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THE DRY TINDER OF RESENTMENT & OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMANCIPATION - INTERESTING TIMES 25

THE DRY TINDER OF RESENTMENT & OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMANCIPATION - INTERESTING TIMES 25

March 6, 2021

Borrowing a metaphor from Chris Hedges, I consider the UK body politic as rather like a bulk of dry tinder waiting for a random spark to ignite a conflagration of unrest.  I suggest that both Brexit and the COV19 pandemic are intensifiers of this flammability. I treat the matter as having economic and cultural-ideological dimensions, particularly lighting on recent trade union activity in the UK. The recent UK budget receives some attention, particularly the 1% pay rise offer made to health service workers and the angry response that the health professionals made to it. I make suggestions as to how the broad left might not be caught disorientated the day after the inevitable sublime moments that are now waiting in the wings. This involves the judicious use of the utopian imagination to co-ordinate the many strands of progressive activism. [Free. 43 minutes.]

FREUD’S INFLUENCE ON US GOVERNMENT & BUSINESS

FREUD’S INFLUENCE ON US GOVERNMENT & BUSINESS

February 15, 2021

This podcast ranges wide over the uses of Freud's insights for manipulating mass thinking and behaviour on behalf of the state and corporations. We review Adam Curtis' four part documentary  The Century of the Self (2002),  as a way in. There is particular focus on the work of Freud's nephew Bernays, the father of modern PR and advertising and author of Propaganda (1928). We also draw attention to philosophical problems with Freudianism, particularly those noted by Wittgenstein and Heidegger. Though standing alone, the podcast is also groundwork for future podcasts on the psychopathology of fascism.

The Century of the Self available on YouTube. Episode 1- https://youtu.be/DnPmg0R1M04

REASON ON REASON 4 - MADNESS

REASON ON REASON 4 - MADNESS

February 3, 2021

In this podcast we examine madness or the loss of reason to further our picturing of reason. We start out with the fact that madness, like reason has a history which offers us a variety of causal explanations of madness, treatments for it, and accounts of its meaning. We also give a brief account of nosological drift. Both of these preliminaries serve to cast suspicion on the notion that we can discern madness through contrast with a supposedly sane consensus reality. Accordingly, we are drawn to consider madness in terms of suffering people and to appraise crazy social and political situations through the employment of a critical awareness rather than accepting the status quo understanding as a yardstick. That critical awareness, we claim, entails acquaintance with ones own potential for irrationality. [Free. 54 minutes.]

LOOKING BACK OVER 2020 AND FORWARD TO 2021 - INTERESTING TIMES 19

LOOKING BACK OVER 2020 AND FORWARD TO 2021 - INTERESTING TIMES 19

January 1, 2021

On New Year's Day 2021, we pause to look both backwards and forwards. We identify and discuss four themes: the defeat of Trump and what that means for the global right Internationale, the fragmentation of the left and signs in movements around the world of its incipient re-emergence, the intensifying struggle to control information and particularly the internet, the impact of certain technological developments such as AI and CRISPR. We indicate how these developments are interlocked and how that points towards what is to be done. [Free.  47 minutes.]

REASON ON REASON 2 - THE ANTECEDENTS TO THE ENLIGHTENMENT

REASON ON REASON 2 - THE ANTECEDENTS TO THE ENLIGHTENMENT

December 17, 2020

In this second episode of our series on reason, I take a broad brush to outline 

some of the main antecedents to the so-called European Enlightenment, also know as 'The Age of Reason'. I focus on the rise of experimental science in the contexts of church power and violence against those who contradict its doctrines, the rise of the bourgeoisie, and advances in mathematics. The figures of Descartes, Galileo and Newton loom large but Aristotle, Aquinas, Copernicus, Kepler and others also have parts. [Free. 44 minutes.]

JOHNSON’S POST-TRUTH SPEECH TO TORY CONFERENCE - INTERESTING TIMES 11

JOHNSON’S POST-TRUTH SPEECH TO TORY CONFERENCE - INTERESTING TIMES 11

October 8, 2020

In this podcast, I examine Boris Johnson's speech to the Tory Party Conference 2020. I identify several instance of incoherence within the speech. These concern the ostensible allegiance to private provision of public service which on examination is seen to obscure the actual entanglement of state and corporate power, the rhetorical reduction of the concept of freedom to a triviality, a scant regard for truth, a display of ignorance as to the nature of historical narrative, and, hoping no-one will notice, talking as though xenophobia and a concern for social justice can be reconciled, which they can't.  [Free. 34 minutes.]

WHAT IS FASCISM? 2 - THE PRESENT DAY UK & USA

WHAT IS FASCISM? 2 - THE PRESENT DAY UK & USA

October 6, 2020

In this podcast, I ask the question, "Are the US and UK fascist?" I attempt to address this question by checking if any of the features I identified in the first podcast of this series are observable in the current situations in the UK and the US. [I leave aside the matter of the economy for a future podcast.] I conclude that many of the elements of fascism are present and that some are venerable, others incipient and some are being actively cultivated. I suggest briefly what needs to be done about this dangerous situation. [Free. 1 hour 2 mins.]

WHAT IS FASCISM? 1 - HISTORICAL EXAMPLES

WHAT IS FASCISM? 1 - HISTORICAL EXAMPLES

October 2, 2020

In this first of a series on fascism, I identify eleven prominent features of the historical forms of fascism of Hitler's Germany  and Mussolini's Italy, describe them and show how they inter-relate.  I make the point that the features can give rise to varied surface appearances and that we shouldn't expect future manifestations of the 'syndrome' to look like Nazi Germany or fascist Italy. I propose to see, in future podcasts of this series, to see if we find any of the crucial feature incipient or actually present in the contemporary situation of the USA and the UK.  [Free. 54 minutes.]

COVIDIOCY: WHO BENEFITS? - INTERESTING TIMES 10

COVIDIOCY: WHO BENEFITS? - INTERESTING TIMES 10

September 1, 2020

In this podcast, we analyse the covid-is-a-hoax movement which demonstrated recently in London, demanding the abandonment of all remedial measures against the global pandemic. We do so primarily by asking the question that we identified in a recent podcast [Grassroots and Astroturf] 'Who benefits from this movement?' The question proves revelatory of how this movement plays to the far right and upholds the status quo, whilst claiming the contrary. The involvement of far right parties in the loose coalition of new-agers, antivaxers, climate deniers, and adherents to fantastic conspiracy theories is not accidental. These elements are stitched together by irrationalism. [Free. 24 minutes.]

AGAINST FLAG-SHAGGING - INTERESTING TIMES 9

AGAINST FLAG-SHAGGING - INTERESTING TIMES 9

August 28, 2020

In this podcast, we argue that patriotism is ideological, irrational, based on arbitrary boundaries, implicated in the weaponisation of history, employed by dead-cat culture wars, and rooted in a pathological narcissism. We suggest how those afflicted with it might return to health. [Free. 27 minutes.]

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