Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Moonlight (USA: Barry Jenkins, 2016)


Moonlight (USA: Barry Jenkins, 2016: 110 mins)

Adams, Amy, et al. "Watch Isabelle Huppert, Emma Stone, Amy Adams & More Discuss Acting in 50-Minute Roundtable."  Film Stage (January 30, 2017) [" Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Emma Stone (La La Land), Amy Adams (Arrival), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Annette Bening (20th Century Women), and Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures)."]

Als, Hilton. "Moonlight Undoes Our Expectations." The New Yorker (October 24, 2016)

Art of the Title. "Know Your 2017 Below-the-Line Oscar Nominees." The Film Stage (January 30, 2017) ["The major below-the-line categories are Cinematography, Production Design, Sound Editing/Mixing, Visual Effects, Costume Design, and Makeup and Hairstyling . On the best productions (including those that the Academy labels Best Picture), the work of these crucial visual elements often blend together so seamlessly that it's hard to pick their creators' work.Thankfully, Art of The Film has created a series of supercuts called Oscars in One Minute that isolate the work of these artists so we can fully recognize their importance and beauty within each respective production."]

Atad, Corey. "Talking with Moonlight's Trevante Rhodes: For this young actor, reflecting on a breakthrough role, it's all about the empathy." Keyframe (October 20, 2016)

Bastién, Angelica Jade. "The Empathy Machine: Why Moonlight Isn’t Universal and That’s a Good Thing." cléo 5.1 (2017)

Bordwell, David. "Fantasy, flashbacks, and what-ifs: 2016 pays off the past." Observations on Film Art (January 2, 2017)

Brody, Richard. "The Unbearable Intimacy of Moonlight." The New Yorker (October 28, 2016)

Buder, Emily. "Moonlight: Barry Jenkins on Why the Exquisite Film Nearly Killed Him." No Film School (October 10, 2016)

Clark, Ashley, Violet Lucca and Amy Taubin. "Identity." Film Comment (January 17, 2017) ["Ideology and aesthetics have somehow come to be positioned opposite one another—in film criticism, should one be privileged over the other? This episode of The Film Comment Podcast discusses how race, ethnicity, and other markers of identity factor into film criticism and cinema generally. FC Digital Editor Violet Lucca unpacks the topic with Amy Taubin, Contributing Editor to FC and Artforum, and Ashley Clark, FC contributor and programmer, in a conversation that spans multiple decades of film history—from Taxi Driver to OJ: Made in America to Notting Hill to I Am Not Your Negro, to the canceled Michael Jackson episode of Urban Myths starring Joseph Fiennes."]

Clifton, Derrick. "Why Moonlight Should Win Best Picture at the Oscars." NBC News (January 24, 2017)

Collins, K. Austin. "The Radical Intimacy of Moonlight." The Ringer (October 18, 2016)

Eggert, Brian. "Moonlight (2016)." Deep Focus Review (November 20, 2016)

Jasper, Marykate. "These Tone-Deaf Reviews of Moonlight and Hidden Figures Are Why We Need Critics of Color." The Mary Sue (February 19, 2017)

Jenkins, Barry. "Moonlight." IndieWire Filmmaker Toolkit (October 21, 2016)

Kacprzak, Mikolaj. "Behind Moonlight." (Posted on Vimeo: March 2017)

Koski, Genvieve, et al. "In the Mood for Love / Moonlight, Part 1." The Next Picture Show #51 (November 22, 2016) ["Inspired by one of the year’s biggest indie sensations, Barry Jenkins’ MOONLIGHT, we’re looking at another highly romanticized tale of unrequited love: Wong Kar-wai’s beautiful 2000 film IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. In this half, we talk about how affecting LOVE’s central non-love-story is - and why - and consider how the film reflects Wong’s improvisational methods and his desire to create a dreamlike return to the Hong Kong of his childhood."]

---. "In the Mood for Love / Moonlight, Part 2." The Next Picture Show #52 (November 24, 2016) ["Our discussion of lyrical portraits of unrequited love turns its attention to Barry Jenkins’ MOONLIGHT, the look and feel of which—the final third in particular—recalls the bittersweet tone of Wong Kar-Wai’s IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. We share our reactions to MOONLIGHT, and consider the two films’ shared qualities, including their use of unusual framing and the thematic importance placed on food."]

Kowalik, George. "Love and Resistance in the Work of Barry Jenkins." OffScreen #25.9/10 (October 2021)

Marinacci, Alesso. "Moonlight and Wong Kar Wai." (Posted on Youtube: Posted January 28, 2017)

May, Kate Torgovnick. "How Color Helps a Movie Tell a Story." TED (April 5, 2017)

Mayer, Sophie. "In Praise of Soft Cocks." cléo 5.1 (2017)

McDonald, Soraya Nadia. "New American Songbook." Film Comment (January/February 2020) ["Composer Nicholas Britell nurtures storytelling melodies into being that are acutely attuned to the contemporary moment."]

Ramos-Taylor, Zachary. "The Intimate Look." (Posted on Vimeo: March 2017)

Schotz, Mal. "How to Praise Moonlight." Situation Critical (November 5, 2016)

Scott, A.O. "Moonlight: Is This the Year's Best Movie." The New York Times (October 20, 2016)

Shoard, Catherine. Should Critics of Moonlight Be Hounded for Having an Opinion." The Guardian (February 22, 2017)

Sims, David. "Moonlight is a Film of Uncommon Grace." The Atlantic (October 26, 2016)

Smith, Nathan. "Chopped and Screwed: This hip-hop subgenre could be the best thing that's happened to movies in years." Keyframe (March 21, 2017)

Swinney, Jacob T.  "Reoccurring Imagery in Moonlight." (Posted on Vimeo: March 2017)

Tallerico, Brian. "The Best Films of the 2010s: Moonlight." Roger Ebert (November 6, 2019)

---. "Moonlight." Roger Ebert (October 21, 2016)

Zaman, Farihah and Nicolas Rapold. "Song of Myself." Film Comment (September/October 2016) ["Barry Jenkins confirms his talent with a heartwrenching and gorgeous portrait of a man grappling with his sexuality in a rough corner of Miami"]

 PICK ONE from Catherine Grant on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Romania: Cristian Mungiu, 2007)


4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Romania: Cristian Mungiu, 2007: 113 mins)

Bjelić, Dušan. "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days at the moment of neoliberal catastrophe." Jump Cut #58 (Spring 2018)

Cho, Seongyong. "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days." Roger Ebert (April 3, 2019)

Eggert, Brian. "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days." Deep Focus Review (March 3, 2008)

Jones, Kristin M. "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days." Film Comment (February 2008)

Kasman, Daniel. "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Mungiu, Romania)." Notebook (January 31, 2008)

Mungiu, Cristian. "Oppression and Abortion in Mungiu's '4 Months'." Fresh Air (February 7, 2008)

Parvulescu, Consantin. "The cold world behind the window: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and Romanian cinema’s return to real-existing communism." Jump Cut #51 (Spring 2009)

Ratner, Megan. "Stunted Lives: Unsettling and Unmissable. Bright Lights Film Journal #59 (February 2008)

Roman, Denise. "Film Notes: Three Romanian Movies (On Belonging and Corporeality in the New Wave of Romanian Cinema)." UC Los Angeles: UCLA Center for the Study of Women. (April 1, 2008)

Smith, Damon. "Once Upon a Time in Romania." Filmmaker (Winter 2008)

Taylor, Ella. "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days: Late Term." The Current (Jan 25, 2019)

Adam Curtis: Documentary Filmmaker/BBC Journalist/History/Power

 Archives on/by Adam Curtis and his documentaries:

Thought Maybe: Adam Curtis' Films

Wikipedia: Adam Curtis

The Guardian: Adam Curtis

Resources by/about Adam Curtis and his documentaries:

"Adam Curtis, the contrarian documentarian (part 1 of two)." Media Funhouse (October 16, 2013)

"Adam Curtis, the contrarian documentarian (part 2 of two)." Media Funhouse (October 17, 2013)

Adams, Tim. "Anonymity is a shield for bigotry; if you don’t believe me, ask Schopenhauer." The Guardian (February 14, 2021)

Atkinson, Michael. "Archival Trouble: The fiction-free science fiction of Adam Curtis." Moving Image Source (February 16, 2012)

Ball, Norman. "The Power of Auteurs and the Last Man Standing: Adam Curtis' Documentary Nightmares." Bright Lights Film Journal #78 (November 2012)

Brand, Russell and Adam Curtis. "Do We Really Want to Change?" Under the Skin #3 (July 22, 2017) ["... filmmaker Adam Curtis about the rise of individualism, where real power lies, and whether we really want change."]

Can't Get You Out of My Head (BBC: Adam Curtis, 2021: 6 episodes) ["Can’t Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World is a six-part series that explores how modern society has arrived to the strange place it is today. The series traverses themes of love, power, money, corruption, the ghosts of empire, the history of China, opium and opioids, the strange roots of modern conspiracy theories, and the history of Artificial Intelligence and surveillance. The series deals with the rise of individualism and populism throughout history, and the failures of a wide range of resistance movements throughout time and various countries, pointing to how revolution has been subsumed in various ways by spectacle and culture, because of the way power has been forgotten or given away."]

Curtis, Adam. "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace." Little Atoms (May 20, 2011)

---. "The Baby and the Baath Water." The Medium and the Message (June 16, 2011)

---. "Bugger." The Medium and the Message (August 8, 2013)

---. "The Curse of TINA." The Medium and the Message (September 13, 2011)

---. "Paradiabolical." The Medium and the Message (January 30, 2013)

---. "TV needs 'new tools' to tell its stories." The Guardian (August 22, 2012)

Harrison, Phil. "Massive Attack: 'You resurrect ghosts when you bring something back from the past.'" The Guardian (February 6, 2021) ["Robert Del Naja, of the Bristol pioneers, talks about the power and danger of nostalgia as well as his work collaborating with Adam Curtis."]

Knight, Sam. "Adam Curtis Explains It All." The New Yorker (January 28, 2021)

Obrist, Hans Ulrich. "In Conversation with Adam Curtis." E-Flux #32 (February 2012)

Ronson, Jon. "In Conversation with Adam Curtis." Vice (January 15, 2015)

Stewart-Ahn, Aaron. "How Adam Curtis' film Bitter Lake will change everything you believe about news." Boing Boing (March 19, 2015)

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

ENG 281: Fall 2021 Student Response Tally

Tally of responses:

Addison Pevley: 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Blindspotting; Cam; Blackkklansman; Midsommar; Parasite; Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always; Nomadland) [A]

Alexander Giagios: 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You; The Last Black Man in San Francisco; Sound of Metal; Parasite; Nomadland) [A]

Benjamin Miller: 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You; The Last Black Man in San Francisco) [A]

Brandon Ford: 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Moonlight; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Sorry to Bother You; The Last Black Man in San Francisco; Midsommar; Sound of Metal; Nomadland; Promising Young Woman)

Brooklyn Wiggington 10 (Get Out; Moonlight; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; The Last Black Man in San Francisco; Midsommar; Parasite; Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always) [A]

Dayne Chrisco 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You; The Last Black Man in San Francisco; Midsommar) [A]

Emily Caldwell: 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Midsommar; Sound of Metal; Nomadland; Promising Young Woman)

Emily James 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; The Last Black Man in San Francisco; Midsommar; Parasite) [A]

Eric Hayes 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You; Class Theme Guess) [A]

Graceyn Earlywine: 8 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Moonlight; Annihilation; Cam; Blackkklansman; Midsommar; Sound of Metal; American Mary)

Hannah Holbrook: 8 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Annihilation; Cam; Blackkklansman; The Last Black Man in San Francisco; Class Theme Guess; Promising Young Woman)

Isaac Cothern 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Annihilation; Cam; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You; The Last Black Man in San Francisco; Midsommar; Sound of Metal; Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always) [A]

Jacob Skaggs: 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Sorry to Bother You; Midsommar; Sound of Metal; Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always; Nomadland) [A]

James Parrish: 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You; The Last Black Man in San Francisco) [A]

Justin Moya: 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You) [A]

Kaylee Childers: 6 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Cloud Atlas; Sorry to Bother You; The Last Black Man in San Francisco; Parasite; Sound of Metal)

Kris Traynor 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You; The Last Black Man in San Francisco; Parasite; Sound of Metal) [A]

Kristen Fuchs 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; The Last Black Man in San Francisco) [A]

Madison Weis: 10 (Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You; The Last Black Man in San Francisco; Midsommar; Parasite) [A]

Matthew Carpenter 10 (Get Out; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Sorry to Bother You: The Last Black Man in San Francisco; Parasite; Sound of Metal; Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always; Nomadland) [A]

Mika Pasqual 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You; The Last Black Man in San Francisco) [A]

Samuel McGhee 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Moonlight; Cam; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You; The Last Black Man in San Francisco; Midsommar; Parasite; Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always; Promising Young Woman)

Thomas Kinchen 3 (Get Out; Annihilation; Cam)

Tiffany Madden: 1 (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Timothy Skidmore: 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Get Out; Moonlight; Annihilation; Blindspotting; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You; The Last Black Man in San Francisco) [A]

Weston Lamb 10 (Mad Max: Fury Road; Moonlight; Cam; Cloud Atlas; Blackkklansman; Sorry to Bother You; Midsommar; Sound of Metal; Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always) [A]

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Brainstorming for ENG 102 Essay Topics: Fall 2021

The earlier we start this, the better!

Finding a book:

ENG 102: Books for Argument Essay Research Projects (Interviews and Analysis) 

ENG 102: Books for Argument Essay Research Projects

Finding topics/subjects:

Look on the right hand side of my website in the Dialogic Cinephilia Resources (literally look to the right side of what you are reading right now and scan downward). There are a series of links to archives on subjects and various thinkers. I'm a Film Studies professor, so there is a lot of archives on that subject. I also teach Peace & Conflict Studies so there is a wide range of links looking at history and politics. I'm also a Humanities professor with a strong interest in arts and creativity, plenty of links exploring art, culture, science, technology, philosophy, psychology, animals, food ... all kinds of subjects :)

Very important!!! Choose a topic/subject that is going to motivate you to learn more about it :) Think about it, a rare opportunity here, to pick what you want to study. I'll help you to learn to research and write the essays!  

Last, you are not required to choose something from here, these are just provided to help students that want examples. You should run your topic and book by me asap so I can provide feedback to help you with your annotated bibliography.  If you are having trouble choosing a book or a topic, contact me, lets chat about it.

Monday, August 16, 2021

ENG 102: Humanities & Social Sciences (Ongoing Archive)

As a Humanities professor I have a strong interest in the "stories" (narratives) we tell about the world and the different ways we conceive of the reality of things. 



Abdelfatah, Rund, et al. "Before Roe: The Physicians' Crusade." Throughline (May 19, 2022) ["Abortion wasn't always controversial. In fact, in colonial America it would have been considered a fairly common practice: a private decision made by women, and aided mostly by midwives. But in the mid-1800s, a small group of physicians set out to change that. Obstetrics was a new field, and they wanted it to be their domain—meaning, the domain of men and medicine. Led by a zealous young doctor named Horatio Storer, they launched a campaign to make abortion illegal in every state, spreading a potent cloud of moral righteousness and racial panic that one historian later called "the physicians' crusade." And so began the century of criminalization. In the first episode of a two-part series, we're telling the story of that century: how doctors put themselves at the center of legal battles over abortion, first to criminalize — and then to legalize." Part 2: "After Roe: A New Battlefield."]

---. "The Mystery of Inflation." Throughline (August 4, 2022) ["Gas. Meat. Flights. Houses. The price of things have gone up by as much as nine percent since last year: the same amount of money gets you less stuff. It's inflation: a concept that's easy to feel but hard to understand. Its causes are complex, but it isn't some kind of naturally-occurring phenomenon — and neither are the ways in which governments try to fight it. This week, we look at the history of inflation in the U.S., how we've responded, and who pays the price."]

Acocella, Joan. "Angela's Carter's Feminist Mythology." The New Yorker (March 5, 2017) ["A new biography shows how the British author made fairy tales psychological and sexy."]

Adam Curtis: Documentary Filmmaker Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive) [From People Pill: "Kevin Adam Curtis (born 26 May 1955) is a British documentary filmmaker. His favourite theme is "power and how it works in society", and his works explore areas of sociology, psychology, philosophy and political history. Curtis has called himself "fundamentally a historian", and has described his work as journalism that happens to be expounded via film. His films have won four BAFTAs. He has worked for the BBC throughout his career."]

Alexander, Elizabeth, Maya Angelou, and Arnold Rampersand. "W.E.B. Du Bois & the American Soul." On Being (January 7, 2016) ["One of the most extraordinary minds of American and global history, W.E.B. Du Bois penned the famous line that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line.” He is a formative voice for many of the people who gave us the Civil Rights Movement. But his passionate, poetic words and intelligence continue to enliven 21st-century life on the color line and beyond it. We bring Du Bois’ life and ideas into relief — featuring one of the last interviews the great Maya Angelou gave before her death."]

Al-Ali, Zaid, Jamal Greene and John Tasioulas. "What's the Matter With Rights." Entitled (July 23, 2021) ["Lawyers and law professors Claudia Flores and Tom Ginsburg have traveled the world getting into the weeds of global human rights debates. On this first episode of Entitled, they begin their journey of exploring the stories and thorny questions around why rights matter and what’s the matter with rights. Joining them are professor of ethics and legal philosophy at Oxford University, John Tasioulas; constitution building expert Zaid Al-Ali; and Columbia law professor Jamal Greene, author of How Rights Went Wrong: Why Our Obsession with Rights is Tearing America Apart."]

Alkon, Alison Hope, Yuki Kato, and Joshua Sbicca. "A Recipe for Gentrification: Food, Power, and Resistance in the City (NYU Press, 2020)." New Books in Food (December 31, 2021) ["A Recipe for Gentrification: Food, Power, and Resistance in the City (NYU Press, 2020), edited by Alison Hope Alkon, Yuki Kato, and Joshua Sbicca, is a collection of essays examining how gentrification uproots the urban food landscape, and what activists are doing to resist it. From hipster coffee shops to upscale restaurants, a bustling local food scene is perhaps the most commonly recognized harbinger of gentrification. A Recipe for Gentrification explores this widespread phenomenon, showing the ways in which food and gentrification are deeply―and, at times, controversially―intertwined. Contributors provide an inside look at gentrification in different cities, from major hubs like New York and Los Angeles to smaller cities like Cleveland and Durham. They examine a wide range of food enterprises―including grocery stores, restaurants, community gardens, and farmers' markets―to provide up-to-date perspectives on why gentrification takes place, and how communities use food to push back against displacement. Ultimately, they unpack the consequences for vulnerable people and neighborhoods. A Recipe for Gentrification highlights how the everyday practices of growing, purchasing and eating food reflect the rapid―and contentious―changes taking place in American cities in the twenty-first century."]

American Insurrection (Frontline: Rick Rowley, 2021: 84 mins) ["Over the last three years, FRONTLINE has collaborated with ProPublica to investigate the rise of extremism in America. In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, FRONTLINE, ProPublica and Berkeley Journalism’s Investigative Reporting Program team up to examine how far-right extremist groups have evolved in the wake of the deadly 2017 Charlottesville rally — and the threat they pose today."]

Anderson, Kurt. Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America. Random House, 2020. ["During the twentieth century, America managed to make its economic and social systems both more and more fair and more and more prosperous. A huge, secure, and contented middle class emerged. All boats rose together. But then the New Deal gave way to the Raw Deal. Beginning in the early 1970s, by means of a long war conceived of and executed by a confederacy of big business CEOs, the superrich, and right-wing zealots, the rules and norms that made the American middle class possible were undermined and dismantled. The clock was turned back on a century of economic progress, making greed good, workers powerless, and the market all-powerful while weaponizing nostalgia, lifting up an oligarchy that served only its own interests, and leaving the huge majority of Americans with dwindling economic prospects and hope. Why and how did America take such a wrong turn? In this deeply researched and brilliantly woven cultural, economic, and political chronicle, Kurt Andersen offers a fresh, provocative, and eye-opening history of America’s undoing, naming names, showing receipts, and unsparingly assigning blame—to the radical right in economics and the law, the high priests of high finance, a complacent and complicit Establishment, and liberal “useful idiots,” among whom he includes himself. Only a writer with Andersen’s crackling energy, deep insight, and ability to connect disparate dots and see complex systems with clarity could make such a book both intellectually formidable and vastly entertaining. And only a writer of Andersen’s vision could reckon with our current high-stakes inflection point, and show the way out of this man-made disaster."]

Argabright, Sachi, Bezi, and Kendra Winchester. "On Afrofuturism and Parable of the Sower." Reading Women (February 19, 2020) ["So Afrofuturism, in short—and as you will soon learn in the rest of the episode, nothing about this is short, but I will try and give a short version—Afrofuturism can be understood as the way that Black people think about and imagine futures that usually involve ideas about science fiction, aliens, post-apocalyptic futures, and fantastic devices and metaphors. So it can incorporate, as the title of this book suggests, science fiction, fantasy, dystopia, and a whole bunch of other subgenres beneath those. But the idea is that it primarily centers Black futures—and Black and African understandings of . . . and mythologies and worldviews."]

Armstrong, Karen. "The Lost Art of Scripture." Radio West (December 31, 2020) ["Sacred text – with their often ambiguous wording and metaphorical meanings – are ready-made for differing interpretations from various groups. In her book, The Lost Art of Scripture, Karen looks into the history of these texts, showing how religious practitioners' relationships with them have changed, and how many of us have lost sight of what they were originally written for."]

Arnove, Anthony and Viggo Mortensen. "10 Years of Howard Zinn’s Voices of a People’s History."Democracy Now (November 21, 2014) ["Actors including Viggo Mortensen, Peter Sarsgaard and Kelly Macdonald are gathering in New York today for a reading of “Voices of a People’s History of the United States,” based on the late historian Howard Zinn’s book “A People’s History of the United States” — which has sold over a million copies. The event marks the 10th anniversary of publication of “Voices,” which was edited by Zinn and Anthony Arnove. Mortensen, an Academy Award-nominated actor whose credits include The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has appeared in numerous performances of “Voices” and is a cast member of the television documentary version, “The People Speak.” He joins us along with Anthony Arnove to discuss the 10th anniversary of “Voices” and its continued political relevance today."]

Asher-Perrin, Emily, et al. "Dr. Who." Imaginary Worlds (January 24, 2018) ["We don’t know his real name. We don’t know who he was before he stole the TARDIS — a spaceship/time machine that looks like a police box on the outside, but is really a cavernous ship on the inside. He’s thousands of years old, but wears a different face every few years. He calls himself The Doctor, but Doctor who? In the first of my three-part series, I look at how a restless intergalactic time traveller became a global pop culture icon, and why The Doctor’s knack for physical regeneration resonates with fans on a more personal level."]

Attree, Lizzy. "Reclaiming Africa’s Stolen Histories Through Fiction." Los Angeles Review of Books (July 11, 2018) ["Are we on the cusp of a new age of African literature? If so, the key to new novels from African writers seems to be the fresh use of historical fiction to articulate a new future."]

Auiler, Dan, et al. "Vertigo." The Projection Booth #286 (August 30, 2016) ["Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo is a tale of obsession which has sparked an obsession in many of its viewers.Jimmy Stewart stars as John "Scottie" Ferguson, a disgraced detective who's hired by an old friend to follow his wife, Madeline (Kim Novak), who seems to have become possessed by a spirit from San Francisco's past. Professors Tania Modleski and Susan White (no relation) join Mike to discuss the film which was ranked as the best film in the world in a 2012 Sight & Sound poll. Authors Patrick McGilligan (Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light) and Dan Auiler (Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic)."]

Azevedo, Luis. "The Sensual World of Claire Denis." Little White Lies (April 15, 2019) ["Filtering the cinematic landscape of this master filmmaker through the five senses."]

Baheyeldin, Khalid, et al. "The Book of Dune." Imaginary Worlds (July 12, 2017) ["Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune and its sequels tackled a lot of big themes. The books are about ecology. They’re about journeys of self-realization through mind-altering substances. But religion is at the core of the series, since the main character Paul Atreides transforms from a teenage aristocrat into a messianic revolutionary leader of a nomadic desert tribe. And the real world religion that Frank Herbert borrows from the most is Islam. Khalid Baheyeldin, Salman Sayyid, and Sami Shah discuss why the book resonated deeply with them, despite the fact that Frank Herbert wasn’t Muslim. And Liel Liebowitz explains why the novel even spoke to him as an Israeli."]

Bass, Diana Butler. "The SBC Sexual Abuse Scandal is a Success Story of the Theological Vision and Social Structure Implemented by the Conservative Resurgence." Religion Dispatches (June 3, 2022) ["At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities." - Jimmy Carter on why he left the SBC after the Fundamentalist takeover in 1985.]

Batchelor, Stephen. "Finding Ease in Aloneness." On Being (September 23, 2021) ["One of the great challenges of life is to learn to be alone peaceably, at home in oneself. The pandemic forced many of us inside both physically and emotionally, even if we were not home on our own. We’ve been forced to work out the difference between loneliness and solitude. With teachers across the ages, and drawing on his life from monasticism to marriage, Buddhist writer and scholar Stephen Batchelor teaches how to approach solitude as a graceful and life-giving practice." Stephen Batchelor teaches seminars and leads meditation retreats worldwide. He’s a co-founder and faculty member of Bodhi College, which is focused on the study and practice of early Buddhism. His many books include Buddhism Without BeliefsThe Faith to Doubt, and most recently, The Art of Solitude.]

