Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) returns to give Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) the Never Trumper view on culture wars, judicial festishization, and the all-important business of impeachment. Plus: a wacky game about pathological lying! Please consider checking out Rick’s new book Running Against the Devil: A Plot to Save America from Trump–and Democrats from Themselves; a title that we will almost certainly be fighting him about next time he joins the show.
Are you looking for a book on the Midwest and Christianity that doesn’t excuse racism? Good news! This week Lyz Lenz (@lyzl) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to talk about her book God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America. They start by diving into the parallels between Lyz’s divorce and the 2016 election; America is a lot like your crappy college boyfriend whose red flags you ignored. Afterwards, they discuss what our silence means, especially as white liberals. Finally, they talk about atonement and what it means to better yourself when you have harmed others.
This week Jason Kander (@JasonKander) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to talk about his most recent work with veterans and what brought him there. They cover Jason’s political history, how he got help, and why no one should use running for president to avoid their problems. Afterwards, they discuss ways of finding hope and making change outside of the political sphere.
Later, Sheila Bynum Coleman (@sheilaforva) joins the show to talk about her campaign for delegate in Virginia. They talk about Sheila’s motivation for running and what it would mean to flip the Virginia General Assembly (spoiler: it’s A LOT). Finally, Sheila reminds us that when we vote, we win.
Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) live at the Texas Tribune Fest in Austin. The two non-millionaires discuss race, the gubernatorial race for Florida, HBCUs, the dream of living regular conflicts, and reserving curse words in Texas for use by Beto. Then, AMC chats with Shani Curry Mitchell (@Shanic4da) who is running for District Attorney in New York’s Monroe County. Mitchell spent thirteen years as a prosecutor and during that time lost her sister to a tragic event. She’s pushing for more progressive sentencing.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs (@wittelstephanie) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to discuss her new podcast Last Day on Lemonada Media. Stephanie’s brother, comedian Harris Wittels, died in an overdose, and now she’s exploring the opiate epidemic person by person. It’s a way of both normalizing and investigating what’s happening across America with our secret pandemic. Stephanie and Ana pick apart the systems that rewire the human brain via addiction, and the new-wiring it takes to correct for these changes. It’s a painfully personal journey and we appreciate you coming along for the ride. Stories can always go a different way, and every story is worth telling.
Harris on You Made It Weird: https://archive.nerdist.com/you-made-it-weird-236-harris-wittels-returns/
Bassey Ikpi (@Basseyworld) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) at Magers & Quinn Booksellers in Minneapolis for a live interview regarding her new book I’m Telling The Truth, But I’m Lying. This overwhelmingly open discussion dives into issues around mental health, the truth about Bold Introverts, the racial disparities in emotional healthcare, ranking the cultural sexiness of various bipolar disorders, and how there’s rarely a storybook happy ending for people with Different Brains.
TW: Suicidal Ideations, Depression
Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) at Cap Times Idea Fest in Wisconsin in front of a live studio audience. In this wide-ranging interview, they cover Blair’s memoir (Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube), all things mushing, how to dress for cold weather, climate change, and the surprising similarities between raising dogs and cultivating a compassionate online community. They also discuss some of the more sensitive topics in her memoir, including Blair’s interactions with toxic masculinity, and how her chronic illness altered her relationship with productivity and leisure. Come join for this in-depth cultural dissection with the ally who came in from the cold.
This week Avery Trufelman (@trufelman) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to discuss the possibility of a better tomorrow. Avery’s new show Nice Try! Is a podcast about various failed attempts at utopias across the ages, and what our (maybe) crumbling civilization can learn from those who came before us. Good intentions aren’t enough of a foundation for our future without, you know, literal foundations.
Article referenced by Avery: How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation
Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to discuss current events and politics at large. After a game to test Ricks’s knowledge of the Trump administrations many, many attempts at spin, the two dive into a discussion regarding the future of the Republican Party. With an insider’s unique perspective, Rick shares his fears for the future of the party (spoiler alert – it’s not looking too good), and sheds some light on the prevailing feelings of Republican politicians. Ana and Rick also touch on the primaries and 2020 elections, ending on a hopeful note about the power of the voter.
This week, Rachel Monroe (@rachmonroe) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to break down the lack of truth in true crime. Using Rachel’s book, Savage Appetites, Rachel and Ana explore stories of women totally consumed by true crime to draw larger conclusions about the cultural phenomenon. They also delve into the genre’s rise in times of uncertainty, and what its popularity reflects about the current political and social climate. Then, they touch on the dicey racial dynamics within true crime communities, which often prioritize white, female victims, even though most crimes in America don’t fit that narrative. Rounding out the discussion, they detail more harmful and toxic aspects of crime fandom, including the dangers of online vigilante detectives and obsessive online fan pages. Let’s all agree we want to see Despair: The Musical!
