EP59: January 6th and the Myth of the Mob (ft. James Jasper and Joy Rohde)



The January 6th hearings continued this week, so we took it as an opportunity to revisit how academics tried to explain the events. Many likened it to a kind of psycho-social pathology; terms like deindividuation, psychosis, groupthink, and mob mentality were thrown around liberally. This is basically crowd theory, a line of thought developed in the 19th century by French physician Gustave Le Bon.

However, Le Bon was a reactionary bigot. He feared the masses, derided popular intelligence, and condemned democratic rule. Plus, his ideas are largely discredited.  Left wing scholars do not like Le Bon–at least not when it comes to understanding leftwing movements. Yet, when it comes to the right, something changes. Is it OK to apply reactionary ideas to reactionary movements, out of political expediency? We think no, because these ideas will end up inevitably being applied to movements for social justice. In fact, they long have been.

On this episode, we explore why academic always fear the mass, whatever the politics. First, social movement theorist James Jasper takes us on an intellectual journey — throughout the western philosophical canon, to Le Bon and beyond — revealing how publics have long been seen as irrational and emotional. Next, historian Joy Rohde takes us into the academic-military-industrial complex. The US military has played a major role funding these kinds of ideas, because they serve the interests of empire, white supremacy, and elite control.

——————FURTHER READING, LISTENING, & WATCHING————————-

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW————————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers usually get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content. Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

Darts and Letters is hosted and edited by Gordon Katic. The lead producer is Jay Cockburn, and our assistant producer is Ren Bangert. Our managing producer is Marc Apollonio. Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop, and we have marketing and video editing from Ian Sowden.

This is a production of Cited Media. This episode received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. It is part of a series of episodes on the relationship between activism and academia. Our scholarly advisors on this series are Professors Lesley Wood at York University, Sigrid Schmalzer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as Sharmeen Khan, Sami McBryer, and Susannah Mulvale.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples.


EP58: The Twisted “Science” of Great Replacement Theory



The suspect in the Buffalo shooting had a manifesto, as mass shooters often do. However, this one was different. It was littered with references to peer-reviewed scientific research that, he purports, supports his white supremacist beliefs. It’s part of a broader far right subculture, with ‘journal clubs’ and the like, in which research is read closely and appropriated, says population geneticist Jed Carlson (check out this thread in particular). What are scientists to make of it?

Plus, there’s a much wider intellectual history of race science and the right. Mitch Thompson of Press Progress details this ‘scholarly’ work, much of it CanCon, and how it undergirds conservative austerity politics.

Marc Apollonio is guest host this week.

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW————————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers usually get the episode a day early.

Don’t have the money to chip in? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CONTACT US————————

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter, Instagram,  Facebook, and YouTube. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca.

—————————-CREDITS—————————

Marc Apollonio hosted this week. Darts and Letters is edited and executive produced by the regular host, Gordon Katic. Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn. Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop, and we have video editing and marketing support from Ian Sowden.

This is a production of Cited Media. We work primarily in Toronto, Ontario, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples.


EP57: Truck Nuts (ft. Matt Christman, Shane Hamilton, Chase Barber, Justin Martin, & Gabrielle Esperdy)



The pickup truck is the symbol of rural conservative masculinity. So, it often takes centre stage in the tired culture wars between reactionary neo-populists and liberal moralists. Like today, with Canada’s right crudely embracing the truck–and tweeting furiously about those ‘Laurentian elites,‘ and ‘Toronto columnists‘ who thumb their nose at it. But, if you really want to piss off the libs: don’t just post about it. Why not hang some big veiny nuts from your truck? Today on the show, we talk about the political history of trucks and trucking.

——————FURTHER READING, LISTENING, & WATCHING————————-

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW————————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers usually get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content. Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

Darts and Letters is hosted and edited by Gordon Katic. The lead producer is Jay Cockburn. Our managing producer is Marc Apollonio. Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop, and we have marketing and video editing from Ian Sowden.

This is a production of Cited Media. This episode received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. It is part of a series of episodes on the politics of technology and techno-utopian thinking. We had research advising from Professor Tanner Mirrlees at Ontario Tech University and Professor Imre Szeman at the University of Waterloo.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples.


