In Lieu of Fun
Mike Pesca on High Conflict and Being Horrible
Season 3, Ep. 671
Wherein Mike Pesca joins us to discuss deescalating high conflict and how not to be a horrible person.
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6. #DogShirtTV: Yascha Mounk on "The Identity Trap"01:05:08In this episode of #DogShirtTV: #BookShirts, we discuss Yascha Mounk's s new book, "The Identity Trap: A Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time."Publisher's Description:For much of history, societies have violently oppressed ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. It is no surprise that many who passionately believe in social justice came to believe that members of marginalized groups need to take pride in their identity to resist injustice.But over the past decades, a healthy appreciation for the culture and heritage of minority groups has transformed into a counterproductive obsession with group identity in all its forms. A new ideology aiming to place each person’s matrix of identities at the center of social, cultural, and political life has quickly become highly influential. It stifles discourse, vilifies mutual influence as cultural appropriation, denies that members of different groups can truly understand one another, and insists that the way governments treat their citizens should depend on the color of their skin.This, Yascha Mounk argues, is the identity trap. Though those who battle for these ideas are full of good intentions, they will ultimately make it harder to achieve progress toward the genuine equality we desperately need. Mounk has built his acclaimed scholarly career on being one of the first to warn of the risks right-wing populists pose to American democracy. But, he shows, those on the left and center who are stuck in the identity trap are now inadvertent allies to the MAGA movement.In The Identity Trap, Mounk provides the most ambitious and comprehensive account to date of the origins, consequences, and limitations of so-called “wokeness.” He is the first to show how postmodernism, postcolonialism, and critical race theory forged the “identity synthesis” that conquered many college campuses by 2010. He lays out how a relatively marginal set of ideas came to gain tremendous influence in business, media, and government by 2020. He makes a nuanced philosophical case for why the application of these ideas to areas from education to public policy is proving to be so deeply counterproductive—and why universal, humanist values can best serve the vital goal of true equality. In explaining the huge political and cultural transformations of the past decade, The Identity Trap provides truth and clarity where they are needed most.
5. #DogShirtTV: Ruth Ben-Ghiat on "Strongmen"01:10:30Author Ruth Ben-Ghiat discusses her book, "Strongmen: How They Rise, Why They Succeed, How They Fall"Publisher's Description:Ours is the age of the strongman. Russia, India, Turkey and America are ruled by men who, as they have risen to the top, have reshaped their countries around them, creating cults of personality which earn the loyalty of millions. And as they do so, they draw on a playbook of behaviour established by figures such as Benito Mussolini, Muammar Gaddafi and Adolf Hitler.Here, political historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat draws on analysis of everything from gender and sexuality to diplomatic strategy to explain who these political figures are - and how they manipulate our own history, fears and desires in search of power at any cost.
4. #DogShirtTV: Kristin Kobes Du Mez on "Jesus and John Wayne"01:27:49In this episode of #DogShirtTV: Book Shirts, we discuss Kristin Kobes Du Mez on "Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation."Publisher's Description:Jesus and John Wayne is a sweeping, revisionist history of the last seventy-five years of white evangelicalism, revealing how evangelicals have worked to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism―or in the words of one modern chaplain, with “a spiritual badass.”As acclaimed scholar Kristin Du Mez explains, the key to understanding this transformation is to recognize the centrality of popular culture in contemporary American evangelicalism. Many of today’s evangelicals might not be theologically astute, but they know their VeggieTales, they’ve read John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart, and they learned about purity before they learned about sex?and they have a silver ring to prove it. Evangelical books, films, music, clothing, and merchandise shape the beliefs of millions. And evangelical culture is teeming with muscular heroes?mythical warriors and rugged soldiers, men like Oliver North, Ronald Reagan, Mel Gibson, and the Duck Dynasty clan, who assert white masculine power in defense of “Christian America.” Chief among these evangelical legends is John Wayne, an icon of a lost time when men were uncowed by political correctness, unafraid to tell it like it was, and did what needed to be done.Challenging the commonly held assumption that the “moral majority” backed Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 for purely pragmatic reasons, Du Mez reveals that Trump in fact represented the fulfillment, rather than the betrayal, of white evangelicals’ most deeply held values: patriarchy, authoritarian rule, aggressive foreign policy, fear of Islam, ambivalence toward #MeToo, and opposition to Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ community. A much-needed reexamination of perhaps the most influential subculture in this country, Jesus and John Wayne shows that, far from adhering to biblical principles, modern white evangelicals have utterly remade their faith, with enduring consequences for all Americans.
