(sub)Text: Realism as Cruelty in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams

In the transition from stage to screen, “A Streetcar Named Desire” retained its long-running Broadway cast with a single exception: the role of Blanche Dubois, which passed from Jessica Tandy to Vivien Leigh. Like Blanche, Leigh was the odd woman out. A symbol of the glories of the studio system, married to the symbol of English stage acting, her classical training ran contrary to that of her Method-trained co-stars. Thus to the clash of wills between Blanche and Stanley Kowalski was added a clash of acting styles— and the struggle between the death of Old Hollywood and the birth of Brando and the New. Which principle— Blanche’s fantasy or Stanley’s realism— makes for superior art? Can the conflict between magic and truth ever be resolved? And is all realism a form of cruelty? Wes & Erin discuss Tennessee Williams’s “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Pretty Much Pop #102: What the Pop!? Season 1 Wrap-Up

After 101 episodes and a bit over two years, Mark, Erica, and Brian reflect on what we’ve learned and set a course for the future. What have we determined about how and why we consume? What’s the relation between consumption and creativity?

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

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(sub)Text: Prestidigitocracy in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)

The Wizard of Oz is supposed by the land’s inhabitants to be its most powerful magician. But far from having any actual power, he is not even native to the place in which real magic is in plentiful supply. Oddly, this supernatural world seems to be secretly governed by mundane sleight of hand, and growing up, for Dorothy, involves uncovering the flimsy basis of adult authority. Which magic is more potent: the childish imagination, or the symbolic power of grown-ups to educate it? Wes & Erin analyze the 1939 film, “The Wizard of Oz.”

Pretty Much Pop #101: The “Conjuring” Retroverse

Mark, Erica, and Brian delve into this 8-film horror franchise started by James Wan in 2013 through The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. Do their demons scare us, and do their Catholic defenses provide a convincing antidote? Is it OK to valorize the Warrens, the supernatural detectives who were most likely hucksters in real life?

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

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Philosophy vs. Improv: An Introductory Trailer

What is Philosophy vs. Improv? Hear about the new podcast by Mark Linsenmayer (The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast) and Bill Arnett (Chicago Improv Studio, The Complete Improviser author).

Thanks to our announcer, Erica Spyres.

Get more episodes than are now publicly available plus supporter-only content at patreon.com/philosophyimprov. This new project needs your support to get off the ground!

NEM#152: Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket) Builds His Capacity

Glen led smooth alt rock legends Toad the Wet Sprocket from ’88 to ’97 through six albums, has released 7 often folky solo albums (and 3 more Toad albums since their reunion) since then plus various side projects.

We discuss “Old Habits Die Hard” by Toad (a 2020 single), “Leaving Oldtown” from Swallowed by the New (2016), and “One Wind Blows” from Toad’s Bread and Circus (1988). We end with the title track from the 2021 Toad album Starting Now. Intro: “All I Want” from fear (1991). For more see glenphillips.com and toadthewetsprocket.com.

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Pretty Much Pop #100: Directing Comedies w/ Heather Fink

Director/writer/sound operator Heather Fink joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss the role of the director in making a good comedy, covering TV vs. film, sex scenes, not telling actors how to read their lines, editing, and more.

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

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Ep. 274: Schelling on Self-Consciousness (Part One)

On Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism (1800), Parts 1 and 2.

What is self-consciousness, and how did Schelling think that it grounds all of knowledge?

Sponsors: Visit Wondrium.com/PEL for a free month’s access to the full Great Courses Plus library and more. Get free 30-day access to all Literati book clubs at Literati.com/life. Visit headspace.com/PEL for a free month of guided meditations.

Pretty Much Pop #99: The Music of Your Youth w/ Jon Lamoreaux (The Hustle podcast)

To what degree to our childhood favorites persist into adulthood? Are we doomed to love the songs of our generation best? What causes the generation gap in musical tastes?

Mark, Erica, Brian, plus Jon, the host of The Hustle Podcast share their nostalgia and discuss “guilty pleasures,” the different pre-critical stages at which songs burrow themselves into our brains, aging pop stars, film soundtracks, and more.

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

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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