EP56: Don’t Look Left (ft. David Sirota)



Why does the democratic establishment always avoid turning left, even when it might mean a political win? Gordon asks David Sirota. Sirota is behind the smash-hit Netflix movie Don’t Look Up! He is also host and co-writer of an excellent podcast series called Meltdown, which documented how Obama’s lacklustre response to the financial crisis set the stage for Trump. We cover a range of topics: from the limits of technocracy, the political co-option of science and expertise, the critical reaction to Don’t Look Up, and whether or not Ideocracy (2006) has bad politics.

——————FURTHER READING & LISTENING————————-

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW————————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers usually get the episode a day early.

Don’t have the money to chip in? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CONTACT US————————

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter, Instagram,  Facebook, and YouTube. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca.

—————————-CREDITS—————————

Darts and Letters is hosted and executive produced by Gordon KaticMarc Apollonio is managing producer. Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn. Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop, and we have video editing and marketing support from Ian Sowden.

This is a production of Cited Media. We work primarily in Toronto, Ontario, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples.


EP55: Mutually-Assured Dysfunction (ft. Jessica Hurley & Mark Winfield)



The war in Ukraine has brought nuclear technology to the forefront. There’s the threat of nuclear weapons, and the danger of nuclear power plants melting down under military fire. Yet, the nuclear industry also promises to deliver us from our dependency on fossil fuels. It’s an interesting duality with nuclear: is it the end of the world, or is it salvation? Professor Jessica Hurley, author of Infrastructures of Apocalypse: American Literature and the Nuclear Complex, walks us through the history of nuclear dystopia and nuclear utopia, and how they have always been closely connected.

Also: happy Earth Day, even though we are not feeling particularly optimistic about the state of our planet. The war in Ukraine has brought environmental politics front-and-centre, with countries racing to extricate themselves from Russian oil and gas. Yet, in Canada, we are seeing industry push to ramp up dirty tar sands production. How will the war change energy policy? We wonk out and get into the nitty-gritty of the state of climate policy with, Mark Winfield. 

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW————————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers usually get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content.

Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

Darts and Letters is hosted and edited by Gordon Katic. The lead producer is Jay Cockburn. Our managing producer is Marc Apollonio. Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop, and we have marketing support from Ian Sowden.

This is a production of Cited Media. This episode received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. It is part of a series of episodes on the politics of technology and techno-utopian thinking. We had research advising from Professor Tanner Mirrlees at Ontario Tech University and Professor Imre Szeman at the University of Waterloo.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples.


EP54: Dugin: Russia’s Imperial Philosopher



We look at the mind behind Russia’s imperial vision, Aleksandr Dugin. Political theorist Matt McManus walks us through this far-right thinker’s strange and often contradictory ideas, from: his geopolitical clash-of-civilizations narrative, his flirtation with left-wing postmodernism, his Nietzschean great man-visions, his rejection of all things liberal, and his more ancient and mystical imagination.

——————FURTHER READING & LISTENING————————-

  • This episode is inspired by the Pill Pod’s take on Duggin, with Matt McManus and friends. Their episode has a deeper dive into what Duggin means for postmodernism, Bruno Latour, and the left–check it out!
  • Duggin is a kind of postmodern conservative, and McManus’ book the Rise of Postmodern Conservatism analyzes this emerging intellectual milieu in detail.
  • We used the book Key Thinkers of the Radical Right in preparation, and in particular Marlene Laruelle’s chapter on Duggin. It encapsulates his ideas, and gives a more detailed biography than we had here.

Note: Unfortunately, a lot of academic work is paywalled and not readily accessible to people outside the academy. If you ever see anything in our reading list that you cannot access but would like to access, simply email the show and we will do what we can to get them to you.

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW————————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers usually get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content.

Don’t have the money to chip in? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CONTACT US————————

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca.

—————————-CREDITS—————————

Darts and Letters is hosted and executive produced by Gordon Katic. Marc Apollonio is managing producer. Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn. Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop, and our marketing was done by Ian Sowden.

This is a production of Cited Media. We work primarily in Toronto, Ontario, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples.


EP53: Survival of the Leftest: Should We Embrace Behavioural Genetics?



Can genetics play a role in crafting left social policy? Or should we not touch those ideas ever again–even with a 10 foot pole? Paige Harden’s new book, “The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality” makes a forceful case for an egalitarian politics informed by DNA.  However, geneticist Joseph Graves critiqued the book in the pages of the Lancet, arguing that we do not need sophisticated genetic knowledge to make a more socially just world. Managing producer Marc Apollonio guest hosts, talking to both. 

