My Pop Culture Digest – July 2020

With these monthly posts, first introduced in this post, I’m in no way trying to be exhaustive or objective. I’m merely sharing some of the media I’ve consumed that month that I want to share, because I am such a big consumer of pop culture. I’m also going to put an ongoing 2020 book list at the end with what I’ve read this year and what I’m currently reading.

Podcasts

sawbonesHealth Media Literacy Episode of Sawbones

A med student friend of mine suggested the podcast Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine podcast to me when we both realized what big podcast listeners we are when chatting across a big conference table in the same room where we all once interviewed, while waiting for our OSCEs to start (our end of block exams where we “play doctor” with standardized patient actors). I don’t listen to a ton of medical-themed podcasts so I subscribed.

The recent episode “Health Media Literacy” looks at how to evaluate some of the covid literature that’s coming out, and specifically looks at some studies claiming that immunity from covid wanes quickly. Worth listening to regardless of familiarity with science, as it gives some good tips for appraising these types of stories. Health and science literacy is such a huge passion of mine, only made moreso by this pandemic, and so this episode is one of my favorite things I listened to this month.

Interview with Jazzy Collins

The Reality Steve Podcast Interview with Jazzy Collins episode – Jazzy Collins was a casting producer for The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, and came out with a post on her instagram talking about her experience being the only Black casting producer on the show. In the interview with Reality Steve, she goes in-depth about her experience, how she was treated, what happened when she tried to push back against some of the racist protocols, especially in regards to natural hair.

There’s been a lot said about the appalling lack of diversity on the show, and a lot of focus on the leads and contestants, so I thought it was interesting to hear more behind-the-scenes, and it really highlights the need for diversity not just in casting but in production and the people behind the camera, which is a keay ask in the BachDiversity petition.

2 Black Girls 1 Rose

Where, as they say, two Black ass girls invade the whitest show on earth.

Continuing the Bachelor theme – can you tell how impatient I am for Clare’s season? – this is a podcast I discovered during quarantine (though apparently I was already following them on Twitter) and binged from the beginning. This podcast will definitely be highlighted in depth in a Spotlight post sometime in the near future (to coincide with when a season is airing). I’m obsessed with this podcast. Natasha and Justine are so hilarious and smart and real.

And this summer, they are helping us get through the slump of no new TV by going back and recapping Jason Mesnick’s season of The Bachelor from 2009. They have usual things like their “becky of the week” and “invite to the cookout” and for this season have added the “fuckboy slip of the week.” I’m living for it and look forward to waking up to a new episode every Wednesday morning. It’s only available on the 2 Black Girls 1 Rose patreon, which is so worth subscribing to.

TV & Movies

TBH I haven’t been watching much at all this month. I have a regular TV night with a close friend, where we’re making our way through the old Veronica Mars series so we can then watch the movie and the new episodes (a year later). We’ve both seen the series and the movie before (in fact, I posted about anticipating the movie back in the day) but wanted to refresh before diving into the new episodes. So no spoilers please!

One night, we watched the movie Palm Springs instead. It was cool. Like a weird, trippy, wacky, rom-com with a time loop. Here’s the trailer:

It was one of those movies that I found myself thinking about for days afterward, which is something I love. And I don’t know about anyone else, but ever since the pandemic and quarantine started, I’ve found myself going more towards lighter material in my viewing preferences.

Music

folklore by Taylor Swift

Well, anyone who’s been reading this site, or my Twitter (which probably gets a little obnoxious in the fangirling) knows the main album I’ve been listening to this month, even though it’s only been out for a week (how is that possible?) is Taylor Swift’s folklore. I’ve posted about it some, and certainly will post more.

As a little teaser, I’m planning on posting song-by-song posts and thinking I’ll do that in the fall. Although folklore was released in summer, the album and the artwork feel so much more autumn-y to me. I want to write about it while drinking (non-dairy) pumpkin spice lattes and wearing sweaters.

It’s still only been a week, but my current favorites are “exile (featuring Bon Iver),” “peace,” “betty,” “invisible string,” “august,” “the 1” and “illicit affairs.” That list will probably change by the time this post goes live.

Gaslighter by The Chicks

aka the band formerly known as The Dixie Chicks

This album drop was also a surprise to me. Originally, it was going to be released in May, and then my iTunes said it would be December, and then all of a sudden, early this month, there it was. Gaslighter by The Chicks.

