Across the Margin: The Podcast

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Episode 150: Gratitude — A Conspiracy of Goodness Simulcast with Dr. Lynda Ulrich

This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast finds our host, Michael Shields, in conversation with Dr. Lynda Ulrich, founder of the Goodness Exchange, a website whose aim is to prove that the world is still a beautiful place, full of wonderment, discovery, and compassion. Dr. Ulrich is the author of the book Happiness is an Option: Thriving (Instead of Surviving) In the Era of the Internet, and is also the host of the Conspiracy of Goodness podcast. The Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast is designed to give listeners more joy, less fear, and present evidence that a bright future is possible. In each episode, Dr. Ulrich helps make sense of the world by interviewing those who are tackling some of the world’s most difficult and consequential problems. This episode distinctly combines the powers of Across The Margin : The Podcast and the Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast, and acts as a celebration of the diverse and inspiring guests they are both profoundly grateful to feature on their respective podcasts. To give listeners a taste of what both the Conspiracy of Goodness and Across The Margin podcasts have to offer, Michael and Dr. Ulrich take turns in highlighting a few of each other's episodes that resonate deeply with them. Episodes of the Conspiracy of Goodness podcast about the power of positivity, turning pain into a teacher, ways in which to overcome fear, and tips on how to make a good living while also making a difference in the world are celebrated, followed by a look at a bevy of powerful episodes of Across The Margin : The Podcast, such as Episode 125: The Other Dark Matter with Lina Zeldovich, Episode 105: Up From Nothing with John Hope Bryant, and Episode 100: How To Do Nothing with Jenny Odell, to name a few.

More Episodes

11/4/2022

Episode 148: Tom Waits and the Spirit of Los Angeles with Alex Harvey

This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with the author of Song Noir: Tom Waits and the Spirit of Los Angeles, Alex Harvey. Alex Harvey is a producer and director of programs including Panorama and The Late Show for the BBC. His films include The Lives of Animals and Enter the Jungle. Based in Los Angeles, he regularly writes on literature, film, and music for the London Review of Books and Los Angeles Review of Books. His book, Song Noir, examines the formative first decade of Tom Waits’s career, when he lived, wrote, and recorded nine albums in Los Angeles: from his soft, folk-inflected debut, Closing Time in 1973, to the abrasive, surreal Swordfishtrombones in 1983. Starting his songwriting career in the seventies, Waits absorbed Los Angeles’s wealth of cultural influences. Combining the spoken idioms of writers like Kerouac and Bukowski with jazz-blues rhythms, he explored the city’s literary and film noir traditions to create hallucinatory dreamscapes. Waits mined a rich seam of the city’s low-life locations and characters, letting the place feed his dark imagination. Mixing the domestic with the mythic, Waits turned quotidian, autobiographical details into something more disturbing and emblematic, a vision of Los Angeles as the warped, narcotic heart of his nocturnal explorations. In this episode host Michael Shields and Alex Harvey discuss what Tom Wait’s Los Angeles of the 1970s was actually like, a LA that doesn’t exist today. They explore how the Beat writers like Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski influenced Waits’ songwriting and how the city eventually became more of a trap than means of escape for Waits. The expound upon the character of Frank that Waits brought to life over a trilogy of albums, his highly accomplished acting career, and so much more.
10/7/2022

Episode 147: The Border Within with Tara Watson & Kalee Thompson

This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with Tara Watson, professor of economics at Williams College and a co-editor of the Journal of Human Resources, the leading academic journal in labor economics, as well as Kalee Thompson, a journalist and senior editor at Wirecutter and the author of Deadliest Sea: The Untold Story Behind the Greatest Rescue in Coast Guard History. Watson and Thompson are co-authors of The Border Within: The Economics of Immigration in an Age of Fear — the focus of this episode — which is a profoundly eye-opening analysis of the costs and effects of immigration and immigration policy, both on American life and on new Americans. For decades, immigration has been one of the most divisive, contentious topics in American politics. And for decades, urgent calls for its policy reform have gone mostly unanswered. As the discord surrounding the modern immigration debate has intensified, border enforcement has tightened. Crossing harsher, less porous borders makes unauthorized entry to the United States a permanent, costly undertaking. And the challenges don’t end on the other side. At once enlightening and devastating, The Border Within examines the costs and ends of America’s interior enforcement — the policies and agencies, including ICE, aimed at removing immigrants already living in the country. Economist Tara Watson and journalist Kalee Thompson pair rigorous analysis with deeply personal stories from immigrants and their families to assess immigration’s effects on every aspect of American life, from the labor force to social welfare programs to tax revenue. What emerges is a critical, utterly complete examination of what non-native Americans bring to the country, including immigration’s tendency to elevate the wages and skills of those who are native-born. In this episode, host Michael Shields, Tara Watson, and Kalee Thompson discuss the crucial focus of the book (interior immigration enforcement) while dispelling a bevy of myths surrounding immigration regarding the economic benefits of immigration, immigrants effect on crime rates, and the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of enforcement by agencies such as ICE. They discuss the concept of “chilling effects” and ponder what an ideal internal enforcement approach would look like. Ultimately this episode celebrates the essential work that is The Border Within, a book with far-reaching implications for immigrants and non-immigrants alike.
9/29/2022

Episode 146: Harvard’s Quixotic Pursuit of a New Science with Patrick L. Schmidt

This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with the author of Harvard’s Quixotic Pursuit of a New Science (The Rise and Fall of the Department of Social Relations), Patrick L. Schmidt. In Harvard’s Quixotic Pursuit of a New Science, Schmidt tells the little-known story of how some of the most renowned social scientists of the twentieth century struggled to elevate their emerging disciplines of cultural anthropology, sociology, and social and clinical psychology. Scorned and marginalized in their respective departments in the 1930s for pursuing the controversial theories of Freud and Jung, they persuaded Harvard to establish a new department, promising to create an interdisciplinary science that would surpass in importance Harvard’s “big three” disciplines of economics, government, and history. Although the Department of Social Relations failed to achieve this audacious goal, it nonetheless attracted an outstanding faculty, produced important scholarly work, and trained many notable graduates. At times, it was a wild ride. Some faculty became notorious for their questionable research: Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (reborn as Ram Dass) gave the psychedelic drug psilocybin to students, while Henry Murray traumatized undergraduate Theodore Kaczynski (later the Unabomber) in a three-year-long experiment. Central to the story is the obsessive quest of legendary sociologist Talcott Parsons for a single theory unifying the social sciences — the white whale to his Captain Ahab. All in all, Schmidt’s lively narrative is an instructive tale of academic infighting, hubris, and scandal. Patrick L. Schmidt is an attorney in Washington, D.C. He received a BA, magna cum laude, from Harvard College, a JD from Georgetown University, and an MIPP from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He first examined the history of the Department of Social Relations in his undergraduate honors thesis at Harvard, meaning that he has lived with and examined this story for many years now. In this episode host Michael Shields and Patrick L. Schmidt examine why a group of some of the most distinguished social scientists of the twentieth century embarked up the controversial yet noble endeavor of birthing the multidisciplinary, innovative Department of Social Relations at Harvard. They discuss the famed thinkers that were members of the department such as Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Henry Murray, and Talcott Parsons. They explore the exciting rise of the Department of Social Relations, it’s controversial downfall, and ultimately expound upon the legacy and lasting impact of the movement and those a part of it. Grab a copy of Harvard’s Quixotic Pursuit of a New Science here!