Journalists Katie Herzog and Jesse Singal scour the internet for its craziest, silliest, most sociopathic content, part of an obsessive and ill-conceived attempt to extract kernels of meaning and humanity from a landscape of endless raging dumpster fires. (And sometimes they talk about other stuff, too.)
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December 14th, 2020 | 1 hr 2 mins
artificial intelligence, dei, google, jon stokes, tech, timnit gebru
A major blowup at at Google led to the firing or resignation (depending on who you ask) of Timnit Gebru and accusations that the company's social-justice efforts are performative at best. But behind the scenes, some Googlers are telling a different, slightly more complicated story. Who's right? Katie and Jesse bring on Jon Stokes, an Ars Technica founder who is much better connected in the tech world than they are, to help explain this tangled controversy.
Inside The Vicious, Deranged, Literally, Metaphorically Violent World Of Young Adult Fiction Twitter
December 7th, 2020 | 57 mins 6 secs
jessica cluess, online outrage, online shaming, social justice, ya twitter
One would not expect an online community devoted to discussion of dragons, vampires, and teenage heroes to be a cesspool of almost unimaginable toxicity. And yet! In this episode, Jesse walks Katie through a recent history of young adult fiction Twitter, aka "YA Twitter," attempts to explain how it got to be such a Hobbesian hellscape, and dives into the latest 'scandal' involving allegedly racist and violent tweets.
November 30th, 2020 | 1 hr 5 mins
gender identity, jordan peterson, media, self-id, suzanne moore, the guardian, trans rights
After a very tense intro during which Jesse berates Katie for not being there when he needed her most, the hosts discuss a Vice News story about staffers at Penguin Random House Canada so overwhelmed by the existence of Jordan Peterson's new book that they broke down crying, and Guardian staffers so overwhelmed by the existence of a debate over certain claims about sex and gender that they drove columnist Suzanne Moore out.
November 23rd, 2020 | 52 mins 4 secs
antiracism, appropriation, barack obama, neuroticism, race, republicans
After the hosts celebrate a major achievement and Jesse goes on a little rant that is Super Political, Katie and Jesse delve into three stories of profound internet nonsense involving privileged white people doing antiracism, a Toronto editor VERY mad about a new broth-joint, and some of Twitter's most neurotic people getting super mad about Barack Obama's college conduct.
November 16th, 2020 | 1 hr 7 mins
bari weiss, censorship, helen lewis, liz bruenig, rock paper shotgun, video games
After Katie talks about her new dog-testicles-centered newsletter, the hosts discuss the latest events in the ongoing saga of Helen Lewis's voice getting erased by Ubisoft, and then turn their attention to a New York Magazine article about the internal tumult at The New York Times that, like everything else which happens in this crazy world of ours, simply proves the hosts were right all along.
November 6th, 2020 | 55 mins 49 secs
culture wars, democracy, democrats, white supremacy, wokeness
In a very special episode, Katie and Jesse discuss a long, stupid week in which democracy had its way with the American people. What should we make of the fact that the election was closer than many expected and the Democrats were denied their "blue wave"? Patriarchy? White supremacy? Wokeness? Also: Jesse dissects Donald Trump's incredibly lazy, half-assed meltdown.
November 2nd, 2020 | 1 hr 16 secs
censorship, glenn greenwald, online media, section 230
After Jesse tells Katie a harrowing story about his recent journey into the heart of 'Manhattan,' the hosts discuss Glenn Greenwald's departure from The Intercept, an outlet he helped found back in 2014. Then they turn their attention to Section 230, a law that made the internet what it is today (for better and for worse), and which seems to be attracting bipartisan ire of late, especially among people who don't really understand technology.
October 26th, 2020 | 55 mins 25 secs
#metoo, dave rubin, eric weinstein, idw, intellectual dark web, james lindsay, jeff toobin, mike rosenberg
Lotta dicks this week. After addressing some reader reactions to their The 1619 Project segment last week, Katie and Jesse critique the idea of "involuntary conservatives" so enraged by wokeness that they have to vote for Donald Trump. Then the hosts turn their attention to a salacious media story involving a certain New Yorker staff writer and, well, there's no more polite way to put this, but, um, his penis.
