How Do You Like It So Far uses pop culture to take soundings of a society in transition, exploring intersections with civic imagination and engagement, and social and political change. Henry Jenkins and Colin Maclay are your guides on this adventure.

Episode 51: The Great Eastern with Howard A. Rodman

Happy 51st episode, How Do You Like it So Far? fans!  We’ve got a great one in store for you for our last podcast of the season!  (We know, but we’ll be back before you know it).  This week we welcome Howard A. Rodman, Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, screenwriter, novelist, labor organizer and author of The Great Eastern.  In his new book, Rodman pits two of the greatest anti-heroes of 19th century literature, Captain Nemo and Captain Ahab, against each other in a thrilling and inventive story.  Through his astounding novel, Rodman draws inspiration from classic literature of the 19th century from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick to create a work of fiction that speaks to today’s culture.  Rodman talks about his earlier influences in literature and films and how those early references informed his imagination and shaped his penchant for story-telling.  He discusses his process in creating The Great Eastern.  Rodman talks about how we deal with the problematic elements of the pulp and literary traditions of the period — for example, H.P. Lovecraft  and his controversial viewpoints.  Looking for some good book recommendations for this holiday season?  Take a look at our episode notes for books Rodman and Henry discuss.

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Rodman’s book The Great Eastern

Jules Verne:
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 
The Mysterious Island

Herman Melville:
Moby Dick

Isambard Kingdom Brunel – English Civil Engineer

Mad Magazine
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Movies Discussed in this Podcast:
Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Ray Harryhausen’s The Mysterious Island
Henry Levin’s Journey to the Center of the Earth
John Huston’s Moby Dick with Gregory Peck

Other Authors and Works Mentioned in the Episode:
Mary Shelley’s Frankensteinfeminism
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hawthorne seeded idea of Moby Dick
Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations
Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities
Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace
Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray
Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
Don DeLillo’s The Names
Rudyard Kipling’s The White Man’s Burden
Sax Rohmer’s The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
William Hope Hodgeson’s The House on the Borderland
Viet Nguyen’s The Sympathizer
Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Patti Smith – Mere Martian Orphan


Kirk Douglas – “I Swear By My Tattoo”

Wyn Kelley – Melville Scholar

H.P. Lovecraft  
problematic viewpoints

John Campbell award


Bowling Green State University removed Lillian Gish’s name from a theater building for appearing in Birth of a Nation

Topple and Gather – Fallen Monument Park, Moscow

USC School of Cinematic Arts students protest John Wayne statue

Ricardo Pitts-Wiley
Overview of Moby Dick

Songs of the South – comic creator Jeremy Love, Bayou

Sailors from around the world

Some Core readings on 19th century Fiction:
How to Do Things With Books in Victorian Britain 
Worlds Enough: The Invention of Realism in the Victorian Novel
As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality

Share your thoughts via Twitter with Henry and Colin and also through email at [email protected]!

Episode 50: Memes to Movements with An Xiao Mina

Welcome to December How Do You Like it So Far? fans!  We can’t believe it ourselves, but we only have two more episodes left for the season!  This week Colin and Henry are joined by An Xiao Mina, a scholar, activist and author of the book Memes to Movements: How the World’s Most Viral Media is Changing Social Protest and Power.  In her new book, Mina discusses how memes can be considered a form of “street art” of the web where they are a prominent part of the discourse in today’s society.  Mina unpacks memes as a distinct feature of pop culture and how they not only work to amplify today’s politics, but also continue conversations around important and socially relevant issues.  She goes in-depth around the meme culture surrounding Chen Guangcheng and Ai Weiwei, but also the global meme movements involving Arab Spring and other political movements.  Mina’s reveals how memes may seem disarming and fun, but finds they are intertwined with how we view the world, each other, and build narratives.  She uncovers parallels between the protests in Hong Kong to other protests worldwide. Her book unveils the transformative power of memes and wonders where the memetic culture will take us next.  Any cat fans out there? Mina goes into depth about how the Internet is made up of cat memes! What about goats? She argues that these animals are gaining visibility as new regions gain greater access and voice online.  Listen in as Mina talks about how memes were not created from marketing meetings but emerged from playfulness and experimentation.

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Cat memes
How cats won the internet
Cute Cats to the Rescue?
How Cats Became Rulers of the Interwebs

Historic stigma against cats
15th century – Pope Innocent VIII decree declared cats were an unholy creature
Chinese culture – Zodiac animals (dog but no cat)

Cartoon cats

How Cats Took Over the Internet by Jason Eppink – exhibit at The Museum of the Moving Image

Cat Celebrities

Memes – part of a culture, part of a discourse

Richard Dawkins –  Memes as self replicating culture

Limor ShifmanMemes in Digital Culture
Henry’s Interview with Limor Shifman

Amanda BrennanMeme Librarian at Tumblr

Kate MiltnerBuilding a community with LOLcats

Nevertheless, She Persisted – Elizabeth Warren
Merchandise for sale
boundary between digital and physical work

Swastika and original meaning

Chen Guangcheng – One of the first political memes
Became a comic meme → transformed into a performative meme
Christian Bale’s visit
Escaped house arrest

Meedan – tools for Journalists

Proto – Fact-Checking organization in India

Meme culture is a big part of how misinformation has spread

Global Meme Culture
Arab Spring Memes 
Baby Shark

Popularity of goat memes
Pygmy goats

Article 19

Often about exhaustion from multiple narratives coming at us from multiple directions

Top-down exercise of power through memes 
Trump intimidating witness via real-time over Twitter
Trump’s GOT memes

TikTok censorship of HK protest – under investigation

4chan or 8chan

Becca Lewis and Alice Marwick

Remixes in Memes
Trump uses GoT about upcoming sanctions
HK protesters singing “Do You Hear the People Sing?”

Ai Weiwei

Memes are seeds of where we are going
They tried to bury us.  They didn’t know we were seeds.”

Digital PlazaChina’s Internet has own politics

Visual Social Media LabManchester Metropolitan University

Memes as People’s Editorial Cartoons

Share your thoughts via Twitter with Henry and Colin and also through email at [email protected]!

Episode 49: Fireside Chat with Youth Activists Justin Scott and Jessica Riestra

Here we are again How Do You Like it So Far? fans!  We continue with our two-part series from the 2019 Connected Learning Summit, which took place at the University of California, Irvine from October 3-5.  The second installment is a panel with Henry and two youth activists Justin Scott, a student and artist who has worked alongside grass roots organizations such as Students Deserve, United Black Student Unions of California, and Black Lives Matters, and Jessica Riestra, a Senior from Sacramento State and Co-Director of March for Our Lives California.  Their chat focused on youth-lead activism efforts, the difficulties of their work and how they use social media to their advantage.  Scott discussed how media is varied nowadays and opened up new avenues for engagement in the youth activism sphere. He urged everyone to engage young people because they have first-hand experience in the classroom and unique experiences that can help shape and evolve discussions around education.  Riestra examined what activism means for her and that it consists of standing up for one’s personal beliefs and taking a stance for those who may not be able to take a stance for themselves. Tune in as Scott and Riestra dissect the role of youth activists in today’s digital culture and call for the recognition of educators as the creators of spaces that explore the identities of young people and how their identities will interact with the world.

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Henry’s book Participatory Culture – Interviews

Henry’s blog post in advance of the panel 

Freddie Gray’s Death

Racist random search policies on campuses

Privatization of LAUSD

Students of color have a lower high school graduation rate

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Model United Nations (UN)

Share your thoughts via Twitter with Henry and Colin and also through email at [email protected]!