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.”
This week Will Sommer (@willsommer) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) for a discussion of his work in exploring the wide-spread radicalization of mostly middle-aged people who think a shadowy cabal is going to take revenge on everyone they don’t like. And also make other people (including the still living JFK Jr.) like them and support their cause? QAnon, it turns out, is a bit of a mess. Which you might expect from an ideology founded on the belief that Donald Trump is out here playing three-dimensional chess to save the world. Our conspiracy theory theme month plows ahead into dangerously confusing territory, so come play 17 Questions with The Daily Beast’s specialist on all things pizza and pedophiles!
This week Jesse Walker (@notjessewalker) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) for an exciting round of “Who’s Right and Who’s a Nut?” Jesse Walker reminds us that you don’t need a tinfoil hat to believe in conspiracy theories, and that they have surrounded us for centuries. Afterwards they talk about when conspiracy theories have been based in malice, versus when they have actually been true. This is your periodic reminder that the CIA is still terrifying!
Afterwards, Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) joins Ana to discuss the contemporary issues that face Trans individuals in Trump’s America. Parker and Ana break down the ways the Trump administration slowly and gradually peeled back the few systemic protections that protected Trans individuals. They then shift to discuss the role the ways the media fails trans individuals by not addressing the gradual implementation of anti-Trans policies. While they navigate this modern landscape, they discuss issues that trans individuals have felt before Trump – including access to medical care, fair employment, and access to housing.
You can find the full episode here.
This week Adam Savage (@donttrythis) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox ) to talk about his new book “Every Tool’s a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It.” They talk about glue, principles of metal working, and how to forgive yourself when you mess up. Afterwards, they talk about why we are going to need radical empathy in order to make it through these troubling times. Finally, they discuss the myths that refuse to die, including the voices in your head telling you that you are not enough. Ana is then joined by new Crooked Host Rebecca Nagle (@rebeccanagle) who talks about her new show This Land. The first episode premieres June 3rd. Subscribe now atthislandpodcast.com and wherever you get your podcasts.
When you think of a Native American person what comes to your mind? Is it a sports decal? Is it Tonto on the Lone Ranger? Did you just think of all of the White people you know who claim to have Native ancestry? This week writer Tommy Orange (@thommyorange) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to unpack those stereotypes and talk about his book, There, There. They begin with a conversation on the violence Native people have suffered, and why resilience is not the right word. Afterwards they talk about why Native Americans are not a monolith. Finally they talked about the complexity of Thanksgiving, what schools need to change about teaching Thanksgiving, and advice for having a more mindful dinner that was originally about a land deal.
Y’all ever create a constitutional crisis to own the libs? This week, Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to talk Ana down after another week of neverending bad news. They discuss light topics such as the recent pro-forced birth laws in Alabama and Georgia, the need for democrats to campaign in the Midwest, and the future of our country. Afterwards, Jordan Klepper (@jordanklepper) comes on to talk about the formation of his new show Klepper, and what it means to weaponize your privilege when your show is based on a flawed premise. Jordan reminds us that there are people working for good, and that the world is not ending quite yet– at least not without a fight.
CW: Depression and Suicide. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression or suicidal ideation, please call the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255. You are worthy of love and you deserve to be alive.
This week Heather Armstrong (@dooce) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox ) to discuss family, a changing work world– and also going into several medically induced comas to cure her depression. They begin by unpacking that depression and why going to the extreme to find solutions seemed like the only option. They talk about what contributed to her depression spiral, and how she climbed her way out of it. Finally they talk about how climbing out of the hole changed her familial relationships, sometimes for the better. Tune in for a meaningful discussion on coming back from the brink.
What does it mean to be a well meaning white person? What does it mean to have to deal with well meaning white people? This week Damon Young (@DamonYoungVSB) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to grapple with those questions and more. They start with a conversation on vulnerability, and eventually move onto a broad discussion on race and intersectionality. Tune in for a meaningful conversation, and remember: it’s okay to be uncomfortable.
There are many misconceptions surrounding poverty in America. Author Stephanie Land (@stepville) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to discuss her experiences as a maid and how those myths affect policy and perceptions of low income people. They talked about what government should be doing, and what individual people can do to make other’s lives easier. Afterwards they dive into the psychological effects of poverty and coping mechanisms. Stephanie leaves us with some tangible advice: offer to babysit, and flush your damn toilet.
Interested in Stephanie’s book? Click here to purchase a copy.
Got Mueller Madness? Join Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) and Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) as they get up from a fetal position and debrief the Mueller Report. They begin with a quick review of the day from the perspective of the White House and various media outlets. Afterwards they talk about what it will take to defeat Trump in 2020, and which candidates they think can make it in this reality tv-esque election cycle. Turn off that NPR coverage and tune in.
