Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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Boaz and his students understood that in every society of which he have knowledge, people have a tendency to take their own ways of categorizing and mapping the world, and seeing those as natural, as timeless and commonsensical. A really scientific mindset - or for Boaz and his students, an anthropological mindset - was for a moment to cast yourself out of that sense of naturalness from your own society, and begin to see the world from on-high, from the position of the Gods of the Upper Air, as Zora Neal Hurston said, and begin then to understand your own condition as only one of a number of ways of seeing the world.

Author Charles King examines the revolutionary work and legacy of anthropologist Franz Boas and his students - overturning the heriarchical, essentialist worldview of 19th century Western societies for a radically modern, relativist understanding of humanity as diverse and varied and equally worthy of empathy and curiousity.

Charles is author of Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century from Doubleday.


Posted by Alexander Jerri


White is Black, Up is Down

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

What could be better than a white guy discussing black female identity? Well, if the white guy is THIS white guy, there's nothing better. It's gonna be the most entertaining act of hubris you've ever been treated to. Tell all your black female friends!

Look, I don't know anything about what it's like to be a black woman, except what my black woman friends tell me, and unless they're lying, they're always having a wonderful time! Who would you rather be, Serena Williams, who won a tennis championship while pregnant, or Paul Prudhomme, who is dead from being really fat? Who would you rather be: Beyonce, or that Nazi who got sucker-punched on camera while explaining the significance of Pepe the Frog? I think we can all understand why Rachel Dolezal, the crazy white woman who fooled the Spokane NAACP into thinking she was black for years, chose to identify as a black woman rather than as Dom DeLouise or Gilbert Godfried or Bill O'Reilly.

I bring up the strange case of Rachel Dolezal in response to a recent article in the Seattle alternative weekly, The Stranger, by Ijeoma Oluo. Oluo is a feminist journalist who lives in Seattle and has published widely. She's also a black woman. You'd think she'd be the perfect candidate to interrogate Dolezal's pretensions. And she was!

I'm going to try to sum up Oluo's article briefly. Rachel Dolezal is the worst possible white person to claim she gets to decide whether or not she's black. She first became enamored of blackness by looking at pictures in National Geographic, while her brother was taking a break from using them to masturbate.

Dolezal, embarrassingly outed as white on television, has no shame whatsoever. She's in fact very prickly toward those who question her about anything. I guess you never get used to people treating you like a psychotic liar, even after you've been exposed as one in the most public way possible. Dolezal, instead of resigning herself to the fact that her public performance as a black woman is over, has doubled-down, renaming herself Nkechi Amare Diallo. Nkechi happens to be Oluo's sister's first name. Now it's personal. I mean, even more personal.

Oluo approaches Dolezal as if the latter were a childish poseur, very much as I thought of a couple I once read about who claim to be living a life of Victorian simplicity in their contemporary suburban... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In 1915 – (102 years ago) – as World War I combatants faced off in the late afternoon near the hamlet of Gravenstafel in western Belgium, the German troops released more than 170 tons of chlorine gas that swept in a thick yellow cloud over the opposing front line of French and colonial Moroccan and Algerian soldiers. Being heavier than air, the gas quickly settled into the trenches, killing hundreds of French troops within minutes, and forcing thousands more to come staggering out into the open, gasping and choking in agony, as they were mowed down in a barrage of German gunfire. The Germans relied on prevailing winds to carry the gas away from themselves and toward their enemies, but many of them were also killed and injured by their own weapon. As fighting continued over the following weeks, the French troops tried to protect themselves by urinating into handkerchiefs which they tied over their faces, so that the ammonia in their urine could neutralize the chlorine poison. Months would go by before they were issued proper gas masks. More than 120,000 troops were killed or wounded or went missing in this bloodbath, known as the Second Battle of Ypres. The British, French, and Americans all expressed outrage at what they called the Germans’ cowardly form of warfare — but by the end of the war, they too had built up stockpiles of chemical weapons, and had used them.

In 1992 – (25 years ago) – residents in a central section of Guadalajara, Mexico, awoke to a heavy, nauseating stink that had risen from manholes in their streets for several days. The people also noticed that the water from their faucets smelled like gasoline, and caused stinging in the eyes and throat. Shortly after 10 a.m. that day came the first of a series of sewer explosions that continued for hours — blowing up streets, destroying buildings, throwing cars into the air, and starting fires that burned all day. Amid the panic and chaos of the emergency evacuation, firefighters warned people across the city not to strike matches or light their stoves. Residents in unaffected neighborhoods hurried to remove manhole covers, hoping that any gas in their sewers would escape without igniting. By the time the crisis was over, up to a thousand people were dead, hundreds more were injured or missing, and some fifteen thousand people were left homeless. Authorities later blamed the... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

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


9:15 - Live from Ankara, Max Zirngast explains what Turkey lost in Erdoğan's referendum victory.

