Progressive politics as Hawking radiation (LET026)

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.

Beto O’Rourke is not what he owns (LET025)

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.

Millions of Brazilians (LET024)

¿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.)

Jesus built my hotrod (LET023)

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.

Is there a doctor in the house? (LET022)

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.”

Living in the end times, the book (LET021)

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.

LET020

Are you ready for a brand new beat? Summer’s not yet here, but Amos and Ex are talking the evolution of pop music from often radical to largely benign and the significance of Bernie Sanders’s announcement of a second presidential campaign. Other topics include labor organizing in North Dakota and elsewhere, gas fracking, and the power of public opinion in American politics.

LET019

This wide-ranging discussion moves from talk of baseball in the 1990s (and how and why former Minnesota Twins player Kent Hrbek, whom we love, remains a cheater) to the much-needed “whistleblowing” of AOC and Ilhan Omar in the new Congress to corporate media consolidation and Noam Chomsky’s and Ed Herman’s classic text Manufacturing Consent, which was made into a now-classic film in 1992.

LET018

Amos and Ex are staunch supporters of Dave Matthews Band. Your move, haters. After spending a good deal of time talking Green New Deal and the necessity of nuclear power to help end the climate crisis, A&E spend the remainder of this episode chatting about how professional wrestling both serves as a barometer for political consciousness in America and in some ways even anticipates the future of discourse.