——————-PROGRAMMING NOTE——————

You may have noticed the last couple weeks we have been posting less frequently. For the next few months, we are switching over to releasing every two weeks because of funding reasons. We think it will be temporary, and regular host Gordon Katic will be back next week with a more detailed update. Still, now more than ever, we need your support! If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters

—————————-CONTACT US————————

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca.

—————————-CREDITS—————————

Darts and Letters was hosted and produced this week by Marc Apollonio, who is also our managing producer, with editing from Gordon Katic. Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn. Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop, and our marketing was done by Ian Sowden.

This is a production of Cited Media. We work primarily in Toronto, Ontario, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples.


EP52: The DNA of a Wrongful Imprisonment (ft. Kimani Boden, Stephen Cordner & Amade M’charek)



DNA offers us the promise of an objective forensic science. Rather than following our own racially-biased hunches, technology can deliver us the unvarnished truth. Yet, we always interpret technology through our own particular lens, and within a society that produces technology in a particular sort of way.  In this episode, we look at how forensic DNA technologies relate to our ideas about race and criminality. We see how DNA led to the imprisonment of an innocent man, Farah Jama. Then, we look at the frontier of forensic DNA and artificial intelligence. A new technique promises to draw an image of a suspect based solely on what we see in the DNA, but critics say these pictures are entrenching stereotypes about race and crime.

  • First (@3:44), Kimani Boden is a Melbourne-based attorney who served as Farah Jama’s appeal lawyer. He takes us through the trial, the circumstances surrounding the story, and the use and misuse of DNA evidence. He points to race as a factor, reminding us that the criminal justice system is rarely as unbiased as some would have us believe.
  • Then, (@20:07) Stephen Cordner is the former director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. He was the head of the VIFM, which oversaw the sexual assault centre related to the case, at the time when this story was unfolding. He discusses what went wrong, how we might be more sceptical of DNA evidence, and how we might prevent similar wrongful convictions in the future.
  • Finally (@27:13), Amade M’charek is professor of the Anthropology of Science at the University of Amsterdam, where she researches forensics and race. She argues that legal systems around the world need to be more critical of forensic science, taking us through the state of forensics and the challenge of new and evolving technologies in the field – including an emergent technology that uses DNA to produce composite images of potential suspects.

——————-FURTHER READING AND LISTENING——————

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW————————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers usually get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content.

Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CONTACT US————————

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly.

—————————-CREDITS—————————

Darts and Letters was hosted and produced this week by Marc Apollonio, who is also our managing producer, with editing from Gordon Katic. Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn. Roland Nadler provided research assistance and David Moscrop wrote the show notes.

Special thanks this week to Julie Szego.

Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop, and our marketing was done by Ian Sowden.

This is a production of Cited Media. And we are backed by academic grants that support mobilizing research. This episode was also a part of a mini-series on the state of forensic science. The scholarly lead on that project is Professor Emma Cunliffe.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples.


EP51: This is Your Brain on Trial (ft. Andrew Scull, Tess Neal & Roland Nadler)



Imagine reading or watching The Minority Report and thinking of that as a model for the criminal justice system. Well, plenty of forensic types are doing just that. Can you figure out if you are a criminal by scanning your brain? On this episode of Darts and Letters, guest-host Jay Cockburn and our guests explore the study of the criminal mind, from the history of madness, to spotty personality tests, to the emerging neuroscientific frontier.

  • First (@7:23), what do you see in this image? Wrong answer, off to jail! We look at the state of forensic psychology, and how to improve it. Tess Neal is associate professor of psychology at Arizona State University. She studied the quality of hundreds of assessment tools and processes used to understand individuals and found that the quality…varies. A lot.
  • Then, (@24:34) what might neuroscience tell us about criminality – and how dangerous is that as a source of assessment tools? Roland Nadler is a PhD candidate in law at the University of British Columbia and a Darts and Letters researcher. This is Minority Report type stuff and the implications are, to say the least, potentially very disturbing with technologies ripe for abuse, error, and systemic injustice.
  • Finally (@46:08), the history of madness is extraordinary, and it comes with warnings for the current and future of psychological and neuroscientific techniques in the criminal justice system. Andrew Scull is a sociologist and the author of Madness in Civilisation: The Cultural History of Insanity, From the Madhouse to Modern Medicine. He defines madness and guides us through its history throughout the last several hundred years.

