Episode 5, Part 3 (Me-a Culpa, You-a Culpa/Hogwart’s School For Transference)

Wherein Benjamin makes an apology of sorts to campus activists leading to an brief appraisal of their tactics, aims and relationship to administrative authority. Also, the liberal fixation on young adult fiction as a political heuristic is probed for Freudian undertones and as a self-serving justification for the apparent failure of “front row kid” wonkishness.


Articles and references:

Harry Potter and Academia


Yes, Minister


Episode 5, Part 2 (Nu-blesse Oblige)

Wherein Benjamin and Ariel discuss the concept of noblesse oblige in the context of secular modern technocracy and whether or not it, and other civic virtues, can be re-activated in the culture. Also Ariel paraphrases deadeyed ghoul Grover Norquist in a way he would have hated, kickstarting a conversation about the role crisis plays in the generation of urgency and commitment, which are necessary conditions for re-building a sense of community in an age of market driven social atomization.

Episode 5, Part 1 (No Way Out Without A Way In)

Wherein Benjamin and Ariel – finding themselves in reasonably good spirits – revisit the virtues and drawbacks of movement inclusivity vs. ideological focus using philosopher Richard Rorty and author Jessa Crispin as models.


Articles and references:

A review of Crispin’s “Why I Am Not A Feminist”.


On Rorty’s insight into the rise of Trumpism:


Terry Eagleton:


Thomas Aquinas:


Episode 4, Part 3 (Joy, and Other Weapons)

Wherein Benjamin and Ariel discuss the toll taken by the briskly moving events of the past weeks and uncertainty about their roles in the effort to resist; the importance of levity and humor in the fight against what’s coming; and how moved they were by the model of resistance and community displayed in Whitefish, Montana.

Also, a throwaway joke about beer leads to a brief appraisal of Heidegger’s, earlier, Nazier work.

Articles and references:

Whitefish, Montana, doing it right:


Martin Heidegger:




Episode 4, Part 1 (Grab Your Beers, Throw Your Bodies On The Gears)

Wherein Benjamin and Ariel discuss the 305 level course in the ethics of punching Nazis; sketch out some aspects of an effective politics of ungovernability and a friendship is almost ended over Ariel’s casual beer standards.


Articles and references:

Montana’s Anti-Fascist Resistance


JFK Airport Protests and ACLU Injunction


Beer Snobbery:


Episode 3, Part 1 (Inauguration Hangover Edition)

Wherein Benjamin and Ariel discuss coping; getting past the neoliberal fixation on non-partisanship, consumerist activism and comity while celebrating the fresh, raw energy resulting from the resistance to Trump; and the virtues of a vision of the Left that is accessible to all, both economically and geographically.

Also, Ariel has a brief rage fit.


Occupy Debate about demands and leadership

Episode 2, Part 3 (The Evaporated People)

Wherein Benjamin and Ariel discuss an epidemic of social suicide in Japan, hint at a Sapir-Whorf hypothesis for intractable social problems and the potentially restorative power of service for those suffering from existential anxiety.

Articles and references:

Evaporating People


Rollo May


Haruki Murakami