Bellinger, John, et al. "60 Words." Radiolab (April 18, 2014) ["This hour we pull apart one sentence, written in the hours after September 11th, 2001, that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. We examine how just 60 words of legal language have blurred the line between war and peace. In the hours after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a lawyer sat down in front of a computer and started writing a legal justification for taking action against those responsible. The language that he drafted and that President George W. Bush signed into law - called the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) - has at its heart one single sentence, 60 words long. Over the last decade, those 60 words have become the legal foundation for the "war on terror." In this collaboration with BuzzFeed, reporter Gregory Johnsen tells us the story of how this has come to be one of the most important, confusing, troubling sentences of the past 12 years. We go into the meetings that took place in the chaotic days just after 9/11, speak with Congresswoman Barbara Lee and former Congressman Ron Dellums about the vote on the AUMF. We hear from former White House and State Department lawyers John Bellinger & Harold Koh. We learn how this legal language unleashed Guantanamo, Navy Seal raids and drone strikes. And we speak with journalist Daniel Klaidman, legal expert Benjamin Wittes and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine about how these words came to be interpreted, and what they mean for the future of war and peace."]

Belloni, Matt and Dana Goldstein. "What Is the “Don’t Say Gay” Law Really About? (Plus: The Big Disney vs. DeSantis Showdown in Florida.)" Plain English (March 29, 2022) ["On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation that prohibits much classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity. The law is called “Parental Rights in Education,” but its critics—which include Democrats, Hollywood, and many outspoken employees of the Walt Disney Company—call it “Don’t Say Gay.” What does the law actually say? And how has it created a firestorm at Disney? In this episode, Derek talks to Dana Goldstein, a New York Times reporter, about the details of the law. Then he talks to Matt Belloni, a cofounder of Puck News and the host of the Ringer podcast ‘The Town,’ about what the debate within Disney says about the future of the culture war and corporations."]

Belludi, Nagesh. "Rapoport’s Rules to Criticize Someone Constructively." Right Attitudes (June 16, 2017) 

Bennett, Michael Ivan and Gregory Claeys. "Dystopia." Radio West (April 23, 2018) ["Monday, we’re talking about dystopias. Which means we’re also talking about utopias. You can’t have one without the other. Whether political, environmental, or technological, literary or historical, dystopias are what you get when our ideas of societal perfection run up against the hard truths of reality and the flaws of human nature. We’ll discuss where the idea of dystopia comes from, what dystopian worlds look like, and what they say about who we are, what we hope for, and what we fear."]

Benton, Michael Dean.  "A Guide for Developing Critical Skills for Thinking About the World." Dialogic Cinephilia (Last revised January 8, 2021)

---. "Archives of Individual Films." Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive) [Resource archives for studying & writing about individual films.]

---. "Exit Through the Gift Shop." North of Center (March 2, 2011) [A discussion of Banksy: "Humans are narrative creatures, homo fabulans, who seek meaning and are open to narrative constructions. We all laugh at the person who is unable to perceive that their favorite TV star is not the character they play, but is this all that different from those of us who are unable to perceive the surreality of the infotainment with which we are presented 24/7? When it comes to more important political and social issues, how does this play out in our perceptions of what is right and wrong? Do most people investigate for themselves and use their knowledge to produce their own meanings, or do they sit back and allow talking heads to tell them what to think? ... What do you do, though, when the populace has been colonized so heavily by the invading forces? How do you get them to recognize their enslavement or to begin to imagine something different? How do you deal with the lackey art world that supports the dominant structure of passive consumption, corporate branding and obsessive collecting? What does an artist do, when they know their art depends on a critical audience to respond as co-creators, to wake people up? Especially when all of their direct actions of defiance and critique are immediately repurposed and delimited for safe consumption in the 24-hour titillation news cycle."]

---. "Video Essays & Film Studies Resources." Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive) [Resources for those studying and writing about films/filmmaking]

---. "Violence in Films." North of Center (November 9, 2011)

Benton, Michael Dean and Michael Marchman. "So long—it’s been good to know ya: Remembering Howard Zinn." North of Center (February 13, 2010)

Berger, John. Permanent Red: Essays in Seeing. Writers & Readers Publishing, 2007. [“Why should an artist’s way of looking at the world have any meaning for us? Why does it give us pleasure? Because, I believe, it increases our awareness of our own potentiality.”]

Biagetti, Samuel. "Myth of the Month #16: The Founding Fathers." Historiansplaining (April 1, 2022)  ["The 'Founding Fathers' -- the most rarefied club in American history -- stand in for everything we love or hate about this country, from its civic and religious freedom to its white supremacism. As if carved in stone (which they oftentimes are), they loom over every political debate, even though most of us know next to nothing about them, or even who counts as one of the group. Coined by that immortal wordsmith, President Warren Harding, the phrase "Founding Fathers" serves as an empty vessel for civic emotion, conveniently covering over the actual history of struggle, conflict, and contention that shaped the American republic." Book resources: Woody Holton, Forced Founders and Unruly Americans and the Origins of the US Consitution; Gordon Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution; Gerald Horne, The Counter-Revolution of 1776; Charles Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the United States Constitution; Joseph Ellis, Founding Brothers.]

---. "Nag Hammadi Library and the Gnostic Gospels." Historiansplaining (August 1, 2022) ["The secretive Gnostic stream of Christianity, which taught a radically different metaphysics and spiritual cosmology from "orthodox" doctrine in the first four hundred years of the church, was largely lost to history, until 1945, when a camel-herder in a remote part of Egypt stumbled upon an old ceremic jar with 13 massive books containing 52 ancient Gnostic texts. We consider what the so-called "Nag Hammadi LIbrary," which may have been hidden in the desert to protect it from destruction, reveals about the origins and importance of the Gnostics' secret teachings."]

Bilson, Anne. "The Vampire as Metaphor." Screen Studies (Excerpted from Bilson's book Let the Right One In: "Audiences can't get enough of fang fiction. Twilight, True Blood, Being Human, The Vampire Diaries, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Blade, Underworld, and the novels of Anne Rice and Darren Shan—against this glut of bloodsuckers, it takes an incredible film to make a name for itself. Directed by Tomas Alfredson and adapted for the screen by John Ajvide Lindqvist, The Swedish film Làt den rätte komma in (2008), known to American audiences as Let the Right One In, is the most exciting, subversive, and original horror production since the genre's best-known works of the 1970s. Like Twilight, Let the Right One In is a love story between a human and a vampire—but that is where the resemblance ends. Set in a snowy, surburban housing estate in 1980s Stockholm, the film combines supernatural elements with social realism. It features Oskar, a lonely, bullied child, and Eli, the girl next door. "Oskar, I'm not a girl," she tells him, and she's not kidding—she's a vampire. The two forge an intense relationship that is at once innocent and disturbing. Two outsiders against the world, one of these outsiders is, essentially, a serial killer. What does Eli want from Oskar? Simple companionship, or something else? While startlingly original, Let the Right One In could not have existed without the near century of vampire cinema that preceded it. Anne Billson reviews this history and the film's inheritence of (and new twists on) such classics as Nosferatu (1979) and Dracula (1931). She discusses the genre's early fliration with social realism in films such as Martin (1977) and Near Dark (1987), along with its adaptation of mythology to the modern world, and she examines the changing relationship between vampires and humans, the role of the vampire's assistant, and the enduring figure of vampires in popular culture."]

Bittencourt, Ella. "Portrait of a Lady on Fire: Daring to See." The Current (June 23, 2020) ["Around the besotted lovers, the film envisions a social contract defined by a strong sense of community among women, no matter their age or class. It takes place in the late eighteenth century, but it also speaks to our own time, as many women continue to call for intersectional solidarity in their fight for equality. It is no accident that here the engine of this revolution is art. Sciamma, who grew up outside Paris and would bike into a neighboring town to go to the movies, creates a provincial world in which art—both as a technique governed by solemn tradition and a practical tool for remaking one’s world—is a part of daily life, and in which the artist’s gaze is reciprocal, not one-sided. Similarly, the film presents the act of falling in love not through the (quintessentially male, one might say) lens of conquest and possession but through one of equality between the two lovers, creating a reality in which each can truly see the other."]

Bius, Joel R. "What Cigarettes Tell Us About the Military-Industrial Complex." War College (February 2, 2019) ["Drugs and the battlefield go together like peanut butter and jelly. The Third Reich’s soldier ran on methamphetamine and American soldiers smoked like chimneys. The picture of the US GI with a burning cigarette pressed between their lips is so iconic that few people question it...or realize how young the image really is. Joel R. Bius, assistant professor of national security studies at the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College, is here to help us dispel the myth of the great American military cigarette and walk us through the fascinating history of how cigarettes ended up in the US military kit, and how they left. It’s the subject of his new book, Smoke Em If You Got Em: The Rise and Fall of the Military Cigarette Ration."]

Bogutskaya, Anna, et al. "Promising Young Podcast #1 - A Woman's Worst Nightmare." The Final Girls (April 16, 2021) ["A mini-pod dedicated to Emerald Fennell's blistering revenge fairytale, Promising Young Woman. The first episode is a (mostly) spoiler-free in-depth review."]

---. "Promising Young Podcast #2 - But I'm A Nice Guy ." The Final Girls (April 24, 2021) [" In this episode we discuss the nice guy trope and the way the film depicts it."]

---. "Promising Young Podcast #3 - Hell Hath No Fury Like a Critic Scorned." The Final Girls (May 3, 2021) [" In this episode we discuss the divisive reaction, accolades and critiques the film has received."]

---. "Promising Young Podcast #4 - Girls Just Want to Not Get Assaulted." The Final Girls (May 17, 2021) ["In this episode we discuss the real big bad of the film: rape culture."]

Bozdech, Betsy, et al. "Movie of the Week: Tove." Alliance of Women Journalists (June 4, 2021) ["It’s no surprise by now to discover that the private lives of the authors and artists behind some of the world’s most beloved children’s books were anything but calm (or G-rated). But it’s always fascinating to get a glimpse into the events, people, and places that shaped them and led to their iconic creations, and Zaida Bergroth’s Tove — which stars the excellent Alma Pöysti as Finnish Moomin mastermind Tove Jansson — is no exception."]

Brooks, Daphne. "Liner Notes for the Revolution: Truth-Telling Music." Open Source (July 15, 2021) ["We know their songs, not so much what they were going through, those Black women artists who wrote and sang so many anthems of American life: Bessie Smith’s “Gimme a Pigfoot” and Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues”; stars beyond category like Ethel Waters singing “Shake that Thing” in the ’20s; then Gospel hits like “His Eye Is On the Sparrow,” on tour in the 1950s with evangelist Billy Graham. Billie Holiday gave the world “Strange Fruit.” Nina Simone went deep with “Sinnerman.” Eartha Kitt was sly and sexy with a French twist on “C’est Si Bon.” Mahalia Jackson sang Duke Ellington’s spiritual “Come Sunday.” These are “the sisters who made the modern” in Daphne Brooks’s monumental inquiry into the souls, the minds, the experience that added up to more than entertainment. “From Bessie Smith to Beyoncé” is the inescapable bumper-sticker on this hour of historical, musical radio. We’re talking about a century of Black female singers in the churn of gender, race, class, region, technology, and celebrity that drive the culture and the music biz. Daphne Brooks is our archivist and our authority, professor of African American Studies at Yale. Liner Notes for the Revolution is the title of her opinionated compendium of performances we all sort of know. And there’s nothing at all shy about Daphne Brooks’s argument that runs cover to cover through her book, subtitled The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound. In short, she saying Black women singers are our truth-tellers, about love and work, color, caste, God, and man, and woman."]

Brown, Wendy. "Why Critics of Angry Woke College Kids Are Missing the Point." Talk (May 1, 2022) [Wendy Brown's latest book is In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West.]

Bruder, Jessica. "The Resurgence of the Abortion Underground: Inside the covert network preparing to circumvent restrictions." The Experiment (April 4, 2022)

"Buying the War: How Did the Mainstream Press Get It So Wrong." Bill Moyers Journal (2007) [On the buildup to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars after 9/11.]

The Cinema Cartography. "Breaking the Rules: The French New Wave." (Posted on Youtube: May 28, 2015)

---. "City of God: The Open World Movie." (Posted on Youtube: April 30, 2015) ["Celebrated with worldwide acclaim, this powerful true story of crime and redemption has won numerous prestigious awards around the globe! The streets of the world's most notorious slum, Rio de Janeiro's "City of God" are a place where combat photographers fear to tread, police rarely go and residents are lucky if they live to the age of 20. In the midst of the oppressive crime and violence, a frail and scared young boy will grow up to discover that he can view the harsh realities of his surroundings with a different eye, the eye of an artist. In the face of impossible odds, his brave ambition to become a professional photographer becomes a window into his world and ultimately his way out!"]

The Consilience Project. "Democracy and the Epistemic Commons."  The Consilience Project (February 27, 2021) ["Democracy cannot function without an epistemically healthy public sphere that makes it possible for democratic self-government to achieve successful outcomes, maintain its legitimacy, and avoid runaway concentrations of power in society. The institutional structures responsible for maintaining our epistemic commons have faltered. Only a new movement for cultural enlightenment can harness the energy needed to reboot and revamp our ailing institutions—or generate new ones entirely—and thereby restore our democracy." Video adaptation on Youtube]

---. "The Endgames of Bad Faith Communication." The Consilience Project (February 23, 2022) ["Seeking to understand others and communicate honestly is an essential democratic virtue. Can it be maintained in the digital age?"]

---. "The End of Propaganda." The Consilience Project (October 17, 2021) ["Attempts at engineering national consensus using propaganda are starting to backfire. Yet many still believe it is necessary for governance. Education is a better way. The COVID-19 pandemic created conditions that have been frequently compared to wartime. With wars come propaganda, and for good reason. When it comes to national security, modern governments have long-standing practices for complex information campaigns that integrate academia, media, and government agencies. When widespread acceptance of certain ideas literally means the difference between life and death, it is hard to argue against the use of propaganda. But public health campaigns in the U.S. and elsewhere are creating unintended negative side effects. In the U.S., polarization and national disunity have increased, even when facing a common “enemy.”"]

---. "How Big Tech is Reshaping Governance." The Consilience Project (December 22, 2021) ["Technology companies such as Facebook and Google have become some of the most influential organizations in the modern world. These companies are not ordinary businesses that just happen to operate at massive scale; in fact, they are influencing society in new and profound ways. Large tech companies are taking on some of the powers and responsibilities of institutions such as news media and governments, replacing previous systems and norms with centralized control based on mass data collection and algorithmic curation. Social media companies in particular have privatized the public sphere. If it continues, this trend threatens to break the functioning of democratic self-government."]

---. "How to Mislead with Facts." The Consilience Project (January 30, 2022) ["Fact-checking has become popularized as the definitive process for certifying truth in the media. This has occurred in response to the proliferation of a wide variety of internet subcultures, often based largely upon misinformation. Propaganda and bad faith communication are all too common, making the checking of facts an important part of sensemaking. While fact-checking is necessary, it is often not enough to provide the whole picture. Under current conditions of escalating culture and information war, facts themselves have become weapons. Neither propaganda nor bad faith communication require the speaking of falsehoods. It is often more effective to mislead and misinform through a strategic use of verified facts. The ability to critique and correct for the misuse of facts in public culture is an essential component of the democratic way of life. Unfortunately, today it is standard practice for both institutions and individuals from all sectors of society to offer strategically cherry-picked and decontextualized facts, set within a predetermined emotional or ethical frame. This way of using facts is an effective tool to bring some people towards previously unappealing conclusions. It also provides rhetorical ammunition to those already predisposed to drawing these conclusions. While honestly passing the scrutiny of the fact-checkers, such an approach is nevertheless far from entirely truthful."]

---. "We Don't Make Propaganda! They Do!" The Consilience Project. (August 23, 2021) ["In an information war, it is essential to be able to distinguish education from propaganda. Unfortunately, it is not always easy. Today’s citizens are swamped with manipulative information, and often crave truly educational environments that they can trust. In this, the second paper of our series on information warfare, we argue that propaganda can be thought of as the “evil twin” of education. They often look the same, but with some careful examination, their differences become apparent. Exploring the historical dynamics of propaganda and considering its various forms helps us understand the telltale signs of coercive, manipulative, and propagandistic information. Understanding the difference between propaganda and education, and how complicated the distinction can be at times, allows for better situational awareness. Clarity about the difference allows us to protect both ourselves and our communities from being casualties of the information war. This is an essential step toward creating a healthier epistemic commons for everyone."]

---. "Where Arguments Come From." The Consilience Project (June 25, 2021) ["An emergent alliance between interest groups such as corporations or activists, and intellectuals who produce narratives and arguments, is shaping the information ecosystem. Many intellectuals respond to incentives from the interest groups to argue for predetermined positions in exchange for money, prestige, and an audience. Arguments with no backers are not disseminated as widely and often go unheard. This piece uses several brief case studies to illustrate how this affects reporting and public discourse. An open society requires an awareness of why and how our information is produced and shared, as well as the wider social norms necessary to keep interest groups from overly polluting the information environment. As the paralysis of the American political system in recent decades has shown, these critical capacities are essential to ensure that partisanship and selective reporting do not drown out accurate analysis."]

Cour, Nora De La. "Education Reformers Are Waging a War on Play." Jacobin (March 29, 2022) 

Courtwright, David T. The Age of Addiction: How Bad Habits Became Big Business. Belknap Press, 2019. ["From a leading expert on addiction, a provocative, singularly authoritative history of how sophisticated global businesses have targeted the human brain's reward centers, driving us to addictions ranging from oxycodone to Big Macs to Assassin's Creed to Snapchat--with alarming social consequences. We live in an age of addiction, from compulsive gaming and shopping to binge eating and opioid abuse. Sugar can be as habit-forming as cocaine, researchers tell us, and social media apps are hooking our kids. But what can we do to resist temptations that insidiously and deliberately rewire our brains? Nothing, David Courtwright says, unless we understand the history and character of the global enterprises that create and cater to our bad habits. The Age of Addiction chronicles the triumph of what Courtwright calls "limbic capitalism," the growing network of competitive businesses targeting the brain pathways responsible for feeling, motivation, and long-term memory. We see its success in Purdue Pharma's pain pills, in McDonald's engineered burgers, and in Tencent video games from China. All capitalize on the ancient quest to discover, cultivate, and refine new and habituating pleasures. The business of satisfying desire assumed a more sinister aspect with the rise of long-distance trade, plantation slavery, anonymous cities, large corporations, and sophisticated marketing. Multinational industries, often with the help of complicit governments and criminal organizations, have multiplied and cheapened seductive forms of brain reward, from junk food to pornography. The internet has brought new addictions: in 2018, the World Health Organization added "gaming disorder" to its International Classification of Diseases. Courtwright holds out hope that limbic capitalism can be contained by organized opposition from across the political spectrum. Progressives, nationalists, and traditionalists have made common cause against the purveyors of addiction before. They could do it again."]

Crosby, S.L., et al. "Annihilation: A Roundtable." Gothic Nature #1 (September 2019): 256 - 281. ["It is a unique and beautiful film, but it is also an important film with a resonance beyond most other ‘sci-fi classic[s]’—at least from an ecocritical perspective—which is the reason we have decided to devote a ‘roundtable’ discussion to its analysis. In an age of devastating climate change and environmental disintegration, the film brings to a popular audience a cinematic version of the mind-altering ‘ecological awareness’ that theorists such as the author of the novel Annihilation consider essential to human survival. VanderMeer, of course, is a leading figure in the recent upsurge in cosmic horror literature termed ‘The New Weird’, and the ‘weird’, he points out, draws attention to how the human is inexorably ‘entwined’ with the material, nonhuman world. It thus confronts our self-destructive amnesia, our doomed ecophobic ‘attempt to transcend our material conditions’ which has only seduced us into suicide (Morton and VanderMeer, 2016: p. 58). The film, Annihilation, in its weirdness, may evoke such entanglement and, as the following reviews demonstrate, certainly causes us to reflect upon it."]

Dahl, Melissa. "It Seems the Cigarette Industry Helped Create the Type-A Personality." The Cut (August 22, 2016)

Davis, Wade. "Anthropologist Wade Davis Discusses His Life and Work." New Books in Anthropology (May 5, 2021) ["Of the three major influences on Wade Davis’ life and work one of the most important is the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Gary Snyder, and in this interview the professor shares how foundational that connection remains. This is just one highlight of many he shares about his thinking and writing as Wade indulges my interest in his ‘craft of culture’ on his path to becoming a renowned storyteller. This professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia, former Explorer-in-Residence for the National Geographic Society, and award-winning author, Davis shares the interesting back stories of his best-selling first book, The Serpent and The Rainbow: A Harvard Scientist's Astonishing Journey Into the Secret Societies of Haitian Voodoo, Zombis, and Magic, about his research into Haitian ‘zombie poison’, how his hypothesis was publically challenged, and how the Hollywood movie version was just the kind of cultural distortion he was trying to overcome with his book. In the course of talking about this first book which helped launch his writing career he shares thoughts about academic writing more generally and in particular how his PhD thesis, Passage of Darkness, is really a sterile version of the richer and more textured narrative of the first book even though the latter is preferred by academics. For that matter, Wade has something to say about academic objectivity before we move on to talk about his influential One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest, his CBC lectures-inspired The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World, and his award-winning Into The Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest. He also speaks at length about the influence of his Harvard mentors – the British anthropologist David May Ray Lewis, and the botanist and plant explorer Richard Evan Schultes, and how he and the late botanical explorer Tim Plowman made up the ‘coca project’ and the significance of ‘the divine leaf of immortality’."]

---. Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World. Anansi, 2009. ["Every culture is a unique answer to a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? In The Wayfinders, renowned anthropologist, winner of the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis leads us on a thrilling journey to celebrate the wisdom of the world's indigenous cultures. In Polynesia we set sail with navigators whose ancestors settled the Pacific ten centuries before Christ. In the Amazon we meet the descendants of a true lost civilization, the Peoples of the Anaconda. In the Andes we discover that the earth really is alive, while in Australia we experience Dreamtime, the all-embracing philosophy of the first humans to walk out of Africa. We then travel to Nepal, where we encounter a wisdom hero, a Bodhisattva, who emerges from forty-five years of Buddhist retreat and solitude. And finally we settle in Borneo, where the last rainforest nomads struggle to survive. Understanding the lessons of this journey will be our mission for the next century. For at risk is the human legacy -- a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit, as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our time."]

Digital Disconnect (USA: Jeremy Earp and Robert McChesney, 2018: 63 mins) ["Tracing the Internet’s history as a publicly-funded government project in the 1960s, to its full-scale commercialisation today, Digital Disconnect shows how the Internet’s so-called “democratising potential” has been radically compromised by the logic of capitalism, and the unaccountable power of a handful of telecom and tech monopolies. Based on the acclaimed book by media scholar Robert McChesney, the film examines the ongoing attack on the concept of net neutrality by telecom monopolies such as Comcast and Verizon, explores how internet giants like Facebook and Google have amassed huge profits by surreptitiously collecting our personal data and selling it to advertisers, and shows how these monopolies have routinely colluded with the national security state to advance covert mass surveillance programs. We also see how the rise of social media as a leading information source is working to isolate people into ideological information bubbles and elevate propaganda at the expense of real journalism. But while most debates about the Internet focus on issues like the personal impact of Internet-addiction or the rampant data-mining practices of companies like Facebook, Digital Disconnectdigs deeper to show how capitalism itself turns the Internet against democracy. The result is an indispensable resource for helping viewers make sense of a technological revolution that has radically transformed virtually aspect of human communication."]

DiResta, Renee. "Propaganda, Misinformation, and Woke Math." Conversations with Coleman 3.3 (2022) ["My guest today is Renee DiResta. Renee is the technical research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory. She led a multi-year investigation into the IRA, Russia's fake news factory, and she's advised Congress. She's also an ideas contributor at Wired and The Atlantic. In this episode, we talk about the difference between misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda. We talk about public health messaging, hashtags, and trending topics and the effect they can have on the real world, the increasing power of influencers and independent content creators like myself. We also discuss censorship and algorithms on big tech platforms like Twitter and Facebook and how Wikipedia can act as a source of accurate knowledge. We go to speak about how one should do research on topics one cares about in a context where one can't always trust mainstream sources, how to avoid audience capture as a content creator, and whether math is racist."]

Doctorow, Cory. "Science Fiction is a Luddite Literature." Locus (January 3, 2022)

Documenting Hate: Charlottesville Season 36, Episode 15 (PBS, 2018: 55 mins) ["In Documenting Hate: Charlottesville, FRONTLINE and Pro Publica investigate the white supremacists and neo-Nazis involved in the 2017 Charlottesville Unite the Right rally. This is the first in a series of two Documenting Hate films from FRONTLINE and ProPublica, with the second coming later this fall."]

Documenting Hate: New American NAZIs Frontline (November 20, 2018) ["In the wake of the deadly anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, FRONTLINE and ProPublica present a new investigation into white supremacist groups in America – in particular, a neo-Nazi group, Atomwaffen Division, that has actively recruited inside the U.S. military. Continuing FRONTLINE and ProPublica’s reporting on violent white supremacists in the U.S. (which has helped lead to multiple arrests), this joint investigation shows the group’s terrorist objectives and how it gained strength after the 2017 Charlottesville rally."]

Donegan, Moira. "Raising the Bar." Bookforum (October 14, 2021) [Interview with Alexandra Brodsky about her new book Sexual Justice: Supporting Victims, Ensuring Due Process, and Resisting the Conservative Backlash: "A pathbreaking work for the next stage of the #MeToo movement, showing how we can address sexual harms with fairness to both victims and the accused, and exposing the sexism that shapes today's contentious debates about due process."]