3. #DogShirtTV: Beverly Gage on "G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century"01:29:17A major new biography of J Edgar Hoover that draws from never-before-seen sources to create a groundbreaking portrait of a colossus who dominated half a century of American history and planted the seeds for much of today's conservative political landscape.We remember him as a bulldog--squat frame, bulging wide-set eyes, fearsome jowls--but in 1924, when he became director of the FBI, he had been the trim, dazzling wunderkind of the administrative state, buzzing with energy and big ideas for reform. He transformed a failing law-enforcement backwater, riddled with scandal, into a modern machine. He believed in the power of the federal government to do great things for the nation and its citizens. He also believed that certain people--many of them communists or racial minorities or both-- did not deserve to be included in that American project. Hoover rose to power and then stayed there, decade after decade, using the tools of state to create a personal fiefdom unrivaled in U.S. history.Beverly Gage’s monumental work explores the full sweep of Hoover’s life and career, from his birth in 1895 to a modest Washington civil-service family through his death in 1972. In her nuanced and definitive portrait, Gage shows how Hoover was more than a one-dimensional tyrant and schemer who strong-armed the rest of the country into submission. As FBI director from 1924 through his death in 1972, he was a confidant, counselor, and adversary to eight U.S. presidents, four Republicans and four Democrats. Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson did the most to empower him, yet his closest friend among the eight was fellow anticommunist warrior Richard Nixon. Hoover was not above blackmail and intimidation, but he also embodied conservative values ranging from anticommunism to white supremacy to a crusading and politicized interpretation of Christianity. This garnered him the admiration of millions of Americans. He stayed in office for so long because many people, from the highest reaches of government down to the grassroots, wanted him there and supported what he was doing, thus creating the template that the political right has followed to transform its party.G-Man places Hoover back where he once stood in American political history--not at the fringes, but at the center--and uses his story to explain the trajectories of governance, policing, race, ideology, political culture, and federal power as they evolved over the course of the 20th century.
2. #DogShirtTV: Will Saletan on "The Corruption of Lindsey Graham"01:22:40THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WAS IN BIG TROUBLE, and Lindsey Graham knew it. It was January 21, 2016, and the senator was taking questions at a press conference. A month earlier, he had abandoned his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Now two men he despised, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, were leading the race.Graham thought either of them, if nominated, would lose the general election. Choosing between them, he told reporters, was “like being shot or poisoned. What does it really matter?”Two months later, in March, Graham changed his mind. He endorsed Cruz and joked that it was better to be poisoned than shot. “Donald is like being shot in the head,” Graham told talk-show host Trevor Noah. “You might find an antidote to poisoning, I don’t know. But maybe there’s time.”Graham was wrong. Trump wasn’t a shot to the head. He didn’t kill the GOP. In fact, he won the election.Trump turned out to be poison. Over the next five years, he thoroughly corrupted Graham’s party. Republican leaders had time to counteract the poison, but they never did. One reason was that the poison moved slowly. Graham and other Republican politicians lost the ability to see what they were becoming. They rallied around an authoritarian, excused authoritarian acts, and embraced authoritarian ideas.This is a story about how that happened.
1. #DogShirtTV: Sean Mirski on "We May Dominate the World"01:30:09In the inaugural episode of #DogShirtTV: Book Talk, we discuss Sean Mirski's new book, "We May Dominate the World: Ambition, Anxiety, and the Rise of the American Colossus."Publisher's Description:What did it take for the United States to become a global superpower? The answer lies in a missing chapter of American foreign policy with stark lessons for todayThe cutthroat world of international politics has always been dominated by great powers. Yet no great power in the modern era has ever managed to achieve the kind of invulnerability that comes from being completely supreme in its own neighborhood. No great power, that is, except one—the United States.In We May Dominate the World, Sean A. Mirski tells the riveting story of how the United States became a regional hegemon in the century following the Civil War. By turns reluctant and ruthless, Americans squeezed their European rivals out of the hemisphere while landing forces on their neighbors’ soil with dizzying frequency. Mirski reveals the surprising reasons behind this muscular foreign policy in a narrative full of twists, colorful characters, and original accounts of the palace coups and bloody interventions that turned the fledgling republic into a global superpower.Today, as China makes its own run at regional hegemony and nations like Russia and Iran grow more menacing, Mirski’s fresh look at the rise of the American colossus offers indispensable lessons for how to meet the challenges of our own century.
672. Kashmir Hill on False Positives59:41Wherein Kashmir Hill joins to discuss her latest article on false positives in Google's automatic screening for child sexual abuse material.
637. Minna Ålander on Finland, Sweden, and NATO01:00:12Streamed live on May 20, 2022 Wherein Minna Ålander, Research Assistant at Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, joins us to discuss Sweden, Finland, and NATO!