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Chatter

Weekly long-form conversations with fascinating people at the creative edges of national security. Unscripted. Informal. Always fresh.Chatter guests roll with the punches to describe artistic endeavors related to nationa
Latest Episode8/18/2022

Gone with the Wind, Hitler, and America First with Sarah Churchwell

Season 1, Ep. 44
Gone with the Wind--the top-grossing movie of all time, adjusted for inflation--remains an iconic influence in American culture, despite its deeply troubling portrayal of social and political dynamics in the South during and after the Civil War. The continued popularity of the film points to a need to examine its influence on nearly a century's worth of American race relations, fascistic movements, and denialism in the United States. And why did Adolf Hitler reportedly love it so much?David Priess spoke with cultural and literary historian Sarah Churchwell of the University of London, author of The Wrath To Come, a book that dives deeply into the film, how it reflects a mythologized "Lost Cause" version of the Old South, and its connection with today's increasing political violence. They discuss the popularity of the movie, its differences from the book it was based on, some of the challenges for filmmaker David O. Selznick and for the film's actors, the "Lost Cause" theme that the movie conveys, its intersection with fascist thinking in America and with modern racism, why it attracted Adolf Hitler and other Nazi leaders, its links to various iterations of the Klan and "America First" campaigns, and how even disturbing movies like this can spur social progress.Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited byCara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad. Among the works discussed in this episode:The movie Gone with the WindThe book Gone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe book The Wrath To Come: Gone with the Wind and the Lies America Tells by Sarah ChurchwellThe article "Agglutination Test for Americanos" by Leslie L. Jones,The Smart Set magazine, May-Aug 1922.The book Behold, America: The Entangled History of "America First" and "the American Dream" by Sarah Churchwell
8/18/2022

Gone with the Wind, Hitler, and America First with Sarah Churchwell

Season 1, Ep. 44
Gone with the Wind--the top-grossing movie of all time, adjusted for inflation--remains an iconic influence in American culture, despite its deeply troubling portrayal of social and political dynamics in the South during and after the Civil War. The continued popularity of the film points to a need to examine its influence on nearly a century's worth of American race relations, fascistic movements, and denialism in the United States. And why did Adolf Hitler reportedly love it so much?David Priess spoke with cultural and literary historian Sarah Churchwell of the University of London, author of The Wrath To Come, a book that dives deeply into the film, how it reflects a mythologized "Lost Cause" version of the Old South, and its connection with today's increasing political violence. They discuss the popularity of the movie, its differences from the book it was based on, some of the challenges for filmmaker David O. Selznick and for the film's actors, the "Lost Cause" theme that the movie conveys, its intersection with fascist thinking in America and with modern racism, why it attracted Adolf Hitler and other Nazi leaders, its links to various iterations of the Klan and "America First" campaigns, and how even disturbing movies like this can spur social progress.Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited byCara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad. Among the works discussed in this episode:The movie Gone with the WindThe book Gone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe book The Wrath To Come: Gone with the Wind and the Lies America Tells by Sarah ChurchwellThe article "Agglutination Test for Americanos" by Leslie L. Jones,The Smart Set magazine, May-Aug 1922.The book Behold, America: The Entangled History of "America First" and "the American Dream" by Sarah Churchwell
8/4/2022

Climate Change and National Security with Erin Sikorsky

Season 1, Ep. 42
Climate change and its effects are increasingly recognized as important subjects of national security research and analysis. Few issues of international political economy or international security avoid some intersection with warming global temperatures, evolving environments for human habitation, and/or changing geography.Erin Sikorsky has been studying these and related issues for decades, first within the US Intelligence Community and now at the Center for Climate and Security. David Priess had a wide ranging conversation with Erin about her career in government and beyond, how intelligence officers look at climate, a method of categorizing climate risk, how NATO is tackling climate-related issues, the missed opportunity to emphasize renewables over fossil fuels after Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the Climate Security Advisory Group, increasingly bipartisan support for climate security action, the roles of the public and Hollywood in addressing climate change, how various movies and books have examined these issues, and more.Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited byCara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.Among the works discussed in this episode:Erin Sikorsky's page at the Center for Climate and Security The Chatter podcast episode Arctic Security and Cooperation with Marisol Maddox"Summer Heatwave Underscores Importance of NATO's Climate Security Focus," Center for Climate and Security website, July 21, 2022, by Erin Sikorsky"Climate Security Next Steps for the U.S. Government," Lawfare, May 6, 2022, by John Conger and Erin SikorskyThe movie AvatarThe movie InterstellarThe movie The Day After TomorrowThe movie Don't Look UpThe book The Ministry of the Future by Kim Stanley RobinsonThe book trilogy The Broken Earth by N. K. JemisinThe book Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth KolbertThe report Groundswell, Part 2: Acting on Internal Climate Migration, by the World BankJohn Conger's page at the Center for Climate and Security
7/28/2022

