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Know Your Enemy
2 minutes | 4 days ago
TEASER: Keeping up with the Bozells
Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content!From the union-busting, ad-man scion (Brent Sr.), to the fiercely brilliant and troubled National Review editor-turned-Catholic zealot (Brent Jr.), to the insipid media watchdog and Trump apologist (Brent III), and finally, to the ball-cap-wearing January 6 capitol siege participant (Brent IV, aka "Zeeker") — the Bozell epic has all the elements of a great family saga: pathos, intrigue, tragedy, farce, decline, and even a bit of redemption. In classic KYE fashion, we over-prepared and over-imbibed to bring you this story. Please enjoy responsibly!
76 minutes | 8 days ago
How to Survive a Pandemic (w/ Peter Staley)
Matt and Sam have an in-depth conversation with HIV/AIDs activist Peter Staley to get his perspective on Dr. Anthony Fauci's role in America's response to two of the most devastating public-health emergencies of recent decades: the AIDS crisis and the pandemic that began nearly one year ago. They discuss how Peter got his start in ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) in New York City in the 1980s, what the group was fighting for, his run-ins with Pat Buchanan, Jesse Helms, and other rightwing rogues, and how he came to know Fauci. How does Peter understand Fauci's role in the Trump administration's response to the pandemic? Should Fauci have resigned? What good was he able to do? And how does his experience as an activist inform his views about working with government officials on the "inside"? Watch:How to Survive a Plague (the 2012 documentary about ACT UP in which Peter figures prominently) Read:Sam Adler-Bell, "Dr. Do-Little: The Case Against Anthony Fauci," The Drift, February 4, 2021"A Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic," New York Times, January 10, 2021...and don't forget to subscribe on Patreon for all Know Your Enemy bonus episodes!
73 minutes | 19 days ago
UNLOCKED: Midnight in the Garden of American Heroes
Matt and Sam explain West Coast Straussianism, the school of thought behind one of the last acts of the Trump administration: its publication of the "1776 Report," the Right's shabby response to the 1619 Project and blueprint for how the American Founding should be understood and taught. What are the origins of this school of conservative thought? Why are its adherents so enthusiastic about Trump? How do they understand the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and U.S. history? And why are they obsessed with "identity politics"? Sources:Harry Jaffa, "American Conservatism and the Present Crisis," Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2003Publius Decius Mus, "The Flight 93 Election," Claremont Review of Books, September 2016Steven Smith, "Hidden Truths," New York Times, August 23, 2013John J. Miller, "The House of Jaffa," National Review, January 12, 2015Kathryn and Michael Zuckert, The Truth about Leo Strauss: Political Philosophy and American Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 2006)
3 minutes | 25 days ago
TEASER: L'Affaire (w/ John Ganz)
Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content.Beloved KYE guest John Ganz (Ep. 15: The Year the Clock Broke) returns to explain how the Dreyfus Affair (and the French Third Republic) help us understand the Trumpian right, fascism, and the left's response to both.
96 minutes | a month ago
Panic! In America (w/ the You're Wrong About podcast)
Matt and Sam are joined by special guests Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbes of the You're Wrong About podcast to discuss moral panics—from tales of rampant Satanism in the late 1970s to the Stranger Danger wave in the 1980s and beyond—and their role in the rise of rightwing politics in America. What do such "Save the Children" stories tell us about the way the conservative mind conceives of morality and power? What do they tell us about American culture and politics? It all builds to a discussion of QAnon and both the promise and problems with empathy.FURTHER READING AND LISTENING:Sarah Marshall, "Remote Control: Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan, and the Spectacles of Female Power and Pain," The Believer, January 1, 2014Michael Hobbes, "Everything You Know about Obesity is Wrong," Huffington Post, September 19, 2018John Paul Rollert, "Going to Extremes: What Acting Taught Me about the Limits of Empathy," Commonweal, January 27, 2021Rebecca Jennings, "What we can learn about QAnon from the Satanic Panic: An Interview with Sarah Marshall," Vox, Sept 25, 2020Paul M. Renfro, Stranger Danger: Family Values, Childhood, and the American Carceral State, (Oxford University Press), June 2020. Listen to You're Wrong About here, support them on Patreon here, and check out their merch here......and don't forget you can subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to all of our bonus episodes!