——————-FURTHER READING AND LISTENING——————

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW————————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers usually get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content.

Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

Darts and Letters was hosted and produced this week by Jay Cockburn, with editing from Gordon Katic. Our managing producer is Marc Apollonio. Roland Nadler provided research assistance, and David Moscrop wrote the show notes.

Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop, and our marketing was done by Ian Sowden.

This is a production of Cited Media. And we are backed by academic grants that support mobilizing research.. This episode was also a part of a mini-series on the state of forensic science. The scholarly lead on that project is Professor Emma Cunliffe.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples.


EP31: Moral Kombat (ft. Liana Kerzner, Cyril Lachel, & Henry Jenkins) [Rebroadcast]



*Programming note: This is a rebroadcast.

You can learn much about a media and political culture by examining when it panics, and who it panics about. And we’ve always panicked about video games, from the early arcades until this very day. Whether you are a prudish Christian conservative, or a concerned liberal-minded paternalist, demonizing video games has long been good politics.

On this episode: guest host and lead producer Jay Cockburn travels back to the 90s, and looks at the story of Mortal Kombat. The game was violent, gory, glorious. It was a youth rebellion in miniature. Parents rebelled against the rebellion, staging their own petulant counter-revolution, and politicians embraced it. It  triggering a moral panic and even congressional hearings into violence in games. But why did it happen, who did it serve, and what does it tell us about our own culture?

  • First (@14:21), Liana Kerzner is a game developer and critic, YouTuber, and gamer. She takes us through her discovery of Mortal Kombat and the visceral attraction to…just how cool and groundbreaking the game was. Then, she looks at the moral panics around games today: panics about sex and nudity.
  • Then (@22:52), Cyril Lachel is a journalist and the editor in chief of Defunct Games. He explains the history and evolution of gaming in the 1990s as Sega tries to differentiate itself from Nintendo as an edgier system for its gamers as they enter their teenage years. Plus, he points out what parents and politicians got wrong about video games and how gaming media evolved around the time.
  • Finally (@39:34), Henry Jenkins is Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of South California. He tells us why moral panics keep coming back time after time, starting with comic books in the 1950s. Then he takes us through their generational politics and sociology. Plus, he takes us back to his appearance before the congressional hearings into video games.

——————-FURTHER READING AND LISTENING——————

——————-EVEN MORE FURTHER READING AND ACADEMIC SHOW SOURCES——————
  • Ferguson, C. J., & Colwell, J. (2017). Understanding why scholars hold different views on the influences of video games on public health. Journal of Communication, 67(3), 305-327. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12293
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2015). Do angry birds make for angry children? A meta-analysis of video game influences on children’s and adolescents’ aggression, mental health, prosocial behavior, and academic performance. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(5), 646-666. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691615592234
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2014). Violent video games, mass shootings, and the supreme court: Lessons for the legal community in the wake of recent free speech cases and mass shootings. New Criminal Law Review, 17(4), 553-586. https://doi.org/10.1525/nclr.2014.17.4.553
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2007). Evidence for publication bias in video game violence effects literature: A meta-analytic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 12(4), 470-482. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2007.01.001
  • Kline, Stephen (n.d.). Moral panics and video games (source)
  • Markey, P. M., & Ferguson, C. J. (2017). Internet gaming addiction: Disorder or moral panic? The American Journal of Psychiatry, 174(3), 195-196. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.16121341
  • Markey, P. M., & Ferguson, C. J. (2017). Teaching us to fear: The violent video game moral panic and the politics of game research. American Journal of Play, 10(1), 99-115.
  • Quandt, T., & Kowert, R. (Eds.). (2015). The Video Game Debate: Unravelling the Physical, Social, and Psychological Effects of Video Games (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315736495.

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to our show wherever you get your podcasts.

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW——————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

This week, Darts and Letters is hosted and edited by Jay Cockburn, who is also our lead producer. Our editor and usual host is Gordon Katic. Our managing producer is Marc Apollonio.. David Moscrop wrote the show notes.

Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop, and our marketing was done by Ian Sowden.

This episode received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor. This is also part of a wide project about the emerging politics of video games housed at UBC with advice from Lennart E. Nacke at the University of Waterloo.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.