About the show

Co-hosts Emmet and John plumb the depths of history, culture, and philosophy to understand why it is that despite calamities and rapid change nothing feels possible anymore. Guests include artists, scholars, and thinkers from all over the world.

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  • Episode 84: Why Do Movies Suck Now? ft. Will Tavlin

    March 29th, 2022  |  55 mins 11 secs
    celluloid, dasha, david fincher, democracy, digital film, film, george lucas, hollywood, marvel, monopoly, movie theaters, netflix, star wars

    Will Tavlin joins Emmet to talk about how the democratic promise of digital filmmaking turned into the current top-down Marvel hellscape we all live in. They talk about the insanity of the original multiplex model of screening, why digital is so hard to archive, the deadness of major blockbuster films, the importance of forming aesthetic communities to preserve cultural memory, and more!

  • Episode 83: The Dying Bird of Authentic Humanness ft. Default Friend

    March 23rd, 2022  |  54 mins 46 secs
    911, agamben, cancel culture, covid, crisis, energy crisis, gen z, phillip k dick, pkd, posthuman, science fiction, scifi, silicon valley, totalitarianism, tumblr

    DF and Emmet take a look at Phillip K Dick's 1972 lecture "The Android and the Human." They dive into his idea that we can learn about our inner lives by looking at the world of machines, the integration of man and machine, empathy, rebellion, totalitarianism, and weirdly hanging out with teenage girls getting late term abortions.

  • Episode 82: A time to build, but what? And how? (cross-post with the Ryan Research podcast)

    March 15th, 2022  |  1 hr 6 mins
    america, energy politics, fracking, history, ireland, new left, nuclear, pipelines, standing rock

    Recording times got bungled to do travel constraints, but here's an hour-long preview of Emmet's appearance on the Ryan Research podcast. Peter Ryan invited him on to talk about nuclear energy, why nothing feels possible, what happened to the left, financial brain poisoning, and more!

  • Episode 81: The Religious Cult of Fandom ft. Monia Ali

    March 8th, 2022  |  1 hr 5 mins
    bts, comicon, cult, cults, fandom, gilmore girls, k-pop, marketing, marvel, mcu, one direction, religion, supernatural, the cw, tumblr

    Monia Ali of the Exiled Fan Substack sits down with Emmet to talk about the cultic aspects of fandom, how marketers think about hijacking our need for love, attention, and community, what the world of fandom means for our future and much, much more.

  • [teaser] Futures Past: On the Relation of Past and Future in Modern History p. I

    March 6th, 2022  |  15 mins 36 secs
    apocalypse, carl schmitt, christianity, heidegger, history, leo strauss, philosophy, politics, religion

    Emmet and John began their reading of Koselleck's Futures Past. They situate his context, layout his questions and method, and then open the first essay. They discuss the transition into modernity, the nature of historical time, the waning of eschaton, the secularization of the political and thus the future, and medieval eschatological tradition, and way more.

  • Episode 80: Did the Industrial Revolution even happen? ft. John Constable

    March 1st, 2022  |  53 mins 41 secs
    climate change, economics, energy, freedom, green energy, history, industrial revolution, liberty, marx, solar, wealth, wind

    Scholar John Constable joins Emmet to discuss his recent lecture given at the Mont Pelerin Society last year entitled, "Misconceptions of the 'Industrial Revolution': Prospects for Individual Liberty in the Post-Pandemic Era." They discuss the discursive fiction of the "industrial revolution" and its uses, the green energy transition's misguidedness, economics' backwardness, why energy is the key to liberty, and more!

  • Episode 79: What's Wrong With American Cities? ft. Xander

    February 22nd, 2022  |  1 hr 4 mins
    america, cars, chicago, cities, los angeles, new york, real estate density, robert moses, transit, urbanism

    Xander sits down with Emmet to talk about what's going on with American cities. What happened to them? Why won't congestion die? Do we have to get in the pod and eat the bugs? What makes a city beautiful? Why is it so hard to figure out what's going on in your city? Emmet harasses Xander with these questions and more.

  • The True And Only Heaven 11: Right-Wing Populism and the Revolt Against Liberalism

    February 20th, 2022  |  9 mins 21 secs

    Emmet and John finish Lasch's book and reflect on it as a whole. They considered some Roman historians at the top, summarize this final chapter, and weigh Lasch's contribution. What does it mean for us? What has he left us to endeavor that he did or could not?