3 minutes | a month ago
TEASER: West Coast Straussians and the "1776 Report"
Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content.Your hosts explain West Coast Straussianism, the school of conservative thought undergirding the "1776 Report" — the Right's shabby response to the 1619 Project and a blueprint for how the American Founding should be understood and taught.
104 minutes | a month ago
Did It Happen Here?
Matt and Sam take up the question that's dominating The Discourse: Is Donald Trump—and the movement he leads—fascist? To provide an answer, they turn to the rich historiography of fascism and some key essays on the subject published since Trump's election. Along the way, they break down different approaches and sets of criteria for evaluating fascism, consider the similarities—and differences—between the 1920s and '30s and today, and ponder whether or not the "fascist question" is the right one to be asking. Listen to the end to find out where Matt and Sam finally land!Further Reading: Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (Vintage, 2004)Friedrich Reck, Diary of a Man in Despair (New York Review of Books, 2013; originally published in 1947)Federico Finchelstein, From Fascism to Populism in History (University of California Press, 2017)Kathleen Belew, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America Harvard University Press, 2019 Jason Stanley, How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them (Penguin, 2018)Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism (1950)George Jackson, Soledad Brother, (1970)Robert O. Paxton, "I've Hesitated to Call Donald Trump a Fascist. Until Now," Newsweek, Jan 11, 2021Richard Evans, "Why Trump Isn't Fascist," New Statesman, Jan 13, 2021Dorothy Fortenberry, "Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore" Commonweal, Nov 5, 2020Dylan Riley, "What is Trump?" New Left Review, Dec 1, 2018Gabriel Winant, "We Live in a Society," n + 1, Dec 12, 2020Alberto Toscano, "The Long Shadow of Racial Fascism," Boston Review, Oct 28, 2020Angela Davis, "Political Prisoners, Prisons and Black Liberation," Verso, Feb 21, 2018Jairus Banaji, "The Political Culture of Fascism," Historical Materialism, Feb 19, 2017.Richard Seymour, "Inchoate Fascism," Patreon, Nov 13, 2020. Samuel Moyn & David Priestland, "Trump Isn’t a Threat to Our Democracy. Hysteria Is," New York Times, Aug 11, 2017Corey Robin and David Klion, "Almost the Complete Opposite of Fascism," Jewish Currents, Dec 4, 2020. Peter Steinfels "The Semi-Fascist Candidate," Commonweal, May 16, 2016....and don't forget to subscribe at Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!
5 minutes | 2 months ago
TEASER: Storming the Capitol
Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content. Matt and Sam analyze the Trumpist "siege" on the Capitol on our latest bonus episode.
84 minutes | 2 months ago
Masks Off: The Right in 2020
Matt and Sam—in a rare, just-the-two-of-them episode—look back at what a bad year revealed about a number of bad people, especially the coterie of rightwing intellectuals and politicians who have downplayed the pandemic, exacerbated anxieties about the uprising against police violence, and played along with Donald Trump's conspiracy-fueled attempts to steal the presidential election. What holds these efforts together, and what do they say about the state of conservatism? It turns out that 2020 confirmed the anti-democratic, revanchist character of the Right in the United States.Sources Cited:Matthew Sitman, "Why the Pandemic is Driving Conservative Intellectuals Mad," New Republic, May 21, 2020Matthew Sitman, "Time in the Eternal City," Commonweal, December 24, 2020Sam Adler-Bell, "Conservative Incoherence," Dissent, Summer 2020Bret Stephens, "America Shouldn't Have to Play by New York Rules," New York Times, April 24, 2020"Trump’s Focus as the Pandemic Raged: What Would It Mean for Him?" New York Times, December 31, 2020"Pence Welcomes Futile Bid by G.O.P. Lawmakers to Overturn Election," New York Times, January 2, 2021...and don't forget to sign-up on Patreon for all of our bonus episodes!
