The Pop Culture Lens is co-hosted by PWSA contributors CarrieLynn Reinhard and Christopher Olson. The podcast looks as past pop culture texts using different theoretical lens to discuss the text and its relevance. The podcast tries to translate academic concepts and theories into language everyone can understand and appreciate.
For their podcast, CarrieLynn and Christopher have done episodes about professional wrestling. The first episode brought on PWSA contributor Joe Belfeuil to discuss the WWE’s history as the WWF. Both Christopher and Joe grew up with the WWF, but CarrieLynn is a newcomer to sports entertainment and knows more about the WWE. Together, they discuss what the WWF was like, including the ways in which it was rather problematic in its depiction of people outside of the United States, women, people of color, and non-heterosexuals. They also discuss how professional wrestling, especially as epitomized by the WWF/WWE, represents convergent culture and the creation of a simulation of reality or hyperreality. They also touch on the problems the WWE still faces, how the company perhaps creates these problems, and what could be done to fix the problems — basically, they smark out as any good professional wrestling fan should!
In the second episode, CarrieLynn and Christopher are joined by friend and prowrestling fan Ryan Schriml to reflect on ECW. In this episode, the discussion focuses on how the innovations of Paul Heyman and ECW have had long-lasting impacts on all aspects of professional wrestling. While not a major player of the Monday Night Wars between the WWF and the WCW, the indie federation nevertheless impacted both of those pro-wrestling promotions by introducing wrestlers who would go on to superstardom in either federation. More than that, ECW innovated on how to promote and portray wrestling, including how to utilize the new technologies of the Internet to distribute and market content as well as connecting with and empowering fans. ECW’s do-it-yourself, outsider identity continues to influence the WWE and indie federations around the world to this day.
For this special episode, CarrieLynn and Christopher sit down to discuss why it is important to study professional wrestling. Produced to coincide with the wide release of the Professional Wrestling Studies Association, their discussion covers various impacts that professional wrestling has had on the world.