Popaganda: The Pumpkin Spice Must Flow

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At the end of summer, when the super hot days get rarer, the signs of fall appear: reddish leaves, leather jackets, people talking about football, and pumpkin spice lattes. Like death and taxes, the pumpkin spice latte seems inevitable, and it takes up an incredible amount of space in the public consciousness. So yes, we’re succumbing to the siren song and devoting a whole episode to the PSL.

So why are we so obsessed with pumpkin spice? And why is it so easy to hate on the drink and the people who consume it? How did this assortment of spices from the Indian subcontinent become the hallmark of basicness, and what can its autumnal popularity tell us about capitalism, misogyny, and the need to belong?

On this episode, we have a special guest! Backtalk’s Amy Lam reads an excerpt of a spicy ode to squash. In our first segment, you’ll hear from Tiffany Midge, a poet and humorist who wrote “An Open Letter to White Girls Regarding Pumpkin Spice and Cultural Appropriation.” After that, you’ll get the specialty coffee barista’s perspective from Adam JacksonBey. Then you’ll hear from Rebecca Jennings, a consumer reporter for Vox who wrote about the backlash to pumpkin spice and what it all means. Finally, Sasanka Jinadasa chimes in to remind us of what we lose when we’re so hyper focused on the meaning behind a latte.

264 episodes available. A new episode about every 9 days averaging 35 mins duration .