3 minutes | 2 months ago
TEASER: Trump the Dove? (w/ Stephen Wertheim)
Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content.An excerpt from our latest bonus episode on Trump's 'non-interventionist militarism' and the future of American foreign policy — with Stephen Wertheim of the Quincy Institute.
86 minutes | 2 months ago
Why the Supreme Court Sucks (w/ the 5-4 podcast)
In this much anticipated crossover event, Matt and Sam take aim at the conservative legal movement with Rhiannon, Michael, and Peter—the brilliant and funny team behind the 5-4 podcast, a Know Your Enemy favorite. For those who are not yet fans of the show, it's "a podcast about how much the Supreme Court sucks" that offers "a progressive and occasionally profane take on the ideological battles at the heart of the Court’s most important landmark cases, and an irreverent tour of all the ways in which the law is shaped by politics." Topics discussed in this conversation include the origins of originalism, the founding of the Federalist Society, Robert Bork's disastrous confirmation hearings, the way the media covers the Supreme Court, and how the Left can fight back. Know Your Enemy listeners can check out 5-4 here. Follow @fivefourpod on Twitter for their latest episodes, along with hosts @AywaRhiannon, @_FleerUltra, and @The_Law_Boy. Special thanks to podcast guru Leon Neyfakh (@leoncrawl) for helping make this happen.Listeners, especially new ones, might want to revisit Know Your Enemy episode eight, "Koch'd Out," for a deep dive into some of the foundations and institutions mentioned in this conversation....and don't forget to support KYE on Patreon to listen to all of our bonus episodes!
5 minutes | 3 months ago
TEASER: A Working Class GOP? (w/ Aaron Sibarium)
Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content.An excerpt from our latest bonus episode on "the limits of realignment" with Aaron Sibarium of The Washington Free Beacon.
84 minutes | 3 months ago
Talking Trump (w/ David Roth)
Who is Donald Trump? The great David Roth, co-owner of Defector Media and a columnist at the New Republic, joins Matt and Sam to answer that harrowing question. From Trump's odd lies about his baseball talents to creepy White House Christmas decorations, this conversation was the perfect opportunity to unpack the neuroses, self-protective measures, cruelty, humor, and sheer weirdness of a terrible president on his way out of office. Also: Sam finally gets to do his Melania "impression"!Sources Cited:Leander Schaerlaeckens, "Was Donald Trump Good at Baseball?" Slate, May 5, 2020David Roth, "I Made Up a Fake Donald Trump Quote, and He Retweeted It," SBNation, June 10, 2014 David Roth, "A Unified Theory of Trump's Creepy Aesthetic," New Republic, December 19, 2019David Roth, "The Littlest Prince," New Republic, November 17, 2020For more of David's writing on Trump, check out his author archives at the New Republic...and don't forget to support Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to our extensive catalogue of bonus episodes!
2 minutes | 4 months ago
TEASER - What Happened? (w/ Eric Levitz and Dan Sherrell)
Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content!An excerpt from our election recap bonus episode with New York magazine's Eric Levitz and Daniel Sherrell, director of the the #VoteTrumpOut campaign.
87 minutes | 4 months ago
Suburban Woman (w/ Dorothy Fortenberry)
Matt and Sam are joined by Dorothy Fortenberry for a wide-ranging conversation about women and politics. Topics include growing up in Washington, D.C; her experiences writing women characters in Hollywood; why the left should take over existing institutions; the complicated Catholic motherhood of Amy Coney Barrett; and much, much more. For those not familiar with her work, Fortenberry is a writer and producer on Hulu’s award-winning adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, and her plays include Species Native, Partners, Mommune, and Good Egg. She's a regular contributor to Commonweal, among other publications, though for her latest political takes you should follow her on Twitter (@Dorothy410berry).READ: Dorothy Fortenberry, "One of Those Serious Women: Andrea Dworkin's Radical Feminism," Commonweal , April 29, 2019Dorothy Fortenberry, "A Plea to My Fellow Warren Moms," Commonweal, March 6, 2020Dorothy Fortenberry, "Why I Stay," Commonweal, November 18, 2018LISTEN:Highwomen, "Highwomen"Highwomen, "Redesigning Women"Dar Williams, "The Pointless, Yet Poignant, Crisis of a Co-Ed" ...and don't forget to support Know Your Enemy on Patreon to hear all Matt and Sam's bonus episodes.
