0064   |   March 25, 2019

White Misanthropy:
Conclusions, on Being Radical and Hopeful about Race in the U.S.

The hosts conclude their conversation about White Supremacy. They discuss the reasons why even radical critiques of race relations in the U.S. have reasons to be hopeful about the future. And they preview their next topic: Michael Jackson.

C.T. WEBB: 00:19 [music] Good afternoon and good morning, or good evening, and welcome to The American Age podcast. My name is C. Travis Webb, editor of The American Age, and I am speaking to my partners in crime.
S. FULLWOOD: 00:29 Oh, we always do this.
S. RODNEY: 00:29 That’d be us two [laughter].
S. FULLWOOD: 00:31 We always do this. I just feel like – okay – we should say to each before we get started, “I’ll go second. You go third.”
S. FULLWOOD: 00:39 Whatever.
S. RODNEY: 00:39 Okay. So I’m Seph Rodney. I am an editor at Hyperallergic and a member of the part-time faculty at Parsons School of Design, at the new school. And it’s raining today in the South Bronx, but at least I have good company.
S. FULLWOOD: 00:56 How wonderful. My name is Steven G. Fullwood, and I am the co-founder of the Nomadic Archivists Project. And in April, I’ll be at the Modern Pop Conference, and that’s in Seattle. And the theme of the conference is called Only You and Your Ghosts Will Know: Music, Death, and the Afterlife. I’ll be talking about–
S. RODNEY: 01:14 Wow.
S. FULLWOOD: 01:14 –the haunting queerness of Michael Jackson, Prince, and Whitney Houston.
S. RODNEY: 01:21 Amazing.
C.T. WEBB: 01:21 Oh, great, great.
S. RODNEY: 01:22 Wow.
C.T. WEBB: 01:22 You’re going to be at Harvard this weekend, right?
S. FULLWOOD: 01:26 Yes. I’ll be at Harvard for a conversation. We were joking about Harvard and how pretentious it sounds [laughter]. “I’m going to be at Harvard.” [I might?]–
S. RODNEY: 01:35 But you are [laughter]. But you are.
C.T. WEBB: 01:37 That’s right.
S. FULLWOOD: 01:38 With my– was it – no – the gilded sandals or the gilded shoes or [crosstalk]–?
S. RODNEY: 01:43 Right. Oh, the Hermès–
C.T. WEBB: 01:43 With the Hermès [crosstalk].
S. RODNEY: 01:45 –sneakers. Yeah.
S. FULLWOOD: 01:46 So [I think?] they’re talking about sexuality and how the archive works or doesn’t work when it comes to scholars looking for materials around the body and what it looks like.
C.T. WEBB: 01:54 Great. Great, great. Out–
S. RODNEY: 01:56 Awesome.
C.T. WEBB: 01:56 –and about in the world.
S. RODNEY: 01:57 Yeah.
S. FULLWOOD: 01:58 Yeah.
C.T. WEBB: 01:58 And this is to remind everybody. I’m speaking to you from Southern California, Orange County. It’s raining here also, coincidentally. And this is to remind our listeners that we practice a form of what we like to call intellectual intimacy, which is giving each other the space and time to figure out things out loud and together. And so this is going to be our last podcast on what started out as white supremacy and we’ve kind of rebranded white misanthropy off of one of our early conversations on the topic. And so we thought what we would do is kind of rehash a little bit, summarize a little bit as best we can. I mean, there’re several long conversations. And then maybe each of us kind of talk about where we’ve moved or haven’t moved, or things that have been provocative to us, and then also kind of segue into our next topic.
C.T. WEBB: 02:50 So we’ve done – let’s see – about six, half a dozen, I think, episodes on this. I meant to actually look exactly before we started, but. And we covered some ground. We talked about Barack Obama, and we talked about kind of the narrative of pulling yourself up by your [bootstraps?], self-reliance kind of, to use a traditional American phrase from Emerson. We talked about whose responsibility it is to “educate” white people about sort of the historical consciousness of race in the United States, and the Americas more broadly. We talked about white misanthropy – right? – as opposed to white supremacy. We talked about the actual, structural impediments. Actual is– I’m loading that; it’s a little too much. We talked about contemporary structural impediments to African-American progress, black progress, in the United States. Anything else that jumped out at you guys, I mean, as far as this summary? I know we’re going to kind of talk about how we’ve moved or haven’t moved, but–
S. RODNEY: 04:03 Right. Well, one of the things that we did – and I think Steven kind of pushed us in this direction – was to talk about how white misanthropy hurts whites.
C.T. WEBB: 04:14 Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was our last conversation, actually.
S. RODNEY: 04:16 Right. Like how damaged they are because the ideology doesn’t really give them any room to become who they fully are – right? – because we talked about how if you’re in a position where you are demonstrably afraid of someone being better than you, more masculine, more virile, more powerful, that you keep your foot on their necks so that you can say, “No. Actually, I am more powerful,” that puts you in a position where you’re never able to be honest with yourself about things that are deeply important to you. And–