Dorian, M.J. "Carl Jung • The Red Book (Part 1)." Creative Codex #11 (November 18, 2019) ["On this episode we dive into one of the strangest and most enigmatic books ever written: The Red Book. This is a book so infamous that it was kept locked away for fifty years after Carl Jung's death, raising concerns that it might prove that the world renowned psychologist was actually insane. Is it a work of visionary creativity or divine madness? Let's find out."]

---. "Carl Jung • The Red Book (Part 2)." Creative Codex #12 (February 3, 2020) ["In this episode we join Carl Jung as he meets Death, Satan, and his own soul. Join the journey as we deep dive with soundscape simulations of Jung’s visions, exploring the Archetypes, the Mundus Imaginalis, and Active Imagination."]

---. "Frida Kahlo (Pain Becomes Art)." Creative Codex #3 (February 25, 2019) ["Is creativity linked with emotion? Can life's tragedies and heartbreaks be resolved through creating art? In this episode we try to answer those questions with the help of one of the most iconic artists of all time: Frida Kahlo."]

---. "H.R. Giger: A Beautiful Darkness." Creative Codex #9 (September 2, 2019) ["H.R. Giger is considered by many to be the most evil artist in history. Join us as we take a deep dive into the abyss where Giger's strange ideas are born. In this episode we also explore: how did Giger create a style so distinct that people see it as 'out of this world'?"]

---. "Leonardo Da Vinci's Secret." Creative Codex #2 (September 3, 2018 ["What made Leonardo da Vinci so consistently inspired? What was his secret?"]

---. "Leonor Fini • Mirrors of the Dark Sublime (Part I)." Creative Codex (April 22, 2022) ["Leonor Fini was one of the most prolific and mysterious artists of the 20th century. Her career spans an impressive 67 years, she completed over 1,100 oil paintings, and her art was featured in over 350 international gallery exhibitions during her lifetime. Yet she is virtually unknown to us today. Her art and career are shrouded with the mystery of a sphinx's riddle. This is the story of Leonor Fini, one of the 20th century's great creative geniuses." Part 2: "Leonor Fini • The Dark Masquerade."]

---. "Listener Q&A." Creative Codex #10 (September 2019) ["Our first Listener Q&A episode!!! So many compelling questions including: Are left handed people more creative? Was Nikola Tesla spiritual? How do you quiet the doubting voices in your mind? What was Frida Kahlo's life like after the accident? Is creativity a supernatural force? What is the nature of evil?"]

---. "Nikola Tesla & the Paradox of Genius." Creative Codex #5 (May 9, 2019) ["Nikola Tesla's unique genius is the stuff of fantasy; he electrified the world, feuded with Thomas Edison, invented a death ray, and caused an earthquake in Manhattan. In this episode we try to untangle the paradox of Nikola Tesla's life: how can a man of unrivaled genius change the world but die a hermit with no money to his name?"]

---. "The Origin of Art." Creative Codex #1 (August 18, 2018) ["Travel back 40,000 years to the first known art made by human hands. How did creativity begin? Why does 'art' exist?"]

---. "Salvador Dali (Saint of Delusion)." Creative Codex #7 (July 3, 2019) ["Salvador Dali is one of the most successful artists of all time. Join us as we find the origin of his unmistakable style, discover the secret to his creative process, and unravel the lies of the enigmatic: Dali."]

---. "Vincent van Gogh • A Strange Boy (Madness, Genius, & Tragedy: Part 1)." Creative Codex #22 (May 26, 2021) ["Can madness and genius be contained in one individual? Can psychosis and the rarest artistry be contained in one mind? These contradictions pervade the story of Vincent van Gogh. And in the final three years of his life, they culminate in a whirlwind. You may think you know Vincent, you may have heard about him on a TV show or a podcast. But not like this. Over the next three episodes, we will explore Van Gogh’s personal letters, doctor’s reports, police reports, and family letters, to paint a vivid picture of Vincent in his three final years, these are the years that produced his most famous and beloved works, and the years in which Vincent’s final tragic descent begins. Was he actually psychotic or just misunderstood? Did he really cut off his ear and commit suicide? Was he actually a creative genius or is it all just hype? Let’s find out."]

---. "Vincent van Gogh • The Ear Incident (Madness, Genius, & Tragedy: Part 2)." Creative Codex #23 (June 11, 2021) ["On this special episode, we dive into the full truth about the most infamous event in art history: Vincent van Gogh's ear incident. The 'ear incident' serves as a catalyst event, which signals the onset of a mental affliction which will torment Vincent van Gogh for his final three years. Paradoxically, at the same time his mental health is in decline, his paintings are showing the signs of a creative genius. "]

---.  "Vincent van Gogh • The Asylum (Madness, Genius, & Tragedy: Part 3)." Creative Codex #24 (July 29, 2021) [MB: I was just listening to this on a stroll in the morning sun and I was struck at the incredible love & support of Theo van Gogh for his tortured brother Vincent. MJ Dorian's exploration of it literally brought me to tears and I marveled at how important the sibling relation is (blood or otherwise). Here's to all the equally supportive & loving brothers and sisters out there - much love and gratitude to you all :) Episode description: "On May 8th, 1889, Vincent van Gogh checks in to a mental asylum. What begins as a three month stay extends into a year. A period of time during which Vincent paints 141 masterpieces in between bouts of debilitating psychotic attacks. On this episode, we dive into Vincent and Theo's letters to finally uncover all of the details about Vincent's yearlong stay in the asylum."]

---. "Vincent van Gogh • At Eternity's Gate (Madness, Genius, & Tragedy: Part 4)." Creative Codex #25 (August 26, 2021)  [MB: "Working around the household this afternoon, I finished Pt. 4 of MJ Dorian's 4 part Creative Codex series on Vincent van Gogh. It is one of the most impressive podcasts I have listened to: providing the intellectual & artistic biography of Vincent's early years, the inspiring story of his relationship with his brother Theo, Vincent's battles with mental illness, serious myth busting of the misconceptions of his illness & art, a riveting true crime investigation of Vincent's death, Theo's ultimate fate, and the unfairly ignored Johanna van Vogh-Bonger's pivotal, tireless role of rescuing Vincent van Gogh from the dustbin of history, through posthumously exhibiting Vincent's art and building his legacy, translating the brothers hundreds of letters into multiple languages, and literally being the reason we know Vincent van Gogh as an artistic giant, rather than as a tragic footnote. I was left breathless :) Episode description: "On this episode we explore the tragic death of Vincent van Gogh. We seek to answer, once and for all, was it: suicide or homicide? In the process we discover that the two popular theories explaining Vincent's death are deeply flawed, and a new theory emerges. This episode follows the events of that fateful day through Theo's perspective. After a thorough investigation, we explore the aftermath, and meet the woman who made Vincent van Gogh a household name: Johanna van Gogh-Bonger."]

---. "Why Do Humans Need Art." Creative Codex #14 (April 26, 2020) ["Why do humans need art? Hidden within the answer to that question is a profound truth about the human experience. Join me as we travel around the world to narrow down three primary reasons why humans need art. In our quest for the answer we will explore Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, the Game of Thrones TV show, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Carl Jung's art therapy methods, Mozart's Requiem, and the visionary art of Alex Gray. Get your thinking caps on, this one's a bonafide deep dive."]

Ellis, Joseph J. "The Cause: The American Revolution and Its Discontents, 1773-1783 (Liveright 2021)." New Books in History (December 27, 2021) ["In one of the most “exciting and engaging” (Gordon S. Wood) histories of the American founding in decades, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Joseph J. Ellis offers an epic account of the origins and clashing ideologies of America’s revolutionary era, recovering a war more brutal, and more disorienting, than any in our history, save perhaps the Civil War. For more than two centuries, historians have debated the history of the American Revolution, disputing its roots, its provenance, and above all, its meaning. These questions have intrigued Ellis―one of our most celebrated scholars of American history―throughout his entire career. With this much-anticipated volume, he at last brings the story of the revolution to vivid life, with “surprising relevance” (Susan Dunn) for our modern era. Completing a trilogy of books that began with Founding Brothers, The Cause: The American Revolution and Its Discontents, 1773-1783 (Liveright, 2021) returns us to the very heart of the American founding, telling the military and political story of the war for independence from the ground up, and from all sides: British and American, loyalist and patriot, white and Black. Taking us from the end of the Seven Years’ War to 1783, and drawing on a wealth of previously untapped sources, The Cause interweaves action-packed tales of North American military campaigns with parlor-room intrigues back in England, creating a thrilling narrative that brings together a cast of familiar and long-forgotten characters. Here Ellis recovers the stories of Catherine Littlefield Greene, wife of Major General Nathanael Greene, the sister among the “band of brothers”; Thayendanegea, a Mohawk chief known to the colonists as Joseph Brant, who led the Iroquois Confederation against the Patriots; and Harry Washington, the enslaved namesake of George Washington, who escaped Mount Vernon to join the British Army and fight against his former master. Countering popular histories that romanticize the “Spirit of ’76,” Ellis demonstrates that the rebels fought under the mantle of “The Cause,” a mutable, conveniently ambiguous principle that afforded an umbrella under which different, and often conflicting, convictions and goals could coexist. Neither an American nation nor a viable government existed at the end of the war. In fact, one revolutionary legacy regarded the creation of such a nation, or any robust expression of government power, as the ultimate betrayal of The Cause. This legacy alone rendered any effective response to the twin tragedies of the founding―slavery and the Native American dilemma―problematic at best."]

Enelow, Shonni. "The Great Recession: Restrained but resilient, a style of acting has taken hold that speaks to an era’s anxieties."  Film Quarterly (September-October 2016) ["This is another way to read the emotional withdrawal or refusal in these performances: as a response to a violent or chaotic environment, one that doesn’t offer an alternate vision of an open and embracing future. For even when representing an alienating or unfeeling world, actors of earlier eras generally appealed to the camera and their audiences to receive their feelings and implicitly trusted them to respond generously, either through vicarious sentiment or humanist compassion. Expressive acting—of which Method acting is one dominant form—is built on the conviction that audiences want an actor’s emotions to be in some way available to them. There’s a basic optimism in that conviction: the optimism that the world would be better if we all told each other the truth about what we feel. In contrast, many of today’s most lauded American film actors give performances that evince no such optimism about emotional expression. Returning to Winter’s Bone, for example, it’s clear that within the fiction of the film, Ree doesn’t trust the world to care about her well-being. But rather than contrast her character’s suspicion with an appeal to the (presumably) sympathetic film audience, Lawrence maintains her wariness throughout. Likewise, Mara doesn’t cut Lisbeth’s lowered gaze and near-inaudible, clipped speech with any revelation or outburst that would make us think she could be—or really is, deep down—other than she appears. There aren’t hidden motivations in these performances, and in fact, close to no subtext (the idea of subtext, with its inherently psychological schema, is parodied in Carol by a would-be writer who takes notes on the difference between what characters in movies say and what they really feel)."]

Estes, Nick. "The Empire of All Maladies: Colonial Contagions and Indigenous Resistance." The Baffler #52 (July 2020) ["One of the most potent myths of mainstream U.S. historiography concerns what Indigenous archaeologist Michael V. Wilcox calls “terminal narratives”: an obsession with the death, disappearance, and absence of Indigenous people rather than their continued, visible presence and challenge to colonialism. The most obvious example of this tendency are historical models that assign blame for the mass killing of the Indigenous to invisible, chance forces—above all, the diseases colonizers unwittingly carried with them—rather than to calculated warfare and theft over centuries of relentless European invasion." Nick Estes is the author of Our History is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance.]

Fishkin, Joseph and William E. Forbath. "The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution: Reconstructing the Economic Foundations of American Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2022)." New Books in Law (March 31, 2022) ["Oligarchy is a threat to the American republic. When too much economic and political power is concentrated in too few hands, we risk losing the “republican form of government” the Constitution requires. Today, courts enforce the constitution as if it had almost nothing to say about this threat. The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution: Reconstructing the Economic Foundations of American Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2022) is a bold call to reclaim an American tradition that argues the constitution imposes a duty on government to fight oligarchy and ensure broadly shared wealth. In this revolutionary retelling of constitutional history, Dr. Joseph Fishkin and Dr. William Forbath show that a commitment to prevent oligarchy once stood at the center of a robust tradition in American political and constitutional thought. Dr. Fishkin and Dr. Forbath argue that “The constitutional order does rest and depend on a political-economic order. That political-economic order does not maintain itself. It requires action (as well as forbearance from action) from each part of the government. The content of what is required changes radically over time in a dynamic way in response to changes in the economy and in politics. But we believe the basic principles of the democracy-of-opportunity tradition remain affirmative constitutional obligations of government today: to prevent an oligarchy from emerging and amassing too much power; to preserve a broad and open middle class as a counterweight against oligarchy and a bulwark of democratic life; and to include everyone, not just those privileged by race or sex, in a democracy of opportunity that is broad enough to unite us all.” Dr. Fishkin and Dr. Forbath demonstrate that reformers, legislators, and even judges working in this “democracy-of-opportunity” tradition understood that the Constitution imposes a duty on legislatures to thwart oligarchy and promote a broad distribution of wealth and political power. These ideas led Jacksonians to fight special economic privileges for the few, Populists to try to break up monopoly power, and Progressives to fight for the constitutional right to form a union. During Reconstruction, Radical Republicans argued in this tradition that racial equality required breaking up the oligarchy of the Slave Power and distributing wealth and opportunity to former slaves and their descendants. President Franklin Roosevelt and the New Dealers built their politics around this tradition, winning the fight against the “economic royalists” and “industrial despots.” The book argues that our current understanding of what counts as a constitutional argument is anachronistic and limiting. In fact, the authors argue that “advocates of the democracy-of-opportunity tradition and their opponents throughout the long period from the founding through the New Deal disagreed about many things, but they agreed that part of arguing about the Constitution is making claims about what it requires of our political economy.""]

Flight, Thomas. "This is Atlanta - How Donald Glover Creates Social Commentary." (Posted on Youtube: May 22, 2018) ["An exploration of techniques Donald Glover and Hiro Murai use in the Childish Gambino music video "This is America" and TV show Atlanta to create unique social commentary."]

Ford, Phil, Connor Habib and J.F. Martel. "On Joy Williams Breaking and Entering." Weird Studies #107 (September 29, 2021) ["Joy Williams' third novel, Breaking and Entering, is the story of lovers who break into strangers' homes and live their lives for a time before moving on. First published in 1988, it is a book impossible to describe, a work of singular vision and sensibility that is as infectious in its weird effect as it is unforgettable for the quality of its prose. In this episode, the novelist, spiritual thinker, and acclaimed podcaster Conner Habib joins JF and Phil to explore how the novel's enchantments rest on the uniqueness of Williams' style, which is to say, her bold embrace of ways of seeing that are hers alone. Williams is an artist who refuses to work from within some predetermined philosophical or political idiom. As Habib tells your hosts, she goes her own way, and even the gods must follow."]

Ford, Phil and J.F. Martel. "Demon Workshop: On Victoria Nelson's Neighbor George." Weird Studies #128 (July 19, 2022) ["The American writer and thinker Victoria Nelson is justly revered by afficionados of the Weird for The Secret Life of Puppets and its follow-up Gothicka. Both are masterful explorations the supernatural as it subsists in the "sub-Zeitgeist" of the modern secular West. In 2021, Strange Attractor Press released Neighbor George, Nelson's first novel. In this episode, JF and Phil discuss this gothic anti-romance with a mind to seeing how it contributes to Nelson's overall project of acquainting us with the eldritch undercurrents of contemporary life."]

---. "Garmonbozia." Weird Studies #2 (February 1, 2018) ["Phil and JF use a word from the Twin Peaks mythos, "garmonbozia," to try to understand what it was that the detonation of atomic bomb brought into the world. We use the fictional world of Twin Peaks as a map to the (so-called) real world and take Philip K. Dick, Krzysztof Penderecki, Norman Mailer, William S. Burroughs, Theodor Adorno, and H.P. Lovecraft as our landmarks."]

---. "Introduction to Weird Studies." Weird Studies #1 (January 31, 2018) ["Phil and J.F. share stories of sleep paralysis and talk about Charles Fort's sympathy for the damned, Jeff Kripal's phenomenological approach to Fortean weirdness, Dave Hickey's notion of beauty as democracy, and Timothy Morton's hyperobjects."]

---.  "On Hyperstition." Weird Studies #36 (December 19, 2018) ["Hyperstition is a key concept in the philosophy of Nick Land. It refers to fictions which, given enough time and libidinal investment, become realities. JF and Phil explore the notion using one of those optometric apparatuses with multiple lenses -- deleuzian, magical, mythological, political, ethical, etc. The goal isn't to understand how fictions participate in reality (that'll have to wait for another episode), but to ponder what this implies for a sapient species. The conversation weaves together such varied topics as Twin Peaks: The Return, Internet meme magic (Trump as tulpa!), Deleuze and Guattari's metaphysics, occult experiments in spirit creation, the Brothers Grimm, and the phantasmic overtones of The Communist Manifesto. In the end we can only say, "What a load of bullsh*t!""]

---. "We'd Love to Turn You On: 'Sgt. Pepper' and the Beatles." Weird Studies #104 (August 4, 2021) ["It is said that for several days after the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in the spring of 1967, you could have driven from one U.S. coast to the other without ever going out of range of a local radio broadcast of the album. Sgt. Pepper was, in a sense, the first global musical event -- comparable to other sixties game-changers such as the Kennedy assassination and the moon landing. What's more, this event is as every bit as strange as the latter two; it is only custom and habit that blind us to the profound weirdness of Sgt. Pepper. In this episode, Phil and JF reimagine the Beatles' masterpiece as an egregore, a magical operation that changes future and past alike, and a spiritual machine for "turning us on" to the invisible background against which we strut and fret our hours on the stage."]

---. "Whirl Without End: On M.C. Richards' Centering." Weird Studies #35 (December 5, 2018) ["The first step in any pottery project is to center the clay on the potter's wheel. In her landmark essay Centering: In Pottery, Poetry and the Person (1964), the American poet M. C. Richards turns this simple action into a metaphor for all creative acts, including the act of living your life. The result is a penetrating and poetic reflection on the artistic process that values change, unknowing, and radical becoming, making Richards' text a guide to creativity that leaves other examples of that evergreen genre in the dust. Phil and JF get their hands dirty trying to understanding what centering is, and what it entails for a life of creation and becoming. The discussion brings in a number of other thinkers and artists including Friedrich Nietzsche, Norman O. Brown, Carl Jung, Antonin Artaud, and Flannery O'Connor."]

Ford, Phil, J.F. Martel and Tamler Sommers. "Fire Walk with Tamler Sommers." Weird Studies #105 (August 18, 2021) ["The Twin Peaks mythos has been with Weird Studies from the very beginning, and it is only fitting that it should have a return. In this episode, Phil and JF are joined by Tamler Sommers, co-host of the podcast Very Bad Wizards to discuss Fire Walk with Me, the prequel film to the original Twin Peaks series. Paradoxically, David Lynch’s work both necessitates and resists interpretation, and the pull of detailed interpretation is unusually strong in this episode. The three discuss how Fire Walk with Me, and the series as a whole, depicts two separate worlds that sometimes begin to intermingle, disrupting the perceived stability of time and space. Often this happens in moments of extreme fear or love. Through their love for Laura Palmer and for the film under consideration, JF, Phil, and Tamler enact their own interpretation, entering a rift where the world of Twin Peaks and the “real” world seem to merge, demonstrating how Twin Peaks just won’t leave this world alone, and can become a way for disenchanted moderns once again to live inside of myth."]

Fried, Stephen. "The Fascinating Life of America's Forgotten Founding Father." The Art of Manliness (June 27, 2022) ["The 18th century doctor, civic leader, and renaissance man Benjamin Rush was one of the youngest signers of the Declaration of Independence, edited and named Thomas Paine's Common Sense, implemented medical practices that helped the Continental Army win the Revolutionary War, made sure Benjamin Franklin attended the Constitutional Convention, and shaped the medical and political landscape of the newly formed United States. Yet despite his outsized influence, the varied and interesting life he led, and the close relationships he had with other founding fathers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, Rush is hardly remembered today. That's because of just how close his relationship with those other founders was. Rush was a personal physician to them and their families, and after his death, they suppressed his legacy, not wanting the intimate and unflattering details he had recorded in his letters and journals to be publicized. In fact, his memoir was considered too dangerous to be published and wasn't found for nearly 150 years. My guest will re-introduce us to this forgotten figure. His name is Stephen Fried, and he's the author of Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father. Today on the show, Stephen takes us through Rush's fascinating life, from his self-made rise out of inauspicious childhood, to how he was able to reconcile an estranged Jefferson and Adams before his death, and what Stephen has learned from studying a character who lived through very fraught and not totally unfamiliar times."]

Gabriele, Matthew and David M. Perry. "The Case for the Bright Ages." On the Media (January 14, 2022) ["Today, when we encounter the medieval world it’s mostly a dark time. Un-enlightened by reason, but also literally gloomy – all bare stone and grey skies. We know it as a brutal time, dominated by white men with steeds and swords, or drenched in blood by marauding Vikings. But in their new book, The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe, historians Matthew Gabriele and David M. Perry trace the harm of the myths of the “Dark Ages,” and illuminate the medieval stories that have mostly escaped our modern gaze."]

Garbus, Liz. "Becoming Cousteau." Film School Radio (October 20, 2021)  ["Adventurer, filmmaker, inventor, author, unlikely celebrity and conservationist: For over four decades, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his explorations under the ocean became synonymous with a love of science and the natural world. As he learned to protect the environment, he brought the whole world with him, sounding alarms more than 50 years ago about the warming seas and our planet’s vulnerability. In BECOMING COUSTEAU, from National Geographic Documentary Films, two-time Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker LIZ GARBUS takes an inside look at Cousteau and his life, his iconic films and inventions, and the experiences that made him the 20th century’s most unique and renowned environmental voice — and the man who inspired generations to protect the Earth. Director Liz Garbus (What Happened, Miss Simone?, All In: The Fight for Democracy, The Farm: Angola, USA) joins us for a look back at one of the 20th centuries most influential and consequential figures and one of the early advocates for preserving and protecting mother ocean."]

Gibbs, Margot, Peter Whoriskey and Spencer Woodman. "This Block Used to Be For First-Time Buyers. Then Global Investors Bought In." The Washington Post (February 15, 2021)

Grant, Catherine. "In the Nick of Time: On Cli-Fi and Ecocinema Film and Moving Image Studies." Film Studies for Free (June 7, 2022) ["Don’t Look Up (2021), a comedy about a comet on a collision course with Earth, is one of Netflix’s most-watched English-language films of all time. It sparked discussions around climate change and created a climate action platform that outlines what individuals can do against climate change. Netflix has also launched its Sustainability Collection in April 2022, with more than 170 films and series aimed at raising environmental awareness. “Entertain to Sustain” is the slogan behind the production and curation of this content and it goes hand in hand with Netflix’s Net Zero + Nature plan. But the question of what can be done, and what a movie or television series can achieve, has also led to criticism of Netflix’s greenwashing, emphasizing individual action and piecemeal corporate PR-heavy policies over politics. In our video essay “Climate Fictions, Dystopias, and Human Futures,” we take Don’t Look Up as a starting point to look back at the evolution of the concept of “cli-fi” (climate fiction) over more than a decade, reflect on shifting storytelling strategies of cli-fi films past, present, and future, and probe their possible impact -- from precursors such as Planet of the Apes (1968) and Soylent Green (1973) to the “classic” The Day after Tomorrow (2004) to recent variations on the cli-fi formula that break out of the white patriarchal mode like Fast Color (2018) and that incorporate lighter affects like Downsizing (2017). If cli-fi has a role to play in helping contemporary audiences imagine possible futures, part of its task will be to employ more diverse stories, characters, and settings. [JL and KL]"]

Graetz, Michael and Ian Shapiro. The Wolf At the Door: The Menace of Economic Insecurity and How to Fight It. Harvard University Press, 2020. ["The acclaimed authors of Death by a Thousand Cuts argue that Americans care less about inequality than about their own insecurity. Michael Graetz and Ian Shapiro propose realistic policies and strategies to make lives and communities more secure. This is an age of crisis. That much we can agree on. But a crisis of what? And how do we get out of it? Many on the right call for tax cuts and deregulation. Others on the left rage against the top 1 percent and demand wholesale economic change. Voices on both sides line up against globalization: restrict trade to protect jobs. In The Wolf at the Door, two leading political analysts argue that these views are badly mistaken. Michael Graetz and Ian Shapiro focus on what really worries people: not what the rich are making but rather their own insecurity and that of people close to them. Americans are concerned about losing what they have, whether jobs, status, or safe communities. They fear the wolf at the door. The solution is not protectionism or class warfare but a return to the hard work of building coalitions around realistic goals and pursuing them doggedly through the political system. This, Graetz and Shapiro explain, is how earlier reformers achieved meaningful changes, from the abolition of the slave trade to civil rights legislation. The authors make substantial recommendations for increasing jobs, improving wages, protecting families suffering from unemployment, and providing better health insurance and child care, and they guide us through the strategies needed to enact change. These are achievable reforms that would make Americans more secure. The Wolf at the Door is one of those rare books that not only diagnose our problems but also show us how we can address them."]