Spotting Fake News with Cindy Otis

Season 1, Ep. 41
Fake news has been around for thousands of years in different forms that have changed with media technology, and there's little doubt that it's here to stay. For reasons ranging from human biases to financial incentives to the need for speed, it remains a hard problem. Cindy Otis, who worked for about 10 years at the Central Intelligence Agency as an analyst and a manager, now writes about fake news and related matters in articles and books--includingTrue or False: A CIA Analyst's Guide to Spotting Fake News, which she targeted at a Young Adult audience. She balances a deep understanding of the challenges of fake news with a deep commitment to providing practical guidance for dealing with it.David Priess spoke with Cindy about writing about fake news and other national security issues for the Young Adult audience, the history of fake news, the challenges of writing about the Holocaust, the changing terminology for disabled persons, the continuing challenges of wheelchair use in travel and in government buildings, her experiences at the CIA, why she writes for outlets ranging from Teen Vogue to USA Today, how to avoid falling prey to fake news, and why the exposure of Russian fake news about Ukraine gives her optimism about our collective ability to counter disinformation. Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited byCara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad. Among the works discussed in this episode:The book True or False: A CIA Analyst's Guide to Spotting Fake News by Cindy OtisThe book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. RowlingCindy Otis's writing for Teen VoguePreview of the forthcoming book At the Speed of Lies by Cindy Otis
7/21/2022

From Journalist to Spy Novelist with Daniel Silva

Season 1, Ep. 40
This week, Shane Harris talks with international best-selling novelist Daniel Silva, the creator of the long-running Gabriel Allon series. His latest installment in the adventures of the spy/art restorer is out now.Before he became a full-time fiction writer, Silva was a journalist. He produced successful shows at CNN and was a reporter overseas. Those early experiences informed his current career. Silva is known for crafting stories with a meticulous eye to factual detail.In this wide-ranging discussion, Silva talks about his decision to leave journalism and make writing novels his full-time job; his writing process; how he created the beloved spy Allon; and why Silva has decided to make Washington, DC, his home. He also gives us a preview of his latest book and explains how a long-running fascination with art forgery sent his hero on one of his most challenging missions yet.Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.Works mentioned in this episode include: Daniel Silva’s latest novel, Portrait of an Unknown Woman https://danielsilvabooks.com/books/portrait-of-an-unknown-woman/The complete list of Silva’s books https://danielsilvabooks.com/the-books/a-complete-listing/Silva on Twitter https://twitter.com/danielsilvabook?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
7/7/2022

Spy Thriller Fiction vs. Fact with Brad Thor

Season 1, Ep. 38
Brad Thor isa #1New York Timesbestselling authorwho has more than twenty thrillers behind him and shows no signs of slowing down. Rising Tiger, just published on July 5, 2022, yet again places his franchise hero - former world-class skier, Navy SEAL, Secret Service agent, and private intelligence operative Scot Harvath - into deadly situations backlit by realistic geopolitical developments. How does Thor come up with his plots full of international intrigue and his detailed settings for Harvath's globetrotting adventures?Some of it comes from his parents, a US Marine and a flight attendant. Some of it comes from his personal experience before becoming a full-time novelist. Thor started out as an award-winning creator, producer, writer, and host of the critically acclaimed national public television series,Traveling Lite; since then, he has served as a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Analytic Red Cell Unit andshadowed a Black Ops team in Afghanistan.Thor joined David Priess to discuss these questions and much more. They talked about how Thor's writing career started, the work of Secret Service agents, rebuilding trust in American institutions, US-Indian relations, the perils of rising partisan extremism in what Thor calls the "political-entertainment complex," how to write realistic descriptions of widely varied international locations, the value of bad-ass women characters, how he keeps current on geopolitical developments, how and why he places easter eggs in his novels, his encounters with celebrities from George Clinton to Michael Hayden to Mandy Patinkin, and the value of writing fiction by the seat of your pants.Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited byCara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.Among the works discussed in this episode:The TV series Rick Steves EuropeThe TV series Traveling LiteThe book Lions of Lucerne by Brad ThorThe movie Iron Man 2The podcast episode Secret Service Dilemmas and Training with Jon Wackrow on ChatterThe book Suicide of the West by Jonah GoldbergBrad Thor's other novelsThe book The Da Vinci Code by Dan BrownThe TV series The Old Man