C.T. WEBB: 05:02 [crosstalk].
S. RODNEY: 05:02 –I remember we talked a bit about how this leaks over– or the analogy that I used was the boy wanting to have a butterfly painted on his face. I should mention to our listeners that I’d gotten that story wrong. It was colors I had used, and it wasn’t colors. It was a boy who wanted a–
C.T. WEBB: 05:19 Butterfly.
S. RODNEY: 05:20 –butterfly. That’s right, because I sent the link around with the – what’s it called? – Twitter exchange on it. And we looked at that example as illustrative of how much the soul, which I think we all think of as kind of– not kind of– we all think of as equal and in some really profound way eternal, right? There’s some spark in us that cannot, that should not, die, that should not be curtailed by mean-spirited and myopic ideologies, that that is in some ways always curtailed by white misanthropy, by the kind of deep-seated fear of the black body or brown body.
C.T. WEBB: 06:24 Right.
S. FULLWOOD: 06:24 Or just difference.
C.T. WEBB: 06:26 Right.
S. RODNEY: 06:26 Or just difference. Correct.
C.T. WEBB: 06:27 Yeah. It was in the same conversation we talked about what it meant to be human.
S. FULLWOOD: 06:31 Right.
S. RODNEY: 06:30 [crosstalk]. That’s right.
C.T. WEBB: 06:32 And the way–
S. RODNEY: 06:32 That’s right. That’s right. You came up with a beautiful– if I remember correctly, Travis, you had said something really profound about that.
C.T. WEBB: 06:42 Please go back to that podcast and listen to it [crosstalk] [laughter].
S. FULLWOOD: 06:45 [crosstalk] the only ones [laughter].
S. RODNEY: 06:47 I remember you said something about our capacity to do something. I forget. Say it again, please.
C.T. WEBB: 06:51 I think cooperate with strangers.
S. RODNEY: 06:52 That was it.
S. FULLWOOD: 06:53 Yeah. Yeah. That was quite interesting. So I think one of the things I pulled from the few past conversations, one’s language and how important it is to shape the language to fit what we think is happening and to refine it as it goes along. So white misanthropy is a term that I got from Ty Shaw, a woman who lives– a sexologist who lives in Atlanta. And I was thinking about the body and just how we are all really one thing. So most recently at the Church– excuse me, the Christchurch mosque shootings. What was it? The prime minister said–
S. RODNEY: 07:36 Of New Zealand. Yeah.
S. FULLWOOD: 07:36 “–Assault rifles are banned,” – right? – just immediately. And she didn’t hesitate to say that this was a terrorist act. She didn’t hesitate to do the things that America hesitates to do. We’re sort of [misogynist?] when it comes to language.
S. RODNEY: 07:47 Or just plain up refuses to do.
S. FULLWOOD: 07:50 Right. “This guy was a lone wolf,” or, “This guy had a really wonderful childhood, but look how he ended up.” And so there is allegedly sort of a white misanthropic thinker who they called responsible for the shooter’s thinking, and he’s a gay person. He’s gay. Everyone makes the mistake in thinking that difference in you makes you more sensitive or more thoughtful about difference in the world. And so the reason–
S. RODNEY: 08:19 Amen.
S. FULLWOOD: 08:19 –why I wanted to bring it up is that I’m always sort of shocked and moved by the idea that we have all this difference in the world when it comes to, say, vegetation, plants. Plants just grow up against other plants. Yes, there are times when other plants try to get more shade or more moisture, what have you. But there’s this documentary, which name escapes me at the moment, where it’s no longer a smart thing to do, to separate trees that are different. You need to have all those trees together because they work together to survive. So for natural parks, these kinds of things, you want to make sure that you no longer do that because difference is a really wonderful, organic thing. And we still hold close to this idea as humans that if I have all the black people around me or all the white people around me, or just all the women or all the men, then everything will be okay. And it just feels very– very retarded thinking. Excuse me for the phrase there.
S. RODNEY: 09:18 No, no, no, no. No. I mean, I [want to?]–
S. FULLWOOD: 09:20 I mean that in a way.
S. RODNEY: 09:21 No. I want to actually rescue this word a little bit. I mean, I understand that it gets misused a lot. Retarded is oftentimes not the correct word to use. But retarded in the sense of it being the kind of thinking that is prevented from forward action, from progressive encapsulation of rigor. In that sense, it is retarded. It is literally held back.
S. FULLWOOD: 09:50 Thank you.
