What Are “Creatives”? Pretty Much Pop #138 on the Role of the Artist in Modern Society

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Is there really a division in today’s culture between those who create and the merely receptive masses? Your Pretty Much Pop host gathers three artists in different media about the place of the artist in society: sci-fi author Brian Hirt, art photographer and academic Amir Zaki, and musician/novelist/ex-English prof John Andrew Fredrick, who leads a band called The Black Watch.

We touch on art education, the self-understanding of artists, the relation between artist and consumer, art vs. commerce, bad art vs. non-art, and much more.

Listen to Amir talking about photography on a past PMP episodeListen to John talk about his music with Mark on Nakedly Examined MusicListen to John’s new EP. Brian brings up the Decoder Ring podcast episode “The Storytelling Craze.” Listen to Mark’s tunes.

Follow us @blackwatchmusic@amir_zaki_, and @MarkLinsenmayer.

Hear more Pretty Much Pop. Support the show and hear bonus talking for this and nearly every other episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by choosing a paid subscription through Apple Podcasts. 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.

Making Sense of Nathan Fielder’s The Rehearsal with Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #136

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Mark Linsenmayer, Lawrence Ware, Sarahlyn Bruck, and Al Baker convene an emergency podcast recording to react to this mind-bending, possibly immoral HBO comedy docuseries, wherein Fielder helps ordinary people rehearse difficult personal confrontations, but this plan goes off the rails after 1.5 episodes out of the six that made up its first season.

This series builds upon Fielder’s previous show where he comedically tried to help businesses, Nathan for You, whose ground-breaking finale (“Finding Frances”) discovered The Rehearsal‘s format. Is Nathan himself the main butt of the joke, or is he punching down? Are there better ways to show the failings of reality TV? How does this kind of embarrassment humor differ from Borat and its ilk? Maybe the show is not as much about these people going through their rehearsals as an examination of the process of rehearsing itself that Fielder has devised.

Feel free to listen to us to find out what it’s all about, but you will be best served by watching this indescribable show yourself before experiencing this episode.

A few relevant articles also considering the show include:

Follow us @law_writes@sarahlynbruck@ixisnox@MarkLinsenmayer.

Hear more Pretty Much Pop. Support the show and hear bonus talking for this and nearly every other episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by choosing a paid subscription through Apple Podcasts. 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.

The Breaking Bad-O-Verse — Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #135 Considers “Better Call Saul”

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Given the end of Better Call Saul, your Pretty Much Pop host Mark Linsenmayer, plus NY Times entertainment writer/philosophy professor Lawrence Ware, novelist/writing professor Sarahlyn Bruck, and philosopher/musician Al Baker discuss this strange TV “franchise” that amazingly produced a prequel that was arguably better than the original. We cover the characterization and pacing, novelistic TV vs. not having a plot roadmap in advance, and whether we want to see another installment in this world.

A few articles we consulted included:

Follow us @law_writes, @sarahlynbruck, @ixisnox, @MarkLinsenmayer.

Hear more Pretty Much Pop. Support the show and hear bonus talking for this and nearly every other episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by choosing a paid subscription through Apple Podcasts. 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.

 

Unpopular Music Fandom — Musicians and Philosophers Discuss on Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #134

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With the dissolution of popular music culture by the Internet, what is it now to be into music genres that aren’t currently popular? Is it still an act of rebellion, or is even that passé?

Your Pretty Much Pop host Mark Linsenmayer is joined by composer/multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Segel from Camper van Beethoven, philosopher Matt Teichman of the Elucidations podcast, and musician and Internet DJ Steve Petrinko to talk about our relation to the mainstream, the different types of unpopular music (popular 30 years ago vs. never popular avant garde), post-irony, and more.

Listen to Jonathan and Steve talking about their own music on Mark’s Nakedly Examined Music podcast. Listen to one of Matt’s electronic compositions from collegeListen to Mark and Matt on Matt’s podcast.

Watch Richard Thompson sing “Oops I Did It Again.” Here’s that attempt to give a 2022 remix to the 80s hit “Come On Eileen.”

As recommendations, Jonathan mentioned Venetian Snares, Steve recommended early Weather ReportRead Jonathan’s blog about various versions of The Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star.” Read Pat Metheny picking on Kenny G.

Hear more Pretty Much Pop. Support the show and hear bonus talking for this and nearly every other episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by choosing a paid subscription through Apple Podcasts. 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.

