Episode 070: Whitney Matheson
“It’s funny how life can change on a dime.” That’s how Whitney Matheson put it, asking whether I was still planning on running this interview. That’s the downside, I suppose, of stockpiling these interviews, though in my defense, these conversations tend to have a shelf life of a bit longer than month. When the news came out last week that USA Today would be pulling the plug on Matheson’s beloved pop culture column Pop Candy after 15 years, the thought of killing the piece never actually occurred to me. We touched upon some really interesting topics during our conversation in a midtown Manhattan tea shop. And in some ways, it’s perhaps even more important in light of Pop Candy’s end. What really struck during the interview was a conversation about a piece Matheson wrote about Seinfeld, which the titular comedian referenced during an interview with the writer. The essay was part of a larger Pop Candy project exploring the ways in which popular culture effects us on a personal level, with Matheson revealing how the iconic sitcom helped her survive a bout of depression. Matheson touches on similar themes in the Pop Candy farewell letter she published on her site today: Every major event in my entire adult life took place while I wrote it, too: marriage, three moves, the losses of loved ones, my daughter’s birth. With each of them, I received a stream of unwavering support from thousands of people I’d never even met.It’s a good conversation about the power of popular culture to connect, inspire and persevere.