C.T. WEBB: 09:50 So the harmony of plants, evolutionarily, it was the gymnosperms that preceded the angiosperms, right? So the gymnosperms are things like ferns and stuff like that. And then you get increasing sophistication in the plant world through competition. So they literally do try to outgrow one another. At a certain point in its– and I’m going somewhere in particular with this. At a certain point in their development, that competition leads to a complex ecosystem in which these things are able to live together cooperatively and for mutual benefit. I do think it’s a very apt analogy to the human world, which is that it is certainly true that in our past and that because it is in our past, it is still a vital aspect of who we are potentially. We can be tribal. We can be individualistic. We can cling very closely to things that don’t threaten us. But our social evolution has shown us through millennia of competition that we can exist in larger ecosystems in which we are more cooperative and more successful because of that cooperation. And white misanthropy is a kind of ideology which plays to the worst parts of us. It plays to a part of us. It’s not that it’s not a part of us. It’s that it’s the baser part of us. It’s the part of us that doesn’t profit us on a larger scale. It doesn’t help us live in these larger communities together.
S. FULLWOOD: 11:38 No. You’re right.
C.T. WEBB: 11:39 And one of the areas where we had some contention around it, which I think were productive conversations for me, is that to me, most of what exists in current, contemporary discourse is deeply infected by that white misanthropy, even when it wants to call itself something else, even–
S. RODNEY: 11:59 Like black nationalism..
S. FULLWOOD: 12:01 [crosstalk].
C.T. WEBB: 12:02 Yes. Yeah, yeah. But that’s just the most kind of on-the-nose example, right? I mean, there are a variety of tribalisms that have infected our discourse, and–
S. RODNEY: 12:18 [The Zionism?].
C.T. WEBB: 12:19 Yeah. Yeah. [Absolutely?]. They’re not aspirational. What is aspirational in some of the rhetorics that we are surrounded by? That for me is a problem that we didn’t solve. Of course we didn’t solve it, right [laughter]? I mean, it’s a deep problem right now. But there must be a way forward. There has to be a way to jettison that language, that rhetoric, those rhetorical strategies if we have any shot as a polity of moving into the future as a coherent whole. And if that doesn’t happen, we will pull ourselves apart. We will. I mean, it will happen, maybe not in our lifetimes. Ben Shapiro does this all the time. “Yes, I’m afraid of tyranny in the next 50 to 100 years,” when he talks about this whole thing. I don’t mean it in a fallback position. “Therefore, I can make any argument I want.” I mean that we are seeing the contours. We are seeing the fault lines that will emerge towards the end of our lives and our children’s lives–
S. FULLWOOD: 13:37 Oh, yeah.
C.T. WEBB: 13:37 –around which the country will devolve. And that is of deep concern to me.
S. FULLWOOD: 13:46 That de-evolution has been happening for quite some time. And it’s been masked sometimes as progress in the sense that we have continuously separated ourselves into different– not just categories, but neighborhoods. And also, even our education at times doesn’t help us reckon with this difference thing in a way that’s meaningful and useful because I just feel like this is so not the best we could do. Despite how we talk about technology, technology feels like it’s 30, 40 years ahead of us. We’re still catching up with it, and we’re still playing the same games. We’re still playing the good, bad– that thing over there. I don’t like that thing. That thing is scared. “Build a wall. Build a wall. Build a wall.” There’s no wall. And that wall represents something very intellectually disturbing to me because it lies about safety. It lies about comfort. It lies about all those things. And so I think that we’ve been experiencing a very, very striking but often masked de-evolution of what’s possible. And the cooperation, I think, is what– I really love that idea of cooperation because if you spend some time investing in someone else’s good, someone else’s comfort, I think we’d have a better chance at not fucking up the world even more.
S. RODNEY: 15:17 Yeah. There’s a woman that I know in the art scene, Sharon Louden, and Steven knows her, too. Sharon and Steven and I actually have been working together on proposing a book that Steven and I would co-edit about artists as writers, artists as writers living sustainable lives, how they got to the position they got to. And one of the things that Sharon constantly says in her public talks– and she’s had occasion to give many of them because she wrote the book – I have it right here, in fact – Living and Sustaining a Creative Life and The Artist As Culture Producer. And she’s toured on those books extensively, and one of the things she says to people who want to be successful artists is – and this is, I think, her number one piece advice – help other artists.
C.T. WEBB: 16:13 Nice.
S. RODNEY: 16:13 Help other artists because you live in an ecosystem in which that help always comes back around to you, right?
C.T. WEBB: 16:22 Absolutely.
