Les Misérables x Encoding/Decoding with Erin Keif

We're so lucky to be joined this episode by Erin Keif (she/her) of the beloved Headgum podcasts Hey Riddle Riddle and Sitcom DnD. If you're a fan of Les Mis, or any musical, you'll appreciate this really special episode that covers Stuart Hall's theory of encoding/decoding, while also getting into the lyrics and musicality of the megamusical: Les Misérables.

Hannah guides Marcelle and Erin through a history lesson that covers Thatcherite England and defunding of the arts in the 70s and 80s, while bringing her own relationship to Claude-Michel Schönberg's music and Alain Boublil's lyrics into the conversation. Erin, a musical enthusiast (among other things), brings some much-needed levity (as well as a catchphrase) to a discussion that touches on some more difficult themes including: death, parental loss, and violence against the oppressed.

If you like our show, please share it with family and friends! Word-of-mouth is the primary way we reach new listeners who are interested in feminist materialist critique, pop culture and laughing at and from within *the discourse.* Share the show today!


Material Girls is a new show that aims to make sense of the zeitgeist through materialist critique* and critical theory! Each episode looks at a unique object of study (something popular now or from back in the day) and over the course of three distinct segments, Hannah and Marcelle apply their academic expertise to the topic at hand.

We'll be back in two weeks for another episode, but until then, be sure to check out all the bonus content we have on our Patreon at Patreon.com/ohwitchplease. You can learn more about the show at ohwitchplease.ca and on our instagram at instagram.com/ohwitchplease! Want more from us? Check out our website ohwitchplease.ca.

*Materialist Critique is, at its simplest possible level, a form of cultural critique – that is, scholarly engagement with a cultural text of some kind – that is interested in modes of production, moments of reception, and the historical and ideological contexts for both. Materialist critique is really interested in the question of why a particular cultural work or practice emerged at a particular moment.

Music Credits:

“Shopping Mall”: by Jay Arner and Jessica Delisle ©2020

Used by permission. All rights reserved. As recorded by Auto Syndicate on the album “Bongo Dance”.

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