Iconography

Iconography

iconographypodcast.com
How do we understand the places we visit (and even the places we’ve never been)? As a shorthand, we use agreed-upon touchstones - famous places, famous people famous foods, and, of course, dreams. Dreamed-up people and dreamed-up places and dreamed-up things. This podcast looks at a culture’s icons - real and imagined - to see what they say about the culture itself, as well as the outsiders who’ve elevated those icons above all others.


The Old Man of the Mountain: A Story in Five Pieces
Nov 15 • 72 min
How does a group of people hold onto an icon when… well, when that icon can no longer be held? In 2003, New Hampshire’s state emblem, the Old Man of the Mountain, a massive granite face on a mountainside, crumbled 198 years after he had been discovered.…
Interview w/ Brian Logan, Communications Director of Plymouth 400
Aug 27 • 37 min
In this bonus interview episode, Brian Logan, Communications Director for the Plymouth 400 organization gives us insight into what goes into planning a quadricentenary commemoration. Transcript here:…
Plymouth Rock: A Pageant
Jul 19 • 60 min
Visitors to Plymouth Rock tend to find the icon… underwhelming - a small, scarred rock in a cage. Maybe the reason Plymouth Rock is so frequently seen as underwhelming is because all the fascinating stories of how people who love the Rock have hurt it…
Mayflower II
Mar 28 • 69 min
In the 1950s, something must have been in the water, because all of a sudden, there was a movement afoot to put a replica of the Mayflower in the water. For one man to become obsessed with the idea of rebuilding the Pilgrim’s famed ship, to throw all his…
The Mayflower
Dec 22, 2018 • 57 min
The Mayflower is a foundational icon of the United States, but it was a British ship carrying British subjects to a British colony. So how does the UK plan to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s journey from one Plymouth to another?…
The First Thanksgiving
Nov 22, 2018 • 39 min
Sarah Josepha Hale, editress of Godey’s Lady’s Book, dedicated years of her life to the crusade to make Thanksgiving a national holiday - she was successful. And yet, Reverend Alexander Young wrote one footnote about Thanksgiving, and he may have…
The Crucible of Modern Salem
Oct 30, 2018 • 65 min
The Witchfinder General of Salem, Eric Dwinnells leads us on a Halloween journey to the heart of Salem, Massachusetts. Find it questionable that the Salem Witch Trials and The Crucible would be covered in a Halloween episode at all? That friction - the…
The Witch Hunt
Oct 20, 2018 • 44 min
Can a witch hunt narrative be effective if it includes actual witches? In part one of a two part series on Salem and its Witch Trials, Iconography uses Hocus Pocus, Scooby Doo, and The Blair Witch Project to see how the bad witch stands in for the…
Squanto
Aug 15, 2018 • 57 min
A visit to Plymouth 400’s “Our” Story exhibit with guest Paula Peters. On remembering, balance, Squanto, and Epanow.
Special Episode: Reaching Mars
Jul 18, 2018 • 43 min
Look up. This month, July 2018, Mars is as close as he’ll get for another 17 years. So let’s pause our New England journey for a moment and consider an icon that unites us all.
John Smith, Admiral of New England
Jul 4, 2018 • 55 min
The story of how John Smith made New England, and how New England destroyed John Smith.
The Citgo Sign and the Boston Marathon
Jun 20, 2018 • 43 min
Season 2 of Iconography begins with a look at the relationship between two New England icons - a marathon that’s become not just the definitive marathon experience but perhaps the definitive Boston experience, and an advertisement that’s transcended its…
Season 2 Preview
Jun 2, 2018 • 6 min
From England to New England. No I didn’t move from London to Boston so I could have that catchy tagline, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Heck no, I’m going to ride that horse all the way from Charlestown to Cambridge shouting “Season…
James Bond in 2015
Feb 27, 2018 • 61 min
Revisit 2015, when the most recent Bond film came out on the tails of a series of revelatory spy films - and world events - that argued for 007’s irrelevance. This episode: - How the NSA shows up in mainstream entertainment - So many Bond themes - Melissa…
The Death of Hercule Poirot
Feb 11, 2018 • 49 min
There are very few things in life that are truly once in a lifetime experiences. If you had picked up the New York Times on August 6, 1975 you would have experienced one of them. “Hercule Poirot Is Dead; Famed Belgian Detective.” It would have been the…
The Guy Fawkes Mask
Nov 16, 2017 • 52 min
This is the story of Guy Fawkes, but it’s also the story of the comic book that forever gave him rosy cheeks and a smile that taunts authority.
The Ghost Stories of M.R. James
Oct 23, 2017 • 34 min