S. RODNEY: 16:23 There is, of course, this competition for limited resources within the art scene. That’s absolutely what occurs. And I constantly am reminded of something I read by someone like– this is incorrect, but someone like Steven Pinker. It was someone like that, some public intellectual who tends to talk about and through big ideas and through big, historical movements about what it is at certain junctures in time that saved us. And cooperation at a particular moment in our evolution saved us, literally. When we were living those hard-scrabble lives of nomadic hunting and gathering, when we faced animals with much greater physical prowess than us – right? – the only ways that we could combine and overcome those kinds of animals, to prevent ourselves from dying with stretches of famine, was through cooperation. And unfortunately, I don’t have enough of a grasp of the specifics of our evolutionary history to tell you what period in particular an archeologist might be able to identify, but I can say, big picture, this is how we got here. We managed somehow to cooperate despite our tribal differences and despite our competition for resources.
S. RODNEY: 18:02 And I wonder as we talk about this because I think we’re ping-ponging between a kind of certain clear-eyed realization of what the landscape looks like for us right now, culturally, politically, intellectually. I think we’re ping-ponging between a kind of clear-eyed understanding of what we are faced with and a kind of despair because all of us recognize that the voices that are truly imaginative and promising are few and far between in our culture. And most of them don’t get the kind of airtime that Ben Shapiro does, or Rush Limbaugh, or even people who are just kind of half-baked intellectuals, like Bill Maher. The people who only occasionally get it right get so much more airtime than people who are deeply thoughtful, promising thinkers like Ta-Nehisi Coates or–
C.T. WEBB: 19:19 Well, he gets plenty of attention.
S. RODNEY: 19:21 But not in a way that Bill Maher does – right? – not in the way that Ben Shapiro does.
C.T. WEBB: 19:23 Well, yeah. But Bill Maher, he’s 65. He’s been doing what he’s doing for a very long time. I mean, I would tend to side with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ arguments before Bill Maher’s, but I don’t necessarily– yeah. Anyway, I’ll let Steven jump in because I don’t really have a [crosstalk].
S. FULLWOOD: 19:43 I was just going to say to your point, Seph, that I think that there’re a lot more people out there obviously that don’t have a name in the street, that are not camera-ready, that won’t have blogs, who will never write anything. But they’re activists, and their [of-justice?] work is so critical to our development. So those are the folks who probably will never have a platform or use a platform. Maybe they’re not comfortable with it, but they’re busy doing the work of community work. So it could be–
S.RODNEY: 20:11 [inaudible].
S. FULLWOOD: 20:12 Mm-hmm?
C.T. WEBB: 20:12 Yeah. The conclusion to the great English novel Middlemarch by George Eliot, Mary Anne Evans, she talks about the growing good of the world and how the growing good of the world is mostly dependent on these people that you will never hear of–
S. FULLWOOD: 20:29 Right. Absolutely.
C.T. WEBB: 20:30 –just kind of these unseen gestures of kindness. And two things that you said, Seph, that I wanted to build on. One, you can have cooperation and competition simultaneously.
S. RODNEY: 20:41 Indeed. Indeed.
C.T. WEBB: 20:41 I mean, they are not– and I know you’re not saying this. I mean, this is the other side that says things like this. “Oh, the world is tough.” You can be both. You can absolutely cheer on and help other artists and encourage other artists, and also be competitive with them in loving and mutually beneficial ways.
S. FULLWOOD: 21:04 Oh, absolutely.
C.T. WEBB: 21:05 It doesn’t have to be this other, stepping on the neck of your brother or sister.
S. RODNEY: 21:12 Right. Or taking the knife to their back.
C.T. WEBB: 21:15 Yeah.
S. FULLWOOD: 21:15 Right. But we kind of celebrate that in our entertainment, though. We like these “anti-heroes,” or people who do this kind of stuff. We celebrate those people.
C.T. WEBB: 21:24 You mean the ones that stab them in the back kind of thing?
S. FULLWOOD: 21:27 They stab them in the back or say, “You’re ruthless,” and, “They’re at the top of their game.” So we kind of celebrate that kind of person.
S. RODNEY: 21:35 We do. We do. And I have to say, to make a really quotidian analogy, I’m a fan of basketball. Well, Travis, you are, too, I know. Steven, I’m not sure whether you care.
S. FULLWOOD: 21:48 What’s basketball [laughter]?
S. RODNEY: 21:52 Well, there were moments when I was playing in the park when I was a kid, and I’ve seen this in other instances, but not so much in the NBA. But when you’re going up against someone who’s really good, and you find a way to do something that troubles their shot or cuts off a certain offensive strategy that they had, and then they find some way to do the same to you, or they find a way around your new defense– and I’ve seen this, and I’ve experienced this myself. When somebody does that and he gets by me and he makes a layup, and I’m like, “Good shot, baby,” like impressed that they did it, understanding that we’re in competition and I’m supposed to stop him. And I want to stop him. But I’m still kind of also at the same time standing outside myself and going, “All right. All right. You did that. That was badass. I love that.” And you can live in that space of saying, “Yes, I’m playing this game with you where I want to stop you from scoring on me. But when you do, I’m going to applaud you because that was some nice play.”
