Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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981jeffdorchen

Looking back historically, moments of social upheaval, especially when the moment is one of throwing off a persecuting power, seem to be taken by both the populace and the higher-ups as an opportunity for violence and destruction. But then again, it's kind of a chicken-or-the-egg thing – the violence already in the system, but unacknowledged by its nutritional content label, is as likely to be a contributing cause to the upheaval's violence as the nature of an upheaval itself.

In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen pours himself a big bowl of cereal and reads all about different types of milk, the half a century of anti-colonial resistance in Vietnam, the violence within social upheaval, the complications of Rich White Christian Men, and the promise of universal rights for everybody else at the table.

Read the transcript here

 


Episode 982

Body Politics

Dec 16
Posted by Alexander Jerri
982lineup

Listen live from 9AM - 1:00PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM / stream at www.thisishell.com / subscribe to the podcast

 

9:15 - Journalist Jess Bruder explores the low-wage labor of senior nomads working at the end of retirement.

Jess is author of Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century from W.W. Norton.

 

10:05 - Live from São Paulo, Brian Mier profiles the resistance movements working and fighting in post-coup Brazil.

Brian's book of interviews, Voices From the Brazilian Left, is available to order now from Brasil Wire.

 

10:35 - Anthropologist Aaron Neiman connects worker pain to the pre-existing conditions of labor under capitalism.

Aaron wrote the essay A Pain in the Back for The New Inquiry.

 

11:05 - Writer Sara Wachter-Boettcher finds social inequality coded deep within the devices of Silicon Valley.

Sara is author of Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech fom W.W. Norton.

 

12:05 - Historian Robin D.G. Kelley finds the future of Black radicalism laid out in the paths of ancestors. 

Robin wrote the essay "Winston Whiteside and the Politics of the Possible" for the Verso collection Futures of Black Radicalism.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen's imagination is sparked by a Nick Cave song.

Jeff keeping it light for the holidays.

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

I want to correct the common misconception that we don't have seasons here in LA. False. We have rain season, fire season, allergy season, and pilot season.

We also have many different kinds of milk. Goat milk, camel milk, almond milk, hemp milk, buttermilk, buffalo milk, cashew milk, turmeric milk, 2% milk, lactose-free milk... an exhaustive list would be exhausting.

I like lists. I like labels. I love to hate-read commercial copy. I've been an avid reader of cereal boxes since I was a wee lad. The cereal box is a rare example these days of literature that is far more commonly read on hard copy than in digital format.

Food labels are deceptively misinformative. They tell you the selective nutritional content of the grub in the container. They give a somewhat fanciful list of ingredients. (I collect synonyms for "sugar.") Labels can even more fancifully describe the essential nature of the food: is it "all natural?" Is it "organic?" You never see food announcing that it's "partially synthetic," "now less delicious," "sprinkled with insect parts," or "made from repurposed latex detritus and shaved lead." We don't look for truths on our food packaging.

Where do we find truths in hard copy? Books! Ever read one of these rustic bastards? They're made of paper and other old-fashioned materials, such as string and glue, cloth, and sometimes leather.

Some books contain hard truths, some easy ones, and some no truths at all, but only lies. Cowboys and seafaring people used to read them, that's how ancient books are.

I'm reading one currently! There are a couple of tricks to it. First, you have to find a comfortable position in which to hold the equipment and gaze at it for minutes at a time. Secondly, you have to open the thing, and hold it open, either on a lectern, or using your human hands, feet, face, or a heavy object such as a brick or a rock. Even another book will do. Even a cereal bowl. The paper and ink inside reveal the thoughts of the person or persons who composed or compiled the contents. It sounds a lot more complicated than it is, and that's one of the few things you can say that about.

Books are also unusual in that they begin in one place and end in another, unlike a Mobius strip, or the universe. In this way books mimic journeys. And, like a journey, they can be bad for your health. You can lose things on the way. Books can cause brain... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri
Chuckbooks2017

Chuck picks his 10 favorite books from the 100+ he read for the show this year:

 

Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London

Lauren Elkin
Interview
 
 

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America

James Forman Jr.
Interview
 
 

Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of WWI to the Streets of Today.

Anna Feigenbaum
Interview
 
 

Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World

Suzy Hansen
Interview
 
 

Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South

Talitha L. LeFlouria
Interview
 
 

Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny

Kate Manne
Interview
 
 

Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy

Tressie McMillan Cottom
 
 

Kill All Normies: The online culture wars from Tumblr and 4chan to the alt-right and Trump

Angela Nagle
Interview

 

Fear City: New York's Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics

Kim Phillips-Fein
 
 

Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment.

Yanis Varoufakis
Interview
 
 

Interview Playlist:

 

Episode 981

Age Gap

Dec 9
Posted by Alexander Jerri
981lineup

Listen live from 9AM - 1:00PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM / stream at www.thisishell.com / subscribe to the podcast

 

9:15 - Writer Malcolm Harris examines the short history and dark future of Millennials under capitalism.

Malcolm is author of Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials from Little, Brown and Company.

 

10:05 - Writer Brianna Rennix outlines a left approach to building a humane immigration policy.

Brianna wrote the article What Would Humane Immigration Policy Look Like? for Current Affairs.

 

10:35 - Attorney Flint Taylor surveys the state's threat to Black radicals, 48 years after Fred Hampton's murder.

Flint wrote the op-ed On 48th Anniversary of Fred Hampton's Murder, Rampant Surveillance of Black Liberation Movements Continues for Truthout.

 

11:05 - Journalist Jake Johnston reports on a drug running scheme in the Honduran coup-government.

Jake wrote the article Top U.S.-Backed Honduran Security Minister Is Running Drugs, According to Court Testimony for The Intercept.

