Rank #1: Backtalk: Actual Bad Feminists
This week, Dahlia and Amy (a.k.a your friendly neighborhood rage cheerleaders) talk about Rose McGowan’s confrontation with trans activist Andi Dier and Katie Roiphe’s “feminist” screed against #MeToo. At a recent stop on her book tour, Dier asked McGowan to explain remarks she made on Rupaul’s podcast about how transwomen didn’t grow up as women. Then they talk about the Roiphe essay you don’t need to read and how exhausting contrarian feminists need to step away from writing unproductive fodder criticizing young women.
Feb 08 2018
Rank #2: Backtalk: #MeToo Backlash & Larry Nassar Sentencing
This week, Dahlia and Amy dig into the latest “feminist” backlash against the #MeToo movement in light of Babe.Net’s Aziz Ansari—a story which showed how a celebrity who banked on his male feminist allyship ultimately doesn’t want to respect boundaries around consent. Then they talk about the sentencing hearing for former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University physician Larry Nassar, who has pled guilty to child molestation, and the systemic failure of powerful organizations to protect the vulnerable. Plus, another Petty Political Pminute on Trump’s terrible tweet about this year’s Women’s March and the latest in the Mueller investigation.
Jan 25 2018
Rank #3: OK Meme-er
This week, Dahlia and Amy talk about the meme that’s the perfect digital eye roll. “OK Boomer” is the millennial and Gen Z clapback that has some people clutching their pearls. But what does this meme say about calling out people in power and starting a conversation about what young people stand to inherit?
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s “Eat Shit, Bob Murray” episode is a perfect middle finger to a wretched coal baron who silences critics with frivolous, expensive lawsuits.
"In the Dream House" by Carmen Maria Machado
The Muffs “Sad Tomorrow”
Nov 14 2019
Rank #4: Trumpeachment Update
This week, Dahlia and Amy talk about the latest in the impeachment inquiry and whether it means we’ll finally kick Trump out of office. A whole crew of former and current government officials have appeared to testify as to whether Trump engaged in a quid pro quo with the Ukrainian president. The testimonies have revealed a Trumpian shitshow that points directly at that quid pro quo—but will it be enough to dethrone him?
WATCH “Parasite” by director Bong Joon-ho is a film for our times. Bong shows us how capitalism has failed us all in this smart, funny, and anxiety-inducing film.
READ “The Beautiful Ones,” a memoir that Prince was working on before his death, was meant to "be a handbook for the brilliant community," "a radical call for collective ownership, for black creativity," and “a book about freedom.” Featuring Prince’s own handwritten memoir pages, the book is also filled with photos, letters, and other rad Prince ephemera.
LISTEN “Rich Man’s World 1%” by Immortal Technique
Nov 28 2019
Rank #5: Popaganda: Watching What You Eat
What does it take to get “well”? When we think about wellness, especially right now, we tend to think of it as everything we do to make our lives and bodies healthy. Rather than defining health through the negation of sickness, wellness advocates press that being “well” is an ongoing process of maintenance and care. But so much of what we think about wellness is so wrapped up in watching and being watched—through fitness apps, Instagram, bureaucracy, or just the day-to-day experience of going to the grocery store.
On this episode of Popaganda, Soleil will be talking with a few folks about that peculiar facet of wellness. First, food writer Serena Maria Daniels shares her experience of growing up in a family that participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and how it feels to apply for the program as an adult. Then she talks to Dr. Elizabeth Hoover, assistant professor of American Studies at Brown University, about the ways in which Native American communities have fought for control over their food supply. Finally, eating disorder specialist Renee McGregor walks her through the trouble with “clean eating,” and the ways in which food bloggers can inadvertently encourage disordered eating.
Mar 01 2018
Rank #6: Popaganda: I Saw the Sign
Do you believe what you read in horoscopes? In pop culture, we imbue the zodiac signs with certain stereotypical behaviors. Virgos are judgmental, Leos are always starving for attention, Geminis are two-faced. The general gist is that the sun’s position in the sky relative to 12 astrological signs at the time of your birth can tell you all about the kind of person you’ll be. At least, enough to receive the same advice once a week. On this episode of Popaganda, you’ll be hearing from two people whose lives are entangled in astrology. We’ll talk about finding yourself in horoscopes, zodiac pie, and how astrology might work alongside social justice.
First, we speak with Claire Comstock-Gay, a.k.a Madame Clairevoyant, who writes weekly horoscopes for The Cut. We actually covered her in Bitch last year! Then we hear from Candace Kita, a community organizer who attends the Portland School of Astrology, who explains what it means to “queer” the study of the zodiac. And she reads Soleil's birth chart! Cool!
