Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Episode 126: Self Evidence

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To wrap this whole use of propaganda against the citizens that started in the Great War, I thought I'd share my personal journey both within and outside of the myths pounded into us through the television we watch in this Episode 126: Self Evidence.

In this episode, I read from: Tim Wu's fabulous book, The Attention Merchants: The Epic Struggle to Get Inside Our Heads; and from my computer's quickie dictionary. I further paraphrased the investigative work of Robert Parry.

I play: President Lyndon Johnson talking to Everett Dirksen concerning Tricky Dick's latest trick; and Ronald Reagan giving his inaugural speech. Musically, I play: an elevator version of "The Girl From Ipanema", made more or less famous in the movie The Blues Brothers; The Nora Bayes version of "Over There", which happens to have been the first version released; Lee Rosevere's "The Secret to Growing Up"; and Podington Bear's "Sensitive". KMFDM backed Chuck Mertz's ironic question in the opening, and you're now listening to Mistle Thrush's "It's All Like Today".

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Episode 125: I Want You, Two

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We're still at that turning point in history in this episode, this time when one country used the proven techniques of its ally to reverse a campaign promise and involve itself in a Great War. Hence, Episode 125: I Want You, Two.


Image here. Sadly, we lost the mustache war to the Brits.


In this episode, I read from: Tim Wu's The Attention Merchants: The Epic Struggle to Get Inside Our Heads; from two articles of Columbia Magazine, published by the Washington State Historical Society; and from the Wikipedia entry on the 1917 Espionage Act. I play a bit of Pee Wee Herman from the 1985 movie Pee Wee's Big Adventure, and through the episode work the 1917 Billy Murray version of George M. Cohen's "Over There". KMFDM backs Chuck Mertz in the intro.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Episode 124: I Want You

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Today, I explore a turning point, the historic but still fairly recent time when an English-speaking country chose not to order its citizens into battle, but to convince them to do so. The main message is this episode's title: I Want You.


Poster found here. Mustache seen everywhere.


In this episode, I share: a bit about phonics and the alphabet, detail I got from Kevin Stroud's great History of English Podcast; some detail about English nobility pronunciation-versus-spelling from Upton Sinclair's Lanny Budd novels; the Wikipedia page for Lord Herbert Kitchener; and details about Great Britain's entry into the Great War from Tim Wu's book The Attention Merchants: The Epic Struggle to Get Inside Our Heads.

I play: Lee Rosevere's tune, "The Dead Past" (the title alone seemed appropriate enough); and Enrico Caruso's version of "Over There". I open with Chuck Mertz from This Is Hell backed by KMFDM. I hope to explain why I played the Mertz introduction… later.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Episode 123: The Fungus and Mould of The Obscenery

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At the height of their popularity, patent medicine nostrum pushers engaged in so many extreme acts of outdoor commercial vandalism the era was termed The Age of Disfigurement. I describe it in this Episode 123: The Fungus and Mould of The Obscenery.

In this episode, I read from: James Harvey Young's 1961 book, The Toadstool Millionaires: A Social History of Patent Medicines in America before Federal Regulation; the Wikipedia page for Benjamin Brandreth*; and from my quickie dictionary. I play: a bit of Daffy Duck, first from "Ali Baba Bunny", and then from "The Abominable Snow Rabbit"; and a selection from Herman Melville's Moby Dick, read by Michael Bracewell. That selection came from something called the Moby Dick Big Read, where each chapter of the book is read by a different reader.

(I just finished The Big Read series myself; it was hit and miss, depending upon the reader in question. For you fans of Benedict Cumberbatch, though, I highly recommend his reading of the chapter called "Brit"; it is the best interpretation of the series by far. Oh, and you really must hear John Waters read the chapter regarding the whale's penis: it's the chapter called "The Cassock.")

Musically, I play Jahzzar doing "b-rain". I open with KMFDM backing Clark Gable, and close with Mistle Thrush.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

*I failed to mention both listener Vincent's pronunciation assistance and the Wiki page in the closing credits. I regret the omissions.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Episode 122: A Map Without Utopia

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There's a lot wrong out there, but it's not enough to simply point it out and shout, at least for me. If you insist on wandering through Wrongville, you may never get to leave if you have only this Episode 122's title: A Map Without Utopia.