Grant, Barry Keith, ed. The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film. 2nd ed. The University of Texas press, 2015. ["The Dread of Difference is a classic. Few film studies texts have been so widely read and so influential. It’s rarely on the shelf at my university library, so continuously does it circulate. Now this new edition expands the already comprehensive coverage of gender in the horror film with new essays on recent developments such as the Hostel series and torture porn. Informative and enlightening, this updated classic is an essential reference for fans and students of horror movies.”—Stephen Prince, editor of The Horror Film and author of Digital Visual Effects in Cinema: The Seduction of Reality; “An impressive array of distinguished scholars . . . gazes deeply into the darkness and then forms a Dionysian chorus reaffirming that sexuality and the monstrous are indeed mated in many horror films.”—Choice;  “An extremely useful introduction to recent thinking about gender issues within this genre.”—Film Theory]

Greenwald, Glenn. "The Irrational, Misguided Discourse Surrounding Supreme Court Controversies Such as Roe v. Wade." (Posted on Substack: May 3, 2022) [Greenwald is a constitutional lawyer: "The Court, like the U.S. Constitution, was designed to be a limit on the excesses of democracy. Roe denied, not upheld, the rights of citizens to decide democratically."]

Haider, Arwa. "The Film That Captures Millennials' Greatest Fear." BBC Culture (April 21, 2021) ["As Hayao Miyazaki's Oscar-winning anime Spirited Away turns 20, Arwa Haider asks why the film's powerful magic still captivates today."]

Haidt, Jonathan. "Why the Past Ten Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid." The Atlantic (April 11, 2022)

---. "Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid." Honestly (April 12, 2022) ["Perhaps you’ve noticed that the thing we call “social media'' is deeply antisocial—the thing that promised to unite us has done precisely the opposite. A lot of people have tried to explain why. They blame Mark Zuckerberg. Or Jack Dorsey. Or the attention-stealing algorithms of TikTok. Or capitalism. Or human nature. But the best explanation I have read to date was just published in the Atlantic by my guest today Jonathan Haidt. It is a must-read essay, as are Jonathan’s books, The Righteous Mind and The Coddling of the American Mind. Our conversation today, fitting the importance of this subject, is long and deep. It spans the advent of the like button–and how that transformed the way we use the internet–to Jon’s argument that social media is making us unfit for democracy. And that unless we change course we stand to lose everything."]

Hampton, Timothy. "Bob Dylan's Poetics: How the Songs Work." Berkeley Book Chats (April 17, 2019) ["The 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature recognized Bob Dylan as a major modern artist, elevating his work beyond the world of popular music. In his book Bob Dylan's Poetics (Zone, 2019), Timothy Hampton (Comparative Literature and French, Townsend Center director) focuses on the details and nuances of Dylan's songs, showing how they work as artistic statements designed to create meaning and elicit emotion. Locating Dylan in the long history of artistic modernism, Hampton offers both a nuanced engagement with the work of a major artist and a meditation on the contribution of song at times of political and social change."]

Harris, Dan. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works. It Books, 2014. ["Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable. After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had both propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business and also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out. We all have a voice in our head. It’s what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we’re not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present. Most of us would assume we’re stuck with this voice – that there’s nothing we can do to rein it in – but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that. It’s a far cry from the miracle cures peddled by the self-help swamis he met; instead, it’s something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation. After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness. 10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives. "]

Haugeberg, Karissa and Mary Ziegler. "The 300-Year History of Abortion in America—in 30 Minutes." In Plain English (May 6, 2022) ["Sometimes, people ask “why study history?” How about this: American history is the weapon being used to strike down Roe Vs Wade. In the leaked draft of the Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe, conservative Justice Samuel Alito writes that Roe invented a right to abortion that cannot be found in early American history. Is he right? And what’s the true history of abortion in America? That’s the subject of today’s episode—a fast, factual guide to how we got to this moment, reviewing the 300-year history of abortion in America in just 30 minutes. Today’s guests are two historians of abortion in American—Mary Ziegler [link to her books], a visiting prof at Harvard, and Karissa Haugeberg [link to her books], assistant professor at Tulane University."]

Hill, Samantha Rose. "Hannah Arendt." Think About It! (March 18, 2021) ["Hannah Arendt's 1967 essay on "Truth and Politics" centers on the uneasy relation between truth-telling and politics. Lying has always been part of politics, Arendt says, but something shifts with the wholesale attack on our ability to distinguish between fact and fiction, truth and make-believe. How can we be committed to the truth when politicians play fast and loose with it? Professor Samantha Hill's newest book is  a new biography of Arendt and has immersed herself in Arendt's archives to grasp how the political thinker arrived at the concepts that have been revived recently to make sense of our currently political moment - with the rise of populism, attacks on the press as 'fake news,' heated debates about the role of free speech, and even cancel culture, of which Arendt fell victim not only once but twice."]

---. Hannah Arendt. Reaktion Books, 2021. ["Hannah Arendt is one of the most renowned political thinkers of the twentieth century and her work has never been more relevant than it is today. Born in Germany in 1906, Arendt published her first book at the age of 23, before turning away from the world of academic philosophy to reckon with the rise of the Third Reich. After the War, Arendt became one of the most prominent – and controversial – public intellectuals of her time, publishing influential works such as The Origins of Totalitarianism, The Human Condition and Eichmann in Jerusalem. Samantha Rose Hill weaves together new biographical detail, archival documents, poems and correspondence to reveal a woman whose passion for the life of the mind was nourished by her love of the world."]

---. "Where Loneliness Can Lead." Aeon (October 16, 2020) [MB: In thinking about the dangers of our current "loneliness" epidemic in America, we must consider that loneliness is not actually a state of being alone (hiking in a forest, reading a book, working on a project), it is instead a continuous state/sense of detachment or isolation in the midst of others or a community. This is important to consider when reflecting on violent terror enacted by the mass shooter in Buffalo this past week (and countless others from various ideological perspectives), but also in regards to the blind allegiance to our party lines or identity allegiances in which all that matters is that "our" team wins, even if it destroys our lives/community/country/world. Arendt uses the word "totalitarianism," but I find, for this moment, that "authoritarianism" is a more useful word. In the desperation of their loneliness people cede the ability to think (and act) to a governing force and silence the important ongoing dialogue within themselves, driving out any considerations of contradictions or recognition of the plurality of the world. This is a high price to pay for the false promise of peace of mind..]

Hiruta, Kei. "Hannah Arendt and Isaiah Berlin: Freedom, Politics and Humanity (Princeton UP, 2021)." New Books in Political Science (February 28, 2022) ["Two of the most iconic thinkers of the twentieth century, Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) and Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997) fundamentally disagreed on central issues in politics, history and philosophy. In spite of their overlapping lives and experiences as Jewish émigré intellectuals, Berlin disliked Arendt intensely, saying that she represented "everything that I detest most," while Arendt met Berlin's hostility with indifference and suspicion. Written in a lively style, and filled with drama, tragedy and passion, Hannah Arendt and Isaiah Berlin tells, for the first time, the full story of the fraught relationship between these towering figures, and shows how their profoundly different views continue to offer important lessons for political thought today. Drawing on a wealth of new archival material, Kei Hiruta's Hannah Arendt and Isaiah Berlin: Freedom, Politics and Humanity (Princeton University Press, 2021) traces the Arendt-Berlin conflict, from their first meeting in wartime New York through their widening intellectual chasm during the 1950s, the controversy over Arendt's 1963 book Eichmann in Jerusalem, their final missed opportunity to engage with each other at a 1967 conference and Berlin's continuing animosity toward Arendt after her death. Hiruta blends political philosophy and intellectual history to examine key issues that simultaneously connected and divided Arendt and Berlin, including the nature of totalitarianism, evil and the Holocaust, human agency and moral responsibility, Zionism, American democracy, British imperialism and the Hungarian Revolution. But, most of all, Arendt and Berlin disagreed over a question that goes to the heart of the human condition: what does it mean to be free? Kei Hiruta is Assistant Professor and AIAS-COFUND Fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark."]

Hyman, Clarissa. "Tomato: A Global History (Reaktion Books, 2021." New Books in Food (December 24, 2021) ["In the history of food, the tomato is a relative newcomer but it would now be impossible to imagine the food cultures of many nations without them. The journey taken by the tomato from its ancestral home in the southern Americas to Europe and back is a riveting story full of discovery, innovation, drama and dispute. Today it is at the forefront of scientific advances and heritage conservation, but the tomato has faced challenges every step of the way into our gardens and kitchens including the eternal question: is it a fruit or a vegetable? In Tomato: A Global History Clarissa Hyman charts the eventful history of this ubiquitous everyday item that is often taken for granted. Hyman discusses tomato soup and ketchup, heritage tomatoes, tomato varieties, breeding and genetics, nutrition, tomatoes in Italy, tomatoes in art, and tomatoes for the future. Featuring delicious modern and historical recipes, such as the infamous ‘man-winning tomato salad’, this is a juicy and informative history of one of our most beloved foods. Tomato is part of the Edible Series published by Reaktion Books. It is a revolutionary series of books on food and drink which explores the rich history of man’s consumption. Each book provides an outline for one type of food or drink, revealing its history and culture on a global scale. 50 striking illustrations, with approximately 25 in colour, accompany these engaging and accessible texts, and offer intriguing new insights into their subject. Key recipes as well as reference material accompany each title. Also available through The University of Chicago Press."]

Jenkins, Alan. "The Past and Present of Political Persuasion." On the Media (November 18, 2021) ["Today, we're seeing battles taking place over the American story everywhere from newspapers to school boards to classrooms. The people engaged in these battles know that to the narrative-victors go the spoils — and so they’re giving it all they’ve got. But they’re far from the first people to wage this kind of battle. Alan Jenkins is a professor at Harvard Law School, and co-founder of The Opportunity Agenda, a social justice communications lab. In this segment, he talks with Brooke about cases when powerful stories, effectively communicated, have had real-world effects and shaped what's possible for the future."]

Joassart-Marcelli, Pasquale. "The Sixteen-Dollar Taco: Contested Geographies of Food, Ethnicity, and Gentrification (University of Washington Press, 2021." New Books in Geography (November 30, 2021) ["White middle-class eaters are increasingly venturing into historically segregated urban neighborhoods in search of "authentic" eating in restaurants run by-and originally catering to-immigrants and people of color. What does a growing white interest in these foods mean for historically immigrant neighborhoods and communities of color? What role does foodie culture play in gentrification? In The Sixteen-Dollar Taco: Contested Geographies of Food, Ethnicity, and Gentrification (U Washington Press, 2021), Pascale Joassart-Marcelli sheds light on food gentrification and the emotional, cultural, economic, and physical displacement it produces. She explores three neighborhoods of San Diego, California where "authentic" ethnic food attracts growing numbers of affluent white consumers, while the black and brown people who make this food continue to struggle with economic insecurity and food apartheid. Drawing on rich interviews with the locals who work, live, cook, and eat in these contested landscapes, Joassart-Marcelli maps the shift of foodscapes from serving the needs of long-time minoritized residents to pleasing the tastes of younger, wealthier, and whiter newcomers. She also shows how food becomes a powerful force behind gastrodevelopment, an urban development strategy built around food gentrification. Joassart-Marcelli highlights the ways in which immigrants and people of color are resisting gentrification and simultaneously fighting for food sovereignty. Ultimately, the work offers valuable lessons for cities all over the country where food projects are transforming neighborhoods at the expense of the communities they claim to uplift and celebrate. The book reveals the negative consequences of foodies' contemporary love affair with ethnic and presumably authentic food on the urban neighborhoods where such food has long been a source of livelihood, sustenance, resistance, and belonging. Doing so, it engages critically with the concept of cosmopolitanism and points out the limitations of consumer-centered food-based cross-cultural encounters that celebrate racial and ethnic difference without acknowledging the material consequences of historical and ongoing exclusion, dispossession, and displacement."]

Johnson, Nicholas. "Great Books #19: Samuel Beckett." Think About It (July 15, 2019) [""Another heavenly day" is the opening line of Beckett's play Happy Days, where Winnie sits buried to her waist in sand with her husband Willie stuck a few feet away from her... but language, memory and consciousness are not all she has. Beckett's plays, novels, poetry, radio plays and prose reveal our deepest humanity by stripping language to its bare essentials. Beckett wrote some of his works in French, a language he learned mostly as an adult, and translated it back into his native English to purge it of clichés and stock phrases. In the resulting works he reveals how our bodies moving through space are far more than vessels for a roving consciousness. They contain a hint of transcendence which manifests itself as the human need for self-expression through which we locate ourselves in time, in relation to others, and in relation to ourselves. I spoke with Beckett expert, scholar and theater director Nick Johnson at the Samuel Beckett Theatre at Trinity College Dublin, where Beckett taught for a short time in the 1920s before giving up on academia, moving to Paris, and becoming a writer next to James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Hemingway and others. Our conversation shows how Beckett's work is surprisingly optimistic about the power of art and language to give us meaning. "You can't go on, I must go on, I'll go on" is the final line of Beckett's novel The Unnameable. Nick explained how these words show Beckett's relentless commitment to strip our existence down to the basics (who we are, what we have, what we want) and then move deeper from there. Instead of adding more words and complexity, Beckett shows that our searching may be our life's meaning and that not knowing what we want is in fact the key to knowing ourselves. "You have to pay attention and be as informed as possible, you have to try to understand things, and you have to speak out!" is Nick's summary of what Beckett's works mean for him. In a time of historic and political turmoil, it's an urgent imperative and we would do well to heed it."]

Jones, Kent. "Black Narcissus: Empire of the Senses." The Current (July 19, 2010) ["It is always tempting to uncouple the unearthly visual beauty and formal control of a Powell and Pressburger film from its psychological exactitude—and that urge is built into the films themselves. The characters (and the audience) are always on the brink of being overwhelmed by beauty, the beauty of the world on the one hand and of art on the other, which holds the impossible but ever present promise of a permanently heightened state. At the same time, however, the action is always firmly anchored in the fallacies and disturbances and longings of being human. We get the lure of beauty and its potentially dangerous effect at the same time. For instance, Powell’s remarkable precision with distances and angles of perception is as elegant and ingenious here as it is in all his great work, particularly the continued refrain of looking down—Kerr’s Sister Clodagh surveying the sisters gathered at the dinner table or, in a reverie, fixating on her grandmother’s footstool back in Ireland; Sabu’s Young General gazing down at Simmons’s Kanchi; Byron’s Sister Ruth spying from a series of heights within the open corridors of the newly christened convent on Sister Clodagh and her interactions with Mr. Dean; each of the sisters in turn contemplating the distant valley below. This insistence on up-down relationships (a constant in Powell’s work) gives the film a musical development akin to a slowly evolving theme or pattern and results in “mental images” as lasting as Hitchcock’s point-of-view shots. The moment when the screen goes red, as Sister Ruth passes out, is a startling reiteration of a powerful visual idea, but it may also be a representation of a genuine neurological phenomenon known as a “redout,” as Diane Broadbent Friedman postulates in her fascinating book on A Matter of Life and Death and its prob­able origins in real neuroscience."]

Keetley, Dawn, ed. Jordan Peele's Get Out: Political Horror. Ohio State University Press, 2020. ["Essays explore Get Out's cultural roots, including Shakespeare's Othello, the female gothic, Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby, The Stepford Wives, and the zombie, rural, suburban, and body-swap subgenres of the modern horror film. Essays make connections with Nat Turner, W.E.B. Du Bois, and James Baldwin"]

Kelly, Kim. "Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labor (Atria, 2022)." New Books on Human Rights (April 27, 2022) ["American fieldworkers rejecting government-sanctioned indentured servitude across the Pacific. Incarcerated workers advocating for basic human rights and fair wages. The queer Black labor leader who helped orchestrate America’s civil rights movement. These are only some of the working-class heroes who propelled American labor’s relentless push for fairness and equal protection under the law. The names and faces of countless leaders have been sidelined in retelling stories of labour history: in particular, those of women, people of color, LGBTQIA people, disabled people, sex workers, prisoners, and the poor. In this definitive and assiduously researched work of journalism, Teen Vogue columnists and independent labor reporter Kim Kelly excavates that untold history and shows how the rights the American worker has today—the forty-hour workweek, workplace-safety standards, restrictions on child labor, protection from harassment and discrimination on the job—were earned with literal blood, sweat, and tears. Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labor (Atria, 2022)—which would be of great interest to those interested in public history, following news of ongoing unionization efforts across the US, or seeking to better understand the intersections between gender, race, class, and labour—combines an optimism for the future alongside a clear-eyed assessment of the past and present."]

Kirkpatrick, Kate. "Becoming Beauvoir." Bloomsbury Academic (April 8, 2020) ["Simone de Beauvoir was an existentialist philosopher who laid the foundation for the modern feminist movement. We sat down to talk to author Kate Kirkpatrick about everything Beauvoir, from her childhood, to her personal relationships, to her commitment to social justice movements such as the decolonization of Algeria. This episode is for anyone interested in discussing Beauvoir’s social ideals and discovering how they remain relevant today." Publisher page for Becoming Beauvoir.]

Koganzon, Rita. "Liberal States, Authoritarian Families: Childhood and Education in Early Modern Thought (Oxford University Press, 2021)." New Books in Political Science (February 3, 2022) ["Rita Koganzon’s new book, Liberal States, Authoritarian Families: Childhood and Education in Early Modern Thought (Oxford UP, 2021), examines the structure and function of the family within early modern political thought while also teasing out the way that early childhood education may often be at odds with the claims to freedom within liberal states. Koganzon’s book traces the problem of authority in early modern thought in regard to how children need to be managed by those who are responsible for them—and how they are to be taught to be citizens, to be free, to have liberty, and to understand sovereignty. All of these teachings are complicated by the need to impose an authority of knowledge and expertise in the course of a child’s education. When these forms of authority are contextualized within liberal states, the tension is obvious between the idea of individual liberty and freedom, as pursued by adults in society, and the need to educate through this position of the authority of knowledge. Koganzon’s work traces the approach and theorizing about the family and education through the work of Jean Bodin, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean Jacques Rousseau. But the book starts with Hannah Arendt’s insight about education being an “inherently authoritarian undertaking” and that this is the conundrum for contemporary liberal thinkers. The first sections of the book examine the rise of sovereignty theory, especially in the work of Bodin and Hobbes. This work also brings up the logic of congruence, that the sovereign and the patriarch should be mirrors of each other in terms of their rule within their distinct realms. The thrust of the book, though, is in the exploration of the work by Locke and Rousseau, and their critiques of the sovereignty theory put forward by those who preceded them. Koganzon examines how both Locke’s work and Rousseau’s work also push against the logic of congruence in terms of the form of education. Liberal States, Authoritarian Families delves into the problem, particularly for Locke and Rousseau, of the tyranny of public opinion (the problem of peer pressure is real!), and how anti-authoritarian liberalism, particularly in the contemporary period, has done away with many of the components of authoritarianism within education that helped to limit this tyranny. This is a very clear and lively discussion and will be of interest to a wide range of readers and scholars."]

Kuo, Rachel and Alice Marwick. "Critical disinformation studies: History, power, and politics." Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review (August 12, 2021) ["This essay advocates a critical approach to disinformation research that is grounded in history, culture, and politics, and centers questions of power and inequality. In the United States, identity, particularly race, plays a key role in the messages and strategies of disinformation producers and who disinformation and misinformation resonates with. Expanding what “counts” as disinformation demonstrates that disinformation is a primary media strategy that has been used in the U.S. to reproduce and reinforce white supremacy and hierarchies of power at the expense of populations that lack social, cultural, political, or economic power."]

Lent, Jeremy. "On the Web of Meaning." The Jim Rutt Show #150 (December 20, 2021) ["Jim has a wide-ranging talk with Jeremy Lent about his latest book, The Web of Meaning: Integrating Science and Traditional Wisdom to Find Our Place in the Universe. They discuss the dominant worldview in today’s advanced economies, its lack of scientific basis, how worldviews shape the direction of history, myths of selfishness & separation, how viewing nature as resource leads to self-reinforcing feedback loops, money-on-money return, origins of capitalism & colonialism, the extractive mindset as a European development, a complex-systems approach to spirituality, “natural attractors” as spirits, discovering Taoism, wu wei & yu wei, animate vs conceptual consciousness, integrated consciousness, yu wei as multipolar trap, problems with using GDP as a metric, improving the relationship between I & self, a democracy of consciousness, contemplative & embodied practices as a way of moving the brain toward new attractors, false ideas about evolution e.g. the selfish gene, how cells began cooperating, how humans might do the same, changing our social operating system, stepping off the hedonic treadmill, fixing transnational corporations, and much more."]

Lessons From the Screenplay. "Get Out - A New Perspective in Horror." (Posted on Youtube: February 27, 2018) ["Get Out takes a situation that is universally relatable and adds a specific and unfamiliar protagonist. In doing so, the film unlocks new ways of creating tension and establishing trust."]

---. "Gone Girl: Don't Underestimate the Screenwriter." (Posted on Youtube: June 8, 2016) ["Gone Girl uses classic screenwriting techniques to tell its twisty, modern noir story. This video examines three of the techniques used by screenwriter Gillian Flynn to see how and why they work so well."]

Levin, Yuval. "Why No One Trusts Anything." Honestly (March 18, 2022) ["What if I told you that all the brokenness in our society—from the increased rates in suicide and addiction to the decreased rates in marriage and sex to the crisis of faith in everything from the CDC to political leaders to our democratic elections—weren’t a series of separate catastrophes but symptoms of one underlying condition? That’s the argument of my guest today, Yuval Levin. Yuval is a journalist and academic. He has served as a congressional staffer and as a domestic policy staff member under President George W Bush, he’s the author of several books including The Fractured Republic and A Time to Build."]

Levy, Jonathan. Ages of American Capitalism: A History of the United States. Penguin, 2022. ["In this ambitious single-volume history of the United States, economic historian Jonathan Levy reveals how capitalism in America has evolved through four distinct ages and how the country’s economic evolution is inseparable from the nature of American life itself. The Age of Commerce spans the colonial era through the outbreak of the Civil War, and the Age of Capital traces the lasting impact of the industrial revolution. The volatility of the Age of Capital ultimately led to the Great Depression, which sparked the Age of Control, during which the government took on a more active role in the economy, and finally, in the Age of Chaos, deregulation and the growth of the finance industry created a booming economy for some but also striking inequalities and a lack of oversight that led directly to the crash of 2008."]

Like Stories of Old. "The Absurdist Philosophy of Synechdoche, New York." (Posted on Youtube: May 20, 2018) [An examination of existentialist philosopher Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus and the absurdist philosophy of Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York.]

---. "The Archetype of the Warrior - How Film Helps Empower Us All." (Posted on Youtube: January 15, 2018) ["Exploring the Archetype of the Warrior in films, based on Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette’s King, Warrior, Magician, Lover and Carol S. Pearson’s The Hero Within."]

---. "Baby Driver: Introversion Done Right." (Posted on Youtube: October 13, 2017) ["An examination of introversion in Baby Driver and how Edgar Wright subverts the stereotypical introvert in an extroverted society." Uses Laurie Helgoe's Introvert Power – Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength in the analysis of the characterization of Baby in the film.]

---. "The Before Trilogy: Performing a Real Relationship." (Posted on Youtube: November 10, 2017) [I would easily include this trilogy in my best of cinema. The first time I saw Before Sunrise I was floored because I had never seen a film that captured the magic, mystery and mood of unplanned romance (I won't ruin the end for those that haven't seen it) in such a realistic way. The second and third film, made 9 years later each time, continues to defy the Hollywood/Hallmark co-optation of our romantic ideas. The collaboration of Richard Linklater (director/writer), Kim Krizan (co-writer), Ethan Hawke (actor/collaborator), and Julie Delpy (actor/collaborator), is a major achievement in collaborative filmmaking and escapes the stunt feel of the later unrelated Linklater film Boyhood. I've been dreaming of my film class next semester and how I could explore B. Ruby Rich's call to move past Hollywood's/America's singular focus on individualistic experience and maybe this could be the start from a masterpiece on an evolving dyad experience that avoids privileging one perspective and moving outward to more fully collective depictions. "A video essay exploring how Richard Linklater created one of the most unique portrayals of a real relationship in his Before Trilogy; consisting of Before SunriseBefore Sunset and Before Midnight."]

---. "The Fantasy of Ultimate Purpose – How Our Entertainment Reveals Our Deepest Desire." (Posted on Youtube: July 31, 2018) ["Explores the anatomy of purpose in films, television series and video games, how it differs from finding meaning in our own lives, and the importance of discussing our escapes into these fictional worlds. Book used: Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning."]

---. "Fight Club: How (Not) to Become a Space Monkey." (Posted on Youtube: November 16, 2019) ["Video essay on Fight Club; examining how charismatic leaders like Tyler Durden turn men into Space Monkeys." Ernest Becker book The Denial of Death is used to formulate the critique/interpretation.]

---. "Gladiator: Turning Spectacle Into a Meaningful Story." (Posted on Youtube: March 20, 2018) [MB: Gladiator is one of my all time favorite action films and I have often pondered/studied the political uses of spectacle, so this Like Stories of Old video essay was a welcome analysis of the action film & genre. Think about the narcotizing uses of spectacle in our mediated society/world.]

---. "The Grey - A Philosophy of Heroic Suffering." (Posted on Youtube: November 24, 2017) ["A video essay exploring how The Grey, although poorly marketed at the time of its release, is an underrated survival film about the importance of finding meaning in desperate situations. Resources: Viktor Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning."]

---. "How Ken Burns Changed the Way We Look at History." (Posted on Youtube: September 15, 2017) ["An exploration of the academic validity and public value of the work of renowned documentarian Ken Burns. Content: 0:00 Introduction; 1:34 What is History?; 4:57 The Ken Burns Approach; 9:22 Bringing History to Life."  Uses two books in its analysis: Ways of Knowing by Jonathan W. Moses and Torbjorn L. Knutsen, and What is History? by E.H. Carr.]

---. "In Search of the Distinctively Human: The Philosophy of Blade Runner 2049." (Posted on Youtube: Jan 29, 2018) [Uses Ernest Becker's The Birth and Death of Meaning and Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.]

