clips and oth­er pod­cast appear­ances that he’s done that you can check out with a mere web search, but if you want to hear EVERY SINGLE WORD he said to us, we did post an entire­ly unedit­ed ver­sion of the inter­view for $5 sup­port­ers at

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