  • Episode 78: The Political Biography of a Zoomer ft. James Lynch

    February 16th, 2022  |  1 hr 7 mins
    bernie, big tech, blm, crt, culture war, dnc, gop, liberalism, new right, populism, trump, woke

    James Lynch, a producer at Breaking Points and contributor to Newsweek, sat down with Emmet to talk about what it was like to politically come of age as a zoomer, the deficits and merits of left and right, what the "crisis of masculinity" really means, what to do about Big Tech, and more!

  • [teaser] The True and Only Heaven 10: The Politics of the Civilized Minority

    February 13th, 2022  |  11 mins 5 secs

    Canada Mike joins Emmet to talk about the second to last chapter of Lasch's book. They talk about how liberalism went from a political position to an alleged psychological framework and culture. And how HL Mencken was a pioneer of lectureporn.

  • Episode 77: When You Die Online You Die in Real Life ft. Default Friend

    February 8th, 2022  |  1 hr 1 min
    cyberpunk, cyberspace, digital life, history, humdog, internet, second life, slaves of gor, the sims

    DF and Emmet had such a good time talking about early internet history they decided to do it again. This time, they're looking at humdog's seminal but half-forgotten essay "pandora's vox." DF and Emmet try to work through the internet as a form, it's incredible liquidity, how physical space has transubstantiated into the internet, things like the Slaves of Gor fandom as a substructure of the internet, what it means that humdog seems to have committed suicide over exactly the kind of relationship she warned about and more!

  • Episode 76: A Rape in Cyberspace ft. Default Friend

    February 1st, 2022  |  1 hr 2 mins
    90s, cancel culture, culture, cyberpunk, history, internet, internet culture, metaverse, metoo, rape, second life

    Default Friend returns to talk with Emmet about Julian Dibbel's famous essay, A Rape in Cybserpace, which presaged our digital social experience back in 1993. DF and Emmet talk about etiquette, digital governance, the weirdness of online life, the "distributed self," what it would mean to take the internet seriously, and more!

  • Episode 75: The Shock of the New pt. 1: The Mechanical Paradise

    January 25th, 2022  |  51 mins 10 secs
    art, art history, cezanne, cubism, duchamp, modern art, modernism, painting, picasso, screens, ww1, wwi

    Emmet and John begin their new series on Robert Hughes's documentary series The Shock of the New. This first installment takes on early modernism. The lads contemplate the impact of WWI, think on what really separates the modern experience from previous eras, and what makes our era different from early modernism.

  • Episode 74: Welcome to the Desert of the Political ft. Anton Jager

    January 18th, 2022  |  56 mins 32 secs
    blm, covid, fandom, george floyd, political theory, politics, populism, social media, trump

    Anton Jager sits down with Emmet to talk about how we moved from the post-political age of technocratic consensus to the noisy stasis of our current hyper-political present. They talk about whether the right and left descriptors handed down from French parliament hold today, politics as fandom, the death of political responsibility, and more!

  • [teaser] The True and Only Heaven 9: The Spiritual Discipline Against Resentment

    January 16th, 2022  |  9 mins 45 secs
    american history, blm, christianity, civil rights, history, mlk, spirituality, whiteness, woke, wokeness

    Emmet and John take on the ideas of Reinhold Niebuhr and his impact on neocons and MLK. Then they look at Lasch's interpretation of MLK's intellectual life and political career. They compare the Southern and Northern Civil Rights campaigns and contemplate the deadlock, in part created by King himself, left in his wake. They close by discussing resentment and its politics.

  • Episode 73: American Canon: Joan Didion's "Insider Baseball" ft. Luke Thompson

    January 11th, 2022  |  1 hr 15 mins
    american history, american literature, campaign, david foster wallace, didion, history, joan didion, literature, nonfiction, politics, writers

    Luke Thompson returns to talk with Emmet about Joan Didion, who recently passed. They focus on her essay "Insider Baseball," her coverage of the 1988 presidential primary season, and discuss the nature of American presidential campaigns, the campaign press, the nature of Didion's insights, what made 2016 so weird, and more!