---. "The Lover Within: How Moonlight Relates to ALL Men." (Posted on Youtube: April 9, 2017) ["... Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette’s archetypes" in their book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine  "are a very interesting way to analyze media and provide personal insights, similarly to Joseph Campbell’s related concept of the Hero’s Journey."]

---. "The Myth of Heroic Masculine Purpose." (Posted on Youtube: February 28, 2022) ["A critical analysis of the myth of heroic masculine purpose, and its effect on men’s perception of manhood, and on their connection to others and to the world."]

---. "The New World: The Lost Art of Grief." (Posted on Youtube: September 29, 2017) ["An examination of sorrow and grief in Terrence Malick’s The New World based on Francis Weller’ The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief. North Atlantic Books: "The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and be stretched large by them. Noted psychotherapist Francis Weller provides an essential guide for navigating the deep waters of sorrow and loss in this lyrical yet practical handbook for mastering the art of grieving. Describing how Western patterns of amnesia and anesthesia affect our capacity to cope with personal and collective sorrows, Weller reveals the new vitality we may encounter when we welcome, rather than fear, the pain of loss. Through moving personal stories, poetry, and insightful reflections he leads us into the central energy of sorrow, and to the profound healing and heightened communion with each other and our planet that reside alongside it. The Wild Edge of Sorrow explains that grief has always been communal and illustrates how we need the healing touch of others, an atmosphere of compassion, and the comfort of ritual in order to fully metabolize our grief. Weller describes how we often hide our pain from the world, wrapping it in a secret mantle of shame. This causes sorrow to linger unexpressed in our bodies, weighing us down and pulling us into the territory of depression and death. We have come to fear grief and feel too alone to face an encounter with the powerful energies of sorrow. Those who work with people in grief, who have experienced the loss of a loved one, who mourn the ongoing destruction of our planet, or who suffer the accumulated traumas of a lifetime will appreciate the discussion of obstacles to successful grief work such as privatized pain, lack of communal rituals, a pervasive feeling of fear, and a culturally restrictive range of emotion. Weller highlights the intimate bond between grief and gratitude, sorrow and intimacy. In addition to showing us that the greatest gifts are often hidden in the things we avoid, he offers powerful tools and rituals and a list of resources to help us transform grief into a force that allows us to live and love more fully."]

---. "The Philosophy of Cloud Atlas: How Beauty Will Save the World." (Posted on Youtube: February 14, 2018) [The philosophy of the movie Cloud Atlas through the lens of Fyodor DostoevskyJose Saramago, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.]

---. "The Philosophy of The Fountain – Escaping Our Mental Prisons." (Posted on Youtube: November 28, 2018) ["Revisiting The Fountain; this video essay pushes beyond the various interpretations of the plot to explore the deeper themes at the heart of Darren Aronofsky’s ambitious film." Books discussed: Ernest Becker – The Denial of Death; Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now.]

---. "Prometheus & Covenant: Building a Mythos of Savage Creation." (Posted on Youtube: October 27, 2017) ["On the road towards Alien: Awakening; this in-depth analysis explores how Prometheus and Covenant built a mythos of savage creation around one of the most iconic movie monsters."]

---. "Stoicism in The Shawshank Redemption: Meditations 1." (Posted on Youtube: February 28, 2018) ["The Stoic Philosophy of The Shawshank Redemption, presented in a few brief meditations based on the writings by Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus and Chrysippus. Primary sources: Marcus Aurelius – Meditations; Seneca - Letters from a Stoic; Epictetus – Enchiridion; Secondary Sources: Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman – The Daily Stoic."]

---. "Sunshine – A Visceral Experience of Life, Death and Meaning." (Posted on Youtube: September 28, 2018) ["An examination of Sunshine and its visceral presentation of themes of life, death and meaning." Book discussed: Carl Sagan – Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.]

---. "The Ultimate Antidote for Cynicism: It’s a Wonderful Life." (Posted on Youtube: December 21, 2017) ["A video essay looking at It’s a Wonderful Life and its discussion on individualism that is arguably more relevant than ever."]

---. "The Unexplored Depths of Spider-Man 3 – Facing the Dragon of Grandiosity." (Posted on Youtube: April 30, 2018) [Uses Robert L. Moore's book Facing the Dragon: Confronting Personal and Spiritual Grandiosity: "Structured around a series of lectures presented at the Jung Institute of Chicago in a program entitled "Jungian Psychology and Human Spirituality: Liberation from Tribalism in Religious Life," this book-length essay attacks the related problems of human evil, spiritual narcissism, secularism and ritual, and grandiosity. Moore dares to insist that we stop ignoring these issues and provides clear-sighted guidance for where to start and what to expect. Along the way, he pulls together many important threads from recent findings in theology, spirituality, and psychology and brings us to a point where we can conceive of embarking on a corrective course."]

---. "Venturing into Sacred Space | Archetype of the Magician." (Posted on Youtube: April 21, 2018) ["In this conclusion of my Archetype Series based on the book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, I examine the archetype of the Magician and explore some related concepts such as initiation, ritual process and sacred space." Other sources discussed:  Carol S. Pearson – The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By; Robert Moore – The Archetype of Initiation: Sacred Space, Ritual Process and Personal Transformation; Mircea Eliade - The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion; Victor Turner – The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure.]

---. "What Makes a Great King? Exploring the Archetype of the King in Movies and Television." (Posted on Youtube: August 18, 2017) [MB: I think this has a great message about the leader role/archetype (not comfortable with the king thing, but I recognize it is an archetype) and only wish that is wasn't limited to just a discussion of masculine archetypes. Easily beats the ocean of facile business leadership books. From the author: "... Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette’s archetypes" in their book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine  "are a very interesting way to analyze media and provide personal insights, similarly to Joseph Campbell’s related concept of the Hero’s Journey."]

Loewen, James. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. The New Press, 2018. ["What started out as a survey of the twelve leading American history textbooks has ended up being what the San Francisco Chronicle calls “an extremely convincing plea for truth in education.” In Lies My Teacher Told Me, James W. Loewen brings history alive in all its complexity and ambiguity. Beginning with pre-Columbian history and ranging over characters and events as diverse as Reconstruction, Helen Keller, the first Thanksgiving, the My Lai massacre, 9/11, and the Iraq War, Loewen offers an eye-opening critique of existing textbooks, and a wonderful retelling of American history as it should—and could—be taught to American students."]

London, Alex. "Horror as Strength: Queer Armor in Stephen King’s IT." TOR (October 26, 2021)

Luckhurst, Roger. "Making Sense of The Weird and the Eerie." Los Angeles Review of Books (November 11, 2017) [On Mark Fisher's book The Weird and the Eerie: "What exactly are the Weird and the Eerie? In this new essay, Mark Fisher argues that some of the most haunting and anomalous fiction of the 20th century belongs to these two modes. The Weird and the Eerie are closely related but distinct modes, each possessing its own distinct properties. Both have often been associated with Horror, yet this emphasis overlooks the aching fascination that such texts can exercise. The Weird and the Eerie both fundamentally concern the outside and the unknown, which are not intrinsically horrifying, even if they are always unsettling.
Perhaps a proper understanding of the human condition requires examination of liminal concepts such as the weird and the eerie. These two modes will be analysed with reference to the work of authors such as H. P. Lovecraft, H. G. Wells, M.R. James, Christopher Priest, Joan Lindsay, Nigel Kneale, Daphne Du Maurier, Alan Garner and Margaret Atwood, and films by Stanley Kubrick, Jonathan Glazer and Christoper Nolan."]

Lunz, Frank and Drew Westen. "How Political Language is Engineered." Your Undivided Attention (June 2, 2022) ["Democracy depends on our ability to choose our political views. But when the language we use to talk about political issues is designed to influence our beliefs, are we choosing our views, or is our language choosing them for us? This week, Your Undivided Attention welcomes two Jedi Masters of political communication — Drew Westen and Frank Luntz."]

Maibom, Heidi. "Through the Eyes of Another." Aeon (July 12, 2022) ["It’s impossible to shed our individual biases. So the best way to establish objectivity is by taking on new perspectives." Heidi Maibom is the author of The Space Between: How Empathy Really Works: "When Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court, his comments that a judge should have "the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay, disabled, or old" caused a furor. Objective, reasoned, and impartial judgment were to be replaced by partiality, sentiment, and bias, critics feared. This concern about empathy has since been voiced not just by conservative critics, but by academics and public figures. In The Space Between, Heidi Maibom combines results from philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to argue that rather than making us more biased or partial, empathy makes us more impartial and more objective. The problem is that we don't see the world objectively in the first place, Maibom explains. We see it in terms of how we are placed in it: as an extension of our interests, capabilities, and relationships. This is a perspective and it determines what we pay attention to, how we interpret events, and what matters to us individually. It is not private, however. By means of the imagination, Maibom contends, we can place ourselves in another person's web interests, capabilities, and relationships and, viewing the world from there, experience a new way of interpreting and valuing what happens. This broadens and deepens our understanding of others and the world around us. It also helps us understand the greater reality of who we are ourselves. Maibom's book weaves together results from philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to provide a positive up-to-date view of what it really means to take another person's perspective, and how empathy, rather than being the enemy of objectivity, is the foundation of it."]

Marable, Manning. Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. Viking, 2011. ["Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist. Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world. Manning Marable's new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties. Reaching into Malcolm's troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents' activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew."]

Marshal, Colin. "Korean Provocateur: the Harrowing Films of Kim Ki-duk (1960-2020)." Los Angeles Review of Books (January 3, 2021) 

Martel, James. "Histories of Violence: Why We Should All Read Walter Benjamin Today." Los Angeles Review of Books (February 3, 2020) ["... it helps to specify what Benjamin means in terms of a critique of and resistance to modern forms of mythic violence. The key thing to resist is not physical violence per se but rather projections of some kind of external source of authority (whether it is God or gods, nature or some mystical origins) which become the basis for illicit and anxious — hence often physically violent — forms of control."]

Martin, Abby and Robbie Martin. "The CIA & LSD." Dosed (June 28, 2022) [A good history to be aware of as high tech gurus move to capitalize on and control these substances - the discussion goes way beyond the tag line: "Robbie Martin joins DOSED to talk about the CIA’s bizarre history with LSD."]

May, Katherine and Michael Pollan. "The Future of Hope 4." On Being (January 20, 2022) ["Michael Pollan is one of our most revelatory explorers of the interaction between the human and natural worlds — especially the plants with which we have, as he says, co-evolved — from food to caffeine to psychedelics. In this episode of our series, The Future of Hope, Wintering’s Katherine May draws him out on the burgeoning human inquiry and science to which he’s now given himself over — the transformative applications of altered states for healing trauma and depression, for end-of-life care — and the thrilling matter of grasping what consciousness is for. This is an informative, intriguing, utterly uncategorizable conversation." Michael Pollan's recent books: How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence and This is Your Mind on Plants]

McBride, Joseph. The Whole Durn Human Comedy: Life According to the Coen Brothers. Anthem Press, 2022. ["A groundbreaking, incisive critical study of the Coen Bros., the quirky team of filmmaking brothers who delight in unsettling cinematic conventions and confounding audiences while raising disturbing questions about human nature."]

Mchangama, Jacob. "The History of Free Speech." Conversations with Coleman (April 16, 2022) ["My guest today is Jacob Mchangama. Jacob is a lawyer and writer based in Denmark. He's the founder of Justitia, a think tank focused on human rights and freedom of speech. Jacob is also the producer and narrator of the excellent podcast called Clear and Present Danger. Jacob and I discuss his brilliant new book: Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media. We talk about the Danish cartoon controversy and Charlie Hebdo. We also discuss the so-called "Milton's curse"; which is the habit of hypocritically defending free speech for some, but not for others. I think this point is relevant to some of the bans that we've been seeing on Russian state news. We talk about the notion of power relations and its relationship to free speech, the relationship between censorship and human nature, and the importance of having a culture of free speech in addition to having laws that nominally protect it. We also talk about the origins of what Jacob calls "egalitarian free speech" in ancient Athens, the First Amendment and its evolving interpretation over time, and the alleged exceptions to protected speech such as hate speech or shouting fire in a crowded theatre. We go on to discuss whether censorship actually works, big tech companies and their role in censoring speech, similarities between the rise of the printing press and the rise of the Internet, cancel culture, the threat to free speech posed by China and the CCP, and much more."]

McSwane, David. "Pandemic, Inc.: On Chasing Capitalists & Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick." Democracy Now (April 12, 2022) ["In Pandemic, Inc.: Chasing the Capitalists and Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick, ProPublica investigative reporter J. David McSwane tracks pandemic federal relief funds and finds many contracts to acquire critical supplies were wrapped up in unprecedented fraud schemes that left the U.S. government with subpar and unusable equipment. He says an array of contractors were “trying to take advantage of our national emergency,” and calls the book “a blueprint of what not to do” during the next pandemic."]

Meis, Morgan and J.M. Tyree. Wonder, Horror, Mystery: Letters on Cinema and Religion in Malick, Von Trier, and Kieślowski. Punctum Books, 2021. ["Wonder, Horror, Mystery is a dialogue between two friends, both notable arts critics, that takes the form of a series of letters about movies and religion. One of the friends, J.M. Tyree, is a film critic, creative writer, and agnostic, while the other, Morgan Meis, is a philosophy PhD, art critic, and practicing Catholic. The question of cinema is raised here in a spirit of friendly friction that binds the personal with the critical and the spiritual. What is film? What’s it for? What does it do? Why do we so intensely love or hate films that dare to broach the subjects of the divine and the diabolical? These questions stimulate further thoughts about life, meaning, philosophy, absurdity, friendship, tragedy, humor, death, and God. The letters focus on three filmmakers who challenged secular assumptions in the late 20th century and early 21st century through various modes of cinematic re-enchantment: Terrence Malick, Lars von Trier, and Krzysztof Kieślowski. The book works backwards in time, giving intensive analysis to Malick’s To The Wonder (2012), Von Trier’s Antichrist (2009), and Kieślowski’s Dekalog (1988), respectively, in each of the book’s three sections. Meis and Tyree discuss the filmmakers and films as well as related ideas about philosophy, theology, and film theory in an accessible but illuminating way. The discussion ranges from the shamelessly intellectual to the embarrassingly personal. Spoiler alert: No conclusions are reached either about God or the movies. Nonetheless, it is a fun ride."]

Melzer, Nils. The Trial of Julian Assange: A Story of Persecution. Verso, 2022. ["The shocking story of the legal persecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and the dangerous implications for the whistleblowers of the future. In July 2010, Wikileaks published Cablegate, one of the biggest leaks in the history of the US military, including evidence for war crimes and torture. In the aftermath Julian Assange, the founder and spokesman of Wikileaks, found himself at the center of a media storm, accused of hacking and later sexual assault. He spent the next seven years in asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, fearful that he would be extradited to Sweden to face the accusations of assault and then sent to US. In 2019, Assange was handed over to the British police and, on the same day, the U.S. demanded his extradition. They threatened him with up to 175 years in prison for alleged espionage and computer fraud. At this point, Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, started his investigation into how the US and UK governments were working together to ensure a conviction. His findings are explosive, revealing that Assange has faced grave and systematic due process violations, judicial bias, collusion and manipulated evidence. He has been the victim of constant surveillance, defamation and threats. Melzer also gathered together consolidated medical evidence that proves that Assange has suffered prolonged psychological torture. Melzer’s compelling investigation puts the UK and US state into the dock, showing how, through secrecy, impunity and, crucially, public indifference, unchecked power reveals a deeply undemocratic system. Furthermore, the Assange case sets a dangerous precedent: once telling the truth becomes a crime, censorship and tyranny will inevitably follow. The Trial of Julian Assange is told in three parts: the first explores Nils Melzer’s own story about how he became involved in the case and why Assange’s case falls under his mandate as the Special Rapporteur on Torture. The second section returns to 2010 when Wikileaks released the largest leak in the history of the U.S. military, exposing war crimes and corruption, and Nils makes the case that Swedish authorities manipulated charges against Assange to force his extradition to the US and publicly discredit him. In the third section, the author returns to 2019 and picks up the case as Ecuador kicks Assange out of the embassy and lays out the case as it currently stands, as well as the stakes involved for other potential whistleblowers trying to serve the public interest."]

Montell, Amanda. Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism. Harper Collins, 2021. ["The author of the widely praised Wordslut analyzes the social science of cult influence: how cultish groups from Jonestown and Scientology to SoulCycle and social media gurus use language as the ultimate form of power. What makes “cults” so intriguing and frightening? What makes them powerful? The reason why so many of us binge Manson documentaries by the dozen and fall down rabbit holes researching suburban moms gone QAnon is because we’re looking for a satisfying explanation for what causes people to join—and more importantly, stay in—extreme groups. We secretly want to know: could it happen to me? Amanda Montell’s argument is that, on some level, it already has . . . Our culture tends to provide pretty flimsy answers to questions of cult influence, mostly having to do with vague talk of “brainwashing.” But the true answer has nothing to do with freaky mind-control wizardry or Kool-Aid. In Cultish, Montell argues that the key to manufacturing intense ideology, community, and us/them attitudes all comes down to language. In both positive ways and shadowy ones, cultish language is something we hear—and are influenced by—every single day. Through juicy storytelling and cutting original research, Montell exposes the verbal elements that make a wide spectrum of communities “cultish,” revealing how they affect followers of groups as notorious as Heaven’s Gate, but also how they pervade our modern start-ups, Peloton leaderboards, and Instagram feeds. Incisive and darkly funny, this enrapturing take on the curious social science of power and belief will make you hear the fanatical language of “cultish” everywhere."]

Morson, Gary Saul. "The Cancellation of Russian Culture." First Things (March 14, 2022)  ["To blame a whole culture, past and present, for a current political action implies that everything about that culture contributed to that action. If Germany succumbed to the Nazis, don’t listen to Beethoven; because of Mussolini, cancel Dante and Raphael; if you reject American actions in Vietnam, the Middle East, or anywhere else, no more Thoreau or Emily Dickinson. Could there be a better way to encourage national hatred than to treat a whole culture and its history as a unified whole, carrying, as if genetically, a hideous quality?" Morson is the co-author of Minds Wide Shut: How the New Fundamentalisms Divide Us.]

Morson, Gary Saul and Morton Schapiro.  Minds Wide Shut: How the New Fundamentalisms Divide Us. Princeton University Press, 2021. ["Polarization may be pushing democracy to the breaking point. But few have explored the larger, interconnected forces that have set the stage for this crisis: namely, a rise in styles of thought, across a range of fields, that literary scholar Gary Saul Morson and economist Morton Schapiro call “fundamentalist.” In Minds Wide Shut, Morson and Schapiro examine how rigid adherence to ideological thinking has altered politics, economics, religion, and literature in ways that are mutually reinforcing and antithetical to the open-mindedness and readiness to compromise that animate democracy. In response, they propose alternatives that would again make serious dialogue possible. Fundamentalist thinking, Morson and Schapiro argue, is not limited to any one camp. It flourishes across the political spectrum, giving rise to dueling monologues of shouting and abuse between those who are certain that they can’t be wrong, that truth and justice are all on their side, and that there is nothing to learn from their opponents, who must be evil or deluded. But things don’t have to be this way. Drawing on thinkers and writers from across the humanities and social sciences, Morson and Schapiro show how we might begin to return to meaningful dialogue through case-based reasoning, objective analyses, lessons drawn from literature, and more. The result is a powerful invitation to leave behind simplification, rigidity, and extremism—and to move toward a future of greater open-mindedness, moderation, and, perhaps, even wisdom." Link to a conversation with the authors about the book.]

Nace, Ted. Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2005. ["The corporation has become the core institution of the modern world. Designed to seek profit and power, it has pursued both with endless tenacity, steadily bending the framework of law and even challenging the sovereign status of the state. Where did the corporation come from? How did it get so much power? What is its ultimate trajectory? After he sold his successful computer book publishing business to a large corporation, Ted Nace felt increasingly driven to find answers to these questions. In Gangs of America he details the rise of corporate power in America through a series of fascinating stories, each organized around a different facet of the central question: “How did corporations get more rights than people?” Beginning with the origin of the corporation in medieval Great Britain, Nace traces both the events that shaped the evolution of corporate power and the colorful personalities who played major roles. Gangs of America is a uniquely accessible synthesis of the latest scholarly research, a compelling historical narrative, and a distinctive personal voice."]

Napier, Susan Jolliffe. "Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art (Yale University Press, 2018)." New Books in Art (February 8, 2022) ["A thirtieth‑century toxic jungle, a bathhouse for tired gods, a red‑haired fish girl, and a furry woodland spirit—what do these have in common? They all spring from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki, one of the greatest living animators, known worldwide for films such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and The Wind Rises. In Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art (Yale UP, 2018), Japanese culture and animation scholar Susan Napier explores the life and art of this extraordinary Japanese filmmaker to provide a definitive account of his oeuvre. Napier insightfully illuminates the multiple themes crisscrossing his work, from empowered women to environmental nightmares to utopian dreams, creating an unforgettable portrait of a man whose art challenged Hollywood dominance and ushered in a new chapter of global popular culture."]

O'Shea, Lizzie. "The Judgement of Paris: Facebook vs The Communards." The Baffler #56 (March 2021) ["In an age in which online spaces feel more divisive and polarized than ever, perhaps it is time to ponder how we can create conditions of personal autonomy that give rise to greater social solidarity. Perhaps it is the structure of these spaces that is at fault, rather than the individuals within them. Centrally determined “community standards” enforced by automated takedowns and de-platforming might generate tendencies that are more infantilizing than civilizing. A sense of freedom with responsibility in online spaces is unlikely to be cultivated when those who set the boundaries of good taste and political correctness are more interested in applying constraint than promoting solidarity."]

Parks, Tim. "Impossible Choices." Aeon (July 15, 2019) ["There are times when a dilemma that seems like agony in adolescence can not only provide the basis for a prestigious career, but also lead to a profound shift in the world of ideas. Thus it is that the predicament faced by the 17-year-old Gregory Bateson, following his brother’s suicide in 1922, turns out to be extremely relevant to us today, for it eventually led him to revolutionise the study of anthropology, bring communication theory to psychoanalysis (thus undermining the Freudian model), invent the concept of the ‘double bind’, and make one of the first coherent, scientifically and philoso­phi­cally argued pleas for a holistic approach to the world’s environmental crisis. Seeking to condense Bateson’s work into one core concept, one can say that, above all, he proposed a paradigm shift in the way we think of ourselves as purposeful, decisionmaking actors in the world."]

Pikkety, Thomas. A Brief History of Equality. Harvard University Press, 2022. ["The world’s leading economist of inequality presents a short but sweeping and surprisingly optimistic history of human progress toward equality despite crises, disasters, and backsliding. A perfect introduction to the ideas developed in his monumental earlier books. It’s easy to be pessimistic about inequality. We know it has increased dramatically in many parts of the world over the past two generations. No one has done more to reveal the problem than Thomas Piketty. Now, in this surprising and powerful new work, Piketty reminds us that the grand sweep of history gives us reasons to be optimistic. Over the centuries, he shows, we have been moving toward greater equality. Piketty guides us with elegance and concision through the great movements that have made the modern world for better and worse: the growth of capitalism, revolutions, imperialism, slavery, wars, and the building of the welfare state. It’s a history of violence and social struggle, punctuated by regression and disaster. But through it all, Piketty shows, human societies have moved fitfully toward a more just distribution of income and assets, a reduction of racial and gender inequalities, and greater access to health care, education, and the rights of citizenship. Our rough march forward is political and ideological, an endless fight against injustice. To keep moving, Piketty argues, we need to learn and commit to what works, to institutional, legal, social, fiscal, and educational systems that can make equality a lasting reality. At the same time, we need to resist historical amnesia and the temptations of cultural separatism and intellectual compartmentalization. At stake is the quality of life for billions of people. We know we can do better, Piketty concludes. The past shows us how. The future is up to us."]

---. Capital and Ideology. Harvard University Press, 2020. ["The epic successor to one of the most important books of the century: at once a retelling of global history, a scathing critique of contemporary politics, and a bold proposal for a new and fairer economic system. Thomas Piketty’s bestselling Capital in the Twenty-First Century galvanized global debate about inequality. In this audacious follow-up, Piketty challenges us to revolutionize how we think about politics, ideology, and history. He exposes the ideas that have sustained inequality for the past millennium, reveals why the shallow politics of right and left are failing us today, and outlines the structure of a fairer economic system. Our economy, Piketty observes, is not a natural fact. Markets, profits, and capital are all historical constructs that depend on choices. Piketty explores the material and ideological interactions of conflicting social groups that have given us slavery, serfdom, colonialism, communism, and hypercapitalism, shaping the lives of billions. He concludes that the great driver of human progress over the centuries has been the struggle for equality and education and not, as often argued, the assertion of property rights or the pursuit of stability. The new era of extreme inequality that has derailed that progress since the 1980s, he shows, is partly a reaction against communism, but it is also the fruit of ignorance, intellectual specialization, and our drift toward the dead-end politics of identity.
Once we understand this, we can begin to envision a more balanced approach to economics and politics. Piketty argues for a new “participatory” socialism, a system founded on an ideology of equality, social property, education, and the sharing of knowledge and power. Capital and Ideology is destined to be one of the indispensable books of our time, a work that will not only help us understand the world, but that will change it."]