Apr 06 2018
Rank #7: Backtalk: Nat Geo’s Racism & Spring Break
This week, Dahlia and Amy talk about how the National Geographic is finally coming to terms with its racism and how we think about spring break in pop culture. Finally, in its 130th year, National Geographic is beginning to acknowledge its history of perpetuating colonialism through racist editorial decisions. Like, duh. The impact that the magazine has had on how folks view many parts of the world can't be understated. The same can be said about pop culture references to spring break and popular destinations that are seen as party towns without thinking about how these cities are homes to entire communities. And of course, we've got a new Amy vs. Dahlia—and this is a spicy one.
Mar 22 2018
Rank #8: FaceBOO!
This week, Dahlia and Amy talk Facebook’s bid for world domination and what Mark Zuckerberg’s latest appearance before Congress revealed. Ahead of the 2020 elections and in the wake of influence campaigns that have led to violence around the world, it’s been asked if the social-media giant is capable of growing responsibly. (Hint: nope).
Extra reading: I’m the Comedian Who Just Confronted Harvey Weinstein. Here’s Why I Spoke Up. [New York Times]
“Fake Like Me” by Barbara Bourland is part art-world exposé, part murder-mystery, and all-engrossing.
Jenny Slate’s Netflix Special “Stage Fright” is a quirky mix of her stand-up and documentary footage with her family.
“Which Witch” by Florence + The Machine
Oct 31 2019
Rank #9: Popaganda: Faking It
On today’s show, Soleil will be talking about one of her favorite subjects: the act of faking it. Why do we do it, and what does it mean when we accuse others of doing it? And what does the impostor tell us about the boundaries we erect in order to define ourselves and our place in the world? To answer those questions, she’ll take on the Portsmouth Sinfonia, the phenomenon of the “fake geek girl,” Rachel Dolezal, and the awful—but perhaps enlightening—film White Chicks.
We have two guests on the show this week: first, Soleil talks with Michi Trota, managing editor of the two-time Hugo Award-winning Uncanny Magazine, about how to it feels to be pushed out of a community is supposed to be all about celebrating outcasts. Then Soleil speaks with Amalia Nicholson—a content producer and cohost of the podcast Borrowed Interest, a show that focuses on the experiences of Black women in advertising—about everyone’s favorite Wayans Brothers movie (besides Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, of course).
Mar 15 2018
Rank #10: Backtalk: So Burning Books is Back?
This week, Dahlia and Amy get into the recent campus conflict when white students with hurt feelings thought it’d be a good idea to burn books written by a visiting author. Jennine Capó Crucet was invited to Georgia Southern University to speak about her novel, which was required reading for some freshmen students at the school. Students confronted her during the Q&A and burned her novel after Capó Crucet’s lecture! Plus, we celebrate Indigenous People's Day and what it means to decolonize a federal holiday.
In “Molly Fox’s Birthday” by Deirdre Madden, an unnamed narrator spends the day in her friend’s home. Molly is an actress visiting London, and the narrator, a playwright inhabiting Molly’s Irish cottage on her birthday, reflects on their friendship and the crafts of writing and acting.
“Doubt,” starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and the incomparable Viola Davis was released in 2008 and worth a re-watch in this #MeToo moment.
“Aute Couture” by Rosalia
Oct 17 2019
Rank #11: Backtalk: Good, Bad & Problematic at The Oscars
This week, Dahlia and Amy are back to grumble and celebrate the Academy Awards. They dig into the limits of #MeToo in an industry that would continue to celebrate known abusers Gary Oldman and Kobe Bryant and overlook Ryan Seacrest's abusive behavior so he can stay on the red carpet. And the tale of two white women actors, Emma Stone and Frances McDormand, and how their different remarks reflect what White Feminism or true allyship can look like at the Oscars. And of course the latest update on the clown car show that is the Trump administration in Petty Political Pminute, and don't forget the latest Amy vs. Dahlia!
Mar 08 2018
Rank #12: BackTalk: This is What White-Supremacist Terrorism Looks Like
This week, Dahlia and Amy are heartbroken over the spate of mass murders at the hands of white men with assault weapons. They talk about the importance of naming the acts of violence as white supremacist terrorism and how marginalized people across all communities are left vulnerable. Plus, we take a moment to celebrate the life and work of Toni Morrison, whose words and stories have forever shifted how we understand our world—for the better.
Aug 08 2019
Rank #13: Backtalk: Toxic Diet Culture Targeting Kids
This week, Dahlia and Amy talk about Kurbo, a weight loss app for children. The app is from Weight Watchers and they claim its purpose is to help children become healthier but experts say that an app like Kurbo can cause children to have an unhealthy relationship with food, promote eating disorders, and cause extra stress. The app feels like a ploy to create future consumers for the $72 billion diet industry and it’s so wrong.
“What We Do in the Shadows” (both the movie and the FX TV series) take a hilarious mockumentary lens to vampire living.
Yukiko Motoya’s short story collection, “The Loneliest Bodybuilder” is quirky, surreal, and so much fun to read. A must-read for contemporary Japanese literature.