This week, Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) sits down with human rights lawyer, activist, and author Arjun Sethi (@arjunsethi81) to discuss the one year anniversary of his book, American Hate: Survivors Speak Out —as relevant as ever after the massacres in El Paso… and, in the short time since, the arrests of six white men on charges related to mass violence. Arjun and Ana also discuss their frustration with how hate crimes are typically depicted in the media, and how the average American can get involved in the fight against white supremacy.
Then, Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) from The Atlantic discusses his bestelling new book, How to Be an Antiracist. In soft-spoken, gentle urgency, Ibram guides us through the idea “there is no neutrality” in the face of racism: there is only racism and anti-racism. Ibram and Ana then discuss his various encounters with cancer; exploring a profound extended metaphor between the disease and racism in America.
You can find Arjun’s previous With Friends Like These episode here.
Washington Post writer Elizabeth Bruenig (@ebruenig) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to explain the seemingly nonsensical evangelical support for Donald Trump. They delve into the suicide-pact between Trump and Jesus Country that seems rooted in apocalyptic nihilism, toxic absolutism, and a devastating cynicism about American politics. With a warmth and sympathy stemming from their own familial connections, Ana and Elizabeth explore this version of Christanity that seems disconnected from their own understanding. Elizabeth and Ana then share the ways they’ve learned to cope in the midst of these turbulent times, and ironically, how their faith helps them face the hopelessness of the headlines.
After the horrifying massacre in El Paso, host Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) and former Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges (@BetsyHodges) navigate a complex discussion about race in America that’s all too relevant. Together, they break down the many ways in which racist structures diffuse and reinforce white supremacy. They also tackle the merits (or lack thereof) of calling someone ‘racist,’ and enter into a profound discussion centering around whether white people are “deserving of love.” For their answers on all these topics and much more, join us today.
Show references: Diana Butler Bass – All I Need Is Right Here
Betsy Hodges was the 47th mayor of Minneapolis. Mayor Hodges currently serves as an advisor to cities and mayors to improve equitable outcomes for people of color, she is a Fellow with the Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity (AFRE), and the Aspen Institute. Recently, she served as a Residential Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. She has written about politics and race for CNN and the Huffington Post.
Content Warning: Sexual Assault. In this week’s episode, E. Jean Carroll (@ejeancarroll) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to answer the age old question: do women really need men? E. Jean tells us about the road trip through femme-named towns and surprise interviews that forms the center of her new memoir, What Do We Need Men for: A Modest Proposal. In this frank conversation, E. Jean speaks about her rape at the hand of the President of the United States, and the coping mechanisms she used to survive. Ana reveals a complicated history of similar experiences, and both women discuss the enormous scrutiny victims face when they come forward, but lose their narrative to the media.
If you can, please donate to RAINN.
In this week’s fascinating episode, Alexandra Minna Stern joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to discuss how white supremicst and white nationalist ideologies became so entrenched in our current political landscape. We’re now in the age of Proud Boys running for office and Alexandra’s new book, Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate: How the Alt-Right Is Warping the American Imagination is the perfect launching pad into the deep, dark underbelly of modern white supremicist media and ideology. Together, they tackle several key issues including how to cover these groups without inflating them and the oft underreported emphasis these groups place on transhophic and misogynist ideologies.
This week Amber Scorah (@amberscorah) and Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) discuss Amber’s new book – Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life. Together, they break into Amber’s former faith with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, her complicated marital affair, and a subsequent exit from the church. Amber opens up about her current outlook on religion, and explains how she came to terms with her son’s sudden death. It’s more heartwarming than it sounds, we promise!
Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) and Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) meet for their monthly airing of grievances. Rick and Ana discuss how America is quickly becoming dismissed on the world stage, why a White House social media summit is the pinnacle of dum-dum behavior, how fetishization of normalization is unpleasant, and how the executive order overreaches of the Obama administration (which once caused Republicans to self-immolate) seem quaint in retrospect. Also: A New Game! (What? We can have new games. Lovett doesn’t have a trademark on new games. Lovett, come play our games!)
This week Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to discuss how she built the anti-gun violence group Moms Demand Action from the ground up. Shannon’s new book Fight Like A Mother is both a memoir, but also a handbook for replicating these triumphs, as a sort of Activism for Dummies. Ana and Shannon honestly examine MDA’s origins, successes, goals, failures, and how to forge intersectional relationships with surprising allies.
This week Anna Merlan (@annamerlan) helps us Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) parse America’s increasingly conspiratorial culture. Anna spent eight years covering conspiracy groups and just came out with a book, Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power. Join us as we discuss vaccinations, UFOs, spying on Quakers, and finding a path forward. Also, check out our bonus mega-mix of recent guests and their most ridiculous secret beliefs. (We had to end Conspiracy Month in the strangest way possible.)
This week Vann Newkirk (@fivefifths) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to discuss conspiracy and its complex relationship with marginalized groups. Why does conspiratorial thinking appeal to those who feel “othered” within their society? Vann walks us through how the historic mistreatment of people of color has created a baseline of skepticism that can grow into full-on conspiracy. As Vann says: “Black Americans’ belief in conspiracy theories is like the Farmers’ Almanac: accurate enough to keep using.”