Pretty Much Pop #6: Adults Playing Video Games

Mark Linsenmayer, Erica Spyres, and Brian Hirt are joined by Ian Maio (who worked for marketing for IGN and Turner in e-sports) for our first discussion about gaming. Do adults have any business playing video games? Should you feel guilty about your video game habits? Ian gives us the lay of the land about e-sports, comparing it to physical sports, and we discuss the  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #4: “Chernobyl” and the Art of Suffering

On the HBO mini-series Chernobyl. Mark, Erica, and Brian first get into the various degrees of looseness in something’s being “based on a true story.” Does it matter if it’s been changed to be more dramatic? We then consider the show as entertainment: Why do people enjoy witnessing suffering? Why might a drama work (or not) for you? We also touch on Game of Thrones, The  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #3: CONFORM w/ Yakov Smirnoff

Mark's new culture podcast continues, with our first celebrity guest! (We'd tried to get him on PEL earlier.) Get the episodes in advance of when you see them here and learn more abut the new podcast at prettymuchpop.com. Is media trying to brainwash us into being ALL THE SAME? Are the excesses of the mob scaring us into conformity? And does this in turn keep us from being  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #2: Binge Watching

Partially Examined Lifers, please enjoy the continuing adventures of the new podcast. Episode 3, the interview with Yakov Smirnoff on the dangers of conformity, and how they're expressed in media and culture more generally, will be going up today, but you won't hear them it yet. You have to go subscribe to the podcast; look it up on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, or  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #1: Pop Culture vs. High Culture

What is pop culture? Does it make sense to distinguish it from high culture, or can something be both?Your PEL host Mark Linsenmayer is joined by actor/musician Erica Spyres (a recent PEL guest), and sci-fi writer/linguist Brian Hirt (of the Constellary Tales podcast) in this first attempt at a conversation together for this new podcast that will cover films, TV, novels, games,  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #1: Pop Culture vs. High Culture (Advance Citizen Release)

What is pop culture? Does it make sense to distinguish it from high culture, or can something be both? Yes, Mark has started yet another podcast, this time with recent PEL guest Erica Spyres and Constellary Tales host Brian Hirt. (This discussion also features our editor Tyler Hislop.) We'll be talking about TV, movies, music, comedy, comics, games, theater, and much  Continue Reading …