Tag Archives: activism

Is God powerful? Is He lonely? I talk theology & loneliness with Padraig Ó Tuama on AEWCH 81!

20 Aug

 

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Friends,
We talk so much about the occult on this show – about angels and esoteric philosophies, about magic and materialism – but I don’t get a chance to talk about God often. Which is why I invited writer, theologian, and peace maker Padraig Ó Tuama onto the show.
Padraig is the author of several books, including In the Shelter: Finding Welcome In The Here And Now and Sorry For Your Troubles . He also served as the leader of Ireland’s peace and reconciliation committee, the Corrymeela Community, for seven years, which resulted in the book Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community.
That time, and his huge body of experience dealing with deep divisions and aggressive oppositions, serves as the foundation of much of our talk, which circles around conflicts and how God, power, and powerlessness mediates them.
This is an episode unlike any other, and I’m so happy to share it with you.
We talk:
  • Whether or not we should pray to God or ourselves
  • The good and boring versions of Superman
  • Seeking, wielding, and letting go of power
  • The economy of victimhood
  • How to resolve conflict with fascists (potential and otherwise)
  • Keeping an eye on who’s exploiting every conflict
  • Brexit and the British Border (Padraig’s better name for the “Irish Border)
  • Taking an interest in what people value in every situation, and the erosion of that interest
  • Loneliness and confidence
And Padraig also reads his beautiful poem “Day of the Dead”.
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A socialism of the heart: Billy Bragg on Against Everyone With Conner Habib!

6 Aug
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Friends,
What an amazing conversation with music legend, political rock star, and one of my heroes, Billy Bragg.
Billy really needs no introduction, but in case you’ve missed his decades-spanning career in music, I’ve made a long spotify playlist of some of my favorite Billy Bragg songs for you here. Billy’s music has always held a special place in my heart and my activism, and his new book, The Three Dimensions of Freedom which focuses on his thoughtful versions of liberty, equality, and accountability, has only amplified my admiration for him. It’s a great book that you can read in a couple hours, and will enliven your sense of history and motivate you. Go get it.
We talk about
  • why the language of Marxism no longer works, and why we need a language of compassion
  • how to tend to individualism ethically, and how to have agency
  • how the alt-right and atheist bros and Brexit all arise from a sense of meaninglessness
  • how Billy’s model relates to the traditional tripartite motto of Liberty! Equality! Fraternity! and why he replaced “fraternity” with “accountability”
  • how holding some asshole accountable on twitter relates to accountability for political leaders
  • why Morrissey is a dick (not in the episode, but at Billy’s shows, he’s been calling Boris Johnson “Borrissey”)
  • the problem with “freedom of speech”
  • why concerns about no-platforming are ridiculous
  • why Flat Earthers have a point (not really, but sort of!)
  • gay slaps in the face (listen for Billy’s gasp, it’s great)
  • shifting fields of culture and what is acceptable and unacceptable
  • how one of his albums was deeply personal for me and wove into a time of abuse
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(Also, isn’t Billy a total Daddy now?)
XO
CH

The moral of the story is… How Aesop confronts empire, with Carlo Gébler on AEWCH 78!

30 Jul
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Friends,
How exciting to welcome fiction writer, memoirist, and Aesop scholar Carlo Gébler to AEWCH to discuss how Aesop’s fables present insight into fighting empire, how the powerful tell their stories, and more!
Carlo is a staple here in the Irish literary landscape. The son of famed Irish author Edna O’Brien and famed/infamous Irish author Ernest Gébler, Carlo was named after Karl Marx and has taught writing for years, including in prisons. He’s written nearly 30 books for adults and children plus plays in total. His latest book, Aesop’s Fables: The Cruelty of the Gods, which is beautifully (and intensely!) illustrated by Gavin Weston, retells 190 (!) of Aesop’s tales, adding humor and amplifying the brutality of each one.
But, as you’ll hear on the episode, Carlo isn’t just retelling these tales for entertainment (though they are extremely entertaining), he sees in them strategies for resistance and hints at how power works. And Carlo reads a few of Aesop’s fables, including “The Clever Lamb and the Wolf”, “The Frogs Who Demanded A King”, “The Flute Playing Wolf and the Dancing Kid”, and my favorite, “The Fox and the Farmer”.
Until next week,
XO
CH
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You are going to die. Now what? Me + Caitlin Doughty discuss death, sex, activism, and death & sex activism on AEWCH 77!

16 Jul
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Friends,
It’s time to talk about death and activism and death activism, and oh yeah, Marianne Williamson and stuff. There is no one better to discuss all this with that my good friend Caitlin Doughty. Caitlin is the host of the wildly popular youtube series, Ask A Mortician and her work has served as a foundation of the death positive movement, which is seeking to change our relationship to death in our culture.
She’s also the author of the death memoir, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory; as well as her book about death rites, From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death; and the forthcoming book about death for kids, Will The Cat Eat My Eyeballs: Big Questions fromTiny Mortals about Death.
When Caitlin and I spoke way back on AEWCH 8, we mostly discussed death in a theoretical way. This time, I bring to her the recent death of my friend, to work through some of the feelings and intensities I went through in mourning and gratitude.
We also spend a lot of time discussing being advocates and activists, and what challenges that brings. It’s a very personal episode and very different conversation than Caitlin’s used to having on a podcast!
On this ep:
  • what we’d like to do more of before we die
  • how to pre-mourn our own deaths by confronting our anxieties
  • HIV “bug chasing”
  • externalizing death drives vs turning them on yourself, and how that’s gendered
  • why we should destroy heterosexuality
  • the Dalia Lama and cultural conflict
  • the problems have a healthy relationship with death can bring
  • how a breakup gets a ton of conversations with friends, but a death tends to only get one
  • Pompei volcano sex deaths
  • why we need to acknowledge what sex positivity and feminism have brought to us
  • mediating social media exhaustion
  • the relief of others taking up the same causes you have
  • why I want to have more underground people on the show
  • the problem with only having one face for a given cause
  • what doing activism is for

SHOW NOTES are always free.