---. "Five Reasons Why You Should Read Thomas Piketty’s A Brief History of Equality." Harvard University Press Blog (March 8, 2022) [Book description: "The world’s leading economist of inequality presents a short but sweeping and surprisingly optimistic history of human progress toward equality despite crises, disasters, and backsliding. A perfect introduction to the ideas developed in his monumental earlier books. It’s easy to be pessimistic about inequality. We know it has increased dramatically in many parts of the world over the past two generations. No one has done more to reveal the problem than Thomas Piketty. Now, in this surprising and powerful new work, Piketty reminds us that the grand sweep of history gives us reasons to be optimistic. Over the centuries, he shows, we have been moving toward greater equality. Piketty guides us with elegance and concision through the great movements that have made the modern world for better and worse: the growth of capitalism, revolutions, imperialism, slavery, wars, and the building of the welfare state. It’s a history of violence and social struggle, punctuated by regression and disaster. But through it all, Piketty shows, human societies have moved fitfully toward a more just distribution of income and assets, a reduction of racial and gender inequalities, and greater access to health care, education, and the rights of citizenship. Our rough march forward is political and ideological, an endless fight against injustice. To keep moving, Piketty argues, we need to learn and commit to what works, to institutional, legal, social, fiscal, and educational systems that can make equality a lasting reality. At the same time, we need to resist historical amnesia and the temptations of cultural separatism and intellectual compartmentalization. At stake is the quality of life for billions of people. We know we can do better, Piketty concludes. The past shows us how. The future is up to us."]

Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore's Dilemma. The Penguin Press, 2006. ["Today, buffeted by one food fad after another, America is suffering from what can only be described as a national eating disorder. Will it be fast food tonight, or something organic? Or perhaps something we grew ourselves? The question of what to have for dinner has confronted us since man discovered fire. But as Michael Pollan explains in this revolutionary book, how we answer it now, as the dawn of the twenty-first century, may determine our survival as a species. Packed with profound surprises, The Omnivore's Dilemma is changing the way Americans think about the politics, perils, and pleasures of eating."]

Power, Nina. "What Do Men Want?: Masculinity and Its Discontents (Penguin 2022)." New Books in Critical Theory (February 14, 2022) ["Something is definitely up with men. From millions online who engage with the manosphere to the #metoo backlash, from Men's Rights activists and incels to spiralling suicide rates, it's easy to see that, while men still rule the world, masculinity is in crisis. Feminism has gone some way towards dismantling the patriarchy, but how can we hold on to the best aspects of our metaphorical Father? Nina Power, author of What Do Men Want?: Masculinity and Its Discontents (Penguin, 2022), speaks to Pierre d'Alancaisez about the challenge of accepting biological differences and the potential for men and women living well in a world where capitalism has replaced the values - family, religion, service, and honour - that used to give our lives meaning. Nina Power is a philosopher, critic, and cultural theorist. She is the author of One Dimensional Woman, a co-host of The Lack, and she publishes a newsletter on Substack."]

Praeger, Joshua. "The Family Roe: An American Story (W.W. Norton, 2021)." New Books in American Studies (June 20, 2022) ["Despite her famous pseudonym, "Jane Roe," no one knows the truth about Norma McCorvey (1947-2017), whose unwanted pregnancy in 1969 opened a great fracture in American life. Journalist Joshua Prager spent hundreds of hours with Norma, discovered her personal papers--a previously unseen trove--and witnessed her final moments. The Family Roe: An American Story (W. W. Norton, 2021) presents her life in full. Propelled by the crosscurrents of sex and religion, gender and class, it is a life that tells the story of abortion in America. Prager begins that story on the banks of Louisiana's Atchafalaya River where Norma was born, and where unplanned pregnancies upended generations of her forebears. A pregnancy then upended Norma's life too, and the Dallas waitress became Jane Roe. Drawing on a decade of research, Prager reveals the woman behind the pseudonym, writing in novelistic detail of her unknown life from her time as a sex worker in Dallas, to her private thoughts on family and abortion, to her dealings with feminist and Christian leaders, to the three daughters she placed for adoption. Prager found those women, including the youngest--Baby Roe--now fifty years old. She shares her story in The Family Roe for the first time, from her tortured interactions with her birth mother, to her emotional first meeting with her sisters, to the burden that was uniquely hers from conception. The Family Roe abounds in such revelations--not only about Norma and her children but about the broader "family" connected to the case. Prager tells the stories of activists and bystanders alike whose lives intertwined with Roe. In particular, he introduces three figures as important as they are unknown: feminist lawyer Linda Coffee, who filed the original Texas lawsuit yet now lives in obscurity; Curtis Boyd, a former fundamentalist Christian, today a leading provider of third-trimester abortions; and Mildred Jefferson, the first black female Harvard Medical School graduate, who became a pro-life leader with great secrets. An epic work spanning fifty years of American history, The Family Roe will change the way you think about our enduring American divide: the right to choose or the right to life."]

Proctor, Robert N. and Londa Schiebinger, eds. Agnotology: The Making & Unmaking of Ignorance. Stanford University Press, 2008. ["What don't we know, and why don't we know it? What keeps ignorance alive, or allows it to be used as a political instrument? Agnotology—the study of ignorance—provides a new theoretical perspective to broaden traditional questions about "how we know" to ask: Why don't we know what we don't know? The essays assembled in Agnotology show that ignorance is often more than just an absence of knowledge; it can also be the outcome of cultural and political struggles. Ignorance has a history and a political geography, but there are also things people don't want you to know ("Doubt is our product" is the tobacco industry slogan). Individual chapters treat examples from the realms of global climate change, military secrecy, female orgasm, environmental denialism, Native American paleontology, theoretical archaeology, racial ignorance, and more. The goal of this volume is to better understand how and why various forms of knowing do not come to be, or have disappeared, or have become invisible."]

Pruitt, Lisa. "Gunfight, My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America." The Daily Yonder (October 26, 2021) ["A former executive offers excruciating detail on how hardliners and the NRA changed the gun industry into the servant of military-style weapons and absolutist views on the Second Amendment." Review of Ryan Busse's book Gunfight, My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America: "A former firearms executive pulls back the curtain on America's multibillion-dollar gun industry, exposing how it fostered extremism and racism, radicalizing the nation and bringing cultural division to a boiling point. As an avid hunter, outdoorsman, and conservationist-all things that the firearms industry was built on-Ryan Busse chased a childhood dream and built a successful career selling millions of firearms for one of America's most popular gun companies. But blinded by the promise of massive profits, the gun industry abandoned its self-imposed decency in favor of hardline conservatism and McCarthyesque internal policing, sowing irreparable division in our politics and society. That drove Busse to do something few other gun executives have done: he's ending his 30-year career in the industry to show us how and why we got here. Gunfight is an insider's call-out of a wild, secretive, and critically important industry. It shows us how America's gun industry shifted from prioritizing safety and ethics to one that is addicted to fear, conspiracy, intolerance, and secrecy. It recounts Busse's personal transformation and shows how authoritarianism spreads in the guise of freedom, how voicing one's conscience becomes an act of treason in a culture that demands sameness and loyalty. Gunfight offers a valuable perspective as the nation struggles to choose between armed violence or healing."]

Reed, Adolph L. The South: Jim Crow and Its Afterlives. Verso, 2022. ["A narrative account of Jim Crow as people experienced it. The last generation of Americans with a living memory of Jim Crow will soon disappear. They leave behind a collective memory of segregation shaped increasingly by its horrors and heroic defeat but not a nuanced understanding of everyday life in Jim Crow America. In The South, Adolph L. Reed Jr. — New Orleanian, political scientist, and according to Cornel West, “the greatest democratic theorist of his generation” — takes up the urgent task of recounting the granular realities of life in the last decades of the Jim Crow South. Reed illuminates the multifaceted structures of the segregationist order. Through his personal history and political acumen, we see America’s apartheid system from the ground up, not just its legal framework or systems of power, but the way these systems structured the day-to-day interactions, lives, and ambitions of ordinary working people. The South unravels the personal and political dimensions of the Jim Crow order, revealing the sources and objectives of this unstable regime, its contradictions and precarity, and the social order that would replace it. The South is more than a memoir or a history. Filled with analysis and fascinating firsthand accounts of the operation of the system that codified and enshrined racial inequality, this book is required reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of America’s second peculiar institution the future created in its wake."]

Rein, Richard K. "American Urbanist: How William H. Whyte's Unconventional Wisdom Reshaped Public Life (Island Press 2022)." New Books Network (April 1, 2022) ["On an otherwise normal weekday in the 1980s, commuters on busy Route 1 in central New Jersey noticed an alarming sight: a man in a suit and tie dashing across four lanes of traffic, then scurrying through a narrow underpass as cars whizzed by within inches. The man was William “Holly” Whyte, a pioneer of people-centered urban design. Decades before this perilous trek to a meeting in the suburbs, he had urged planners to look beyond their desks and drawings: “You have to get out and walk.” American Urbanist: How William H. Whyte's Unconventional Wisdom Reshaped Public Life (Island Press, 2022) shares the life and wisdom of a man whose advocacy reshaped many of the places we know and love today—from New York’s bustling Bryant Park to preserved forests and farmlands around the country. Holly’s experiences as a WWII intelligence officer and leader of the genre-defining reporters at Fortune Magazine in the 1950s shaped his razor-sharp assessments of how the world actually worked—not how it was assumed to work. His 1956 bestseller, The Organization Man, catapulted the dangers of “groupthink” and conformity into the national consciousness. Over his five decades of research and writing, Holly’s wide-ranging work changed how people thought about careers and companies, cities and suburbs, urban planning, open space preservation, and more. He was part of the rising environmental movement, helped spur change at the planning office of New York City, and narrated two films about urban life, in addition to writing six books. No matter the topic, Holly advocated for the decision-makers to be people, not just experts. “We need the kind of curiosity that blows the lid off everything,” Holly once said. His life offers encouragement to be thoughtful and bold in asking questions and in making space for differing viewpoints. This revealing biography offers a rare glimpse into the mind of an iconoclast whose healthy skepticism of the status quo can help guide our efforts to create the kinds of places we want to live in today."]

Rinsdberg, Ashley. "The Failures of the New York Times." Conversations with Coleman (March 18, 2022) ["Ashley is an American novelist and journalist now based in Israel. His book is The Gray Lady Winked: How the New York Times's Misreporting, Distortions and Fabrications Radically Alter History. We discuss the little-known history of major errors made by the New York Times. We also talk about the concept of authority, what makes the times different from other papers, the idea of objective truth, and the many problems with the 1619 project. We finally go on to speak about how to determine what's true in the world."]

Rothman, Joshua. "Can Science Fiction Wake Us Up to Our Climate Reality?" The New Yorker (January 24, 2022) [MB - One of my favorite authors, I recently picked up his latest novel Ministry For the Future (on global near-future efforts to address cataclysmic climate change) and I'm excited to hear that his next book is a memoir on his love for, and hundreds of hikes in the, Western Sierra Mountain range - 'The High Sierra: A Love Story.' This is an author who is sought out around the world for high-level discussions on how to address global problems and this profile in the New Yorker is worthy of his importance (and includes a trip in the Sierra Mountains with the author of the piece).]

Rushkoff, Douglas. "Introduction: They Say."  Coercion: Why We Listen to What They Say. Riverhead Books, 2000. ["They say human beings use only ten percent of their brains. They say polyunsaturated fat is better for you than saturated fat. They say that tiny squiggles in a rock prove there once was life on Mars. They say our children's test scores are declining. They say Jesus was a direct descendant of King David. They say you can earn $15,000 a week in your spare time. They say marijuana leads to LSD, and LSD can lead to suicide. They say the corner office is a position of power. They say the elderly should get flu shots this season. They say homosexuality is an environmentally learned trait. They say there's a gene for homosexuality. They say people can be hypnotized to do anything. They say people won't do anything under hypnosis that they wouldn't do when conscious. They say Prozac alleviates depression. They say mutual funds are the best long-term investment. They say computers can predict the weather. They say you haven't met your deductible. Who, exactly, are "they," and why do they say so much? More amazing, why do we listen to them?"]

Rutt, Jim and John Vervaeke. "Awakening from the Meaning Crisis, Part 1." The Jim Rutt Show #143 (October 11, 2021) ["John Vervaeke joins Jim for the first of a five-part series examining the ideas put forward in Vervaeke’s popular YouTube series, Awakening from the Meaning Crisis. In this episode they focus on defining core concepts, including meaning, non-reductive science, symptoms of the meaning crisis, attention, shamanism, psychotechnology, ritual, serious play, participatory vs perspectival knowing, the flow state, mindfulness, the Bronze Age collapse & transition into the Axial Age, two-worlds mythologies, faith as loving commitment, the perniciousness of romantic comedies, kairos & its relation to Game B, the Socratic revolution, Socrates’s imprecation to “know thyself,” lying & bullshit, availability bias, salience vs transformation, and much more."]

---. "Awakening from the Meaning Crisis, Part 2." The Jim Rutt Show #144  (October 18, 2021) ["John Vervaeke joins Jim for the second of a five-part series examining the ideas put forward in Vervaeke’s popular YouTube series, Awakening from the Meaning Crisis. They discuss virtue & virtuosity, Plato’s man-monster-lion model, hyperbolic discounting, agent & arena, Plato’s parable of the cave, the continuity between Plato & Aristotle, personality vs character, Erich Fromm’s idea of having vs being, modal confusion, reversal theory, mindfulness as meta-modal optimization, opponent processing, hierarchical complexity, mystical experiences & putting transformation above metaphysics, the danger of reifying consciousness, global workspace theory, the g factor, integrated information theory, an emerging consensus about the function of consciousness, and much more."]

Sas, Peter. "Non-Dualism in East and West: An Introduction." Critique of Pure Interest (December 30, 2018) [It’s myself in Burma, it’s myself in the earthquake. It’s myself starving in Africa. People sometimes hear the message of non-duality and they think that it’s about sitting back and doing nothing. They think it’s about arrogantly sitting back and saying, “Oh, it’s just a dream, it’s just a story, there’s nobody there suffering so what’s the point in doing anything at all?”… Oneness recognises itself in the face of that starving child and can move to help itself, not out of pity, not because it needs to be a good person, that’s nothing to do with it. It doesn’t come from a set morality. But in seeing that it’s all One – and this is the mystery of the universe – somehow it moves to help itself.” (Jeff Foster in Conversations on Non-Duality, p.37)]

Schambelan, Elizabeth. "Special Journey to Our Bottom Line: On Hazing and Counterinsurgency." N + 1 #34 (2022) ["Today, Fraternity Gang Rape remains an unsurpassed frat-guy ethnography. It’s also a truly shocking book, thanks to Penn’s very candid fraternity brothers, many of whom spoke at length to student interviewers trained by Sanday. In addition to calling the author’s raped student “an ignorant slut” and campus feminists “rug-munching dykes,” the guys say things like “no is meaningless” and “She was responsible for her condition, and that just leaves her wide open . . . so to speak.” Even more disturbing are those passages in which the men expound upon their worldview. “One of the few barriers left in this society is sexual barriers,” says one. “It’s cutting down [sic]. When you can strip somebody down, and get everything possible out of them, whether it’s sexual, sexual parts, sexual this and that, and just say, that’s where you are.” This has the ring of genuine sadism. Another interviewee defines a “nerdy” guy as someone who will not “allow any sexual needs to invade someone else’s rights.” My needs matter, your rights don’t: this, too, is a sentiment Sade would find relatable."]

Schmachtenberger, Daniel. "A Problem Well-Stated is Half Solved." Your Undivided Attention #36 (June 25, 2021) ["We’ve explored many different problems on Your Undivided Attention — addiction, disinformation, polarization, climate change, and more. But what if many of these problems are actually symptoms of the same meta-problem, or meta-crisis? And what if a key leverage point for intervening in this meta-crisis is improving our collective capacity to problem-solve? Our guest Daniel Schmachtenberger guides us through his vision for a new form of global coordination to help us address our global existential challenges. Daniel is a founding member of the Consilience Project, aimed at facilitating new forms of collective intelligence and governance to strengthen open societies. He's also a friend and mentor of Tristan Harris."]

Schwartzberg, Melissa. "Great Books 24: Jean-Jacques Rousseau." Think About It (October 19, 2019) [""Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." The opening sentence of 18th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Roussau's Social Contract poses a central question for all of us. Why do we live under conditions of inequality, violence, dependency and general unhappiness (just look on twitter!) if society is made by us and for us? I spoke with Melissa Schwartzberg, who is Silver Professor of Politics at New York University and a specialist in political theory, about Rousseau's importance today."]

Schwartzel, Erich. "Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy." The Realignment (February 8, 2022) ["Erich Schwartzel, film industry reporter at The Wall Street Journal and author of Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy, joins The Realignment to discuss the rise, fall, and future of Hollywood’s relationship with China."]

Scott, James C. Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. Yale University Press, 2017. ["Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains, and governed by precursors of today’s states? Most people believe that plant and animal domestication allowed humans, finally, to settle down and form agricultural villages, towns, and states, which made possible civilization, law, public order, and a presumably secure way of living. But archaeological and historical evidence challenges this narrative. The first agrarian states, says James C. Scott, were born of accumulations of domestications: first fire, then plants, livestock, subjects of the state, captives, and finally women in the patriarchal family—all of which can be viewed as a way of gaining control over reproduction. Scott explores why we avoided sedentism and plow agriculture, the advantages of mobile subsistence, the unforeseeable disease epidemics arising from crowding plants, animals, and grain, and why all early states are based on millets and cereal grains and unfree labor. He also discusses the “barbarians” who long evaded state control, as a way of understanding continuing tension between states and nonsubject peoples."]

---. Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play. Princeton University Press, 2012. ["A spirited defense of the anarchist approach to life
James Scott taught us what's wrong with seeing like a state. Now, in his most accessible and personal book to date, the acclaimed social scientist makes the case for seeing like an anarchist. Inspired by the core anarchist faith in the possibilities of voluntary cooperation without hierarchy, Two Cheers for Anarchism is an engaging, high-spirited, and often very funny defense of an anarchist way of seeing—one that provides a unique and powerful perspective on everything from everyday social and political interactions to mass protests and revolutions. Through a wide-ranging series of memorable anecdotes and examples, the book describes an anarchist sensibility that celebrates the local knowledge, common sense, and creativity of ordinary people. The result is a kind of handbook on constructive anarchism that challenges us to radically reconsider the value of hierarchy in public and private life, from schools and workplaces to retirement homes and government itself. Beginning with what Scott calls "the law of anarchist calisthenics," an argument for law-breaking inspired by an East German pedestrian crossing, each chapter opens with a story that captures an essential anarchist truth. In the course of telling these stories, Scott touches on a wide variety of subjects: public disorder and riots, desertion, poaching, vernacular knowledge, assembly-line production, globalization, the petty bourgeoisie, school testing, playgrounds, and the practice of historical explanation. Far from a dogmatic manifesto, Two Cheers for Anarchism celebrates the anarchist confidence in the inventiveness and judgment of people who are free to exercise their creative and moral capacities."]

Sites, William. "Sun Ra's Chicago: Afrofuturism and the City (U Chicago Press, 2021)." New Books in Music (February 24, 2022) ["Poet and jazz band musician Sun Ra, born in 1914, is one of the most wildly prolific and unfailingly eccentric figures in the history of music. Renowned for extravagant performances in which his band “Arkestra” appeared in neo-Egyptian garb, this keyboardist and bandleader also espoused an interstellar cosmology and that the planet Saturn was his true home. In his book, Sun Ra’s Chicago: Afrofuturism and the City (University of Chicago Press, 2021), Dr. William Sites contextualizes this visionary musician in his home on earth—specifically in Chicago’s South Side, where from 1946 to 1961 Sun Ra lived and relaunched his career. The postwar South Side was a hotbed of unorthodox religious and cultural activism: Afrocentric philosophies flourished, storefront prophets sold “dream-book bibles,” and Elijah Muhammad was building the Nation of Islam. It was also an unruly musical crossroads where the man then still known as Sonny Blount drew from an array of intellectual and musical sources—from radical nationalism, revisionist Christianity, and science fiction to jazz, blues, Latin dance music, and pop exotica—all this to construct a philosophy and performance style that imagined a new identity and future for African Americans. Sun Ra’s Chicago shows that late twentieth-century Afrofuturism emerged from a deep, utopian engagement with the city—and that by excavating the postwar black experience of Sun Ra’s South Side milieu, we can come to see the possibilities of urban life in new ways. Dr. William Sites is Associate Professor in the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice at the University of Chicago. His fields of interest include urban and community studies, political economy, social movements, immigration, race, culture, social theory, and historical methods."]

Smith, Justin E.H. The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is: A History, a Philosophy, a Warning. Princeton University Press, 2022. ["Many think of the internet as an unprecedented and overwhelmingly positive achievement of modern human technology. But is it? In The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is, Justin Smith offers an original deep history of the internet, from the ancient to the modern world—uncovering its surprising origins in nature and centuries-old dreams of radically improving human life by outsourcing thinking to machines and communicating across vast distances. Yet, despite the internet’s continuing potential, Smith argues, the utopian hopes behind it have finally died today, killed by the harsh realities of social media, the global information economy, and the attention-destroying nature of networked technology. Ranging over centuries of the history and philosophy of science and technology, Smith shows how the “internet” has been with us much longer than we usually think. He draws fascinating connections between internet user experience, artificial intelligence, the invention of the printing press, communication between trees, and the origins of computing in the machine-driven looms of the silk industry. At the same time, he reveals how the internet’s organic structure and development root it in the natural world in unexpected ways that challenge efforts to draw an easy line between technology and nature. Combining the sweep of intellectual history with the incisiveness of philosophy, The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is cuts through our daily digital lives to give a clear-sighted picture of what the internet is, where it came from, and where it might be taking us in the coming decades."]

Stein, Zak. "On Propaganda and the Information War." Jim Rutt War (October 7, 2021) ["Zak Stein & Jim have a wide-ranging talk inspired by two recent Consilience Project essays on the information war & propaganda. They discuss the culture wars as a case of mutually assured destruction, distinguishing education from propaganda, developing widespread resistance to propaganda, epistemic nihilism, key indicators of propaganda, the function of thought-terminating clichés, a typology of propaganda, leaders’ failure to educate rather than propagandize regarding Covid vaccines, modulating noise & chaos in the information ecosystem, redirecting technological innovation toward new goals of educational development, and much more." Zak Stein's latest book is Education in a Time Between Two Worlds: "Our world is currently undergoing major transformations, from climate change and politics to agriculture and economics. The world we have known is disappearing and a new world is being born. The subjects taught in schools and universities today are becoming irrelevant at faster and faster rates. Not only are we facing complex challenges of unprecedented size and scope, we’re also facing a learning and capacity deficit that threatens the future of civilization. Education in a Time Between Worlds seeks to reframe this historical moment as an opportunity to create a global society of educational abundance. Educational systems must be transformed beyond recognition if humanity is to survive the planetary crises currently underway. Human development and learning must be understood as the Earth's most valuable resources, with human potential serving as the open frontier into which energy and hope can begin to flow. The expansive essays within this book cover a diverse array of topics, including social justice, the neuroscience of learning, deschooling, educational technology, standardized testing, the future of spirituality, basic income guarantees, and integral meta-theory. As an invitation to re-vision the future of schools, technology, and society, Education in a Time Between Worlds replaces apathy and despair with agency, transformation, and hope."]

Stephens, Bret and Matt Taibbi. "On American Power." Honestly (February 9, 2022) ["Ever since the end of World War II, America has been the dominant world superpower. We have been ready to use that power to defend our national interest. Or to defend a certain set of values. Or both. But there has always been a tension in this country between isolationism and interventionism. Between those among us who think we should maintain an active role in world affairs—and those who want to pull back and focus on our myriad problems here at home. That long standing debate is being reignited right now on the Russian-Ukrainian border. So for today, a debate between Bret Stephens and Matt Taibbi on American Power. When should we use our might? And has recent history proven that we do more harm than good? Bret Stephens is author of America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder. Matt Taibbi is the author, most recently, of Hate Inc.: Why Today's Media Makes Us Despise One Another"]

Stephenson, Neal. "Sci-Fi, Space, Aliens, AI, VR & the Future of Humanity." Lex Fridman (November 11, 2021) ["Interview with mathematician, engineer, philosopher, and novelist (Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, Anathem, etc) Neal Stephenson on the release of his new novel, Termination Shock, about near future attempts to address the global effects of climate change. As with most things I really like, I listened to it twice: 0:43 - WWII and human nature; 9:28 - Search engine morality; 14:06 - Space exploration; 31:07 - Aliens and UFOs; 39:30 - SpaceX and Blue Origin; 46:52 - Social media; 51:19 - Climate change; 1:03:09 - Consequences of big ideas; 1:07:50 - Virtual reality; 1:30:58 - Artificial intelligence; 1:45:57 - Cryptocurrency; 1:58:35 - Writing, storytelling, and books; 2:21:13 - Martial arts; 2:30:31 - Final thoughts ."]

StudioBinder. "Denis Villeneuve & His Cinema of Ambiguity — Directing Styles Explained." (Posted on Youtube: April 6, 2020) ["Denis Villeneuve movies are made to confuse you. At every opportunity — in the story, in the cinematography, editing, and music, Villeneuve wants to keep you guessing. Watching Denis Villeneuve movies is to be placed in an environment of uncertainty. And that’s what makes them so interesting. In films like Enemy, Prisoners, Polytechnique, Blade Runner 2049, and Arrival, Villeneuve consistently creates awe and wonder with images and sounds we’ve never seen before. In Enemy, Adam (Jake Gyllenhaal) must confront the possibility that he is more than a single person. In Sicario, Kate (Emily Blunt) is pushed into the world of drug cartels by a tight-lipped company man (Josh Brolin) and a near-silent assassin (Benicio Del Toro). In Prisoners, Keller (Hugh Jackman) ventures into murky moral territory to find his kidnapped daughter. In Arrival, Louise (Amy Adams) and Ian (Jeremy Renner) are tasked with bridging the communication gap between beings from another dimension. In all these movies, the characters find themselves in new worlds without answers. In this video, we’ve cracked the code on Villeneuve’s love of ambiguity and we explain how his directing style works across 7 areas of focus including sound, color, production design, and more. Villeneuve creates movies that can be enigmatic but there’s no denying that he is a film artist in complete control of his medium. If you’re studying directing, cinematography, editing, or pursuing ANY career in filmmaking, there are a ton of lessons to be learned from Denis Villeneuve. This is the ultimate breakdown of Denis Villeneuve’s directing style."]

