Month: January 2021

EP9: The Founding Grift

EP9: The Founding Grift

Lately, things have been a little too heavy on this show. Insurrections, fascism, proto-fascism, weird apocalyptic visions. That stuff is important, but let’s get serious. You don’t think the society we live is actually dominated by people who hold anything resembling strong, well-articulated ideological programs, do you?  Our society is dominated by grifters. Cheats, cons, frauds: people who don’t really believe what they tell you. They’re just what they need to do to get ahead or to sell you something. Isn’t that that really what capitalism is about? The grift! 

  • First (@4:30), Lyta Gold is a writer with Current Affairs. Each year, the magazine recognizes the most audacious grifts. This year, Lyta presented the 2020 “Griftie Awards.” She takes us into the world of the grift, the allure and the appeal, and runs down a big year for grifers: from Covid-deniers, to never-Trumpers, and on to identity thieves. 
  • Then, (@26:56), Gordon’s friend, let’s call him “Bill Faulkner,” writes papers for hire. Undergraduate term papers, master’s papers, even PhD dissertations. He talks about what his scheme tells us about higher education, and what we ought to do about it. As we might say, borrowing from Marx: ‘Thus far the grifter has only cheated the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”
  • Finally, (@58:36) Catherine Liu is a professor of film and media studies at UC Irvine and the author of the new polemic Virtue Hoarders: The Case Against the Professional Managerial Class. She takes PMCs for scolding the working class, and for upholding their big grift: meritocracy.

——————-FURTHER READING & LISTENING——————-

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to write us, email darts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

Darts and Letters’ lead producer is Jay Cockburn, and our chase producer is Marc Apollonio. With research and support from David Moscrop.

Our theme song was created by Mike Barber, and our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop.

This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor. 

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

This is a production of Cited Media. We make other fine shows like Cited Podcast and Crackdown. You can find both of those and others wherever you find your podcasts.

EP8.1: Bantering with Bannon 

EP8.1: Bantering with Bannon 

In this bonus episode, host Gordon Katic speaks with Ben Teitelbaum, author of a fascinating new-ish book called War for Eternity. He spent over 20 hours with Steve Bannon, as well as a wider network of far-right thinkers and strategists. Honestly, the things they say will surprise you. These proto-fascist thinkers of today are Traditionalists, with a capital T. They’re nothing like old-school conservatives; they have a lot more in common with hippies and new age gurus than people like William F. Buckley. We touched on this school of thought in the last episode, but in this bonus episode we really dig in. Why do their bizarre ideas appeal, and what can we do to combat them?

—————————SUPPORT US———————— 

This is a bonus episode. And for now, they’re free. Patrons get them a day early, but they’re kind of irregular. We’ll make them every week if enough of you chip in. Go to Patreon.com/dartsandletters

And if you can’t do that, please do us a favour and help us get this show to more people. The best way you can help is to share this with a friend. You can also rate and review Darts and Letters on whatever podcast platform you use. 

—————————-CONTACT US————————

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to write us, email darts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly.

—————————-CREDITS—————————— 

Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn, our chase producer Marc Apollonio, and our research coordinator is David Moscrop.
Our composer is Mike Barber, and our graphic designer is Dakota Koop. Our host is Gordon Katic.
We receive funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Our lead academic advisor is Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia. We are also supported by a wider project looking at the rise of far political ideologies – that project is run by Professors Andre Gagne, Ronald Beiner, and A. James McAdams.
Darts and Letters is made in two places: Toronto, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia. Toronto is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat People. Vancouver is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.
This is a production of Cited Media. We make other fine shows like Cited Podcast and Crackdown. You can find both of those and others wherever you find your podcasts.
EP8: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fascism!

EP8: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fascism!

Donald Trump is no longer president—the Biden era has officially begun. But it begins still reeling from a siege on the capital. As we said last week, we have to figure out how to respond. But respond intelligently. 

This week, we train our eye on fascism. It has been the most raucous debate online: was Trump a fascist? Were the capital rioters fascists? Does it matter what we call it? And most importantly: what do we do about it?

  • First (@5:12), Joan Braune is an activist and philosopher at Gonzaga University who studies the far-right. She says the threat of home-grown fascism is real—but we shouldn’t respond the way we did after 9/11. It’s not about the national security state; it’s about social movements. We need to out-organize.
  • Then (@20:17), Patrik Hermansson, a director and researcher of far-right extremism, takes us behind the scenes to meet the so-called “intellectuals” of the emerging far right. He spent an entire year undercover with themhe hung out with them, went to their conferences, even spoke at one. The whole time with a hidden camera. Patrik tells us the story of infiltrating the far right—behind their façade of intellectual respectability, what do they actually believe? It’s not pretty.
  • Also, (@43:48) Daniel Bessner is an historian at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. He isn’t buying all this fascism talk. At least, not when it comes to Trump. He has been one of the most vocal voices online saying Trump isn’t a fascist. Not because he likes Trump: of course not. But because he’s warning of a new ‘liberal authoritarianism.’ He worries about how the Biden administration might capitalize on this threat to consolidate their powers and squash dissent—especially left-wing dissent.
  • Finally, (@56:50) Vincent Bevins gives us the international view. Vincent is journalist and author of the extraordinary book The Jakarta Method, about the US cold war policy of backing brutally repressive military regimes. To Vincent, fascism is imperialism turned inwards. And what we saw in the capital—whatever you want to call it— it’s the kind of thing the US has been doing abroad for a long long time. 

