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110 – The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster

In another edition of our ongoing Book Club series, we discuss the bafflingly prescient and hugely unknown E.M. Forster proto-science fiction and dystopian story The Machine Stops. This was written in 1909 yet managed to very accurately predict technologies like the internet, including its ability to be used as a device that can allow people to never leave the house: video conferencing, delivering food, clothes, music, literature and even artificial oxygen all to individuals living in isolation in underground chambers, yet connected to thousands and mediated by “the Machine.” A harrowing and all-too-familiar vision of a world saturated with social atomization and mechanized order as well the dire consequences they may bring.

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109 – Flow My Beers, the Policemen Said

We discuss the largely forgotten story of one of the largest riots in New York City history. In September 1992, some 10,000 off duty NYPs descended upon City Hall in a racially charged and drunken protest/riot, with their fury directed at Mayor David Dinkens, NYC's first and so far only Black mayor. We take a look at the details of the bizarre spectacle of off duty and on duty cops meeting at a bit of an “awkward” crossroads during the riot, the historical context of the event, and the instrumental role of the vile figure of Rudolph “9/11” “Don't-Call-Italians-Fascist” Giuliani.

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108 – Bloodless Meridian, or Jailed For a Crime That Doesn’t Exist

We discuss the investigative journalism of the recently published article “Black Children Were Jailed for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Almost Nothing Happened to the Adults in Charge” about a sinister judge (Judge Donna Scott Davenport) ruling in in Rutherford County, Tennessee with totally unchecked impunity and an wholly deranged and bombastic sense of moral superiority. For more than 20 years now she's been sending numerous children, some as young as young as 7 years old, to a corrupt and abusive juvenile detention center for extremely petty offenses (like using curse words) or for absolutely nothing at all, as we see in the article. Hopefully her reign of terror can finally be ended by shining a light on her disgusting enterprise through journalism like this and attendant activism and social pressure.

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107 – Reverse Sinema Logistics of the Faux-vel Office

The distractions of the interlocking bullshit from both QAnon and BlueAnon as recently exemplified by Tucker Carlson and Third Reich wunderkind Steven Miller's latest flame-fanning nonsense about the White House's fake Oval Office. The bizarre subterranean markets and mind-boggling waste from our big-box online overlords. Why is it China's responsibility to process all the world's garbage-rubbish-trash? Would a prison really spend 10 years and $20,000 just to refuse to give a blanket to an inmate? (SPOILER: Yes.) Kyrsten Sinema just being her own damn self.

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106 – Stowing Away on The Korean Wave

We address several excellent questions and comments from a listener (u/joshuaism) about Korean culture, partially through the lens of the currently extremely popular Korean streaming series Squid Game. The nature of Korean entertainment on the global stage. The country's complex relationship with gambling. Debt. Wealth inequality. Economic and social mobility. Loan sharks. Organized crime and its portrayal in popular fiction. Christianity and religion or lack thereof more broadly. North Koreans defecting to the South. Immigration and migrant labor.

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105 – At Least The Mafia Has Some Rules

Update of the Steven Donziger situation. CIA assassination plans. Russiagate further devours itself. Democrats negotiate themselves into oblivion. Covid Relief funds used to build prisons. Pandora Papers just dropped.

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104 – The Hidden Optimism of the Doomsday Clock

Steven Donziger finally catches a break. Conceptual art scams again. An unorthodox beverage choice causes a forest fire. 2021 Doomsday Clock Statement. Ban backpacks, not guns. 500k Americans lack indoor plumbing. Ban border patrol horses and everything will fall perfectly into place. Guantanamo Bay will be expanded, further privatized, and no goddamn horses or their pills and pastes will be allowed. Plus, we play around with this website.

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103 – Havana Parliamentarian Squid Games Syndrome

Gig workers get a little dignity. Bill Gates is a weird pervert, allegedly. China is doing exciting research into new energy sources. The parliamentarian wields more “power” over the entire legislative and executive branches. Haitian refugees welcomed by Mexico as the US chases them with horses and illegally sends them back into immense danger. Defense budget predictably balloons for another fiscal year. We answer a listener's inquiries about Squid Games and Korean cultural and historical forces connected to anti-capitalist media.

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102 – Munchward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way

“‎Who would die for this chance to be fed this death of pleasure with spoons, in their warm homes, alone, unmoving?”

We celebrate Jason's birthday by discussing the extent to which nostalgia can negatively impact people and societies (happy birthday!) and then move on to read from the classic essay written by the trio of Daniel Bessner, Matt Christman and Amber A’lee Frost entitled “Slimer on Coke, Muncher on Zoloft” which examines the Ghostbusters franchise and how the original films, especially Slimer, accurately depicted the excesses of the 1980s and 90s, while a newer, bluer, abomination dubbed Muncher, created for the soon approaching Ghostbuster's reboot/remake/sequel/whateverthefuck so unfortunately reflects, with some real accuracy,  the larger economic, cultural and mass-psychological state of present day America.

Stick around to hear our effusive joint recommendation of the new Korean TV series Squid Game.

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101 – Everyone is Beautiful and No One is Horny

Today we read from the essay “Everyone is Beautiful and No One is Horny” by Raquel S. Benedict, which examines the evolution of fitness culture in the realm of Hollywood films, contrasting the current moment primarily with the cinematic expressions of the 1980s and 90s. Interesting parallels are drawn between social atomization, residential architecture, a society gripped by fear and the need to be “battle-ready,” and this sexless pursuit of physical perfection, the body rendered solely or predominately as an investment of capital, just like a McMansion, some stock, or the eighteenth producer credit on another cape movie.

Before all of that we talk about George W. Bush's dumbass speech on 9/11, and the massive governmental failure to prevent millions of people from getting evicted, all in service of taking the Emergency Rental Assistance funds back from the states that have  been extraordinarily slow to disburse them.

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