Pop Culture Care Package, Pt. 5

Upsetting, yet exuberant?

Dames Nation, what if I told you…well, I’ll let Britney Spears handle it:

This is my request for a future Britney Spears episode of You’re Wrong About

You’re Wrong About is a podcast whose foundational assumption is that the dominant narratives we learn about current events -- particularly when they’re about women, queer folks, people of color, and/or poor people -- are often deeply flawed, if not completely wrong. The hosts, journalists Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall, trade responsibility for deeply researching and explaining the topic of the week to each other. Thanks to their easy rapport and their backgrounds as researchers and writers, they’re very engaging storytellers, and one of the greatest pleasures of the show is hearing their ever-increasing rapport. Rarely has learning how badly I misunderstood or was just ignorant of certain historical episodes been this gratifying. The Some favorites: Yoko Ono (who definitely did not break up the Beatles), The Stonewall Uprising, and Dan Quayle vs. Murphy Brown (ok, that one I knew about already).

Their magnum opus is still in progress, with eight episodes available so far: the tragedy of Nicole Brown, whose 18-year relationship with OJ Simpson went from heady courtship to abusive relationship to abusive marriage to divorce and short-lived freedom, only to end in her murder and the murder of her friend Ron Goldman. Sarah & Michael have been exploring the story from the perspectives of Nicole, not-quite-good-enough-friend-to-Nicole Kato Kaelin, Simpson’s overinvested caregiver/girlfriend Paula Barbieri, and District Attorney Marcia Clark.

The show as a whole and these episodes in particular put us in deep both/and territory: it’s extremely bingeable and shot through with a particular type of hopefulness that looks human darkness directly in the eye while insisting on the possibility that we’re capable of something better, and ought to try. I can’t think of anything more suited to the particularly bleak moment we find ourselves in now. Give it a listen & let me know what you think.

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