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pop culture

Brandon Giesbrecht / flickr creative commons

So, when Prince died (which was two-and-a-half years ago), we announced that we were finally going to retire our theme song (which was a Prince song). And then we promptly did... nothing at all.

Earlier this year, though -- and in typical Colin McEnroe Shovian fashion -- we decided that this non-problem was a big problem. And so, in order to try and hopefully finally fix this non-problem big problem, we did a whole show about theme songs -- ours and other people's.

Serial Productions / This American Life / WBEZ Chicago

So we did a Nose last week. It was good. It was about the second season of Slow Burn and the third season of Serial, and it was kind of also about how both of those shows tie into our present moment in interesting ways and that that's kind of interesting and suchlike.

We thought it went well.

You probably would've thought so too.

Except you didn't hear it, so how would you know? That present moment that I was just talking about got in the way: We were preempted by some Senate Judiciary Committee vote or something.

So we brought the show back for this week. We hope you'll like it now too.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Nekita Waller was recently named Connecticut's 17th State Troubadour. This hour, she joins us in our studios. We talk about her background as a performer and learn about the influence she hopes to have over the state’s arts and culture scene.

Slate

It's been... quite a week. It kinda seems like nothing happened in pop culture at all this week, doesn't it? Regardless, The Nose has a mandate to satisfy.

Slow Burn is Slate's scripted, narrative impeachment podcast. The first season covered Watergate and President Nixon. The second (and current) season is covering Monica Lewinsky and President Clinton. It has a strong, willful woman at its center. It has some sexual malfeasance. It has some questionable testimony.

Serial is This American Life's scripted, narrative true crime podcast. The first and second seasons covered Adnan Syed and Bowe Bergdahl. The third (and current) season covers the court system in Cleveland. It has some justice and plenty of injustice. It has some lawyerly delays and obfuscation. It has at least one questionable judge.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The celebrity profile is dead. Or dying, at least, according to The New York Times. Case in point: the Times's own terrible profile of the great Maya Rudolph. Counterpoint: The Washington Post's fascinating, and self-eviscerating, profile of the formerly great Chevy Chase.

And: Nicole Holofcener's new movie is a Netflix adaptation of Ted Thompson's novel of the same name, The Land of Steady Habits. You'll never guess where it's set. (Actually, you might not. I'm pretty sure it's never said in the movie, and they shot it in Tarrytown, New York. But it's meant to be Westport, Conn., which is why The Nose is covering it.)

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Actress Cynthia Nixon lost the Democratic gubernatorial primary in New York yesterday. Did she lose because of the kind of bagel she eats? Probably not. But from the Nose's point of view, what could really matter more than that?

And Vulture, last week -- "as the discourse rages on about whether or not political correctness is destroying comedy (spoiler alert: it isn't)" -- ran a piece on the jokes comedians regret. But here's the real question: Do we want comedians regretting their jokes, tasteless or not?

ArtDaily / Wikimedia Commons

Color doesn't exist on its own.

A red rose will look different to me than it does to you. It will also look different to a pigeon, who can see way more shades and tints than most humans can see. Remember the 2015 debate over the dress? Gold & white,  blue & black or yes, some saw brown & light purple. 

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

You may have heard that Bob Woodward has a new book out.

It was number one on Amazon... before it came out. It was into its seventh printing -- a million copies... before it came out. The president Twittered about it at least a dozen times... before it came out.

Well, now it's out.

This hour: a look at the phenomenon of Fear.

Mike Mozart / flickr creative commons

Here's the money quote from a recent Washington Post story on entertainment in the Trump era: "People look at politics when deciding how they feel about a host or actor. Pop culture has now become one more thing that divides us, just like cable news and social media." The Nose couldn't pass that up, and this not-quite-The-Nose show can't pass it up either.

hobvias sudoneighm / flickr creative commons

Semiotics is the study of sign process, which is to say: it's the science of the search for meaning.

And then, part of the underlying premise of semiotics -- which just happens to be part of the underlying premise of The Colin McEnroe Show, itself -- is that there's meaning... everywhere.

Books DAMSELFLY and THE DIALOGUES
Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Check out some of the titles recommended during this episode here.

Now that it’s summer, it’s time to head to the beach with a good book! For many of us, vacation is one of the few times we get to read for fun. Don’t know what book to pick up? Where We Live has got you covered.

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Nose is off this week, but we bring you some pop culture topics anyway:

Jon M. Chu's Crazy Rich Asians is the number-one movie in the country, and it's expected to hold onto the top spot on the charts through this weekend. It's on the cover of Time magazine, and it's seen as "a major step forward for representation -- and the industry."

And: Hits are down, and strikeouts are up. Pitching changes and replays are at an all-time high, and take-out slides and home-plate collisions have been banned. As such, baseball greats find the game "very difficult to watch." Is baseball in trouble? (Spoiler alert: Probably not.)

Christel Øverland Preteni / flickr creative commons

humor = tragedy + time

Okay, but then the logical next question is: How much time?

If it's okay, at this point, to joke about, say, The Spanish Inquisition... what about, for instance, the Holocaust? Or AIDS? September 11th? The #MeToo movement?

Focus Features

August 16 -- yesterday -- is kind of an oddly busy day in the history of popular culture. In 1954, the first issue of Sports Illustrated was published. In 1962, Pete Best was fired from The Beatles. In 1948, Babe Ruth died. In 1958, Madonna was born (and so she turned 60 yesterday). In 1977, Elvis Presley died. And yesterday, a new August 16th-shaped dot was added to the timeline of pop culture: the death of Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul was 76 years old.

And: The new Spike Lee joint, BlacKkKlansman, is set in 1970s Colorado Springs, Colo., and it tells a story that's about race relations in all of America right now, today. It's "a slapstick comedy, a blaxploitation throwback, and an incendiary Molotov cocktail thrown into the foray of the modern multiplex," and it's being called Lee's "hardest-hitting work in decades."

What Does It Mean To Be A Man In 2018?

Aug 16, 2018
Wellcome Images / Wikimedia Commons

What do recent events such as #MeToo, the election of Donald Trump, and an onslaught of mass shootings perpetrated by white men all have in common? They’ve all provoked important cultural conversations about manhood in America.

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