Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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1003andrewhartman

It's a good thing if more and more people are moving to the left, especially those who might 10 or 20 years ago voted for centrist Democrats. In that way, I welcome polarization, but I think we need a clearly defined polarization that takes into account class division, and seeks common ground on some of the culture war issues, or at least seeks to put those issues secondary, as we try to go back to a 99% vs 1% division. To me that's the number one priority.

Historian Andrew Hartman visits the new Trump front of American culture wars of the 1980s and 90s (and 60s and 70s) - as longstanding divisions around class and identity remap themselves onto a new cultural and economic landscape in the decade after the 2008 financial crash, and increasing polarization presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the left.

Andrew wrote the article The Culture Wars are Dead: Long live the culture wars! for The Baffler.

 


Episode 1004

Feeling Better

May 19
Posted by Alexander Jerri
1004lineup

Listen live from 9AM - 11:45AM Central on WNUR 89.3FM / stream at www.thisishell.com / subscribe to the podcast

 

9:20 - Writer Nathan J. Robinson wonders if the loudest media people aren't the ones being silenced.

Nathan wrote the recent articles The Real “Dangerous” Ideas and Israel and the Passive Voice for Current Affairs.

 

10:05 - Writer Cris Beam considers the political uses (and abuses) of empathy.

Cris is author of I Feel You: The Surprising Power of Extreme Empathy from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

 

11:00 - Law professor David Webber explains how labor can wield capital against capital.

David is author of The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon from Harvard University Press.

Posted by Alexander Jerri

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

Listen carefully: "Among the many atrocities Dr. Mengele perpetrated on his subjects were so-called experiments "requiring" the mutilation of his subjects' eyes. The kids loved it."

Would you have a problem figuring out that one of those sentences was sincere and the other sarcastic? Would you have a problem figuring out which was which? Would you have trouble understanding the purpose of the scare quotes around "requiring" in the first sentence, or difficulty separating the momentary sarcasm couched within the sincere?

How do you know when something's plainly sincere and something's meant in some other way? In the first sentence, the words "atrocities" "perpetrated" "mutilation" and "Dr. Mengele" are tip-offs that what is being written of is not done so out of admiration. Those tip-offs are clues that the statement, "The kids loved it," is meant sarcastically, perhaps even sardonically. But if you don't read the tip-offs accurately, how do you know what's meant sincerely and what is not?

The writer relies on the reader's extra-textual associations with the tip-off words. Nazi doctors and the atrocities they perpetrated are by general consensus evil. There are, of course, some people who would argue with the presumption of consensus, but for the most part, any reader of the English language at a sixth grade level or beyond would understand the tone of the sentences, and would replicate that tone in their minds as they read. The reciter of such a pattern of tropes on the radio would be expected to provide vocal cues to aid the listener's interpretation.

Last week, more than one very intelligent person thought that I, in my Moment of Truth segment, was advocating for the rape of Bill Cosby in prison. I assure everyone that I mean this sincerely and emphatically: I do not advocate the rape of Bill Cosby or anyone else, either in prison or at any other location. And if that wasn't the problem, as one listener asserted, then perhaps it was just a repulsive essay. That I can't deny. But such an interpretation also calls into question my own reasons for presenting such a piece of repulsiveness. Did I choose the right tool for that job? And what was the job? If listeners are supposed to detect extra-textual clues, did I maybe convey a meaning that was beyond my conscious control? I wouldn't doubt it.

When I said, "It's going to be someone's job to rape Bill... read more

Episode 1003

Labor Nopes

May 13
Posted by Alexander Jerri
1003lineup

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

 

9:20 - Writer Kevin Ovenden calls for solidarity and cooperation between anti-racism and anti-war movements.

Kevin wrote the post The anti-racist radical left must give the ideological battle on his site. He's in Chicago giving talks on Saturday afternoon and Monday night.

 

10:05 - Anthropologist David Graeber explores the meaning and meaninglessness of our bullshit jobs.

David is author of the new book Bullshit Jobs: A Theory from Simon & Schuster.

 

11:05 - Political scientist Virginia Eubanks explains how technology turned against the poor.

Virginia is author of Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor from St. Martin's Press.

 

12:05 - Historian Andrew Hartman visits the new Trump front of America's old culture war.

Andrew wrote the article The Culture Wars are Dead: Long live the culture wars! for The Baffler.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen sincerely dissects the corpse of sarcasm.

 

 

Episode 1002

Collusion Course

May 5
Posted by Alexander Jerri

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

I believe Bill Cosby's philosophy was, always be nice. Be pleasant, be calm, be even- tempered, be reasonable. Be nice, even when drugging your victims.

Revenge is a dish best served without being examined too closely. Revenge and punish, it never pays for the avenger or punisher to look too hard in the mirror.