78 minutes | 4 months ago
On the Road to Reaganland (w/ Rick Perlstein and Leon Neyfakh)
Matt and Sam talk to two esteemed guests, Rick Perlstein and Leon Neyfakh, about why U.S. politics took a right turn in the 1970s. “We organize discontent,” as one New Right activist put it—and they did. Fierce battles over desegregation, gay rights, abortion, and the meaning of America itself all paved the way for Ronald Reagan's smashing victory in 1980.Over four books and two decades, historian Rick Perlstein has chronicled the rise of movement conservatism in America, starting with its renegade beginnings in the 1950s and '60s. Now, with Reaganland (2020), his extraordinary tetralogy is complete—taking readers on a journey through Jimmy Carter's doomed administration, the culture wars of the 1970s, and Ronald Reagan's campaign for the presidency. Perlstein's sweeping narrative is paired in this episode with the brilliant work of journalist Leon Neyfakh, who just finished the third season of his podcast Fiasco. It's a deep-dive into the battle over integration in Boston public schools during the 1970s (colloquially but inaccurately known as the Boston "busing crisis")—a vivid and compulsively listenable portrait of a pivotal episode in recent American history.In this conversation, Rick and Leon disinter forgotten figures from a decade crucial to the rise of conservatism—the 1970s—while discussing how they tell stories we know the ending to, the problem of contingency and political agency, and issues such as American innocence, white backlash, right-wing rhetoric, and more. Don't miss this one!Further Reading: Rick Perlstein, "I Thought I Understood the American Right. Trump Proved Me Wrong," NYTimes, April 11, 2017Richard Sennett & Jonathan Cobb, The Hidden Injuries of Class, (1972)Jesse Curtis, "'Will the Jungle Take Over?' National Review and the Defense of Western Civilization in the Era of Civil Rights and African Decolonization," Journal of American Studies, November 2019Jefferson Cowie, "Is Freedom White?" Boston Review, Sept 23, 2020 Tom Wicker, One of Us: Richard Nixon and the American Dream (1995) ... and don't forget to support Know Your Enemy on Patreon to hear all of Matt and Sam's bonus episodes!
67 minutes | 5 months ago
How to Be Depressed
We released this bonus episode on depression and politics in July, and it quickly became a favorite of our Patreon subscribers. A number of them asked us to make it available in front of the paywall so they could share it with friends and family who have experienced depression and other mental-health issues—so that's what we decided to do. Topics discussed include: Matt's review of George Scialabba's memoir about depression; how left and right understand moral desert; and the struggle to build a society based on human frailty, our vulnerability to bad luck and bad breaks, and how much we need each other. Further Reading:Matthew Sitman, "Muddling Through: A Depression Memoir Like No Other," Commonweal, July 14, 2020.Johanna Hedva, "Sick Woman Theory," Mask Magazine, January 2016.Gabriel Winant, "Coronavirus and Chronopolitics," n + 1, Spring 2020And Listening:Steve Earle, "My Old Friend the Blues" (1986)
66 minutes | 6 months ago
Not Even Past (w/ Jamelle Bouie)
From the never-ending culture war over the New York Times's 1619 Project to arguments about the Black Lives Matter protests to President Trump's promise to Make American Great Again, today's political conflicts reflect, to an extraordinary degree, disagreements over the meaning of American history. Jamelle Bouie's New York Times column is one of the places where these lively debates are most effectively narrated and clarified. Bouie joins Matt and Sam to help make sense of how history, historiography, and politics relate to each other—or at least, how they should. Along the way, the conversation takes up slavery and capitalism, Afro-pessimism and Marxism, and (a frequent preoccupation of the podcast) what left-wing patriotism might look like. Further Reading:Jamelle Bouie, "Beyond White Fragility," NY Times, June 26, 2020.Jamelle Bouie, "Why Juneteenth Matters," NY Times, June 18, 2020.Sam Adler-Bell, "The Remnant and the Restless Crowd," Commonweal, Aug 1, 2018.Vinson Cunningham, "The Argument of Afropessimism," New Yorker, July 20, 2020Nikole Hannah-Jones, “Our Democracy’s Founding Ideals Were False When They Were Written. Black Americans Have Fought to Make Them True.” New York Times, Aug 14, 2019. Sean Wilentz, "A Matter of Facts," The Atlantic, Jan 22, 2020.John Clegg, "How Slavery Shaped American Capitalism," Jacobin, Aug 28, 2019.Tom Mackaman, "An interview with historian James Oakes on the New York Times’ 1619 Project," World Socialist Website, Nov 18, 2019PLUS: Check out Jamelle's newsletter, which recently featured a huge list of books on the American Revolution and the early republic, and don't forget to support Know Your Enemy on Patreon for bonus episodes!
