Produced by The New Republic and hosted by literary editor Laura Marsh and writer Alex Pareene, The Politics of Everything is a podcast about the intersection of culture, politics, and media.
Who Are You Calling a Fascist?
vor 18 Stunden
35:17As a matter of course, pundits and academics quarrel about political descriptors. Someone’s neoliberal is another’s conservative; someone’s democratic socialist is another’s Marxist. Within this realm, Donald Trump’s presidency and his continued power within the Republican Party have given rise to a passionate disagreement over the use of the term fascist. As Trump prepares his 2024 run, the debate has grown even more heated. On episode 64 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk to scholars Ruth Ben-Ghiat and Daniel Bessner about the meaning of fascism itself, and how—or even if—it applies to today’s GOP. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Roald Dahl and the Children’s Book Factory
30:48Roald Dahl’s children’s books are not exactly the nicest. Dahl’s characters glory in insults and meanness. The adults are generally horrible, the children gleefully vengeful; his bullies usually get their comeuppance. So when it came out recently that Dahl’s publishers had edited new editions of his work with the help of “sensitivity” readers, it was hardly surprising—and it was also hard not to laugh. How much can a handful of essentially cosmetic changes really do? On episode 63 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk with literary critics Merve Emre and Christian Lorentzen about the unpleasantness in Dahl’s work, the interest his publishers may have in making the books more palatable, and how such edits fit into a long tradition of bowdlerizing fiction, especially that aimed at children. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Silicon Valley Is Destroying the World
33:27It’s no coincidence that Stanford University was founded in Palo Alto, where many decades later scores of tech companies also got their start. Palo Alto is the birthplace of the “Palo Alto system,” an approach to training race horses that attempted to speed up the process by applying techno-scientific principles and injecting lots of cash. This ethos of optimization, argues the writer Malcolm Harris, defined Stanford, which in turn helped define Silicon Valley and the ideology it has spread throughout the world. On episode 62 of The Politics of Everything, Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk with Harris about his new book, Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World; the tradition of right-wing thought that underpins the tech industry; and the dark marriage of tech and military power. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The End of Opposition Research?
33:10It wasn’t long after his election to Congress last fall that people began to realize that George Santos was not what he’d seemed. But how did he get elected to begin with? Why did it take so long for the national media to pick up on Santos’s many, many embellishments? Where was the opposition research on this guy? On episode 61 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene chat with TNR staff writer Daniel Strauss about the first two months of Santos in Washington; with political consultant and campaign veteran Tyson Brody about the rules of the oppo-research game; and with TNR deputy editor Jason Linkins about Santos’s durability and what that says about the health of our political culture. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Fiery Gas Stove Wars
37:21We’ve known for a while that gas stoves are bad for both your health and the environment. But a few weeks ago, the discourse went into overdrive. First, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced it would consider regulations on indoor air pollution from gas stoves. Not long after, a study asserted that gas-burning stoves are responsible for roughly 12.7 percent of childhood asthma cases nationwide. Suddenly, the appliance acquired a crowd of newly passionate defenders, including Tucker Carlson, who warned that the government was coming for your gas stoves, and Florida Republican representative Matt Gaetz, who tweeted a video of a gas stovetop flame accompanied by the words: You’ll have to pry it from my COLD DEAD HANDS! #FoodieRevolt. How did the debate about whether (and how) to regulate gas stoves so rapidly morph into political Kabuki? On episode 60 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk about the fossil-fuel industry’s misinformation campaign, how our political views inform our consumer choices, and the ways the right leverages the perpetual outrage machine to avoid confronting daunting issues facing the planet. Guests include TNR deputy editor Heather Souvaine Horn; Marc Hetherington, who co-wrote Prius Or Pickup? How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America’s Great Divide; and TNR staff writer Alex Shephard. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The High Cost of Cheap E-Bikes
36:17Fires and overheating accidents attributed to lithium-ion batteries killed 19 people in the United States in 2022, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In New York City alone, six people were killed in these uniquely fast-burning infernos. Experts say poorly made batteries, like those often found on cheaper e-bike models, are the primary culprit. So why is it still so easy to purchase them? Does a typical bike owner know how to safely charge and maintain a bike battery? And are lower-paid workers, such as delivery people, essentially being forced to purchase unsafe bikes just to be able to do their jobs? On episode 59 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk with writers Greg Smith, Stephanie Clifford, and Ross Barkan about the New York fires and the populations most at risk, the regulatory challenges of reining in the e-bike industry, and the unintended consequences of our on-demand culture. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Preview: How to Save a Country
35:16Sen. Elizabeth Warren is known as the plan-wielding policy wonk of the progressive movement. But underlying those plans is a simple idea: We are the government. “Government is the vehicle for letting us do together what none of us can do alone,” Sen. Warren tells Felicia and Michael. “We all contribute and it expands opportunity for all of us, and I feel like that's what's really been missing as we've become a post–New Deal nation.” In this episode, Sen. Warren discusses how we can recapture that all-for-one ethos and build a stronger country: by investing in people and recognizing that democracy and freedom are inextricable. Naturally, there’s plenty of policy to discuss as well. Sen. Warren talks with Felicia and Michael about the big wins of the last two years—from the American Rescue Plan and Inflation Reduction Act to student debt cancellation—and how they shaped the midterms. “Good policy is good politics. When you do things that people want and care about and that touch their lives, that's both.” And later, Sen. Warren explains how her “personnel is policy” philosophy is reflected in antitrust and why abortion is a kitchen-table issue. Presented by the Roosevelt Institute, The New Republic, and PRX. Generous funding for this podcast was provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Omidyar Network. Views expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of its funders. You can find transcripts and related resources for every episode at howtosaveacountry.org. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Hollywood Blues (Rerun)
34:32In the past decade, the number of original, scripted television shows being produced each year has more than doubled. Meanwhile, subscriptions to streaming services have surpassed one billion worldwide. We have the shows; we have the access. Why does it feel next to impossible to find anything good to see? On episode 38 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene discuss how the streaming era has transformed what we’re watching, why we’re watching it, and the way movies and TV shows are getting made. Guests include Kyle Chayka, a staff writer at The New Yorker who’s written about streaming culture, and Peter Labuza, a historian of the creative industries. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Are Twitter’s Troubles the Beginning of the End of Social Media?
34:47For a few days in early November, it seemed like Twitter might go down in flames. That hasn’t happened—yet—but the prospect of the platform’s end has forced a reckoning. What would its loss mean for the countless journalists, academics, and politicians who rely on it? Would we be better or worse off? And could a diminished Twitter augur the death of social media in general? On episode 58 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk with the writer Max Read about Twitter’s possible futures, and with Ian Bogost, a contributing writer at The Atlantic, about why we should embrace the end of social media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sick Talk on TikTok (Rerun)
29:45Earlier this summer, TikTok users started describing strange symptoms after eating French Lentil + Leek Crumbles, a new product from the vegan food company Daily Harvest. The company received hundreds of reports of illness, and in June, it recalled the product. The Daily Harvest fiasco got special attention because people were reporting their problems on social media, but foodborne illness is far from unusual in the United States. Every year, millions of Americans get sick from something they ate. On episode 52 of The Politics of Everything, Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk with New York Times writer Madison Malone Kircher and Helena Bottemiller Evich, the author of the food policy newsletter Food Fix, about what exactly happened in the Daily Harvest scandal and why food poisoning is so common in this country. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices