The Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) like to take credit for ending the Vietnam War and Nixon Administration and civilizing the United States through their work in the women’s and environmental movements in the 1970s. A more complete and historical analysis, though, tells the story of this “generation of sociopaths,” according to writer Bruce Gibney, who argues that this uniquely narcissistic and short-sighted nature is responsible for the social and economic policies that have brought our nation and planet to the brink of collapse. Amos and Ex discuss–let the Oedipal jokes fly, haters–connecting the Boomers to neoliberal economics, climate change, our crumbling of public infrastructure and education system, and the dismantling of social solidarity and American democracy generally.
Consider this long public record: opposition to bussing for the purpose of school desegregation, votes in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act and the Iraq War, longstanding approval of the Hyde amendment outlawing use of public funds for anything resembling abortion services, and staunch support for the financial industry that continues to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of fewer Americans…. Southern conservative, right? Nope. That’s the legacy of “Uncle” Joe Biden, who, if this record were not enough to disqualify him from the democratic nomination for president, is also a rather handsy guy. Today Amos and Ex discuss the wide variety of reasons why voters can and must send Joe back to Delaware sooner rather than later.
Today, Amos and Ex chat with former North Dakota senator Byron Dorgan in a wide-ranging conversation that tackles everything from energy and health policy to Standing Rock. And disaster fiction. Beside his 2006 book on trade and outsourcing, Take This Job and Ship It, Dorgan has co-authored two remarkably apocalyptic novels with David Hagberg: Blowout (2012) and Gridlock (2013). The former takes on the very real threat of climate disaster and posits North Dakota as ground zero for the climate solutions that will have to emerge if humans are to save our civilization this century. And as the 2020 presidential campaign heats up, we get an answer to the question of why Dorgan never ran for President.
After starting with a new report on the cheaper-than-the-current-system cost of Medicare for All, Amos and Ex discuss the “inevitability” of a Bernie nomination (Joe Biden and the DNC notwithstanding), polling, and upstart oldster Mike Gravel. Also addressed are Noam Chomsky’s take on Donald Trump and the so-called “debate of the century” between Slavoj Zizek and Jordan Peterson.
Black holes. They’re everywhere. Especially Washington. Perhaps this is why so many good ideas go there never to return: universal health care, Net Neutrality, higher minimum wage, free public college, and so on. And now we have an actual picture of a black hole. Having recently lost a previous episode to the ether, Amos and Ex approach the event horizon of the future by chatting about campaign polling, the ecosystem under our feet, Greil Marcus, and the sucking hole that is the American university.
Russian time travel? Mushrooms on Mars? What reality is this? Amos and Ex discuss. And speaking of fantasy, we also riff on the so-called “punk” presidential campaign of Beto O’Rourke and how his name-dropping of groups like Fugazi in the media marks a potentially dangerous move by the Democrats to “aestheticize politics” (to quote Walter Benjamin) when what we need today is to politicize art.
¿Que pasa, Calabaza? Today Amos and Ex discuss their respective experiences south of the United States–Cuba for Ex and and Argentina-Chile-Bolivia-Peru for Amos–as a way into a discussion on the future, the center, and the periphery of postmodern culture. And if it is true, as J.G. Ballard noted, the “the periphery is where the future reveals itself,” then perhaps the future is taking shape in North Dakota, which despite being the geographical center of North America remains on the periphery of American society in a host of ways. (Dianogah’s “The Smallest Chilean” courtesy Southern Records.)
Beginning with a discussion of “The Simpsons” and self-hate, today Amos and Ex spend the hour discussing UFOs, aliens, and astrotheology. This branch of theology, which combines critical analyses of contemporary space science with traditional belief systems such Judeo-Christianity in an effort to construct meaningful understandings of the human condition within a cosmos that likely harbors other intelligent life, is obviously relevant to those of us thinking about the future of human civilization on this planet–or off it.
What’s your American healthcare system horror story? We’ve all got one. Amos and Ex discuss theirs in the service of advocating for Medicare for All. Also discussed are how the existing health system cannot be described as anything but disciplinary and how both the Right and the Left seem to be exhibiting suicidal tendencies in the face of climate change and a declining social order. As such, we also touch upon Sigmund Freud’s 1924 essay on the “Economic Problem of Masochism.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal drops her Medicare for All bill (HR 1384) in the U.S. House with 106 co-sponsors. Amos and Ex discuss. Also bandied about at length are Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek and his 2010 book Living in the End Times, which gave this podcast its title. Spoiler alert: capitalism is dying and as such the West is in the throes of the initial stages of Elisabeth Kubler Ross’s five stages of grief, namely denial and anger. Next comes bargaining, of which Medicare for All and a Green New Deal (we hope) are the beneficiaries.