October 19th, 2020 | 49 mins 15 secs
censorship, facebook, free speech, media, nikole hannah-jones, the 1619 project, twitter
Katie and Jesse discuss the recent and not-so-recent controversy over The 1619 project, the reputational perils of getting in constant fights with idiots on Twitter, and the tangled story of Hunter Biden, a blind guy at a laptop-repair shop, and a controversial New York Post story. Along the way, Jesse engages in some shockingly casual anti-Ukrainianism.
October 12th, 2020 | 57 mins 17 secs
content moderation, free speech, katie hill, qanon, revenge porn
The hosts discuss the Katie Hill revenge-porn/throuple scandal, which has gotten yet more scandalous in light of a tweetstorm supposedly authored by her former staffers (who are not fans), as well as Facebook's decision to ban QAnon from that platform and Instagram.
October 5th, 2020 | 50 mins 32 secs
activism, bitcoin, contrarianism, jason stanley, kate manne, philosophy, philosophy twitter, war
After a brief and sober discussion about President Trump's coronavirus diagnosis, the hosts devote most of the episode to two stories: a controversy surrounding a partially anonymous Arc Digital review of Kate Manne's new book Entitled that has led to accusations of obsession and WAR, and the blowup that ensued -- complete with a gleeful threat of mass executions in the streets! -- after the head of Coinbase took the radical stance that his company's purpose is to make money, not do progressive politics.
September 28th, 2020 | 53 mins 53 secs
incels, j.k. rowling, mitch mcconnell, tfw no gf, trans rights, transphobia
The hosts discus "TFW No GF," a controversial documentary about losers who post too much online, some of whom are so-called incels, or involuntary celibates. When should we have empathy for people who disgust us (like podcasters)? Then they turn their attention to the controversy over J.K. Rowling's newest mystery novel, which, depending on who you ask, is either horrifically transphobic or not transphobic at all.
September 21st, 2020 | 1 hr 2 secs
culture wars, cuties, elizabeth nolan brown, interview, pedophilia
Katie and Jesse discuss the online outrage surrounding the French film 'Cuties,' which has slightly more underage twerking than most 2020 cinematic releases. How did this film come to unite such a broad swath of people in disgust? Then the hosts speak with Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown about the broader American sex-trafficking panic that seems to partly explain the reaction to 'Cuties.' Plus: the science of pedophilia.
September 14th, 2020 | 42 mins 30 secs
diversity trainings, donald trump, implicit bias, race, robin diangelo
The hosts discuss Donald Trump's sudden fixation on ostensibly "un-American" critical race theory in government diversity trainings. What does a good-faith critique of these trainings look like that doesn't slide into fearmongering or red-scare-esque grandstanding and witch-hunting? Also: A Vice story about an allegedly satanic Airbnb is super, duper racist, or so we hear.
September 8th, 2020 | 36 mins 25 secs
grandstanding, interview, justin tosi, online outrage, philosophy
Jesse interviews Justin Tosi, a philosopher at Texas Tech University and the author, with Brandon Warmke, of the new book Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk. In a patrons-only segment that follows their discussion of the book, Jesse and Justin move on to a broader conversation about the current, precarious moment for open inquiry in academia, as well as the turn toward activism in philosophy that has Justin worried about his field.
September 7th, 2020 | 1 hr 8 mins
2020 election, donald trump, identity, jessica krug, joe biden, race, rachel dolezal
After Jesse reveals yet another shocking secret about his mysterious life, the hosts discuss the case of Jessica Krug, a George Washington University professor who appears to have admitted to pulling a Rachel Dolezal: she pretended to be black. Then the hosts respond, in depth, to an email from a reader who wants to be talked out of voting for Donald Trump, sparking an uncharacteristically earnest discussion about the upcoming election and why the right choice isn't a close call.