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Nostalgia Trap - Episode 150: The Tenured Radical w/ Daniel Bessner

The Nostalgia Trap

Release Date: 06/12/2019

Nostalgia Trap - Episode 161: Circling the Eschaton w/ Erik Davis show art Nostalgia Trap - Episode 161: Circling the Eschaton w/ Erik Davis

The Nostalgia Trap

Writer and cultural critic Erik Davis joins us to discuss his fascinating, often startling new book, High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies. By connecting the strange experiences of three psychedelic philosophers (Philip K. Dick, Terence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson), Davis offers a narrative of the 1970s that goes beyond disco and sideburns, showing us a world of occult prophecies, paranoid conspiracies, and often drug-induced spiritual fuckery.

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Nostalgia Trap - Episode 160: Growth Mindset w/ KJ Shepherd show art Nostalgia Trap - Episode 160: Growth Mindset w/ KJ Shepherd

The Nostalgia Trap

KJ Shepherd is a Ph.D. historian whose research focuses on the history of American standardized testing and the “test preparation” industry it spawned. Along with trading stories about the horrors of teaching the SAT, we have a blunt talk about what’s happening in the history discipline: the impossibility of finding full-time jobs, the humiliation of the application process, the “alt-ac” lie, and much more.

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Nostalgia Trap - Episode 159: Subtext Becomes Text w/ Eli Valley show art Nostalgia Trap - Episode 159: Subtext Becomes Text w/ Eli Valley

The Nostalgia Trap

Eli Valley is a comic artist and writer with an intense, visceral aesthetic that perfectly captures the rotten politics of our age. His acclaimed anthology Diaspora Boy: Comics on Crisis in America and Israel features a broad sample of his work over the past ten years. In this conversation we talk about his influences, both politically and artistically, and explore the historic and current role of counterculture in building left solidarity against fascism.

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Nostalgia Trap - Episode 158: Mapping the Zone w/ Liz Ryerson show art Nostalgia Trap - Episode 158: Mapping the Zone w/ Liz Ryerson

The Nostalgia Trap

Liz Ryerson is a musician, writer, and teacher whose work explores the ideological and aesthetic landscape of video games and cult media. Her podcast The Blood Zone features her critical ideas about niche/independent media, from indie game design to music and cinema. In this conversation, we discuss the wider politics of the gaming and media world, including #Gamergate and other reactionary burblings, and trade ideas about leftists treading the stagnant cultural waters of late capitalism. 

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Nostalgia Trap - Episode 157: Above the Law w/ Justin Rogers-Cooper show art Nostalgia Trap - Episode 157: Above the Law w/ Justin Rogers-Cooper

The Nostalgia Trap

Justin Rogers-Cooper returns to continue our discussion of this Summer of Strangeness, this time taking on the Jeffrey Epstein case: who’s connected, why it matters, and what it reveals about the dynamics of power, authority, and punishment within the wider nightmare of global capitalism.

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Nostalgia Trap - Episode 156: Cartoon Reality w/ Daniel Pinchbeck show art Nostalgia Trap - Episode 156: Cartoon Reality w/ Daniel Pinchbeck

The Nostalgia Trap

Daniel Pinchbeck is the author of a number of books that explore big subjects like human consciousness, psychedelic drugs, shamanic cultures, and the Mayan 2012 prophecy. Lately he’s been thinking and writing about UFOs, after a number of startling reports in mainstream media over the past year revealed the US government’s deep engagement with spacecraft of unknown origin.

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Nostalgia Trap - Episode 155: Ride the Snake w/ Geoff Johnson show art Nostalgia Trap - Episode 155: Ride the Snake w/ Geoff Johnson

The Nostalgia Trap

Geoff Johnson has been teaching American history since we were both graduate students at CUNY in the George W. Bush years. In this conversation, we talk about our respective political and cultural experiences coming of age in the 1990s, and reflect on the different paths that brought us both to the radical left. From beat poetry, Jim Morrison, and hip hop to anti-capitalism and anarchy, we try to connect our personal, very American lives with the larger historical forces surrounding us.

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Nostalgia Trap - Episode 154: Generation Gump w/ Bill Black show art Nostalgia Trap - Episode 154: Generation Gump w/ Bill Black

The Nostalgia Trap

Bill Black is a historian whose project Contingent Magazine (begun with previous Nostalgia Trap guest Erin Bartram) this month features a 25th anniversary retrospective roundtable on the film Forrest Gump. In this conversation, Black explains how the film’s particular take on boomer generation “greatest hits” hides the film’s deeper engagement with the politics of the 1960s and 1970s, and helps frame how some of Gump’s key characters and scenes often dangerously distort our view of American histor

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Nostalgia Trap - Episode 152: Concentration Camp USA w/ Justin Rogers-Cooper show art Nostalgia Trap - Episode 152: Concentration Camp USA w/ Justin Rogers-Cooper

The Nostalgia Trap

Justin Rogers-Cooper returns to the show to begin a series of episodes this summer tracking the global flashpoints of our historical moment. In this conversation, we talk about the term “concentration camp” in the context of Trump’s immigration policies, and game out the different scenarios at play regarding Iran. What’s Trump’s endgame in the Middle East? And what does this have to do with oil?

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Nostalgia Trap - Episode 151: It's the Endless War, Stupid w/ Danny Haiphong show art Nostalgia Trap - Episode 151: It's the Endless War, Stupid w/ Danny Haiphong

The Nostalgia Trap

Danny Haiphong is a socialist writer whose work frequently appears on Black Agenda Report. His new book (with Roberto Sirvent), American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror, explores the central mythologies about American benevolence that have served as the ideological spine for capitalism’s cancerous expansion.

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Daniel Bessner is a professor and writer and frequent Nostalgia Trap contributor. He joins us to talk about his controversial recent Chronicle piece taking on the American Historical Association, and to share his vision of how to rescue the humanities from the destructive forces of neoliberalism.