Max is co-author of the recent articles Voting on Dictatorship and Ten Thoughts on the Turkish Referendum for Jacobin.


10:05 - CIP Americas Director Laura Carlsen reports from the moving migrant-rights protest, Caravan Against Fear.

Laura will be reporting somewhere from Texas, follow her and the Caravan Against Fear on their Facebook page.


10:35 - Live from Paris, Philippe Marlière examines Mélenchon's shift from leftist to populist in the French elections.

Phillippe wrote the article French tragedy or farce: the 2017 presidential election for openDemocracy.


11:05 - Psychologist Renee Engeln discusses beauty sickness in the media and minds of girls and women.

Renee is author of Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women from Harper Collins.


12:05 - Journalists Jessica Bruder and Dale Maharidge explain how they became Snowden's (unknowing) data smugglers.

Jessica and Dale wrote the Harper's cover story Snowden’s Box: The human network behind the biggest leak of all.


12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen whitewashes Ijeoma Oluo's article on Rachel Dolezal in The Stranger.

Not touching this one. Please @ Jeffy.

Posted by Alexander Jerri

F For Fake

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

I'm Brad Pitt – if he'd've kept it real. This is what he would've looked like, like a little round furry bald-headed Jewish guy. Is this what you want?

You want it real? You think "real" is so great?

You want the unvarnished truth? You don't want that. You can't handle the unvarnished truth. You know why they varnish the truth? Cuz without varnish it looks like shit.

"Keep it real" means, "keep doing the same dumb stuff you and your friends have been doing forever that keeps you from improving your lives." When a junkie gets clean, the rest of the junkies who are still shooting up go, " He didn't keep it real."

What is reality? The Existentialists, Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus and those guys, they said, "Let's take a good look at reality. Strip away all the fantasy, the gods, the invented things like money and laws and some jury-rigged 'purpose' to life. Strip it all down, down to the bones, like a gut rehab. What do you have? Bare timbers. Just two-by- fours and a plywood sub-floor and some pipes and junction boxes and wires. It's crap. It's gonna take work."

You're not born into a fully built residence. You construct that. Before you do, you're just hunk of mortadella in a crib. Just a loaf of meat and bones, wiggling around, taking in light and sound and smells, a barrage of chaotic sensations. It's utter unvarnished nonsense. You pick out what to pay attention to. You create a coherent world and a coherent self.

And a lot of people are incompetent at that. Some people's identities are so poorly slapped together that they fall apart at the first contradiction. They go crazy. So if you have a coherent world and self, thank your lucky stars you're such a good fabulist. Be grateful you're a good storyteller. Because it's all a made-up story. It's all fake, and god bless it.

 All we are is dust in the wind. You might be, say, a pediatrician, and help sick children, but in less than two or three generations, everything you've done will have turned to dust. And in the long run, we'll all be swallowed by the sun. That's reality, no matter what story you tell yourselves. Sorry to break it to you like this. All your suffering and joy, it's like grasping the wind. All we are is dust in the wind.

Life's a game. All the world's a stage. It's a tale told by an idiot! A fuckin idiot!

Many belief systems actually take this... read more

Episode 948

Rot In Here

Apr 16 2017
Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In 1865 – (152 years ago) – President Abraham Lincoln died in a first-floor bedroom at a boarding house across the street from Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, where he had been shot in the head by the actor John Wilkes Booth the previous evening. Even before moving Lincoln out of the theater, doctors on the scene had already reached the conclusion that the bullet wound in his skull was mortal, and that he would surely die. The bed in the boarding house was too short to accommodate Lincoln’s tall frame, so they had to lay him on it diagonally. Lincoln died in a room full of people; he was surrounded by doctors and government officials. His twenty-six-year-old assassin, a Confederate sympathizer who had called slavery an important institution that should be preserved, had escaped the scene and was still at large.

In 1912 – (105 years ago) – more than 1,500 people died when the RMS Titanic, a great passenger liner making its maiden voyage, sank in the North Atlantic about two hours after hitting an iceberg. The Titanic had been hyped as the largest and most luxurious ship in the world, and though it boasted some of the most advanced safety features of its time, it only carried enough lifeboats for half the number of people on board. About 700 passengers survived, but experts agree that many more could have been saved if some of the lifeboats had not been launched half empty, and if the ship’s crew had been properly trained in their use. Of the rich people traveling in first class, near the top of the ship, 62 percent survived. Of the less affluent passengers down in third-class steerage, only 37 percent made it out alive.