You never know what your legacy is going to be. There once was a scholar at Cambridge who dedicated probably 90% of his adult waking hours to scholarship - cataloging dusty old manuscripts, caring for fragile old artifacts, studying creaky old churches.…
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld
Oct 1, 2017 • 42 min
How does one map onto our world a fantasy world that rides around on the back of a turtle, where there is no London or England - or, to be more precise, where those places exist, but only in a magicless round world that’s kept in a glass sphere at Unseen…
The Legacy of Dunkirk
Sep 3, 2017 • 60 min
What started as the second half of a series on Dunkirk turned into a meditation on Charlottesville, Nazis, statues, and symbols.
A Tapestry of Dunkirk
Aug 13, 2017 • 58 min
It all feels immersive, especially in IMAX. But I’m having a wider screen experience when I watch Dunkirk. I imagine what’s just on the periphery; who else, besides Mr. Dawson, is setting off from England in a little dinghy? Who is up in the air…
Paddington
Jul 23, 2017 • 39 min
An episode dedicated to Michael Bond, and his little bear from Darkest Peru.
King John and the Magna Carta
Jul 2, 2017 • 37 min
To wrap up our three-part series on the turn of the 13th century, we take a look at King John - no longer a petulant prince - and how he transformed England for the best by being the absolute worst.
Richard the Lionheart
Jun 11, 2017 • 59 min
This episode we consider the legacy of Richard the Lionheart - was he a disobedient son, a bad governor, a harbinger of death? This far out from the 1190s, does it matter anymore who he was, or does it matter who he’s become?
Robin Hood
May 21, 2017 • 50 min
It might surprise you how much Robin Hood has been transformed by the way we want to see history; and by how much the way we see history has been transformed by Robin Hood.
The Full English Breakfast
Apr 23, 2017 • 42 min
This week, our first culinary icon. The Full English. The fry-up. What does it mean for a national cuisine - one that finds itself frequently derided for its blandness - to be tied so obviously to a meal as fickle - as subject to trends, whims, diets,…
Spice Girls (Part 2)
Apr 2, 2017 • 48 min
This episode: why Britpop orphaned the very British, very popular Spice Girls, and why feminists refused to adopt them.
Spice Girls (Part 1)
Mar 19, 2017 • 46 min
20 years ago, in March 1997, our world was in truth, a Spice World. Revisit those heady days as we look back at Girl Power and its influence today.
Piccadilly Circus
Feb 19, 2017 • 52 min
The lights are out in Piccadilly Circus, just the latest change for an icon that’s characterized by change. We look to a lot of icons to tell us about the past - Piccadilly Circus is that rare icon we want to look like the future, right down to the…
Crimson Peak and British Gothic
Feb 5, 2017 • 61 min
This is the iTunes debut of the podcast that inspired Iconography. In this episode, I considered Crimson Peak within the context of American vs. British ghost stories, and within the context of Gothic Romance.
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Jan 22, 2017 • 49 min
In 1994, it became the highest grossing British film of all time. How Four Weddings and a Funeral changed Richard Curtis’s career - for better and worse.
Twelfth Night
Jan 6, 2017 • 40 min
What happens when an icon dies? It’s not just people that pass away, or buildings that get demolished… ideas to can be weathered away by time. Twelfth Night, as it was celebrated in England for centuries - as Shakespeare knew it when he wrote a comedy…
George Michael’s Leather Jacket
Dec 30, 2016 • 42 min
This is a special in memoriam episode of the podcast, dedicated to one the brightest stars in the constellation of British music, George Michael. And specifically, dedicated to his fascinating relationship with his most iconic of totems - the leather…
Ebenezer Scrooge
Dec 24, 2016 • 48 min
Every day of the holiday season, there is probably someone in your neighborhood watching or reading some version of A Christmas Carol. If you think about it, that means we probably see early Victorian England as often as any other time period. What has…
The Remembrance Poppy
Dec 11, 2016 • 65 min
The poppy is an elegant symbol of remembrance - for soldiers who died and for those who came back; but there’s a lot of conflict behind the story of its creation - the war that inspired a poem, and the two women who fought to be the true Poppy Lady.
The Many London Bridges
Nov 25, 2016 • 46 min
Many who cross London Bridge today wonder why the bridge to the east looks more like the London Bridge they imagined. In this episode, we look at the powerful, enduring image of London Bridge - a nursery rhyme, a medieval wonder of the world, a quirky…