El Pochcast, Talking to Houseplants, and the podcast worlds of Rodrigo Nuñez

"Ni de here, ni de there pero en los dos."

With sixty-nine episodes to date, El Pochcast, hosted by Rodrigo Nuñez, provides accessible, imaginative reviews and opinions concerning music, movies, sports, and politics in short, direct, and informative morsels. Code-switching between English and emphatic subject-specific Spanish, the podcast title, Pochcast, plays on the word Pocho or Pocha. A contested term, Pocho/a (is there a Pochx?) refers, sometimes negatively, to people of Mexican descent living in the US.

The most extended installments are about one hour, while most episodes do not exceed 15 minutes.

As Nuñez explains in the first episode from February 2020 that focused on how there would not be Reggaeton at the Super Bowl without Selena Quintanilla, El Pochcast focuses on "culture, news, and payasadas." What is a payasada. From the word payaso, or clown, adding the "ada" basically means clowning or slapstick.

In this episode, "Nike Cortez are Mexican. Nike Is Not," Nuñez discusses cultural appropriation, the anemically woke capitalism of Nike, tax breaks, and the lack of diversity in the company.

Pochcast also offers short interviews, like this one with José Olivarez, a writer, educator, and performer from Chicago. Olivares discusses studying at Harvard, how "poetry is not a cure for Toxic Masculinity, but can it help?" and how "being unable to express love starts early."

Olivarez is the author of "Promises of Gold (Henry Holt and Company, 2023); Citizen Illegal (Haymarket Books, 2018), winner of the 2018 Chicago Review of Books Poetry Prize, and coeditor with Felicia Rose Chavez and Willie Perdomo of BreakBeat Poets Vol 4: LatiNEXT (Haymarket Books, 2020)." Olivares is also a co-host of the podcast The Poetry Gods.

Other Pochcast titles include "The Football Team Braceros Built," where Nuñez discusses his "NFL problem." "Why do Latinos join La Migra [Border Patrol]?" introduces the essay "Latinxs in La Migra: Why They Join and Why It Matters" by David Cortez. Nuñez discusses K-Pop here, and how "Hot Cheetos are Mexican" here. There is also a series of movie review episodes: one (The Tax Collector), two (Zoot Suit), three (The Forever Purge), four, and five (Blood In, Blood Out).

Nuñez also produces and hosts Talking to Houseplants, "A Man Talking to his Houseplant, and to whoever is listening." Focusing on religion and spirituality, Nuñez talks to his plant "Cholula," with the first episode introduction explaining How To Listen To This Little Weird thing." I love that. How to listen, having the imagination to listen.

"Hey, I'm Rod, the creator of Talking to Houseplants, and I just wanted to talk to you a little bit about this podcast and guide you on how you should listen to it. So, every episode is really short, about three minutes long, and each of them is a conversation with myself and my plant Cholula…ideally, you should listen to one episode a day, maybe in the morning or maybe at lunch. Or sometimes, when you're just by yourself…put yourself in the position of the plant or put yourself in my position as if you're speaking to the plant. And I hope that what you can get out of this is a time to meditate, a time to be mindful of yourself of what you are feeling, what your listening to, this is more of a chill podcast…"

My favorite episode that I have visually memorized is There Was No More Soil. It reminds me of the late Thich Nhat Hahn's Four Mantras of True Presence.

I am here for you.

I know you are there, and I am very happy.

Darling, I know you suffer.

Darling, I suffer.

El Pochcast and Talking to Houseplants are a part of The Irrelevant Podcast Network.