In this episode, I discuss extemporaneously, without script, free style, a few discussion points, all while showing why my various first titles were just plain unacceptable. I bitch about the lack of an Internal Revenue Service pre-filing preparation service, as is common in many other countries. I groan about the Supreme Court's erosion over time of a workable definition of corruption. I wail about how the big banks, being largely silent owners of pay-day lending operations, pay to keep legislators silent about pay-day lending operations, and mention the movie Maxed Out that discusses just this. I also give a passing whine about how drug distributors made some bank by spreading the geld and redefining how much damage they could do before what they did became illegal. Finally, I quote Oscar Wilde.

I play: the Bee Gees, in reference to Bob and Brooke from On The Media; D. L. Myers, invoking the Powell Movement; and longest-time listener L33t Minion (well, longest-time voluntary listener, at least, with apologies to Bleak Nemesis for not mentioning him more often), who voiced today's "great." KMFDM and Justice John Paul Stevens give the opening, and I close once again with Mistle Thrush.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Episode 121: Good For Whatever Ails You

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Too many ads today owe their stylistic inspiration to old time pitches for patent medicines, empty exhortations promising far more than the elixirs they bottled could deliver. All that—and so much more!—in this Episode 121: Good for Whatever Ails You.



In this episode, I read from: Tim Wu's book The Attention Merchants: The Epic Struggle to Get Inside Our Heads; and a couple of Wikipedia articles, Patent Medicines and Medicine Shows.

I play: Podington Bear's "Whiplash String Swell"; The Freak Fandango Orchestra, doing "Requiem For a Fish"; and a bit of Visciera's "Watch the Room Burst". KMFDM backs Clark Gable in the opening; and I close today with Julie and Rolf doing "Over the Rainbow."

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Bonus Episode: Propaganda, An Introduction

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Sometimes I find something that should be shared in its entirety. It helps when the author of that something is generous with the permission that makes sharing possible. Such is the case with this Bonus Episode: Propaganda, An Introduction.

I do hope Professor Miller's essay (found in this edition of Edward Bernays's 1928 book Propaganda) clears up the history of that problematic P-word for you as much as it did for me. Once again, thank you very much, Professor Mark Crispin Miller, for your permission to read it here.

Musically, I played just the intro to KMFDM's "Attack," as usual, and close the show with Mistle Thrush's "It's All Like Today." To introduce Professor Miller's essay, I played a bit of Podington Bear's "Elephants on Parade".

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Episode 120: Call It What You Will

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You can call it propaganda, or you can call it bias, or you can call it undo pressure from funding sources involved in the topic. I call this Episode 120: Call It What You Will.

In this episode, you hear: The Real BGs, who helped me signal Bob and Brooke from On The Media; a segment of that show interviewing RT Host Abby Martin from March of 2014; a bit from the very short-lived Dana Carvey Show; Jaron Lanier, once again, from his Waking Up Podcast interview; excerpts from the first two installments of the New York Times video Operation Infektion; and D. L. Myers intoning the Powell Movement Stinger.

I read from: my quickie dictionary; the introduction to Jacques Ellul's book Propaganda; and James Piereson's quote, which I found in Jane Mayer's book Dark Money.

Musically, I play: two from Jahzzar, first "Lemonade" and then "Dial". I open the show with KMFDM backing Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens reading his dissent on the Citizens United, Not Timid decision; and I'm close with Mistle Thrush.

I'm releasing this and all my shows under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Episode 119: My Filter Bubble of Vindication

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Plunging blindly ahead without due regard is one way to do something. A New Year, though, provides a convenient calendar-triggered pause, where one can look back and make sure goals have not been completely abandoned or forgotten. Hence, Episode 119: My Filter Bubble of Vindication.

In this episode, I read from: Eli Pariser's wonderful book, The Filter Bubble:What the Internet Is Hiding From You; A Guardian article on the effects online entities are having on journalism; Now I Know's article on television ads getting sped up even more; a New York Post article on ads in for-hire cars; Chad Hill's comments on a recent episode; and Jerry Mander's also-wonderful book, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television.

Sound snippet-wise I play: D. L. Myers voicing the Powell Movement stinger; Lili Tomlin's character Ernestine the Operator; and Ronald Reagan's character the Outgoing President. I also snippetize 100% Chevalier's tune "Ghana Ghana" into the segment breaks. A snippet of KMFDM's "Attack" backs a snippet of wisdom from Dmitri Orlov in the opening, and I'm close the show with the final snippet of Mistle Thrush's "It's All Like Today".

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Episode 118: ¡Feces Navidad!