Susik, Abigail. "Surrealist Sabotage and the War on Work (Manchester University Press, 2021)." New Books in Art (March 31, 2021) ["According to the definition offered by Tate on the occasion of the exhibition Surrealism Without Borders, Surrealism “aims to revolutionise human experience. It balances a rational vision of life with one that asserts the power of the unconscious and dreams.” Surrealism, therefore, produces images and artefacts that are rooted outside the real and that evade rational description. For many artists, however, the practice of Surrealist art took on an explicitly political and therefore practical dimensions. In Surrealist Sabotage and the War on Work (Manchester UP, 2021), art historian Abigail Susik argues that many Surrealists tried to transform the work of art into a form of unmanageable anti-work. Abigail Susik speaks with Pierre d’Alancaisez about what the politics of work meant to the early French Surrealists, the ambiguous labour practices of artists like Simone Breton, and the imagery of typewriters and sewing machines that permeates the work of artists such as Oscar Domínguez. She brings these questions into the present by engaging with the work of the Chicago Surrealists of the 1960s and 70s. Abigail Susik is Associate Professor of Art History at Willamette University and co-editor of Surrealism and film after 1945."]

Swenson, Kristin. A Most Peculiar Book: The Inherent Strangeness of the Bible. Oxford University Press, 2021. [Excerpt: "Besides lofty wisdom, inspiration, comfort, and guidance, the Bible contains bewildering archaisms, inconsistencies, questionable ethics, and a herky-jerky narrative style. Yet those features barely get a passing glance these days. Some believers simply explain them away, while nonbelievers use them as a reason to dismiss the Bible entirely. This book looks squarely at what’s so weird, difficult, and disconcerting both about and in the Bible, and in the process shows how those qualities can actually enrich one’s relationship, religious or not, to the text. I am not trying to convert anybody to anything except to learning. I’m committed to providing information, digging into the text and its background, and sharing questions of my own that might resonate with you. Those questions are both what make me love the Bible and what make that love so complicated … The Bible invites— nay, demands—interaction, even argument. And I don’t mean simply argument about what the Bible says or means (though that’s inevitable) but argument with the text itself. For the qualities I have cited—its disparate voices and images of God, its fissures and cracks and the endless ways and things to learn about it—the Bible defies the simplistic treatment of so-called literalism. (I say “so-called” because what exactly does it mean to “read the Bible literally,” especially if what one is reading is itself a translation from the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek?) The Bible’s diversity of perspectives and tone, not to say those texts in blatant disagreement with each other, actually models conversation, dialogue, and debate. It could issue no bolder invitation to engagement, no more compelling demand to bring the best of one’s faculties to bear on any interpretation of it."]

Taibbi, Matt. "Orwell Was Right." TK News (March 13, 2022) ["From free speech to 'spheres of influence' to our passion for endless war, we've become the doublethinkers 1984 predicted."]

Taylor, Astra and Sunaura Taylor. "Our Animals, Ourselves: The Socialist Feminist Case for Animal Liberation." Lux #3 (2022) ["Human liberation and animal liberation are thus bound together; the brutalization of all beings, as [Angela] Davis proclaimed, is connected." Books Discussed: The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory by Carol Adams; Caliban and the Witch: Women, The Body and Private Accumulation by Sylvia Federici; Porkopolis: American Animality, Standardized Life, and the Factory Farm by Alex Blanchette; Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America by Virginia Anderson; Sistah Vegan: Black Women Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society by A. Breeze Harper. Astra Taylor's latest book is Remake the World: Essays, Reflections, Rebellions and Sunaura Taylor's latest book is Beasts of Burden: Animal and Disability Liberation.]

Teitelbaum, Benjamin. "The Future of the Apocalyptic Right in the U.S. (Dey Street Books, 2020)." The Future of ... (February 22, 2022) ["How did Steve Bannon come to believe the strange things he believes? The influential, former Trump aid, began as a Democrat-supporting Naval officer with an interest in Buddhism and transcendental meditation. He is now an anti-globalist, sympathizer of “Traditionalists” who look forward to a cataclysmic moment which will lead to a golden age of elitist, hierarchical, spiritual rule promoting long-lost essential truths. He uses the pseudonym "Alec Guinness." And Bannon believes in something akin to “the force” in Star Wars. How did Bannon undergo this transformation? In this episode, Owen Bennett-Jones sits down with Benjamin Teitelbaum, author of War for Eternity: Inside Bannon's Far-Right Circle of Global Power Brokers (Dey Street Books, 2020) to find out how Bannon became Bannon."]

Thomä, Dieter. Troublemakers: A Philosophy of Puer Robustus. Polity Press, 2019. ["The political crises and upheavals of our age often originate from the periphery rather than the center of power. Figures like Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Chelsea Manning acted in ways that disrupted power, revealing truths that those in power wanted to keep hidden. They are thorns in the side of power, troublemakers in the eyes of the powerful, though their actions may be valuable and lead to positive changes. In this important new book, Dieter Thomä examines the crucial but often overlooked function of these figures on the margins of society, developing a philosophy of troublemakers from the seventeenth century to the present day. Thomä takes as his starting point Hobbes’s idea of the puer robustus (literally “stout boy”), meaning a figure who rebels against order and authority. While Hobbes saw the puer robustus as a threat, he also recognized the potential, in the right conditions, for figures to rise up and become agents of positive change. Building on this notion, Thomä provides a rich survey of intellectuals who have been inspired by this idea over the past 300 years, from Rousseau, Diderot, Schiller, Victor Hugo, Marx, and Freud to Carl Schmitt, Leo Strauss, and Horkheimer, right up to the recent work of Badiou and Agamben. In doing so, he develops a typology of the puer robustus and a means by which we can evaluate and assess the troublemakers of our own times. Thomä shows that troublemakers are an inescapable part of modernity, for as soon as social and political boundaries are defined, there will always be figures challenging them from the margins. This book will be of great interest not only to students and scholars in the humanities and social sciences but to anyone seeking to understand the crucial impact of these liminal figures on our world today."]

Thomas, Ebony Elizabeth. The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games. New York University Press, 2020. ["Reveals the diversity crisis in children's and young adult media as not only a lack of representation, but a lack of imagination. Stories provide portals into other worlds, both real and imagined. The promise of escape draws people from all backgrounds to speculative fiction, but when people of color seek passageways into the fantastic, the doors are often barred. This problem lies not only with children’s publishing, but also with the television and film executives tasked with adapting these stories into a visual world. When characters of color do appear, they are often marginalized or subjected to violence, reinforcing for audiences that not all lives matter. The Dark Fantastic is an engaging and provocative exploration of race in popular youth and young adult speculative fiction. Grounded in her experiences as YA novelist, fanfiction writer, and scholar of education, Thomas considers four black girl protagonists from some of the most popular stories of the early 21st century: Bonnie Bennett from the CW’s The Vampire Diaries, Rue from Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, Gwen from the BBC’s Merlin, and Angelina Johnson from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Analyzing their narratives and audience reactions to them reveals how these characters mirror the violence against black and brown people in our own world. In response, Thomas uncovers and builds upon a tradition of fantasy and radical imagination in Black feminism and Afrofuturism to reveal new possibilities. Through fanfiction and other modes of counter-storytelling, young people of color have reinvisioned fantastic worlds that reflect their own experiences, their own lives. As Thomas powerfully asserts, “we dark girls deserve more, because we are more.”"]

Tufekci, Zeynep. "The Pandemic Lessons We Clearly Haven’t Learned." The Ezra Klein Show (January 18, 2022) ["I remember thinking, as Covid ravaged the country in December 2020, that at least the holidays the next year would be better. There would be more vaccines, more treatments, more immunity. Instead, we got Omicron and a confusing new phase of the pandemic. What do you do with a variant that is both monstrously more infectious and somewhat milder? What do you say about another year when we didn’t have enough tests, enough ventilation or the best guidance on masks? And how do you handle the fracturing politics of a changing pandemic in an exhausted country? Zeynep Tufekci is a sociologist and New York Times Opinion columnist who does a better job than almost anyone at assessing the pandemic at a systems level. To solve a public-health crisis, it’s not enough to get the science right. There are also challenges with supply chains, infrastructure, research production, mass communication, political trust and institutional inertia. I’ve found Tufekci’s ability to balance the epidemiological data and the sociological realities uniquely helpful across the pandemic, and you can hear why in this conversation.  We discuss how the Covid crisis has changed, as well as Tufekci’s sobering conclusion: that the virus, at this point, is feeding on our dysfunction. We look at what Omicron is and isn’t, where the Biden administration has succeeded and failed, the debate over closing schools, why so many Asian countries have so powerfully outperformed the West, how the role of vaccines has changed, what a pandemic-prepared society would actually look like, and what should be true of our pandemic policy in a year that isn’t now."]

Vint, Sherryl. "Science Fiction (MIT Press 2021)."  New Books in Science, Technology, and Society (April 4, 2022) ["The world today seems to be slipping into a science fiction future. We have phones that speak to us, cars that drive themselves, and connected devices that communicate with each other in languages we don't understand. Depending the news of the day, we inhabit either a technological utopia or Brave New World nightmare. This volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge surveys the uses of science fiction. Sherryl Vint's Science Fiction (MIT Press, 2021) focuses on what is at the core of all definitions of science fiction: a vision of the world made otherwise and what possibilities might flow from such otherness."]

Walton, Saige. "Cinema and Sensation: French Film and the Art of Transgression by Martine Beugnet." Senses of Cinema #50 (April 2009) ["Those familiar with French director Claire Denis will be aware of the exquisite sensuality of her cinema. Whether coming together with another body in the world through the shared space and flesh of desire, or being driven apart from others by personal and sociopolitical circumstance, bodies – their gestures, bites and kisses, alternately languid or energetic movements, postures, habits and rituals – are the very “stuff” and substance of the film experience here. Given her privileging of the senses and her amenability to, as well as considered dialogue with, philosophers of the body, Denis is at the forefront of a number of contemporary directors (by no means exclusive to France, if we consider the work of figures such as Hou Hsiao-hsien, David Lynch or Wong Kar-Wai) who are generating much interest from sensually alert film scholars. Adrian Martin, for instance, identifies “the bedrock of Denis’ cinema [as] the flesh”, while Elena del Río comments that the “film body” of the cinema itself becomes a “sensation producing machine” in Denis, as if each film were “sending ripples of affect and thought across a diversity of its movements”, independent of the body of the viewer. The arresting materiality that infuses Denis forces us to look anew at sensory encounters with the cinema."]

Weiss, Bari and Suzy Weiss. "Watching Lia Thomas Win." Honestly (March 6, 2022) ["Lia Thomas is a transgender woman who has, in one year, become the star athlete of the women’s swim team at The University of Pennsylvania. When she competed on the men’s team, she was seeded no. 462 in the NCAA. Now, she’s seeded No. 1 and expected to beat Olympic gold medalist Katy Ledecky, widely considered one of the greatest female swimmers of all time, later this month at the NCAA championship. Thomas won’t stop there. She recently told Sports Illustrated that she has her sights set on the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. What does the rise of Lia Thomas mean for the future of women’s sports? Suzy Weiss reports from the Harvard pool, where Lia Thomas recently smashed Ivy League records."]

Wengrow, David. "The Dawn of Everything, Part 1." Against the Grain (November 15, 2021) ["Egalitarianism is a thing of our distant past, or so we learn from conventional history. After a long stretch as hunter-gatherers roaming in small bands, our societies became bigger and more complex. And as they became larger, and cities emerged, hierarchy was inevitable in the form of kings, priests, and bureaucrats. The late anthropologist and anarchist David Graeber and the archeologist David Wengrow, however, argue that’s all wrong. In a more hopeful reading of the past, they contend that small-scale societies have often been hierarchical and large-scale societies more egalitarian." Graeber's and Wengrow's book The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity.]

---. "The Dawn of Everything: David Wengrow & the Late David Graeber On a New History of Humanity." Democracy Now (November 18, 2021) ["In an extended interview, we speak with archeologist David Wengrow, who co-authored the new book “The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity” with the late anthropologist David Graeber." Book description: A dramatically new understanding of human history, challenging our most fundamental assumptions about social evolution--from the development of agriculture and cities to the origins of the state, democracy, and inequality--and revealing new possibilities for human emancipation. For generations, our remote ancestors have been cast as primitive and childlike--either free and equal innocents, or thuggish and warlike. Civilization, we are told, could be achieved only by sacrificing those original freedoms or, alternatively, by taming our baser instincts. David Graeber and David Wengrow show how such theories first emerged in the eighteenth century as a conservative reaction to powerful critiques of European society posed by Indigenous observers and intellectuals. Revisiting this encounter has startling implications for how we make sense of human history today, including the origins of farming, property, cities, democracy, slavery, and civilization itself. Drawing on pathbreaking research in archaeology and anthropology, the authors show how history becomes a far more interesting place once we learn to throw off our conceptual shackles and perceive what's really there. If humans did not spend 95 percent of their evolutionary past in tiny bands of hunter-gatherers, what were they doing all that time? If agriculture, and cities, did not mean a plunge into hierarchy and domination, then what kinds of social and economic organization did they lead to? The answers are often unexpected, and suggest that the course of human history may be less set in stone, and more full of playful, hopeful possibilities, than we tend to assume. The Dawn of Everything fundamentally transforms our understanding of the human past and offers a path toward imagining new forms of freedom, new ways of organizing society. This is a monumental book of formidable intellectual range, animated by curiosity, moral vision, and a faith in the power of direct action."]

West, Stephen.  "Antonio Gramsci on Cultural Hegemony." Philosophize This! #131 (May 23, 2019) ["Gramsci begins his explanation by evoking and repurposing a word that had been thrown around all throughout human history but it was a word that he thought in recent years was starting to take on an entirely new meaning. The thing that was responsible for allowing a particular social class to ascend to power and then maintain a privileged status…was what he called Cultural Hegemony. This concept of hegemony is going to become massively important to the political conversation of the 20th and 21st centuries and by the end of this arc of the show we’re going to have looked at it from a lot of different perspectives. Maybe we should start from the origins of the word…the word hegemony originates in ancient Greece…the root of the word comes from the greek word meaning “to lead”, some translators say it’s closer to “to rule over”…but either way during antiquity there were things called hegemons…now in the context of ancient Greece a hegemon was typically a state that had a significant military advantage over another state…the arrangement being that if the weaker state didn’t comply with certain demands from the hegemon they would be annexed or dominated militarily or burned to the ground, take your pick. The term hegemony implied the threat of physical dominance over a population of people…this was the case all throughout human history. But Gramsci is going to say that in our modern world the definition of the word hegemony needs to evolve with the political reality we are living in. We are no longer living in a world where most political control is exercised by military dominance over a population of people. Since the advent of mass media people in positions of power have realized that a much more effective way of controlling populations is by manipulating the cultural parameters that citizens have to navigate. The general idea is this: to be a human being living a life in our modern world…you always HAVE to be living that life immersed within a particular culture. But what IS a culture other than an elaborate collection of norms, rules, structures, mores, taboos, rituals, values, symbolic gestures…these things are not exactly abstract concepts…they are acute. They are visible. This is the cultural custom of a handshake to pay deference to someone else. This is not talking with your mouth full. This is the sum total of every ritual we engage in on a daily basis that all come together to create a cohesive society. But what Gramsci is going to ask is: who exactly created all of these norms and taboos that we abide by?"]

---. "Being and Becoming." Philosophize This! #147 (November 10, 2020)  ["So a philosopher that favors the concept of Being believes there is a way that things are...and our job as scientists and philosophers is to go out there and use whatever tools we have available to figure out the way that things are. These people historically often look at the world spatially because they often think about existence in terms of subjects and objects, they often favor terms like substances, concepts, forms, eternal truths...the basic idea is look around you...there's obviously a way that things are, let's categorize and understand what it is. Now people that are fans of Becoming ...or the process oriented way of thinking we've been talking about the last few episodes...they don't believe there's a way that things are in the traditional way that phrase is used. Things are fundamentally a process of constant change and if we haven't intuitively recognized it in the past it's really just because, what's the famous saying? We're mayflys in the cosmos? We just don't live long enough or are born into a historical tradition of ideas...or lack the perspective to be able to see it. "]

---. "The Buddha." Philosophize This! #9 (November 10, 2013) ["On this episode of the podcast, we learn about the life of Siddhartha Gautama and his Heisenberg-esque transformation into Buddha. We learn how Buddha left a lifestyle of being fed grapes and being fanned with palm leaves to pursue a life of celibacy, starvation, and sleep deprivation. We also learn about how Buddha reached enlightenment while sitting beneath a fruit tree à la Isaac Newton, and about the four noble truths which he believed were the key to ending human suffering once and for all."]

---. "The Creation of Meaning: Ernest Becker's The Denial of Death." Philosophize This! #162 (January 25, 2022) [On the anthropologist Ernest Becker's The Denial of Death: "... if you just, approached, the study, of human beings from a place of complete, Enlightenment era, scientific value neutrality…you might miss out on something very important about our existence and that is this:
That there seems to be a part…of whatever a Homo Sapien is…that is undeniably…religious. Now, remember back to the beginning of the Kierkegaard episode…use whatever language you want here…you don’t like the word religious… use the word anthropomorphic…use the word spiritual…use the word… human if you want…but Becker is going to say no matter what words you decide to use recognize the fact that there is a part of being a Homo Sapien… that cares about our actions being meaningful and counting for at least something. That is an impulse well documented in our religious traditions. Part of being a Homo Sapien, is the tendency to turn to oversimplified illusions that make us feel more comfortable. Well documented in religion. ... Or as Becker theorizes…maybe a totally value neutral scientific approach towards understanding human behavior ,has been sabotaging the entire process. Maybe what we need is something more like a humanistic science…something that can understand not just why people create the immortality projects that go on to do so much great stuff in the world…but also why they do the horrible things they do. Why they hurt people. Why they hate people. How it could be that people whose contributions to society help others and save lives…and how they could simultaneously be people who, “kill out of joy.”"]

---. "The Creation of Meaning - Escape from Evil." Philosophize This! #163 (March 2, 2022)  [Stephen Cave on Ernest Becker's Escape from Evil: "Becker was a very interesting anthropologist, working within a tradition of psychoanalysis, who tried to bring together a lot of different disciplines in the sciences and the arts, to create a kind of third culture in order to explain humanity. He thought the point of the human sciences – and indeed all science – was to stop us from being evil, and that evil resulted from our terror of death. We’re aware of our mortality, he argued, and would do anything to escape this prospect of death. Whatever we associate with death – with the challenge to our very existence – we think of as being evil. And if we have an idea of evil personified, it justifies any action. George W Bush called terrorists “evil doers”, and that seemed to legitimise everything, from Guantanamo to drone strikes. If something is defined as evil, we think it must be attacked at all costs. So the personification of death becomes the personification of evil. And in the name of combatting evil, we can do all sorts of terrible things – we do evil ourselves. Becker would see almost any ideological or religious context in these terms. Jihad is [an] example of people trying to cleanse the world for their own system, in order to legitimate their own beliefs in the promise of immortality. The Crusades were the same. Or take Nazism for example, which is less obvious than jihad but was the example more in the minds of those writing in the sixties and seventies. Nazism was also a system that promised immortality for being part of the German volk. In order to become immortal Germany had to become pure, and in order to become pure it had to destroy what was impure – and that was Jews, homosexuals and so on. This was a ritual act of cleansing, purging the evil as they saw it in order to create something pure."]

---. "The Creation of Meaning: Nietzsche and the Ascetic Ideal." Philosophize This! #158 (October 5, 2021)

---. "Dewey and Lippman on DemocracyPhilosophize This #130 (May 23, 2019) ["True democracy shouldn't just be a form of government...it shouldn't be defined by just a bunch of people voting for what they want...Democracy is more than that to John Dewey...see a true democracy should allow every citizen within it to realize their full potential, the good news being that allowing people to realize their potential helps society immensely as well.Yes, certain people are going to go down rabbit holes of information and become enraged political zealots, but that shouldn't discourage us when it comes to democracy, to John Dewey, it should cause us to re-up on our commitment to education and teaching the citizens the skills to be able to not fall into those traps of simplified thinking. Remember, society is an organism and government is part of what that organism produces, like bees produce a hive. This is the much more accurate way of looking at society...which is why he takes extreme issue with many earlier political philosophers that approach questions of government from the perspective of a "social contract" that is automatically signed at birth somehow. First of all, the idea that you're just born into a society and you are automatically enrolled in some subscription to that society is just wrong to John Dewey. This is nothing more than yet another example of philosophers trying to use "the natural order of things" or "human nature" as a means of pretending they know a lot more about the way societies work than they actually do. The world is no where near that simple, in his view. And as we continue on talking about 20th century political philosophy this dichotomy between nature and culture is going to become more and more relevant. Whether you attribute to the behavior of human beings some aspect of their "nature" or whether you think cultural influence has much more of an effect on political matters will ultimately dictate a lot of things about which side of the political spectrum you fall on. For example, do you think that climate change is a byproduct of natural processes that we have very little control over, or do you think it is highly influenced by humans and that we should do something about it. Do you think that gun violence is the byproduct of a certain natural percentage of people that are mentally ill, or do you think something about the way we structure our societies is causing gun violence. There are tons of examples of this that you could point to and in many ways these disagreements come down to this distinction between nature and culture that flourished during the 20th century."]

---. "Emil Cioran, Pt. 1: Absurdity and Nothingness." Philosophize This #155 (July 8, 2021) ["Cioran has a quote in his book On the Heights of Despair where he asks a question. He asks, “Who is more unhappy? He who feels his own loneliness or he who feels the loneliness of the world?” He’s saying a few things in this quote, but one of them I think is a perfect way of thinking of what many see as a paradox that lies at the foundations of his work. See, on one hand, he’s the thinker that’s going to go there. He’s the thinker that is dark enough to bring up the cosmic level of loneliness of the human species, a loneliness that everyone feels. But just by bringing it up, talking about it, unpacking it, making fun of it at times, agonizing over it, and ultimately not accepting it to somehow diffuse it of how it makes us uncomfortable, but by embracing it, steering into it—when we do all these things, we feel less alone after reading his work because we feel not only that someone else is feeling the way we do sometimes on our worst days, but also that everyone is feeling this way sometimes. And that makes you feel like you’re at least a part of something."]
---. "Emil Cioran part 2 - Failure and Suicide." Philosophize This! #159 (August 9, 2021) ["Writing... to Cioran was something to be a practitioner of. Writing to him was the greatest form of therapy he ever came across in his life. Whenever he wrote something...the intent behind it was always first, to express something. Because, as he said, whenever you express something that you’re feeling inside it instantly makes it far more bearable to live with. When you understand that THIS was ultimately his first priority...you can clearly see that writing to him wasn’t about being in the New York Times...writing to him was a matter of life and death. It was a way that he could work through tragedy in life, insomnia (which he struggled with), it was a way to contend with the melancholy and dread we talked about last episode...writing a book was, as he said, 'suicide postponed.'"]

---. "The Frankfurt School - Introduction." Philosophize This #108 (August 17, 2017) ["The Frankfurt School, also known as the Institute of Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung), is a social and political philosophical movement of thought located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It is the original source of what is known as Critical Theory. The Institute was founded, thanks to a donation by Felix Weil in 1923, with the aim of developing Marxist studies in Germany. The Institute eventually generated a specific school of thought after 1933 when the Nazis forced it to close and move to the United States, where it found hospitality at Columbia University, New York."]

---. "The Frankfurt School (Part 2) - The Enlightenment." Philosophize This #109 (August 26, 2017) ["The Frankfurt School…pulling ideas from Marx, Hegel and more recent revelations in Freudian Psychology…makes the case…that the only reason there hasn’t been a workers revolution in the west…lies in a problem of what they call “class consciousness”. The workers of the west, were sort of bewitched and beguiled when they saw all the cool new stuff humans are able to do now that capitalism is responsible for…the power of industry…increased levels of efficiency…the scientific and technological progress that capitalism produces…they’ve seen these changes, have been raised to believe that this stuff is the measure of progress and that this is just how the world is now and to not question it…all the while immersed in a system that from birth tells them they are first and foremost a worker and consumer, through media tells them how to act, think and feel, programs into them false needs, sells them one product after another to satisfy these false needs, socially alienates them, keeps them confused and scared, provides them with an illusion of political freedom and through many different types of coercion gets them never to question the fact that all of this rapid technological progress is only made possible by the exploitation of other human beings. In other words, the workers of the west no longer resemble the free-thinking proletariat that Marx talked about rising up…they’ve been indoctrinated to love their chains in a sense."]

---. "The Frankfurt School (Part 3) - The Culture Industry." Philosophize This #110 (September 7, 2017) ["So it’s been said about the workers in the United States post World War II… that they found themselves in a very unique situation in terms of what options are made available to them. Capitalism... massive improvements that come along with it in technology and efficiency…has made it possible for the average person, to do things only the super rich had been able to do throughout human history. That for consumers in this post World War II world…people no longer need to live together under one roof like it’s little house on the prairie, sharing a communal horse and doing shadow puppetry on the walls for entertainment…no we live in a new world now. We live in a world where, it is entirely feasible for the average consumer, to buy their own house (far better than a shack on a prairie) buy their own car (with the power 300 of those communal horses) and through the advent of mass media and entertainment broadcasting have instant access to mountains of art and cultural artifacts to consume with the push of a button. (little bit better than trying to make your hand look like an alligator chomping on the wall). Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, two members of the Frankfurt School who co-wrote the book The Dialectic of Enlightenment, would no doubt agree that Capitalism is responsible for these changes in what is possible for the average person. But they’d want to ask the question: Why is it... that there seems to be such a strong correlation between the trappings of Capitalism, and the alienation of society? In other words, when people get the house and they get the car and they have access to more art than they could ever consume…why is it that the worker in the 20th century seems to be the most alienated from other people around them, and the most alienated from the process of creating world they’re living in… in human history?"]