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW——————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers usually get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content.

Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work

——————-FURTHER READING & LISTENING——————-

Bessner, Daniel and Ben Burgis. “Trump is a Threat to Democracy. But That Doesn’t Mean He’s Winning.” Jacobin. Jan. 15, 2020.

Bessner, Daniel and Udi Greenberg. “The Weimar Analogy.” Jacobin. Dec. 17, 2016.

Bevins, Vincent. “The Hour of the Barbarian.”  N+1. Jan. 11, 2021.

Bevins, Vincent. The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anti-Communist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped the World. Public Affairs. 2020.

Braune, Joan. “It’s Time for a Different Strategy.” Range. Jan. 11, 2021.

Halper, Katie. “Is Trumpism Fascism? Debate w/ Jason Stanley, Jodi Dead, Sam Moyn, Daniel Bessner, Eugene Puryear.” The Katie Halper Show. Jan. 15, 2021.

HOPE not Hate. Undercover in the Alt-Right. 2019.

Sitman, Matthew and Sam Adler-Bell. “Did It Happen Here?” Know Your Enemy. Jan. 17, 2021.

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to write us, email darts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

Darts and Letters’ lead producer is Jay Cockburn, and our chase producer is Marc Apollonio. With research and support from David Moscrop and professors Ronald Beiner at the University of Toronto, and A. James McAdams at the University of Notre Dame. 

Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, and our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop.

This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research,  which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor. We are also supported by a wider project looking at the rise of far political ideologies – that project is run by Professors Andre Gagne, Ronald Beiner, and  A. James McAdams

This show is produced by Cited Media, which makes other great shows like Cited Podcast and Crackdown.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

 

EP7: It Takes Coup to Tango

EP7: It Takes Coup to Tango

We’re all still processing what just happened on Capitol Hill. Clearly, there is a mounting proto-fascist threat that must be stopped. But liberals are being rash in their response, and this is likely to only enflame things. How can we address these dangers in an intelligent way? More in the weeks to come.

This week, we look squarely at the role of Big Tech. There’s a newly-formed Alphabet Worker’s Union, which could be a game-changer for labour organizing and class consciousness in Silicon Valley. We talk about the future of the big tech monopolies. Both their economic monopolies, and the monopolies they have over our political discourse.

  • First, in host Gordon Katic’s opening essay, he feels post-9/11 vibes. Remember: the people who were the toughest on Islamic fundamentalists were the ones who exacerbated the threat. Let’s not make the same mistakes.
  • Next (@13:37), Chewy Shaw has worked at Google/Alphabet for over 10 years, and he’s now the vice chair of the newly-formed Alphabet Worker’s Union. Chewy tells us about what’s wrong at Google – their content moderation policies (and how they fail), their attacks on his colleagues, and how they fail to live up to their motto, ‘don’t be evil.’
  • Then (@33:24), Alex Press is labour reporter at Jacobin magazine who covered the new union. She tells us about the longer history of labour organizing in Silicon Valley, how tech executives have attempted to stymy it at every turn, and what the Alphabet Workers’ Union might mean for the future.
  • Finally, (@47:22) Rob Larson is Professor of Economics at Tacoma Community College, and the in-house economist at Current Affairs. We talk about his most recent book, “Bit Tyrants: The Political Economy of Tech,” which explains why big tech tends towards monopoly, why anti-trust will never be enough, and why we need online socialism.

——————-READING——————-

Press, Alex. “Code Red.” N+1, 18 Apr. 2018

Press, Alex. “Google’s New Union Will Put an Unconventional Organizing Model to the Test.” Jacobin Magazine 4 Jan. 2021.

Koul, Parul, and Chewy Shaw. “Opinion | We Built Google. This Is Not the Company We Want to Work For.The New York Times, 4 Jan. 2021.

Larson, Rob. Bit Tyrants: The Political Economy of Silicon Valley. Haymarket Books, 2020.

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW——————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers usually get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content.

Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to write us, email ddarts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

Darts and Letters’ lead producer is Jay Cockburn, and our chase producer is Marc Apollonio. With research and support from David Moscrop and Addye Susnick.

Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, and our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop.

This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research,  which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor.

This show is produced by Cited Media, which makes other great shows like Cited Podcast and Crackdown.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.