Interchange – United Slaughterhouse of America: Josh Specht on the Cattle-Beef Complex

AUDIO LINKIn Red Meat Republic author Joshua Specht brings to life a turbulent era marked by Indian wars, Cowboy myths, Chicago labor unrest, and food riots in the streets of New York. He shows how the enduring success of the cattle-beef complex—centralized, low cost, and meatpacker dominated—was a consequence of the meatpackers’ ability to make their interests overlap with those of a hungry public, while the interests…

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Interchange – Roll Jim Crow: The Racial Project of the American Tobacco Company

AUDIO LINK Our opening song is “Lucky Day.” This is Judy Garland’s version from the London sessions of 1960. The first performance of the song was by Harry Richman in a 1926 Broadway revue. “Lucky Day” became a theme song for the 1940s NBC radio show Your Hit Parade which was sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes. Sponsoring radio and television shows and getting celebrities to promote smoking…

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Interchange – Planetary Factory: Jasper Bernes on Logistics and the Violence of Market Competition

AUDIO LINK: Planetary Factory Our conversation with Jasper Bernes, recorded in May of last year, might be called a delayed Part II or even Part III as it features a previous guest extending the parameters of a previous conversation and begins with a consideration of the artist, activist, and social and political critic, photographer and filmmaker, Allan Sekula, who was the subject of another Interchange…

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“The Planter” and Poor Whites – Habituated to Harm

The photo that illustrates this post is of a lynching in Excelsior Springs, Missouri in 1925, ten years before Du Bois’ published Black Reconstruction in America. I think it’s important to see these pictures of the crowds of white people who must be, I suppose, enjoying their presence there while feeling justified at their actions. But I have cropped it so as not to show…

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Reading Black Reconstruction: The True System

Today’s walk lasted approximately 40 minutes so I could listen to all of Chapter 2 of Black Reconstruction in America, “The White Worker.” What follows is just where my mind took me upon contemplation. Property isn’t a material thing that you can possess; it is a name given to force. Which is to say that it works to hide and valorize violent dispossession. Most people…

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Reading Du Bois’ Black Reconstruction – Chapter One, The Black Worker

This will be necessarily sketchy – but I hope to share what stands out to me while I listen to Du Bois’ Black Reconstruction which was published in 1935 (a universally acclaimed masterpiece). The two things I’ll mention are disfranchisement and the making of “the deplorables.” Du Bois begins with suffrage, and this seems surprising. Which is just to say, I never thought of this…

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Revealed for Our Sins

The previous post on a “squib” of Baudelaire’s was actually not what I had intended to write. Rather, it was a redheaded beggar girl I meant to display. That is, I had been reading Keith Waldrop’s translation (2006) of Fleurs du Mal when I remembered I also had Richard Howard’s (1982) on the shelf. So off I went in order to see how these were…

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Squibs…

An oft-quoted line of Baudelaire’s (born in the same year as Melville, 1819) is: Dieu est le seul être qui, pour régner, n’ait même pas besoin d’exister. God is the only being who need not even exist in order to reign. This is from the first of the ““Fusées” or”Squibs” written in 1867 but only published posthumously in 1887. For those of you who wonder,…

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Quibbles?

A friend asked recently, well, what are you reading now that you’ve stopped doing the radio show (for which all my reading energy was spent)? Honestly, I wasn’t really reading anything. Dipping into many things without real interest. But I’ve not begun reading Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century, by Charles…

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Arts Interchange – This Little Mayberry: Will Johnson’s Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm

AUDIO LINK: This Little Mayberry: Will Johnson’s Hatteras Night Our show is “This Little Mayberry” and my guest is singer-songwriter and painter Will Johnson. Johnson might be best known as the lead singer of Centro-Matic which disbanded at the end of 2014. But he’s also the leader of South San Gabriel which persists and contains the same musicians. Today we discuss the ways the bands…

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