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In one part of the world, at least, the phrase "getting good shit for Xmas" is taken more literally than in others. For a fun look at this region, one intended as levity for what December 25th can bring, I offer the gift of Episode 118: ¡Feces Navidad!

In this episode, I play: The Vince Guaraldi Trio doing "Skating;" and a tune I yanked from the internets.


Holiday Pooping: It's a Catalonian tradition!


I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

With that, I wish you all warm and fecund holiday feelings and memories… freshly pinched, and conically presented in a spiral!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Episode 117: Can You Hear Me Now?

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It’s not coincidental that the most irritating advertising arose only after machines increased audiences. Broadcasting and amplification beyond the range of a single voice likewise allowed today’s aural effluent. Hence, Episode 117: Can You Hear Me Now?

In this episode, I read from Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, specifically a section I found quoted in Brooke Allen's book, Immoral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers.


What's Missing in This Picture?


Sound-bite-wise, I play: William Jennings Bryan's close to his famous 1896 nomination speech; and Alexander Graham Bell saying his name. I revisited both the 1947 movie The Hucksters and the 1950 television production featuring Spike Jones and his City Slickers Orchestra, pulling out of them some classic ads for both now-defunct and wholly-fictional soapy stuff.

To break things up just a bit, I played Lee Rosevere's "Ingenuity" (well, at least snippets of it). I opened with Clark Gable's character Vic Norman bitching about ads while backed by KMFDM; I'm closing the show with Mistle Thrush.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike and non-commercial license.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Episode 116: Gates & Gatekeepers

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The more I dive into media history, the more I find that surprises. For example, did you know there was at one time a chain of theaters that didn't charge for admission? It's a mulling topic for me on this Episode 116: Gates & Gatekeepers.

In this episode, I read once again from Tim Wu's The Attention Merchants: The Epic Struggle To Get Inside Our Heads. As I mentioned, it was a strange, throw-away line from that book, but it got me to thinking, which is a good thing for a book to do.

Musically, I played: Podington Bear doing "Senseless" in its entirety; and snippets from Jahzzar's "Breaking Bad" and Podington Bear's "Forces". KMFDM's "Attack" backed Bernie Sanders in the intro, and I'm closing once again with Mistle Thrush's "It's All Like Today.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Episode 115: With This Pin I Stitch Some Dumb

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Just when you get a good thing going, someone comes along and moves to wreck it. Why? Merely because it doesn't make nearly as much money as it could. Like the witches in the Scottish Play, I show one such player in this Episode 115: With This Pin I Stitch Some Dumb.

In this episode, I play: Brooke Gladstone, trolling for donors; a couple of the commercials Brooke would rather call something else entirely; and Jaron Lanier, interviewed on Sam Harris' podcast Waking Up. I read from one or two web pages for the podcast streamer Stitcher.

Musically, I played: Mudlark, doing "fine ointment"; and Podington Bear, doing "Dimlight." KMFDM backed Chuck Mertz in the intro; and Julie and Rolf sing us out around the campfire and Over the Rainbow.

I'm releasing this and all my shows under a Creative Commons 4.0 share-alike, attribution, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Episode 114: Coffee and Water Everywhere

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It's time to once again let my gums flap without a script to guide them. I've done that before; all I need is sufficient anger. In this case the outrage source is the idea that some people are better than others, that because of their circumstances, they prove able to get stuff for "free" that others are denied, even when those others have the cash to pony up for whatever those entitled offerings might be. This is a class-based distinction, and so far too few seem to be sufficiently outraged at the ever-increasing instances of it popping up here and there. I thought I would help spread my outrage in this Episode 114: Coffee and Water Everywhere.

I was inspired/enraged by an NPR article from September 29, 2018, titled "No Cash Needed At This Cafe. Students Pay The Tab With Their Personal Data." I know, right!?

I also play: a dictionary definition from my computer; Martin Luther King, Jr. opening the show with KMFDM backing; and the primary show closer, Mistle Thrush.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Special Announcement: The Cherry on My Crap Mondae

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'Nuff said.

Addendum: Never mind. It was a fishing attempt. It's amazing what 2 hours of sleep and a really crappy day will do to one's brain, though. Ah, fatigue!

That said, I'm going to leave this snippet up just because it jives nicely with a topic I've been mulling about for some time now. Having this snippet will kick-start me into turning that snippet into a full-blown episode.

Thanks for your attention. Carry on.

