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.

Cover Songs: Philosophy and Taxonomy on Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #129

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Is re-playing or re-recording a song written and performed by someone else an act of love or predation? Your host Mark Linsenmayer is joined by Too Much Joy’s Tim Quirk, the Gig Gab Podcast’s Dave Hamilton, and the author of A Philosophy of Cover Songs Prof. P.D. Magnus to talk about different types of and purposes for covers, look a little at the history, share favorites, and more.

A few of the many cover songs we mention include:

This playlist includes most of the songs mentioned in P.D.’s book.

To prep for this, in addition to reading P.D.’s book (which is free), we looked at various lists of best and worst cover songs of all time: from timeout.combestlifeonline.comRolling StoneRadio X. Also check out this episode of the Ghost Notes Podcast.

Follow us @news4wombats (for P.D.), @tbquirk@DaveHamilton, and @MarkLinsenmayer.

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.

“Downton Abbey” and the Allure of Historical Drama — Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #127

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We discuss the appeal of this Julian-Fellowes-penned British historical drama in light of the new film. Is this really “a new era” or just more of the same, and is that bad?

Your Pretty Much Pop host Mark Linsenmayer is joined by returning guest Jon Lamoreaux (host of The Hustle music podcast), plus a couple: former newscaster Corrinne MacLeod (whom Mark SCANDOLOUSLY went on one date with at age 12) and her husband, the photographer Michael MacLeod.

We talk about the excellent casting and how such a big cast gets juggled, the appeal of this particular historical setting, revolutions against the class system in the show, and the soapy plots. How can a film give us enough of such a big cast? We also touch on The Gilded Age, Bridgerton, Howard’s End, Gosford Park, The Great, Poldark, and more.

A few relevant articles we looked at include:

Hear more Pretty Much Pop, including recent episodes on Jackass, This Is Us, and The Expanse. 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.

What Is Batman? Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #124 Debates the Character, the Legacy, and the New Film

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In light of the recent release of Matt Reeves’ film The Batman, we consider the strange alternation of darkness and camp that is Batman. Is he even a super hero? What’s with his rogues’ gallery? What’s with DC’s anti-world-building?

Your Pretty Much Pop host Mark Linsenmayer is joined by philosophy prof/NY Times entertainment writer Lawrence Ware, improv comedian/educator Anthony LeBlanc, and Marketing Over Coffee host John J. Wall, all of whom are deeply immersed in the comics, and we touch on other recent shows in the Batman universe.

Some relevant articles include:

Follow us @law_writes, @anthonyleblanc, @johnjwall, and @MarkLinsenmayer.

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.

On Art Speigelman’s Maus: Should Comics Expose Kids to the World’s Horrors? Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #122

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In light of its being recently banned in some settings, we discuss Art Spiegelman’s Maus (1980-91), which conveys his father’s account of living through the Holocaust. We also consider other war-related graphic novels like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis (2000) and George Takei’s They Called Us Enemy (2019).

Your host Mark Linsenmayer is joined by comics scholar Vi Burlew, comics blerd/acting coach Anthony LeBlanc, and comedian/graphic novelist Daniel Lobell.

Are comics particularly effective in changing hearts and minds when they display people’s hardships? Should kids be exposed to the horrors of the world in this way? What about the complexities of social justice and gender identity? We also touch on Gilbert Gottfried and the relationship between humor and tragedy, learning history vs. reading one person’s experience, the ages at which became political, and how comics may have aided that.

Read Vi’s Washington Post editorial about censorship that inspired this episode.

Other relevant sources include:

If you enjoyed this discussion, try our episodes featuring Vi talking about the trope of the heroine’s journey in film, Anthony talking about blerds, i.e. black nerds, and Daniel talking about the comic Peanuts.

Follow us @ViolaBurlew, @anthonyleblanc, @DanielLobel, and @MarkLinsenmayer.

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.

The Efficacy of Protest Songs — Four Songwriters Discuss on Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #121

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Are protest songs effective, either as protest or songs? Your host Mark Linsenmayer is joined by Lilli LewisRod Picott, and Tyler Hislop to discuss how protest works in various musical genres, who it’s aimed at, and when it goes wrong. Has the day of the protest song passed, or is it alive and well?

Rod mentions how Bruce Springsteen clarified the political character of “Born in the U.S.A.” by rearranging it (and so did Neil Young with “Rockin’ in the Free World.”) We also mention “1913 Massacre,” “Fuck the Police,” “Signs,” “Ohio,” “We Are the World,” “Why We Build the Wall,” crappy protest songs against COVID restrictionsHip Hop for Respect, and more.

Lilli mentions Crys Matthews. Mark mentions this article about Twisted Sister and their song used for Ukraine. Visit worldunited.live re. Ukraine.

Each of us has written some kind of political song: RodLilliTyler, and Mark. Learn more about Lilli and Rod’s current releases at folkrockdiva.com and rodpicott.com.

Some articles with more lists and such include:

Follow us @folkrockdiva@RodPicott@sacrifice_mc, and @MarkLinsenmayer.

This episode includes bonus discussion featuring all of our guests that you can access by supporting the podcast 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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