Popular Culture as Self Examination on Pop, The Question / by Teagan Kuruna

by Melinda Lewis


In academia, the questions of “What are you studying? What’s your focus?” are thrown around all the time. Rarely, do we start a conversation with “What do you like?” This is where Pop, The Question intervenes. Conceived by Erica Levi Zelinger, Melinda Lewis, and Brian Kantorek, the podcast acts as an extension of the fun conversations typically had around our office’s lunch table. With a PhD in American Culture Studies, host Melinda Lewis attempts to bridge the gap between the rigor of research and the pleasure of pop culture.

Despite being tied to Drexel University, this is not a bunch of academics trading theories and jargon. Pop, The Question is about both the pleasure of popular culture and the pleasure in peeling the layers back to better understand ourselves. The podcast has explored an array of topics like 19th-century microbiology, the Kardashians, celebrity crushes, T-shirts, Glenn Danzig, representation of blackness in film, and Working Girl. While disparate in content, each episode ties into a simple thread that runs throughout: popular culture is important and part of our everyday lived experiences. Whether we run to popular culture to relax or destress, whether we’ve fashioned our identity around certain texts or objects, or even consider it part of our work, popular culture is embedded into our ways of being.

At last year’s Philly Podcast Festival, Pop, The Question delved into our guiltiest pleasures – everything from Barry Manilow, power ballads, and Blink 182. This year, Lewis and her guests will be talking about a small band you’ve probably never heard of, The Beatles. Earlier this year, she and her guests listened to and rated 200+ Beatles songs. They’ll be presenting the data of this research, the lessons they learned, and whether they came out fans or naysayers of the iconic band.

If you’d like to get in on this, check them out on July 21stat 6:30 pm at Tattooed Mom!