—Jim

Monday, October 22, 2018

Episode 113: Drab Walls Dance… With Ads

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Once again, I focus my attention on an inflection point, a moment in history when a technological improvement allows manufacturers to apply that tech in a new and previously impossible way. Today's technology is the color poster that, when introduced, made Episode 113: Drab Walls Dance With Ads.


More Chéret! More!


In this episode, I read extensively once again from Tim Wu's 2016 book The Attention Merchants: The Epic Struggle to Get Inside Our Heads. Musically, I play: Graham Bole's "Sunset at Goat Fell"; Lee Rosevere's "What's Behind The Door"; and Podington Bear's "Submerging Blue-Black". KMFDM backs Clark Gable in the opening. I close the show once again with Mistle Thrush.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Special help came today from listener Vincent who gave me much needed assistance with the French language. In the course of editing a show together, I have seldom had as much opportunity to just… giggle. Thank you, Vincent! Your contribution was perfect!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Episode 112: Ragged Dick, Right Here

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Ever wonder why a book was published? Ever since I saddled up and started riding this hobby horse of mine, this podcastic obsession I have with advertising and its deleterious effects, that's a question I can never not ask. I ask it again in Episode 112: Ragged Dick, Right Here, the conclusion to my deep-ish dive into author and cultural dog whistle Horatio Alger.

In this episode, I read pretty extensively from the introduction to Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick, at least from a more modern printing of that book (Horatio Alger, Ragged Dick and Mark, The Match Boy: Two Novels by Horatio Alger, The MacMillan Company, 1962). I think Rychard Fink used Ragged Dick to do his bestest to help thwart the leftist tendencies rising in his time. I also read: from Ragged Dick itself; and from a Politico article concerning the real reason behind the Little House books, an article I highly recommend you read yourself.

Musically, I play: Turmoil's "The World Is A Toilet"; and Podington Bear's "Ideas." KMFDM backs Bernie in the intro, and I close the show with Mistle Thrush.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Episode 111: I've Got Your Ragged Dick

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People have been describing the ascendence of busy business mucky-mucks from poverty to power for over a century as those that lead a Horatio Alger life. The trouble is, I'm willing to bet that precious few of these people so quick to throw out their easy descriptor have ever actually read a Horatio Alger book. Let's correct that in this Episode 111: I've Got Your Ragged Dick.

In this episode, I read from: Horatio Alger's 1867 book Ragged Dick; and from my computer's quickie dictionary. I also gave some plot examples from Upton Sinclair's Lanny Budd series, at least that portion I've read.

Musically, I played Jahzzar's "Storyteller." KMFDM opened the show backing Burlington Mayor Bernie Sanders; and I'm closing the show today with Mistle Thrush's "It's All Like Today."

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Episode 110: Head Banging

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Alas, another diversion from the promised path, this one in a new form! Curious about how best the future of podcasting should proceed money-wise, I consult someone far more expert than I in making podcasting pay, if only a little: KMO of the C-Realm Podcast & Radio, and most recently the GEBB.IO web comic. KMO and I put our heads together for a bit of what I'm calling Episode 110: Head Banging.

I open the show with Henry Giroux backed by KMFDM; and I close with Mistle Thrush.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Episode 109: Casserole

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Sometimes leftovers happen. Why waste a perfectly good ingredient or two or three or seven just because there isn't enough of any one for a meal? Time to toss with pasta, bake, and serve up these perfectly tasty but two-year-old ingredients in Episode 109: Casserole.


Fun story behind these….


In this episode, I read from some old newspapers concerning their opinion of Col. Blethen; D. L. Myers reads the poem "All Is Well" by an Anonymous author from 1912, the poem found in Upton Sinclair's 1923 book The Goose-Step, which reprinted it; and from the depositions of Monica Lewinski.



(I don't remember which ones or where I found them online two years ago. I do remember it was a hell of a hunt for the poorly scanned gif images of the deposition papers without a hint of optical character digitization.)

Musically, I play tiny, tiny bits of: Lee Rosevere's "Thinking It Over"; Jupiter Makes Me Scream's "Shine, Shine, Shine!"; and Pietnaska's "Noakowski." Podington Bear backs the Blethen Chimes poem with "Feldspar"; KMFDM backs Mark Blyth; and Mistle Thrush backs me in the close.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Episode 108: Day Breaks

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Well, advertising haters, I think I've finally located the source of the scourge that plagues us: the man who invented the business plan that spawned almost wholly advertising-supported news! I'll tell you all about him in this Episode 108: Day Breaks.