Why Predator — A Discussion of the Film Franchise on Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #133

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Thanks to the new film Prey by Dan Trachtenberg and Patrick Aison, we now have six films (starting with 1987’s Predator) featuring the dreadlocked, camouflaged, infrared-seeing race of alien hunters who have apparently been flying around collecting our skulls for 300 years.

Thankfully, the new film is good, and adds to the recent spate of Indigenous-centered media, with its young, female Comanche protagonist taking on evil French bison-killers, her sexist peers, and a mountain lion, in addition to a relatively low-tech version of what many comic books have called a Yautja.

We talk about what makes for a good Predator film, the appeal of the monster (and when in the films it gets revealed), the pacing of the films, the music, direction, effects, humor, social commentary, and more.

A few of the articles we consulted included:

This marks the first episode of Pretty Much Pop season three, where Mark Linsenmayer’s recurring co-hosts will by default tentatively be those you will hear today: Philosophy prof/entertainment writer Lawrence Ware, novelist/writing prof Sarahlyn Bruck, and ex-musician, ex-philosophy grad student, and now ex-research manager Al Baker. The various convocations of musicians, comedians, et al, will still happen too, but will at least alternate with some permutation of that core group.

Hear more Pretty Much Pop. Support the show and hear bonus talking for this and nearly every other episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by choosing a paid subscription through Apple Podcasts. 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.

When Is a Joke “Too Soon”? — Comedians Discuss on Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #132

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To honor the death of Gilbert Gottfried, Pretty Much Pop addresses jokes like the 9-11 one he was pilloried for. Can comedy really be “too soon” in relation to tragic subject matter? Is comedy really tragedy plus time, or are jokes most needed immediately when pain and discomfort are most acute?

Your host Mark Linsemayer is joined by three comedians: Adam Sank (of the LGBTQ-themed Adam Sank Show), Twitch-streaming songster Meri Amber, and returning guest Daniel Lobell (graphic novelist and podcaster). We get into tailoring jokes for an audience, coping with grief, and of course some talk about triggering, hyper-sensitive audiences, and cancellation (Chapelle, anyone?).

Watch Gottfried’s infamous joke yourself:

A few perspectives we may have reviewed before talking:

Follow us @AdamSank, @meriamber, @dannylobell, and @MarkLinsenmayer.

So maybe instead of the “Maccabees,” my Bible camp’s Polish jokes instead made the “Canaanites” the butt of their humor. (Unless that actually again refers some modern, extant people…)

Hear more Pretty Much Pop. Support the show and hear bonus talking for this and nearly every other episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by choosing a paid subscription through Apple Podcasts. 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.

Jordan Peele as Auteur of the Film Nope — Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #131

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Jordan Peele’s launch from a solid comedy base with Comedy Central’s Key & Peele show to the unexpected horror film Get Out was so impressive that he’s generated a huge amount of good will that allows him to play the full-on auteur with huge budgets. Did that pay off with his third film, the monster movie Nope?

Your Pretty Much Pop host Mark Linsenmayer is joined by Lawrence Ware (philosophy prof. and entertainment writer), Sarahlyn Bruck (novelist and writing prof.), and Nicole Pometti (media artist and podcaster) to second guess Peele’s various creative decisions.

A few articles we reviewed include:

Follow us @law_writes, @sarahlynbruck, @remakespodcast, @MarkLinsenmayer.

Hear more Pretty Much Pop. Support the show and hear bonus talking for this and nearly every other episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by choosing a paid subscription through Apple Podcasts. 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.

Oscar-Winner CODA and Deaf Representation in Film — Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #130

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The 2022 Oscar winner for Best Picture was CODA, a story about a musically inclined girl with a deaf family. Kambri Crews, herself a CODA and author of a much darker story about this called Burn Down the Ground, joins your Pretty Much Pop host Mark Linsenmayer, writer Sarahlyn Bruck, and jack-of-many-intellectual-trades Al Baker to talk about how deaf culture interacts with film.

Films tend to show deafness as tragic, which is not necessarily how the deaf community views themselves. We talk about balancing the demands of a story, how real life works, and the need for positive representation. Also, deaf bowling!

In addition to CODA, we talk about The Sound of Metal, A Quiet Place, Children of a Lesser God, Mr. Holland’s Opus, See No Evil Hear No Evil, Eternals, Drive My Car, and more.

Note that this discussion was recorded in May but got bumped with all the shows wrapping up at that time and summer movies launching.

If you liked this, see our previous episode on disability representation.

Hear more Pretty Much Pop. Support the show at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by choosing a paid subscription through Apple Podcasts. 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.

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