S. FULLWOOD: 23:05 Yeah. But that’s kind of living in and outside of yourself at the same time, knowing that you’re a part of a larger something.
C.T. WEBB: 23:13 That’s right. That’s right.
S. FULLWOOD: 23:14 And that’s beautiful. That’s a wonderful space, and it’s great to have all those feelings rather than to simply have the one, “I’ve got to beat this person, and that’s all that matters.”
S. RODNEY: 23:24 Which is the problem with white misanthropy. It’s so focused on, “We have to beat these people. We have to keep our enclave free of these people,” right?
C.T. WEBB: 23:36 So let me ask [crosstalk]–
S. FULLWOOD: 23:37 But those people are in those people– sorry, sir. Go ahead. I just wanted to say [that?].
C.T. WEBB: 23:40 So let me ask both of you, and more Steven, but Seph also, because we’ve probably got about five minutes left in the podcast. I had said, and I think Seph correctly summarized, that we’re trying to sort of grope our way to a better narrative or a better story about how we move forward, but both feeling some sense of despair– or all three of us are feeling some sense of despair. So I’d like to ask both of you to do something which I would consider fairly hard, which is rather than criticizing low-hanging fruit, like the Wall and Trump and things like that, or the nation of Islam or something like that, Louis Farrakhan, are either of you able to criticize movements that you reflexively identify with and identify the ways in which they also are infected with the same sort of metaphysics that infect white misanthropy?
S. FULLWOOD: 24:48 Oh, yeah. Easily. The LGBTQ movement. Absolutely.
C.T. WEBB: 24:52 How so?
S. RODNEY: 24:52 [inaudible] [please?]. Yes.
S. FULLWOOD: 24:53 Well just in short, there’s this inflexibility that really– I don’t want to use the word intersectionality, but they intersect, these ideas, and sometimes, there are radical gays who don’t accept fluidity, a bisexual person or someone who was formerly a queer person but now they’re trans, and they’ve decided that now they’re heterosexual. I think there was an argument that the LGBTQ center at one point, maybe a couple years ago, was thinking about taking the T and reducing it because these people were going on to be heterosexual, presumably, right? And so that inflexibility has always been at the core of the modern LGBTQ movement. I just gave a talk yesterday where I’m talking about Marsha P. Johnson and Stormé DeLarverie and Sylvia Rivera. These people, black and Latino trans people and a drag queen, were the sparks of Stonewall, essentially. They were there. But less than a year, they were pushed aside because they did not reflect what the more conservative, white, straight-looking gays and lesbians wanted the movement to look like. So that inflexibility and that toxicness has plagued the movement ever since 1969, essentially.
C.T. WEBB: 26:13 Thank you for that.
S. RODNEY: 26:15 I suppose that in my neck of the woods, essentially the art scene in New York City [inaudible]– really, that’s a hub which connects me to lots of other regional art scenes, LA, other big cities. I think the primary way I’m moved to talk about issues in my own backyard were the underlying metaphysics being problematic, though they show up or expressed as allegiances to people of color and allegiance to putting forward the work and practices and histories of women. One of the things that I found really difficult for me to deal with is this idea that just because you are a person of color or a woman and you show up and you have a viable art practice that you deserve attention, and that the critical attention that you’re given should be essentially laudatory, like it should always be sort of raising you up. I don’t think one would find this easily in print somewhere. It is an underlying sort of voce attitude, and I encounter this when I write critically about particular artists, like – I don’t know – Torkwase Dyson, a woman who’s probably my age. She teaches at Yale. She comes from a very upstanding, well-known family, does work that is difficult, at best, to define, is clearly an intellectual. But her work in practice in– just a phenomenological encounter with it for me does very little for me.
S. RODNEY: 28:14 A better example is Juliana Huxtable. I’ve written about her work a couple of times. She’s a woman who is trans, who basically does work around her origin story, about how–
S?: 28:26 Whatever.
S. RODNEY: 28:26 –she came to be Juliana Huxtable. That’s not her birth name. All of the work that I’ve seen about her essentially reflects this notion that she has kind of sprouted full-bloom in and of her own powers – right? – like she sort of willed herself into the world. And [crosstalk]–
C.T. WEBB: 28:46 Like Athena.
