The Pop Culture Lens

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Episode 30: Being John Malkovich (1999)

October 30th, 2016

In the thirtieth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard conclude the Halloween season by welcoming friend of the podcast, and fellow podcaster, Jim Laczkowski to discuss the existential film, Being John Malkovich (1999).

In this episode, the conversation considers how the film portrays insecurity, which is a common theme in screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's works. Beyond that, the trio considers how existential the film is in its treatment of insecurity, gender, identity, and the meaning of life. Ultimately, the discussion determines that the message of the movie focuses on how people need to develop empathy and connect with those around them, otherwise existential horrors could be anyone's fate.

You can join Jim in his conversations about film at his Director's Club podcast and his discussions about pop culture at his Pop Culture Club podcast.

Many thanks goes out to production assistant, Jean-Michel Berthiaume, for helping produce this episode.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

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Episode 29: Videodrome (1983)

October 16th, 2016

In the twenty-ninth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome the Halloween season and friend of the podcast Salvatore DiSalvatore to discuss the body horror film from David Cronenberg, Videodrome (1983).

In this episode, the conversation considers how prescient and thus still relevant this thirty-three year-old film is. The trio considers how the film depicts common fears whenever a new communication technology is introduced as it draws on media theories and concepts in its horrific depiction of a man succumbing to the "new flesh." Concerns over misogyny and misandry, hyperreality and reality, and conservative versus progress ideologies inform this discussion as they consider how the film's message may be even more important for today's media saturated world.

Many thanks goes out to production assistant, Jean-Michel Berthiaume, for helping produce this episode.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

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Episode 28: Frank Sinatra

September 11th, 2016

In the twenty-eighth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome back friend of the podcast and unofficial fourth co-host Clelia Sweeney to discuss the classic iconography of Frank Sinatra.

In this episode, the conversation considers how Sinatra's identity changed through the various stages of his career, but also how those changes were under his control as he worked to create a celebrity identity focused on masculinity and American mythos. Throughout the years, his ability to control his identity led to an iconic performance, leading him to embody what it meant to be a man in the mid-20th century. Interestingly, his celebrity identity resembles performances seen in contemporary boy bands and singers, and their ability to make fangirls squee in delight.

One note: in the episode, Christopher discusses a Sinatra album as his recommendation that was in fact part of a trilogy that Sinatra produced in 1980. You can find more information at that venerable source of facts, Wikipedia, in this article.

Many thanks goes out to production assistant, Jean-Michel Berthiaume, for helping produce this episode.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

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Episode 27: Yojimbo (1961)

August 28th, 2016

In the twenty-seventh episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome back friend of the podcast Joe Belfeuil to discuss Akira Kurosawa's samurai classic Yojimbo (1961).

In this episode, the conversation focuses on the film's position as a transnational and transcultural pop culture text that acts as a link in a chain connecting different cultures, nations and time periods. Inspired by American pop culture, the film would go on to inspire Italian, Japanese and American pop culture, showing how truly globalized the world became after World War II. Additionally, the discussion gets a tad heated when it delves into the consideration of Kurosawa as a fan and Yojimbo as fan fiction.

Many thanks goes out to production assistant, Jean-Michel Berthiaume, for helping produce this episode.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

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Episode 26: Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008)

July 19th, 2016

In the twenty-sixth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast and return guest, Aaron Kashtan, to discuss the immensely popular hit from the early 21st century, Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008).

In this episode -- which at times features poor audio due to issues with Skype, for which the co-hosts apologize -- Aaron and CarrieLynn address the question of whether or not the series can be called an anime. This conversation focuses on the issues of being a transcultural and transnational media text, and if the series represents a form of cultural appropriation or just cultural appreciation. Overall, the series' status as being a part of a transmedia storyworld becomes the final point, as it spawned comic books, a sequel, and a doomed film adaptation.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

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Episode 25: Akira (1988)

July 3rd, 2016

In the twenty-fifth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast, Charley Reed, to discuss one of the most influential anime feature films of all time, Akira (1988).

In this episode -- which at times features poor audio due to issues with Skype, for which the co-hosts apologize -- the three discuss their fondness for the film as being central to their anime fandom. The conversation focuses on the themes of Akira, from generational and national tensions to the purpose of dystopia in Japanese, American, and perhaps global societies. The cyclical nature of destruction and creation is explored through this film, and perhaps indicates why it has had such a global and long-lasting impact on pop culture.

They also discuss the attempts to make an American adaptation of the film, with all the problems associated with such an undertaking. But you can see some ideas for doing so here. Christopher talks more about Akira in relation to Japanese cinema on his blog here.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

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Episode 24: Dungeons and Dragons

June 13th, 2016

In the twenty-fourth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast, psychologist in training, and long-time gamer Steve Discont to discuss the classic table-top role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.

In this episode, each recalls their experiences with role-playing games, from Dungeons and Dragons to MMORPGs and LARPing. The conversation focuses on the compelling reasons so many people have played such games, and how such games have influenced the concept of the American fan. Additionally, the discussion considers how role-playing can actually be educational and beneficial to people, thereby hoping to remove the stereotypes of such games that go back to the Satanic panic of the early 1980s.

The news story mentioned in the episode can be found here. The music at the end comes from the song "D&D" by Stephen Lynch and Mark Teich.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

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Episode 23: They Live (1988)

May 24th, 2016

In the twenty-third episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard  welcome back friend of the podcast Joe Belfeuil to discuss John Carpenter's 1988 cult classic They Live and how the film seems as relevant if not more now. The short story the film is based on can be found on this website.

In this episode, the conversation focuses on the allegorical nature of the film, for how it comments on Reaganomics, rampant consumerism, the dissolution of the middle class, and hostility towards environmentalism. Additionally, through their discussion, they consider the role and power of conspiracy theories in people's lives, as well as wrestle with just how powerful individuals are to change the world.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

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Episode 22: The Dark Side of Fandom

April 10th, 2016

In the twenty-second episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard present another special episode. This special episode contains the recording of a panel from the 2016 Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) called: The Dark Side of Fandom: Shaming, Infighting and Harassment in Fan Spaces.

During this panel, CarrieLynn and Christopher were joined by fellow academics and fans to discuss what leads to the problems being seen in fandom these days, and how to possibly deal with these problems. This discussion is similar to the one covered in Episode 17 Fan Harassment. On this panel are Paul Booth of DePaul University, Katie Wilson of the University of Louisville, Jef Burnham of DePaul University, and Steve Discont of the Illinois Institute of Technology. The episode also samples the song Why Can't We Be Friends by War for an apropos ending.

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As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

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The Hiatus Episode

March 7th, 2016

CarrieLynn Reinhard here, presenting this special episode for the podcast wherein Christopher Olson and I describe just how busy we are that we need to take a short break from the podcast.

We have a number of research projects coming up that require us to do presentations and meet publication deadlines. In this short episode, we discuss just what those projects are, as we would appreciate hearing your thoughts about them. We also encourage any fellow fans, students, and researchers to come to the conferences we will be at to hear about them in person. We would love to see you at C2E2, PCA, or CSCA.

These projects include the following:

And more are discussed on this episode. So while we love doing this podcast, and are not planning on stopping any time soon, we just need a bit of a break to handle these projects, and then we can return back to normal programming.

As always, you are encouraged to become a part of this conversation by visiting any of the podcast's social media sites. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog seemsobvioustome.wordpress.com. And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website www.playingwithresearch.com.

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