**TW: “Lolita Podcast” involves content around child sexual abuse and pedophilia.**
You’ve probably heard of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita at some point, and if you haven’t read it, you probably know the gist of it. It’s one of the most controversial texts of the last century that has been endlessly debated, adapted to film, referenced across musical genres, referenced throughout literature, and debated endlessly again.
It’s morphed into something much bigger and far more misunderstood than what it was when it was published nearly seven decades ago. And if you don’t know the story of Lolita, check out the Wikipedia article, and then come back here to listen to Jamie Loftus’s Webby Award-winning podcast for Best Limited Series, “Lolita Podcast.”
In it, Jamie analyzes the cultural memory and cultural artifacts the book has left behind. As she tells us in the first episode, it’s an entire thesis’ worth of information that spans decades and mediums. It’s both a narrative of her personal experience with the book, which she first read at 12 years old due to Lemony Snicket’s recommendation, and a larger-scale analysis of Lolita‘s impact, both good and bad.
Jamie combines her skills as a writer, comedian, and podcaster to address the complexities and darkness of Nabokov’s novel to create an unforgettable listening experience.
This iHeartPodcasts production is 11 episodes that brings Dolores Hayes and Humbert Humbert into the 21st century. Episodes average out to around 75-minutes long and should be listened to in order. Every episode looks at a different way that Lolita has been adapted to fit different mediums and different molds, from Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film to its short-lived Broadway musical. Jamies looks at real sexual abuse cases that occurred around the time of the book’s publishing in 1955 and speaks with psychologists and professionals who handle child sexual abuse cases.
It’s certainly a heavy podcast, but it’s meant to make listeners reevaluate how they think about Lolita. Jamie tackles all sorts of questions around the novel: How did the story come to be in the first place? How has it morphed into the monstrous cultural artifact it is today? When Lolita is referenced, how far exactly from the source material is that reference?
Jamie thoroughly analyzes this book while simultaneously analyzing society’s reaction to it. She sees how audiences reacted in 1962 when Kubrick released his psychological comedy-drama adaptation of the novel and examines how musicians today like Lana Del Ray go on to base entire albums on the book’s themes.
She looks at how the obsession and fetishization of girls has extended past Lolita, comparing the way pop stars and icons like Britney Spears and the Olsen twins were treated throughout their careers. She examines how the culture of pedophilia and child sexual abuse has found itself ingrained in western media tradition. Jamie analyzes and cross-examines the way Lolita‘s most twisted interpretations have infiltrated music, film, literature, fashion, and even internet culture.
She is busting myths about Nabokov and moving beyond our current culture of “hot takes” to provide a literary analysis that would make a college professor beam with pride. “Lolita Podcast” is all about placing blame where it’s meant to be placed. It’s about untwisting the themes that society took away from Nabokov’s novel and focusing on the actual message: a cautionary tale of manipulative predators and their young prey.
There aren’t enough adjectives to describe how incredibly thorough, enthralling, and thought-provoking “Lolita Podcast” is. No matter what your thoughts on Lolita and Nabokov were before this, Jamie will make you reevaluate.
Like her podcast “My Year in Mensa,” Jamie Loftus has knocked it out of the park once again. You’ll find yourself burning through this podcast as fast as you can just to hear what Jamie and her guests have to say next. Be sure to tune into this newly-minted Webby Award winner.