Industry Cringe & Reproductive Horror with Johanna Isaacson & Madeline Lane-McKinley

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Resonate Recordings

Earlier this year, we produced our fourth series of The American Vandal Podcast under the title “The World’s Work,” seven episodes on work and its cultural representations with attention to forms like autofiction, phenomena like The Great Resignation, and cultural products like Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch and Kim Stanley Robinson’s CliFi novel, Ministry For The FutureThis episode links that series with the current one, “HBO: From Pulp to Prestige,” through a discussion of the representation of work in cinematic and televisual culture, particularly on HBO.

With this episode, we would also like to promote two books (by our featured guests) being published in October and November by Common Notions Press, a house committed, as they put it, to “timely reflections, clear critiques, and inspiring strategies that amplify movements for social justice.” Johanna Isaacson’s Stepford Daughters: Weapons For Feminists In Contemporary Horror has just been released and Madeline Lane-McKinley’s Comedy Against Work: Utopian Longing In Dystopian Times will follow in mid-November.

Both Isaacson and Lane-McKinley are founding editors of Blind Field: A Journal of Cultural Inquiry, where they “seek to understand critical tendencies and latent antagonisms of the contemporary period and its cultural imaginaries — drives and impulses that demand the cultivation of different modes of perception, interpretation, and resistance.”

Johanna Isaacson is a professor of English at Modesto Junior College. In addition to writing and editing the Horror Section at Blind Field, she occasionally contributes to Horror Homeroom, including a forthcoming essay about HBO’s The Baby, inspired by the conversation on this podcast. If you are going to be in San Francisco on October 30th, we highly recommend you attend her multimedia book launch at the Roxie Theater, which includes a screening of the 2014 horror film, It Follows.

Madeline Lane-McKinley is a Lecturer in Writing and the Humanities at UC-Santa Cruz and frequent contributor to Blind Field, especially the Dystopias Section. She has recently written about HBO’s Hacks and “Sorkin’s Women,” including Maggie from HBO’s The Newsroom. Other recent work has appeared in Boston Review, Cultural Politics, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Post45

Thanks again to The Snarlin’ Yarns for providing this season’s theme song, “Don’t Go Fishing.”

Episode Bibliography

Sarah Arnold, Maternal Horror Film: Melodrama & Motherhood (Palgrave, 2013)

Ari Aster, Hereditary (2018)

J.D. Connor, Matt Seybold, & Olivia Stowell, “The Rehearsal, Reality TV, & Warner Brothers Discovery” (American Vandal, 9.20.2022)

Peter Coviello, Matt Seybold, & Xine Yao, “The Sopranos Revival” (American Vandal, 9.29.2022)

David Cronenberg, Maps To The Stars (2014)

Silvia Federici, Caliban & The Witch: Women, The Body, & Primitive Accumulation (Autonomedia, 2004)

Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? (Zero Books, 2009)

Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (Norton, 1963)

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (New England Magazine, 1892)

Amanda Hess, “Why Motherhood is a Horror Show.” (New York Times, 5.12.2022)

Bong Joon Ho, Parasite (2019)

Gillian Wallace Horvat, I Blame Society (2020)

Johanna Isaacson, Stepford Daughters: Weapons For Feminists in Contemporary Horror (Common Notions, 2022)

Johanna Isaacson, “Don’t Throw Away The Baby or the Bathwater” (Horror Homeroom, 10.29.2022)

Johanna Isaacson, “With your body we can supply an everlasting demand for submission’: Reproductive politics and Body Horror in Antibirth” (Blind Field, 9.5.2022)

Johanna Isaacson, Office Killer: Working From Home is Horror” (Horror Homeroom, 3.26.2022)

Johanna Isaacson, “The Tactless Soul at Work: Affective Insurgency in The Office (Blind Field, 10.28.2021)

Johanna Isaacson, “Social Reproduction Feminisms & Horror” (Where’s My Jetpack?!, 10.29.2021)

Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious: Narrative As A Socially Symbolic Act (Cornell UP, 1981)

Fredric Jameson, “Periodizing the ’60s” (Social Text, Summer 1984)

Jennifer Kent, The Badadook (2014)

Madeline Lane-McKinley, Comedy Against Work: Utopian Longing in Dystopian Times (Common Notions, 2022)

Madeline Lane-McKinely, “Utopia Was Never The Point: Some Thoughts About Mike Davis & Dread” (Post45, 8.4.2022)

Madeline Lane-McKinley, “Hacking At Work” (Blind Field, 6.2.2022)

Madeline Lane-McKinley, “Sorkin’s Women” (Blind Field, 4.7.2022)

Madeline Lane-McKinely, “Demand The Imaginable” (Boston Review, 10.22.2021)

Michael Orrom & Raymond Williams, Preface to Film (1954)

James A. Miller, Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers (Macmillan, 2021)

Sianne Ngai, Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting (Harvard UP, 2012)

Matt Seybold, Lisa Siraganian, & Michael Szalay, “Puzzles of Collective Intention, Corporate Authorship, Family Business Insurrection, & HBO’s Succession (American Vandal, 9.13.2022)

Michael Szalay, Second Lives: Black-Market Melodramas & The Reinvention of Television (U Chicago P, 2023)

Michael Szalay, “Streaming Enthusiasm & The Industrious Family Drama” (Los Angeles Review of Books, 6.23.2021)

Michael Szalay, “Melodrama & Narrative Stagnation in Quality TV” (Theory & Event, April 2019)

Michael Szalay, “The Real Home of Capitalism’: The AOL Time Warner Merger & Capital Flight” in Routledge Companion to Literature & Economics (2018)

Michael Szalay, “The Author as Executive Producer” in Neoliberalism & Contemporary Literary Culture (Johns Hopkins UP, 2017)

Michael Szalay & Catherine Fisk, “Story Work: Non-Proprietary Autonomy & Contemporary Television Writing” (Television & New Media, 2017)

Michael Szalay, “Pimps & Pied Pipers: Quality Television in the Age of its Direct Delivery” (Journal of American Studies, November 2015)

Michael Szalay, “HBO’s Flexible Gold” (Representations, Spring 2014)

Michael Szalay, “The Writer as Producer” in Mad Men, Mad World (Duke UP, 2013)

Michael Szalay, “The Incorporation Artist” (Los Angeles Review of Books, 7.10.2012)

Marina Vishmidt, Speculation As A Mode of Production: Forms of Value Subjectivity in Art & Capital (Brill, 2018)

Marina Vishmidt, “The Two Reproductions in (Feminist) Art & Theory Since the 1970s” (Third Text, Fall 2017)

Raymond Williams, Television: Technology & Cultural Form (Routledge, 1974)