In 1989 – (28 years ago) – a total of 96 people were killed and 776 injured in a human crush at the Hillsborough soccer stadium in Sheffield, England. It was the FA Cup semifinal between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, and as fans of the Liverpool side herded into a large standing-room-only pen to watch the action, they were unaware that the crowd inside had already reached the pen’s capacity. As fans inside the pen were crushed and became piled on top of each other, some tried desperately to crawl out of the pen, over the fence, and onto the soccer field. As the situation grew more dangerous, referees stopped the game after just five minutes of playing time. In the aftermath of the disaster, several... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

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


9:10 - Live from Serbia, Todd Williams reports on mass protest movements in Belgrade and Budapest.

Todd will be reporting from Novi Sad where he's on Easter vacation.


9:40 - Journalist Jamie Peck watches the Democratic Party establishment double down on centrism.

Jamie wrote the Guardian op-ed The Democratic party is undermining Bernie Sanders-style candidates.


10:10 - Writers Zoé Samudzi and William C. Anderson explore the anarchism of Blackness in America.

Zoé and William wrote the essay The Anarchism of Blackness for ROAR Magazine.


11:05 - Author Mary Otto explains what our teeth say about capitalism, inequality and healthcare.

Mary is author of Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America from The New Press.


12:05 - Cultural critic Henry Giroux examines the culture of cruelty at the heart of American politics.

Henry wrote the article The Culture of Cruelty in Trump's America for Truthout.


12:45 - In a very genuine Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen mocks our authenticity fetish.



Episode 947

Brexit Strategy

Apr 9 2017
Posted by Alexander Jerri

Objectionable Objectivism

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

I'm reading the biography of one of the most famous surfers of all time. I'm going to be cryptic about his identity, for no reason in particular. He was nicknamed "Da Cat," among other things, including "a-hole." He's dead now of pancreatic cancer. The cause of his death probably had little to do with how he lived his life. He used a lot of lotion, even on his pancreas.

The biography opens with three quotations, only one of which did Da Cat employ habitually: "I do not recognize anyone's right to pilfer one minute of my life, nor to any achievement of mine, no matter who makes the claim, how large their number, or how great their need." That's from Ayn Rand's classic hunk of airport toilet paper, The Fountainhead.

Allow me to share with you my feelings about Ayn Rand. She was a pig, and I'm not referring to her appearance. It could be said, however, that she resembled what one could imagine Howard Cosell might look like after a six-month juice fast and a hanging. Among her sycophantic followers there were several who had sexual intercourse with her, and many others who wished to. If there were a sex act that could justifiably be abolished by law, it would be any type of intimate congress with Rand. I wouldn't schtup her with Ann Coulter's wang, but that's beside the point. She was a repulsive thinker and a lousy writer. And I say this as someone who forgives a great deal of lousy writing and lousy thinking, some of it even by authors other than myself.

Rand was such a lousy, doggedly crappy writer, that the fact the quotation in question is not from an essay but rather from the mouth of one of her characters makes no difference. Howard Roarke, the incendiary architect played in the slightly less crappy movie by Gary Cooper, is the mouthpiece for Rand, uncleverly designed to represent as well as spout her idiotic, self-serving philosophy of Objectivism.

I will now maliciously misrepresent Rand's philosophy. After all, whether she recognized my right to pilfer it for these purposes or not, the fact is, in a very real sense, cosmic and fundamental, I have that right, whether she choses to recognize it or not. That she didn't recognize it is simple proof, cosmic and fundamental, of the weakness of her ideas. What a dumbbell.

Objectivism is the notion that the world is made up of objects which belong to whoever finds... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

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


9:15 - Writer Laurie Penny traces the Brexit shock to a long, drab decade of austerity culture in the UK.

Laurie wrote the article Brexit, Pursued by Despair for The Baffler.


10:00 - Live from São Paulo, Brian Mier reports on the wave of strikes against neoliberal cuts in Brazil.

Brian published the piece “There is no negotiation whatsoever”: Union leader Douglas Izzo talks about labor rights in post-coup Brazil for Brasil Wire.


10:35 - The Radical Pessimist, Kevan Harris explores the myth of the bootstrapping European immigrant.

Kevan's first book A Social Revolution: Politics and the Welfare State in Iran is out this August. Proud of our boy.


11:05 - Sociologist Thomas Shapiro explains how racial wealth inequality threatens democracy in America.

Thomas is author of Toxic Inequality: How America's Wealth Gap Destroys Mobility, Deepens the Racial Divide, and Threatens Our Future from Basic Books.


12:05 - Writer Thomas Frank explains how the Democratic Party stopped working for American workers.

Thomas will be talking about the new, post-election edition of his still right book Listen Liberal: Or, Whatever Happened to the Party of the People? from Picador.


12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen wonders if he's actually a Randian at heart.