E63: Who Researches the Researchers?



Researchers with the best of intentions still get things wrong. “Who made you the expert” is a valid question that research subjects might ask… and frankly, they’re right to ask that. If you’re, say, a drug user in Vancouver’s downtown east side you probably don’t want some guy from Harvard telling you what paternalistic research he’s doing on you. You want to be a partner in research done with you.

So what does it look like when the old paternalistic ways are dispensed of? Garth Mullins hosts Crackdown, a podcast about the drug war in Vancouver covered by the drug users themselves. Gordon talks to him about being the researcher and the researched in the downtown east side, a place where activists and academics have come together to develop better methods.

We also talk to Michelle Fine of City University of New York. She’s a leading proponent of “critical participatory action research“. That’s a way of researching that de-centres the academic. We find out the theory, and what that means for expertise more broadly.

Special thanks to Samona Marsh, one of the authors of Research 101: A process for developing local guidelines for ethical research in heavily researched communities, and also to Liz Dozier of Chicago Beyond. Liz and Samona’s work was really important to this episode even if we couldn’t get their voices to air.

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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.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

For a full list of credits, contact information, and more, visit our about page.


EP62: Socialize the Series of Tubes (ft. Ben Tarnoff)



Recently a major outage took nearly a third of Canada offline. No phone, no internet… even access to 911 got shut down in some places, all thanks to Rogers Media Inc. But why does one company get so much control over a vital service like the Internet in the first place? This is the story in the USA as well as Canada – our digitized lives are all being held captive by a tiny number of huge corporations. We at Darts don’t necessarily believe the market is the solution here. But if the market isn’t, what is? How do we make a more democratic, socially driven Internet? Gordon Katic interviews Ben Tarnoff, author of Internet for the People, to help us answer these questions – and most importantly, we ask whether the internet is indeed a series of tubes. Read Ben’s book, and keep up with his work on his website.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

For a full list of credits, contact information, and more, visit our about page.


EP61: Enter the Zuckerverse (ft. Sandrine Han and Ian Bogost)



The term “metaverse” was coined in a 1993 science fiction novel. Since then, it’s grown from a dystopian literary concept to a reality that corporations want to sell you. Strap on some VR goggles and escape your tired analog life! Except that the systemic issues we already have seem to be creeping into the metaverse, too.

As the lines between virtuality and physicality continue to blur, companies like Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta are setting their sights on virtual worlds. It’s a new frontier, full of potential – and full of our valuable data. Metaverses like Second Life or World of Warcraft can be positive and even game-changing experiences on the individual level, but when it comes to the navigating a virtual society with a capitalist backdrop…things get a bit dicey.

On this episode, guest host and producer Ren Bangert explores the metaverse. First, we hear a love story from the glory days of Second Life, told to us by Sandrine Han – a scholar of virtual worlds and a long-time Second Lifer. Then, writer and game developer Ian Bogost takes us on a deep dive into the corporatization of the metaverse. We’ll hear how the metaverse has grown from a dystopian warning from science fiction to a sinister data-mining reality – and how even the shiniest of tech utopias are still functioning under the same old capitalism.

——————-FURTHER READING, LISTENING AND WATCHING——————

——————-EVEN MORE READING——————

  • Han, H. C. (2013). Visual learning in the virtual world: The hidden curriculum of imagery in Second Life. Immersive Environments, Augmented Realities and Virtual Worlds: Assessing Future Trends in Education. http://www.igi-global.com/chapter/visual-learning-virtual-world/74048
  • Stephenson, N. (1993). Snow Crash. New York: Bantam Books.

——————-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—————————-

This week, Darts and Letters is hosted by Ren Bangert. Our usual host and editor is 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, which provided us a research grant to look the politics of video games. It is 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.


EP60: Not Alright Alright Alright (Big Shiny Takes ft. Gordon Katic)



Canadian media is full of galaxy brain columnists. Luckily there is a show who reads their crap so that you don’t have to: Big Shiny Takes, aka Jeremy Appel, Eric Wickham and Marino Greco.

We’re featuring this episode because your esteemed host and editor Gordon Katic made an appearance to discuss the latest unfathomably smart take: Matthew McConaughey has a moral obligation to run for president of the United States. It’s stunning intellectual work like this that has led Big Shiny Takes to become the world’s first anti free speech podcast. They’re also our colleagues, as part of the Harbinger Media Network

It’s a different vibe to our usual programming, but we think you’ll like it because Big Shiny Takes is witty and anarchic and smart. The team really deserve a lot of recognition for doing the lord’s work: shit-talking columnists.

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

If you enjoyed this then check out the other episodes Big Shiny Takes, subscribe to the show and never read another opinion column in your life. You too can be free!

If however you prefer masochism then you can read the Toronto Star Article yourself: After his moving speech on gun control, it’s time for Matthew McConaughey to give up Hollywood for Washington, by Vinay Menon

We also featured Eric, Marino and Jeremy on a previous Darts episode. EP41: Canada’s Dumbest Public Intellectuals. This was one of our more fun episodes, also featuring drug legalisation campaigner and the left’s best psychedelic TikTok star Hilary Agro. Also Kate Jacobs of fellow Harbinger podcast Alberta Advantage and the man behind Harbinger Media himself: André Goulet.

——————-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, with additional production from 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.

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————————-

  • If the politics of emotions and social movements is of interest, you have to check out James Jasper’s book, The Emotions of Protest. Especially relevant is the appendix, which offers a wider history of emotions and rationality as it pertains to social movements.
  • We highly recommend Joy Rohde’s book Armed with Expertise: The Militarization of American Social Research During the Cold War, or the shorter encyclopedia article that offers a concise history on the entangled relationship of US empire and US social science.
  • For more on the discredited work of Gustav Le Bon, check out Stephen Reicher’s work, including this tweet thread, and a BBC Radio 4 documentary that featured his work.
  • Stewart Ewan’s classic PR!: A Social History of Spin focusses especially on how the ideas of Le Bon and others influenced Freud and his nephew Edward Bernays, the father of modern public relations. Adam Curtis’ documentary the Century of the Self also tells this story, especially in the second part.

——————-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.