 

11:35 - Writer Amanda Baker examines the gap between scientific terminology and popular understanding.

Amanda wrote the article Hiding Clear Ideas behind Unclear Words for Scientific American.

 

12:05 - Writer David Roth explores the imperial rot deep in the heart of the NFL's ownership class.

David wrote the article Downward Spiral: A fan’s notes on the decline of the NFL for The Baffler.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen reveals the truth behind food labels and the Vietnam War.

Not sure if it's the same truth there, or like different truths for each discrete entity. I'll find out the same time you do.

Episode 980

Poison Idea

Dec 4
Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

In a dreamlike if not nightmarish image, a Croatian war criminal, during his sentencing at The Hague, killed himself by drinking a little bottle of poison. The US Senate passed a tax "deform" bill designed to injure if not destroy a majority of citizens while giving a tax break to private jet owners. And to twist the blade in our angst, President Hemorrhoid Hoover tweeted a trilogy of the British right wing's Islamophobic version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Each day brings a new travesty. That's the hallmark of the Donald Dump era. There are certainly more important issues to focus on than the daily atrocity he commits against logic and language. But it's all right, sometimes, to examine the daily dung and our consequent feelings of disgust. It can be instructive. It can even bring us together. As a people. A people disgusted.

I don't always wake up late, but even when I mistakenly wake up early, it takes me a while to catch up with the rest of you. Depression and apathy, aggravated by the itchy burning of President Hemorrhoid, weighs me down. Upon waking, I find that my head is encased in a gelatinous cube of despair. On the very rare mornings I start perusing social media especially early, at, say, 5 am, nothing actually registers for the first few hours. I'm like a mature sunflower, head in the shadows, seeds falling out of my heavy face, absorbing nothing. Well, maybe not seeds falling out of my face. Unless they're seeds of incomprehension. But incomprehension isn't a seed-bearing plant. It's a legume. And why out of my face? Why "out" at all?

Leave me alone, it's early.

Living in the Pacific time zone, I get going, if you can call it "going," three hours later than the folks on the East Coast, so they're even farther ahead of me than my fellow Pacific Rimmers. Simply put, in the continental USA, I'm not going to be catching any early worms. By the time I finally come out of the fog and realize I'm on Twitter or Facebook, every news item is long buried under several layers of mockery, parody, and meme-age. But I've become pretty good at digging through the bemusement and bile of others to the inciting incident.

I'm concerned that white people didn't quite get what happened when the Navajo Code Talkers visited Resident Dump in the White Witch Satanic Christmas House. Not that the situation had been parodied to death, but it had... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri
980banner

Listen live from 9AM - 1:00PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM / stream at www.thisishell.com / subscribe to the podcast

 

9:15 - Law professor Peter Edelman explains how poverty became a crime in America.

Peter is author of Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America from The New Press.

 

10:05 - Journalist Niko Georgiades profiles the water protectors on the front lines of the #NoDAPL fight.

Unicorn Riot released a documentary on the Stand Rock / Dakota Access Pilpeline protoests, Black Snake Killaz: A #NoDAPL Story

 

10:35 - Economist Dean Baker previews life in our new, broker country under the Republican tax plan.

Dean wrote the op-ed #RichPeopleNeedTaxCuts: The Republican Tax Plan for Truthout.

 

11:05 - Writer Anna Feigenbaum explores a century of tear gas, in wars foreign and domestic.

Anna is author of Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of WWI to the Streets of Today from Verso Books.

 

12:05 - Historian Paul Ortiz connects the politics of anti-imperialism to the tradition of Black radicalism. 

Paul wrote the essay "Anti-Imperialism as a Way of Life: Emancipatory Internationalism and the Black Radical Tradition in the Americas" in the collection Futures of Black Radicalism from Verso.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen logs on and dissects the daily Twitter atrocity.

If you have to @ someone about this, please @jdorchen.

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

The Tragedies teach us that people have flaws, and those flaws cause suffering. The Comedies teach us that people have flaws, and those flaws cause mirth. Didactic theater teaches us that slightly flawed people are impressed into tragic interaction with others by systems that exploit their flaws, systems in which even the beasts at the top of the food chain are trapped, unable to resist their basest desires and fears, causing them to rationalize their own cruel behavior. And depending on how the story is told, it can be either tragic or comic, or both in varying degrees.

Some folks have flaws that cause them to amass or retain wealth. Some have flaws that cause them to alienate friends. Some have flaws that cause them to sacrifice their own needs in deference to others'. Some have flaws that cause them to descend into misery. Some have flaws that cause them to descend into penury.

Nietzsche called those with flaws that got them into positions of control over resources at the expense of others, "the strong." Everyone under their control he called "the weak." He called the rhetorical idea that such control was immoral, "slave morality," a trick the weak played to gain leverage over the strong. Pretty clever of the weak, he allowed.

Nietzsche was brilliant and funny and tragic, but his opinions about strength and weakness miss the point of economy. An economy seeks to provide for needs and to channel abilities. That's what it's always been, I argue, in my new essay. This one. I'm defining economy as an emergent behavior of a social group, not as some top-down design. The chief of a tribe didn't design their economy. Kings didn't design their economies. Prefects and mayors don't design their economies. They do all use their positions in the social hierarchy to influence the rules of the economy in their favor. The communist governments of Russia and China attempted in the most obnoxious way to force top-down design, which led to deprivation, cruelty, and crime.

To this day, economies are deformed by the coercing, twisting, bending, torqueing tendencies of elites to try to enrich themselves, and, under capitalism, those elites are not solely governmental. Not by a long shot, chump. Private corporations and financial organizations are able to deform the goals of the economy just as easily if not more so, sometimes using government and sometimes ignoring... read more