The Pop Culture Lens

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Special Episode: Mental Health in Pop Culture

December 8th, 2017

For this special episode of The Pop Culture Lens, co-hosts Christopher J. Olson and CarrieLynn D. Reinhard address a question: are representations of mental health issues in pop culture helpful?

Their answers delve into the many different mental health issues represented in television and film, from bipolar disorder and depression to mental health facilities and addiction. They discuss texts from Shock Corridor and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to BoJack Horseman and Pi.

In the episode, they make several recommendations, which are included 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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Special Episode: Why Professional Wrestling Studies

August 23rd, 2017

For this special episode of The Pop Culture Lens, co-hosts Christopher J. Olson and CarrieLynn D. Reinhard address a question they have been working on answer: why study professional wrestling?

Their answers delve into the many ways that professional wrestling has impacted societies and cultures around the world to understand just how important pro-wrestling is. From the WWE to indie federations, and from Shakespeare to opera, pro-wrestling has left its mark in history, on peoples, and on business practices.

In this episode, they discuss the formation of the Professional Wrestling Studies Association, whose website/blog can be found here: https://prowrestlingstudies.wordpress.com

They also offer a thank you to The Popular Culture Studies Journal for their support of this new field of scholarship. The journal's website is http://mpcaaca.org/the-popular-culture-studies-journal

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 39: V for Vendetta

May 9th, 2017

In the thirty-ninth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard present a special episode as they compare and contrast the graphic novel V for Vendetta and its film adaptation.

In this episode, the co-hosts discussed how the two versions of the story reflected on the social, cultural, and historical periods in which they emerged: the graphic novel on the Cold War and Margaret Thatcher era of the 1980s in the United Kingdom, and the film on the War on Terror and George Bush era of the 2000s in the United States. Both stories rely on a figure of anarchy to tell their tales about power, oppression, fear, and resistance, but there are notable differences in how they do so.

Throughout their conversation, CarrieLynn and Chris also relate these two versions to the current state of affairs: the War on Facts and Donald Trump era of the 2010s in the United States. In doing so, they bring up issues of contemporary fascism, the positives and negatives of social media, and the circular nature of power in human civilization and history.

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 Past, Present, and Future of Professional Wrestling

May 1st, 2017

At the 2017 C2E2 convention, your co-hosts, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard, were joined by a great panel of professional wrestling professionals, fans and scholars to discuss how we see the past, present and future of "sports entertainment" from this particular point in time.

On this panel are the following: Dave Prazak (Shimmer Women's Professional Wrestling), Mike Kingston (Headlocked comic), Matt Foy, Ph.D., Allyssa Campbell-Sawyer, and unofficial third co-host Joe Belfeuil.

You can watch the whole panel here: https://youtu.be/d53sW7s6jWY

And don't forget to check out the other videos on The Pop Culture Lens YouTube channel!

The header image comes to us via: https://twitter.com/TheOtherMarioC/status/856214231229845506

 

Episode 38: Podcasting as Public Intellectualism

April 5th, 2017

In the thirty-eighth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard present an academic panel from the 2017 Central States Communication Association Conference. On this panel, CarrieLynn is joined by Melody Hoffmann of the podcast Femnist Killjoys, PhD and Molly Turner of the podcast Swipe Right on Molly & Thomas. W. Joe Watson chaired the panel, and Tasha Dunn responded to the panelists' presentations.

In this episode, the panelists discussed their experiences podcasting as academics, and how they see their podcasts as some way producing public intellectualism, public scholarship and/or public engagement. Their conversation touched on issues of the labor involved in producing podcasts, the political implications for their podcasts, and the reasons they were willing to engage in such unpaid work. All panelists agreed that podcasting takes a lot of work, and sometimes it comes with risks, but it does offer the reward of allowing them to engage a public that they would otherwise not be able to reach with their scholarship.

The panel discussion has been edited to remove the audience's questions. The end song is sampled from Euphoria Sound's "Homer Simpson - I Am So Smart [Techno remix]".

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 37: Transformers

March 7th, 2017

In the thirty-seventh episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast Jef Burnham of CadaverCast to discuss the classic toy line, Transformers.

In this episode, the three recall with fondness how these toys impacted their lives, but in doing so, they also focus on the relationship between nostaglia and brand longevity. The Transformers franchise has survived for over 30 years by being, like its core toys, able to transform as the market changes. In their conversation about this brand's adaptability, they also consider whether or not fan nostalgia helps or hurts the brand, and to what extent it has hidden its Japanese origins, some of which you can see in this collection of Diaclone commercials.

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 36: Doctor Who

February 20th, 2017

In the thirty-sixth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast, Paul Booth of DePaul University, to discuss the venerable British science fiction series, Doctor Who.

In this episode, the three discuss what has led to the longevity of the series, which started in 1963. This discussion considers how the series' fans helped sustain the show during a long hiatus, and how the series' very nature offered many things to many different people as it adapted to changing times, and changing actors portraying the titular character. While the three do not agree completely on the usefulness of fan service in the series, they do all agree that being able to reach a diverse audience has helped maintain the franchise over the decades.

You can learn more about the upcoming Harry Potter pop culture conference at DePaul University via this link: http://www.mcsdepaul.com/depaul-pop-culture-conference.html

You can learn more about the work Christopher and CarrieLynn did on the historical trajectory of Doctor Who via this link: https://playingwithresearch.com/2013/11/18/i-am-doctor-historical-trajectory-doc/

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 35: The Thing (1982)

January 31st, 2017

In the thirty-fifth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast, and unofficial third host, Joe Belfeuil to discuss the influential horror film that is John Carpenter's The Thing (1982).

In this episode, the three discuss how the narrative and craft of the film has inspired a new breed of horror film-makers; from the aesthetics of paranoia to the themes of grappling with unexpected threats, Carpenter's seminal film has led to many imitators and even some worthy successors. The trio also consider the political messages of the film, and how the film reflects on and even critiques fears of the Other and how people should handle their fears by being vigilant instead of paranoid and dangerous to themselves and others. The historical period of the Reagan administration is compared to the unfolding Trump administration for similarities in thematic content, demonstrating how relevant the film remains to this day.

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 34: ECW

January 16th, 2017

In the thirty-fourth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast Ryan Schriml to discuss the innovative nature and legacy of Extreme Championship Wrestling -- or, ECW!

In this episode, the discussion focuses on how the innovations of Paul Heyman and ECW have had long-lasting impacts on all aspects of professional wrestling. While not a major player of the Monday Night Wars between the WWF and the WCW, the indie federation nevertheless impacted both of those pro-wrestling promotions by introducing wrestlers who would go on to superstardom in either federation. More than that, ECW innovated on how to promote and portray wrestling, including how to utilize the new technologies of the Internet to distribute and market content as well as connecting with and empowering fans. ECW's do-it-yourself, outsider identity continues to influence the WWE and indie federations around the world to this day.

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 33: Hello Kitty

January 4th, 2017

In the thirty-third episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and CarrieLynn Reinhard welcome friend of the podcast Norma Jones to discuss the venerable pop culture brand that is Hello Kitty.

In this episode, CarrieLynn and Norma position Hello Kitty not only as a pop icon but as a heroic figure. In their discussion on how Hello Kitty represents female empowerment from an Asian perspective, they consider how the Japanese concepts of omoiyari and kawaii make the figure a source of identification and inspiration for people around the world. Hello Kitty represents an example of how to be with other people, and her example is very desirable in today's contentious world.

The music at the end samples Avril Lavigne's "Hello Kitty" from 2013.

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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