They’ve changed their name to take out the word “Dixie” and did a better job at changing their band name than Lady Antebellum, who tried to change their name to Lady A, and then, in the most head-scratching and truly WTAF move, sued the Black blues singer who already has the name Lady A, to which the original Lady A rightly told them to piss right off or pay up – I like the band that currently doesn’t have a name’s music (to the point of owning two of their albums) but come on seriously WTAF were they thinking with this shit?! To bring it full circle, 2 Black Girls 1 Rose discuss this music news on one of their recent episodes (as do a lot of podcasts and other sources).

Anyway, back on track, I’m really digging the new album by The Chicks, but am not quite familiar enough to write in depth about it. Yet. But first takes on favorite songs are “Gaslighter” (I was a little lukewarm on it when it first dropped, but it’s grown into a favorite, and is a GREAT song to work out to), “Sleep at Night,” “Juliana Calm Down,” “Set Me Free,” and “Young Man.” Also subject to change.

Books

Currently Reading

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-First Century by Dorothy Roberts

Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley – This is a reread for me. I first read the book in 2004 and LOVED it, with a couple of qualms. I decided to reread it starting at the beginning of this year, and have gone through many reading droughts and periods of putting it aside in order to read other things throughout the year and am now almost three-quarters of the way through. The reread is…interesting, a very different experience from the first read, and probably something I’ll post about when I finish.

Running List of Books Read So Far in 2020

Books finished this month (as opposed to earlier in the year) are in bold.

Before getting to the list, I think I need to say that I went on some serious audiobook bingeing early on in quarantine, and that’s reflected here in this list, which was essentially blank until mid-March at which began some intense listening. A lot of quicker, thriller type reads, and I discovered and devoured the work of Tana French.

  1. the likenessThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  2. In the Woods by Tana French (first in the Dublin Murder Squad series and ummm, the books are waaaaaaay better than the series, which is what we usually expect, but I mean really)
  3. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (did not like)
  4. The Likeness by Tana French (loveloveloved this one, didn’t sleep at all one night because I couldn’t stop listening, read (audio) twice and thinking about a third go-round)
  5. Faithful Place by Tana French
  6. Broken Harbour by Tana French (personally my least fave of the Dublin Murder Squad)
  7. The Secret Place by Tana French (loved it, read (audio) twice)
  8. The Trespasser by Tana French
  9. The Witch Elm by Tana French (the only that’s not part of the Dublin Murder Squad)
  10. Little Fires Everywhere (this is going to sound bad but I thought the TV show was better, by a long shot)
  11. The End of Everything by Megan Abbott (ehh)
  12. The Janes by Louisa Luna
  13. Educated by Tara Westover (great, highly recommend this memoir)
  14. The Secret History by Donna Tartt (came highly recommended but I didn’t think it contactwas that great)
  15. The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
  16. Watching You by Lisa Jewell
  17. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
  18. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
  19. The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell
  20. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (made me cry a lot)
  21. Contact by Carl Sagan (for my NOAH book club, this was a re-read but from over 20 years ago – amazing, highly recommend)
  22. Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

And if you want to be friends on Goodreads, you can find me here.

-April

4 thoughts on “My Pop Culture Digest – July 2020

  1. Have you tried the podcast My Brother, my brother, and me? It’s hilarious and features Justin from Sawbones with his 2 brothers. I highly recommend it.

  2. I read “In the Woods” by Tana French and liked it, now I’m thinking of reading “The Likeness” based on your high recommendation. I wish I had read “Contact” by Carl Sagan before seeing the movie. I rarely go back and read a book that has been made into a movie I have already seen. This month I finished three of the “Foundation” series by Isaac Asimov and I enjoyed those for the most part. I have one in the queue and then maybe I’ll check out “The Likeness”. Thanks.

    • Hey Brian – I really liked all of the Dublin Murder Squad series. I liked the concept of The Likeness a lot. It’s told from the perspective of Cassie, who was Rob’s partner in In the Woods, and there’s a dead girl who looks just like her, so she basically goes undercover as the dead girl to try to find out who killed her. But the whole series is good.

      I need to re-watch Contact. I think back in the day, twenty years ago, I saw the movie first and then read the book, so now I could do it the reverse way around. I do think the book is better than the movie, and my friend Claire feels so very strongly.

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