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In Pods We Trust: How The Pod Prevails In Consumer- And Pop-Culture

Ruth Hartnup
flickr creative commons

We wake up to coffee from a pod, listen to music through our EarPods from our iPods, drive our Smart cars and Fiats and other increasingly pod-shaped vehicles, wash our clothes using Tide pods, and while we wait for the clothes to dry, we listen to our favorite podcast through our AirPods from our HomePod. Sound about right?

What is it about pods that we're so drawn to? And why do an increasing number of our products and services all feature the word "pod" in their name?

Is it possible the pod's slick, liminal aesthetic or the allure of its Pandorian promise holds some sway over our subconscious? Might Freud have something to say about its curvature or its role in nature as a place of transformation, emergence, and ultimately independence?

Perhaps it's the pod's minimalism and symmetry which appeal to us as we negotiate an increasingly chaotic world. Or is it simply an efficient design suited to meet the needs of our busy lives?

This hour, we speak with experts and discuss the mystery of the pod in consumer- and pop-culture. We'll also look back over recent history and explore the possibility that we are, and always have been, pod people!


  • Blanka Domagalska - Lecturer at Otis College of Art and Design teaching courses on product design with expertise in art history, media and cultural theory, philosophy, and aesthetic liminality
  • Elvina Beck - Co-founder and CEO of Podshare
  • Kotaro Aoki - Former philosophy major at Wesleyan University
  • Jim Knipfel - A novelist and memoirist; he wrote the feature "The Legacy of Invasion of the Body Snatchers" for Den of Geek

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Colin McEnroe, Jonathan McNicol, and Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired December 26, 2019.

Josh is a producer for WNPR's talk shows. He has produced for Where We Live and is currently producing for The Colin McEnroe Show.
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