Rape is not a joke. Rape is not funny. Rape jokes aren't funny. We know this. We know this. It's not funny. Not even close to funny. Not even when a comedian goes to prison for it. And rape is definitely not a job. At least in the society we claim to be, whether in the public or private sphere, rape is not a duty in anyone's official job description. But, we're all adults here. We know that in clandestine circumstances, off-the-books as it were, as civilized as we pretend we to be, the very opposite is true. Raping is in some men's tacit job description.

So who's job is it gonna be to rape Bill Cosby in prison? Who's gonna do that? Who's gonna take on that burden? Somebody's gotta do it. I know, I know, rape's not a job, it's a spontaneous or premeditated act of violence to assert power and control, generally by someone sociopathically resentful who lacks the emotional resources to repair their deformed self-esteem.

But Bill Cosby's going to prison. And you know if somebody's man is going to prison while Cosby is in there, she's gonna be like: You better rape Cosby while you're in there. If you haven't raped Cosby, don't come back out. You have one job while you're in prison: rape Cosby. You have one job. You don't have to buy me birthday presents or Valentine flowers for the rest of your life, but you just better rape Cosby.

This is the social contract: Cosby drugged and raped dozens of women. Dozens. I suppose I should say, "allegedly," since the majority of accusers have not had their cases heard in court. But dozens. No exaggeration. So now, he goes to prison, where people get raped a lot. He gets to see what it feels like. But somebody's gotta do it. The Jello puddin pop. Someone's gotta pop his puddin.

Men, especially white men, have been a bane to the other inhabitants of the Earth for centuries. Men have a lot to atone for. It's doubtful they'll ever make up for the cruelty and death they've doled out. It may be that only through the commission of a heinous taboo can the reputations of men be cleansed. Not the souls, just the... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri
1002lineup

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

 

9:15 - Policy analyst Phyllis Bennis connects American militarism abroad to deep poverty at home.

Phyllis is co-author of The Institute for Policy Studies report The Souls of Poor Folk.

 

10:00 - Writer Eliane Glaser calls for the left to reclaim the power of ideology, authority and the state.

Eliane is author of Anti-Politics: On the Demonization of Ideology, Authority and the State from Repeater Books.

 

11:05 - Journalist Nomi Prins explains how central banks bought world power in an age of global crisis.

Nomi is author of Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World from Nation Books.

 

12:05 - Jacobin's Meagan Day explores the rigged, anti-worker system of mandatory arbitration.

Meagan wrote the articles The Conference Room Is Replacing the Courtroom and The Democrats and the Deficit Con for Jacobin.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen visits Bill Cosby in prison.

 

Episode 1001

Extremely Offline

Apr 28
Posted by Alexander Jerri

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

I was born into a bright, cold room. The color scheme was unappealing. I was anxious about the motives of the people there. Were they hostile to me? I felt they were. Though inscrutable behind their institutional green cloth masks, covering their mouths and noses, I was almost certain they didn't like me. Also, the floor looked slippery. Why the masks, gloves, and aprons? Did they think they were going to catch something from me? Why didn't someone put some nice mood music on? What's that screaming? Oh, it's me.

That pretty much set the tone for the rest of my life. I enter any room, and it's like someone clicked on the YouTube video of my birth, from my POV. Complete with worryingly possibly hostile hospital staff.

It's the same when I go outdoors. The long and the short of it is, I expect the worst. Pollution. Rude farmers. Volcanoes. Wilted spinach. And those are exactly the things that come my way. I look in the mirror and have body dysmorphia. It's worked so well, my body now actually does look like a pile of crap. And it works on the world, too. I have environmental dysmorphia. And I've been at it so long, the world is turning to crap. I have atmospheric dysmorphia as well as gestalt dysmorphia. And it's effective. I can turn anything into its worst possible self.

So y'all can blame me for the dying bees. When I was four years old, I remember, I was standing on the step to the side door of our little orange and black house in Oak Park, Michigan. I felt something buzzing around my head. I asked my father, who was probably, unbeknownst to me, slightly too far away to hear me, what was buzzing around my hair, a fly or a bee? He smiled at me. I said, "I guess it's a fly." Guess what I did? I bothered the bee, and paid the price. I screamed in agony for a good half hour while my father took me around to different neighbors to ask what to do about the pain of a bee sting. He even asked the workmen putting down concrete in front of our house. Everyone said the same thing: baking soda. We didn't have any. Anyway, what if we had? What then? Were we supposed to sprinkle it on the place where the bee had stung me? Make a poultice? Was I supposed to snort it?

When my dad asked the workmen, I noticed a thick aura of masculinity around them, in contrast to the emasculation of a young father dragging his shrieking little boy around helplessly. That was the... read more