“Skin & Bone” by Ambrosia Parsley
Sep 19 2019
Rank #14: Who Gets to Host the Impeachment Party?
This week, Dahlia and Amy get into the impeachment inquiry. Hold the balloons and streamers, it’s a long road ahead to remove Trump from office. How did we arrive at this specific moment when so many outspoken politicians, especially women of color Democrats, have been calling for his removal for years?
“Freshwater” by Akwaeke Emezi is a gorgeous and surreal exploration of fractured identity. WATCH
Netflix’s “Unbelievable,” based on a true events, is a necessary look at how law enforcement can support rape survivors without inflicting more harm.
“Cities in Dust” by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Oct 04 2019
Rank #15: Backtalk: Back to School
This week, Dahlia and Amy get into the back-to-school season. We spend more than a decade in school developing our worldview and learning how to be decent human beings. What happens when the people in charge of our education are closed-minded and unwilling to accept social progress? From schools with Confederate namesakes to creating a more inclusive curriculum, here’s a look at all the ways our education can shape us.
Based on the Patricia Highsmith romance novel, “The Price of Salt” (1952), “Carol” is a gorgeous film starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara about unrequited lesbian love in an unaccepting time.
“Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self delusion” by Jia Tolentino covers internet culture, scammers, reality shows, and so much more. This essay collection is truly an instant classic of the worst decade.
“Darkest Hour” by Joy Crookes
Sep 06 2019
Rank #16: Backtalk: The Power of the People
This week, Dahlia and Amy dig into the mass protest movements across the globe. From Puerto Rico to Portland, Oregon, people are showing up to have their voices heard en masse, demonstrating that the power of people to bring down oppressive systems is inspiring and necessary.
The New York Time’s 1619 Project is a reframing of American history, centering on the first enslaved Africans and the effects of slavery that can still be felt to this day. The project is a reminder that history isn’t static and can only benefit from more perspectives.
HBO’s Years and Years is a near-future dystopia centered on the Lyons, a British family, and how they deal with life in extraordinarily fucked up times. LISTEN
Mucha Data by Cazzu
Aug 22 2019
Rank #17: Popaganda: You Feel Me?
Popaganda is back! In this episode, we’re going to be talking about an emotion you’ve probably heard a lot about lately: empathy. The way we talk about it, it’s almost like a superpower: it’s like we want to believe that the cure to political divisiveness, racism, and even war lies in the act of imagining exactly how someone else feels. But is empathy really going to save the world?
First, Dr. Carolyn Pedwell, associate professor in Cultural Studies at the University of Kent, explains how different people define “empathy” and use it to achieve various, and sometimes opposing, goals. One of those parties is the virtual reality industry, and tech journalist Rose Eveleth explains the potentials and pitfalls of empathic VR experiences. Then we go into another sort of empathy experience with cartoonist Ben Passmore, whose comic and animated short, “Your Black Friend,” tackles empathy in a different, sharper way. Finally, we talk with scholar and activist Frances Lee (of the Bitch 50!) about how we can practice empathy better: in a way that acknowledges the humanity of other people without making it all about ourselves.
This episode of Popaganda is also our new host’s first with us! Soleil’s excited to jump on board and we hope you’re looking forward to all that she’ll be bringing to the table, too.
Feb 17 2018
Rank #18: Backtalk: Stoneman Douglas & The Olympics
This week, Dahlia and Amy talk about the growing anti-gun student movement that’s happened since the shooting at the Parkland, Florida, high school and an update about the Winter Olympics. After the latest horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, students have rallied together to demand serious gun control and that the NRA get out of the pockets of politicians. And at this year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, a #MeToo moment with Shaun White and some incredible performances from Chloe Kim and the American figure skating team. Plus, a Petty Political Pminute and a new Amy vs. Dahlia poll!
Feb 23 2018
Rank #19: BackTalk: A Racist by Any Other Name
This week, Dahlia and Amy agree it’s about time for mainstream media organizations to label racists as racists. Recently, Trump tweeted to four congresswomen of color that they should go back to where they came from and accused them of being un-American. While his vile tweets were unsurprising, it was unexpected to see a national news outlet like NPR finally label it as racist. Language matters and it’s important to use the right words to describe despicable people. Plus, a shoutout to all our listeners and their support—it means so much! READ
Milkman by Anna Burns, winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize, is a stream-of-consciousness novel that depicts 1970s Belfast through the eyes of “middle sister,” a young woman who is caught between town gossip and a local paramilitary known as “the milkman,” WATCH
HBO’s limited series, The Night Of, has some amazing performances and cinematography exploring the criminal justice machine and how it grinds through anyone involved in it.
“Alaska” by Banks is a dramatic and dreamy song for the summer.
Jul 25 2019
Rank #20: Recasting a Disney Princess
Jul 12 2019