S. RODNEY: 28:48 Yeah. Right. And this work that she makes – some of it’s text-based; a lot of it’s photography – is all about how she has become the person that she has envisioned. And I want to say that’s all well and good, but what else do I get from this except the story of you? And I’ve not yet encountered anybody who’s been willing or able to just call this out, to say this is one of the ways in which this work seriously fails because it fails to look beyond the borders of the self, right? Essentially, it is solipsistic, right? It is about her being the center of her known universe. And this happens. And I will say this, and maybe I’ll just end here. One of the ways in which I take my job– not a job, my responsibility, because I remember that distinction being part of our conversation. One of the responsibilities I conscientiously take on for myself is that I call this kind of thing out. I say, “No. We are failing ourselves if we don’t recognize that this is what this thing is,” – right? – as I’ve described it. And I will continue to do that work. Regardless of whether people celebrate me for it, I think it’s the right thing to do.
C.T. WEBB: 30:25 It is, I think. And by the way, wonderful use of sotto voce in a sentence [laughter].
S. RODNEY: 30:33 Thank you.
C.T. WEBB: 30:33 Yeah. I mean, for me, I know one of the things that the conversations have helped me with– I mean, our conversations in general, and this conversation in particular– is that I will continue to work on forcefully and honestly rejecting any community that is not organized around the principle of radical self-expression. And I mean that as the individual, not as a product of itself. The individual can never be a product of itself. The individual is always a product of the community and other people. But that, as an object, has to be held sacred by the community; otherwise, tyranny is always on deck.
S. RODNEY: 31:31 Well said.
C.T. WEBB: 31:34 And that means for me, rejecting a lot of things that I would otherwise find easy agreement if the method by which the answer is derived is arrived at in a fallacious way.
S. RODNEY: 31:52 [crosstalk].
C.T. WEBB: 31:54 I am entirely in favor of a variety of– well, we’re running out of time. I want to end on what I think is on this topic, which I actually think is hopeful and actually would make some real demonstrable difference in people’s lives. I don’t know, obviously, that it’ll happen, but the fact that mainstream Democratic candidates are seriously talking about reparations, that’s a big, big, big deal.
S. RODNEY: 32:24 It’s a big deal. I absolutely concur.
C.T. WEBB: 32:26 Now, it’s the primaries. People are scrambling for voters, all the rest of that. But, I mean, this was such a absolutely on-the-fringe idea – what? – five years ago.
S. RODNEY: 32:39 Exactly.
C.T. WEBB: 32:40 I mean, it was so–
S. FULLWOOD: 32:41 Last year.
C.T. WEBB: 32:42 Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right, right, right, right, right, right. I mean, just – yeah – yesterday, right? The fact that this is seriously being discussed by people that are being taken seriously, that’s a big, big, big deal.
S. RODNEY: 32:55 I agree.
C.T. WEBB: 32:55 And that possibility for action makes me somewhat hopeful.
S. RODNEY: 33:02 I agree. I want Elizabeth Warren to run on the ticket as president and Pete Buttigieg– Puttigieg?
C.T. WEBB: 33:09 Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Whatever his name. Yeah.
S. RODNEY: 33:12 Yeah.
C.T. WEBB: 33:12 Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
S. RODNEY: 33:13 Yeah. Definitely. That would be my ticket.
C.T. WEBB: 33:17 Steven, do you want to have the last word, take us out?
S. FULLWOOD: 33:20 The last word is the last word. I have nothing to add. I think what you said. I’m still marinating on what you just said about rejecting a community that’s not about radical self-expression. And also, just all the sacred cows have to go. So–
C.T. WEBB: 33:38 All of them.
S. FULLWOOD: 33:40 They just have to go.
S. RODNEY: 33:41 Amen.
C.T. WEBB: 33:41 So next series of conversations is going to be one that Mr. Webb over here has to do a lot of reading about because other than my cursory adolescent experience of him, I don’t know much, and we’re going to talk about Michael Jackson. I tried to spin this into some other topic that Seph correctly called me out on. So we’re going to talk about Michael Jackson for a series of weeks, probably from a variety of angles. And I’ll have a lot of learning to do on the topic, so.
S. FULLWOOD: 34:14 You’ll enjoy it.
S. RODNEY: 34:14 Yeah. Well, so do we all. So do we all.
S. FULLWOOD: 34:16 Yeah. You’ll enjoy it. It’s [a good ride?].
S. RODNEY: 34:17 And I love– I’m sorry, Steven. I interrupted you. Go ahead again.
S. FULLWOOD: 34:21 Oh, no. You’re just going to love the ride. It’s a good ride because Michael Jackson’s life and career intersects so many different things that we’ve talked about in the past. So I think you’ll really enjoy it.
S. RODNEY: 34:33 And it is a beautiful link to that idea of just being iconoclastic and killing all the sacred cows.
C.T. WEBB: 34:40 Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. All right, my friends. I’ll speak to you next week.
S. FULLWOOD: 34:45 Cool. Great.
S. RODNEY: 34:47 Take care.
C.T. WEBB: 34:47 All right. Take care.
S. FULLWOOD: 34:48 Take care. Bye-bye.


