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Pop Culture Happy Hour: Of Musclemen And Drinking Songs

A drawing of two clinking martini glasses.
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When Linda Holmes announced that she'd miss this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour for a much-needed vacation, we all knew the real reason: She was holing up to read Arnold Schwarzenegger's new memoir, Total Recall, without the petty distractions of day-to-day life. So the rest of us gathered up our pal Chris Klimek — whom you may remember from our discussion of robot boxing almost exactly one year ago — to talk about Schwarzenegger, action heroes, action movies, Christ metaphors, the many iterations of James Bond, and other similarly sinewy side topics.

Then, it's on to a lively discussion of drinking in popular culture — drinking songs, drunkenness on TV and in movies, and alcohol as a sturdy metaphor for despair, celebration and everything in between. We talk polkas (because of course we do), writers' workshops, martinis, Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places" and sundry other sodden topics, before serving up a round of our own favorite drinking songs.

Finally, we close — as always — with What's Making Us Happy. Glen Weldon blows our minds and recommends a comedy podcast; Chris hails the 25th anniversary of a favorite album, as well as an even-older book he's just read; Trey Graham is on about a Broadway revival and its marvelous mastermind; and I prattle about taking my kids to a charming new movie.

As always you can find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter: Trey, Glen, Linda, me, Chris Klimek, producer Jess Gitner, and our producer emeritus and music director Mike Katzif.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)

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