---. "The Frankfurt School (Part 4) - Eros." Philosophize This #111 (October 20, 2017) ["Today we talk about the first half of Herbert Marcuse's most important work, Eros and Civilization."]

---. "The Frankfurt School (Part 5) - Civilization." Philosophize This #112 (November 6, 2017) ["Part of the art, of propaganda... is getting people to believe that they arrived at this set of conclusions all by themselves. When you look at different examples of the great propaganda campaigns throughout history...you start to see certain tactics being used over and over again because they're just so effective at shaping the way that people see the world.Fear...is an effective tactic. Appealing to people's tribal tendencies is effective...us vs. them thinking...Manufacturing false news stories or events that fit a particular narrative. Manipulating the way that a story is delivered, blowing certain details out of proportion that tells the story you want it to tell. These have been used time and time again, and in 1930's Germany there was a handful of people whose job it was to use these tactics to ensure that the average German citizen remained a good foot soldier...had a view of Germany and the rest of the world that made them behave the way a good German behaves. That was the goal of propaganda. Marcuse would ask: when you take a look at the culture industry... and the role it plays in shaping the way that people see themselves and the world...by the way, the delivery system for most people on the American way of life...life imitates art...where selfless hard work is one of the most admired qualities, where every day is a transaction between work time and consumption time, where people chase the American dream which is defined by your relationship to materialistic stuff, two cars a house and a white picket fence...a fence that in a really aesthetically pleasing way keeps out other human beings, so that you can sit in your box being entertained in isolation...do you think it's possible, Marcuse would ask, that the culture industry keeps people thinking in a narrow American capitalistic sort of way that keeps things moving forward, the same way Nazi Propaganda kept German citizens thinking in a narrow way that kept their interests moving forward?"]

---. "The Frankfurt School (Part 6) - Art As a Tool for Liberation." Philosophize This #113 (December 2, 2017) ["... if the average american worker would rather jump off a building than have to do the work of challenging the way they see things...those words and ideas are effectively doing nothing when it comes to shifting class consciousness. What tools do we have that can get through to people? Well to Marcuse, one of the answers is art. Great works of art have the ability to deliver people a message that normal speech just can't deliver on it's own. Great works of art have the ability... to make people feel...and feel intensely...masses of people...not just people that happen to be a graduate student under Marcuse. Works of art have the ability to show the average person an alternative view of themselves, the way the world is, their subjectivity...and because of this...to Marcuse...works of art have the potential to be a tool for liberation. Liberation from the narrow subjectivity given to Americans by the culture industry. Marcuse says: “The truth of art lies in its power to break the monopoly of established reality to define what is real.” The truth of art. See, in a way Marcuse's looking at great works of art the same way we might look at a great science experiment. What's a great science experiment? Well they're all equally great, I'm not playing favorites...but how about the ones that lead us to what seems like a more accurate picture of the universe? What happens? Formerly, before we did this science experiment, knowledge about a piece of the universe was obscured from us. Now it should be said, the result of this experiment has always been the way that things are...I lived every day of my life up until that point ignorant of this little piece of the universe...and now here I am. A little more enlightened...my view of things around me a little more accurate thanks to this great science experiment. Well to Marcuse, works of art have the ability to do this very same thing at a cultural level. They can show people pieces of reality that were going on all around them that they never noticed before because they were immersed in it. Works of art have the ability to actually shift a person's subjectivity, and broaden it. "]

---. "The Frankfurt School (Part 7): The Great Refusal." Philosophize This! #114 (December 23, 2017) ["Such an easy trap...to have all the theories right, but the wrong kind of praxis. What's ironic to Marcuse, because of the power of Capitalism...is how easy it is to know the theories of the Frankfurt School and become as complicit in the way that things are as the people you're screaming at.When average american goes to their job, feel alienated, never question anything, and consume products by the culture industry that reinforce their idea that nothing is wrong with the United States, they will go on to change the subjectivity of a grand total of zero people. Doesn't matter how right your theories are...if your method of praxis is not actually changing people's minds...if it's not finding a way to relate to your fellow people as a human beings and convey a message...if it's only serving to scratch some personal itch you have of feeling like something drastic needs to change about the world...you're not changing people's subjectivity...you're being selfish...all the while perpetuating the vice grip Capitalism has on the country, where in your own small way you ensure that people will continue to be polarized in this country, dogmatic about their beliefs, talking towards each other, talking past each other...but never talking with each other."]

---. "The Frankfurt School: Erich Fromm on Freedom." Philosophize This! (February 6, 2021) ["Both the young adult from our example before and the citizen of modernity are in a similar place to Erich Fromm. They are free now. They are the person at the helm of the ship with a lot of different directions they can go. When you finally find yourself in this place...seems like things would have to feel really good for you. So why is the book by Erich Fromm that we’re covering today called Escape From Freedom? Why would anybody want to escape from freedom? Freedom is one of those things...what person doesn't want freedom...pretty commonly considered to be a universally good thing. Fromm makes the case that for both of our examples here today, this initial state of freedom that we’re born into can be both a good or a bad thing….because on one hand...becoming an autonomous free individual certainly gives you a new level of independence, a new level of rationality because now you’re making the decisions, a new level a responsibility for the things you decide to do...your parents aren’t making the itinerary you have to follow anymore...you don’t have the chains of a village or a profession or a particular church...and all this is great! But on the flip side what comes along with that is that now you are responsible. You know sometimes kids can’t wait until they’re a grown up so that they can make decisions for themselves...but once you’re an adult what you realize is that sure, you can decide to eat a half gallon of ice cream at 9am if you want...but you also are the only one that has to deal with the consequences of that choice. You choose your own adventure now...but now you’re responsible for the adventures you choose. To quote Kierkegaard anxiety is the dizziness of freedom...so no wonder...when you finally find yourself individuated and free...in this new place...you naturally feel more anxious about decision making than you did as a child. You feel more alone and isolated...because now you don’t have a village or something greater than yourself you’re attached to...you’re an individual. For Fromm there is always this trade off going on between you having higher levels of freedom and lower levels of security. Having independence can mean both that you have greater levels of freedom and greater levels of isolation all at the same time. "]

---. "The Frankfurt School: Erich Fromm on Love." Philosophize This! #150 (January 30, 2021) ["So Erich Fromm in his 1956 book The Art of Loving famously wrote this about love: “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” But what did he mean by that? ... Well, I think the best entry point into understanding what he meant would be to look at the two most philosophically loaded concepts in that statement and that would be one, love. What did he mean by love? And two, What does he mean when he says the fundamental problem of human existence? "]

---. "The Frankfurt School - Walter Benjamin, Part 1." Philosophize This! (March 19, 2021) [With a focus on "The Task of the Translator."]

---. "The Frankfurt School - Walter Benjamin, Part 2 - Distraction." Philosophize This! (April 1, 2021) ["..one of the main things that concerned him was this relationship between technological innovations and the sensory experience and subjectivity of people. You change the technology that surrounds them you change the person. That’s what we’re going to talk about today...so when he’s giving examples he’s going to be referencing things like film and radio and TV, probably all three things that are on their way OUT in our modern world. But the way he thought these affected the individual subject and the political subject can be just as easily applied to different technologies things like the internet, smartphones or self driving cars. When you consider the fact that new technology is introduced faster than it ever has been...and how much influence this technology has in mediating our entire relationship with reality to the point you can almost think of us as cybernetic...maybe the work of Walter Benjamin has never been more relevant than right now. "]

---. "Hannah Arendt - The Banality of Evil." Philosophize This! (November 1, 2019)

---. "The Hellenistic Age, Pt. 4 - Skepticism." Philosophize This! (January 4, 2014) ["On this episode of the podcast, we continue our study of the Hellenistic Age, this time focusing on Skepticism. We find out how Pyrrho used Skepticism to endure surgery without anesthesia, and learn why you can never really know if a pomegranate is a pomegranate. We also discover how winning the lottery could be the worst thing that ever happens to you, and compare Skepticism's key philosophers to their Smurf counterparts."]

---. "Isaiah Berlin Pt. 1 - Pluralism." Philosophy This #140 (March 11, 2020) ["... Isaiah Berlin began his career as an academic philosopher, then transformed into more of a historian of ideas, and then finished out his career making contributions to 20th-century political philosophy that ended up changing the world. And one of these subject matters within 20th-century political philosophy that needs some serious reevaluation to Berlin was the typical way that philosophers casually throw around the concept of freedom or liberty without ever really clearly defining what it is they’re even talking about. Berlin would say that practically every moral philosopher that’s ever produced anything of significance in Western philosophy has talked about freedom in these glowing terms as though it’s some sort of universal good and an unquestionably valuable thing that we should strive to have as much of as possible. They’ve talked about freedom in this way and, yet, no one has seriously tried to get to the bottom of what really is meant when philosophers talk about this stuff. We just assume we know what they mean when they say “freedom,” at a certain level. But, in reality, Berlin would say, when you actually look at the history of ideas, there are over 200 different definitions of freedom that have been laid out by thinkers over the years. Maybe it’s time we consolidate these into an understanding of freedom that deals with what’s common among all these individual takes." Transcript of the episode]

---. "Isaiah Berlin Pt. 2 - Pluralism and Culture." Philosophize This! #141 (March 28, 2020)

---. "Jürgen Habermas Pt. 1 – The Public Sphere." Philosophize This! #143 (May 1, 2020) ["When transnational corporations with very specific ends they’re trying to achieve own major media outlets. When there is so much power in controlling people’s values…Habermas thinks the economic/governmental system colonizes the lifeworld. Where we used to sit around the dinner table and have discussions to determine our thoughts about the world…we now turn on a screen and are sold ways to think about things. The further we got from the origins of the public sphere in those coffee houses back in France …the further we got away from communicative rationality. We got so far away from it we could barely see it anymore…to the point where brilliant thinkers like Adorno and Horkheimer wrote an entire book about rationality and didn’t even consider its existence! But for any chains we were supposedly wrapped in by the Enlightenment, Habermas thought the key to get us out of them was built into the Enlightenment all along. We just lost sight of it. The emancipatory potential of reason…reason’s ability to direct us away from treating people as a means to an end…the type of reason grounded in communication… grounded in the pursuit of genuinely trying to understand the other person’s perspective and then working towards agreement…the type of reason that can allow us to make our decisions about things not by buying into an endless sales pitch, but by talking to our fellow citizens in the lifeworld comparing our individual perspectives… True democracy, to Habermas, is when the lifeworld controls the system. Not the system controlling the lifeworld."]

---. "Leo Strauss: Moderns vs Ancients." Philosophize This! (October 9, 2019)

---. "Michel Foucault (Part 1)." Philosophize This (August 15, 2018) ["Foucault himself would never describe [Discipline and Punish] as a 'history' of anything. Foucault hated the word history and almost never used it in his writing. He used words to describe this book more like, a geneology of the way we’ve treated criminals, or an archaeology of how criminals have been punished over the years. He hates the word history…because so often the word history brings with it a connotation… that we exist in our modern world at the end of this long historical timeline of events that have led to near constant progress. This idea that, hey, we used to be these barbaric savages that followed the playbook of Machievelli, the ends justify the means, we used to believe that it was morally acceptable for the king or the people in power to brutally torture and kill someone that was guilty of a heinous crime…but then HISTORY happened. Time went on…progress was made. Great political theorists came along…great leaders, great ethical philosophers did their work and we all realized the error of our ways and brought into existence a more modern world where everyone is much more free…the people in power inhibiting the lives of the average citizen far less than they used to . Foucault is going to call this assumption about history into question and really dig deeper into the idea of: how much has really changed when it comes to the fundamental relationship between those in power and the citizens?"]

---. "Michel Foucault Pt. 2 - The Order of Things." Philosophize This! #122 (September 24, 2018)

---. "Michel Foucault Pt. 3 - Power." Philosophize This (September 24, 2018)

---. "On Media: Manufacturing Consent, Pt. 1." Philosophize This (December 17, 2020) [On Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman's landmark book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media and Noam Chomsky's later book Media Control: The Spectacular Achievement of Propaganda (1997). "Now...regardless of any sort of fourth estate mythology that could be tacked on about news media...forget about what our culture tells us the media is doing for us...want to consider on the episode today that both of these definitions of the word medium could equally describe the service that the news media provides for us. See to the thinkers we’re covering today it may be incredible useful to think of the news media as an intermediary between us and reality. Meaning...the reality of the world is that we can't get on a jet ski and rocket across the ocean to see what's going on in Bolivia, for example. But man isn't it great... we have these thankless, truth loving public servants out there on the news that can do it for us...then create a nice little short set of moving pictures that tell us exactly what is going on on the other side of the world. Media in this way serves as a filter. The intervening substance through which impressions are conveyed to the senses. But another thing the thinkers today would want us to consider is that...say you could somehow have control over those impressions that are conveyed...to give people their impressions of what the world is like...to have the only key to a lock on a door that people want opened for them every day...needless to say you'd have quite a bit of consolidated power. What would a media landscape look like if such a concentrated level of consolidated power existed? Would we even know it? Would it require a conspiracy on a level so vast that it would just be impossible? We're going to be exploring the origins of modern mass media today by looking at the work by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman published in 1988 entitled Manufacturing Consent with many other references to Chomsky's later work entitled Media Control."]

---. "On Media Pt. 2: Marshall McLuhan." Philosophize This! #149 (January 5, 2021) ["Now, McLuhan takes this one step further. He doesn't want to just stop with written language and the effects it has on people...he wants to examine all forms of media that communicate ideas and the effects they have. Because yes, reading printed text in the newspaper is going to have one type of effect on your reality...but what if you don't read the newspaper? What if you watch TV? What if you listen to the radio or podcasts for your information? Keep in mind that it's not just information media...roads, airplanes, clothes, any extension of ourselves...these are all media as well...that to McLuhan send similar messages and contribute to our way of perceiving the world. But by the word message... he's not talking about the specific content of a podcast, for example, or the specific image that a particular outfit is setting off. Just like written language...where the message that's being sent goes far beyond whatever specific thing is being talked about at the time...it is far bigger than that...so too with things like TV's, podcasts, newspapers...and yes also with things like roads airplanes and clothes. When Marshall McLuhan says his famous line at the beginning of Understanding Media when he says "The medium is the message." Whenever we have a medium, any extension of ourselves...the message that it delivers is so much greater than just the immediate content we might be receiving...just like with written language...it's bigger than that...he describes the true message of a medium as the change of "scale or pace or pattern" and then how those factors impact life as a person within that culture. He's more concerned with the human experience or effect that using a medium is going to have than whatever meaning the immediate content may have. "]

---. "Plato." Philosophize This! (June 20, 2013)

---.  "Pragmatism and Truth." Philosophize This! (June 22, 2021) ["The best way I’ve heard it described was something like this: imagine you’re being chased by a bear...you’re running and you come to edge of a cliff where there’s like a six foot gap between you and safety on the other side. You have to try to jump. Can you make the jump there? What william James is saying is that forget whether you can or can’t...consider for a second...that if you believe the TRUTH is that you will NEVER make it...then you will never even TRY to jump and get eaten by the bear. But if you believe there’s at least a possibility you CAN...and then you jump and the favorable outcome...the TRUTH...was that you actually CAN make the jump...consider this: the truth never could have been realized without you BELIEVING it was possible. In this way...in a world where the truth about things is often thought of as us uncovering something latent in the cosmos...inquiring about the way that things are...what we think is possible has a HUGE impact on what the truth ends up being. A scientist that believes a hypothesis is impossible will never run the experiment. And in the case of the person that believes it’s out of their control on a deterministic roller coaster...imagine being a scientist that refuses to run an experiment and sees that as a favorable outcome. William James said that the first act of free will is to admit that your will is free."]

---. "Ralph Waldo Emerson - Nature and Other Things." Philosophize This! #165 (April 30, 2022)

---. "Ralph Waldo Emerson - Self Reliance." Philosophize This! #164 (April 22, 2022) [Self-Reliance: ""Self-Reliance" is an 1841 essay written by American transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. It contains the most thorough statement of one of Emerson's recurrent themes: the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow his own instincts and ideas."]

---. "Richard Rorty." Philosophize This! 142 (May 1, 2020) ["The spirit of the Enlightenment, to Rorty, was not to use reason to arrive at the truth about the universe...it was ultimately a call to subvert traditional forms of authority. The significance of the Enlightenment was not to land on new answers...it was to question old assumptions. So in that sense...yeah, the initial project of the Enlightenment ultimately consumed itself, but to Richard Rorty the initial project of the Enlightenment was meant to consume itself. Thinkers like Isaiah Berlin that would come along and suggest a Pluralistic vision of things...this wasn't an anti-enlightenment idea at all...to Rorty...this was the project of the Enlightenment left to play itself out...thinkers like Berlin were always going to eventually come along. See the project of the Enlightenment maturing through people like Isaiah Berlin, taught us a couple of extremely valuable insights. One of which, was that we don't need to try to use reason to appeal to some ultimate authority or universal to ground our ideas. Rationality, is not a tool that gets us to objectivity about things...but it may get us to a very effective mix of inter-subjectivity between cultures. Rorty wants to offer an alternative way to look at the legacy of the Enlightenment. Maybe it IS pointless to try to do our best impressions of Locke and Kant and try to access the universe through reason...but when it comes to strictly human institutions...for example, the political realm, where we're not trying to access "things in themselves"...we're just trying to figure out how we can live together the best...maybe that is where rationality thrives as a method."]

---. "Robert Nozick - The Minimal State."  Philosophize This! #138 (January 21, 2020) ["Robert Nozick and the book of his we're going to be talking about today is titled Anarchy, State and Utopia. Now, just to give the following conversation a little preliminary structure...that title, Anarchy, State and Utopia is referencing the three major sections that the book is divided into. The first section would be Anarchy...where Nozick spends a considerable portion of time being understanding of the Anarchist's aversion to government, but ultimately making a case that they go too far. The middle portion of the book, State, has Nozick laying out the TYPE of state that HE thinks is best...and in the Utopia section is where he describes WHY his version of a state is the best...Utopia is a sort of tongue in cheek musing by Nozick..he by NO MEANS thinks his system is an actual Utopia...but he thinks it's FAR BETTER than other systems that have been tried and he argues for why he thinks that is.See, Nozick is not a fan of there being a BIG state, with a lot of responsibilities...he's not a fan of there being no state...so what is he a fan of? How big should the government be and what exactly should it do? Nozick is a fan of what he would call "the minimal state". The best way to start understanding what he means by this is probably to contrast him with both the work of Rawls and the Anarchists of his time..."]

---. "Socrates and the Sophists." Philosophize This! #3 (June 23, 2013) ["This week we talk about the prosperity of Athens and how it led to the rise and ideas of a group of philosopher teachers called the Sophists, we tied up some loose ends and helped put all that we've learned in the last two episodes into context with a graph of the Presocratics, and we ended by talking about a man named Socrates."]

---. "Structuralism and Context." Philosophize This (January 28, 2018) ["On this episode, we talk about the origins of Structuralism. Included is a discussion on the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, (born Nov. 26, 1857, Geneva, Switz.—died Feb. 22, 1913, Vufflens-le-Château), Swiss linguist whose ideas on structure in language laid the foundation for much of the approach to and progress of the linguistic sciences in the 20th century."]

---. "Structuralism and Mythology (Part 1)." Philosophize This! (March 18, 2018) ["On this episode, we talk about the mythology that underlies the media we consume and how it serves as an access point to the structures of culture."]

---. "Structuralism and Mythology (Part 2)." Philosophize This! (March 18, 2018)

What's So Great About That? "Phantom You [Tube]: Fighting Our Digital Doubles." (Posted on Youtube: March 14, 2019) ["With our online and offline lives becoming increasingly connected, to what extent do we create our own other? And to what effect? Since the 1990s, horror and sci-fi have considered how we might create our own worst enemy - and the friendly face of this dystopian future is yours."]

Wheal, Jamie. "Making Meaning in Challenging Times." Your Undivided Attention (September 30, 2021) ["What helps you make meaning in challenging times? As you confront COVID, the climate crisis, and all of the challenges we discuss on this show, what helps you avoid nihilism or fundamentalism, and instead access healing, inspiration, and connection? Today on Your Undivided Attention, we're joined by anthropologist and writer Jamie Wheal. Wheal is the author of Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex and Death In a World That's Lost Its Mind. In the book, he makes the case that in order to address the meta-crisis — the interconnected challenges we face, which we talked about in Episode 36 with Daniel Schmachtenberger, we must address the meaning crisis — the need to stay inspired, mended, and bonded in challenging times. Jamie argues that it doesn't matter whether we're staying inspired, mended, and bonded through institutionalized religion or other means as long as meaning-making is inclusively available to everyone. What we hope you'll walk away with is a humane way to think about how to address the challenges we face, from COVID to climate — by enabling us to make meaning in challenging times."]

Wiggins, Steven A. "Nightmares with the Bible: The Good Book and Cinematic Demons (Horror and Scripture, 2020)." New Books in Biblical Studies (April 27, 2022) ["Nightmares with the Bible: The Good Book and Cinematic Demons (2021) published by Fortress Academic views demons through two lenses: that of western religion and that of cinema. Sketching out the long fear of demons in western history, including the Bible, Steve A. Wiggins moves on to analyze how popular movies inform our beliefs about demonic forces. Beginning with the idea of possession, he explores the portrayal of demons from ancient Mesopotamia and the biblical world (including in select extra-biblical texts), and then examines the portrayal of demons in popular horror franchises The Conjuring, The Amityville Horror, and Paranormal Activity. In the final chapter, Wiggins looks at movies that followed The Exorcist and offers new perspectives for viewing possession and exorcism. Written in non-technical language, this book is intended for anyone interested in how demons are perceived and how popular culture informs those perceptions."]

The Wire (USA: David Simon, 2002-2008: HBO Series) [Helena Sheehan and Sheamus Sweeney: "No other program has ever done anything remotely like what this one does, namely to portray the social, political, and economic life of an American city with the scope, observational precision, and moral vision of great literature. . . . The drama repeatedly cuts from the top of Baltimore’s social structure to its bottom, from political fund-raisers in the white suburbs to the subterranean squat of a homeless junkie. . . . The Wire’s political science is as brilliant as its sociology. It leaves The West Wing, and everything else television has tried to do on this subject, in the dust."]

Wynter, Kevin. Critical Race Theory and Jordan Peele's Get Out. Bloomsbury, 2022. ["This book provides a concise introduction to critical race theory and shows how this theory can be used to interpret Jordan Peele's Get Out. It surveys recent developments in critical race studies and introduces key concepts that have helped shape the field such as Black masculinity, white privilege, the Black body, and miscegenation. The book's analysis of Get Out situates it within the context of the American horror film, illustrating how contemporary debates in critical race theory and approaches to the analysis of mainstream Hollywood cinema can illuminate each other. In this way, the book provides both an accessible reference guide to key terminology in critical race studies and film studies, while contributing new scholarship to both fields."]

Yglesias, Matthew. "Why U.S. Population Growth Crashed to a Record Low." Plain English (April 5, 2022) ["America has never grown at a slower pace than right now. Not only have deaths soared in the pandemic, but immigration is falling and our birth rate is near a record low, as well. Why is this happening? And why is population growth so great, anyway? Today’s guest is Matthew Yglesias, the author of the Slow Boring newsletter and the book One Billion Americans. In this episode, we talk about why politicians won’t prioritize family policy and immigration in D.C.; why population growth is good for Americans today and in the future; why a large U.S. population is good for the world; and whether critics have a case when they say a livable planet can’t take another billion people."]

Zipes, Jack. "Bambi Isn't About What You Think Its About." Ideas (December 15, 2021) ["Most of us think we know the story of Bambi—but do we? The Original Bambi: The Story of a Life in the Forest (Princeton UP, 2022) is an all-new, illustrated translation of a literary classic that presents the story as it was meant to be told. For decades, readers’ images of Bambi have been shaped by the 1942 Walt Disney film—an idealized look at a fawn who represents nature’s innocence—which was based on a 1928 English translation of a novel by the Austrian Jewish writer Felix Salten. This masterful new translation gives contemporary readers a fresh perspective on this moving allegorical tale and provides important details about its creator. Originally published in 1923, Salten’s story is more somber than the adaptations that followed it. Life in the forest is dangerous and precarious, and Bambi learns important lessons about survival as he grows to become a strong, heroic stag. Jack Zipes’s introduction traces the history of the book’s reception and explores the tensions that Salten experienced in his own life—as a hunter who also loved animals, and as an Austrian Jew who sought acceptance in Viennese society even as he faced persecution. With captivating drawings by award-winning artist Alenka Sottler, The Original Bambi captures the emotional impact and rich meanings of a celebrated story."]


Ursula K. Le Guin accepting the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2014: "I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. … We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words."

"The screen is a neutral element in the film-going experience. Or is it? It projects dreams but is also the receptacle of our dreams. It’s the vehicle for delivering the image to an audience — but does it also watch the audience at the same time? Is it a complicitous membrane which audience members can penetrate and which interacts with the spectators, despite its seeming passivity? Maybe — to all of the above …" -- Mark Rappoport