Show Notes for Ep. 1.5 "The Capital and the Cafe"
In this episode, the hosts of MRAH explore questions of violence, pacifism, ethics, and empathy while juxtaposing a local incident against an event of national proportions.
Content warning: This episode discusses a racist attack on a business, the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, an Islamophobic insult, fascism, and other related political topics.
For the edited audio version of the podcast, click here.
Recorded 10 January 2021 / Published 25 March 2021
- 0:35: Introducing the topics: A racist incident in Oak Park; the January 6 attack on the US Capitol; and Mary Anne running for office.
- 1:10: Disclaimer: This is a hot take on (among other things) the January 6 attacks, and Mary Anne and Ben may have changed their minds since they recorded this.
- 2:35: The ongoing dialogue about how we have these conversations, and how people react to misbehavior.
- 3:55: Background about Oak Park, the suburb of Chicago where Mary Anne lives.
- 5:05: L!VE Cafe, in Oak Park, which hosts events. (It’s owned by Black entrepreneur Reesheda Graham Washington.)
- 6:25: The racist message attached to a brick thrown at L!VE Cafe, in the context of Black candidates running for local office.
- 9:05: Oak Park is a liberal bastion, but this can still happen.
- 12:50: Venues that are willing to try to address issues openly end up looking like they’re always having social justice fights.
- 15:10: Connecting the L!VE Cafe attack to the Capitol attack.
- 16:45: The dangers of beefing up security.
- 18:10: Nazi-punching as one option among several.
- 22:45: Fanon, King, and Gandhi. Pragmatic and strategic pacifism vs philosophical pacifism.
- 27:10: Every time Frodo puts on the ring, it strengthens Sauron and weakens Frodo; but sometimes it also helps Frodo get away.
- 30:35: Violence in the name of greater good: what does it cost you long term? And is the gain worth the cost?
- 33:15: Deplatforming, silencing, and freedom of speech.
- 35:05: A distinction between conservative and liberal worldviews.
- 38:05: Where you allocate money says something about the society you’re trying to build.
- 38:30: The word liberal means very different things in the US and Switzerland.
- 40:25: The people who attacked the Capitol were not trying to preserve something; they wanted to tear down the system.
- 41:25: Brief intermission, featuring an ad for the Speculative Literature Foundation.
- 42:00: Edmund Burke.
- 44:30: The Faustian bargain made by statist conservative Republicans.
- 51:30: We need a more sophisticated taxonomy.
- 54:35: Lots of disenfranchised people believe that the system is corrupt, and that they can’t improve it by voting.
- 56:55: The populist impulse to radically overthrow, and a distinction between conservatism and fascism.
- 1:04:30: Oak Park high school board member Matt Baron, who used a terrorism metaphor in talking about Dima Ali, a Muslim woman.
- 1:12:25: Fascism poses a specific unique problem, because of its attitude toward language and thinking.
- 1:14:45: Cancel culture, free speech, empathy, and the tendency of the internet to fall on people’s heads.
- 1:24:05: How Mary Anne convinced people that the library should get rid of fines.
- 1:29:00: Closing thoughts: You never have to excuse someone’s bad behavior to be a good ally to them. Hold them accountable.
Other clarifying or explanatory links
- History of Oak Park’s fair housing ordinance. (Content warning for descriptions of racism and racialized violence.)
- The L!VE Cafe brick incident and GoFundMe for L!VE Cafe (“Your donations will allow us to expand the anti racism work that we’re doing with a number of community groups”).
- The three Black candidates for Oak Park village trustee:
- History of recent Sri Lankan elections and increased security mindset. (“the government has also promoted a militarized mindset in dealing with the pandemic, and as during the civil war, militarization has been combined with nationalist ideology alienating minority groups.”) (Article is from April 2020.)
- Punching Richard Spencer. (See also SPLC’s detailed profile of Spencer.) (See also Vox’s discussion, which may come down a little too hard on the don’t-punch-people side, and includes a use of the C-word in a quote from Sarah Silverman, but also includes some useful information.)
- Inviting a white nationalist to Shabbat dinner.
- Yasher koach.
- Code Switch podcast episode: “Black and Up in Arms,” which includes an interview with Charles E. Cobb, author of This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible. (The text article on that page, oddly, is not a transcript of the episode. Happyscribe has a not-bad automated transcription of that episode.)
- Levi Coffin, “American Quaker, Republican, abolitionist, farmer, businessman and humanitarian.”
- First Intifada in the West Bank (throwing stones).
- FDP and SVP are political parties in Switzerland.
- For much more information about Ben’s brief reference to racism as a motivating force in the Republican Party, read about the Southern strategy.
- Ferdinand de Saussure (structuralist) and Roland Barthes (post-structuralist)—mentioned in passing.
- Boogaloo movement.
- Adam Smith and classical liberalism.
- Oak Park village trustee Dan Moroney withdrew from the race a couple weeks after this episode was recorded.
- Matt Baron apologized for his terrorism analogy. The school board later officially condemned Baron’s analogy.
- SFWA Grand Master Nalo Hopkinson.
- Louis CK and masturbation.
- Aziz Ansari had a Netflix special a year and a half after his “cancellation.”
- Margaret Cho says cancel culture is improving representation in comedy. (3-minute video.)
- Ferret and the Open Source Boob Project.
- Racefail. (2009.)