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WTF is money, anyway? And what is capitalism? Listen to me and economic historian Conor McCabe on the AEWCH 76!

9 Jul
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Friends,
What is money, anyway? And what is capitalism? And how are the two intertwined, and are they extricable? Conor MacCabe author of the excellent books, Money and Sins of the Father: Tracing the Decisions that Shaped the Irish Economy. Instead of staying with the obscuring language of economics, Conor and I go into what money and capitalism are from an experiential and historical standpoint. And we talk about the spiritual aspects of money as well, especially in how they’re related to time, the witch trials, and ideas of the future.
I’ve never had a conversation about money like this before, and I was so happy to. Conor is a great writer, a great thinker, and this conversation clarifies so many concepts.
I’m very excited to share AEWCH 76 with you.
In this episode:
  • How the language of economics is religiously constructed to keep people out
  • The invention of money as we know it now, and why the history we normally get fed is wrong
  • How credit is a social technology, and coin and cash were created to change its social relation
  • The problems with cashless cultures, and the war on credit unions
  • How banking rose as an aspect of imperialism
  • How the invention of capitalism relates to the witch trials
  • the problem with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
  • what the inner experience of money is
  • what the fuck actually happens when you use money, anyway
  • what post-capitalist forms of money could look like, and why philosophical questions about money matter
  • how much money makes us happy
  • how capitalism is related to time and how those in turn relate to magic and new ageism
  • the importance of holding a big vision and doing the on-the-ground activism
  • why people with marginalized identities have amazing anti-capitalist strategies
Want to go deeper into the ideas and with the people mentioned on this episode?
SHOW NOTES, like all episodes, are always free for everyone.
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Want to know 5 MUST-HAVES FOR A MORAL POLITICAL COMPASS? Listen to AEWCH 65 with Abby Martin & Mike Prysner!

2 Apr
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Friends,
Before I met with radical political journalists Abby Martin and Mike Prysner, I kept thinking, how is it that they seem to have the right approach every time? So I decided to investigate just how it was they had an ethical and moral approach to politics.
We identify 5 points, which come up organically (If you just want to skip past the rest, go to 1:01:30.), and we reevaluate them the end. We also talk about how to develop these faculties These 5 points are:
1. Have a big container.
2. Find your lines in the sand, and beyond that, seek organizability.
3. Ask if a worthwhile narrative is being presented.
4. Do the dual work of individual and collective action at once.
5. Hold those you empower more responsible for their actions.
We also talk confronting Chelsea Clinton (Leen DWEIK, not “Naweek”, DUH Conner!), solidarity, how identity politics are exploited by power, why Bernie Sanders matters even if he’s not a hero, why grassroots struggle is what should win out rather than a Presidential candidate, thinking about what you want to bring forward in political situation, what we’re responsible for when we vote. I call myself out, what’s changed and what hasn’t since Trump, why materialism can’t guide us towards ethics, relating to the Other without falling into the imperialist trap of saying all people are the same, why politically-minded people should read novels, and more.
The Empire Files now has a Patreon, after being basically shut down by US sanctions. So support the show! which you should support.
SHOW NOTES are always available to everyone.
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The State of Sexuality 2019: Dr. Chris Donaghue returns to AEWCH to set us, um, not straight.

15 Jan

 

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FOR TICKETS TO MY UPCOMING ONLINE EVENT WITH PETER & CAITLIN DOUGHTY, GOD SEX DEATH, CLICK HERE (ARE YOU A PATREON PATRON? YOU GET A DISCOUNT!)

Friends!

My friend the sexologist, author, and radio show host Dr. Chris Donaghue is back on AEWCH as part of my “The State Of” series of AEWCH in January! At the opening of 2019, I’m reviewing the state of something in 2019: what’s on the scene now and what to look for in the coming year! I couldn’t think of anyone better to discuss the State Of Sexuality 2019 than Dr. Chris Donaghue! The episode comes right on the heels of the release of Chris’s new book Rebel Love: Break the Rules, Destroy Toxic Habits, and Have the Best Sex of Your Life which is the first good self help book on relationships to come out in…ever?

We talk about how academic jargon keeps people out of meaningful discussions, whether or not sexuality is political, the fourth wave of feminism and foursomes, looking back on sexual experiences with curiosity, how our identities intersect with our sexualities, how to talk about the political content of adult scenes without condemning the desires for it, desire shaming, why sex is everywhere and safe, why sex and porn addiction don’t exist, the benefits and problems of “body positivity”, the problems with “enthusiastic consent,” how to heal sexual assault and end it culturally, and more!

SHOW NOTES are here.

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