In this episode, I read first from Clive Thompson's Smithsonian article, "Tweet All About It: From 'user-generated content' to political screeds, the future of news happens to look a lot like the past" (from the Smithsonian, Volume 47, Number 2, May, 2016, pp. 43-49), and from the book Beyond News: The Future of Journalism by Mitchell Stephens, who was a major source for Thompson's article. Then I had to read from a whole bunch of websites on printing press history to correct Mitchell Stephens and, by extension, Clive Thompson. I also both read from and play Tim Wu talking about his book The Attention Merchants, which was appropriate because he was the one to turn me on to how both Thompson and Stephens were wrong, wrong, wrong.

Musically, I play Podington Bear's "Nocturnal", Turmoil's "Intestinal Parasite Contamination", and Jahzzar's "Dip". I open as usual with KMFDM, today backing Jan Wong, and I close with Julie and Rolf.

I'm releasing this and all my shows under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Episode 107: Pitching Wu

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To understand advertising today, we have to avoid simplifications like who paid for what message, and move into the nuances regarding how those paid messages—and the media that took the message money—attempt to capture our attention. So far, no better books address that nuance than Tim Wu's. Allow me, then, to endorse Wu's work by presenting Episode 107: Pitching Wu.

In this episode, I read from two of Tim Wu's books, The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires and The Attention Merchants: The Epic Struggle To Get Inside Our Heads. Again, if you like what I present on this podcast, you will find a lot to love in these books. I also play a bit of Wu himself from his publicity tour, recorded here in Seattle back in 2016. Musically, I play: Podington Bear doing "In My Head"; and Lee Rosevere doing "Gimmicks Three". KMFDM backed Clark Gable in the opening; and I close with Mistle Thrush.

I'm releasing this and all of my episodes under a Creative Content 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Episode 106: Summer Vacation Homework

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For reasons too mundane to explain, I've got a short episode this time, one with three pleas for listener participation. Give a listen. I think at least a few listeners might be interested in the topics, and be willing to contribute. Hence, Episode 106: Summer Vacation Homework.

Here's the link to the alternate rules to Elizabeth Maggie's The Landlord's Game. Other than that, I only have one quote from an online article this time, along with the KMFDM intro with Henry Giroux opening the show, and Julie singing and Rolf on the uke for the close. By the time I release this episode, I'll be packing up after camping with both of them around the campfire once again, hopefully with a field recorder filled with new tunes!

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0, share-alike, attribution, and non-commercial license.

Important Post Script! I learned the night before posting this episode that Blogger, the folks hosting these show notes, has a malfunction underway since May, a gefuckening that prevents me from getting notice of comments you post the usual way, through my email. This means I have to do something else to even check for the existence of comments, which is more cumbersome, and therefore is something I will do less often. Meaning, if you haven't heard back from me, don't panic. I will get to your comments, that I promise. I can't, though, promise when.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Episode 105: Show Me The Incentives

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A simple question too often sends my brain into overdrive. That's what happened here, when I was forced to confront the ugly realities of how money warps elections, a confrontation that jived with other reading about how similar realities has warped our nation's agricultural system. If you want to know how things will conclude, consider first Episode 105: Show Me The Incentives.

In this episode, I read from: John Moe's Conservatize Me; Keith Bradsher's High and Mighty: SUVs- The World's Most Dangerous vehicles and how they got that way ; and Charles C. Mann's The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World. I also paraphrased from a podcast episode of Peak Prosperity. Sound-wise, I couldn't resist playing a tiny bit of both Monty Python and The Wizard of Oz.



Speaking of Oz, Julie and Rolf with the Campfire Gang play us out. Earlier, you hear KMFDM backing Tim Bousquet to open the show. I also play two from Jahzzar: first "Dirt"; and then "Octopus".

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0, attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Episode 104: Rave Review: The Hucksters

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It turns out there are entertainments out there—books and movies mostly, but other entertainments as well—that cast a critical eye on advertising. It also turns out that these entertainments are seldom if ever seen or heard of today anywhere that relies on advertising dollars to keep the lights on. For that reason, you Dear Listeners have probably never heard of The Hucksters, either the 1946 novel or the 1947 movie adaptation of that novel. The movie version is the subject of this Episode 104: Rave Review: The Hucksters.

In this episode, I play copious excerpts from that movie, and quote once more Victor Pickard's 2013 book America's Battle for Media Democracy (NB: Link to a PDF preview of the book), the book that clued me in on the existence of this movie.

I'm releasing this and all my episodes under a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution, share-alike, and non-commercial license.