This week host Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) is joined by Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) to talk about why scrolling down your news feed has become such a painful and depressing chore. Kathleen Hall Jamieson breaks down the rise of cynicism in the last 25 years and what the American media consumer can do to turn things around. Later, Jay Rosen joins Ana to talk about why political journalists need to stop trying to outsmart each other constantly. Jay tells us, we can’t critique a bullet as it comes towards us. We promise you, there are solutions.
P.S. Ana would like to attribute her line, dystopia is here, it’s just unequally distributed, to writer William Gibson.
Need some advice on how to deal with that one uncle who brings up the Birther Conspiracy at every family gathering? This week journalist Eli Saslow (@elisaslow) joins host Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to discuss to radicalization of older people.
One of our listeners, Holly Griffith, is a NASA rocket scientist. She wrote to us because she’s experienced a huge disconnect with her mother over fake news related nonsense. She called-in and discussed some of the trauma of losing a parent to Russian troll-farm memes. But that led us to asking a specialist about why 55+ is the target age for radicalizing older people with nonsense. That’s why Eli outlines how we got here and the reasons why fake news has persisted. Afterwards, there’s a discussion of the things we can do as individuals to make a difference. Although Eli tells us that you probably will not be able to straighten out your uncle by Easter or Passover dinner, he reminds us that there are plenty of success stories and that there is hope yet.
This week Nausheena Hussain (@nausheena) and Beth Gendler (@bethgendler) join host Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to remind us that asking invasive questions requires a strong relationship, and that the internet is free! Nausheena and Beth talk about how their relationship formed over a common interest in stopping gun violence, and grew into a solidarity movement known as Muslim-Jewish Women on Minnesota. Afterwards they explore how White privilege affects not just their friendship, but the way that they show up for each other and how a typical meeting looks. Finally, they talk about changing minds, and when it’s time to call out, versus when it’s time to call in. Nausheena and Beth tell us that changing minds and building coalitions may seem daunting, but when in doubt, start by sharing a meal.
Want to learn more about Nausheena’s work with RISE and Beth’s work with NCJW? Follow this link: https://schedule.sxsw.com/2019/events/PP82441
In the wake of the blockbuster Cohen testimony, there’s a lot to be unpacked about how the Trump family handles relationships, and in particular how Trump has spent his entire life commodifying and branding women. Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) is joined this week by Nina Burleigh (@ninaburleigh) who is Newsweek’s national politics editor. She wrote the book “Golden Handcuffs: The Secret History of Trump’s Women” which picks apart systematic and generational issues within America’s Worst Family. Who is complicit and who is a casualty and who is a criminal and who is capitalism made manifest? Spoiler: it’s less of a straight answer than a Venn diagram.
Jussie Smollett. Yeah. That whole thing. Ugh. Ughhhh. This week, Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) interviewed Rolling Stone journalist Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) about how to untangle this mess. There’s a rising trend in hate crime and organized hate groups across the country, and as a society we lack the tools to parse solutions to these developments. Jamil discusses the implications of this trending disaster, and how our Commander-in-chief is leading the charge towards a dangerous and divided America. And what 2020 candidates should be learning from this.
Whether you’re going out to dinner, or sitting at home with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, Valentine’s Day offers unique problems for everyone. This week, Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) interviewed Blythe Roberson (@blythelikehappy) to talk about the modern pitfalls of dating men, when sometimes you can’t stand them. In her new book, How to Date Men When You Hate Men, Blythe Roberson covers the sexism that gets excused in the dating world, and why women often feel the need to be desirable in the eyes of the patriarchy.
Afterwards, Ana interviewed Amy Chozick (@amychozick) to talk about the Lorena Bobbitt story, the way we often devalue the stories of women, and how to change her legacy to one of a tabloid feature to one of a survivor.
First, Dr. Tressie Cottom joined Ana Marie Cox for “the hot take superbowl.” They began by recapping the Northam debacle in Virginia and where it fits into our historical moment. They continued with a discussion of Dr. Cottom’s new book THICK: And Other Essays. From Betsy Devos to our society’s flawed concept of beauty, Dr. Cottom wrote about her personal experiences with all of it.
Ana then interviewed Erika Christensen about her experience with later abortion. They discussed what it meant to take such a private moment and make it public, as well as the real life implications of policy decisions surrounding a women’s right to choose. Follow the links to hear more about Erika’s Story.
This week proud Kansas native Sarah Smarsh (@Sarah_Smarsh) joined Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to discuss her new book Heartland: A Memoir of Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth. From not knowing you’re poor, to feeling shame about your social class, Sarah Smarsh covers what growing up white and working class is like. Next, they discussed the intersection of public policy and private life, and why accurate media portrayal of poverty matters. Sarah ended by adding onto the call for representation amongst journalists and other media figures: “If we don’t know who we are and we’re just going by these reductive and simplistic narratives then how can we ever solve the problem?”