87 minutes | 7 months ago
Know Your Frenemies (w/ Samuel Moyn)
Matt and Sam welcome Yale historian Samuel Moyn to the show for a deep-dive into the Never Trump movement. Who are the Never Trumpers? How seriously should we take the heroic story they tell about themselves? Did they sink Bernie's campaign for the Democratic nomination? Have they reckoned with their role in paving the way for Trump? In trying to answer these questions the conversation moves from the baleful influence of Never Trumpers to a discussion of historical debates about over the rise of fascism, the perils of "tyrannophobia," and the possibilities for breaking through the hegemony of neoliberals and neoconservatives in our political life.Further Reading:Samuel Moyn, "The Never Trumpers Have Already Won" (New Republic)Robert P. Saldin and Steven M. Teles, "Don't Blame Never Trumpers for the Left's Defeat" (New Republic)Samuel Moyn and David Priestland, "Trump Isn't a Threat to Our Democracy. Hysteria Is" (New York Times)Samuel Moyn, "Interview: We Can't Settle for Human Rights" (Jacobin)Sam Adler-Bell, "The Remnant and the Restless Crowd" (Commonweal)Matthew Sitman, "Riding the Trump Tiger" (Commonweal)Pankaj Mishra, "The Mask It Wears" (London Review of Books)John Ganz, "Finding Neverland: The American Right's Doomed Quest to Rid Itself of Trumpism" (New Republic)Marshall Steinbaum, "Guardians of Property" (Jacobin)Books Cited:Robert P. Saldin and Steven M. Teles, Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elite (Oxford University Press)Samuel Moyn, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World (Harvard University Press)James Chappel, Catholic Modern : The Challenge of Totalitarianism and the Remaking of the Church (Harvard University Press)...and don't forget to support Know Your Enemy on Patreon for bonus episodes!
91 minutes | 8 months ago
Pandemic Politics (w/ Marshall Steinbaum & Sarah Jones)
Matt and Sam are joined by two special guests, Sarah Jones and Marshall Steinbaum, who return to the show to take stock of where we're at: our failed response to the pandemic, the connections between the pandemic and the protests, and how all this might play out in November. The four of us range widely—but be warned, this is not the most inspiring conversation. Are there any reasons to be hopeful? Listen and find out.Sources Cited and Further Reading:Eric Levitz, "Coronavirus is Killing Our Economy because It Was Already Sick" (New York Magazine)Sam Adler-Bell, "Conservative Incoherence" (Dissent)Sarah Jones, "Eugenics Isn't Going to Get Us Out of This Mess" (New York Magazine)Sarah Jones, "The Coronavirus Class War" (New York Magazine)Matthew Sitman, "Why the Pandemic is Driving Conservative Intellectuals Mad" (The New Republic)Know Your Enemy bonus episode: What Are Intellectuals Good For? (with further thoughts on the protests that followed George Floyd's murder)
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