NEM#151: Cathal Coughlan (Fatima Mansions, Microdisney): Pyschogeographic Tales

Cathal started in Ireland in 1980 with Microdisney, and after five albums with then broke that up to form Fatima Mansions in 1988. After seven albums with them, he started a solo career and has now after a decade-long hiatus (during which he released a few collaborations) has come back with his sixth solo release Song of Co-Acklan. We discuss “Unrealtime” and (in closing) hear the title track from that album, plus “Denial Of The Right To Dream” from The Sky’s Awful Blue (2002) and “Valley of the Dead Cars” by The Fatima Mansions from Against Nature (1989). Intro/outro: “Town to Town” by Microdisney from Crooked Mile (1987). For more, see cathalcoughlan.com.

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Formulated Phrases in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot: Part 2

Wes & Erin continue their analysis of T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” In Part 1, they covered roughly the first third of the poem. In Part 2, they begin with a discussion of Prufrock’s coffee spoons, and then continue on to: his allusions to John the Baptist, Lazarus, and Hamlet; the disjointed portrait of his probable love interest; and the twinning of aging and fantasy in the final stanzas.

Ep. 273: Friedrich Schelling’s Foundationalist Idealism (Part One)

On Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism (1800).

What’s the relationship between mind and world? Schelling thought that our minds produce the world, but also that the perceiver-world dichotomy comes to us as a single piece. “Transcendental philosophy” is an exploration of the internal logic of that revelation.

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NEM#150: Josh Caterer (Smoking Popes): Punk + 40s Melodies (+ Occasional Jesus)

Josh released three albums and some EPs in the 90s with his brothers as the Chicago-area punk band Smoking Popes, then became a Christian and released an album and a half as Duvall, then reformed the Smoking Popes to release three more albums since 2008. He’s also released some religious material as a solo artist, and his new album is composed of live covers of classic songs and reworkings of his own material.

We discuss “Need You Around,” originally from Born to Quit (1995) and re-arranged for The Hideout Sessions (2021). We then turn to the Popes’ “Amanda My Love” from Into the Agony (2018) and Duvall’s “Taking Me Home” from Volume & Density (2003), and we conclude with another new recording, “My Funny Valentine” (Rodgers/Hart). Intro: “Megan” from Destination Failure (1997). More at smokingpopesmusic.com.

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(sub)Text: Disturbing the Universe in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot: Part 1

t was T. S. Eliot’s first published poem. Written when he was only in his early 20s, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” rode the crest of the wave of literary Modernism, predated World War I, and presaged an age of indecision and anxiety. The poem is the dramatic interior monologue of the title character, a middle-aged man whose passivity and ambivalence are threaded with artistic allusions, epigrammatic observations, and meditations on the nature of time, the fraudulence of relationships, and the risks of eating a peach. Should Prufrock dare disturb the universe? Should we?

Ep. 272: Fichte’s Idealist Theology (Part One)

Our second full discussion on The Vocation of Man (1799).

What are the ethical implications of believing that the world is all in our minds? You could be a solipsistic nihilist, but Fichte thinks the path of faith is unavoidable for a reasonable person: faith that the world is real and matters, that other people have moral status, and yes, he’s going to argue for God and heaven, though unconventionally.

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Ep. 272: Fichte’s Idealist Theology (Part One for Supporters)

Our second full discussion on The Vocation of Man (1799).

What are the ethical implications of believing that the world is all in our minds? You could be a solipsistic nihilist, but Fichte thinks the path of faith is unavoidable for a reasonable person: faith that the world is real and matters, that other people have moral status, and yes, he’s going to argue for God and heaven, though unconventionally.

Pretty Much Pop#96: Modernizing D&D w/ Amanda McLoughlin

What’s the status of Dungeons & Dragons and other table-top role-playing games in pop culture? Fantasy settings are no longer just for the ultra-geeky, but role-playing may still seem foreign.

Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by the host of Join the Party to discuss acting out your fantasy, RPG basics, real-play podcasts, racism (“kill all orcs!”), and more.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

Pretty Much Pop #95: “The Nevers” With a Side of Whedon

Mark, Erica, and Brian discuss the HBO Max show out Victorian-era super-powered feminine outcasts, helmed and now abandoned by the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, etc. Does this reduced-by-the-pandemic show still work? Does knowing the complaints about Joss Whedon affect our consumption?

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

(sub)Text: At Home with War in “Apocalypse Now” (1979) by Francis Ford Coppola

Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore doesn’t flinch for enemy fire, loves the smell of napalm in the morning, and would literally kill for good surfing and a beachside barbecue. His attempts to recreate home within the theater of war render him the perfect foil to a certain upriver madman, who seems intent on making high culture serve the purposes of primitive horror. And yet Kurtz is ready to argue that it is his methods that are more sound, just because they embrace their ruthlessness more honestly, in contrast to the impotent half-measures of an imperial power that can rationalize its atrocities as collateral damage in the service of a larger humanitarian goal. Which approach should evoke more horror? Wes & Erin analyze Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film “Apocalypse Now.”

PREVIEW-Ep. 271: Johan Gottlieb Fichte’s Transcendental Idealism (Part Two)

Continuing from part one on The Vocation of Man (1799), Book II.

In this preview, we clarify whether Fichte is trying to keep the notion of a “real world” beyond our experience or not. It’s part of the progression of the text that while at first he assumes that there must be something real behind this experienced world we as individuals create, he gives up that notion in the middle of Book II. So how does he get to his startling reversal?

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Ep. 271: Johan Gottlieb Fichte’s Transcendental Idealism (Part One)

On The Vocation of Man (1799), Books I and II. What is reality?

Fichte’s armchair journey starts him considering nature and thus himself as determined, but then he backtracks to say that actually, experience doesn’t tell us whether we’re determined or free. In Book II, he argues that since our experience is always of something going on in ourselves, then causality, the external world, the self, etc. must be our own mental creations. So we’re free after all, yet everything is drained of significance!

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