Cover art for podcast Decoder Ring

Decoder Ring

25 EpisodesProduced by Slate PodcastsWebsite

Decoder Ring is the show about cracking cultural mysteries. In each episode, host Willa Paskin takes a cultural question, object, or habit; examines its history; and tries to figure out what it means and why it matters.

episodes iconAll Episodes

The Metrosexual

June 10th, 2020

38:09

In 2003, the word "metrosexual", meaning a well-groomed heterosexual man, exploded all over the English lexicon. It invaded the news, TV, and even …

Gotta Get Down on Friday

May 11th, 2020

44:53

Rebecca Black's music video for Friday was Youtube's most watched video of 2011, thrusting the thirteen-year-old Rebecca into a very harsh spotlight. …

Unicorn Poop

April 8th, 2020

37:10

How did poop get cute? On this episode of Decoder Ring we trace the rise of cute poop from the original Japanese poop emoji to more modern poop toys …

Rubber Duckie

March 19th, 2020

26:53

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How did the humble rubber duck become an icon of bath time? On this …

The Shop Around the Corner

March 2nd, 2020

38:37

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The 1998 romantic comedy You've Got Mail starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan …

Friend of Dorothy

February 10th, 2020

33:59

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When …

The Stowe-Byron Controversy

February 3rd, 2020

41:19

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When Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote an exposé of Lord Byron's incestuous …

Murphy's Law

December 9th, 2019

38:57

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Nick …

Gender Reveal Party

November 6th, 2019

40:09

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Jenna Karvunidis invented the gender reveal party, but now she has …

Bart Simpson Mania

October 7th, 2019

48:13

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In the early 1990's Bart Simpson became a breakout star while also …

Ice Cream Truck

August 12th, 2019

41:45

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Why is the ice cream truck business so bananas? On this episode of Decoder …

Pillow Talk

July 15th, 2019

30:36

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Over the last half century the decorative pillow has been crowding out our …

Chuck E. Cheese Pizza War

June 11th, 2019

48:53

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The King was an animatronic lounge singer who performed in Chuck E. Cheese …

Videomate: Men

April 29th, 2019

35:53

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Videomate: Men is a VHS tape released in 1987 featuring 60 single men …

Truck Nutz

March 25th, 2019

35:47

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Truck Nutz are a brand name for the dangling plastic testicles some people …

Baby Shark

February 25th, 2019

38:17

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Baby Shark is an megaviral YouTube video, an unstoppable earworm, a top 40 …

The Grifter

January 31st, 2019

53:46

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Brett Johnson was a career criminal: a fraudster, a con man, a cyber …

Sad Jennifer Aniston

December 3rd, 2018

43:50

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Jennifer Aniston’s story had it all: Heartbreak, secrecy, sex, betrayal. …

The Incunabula Papers

October 29th, 2018

53:19

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Hotel Art

October 1st, 2018

32:27

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The Paper Doll Club

August 27th, 2018

38:34

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The Basement Affair

July 30th, 2018

43:17

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What …

Clown Panic

June 25th, 2018

37:46

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The Johnlock Conspiracy

June 4th, 2018

52:02

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Who …

The Laff Box

April 30th, 2018

32:42

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Welcome to Decoder Ring! Decoder Ring is a monthly podcast about cracking …

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