First referenced at 15:17

Sharon Louden

Sharon M. Louden is an artist, educator, advocate for artists, editor of the Living and Sustaining a Creative Life series of books, and the Artistic Director of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution.” SharonLouden.com

First referenced at 20:12

George Eliot

Mary Ann Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880; alternatively Mary Anne or Marian), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She wrote seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Romola (1862–63), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of which are set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight.” Wikipedia

Michael Jackson: The One Percenters of Celebrity

Michael Jackson: The One Percenters of Celebrity

TAA 0069 – Megastars like Michael Jackson seem to be exempted from critiques of their wealth. Rarely do you hear Jay-Z or Tom Hanks referred to derisively as “the one percent.” Why don’t we care about extremes of wealth in our entertainers?

Episode 0098 – Comedy: Offensive Comedy and Its Virtues

Episode 0098 – Comedy: Offensive Comedy and Its Virtues

There’s laughing at yourself, and then there’s laughing at others. While the former is virtuous the latter is indispensable to group cohesion. In this episode the hosts talk about Jim Jefferies and Louis C.K. What are the limits of comedy?

Pornography, Part V: Desire and Despair

Pornography, Part V: Desire and Despair

TAA 0056 – The hosts continue their conversation about pornography. This week they explore the emotional cost of pornography. Who shapes our desires? And what happens when we are regularly reminded of what we don’t have?

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