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 37: Lucha Libre: Performance, activism and politics

In this episode we discuss lucha libre, the popular Mexican form of professional wrestling. We are joined by Peatónito, an activist for pedestrians in Mexico City, who uses the persona of a wrestler to create spectacle as activism on the streets, such as jumping in front of cars. We also speak with Heather Levi, an assistant professor of Anthropology at Temple University, who researches professional wrestlers and professional wrestling in Mexico City. We ask: how is lucha a practice of staging contradictions? How does it comment on the political life of the audience, to bring them along to support a “super-hero” type persona? How have politics, performativity, lucha, etc. merged into each other? And also, how can the luchadores personas help to bring attention to, and increase affect and participation around, social issues outside of the arena?

More About Our Guests:

Heather Levi, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Temple
The World of Lucha Libre: Secrets, Revelations, and Mexican National Identity
“Don’t Leave Us in the Hands of Criminals: The Contested Cultural Politics of Lucha Libre.”

Peatónito (Twitter)
Peatónito’s appearance in NYC!

Here are some more of the things mentioned in this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Noted Luchadores/activists:
El Santo (images of El Santo Fotonovelas)
Blue Demon
Super Barrio (Super Barrio in LA!)
Ecologista Universal

Peatónito’s inspiration, Antanas Mockus
Also read Mockus’ NYT Op-Ed on The Art of Changing a City
And check out a more extensive documentary here

Love and Rockets comics

A very LA take on Lucha – Lucha VaVoom

Henry’s writing on American wrestling

Additional Reading:
The Revenge of Hatpin Mary: Women, Professional Wrestling and Fan Culture in the 1950s
Steel Chair to the Head: The Pleasure and Pain of Professional Wrestling

Episode 36: Korean Science Fiction: Imagining other worlds

This week we talk about Korean science fiction, with Sang-Joon Park, publisher; Soyeon Jeong, a Science Fiction writer; Gord Sellar, also a writer, and Sunyoung Park, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Gender Studies at USC. Each are contributors to a new book,  Readymade Bodhisattva: The Kaya anthology of South Korean Science Fiction, and this interview offers potential readers some perspectives on Korean science fiction: how it emerged, what  its core themes are, how it relates to western science fiction, and how it is linked to technological and political change in their country. In a rapidly changing society like Korea in the late 20th century, reading science fiction connected them with a wider world, offered them a means of working through trauma and of imagining alternative worlds. Initially encountered through translations of western writers curated for the Korean market, later transformed into a genre where local writers could make their own contributions, science fiction has emerged as a vital tradition in both literature and film (for example, Snowpiercer or The Host). What kinds of futures are imagined in this popular culture tradition? How has it allowed Koreans to think about the changes brought by ICTs?

Here are some more of the things mentioned in this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

USC’s Visions & Voices Event: Readymade Bodhisattvas

Science Fiction Writers Union of the Republic of Korea

Reading Suggestions

Movie Suggestions

Check out our previous SF episode with Minsoo Kang, our other SF episodes, or our K-Pop episode for more South Korean culture.

Episode 35: Power and Pleasure of Podcasting (part four): Public radio and distributing content, where are we and where are we going?

In this episode we are joined by Kerri Hoffman, CEO, and John Barth, Chief Content Editor of PRX. This is our fourth and last episode on the Power and Pleasure of Podcasting.

We begin by discussing the history of podcasting and public radio, and how it has always been a venture of affecting lives and not money-making. Yet, what makes podcasting special? Listeners often speak about authenticity of the maker, speaker or host as the main distinctive factor, but we are far from knowing more specifics. There is also the ability to connect with a few, yet more interested and dedicated, niche listeners. Even what is considered “good” content differs, from more raw, authentic productions to professionally put-together shows. Its main allure, however, continues to be its ability to be open and participatory. Nonetheless, we wonder, will it join the internet and other original participatory mediums which in spite of being open, are still dominated by a few, big, key players? How do we continue encouraging people to create and share podcasts when they are not so easily distributed? Will search engines such as Google, who are not in the game yet, play a significant role on who can find and access podcasts?

Here are some more of the things mentioned in this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Jake Shapiroformer CEO and co-founder of PRX
Reveal PRX’s investigative show
Podcast Garage
Online Classes/Videos
Project with Google

American Public Media / Whose Democracy is it?

History of Warner Bros / Rin-tin-tin

Moth Radio Hour

Kerri’s Medium Essay, Reflecting on the First 100 Days of the PRI & PRX Merger

More on the impact of Egyptian Media

More Podcasts mentioned in the episode:
99% Invisible
Ear Hustle
Harry Potter Fan Podcasts
The Well

Susan Crawford

Ira Glass on Jimmy Fallon

The First Podcast (2003)

Is self-publishing in the book industry analogous to podcasting?

Reese Witherspoon – Hello Sunshine

Tim WuThe Master Switch

Consolidation of power in podcasting and Gimlet sale to Spotify; role of Google

Are there more Android phones out there than iPhones?

Jay Allison

Netflix isn’t the same as podcasts

Buzzfeed – Spaghetti against the wall method

Peabody Awards – 2018 Nominees will be announced April 9!

Check out our other episodes in this series

Follow USC Annenberg Media’s coverage of the developing college admissions scandal Henry & Colin alluded to…