What if your favorite college professors were willing to talk about everything from philosophy and politics to pop culture and love with the same kind of consideration and enthusiasm? Each week C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss life, culture, and art, and challenge their listeners to take fewer things for granted and all things more seriously.
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 broke the mold of the modern American President. Countless factors undoubtedly contributed to his election, but one that is seldom discussed is Trump’s compatibility with the critical intellectual fatalism common in continental philosophy.
In a democracy the press serves a vital function–the dissemination of facts. Facts are slippery, but their faithful pursuit strengthens our national character. What has the election of Donald Trump revealed about fact based media in America?
Cultural progress requires change, but that change isn’t always positive for its agents. For many years progressives ignored the cost of progress, but that bill came due in November, 2016. The 2016 election is a clear signal the world is changing, but what is it changing into?
TAA 0073 – What do we mean when we say that someone does or does not “look presidential?” Is it still freighted with the same assumptions about race and gender (i.e. white and male)? The hosts discuss the possibility that it conveys a kind of dispassionate and benign ruthlessness.
TAA 0072 – In most polling, Joe Biden is the front runner amongst Democrats in the 2020 Presidential primaries. But he’s a problematic candidate because many of his mannerisms put him out of step with the Democratic base. What kind of politician is Biden and can he secure the nomination?
TAA 0071 – The 2020 Democratic field is crowded, but there are a few standouts. Assessing the field, the hosts make the argument that Elizabeth Warren stands far out ahead of the rest in terms of preparedness. But is she electable?
TAA 0070 – Though it is widely accepted that Michael Jackson suffered from vitiligo, there is still much to be learned from looking at our own responses to his cosmetic transformation. What does Jackson’s appearance say about our own racial imagination?
TAA 0069 – Megastars like Michael Jackson seem to be exempted from critiques of their wealth. Rarely do you hear Jay-Z or Tom Hanks referred to derisively as “the one percent.” Why don’t we care about extremes of wealth in our entertainers?
People are willing to sacrifice a lot to be near greatness. From Plato’s Symposium to starfuckers, the desire to be near the powerful has been with us a long time. But to be near that kind of power requires a sacrifice.
TAA 0067 – In this episode the hosts discuss our preoccupation with innocence, and when moral responsibility takes shape. Defenses of Michael Jackson often involve his complicated childhood. How convincing is that defense?
Podcast 0066 – Dan Reed’s documentary “Leaving Neverland” offers a compelling but disturbing description of the alleged abuse suffered by James Safechuck and Wade Dobson at the hands of Michael Jackson. But how credible is Reed’s film? Join as we discuss “Leaving Neverland.”
Podcast 0065 – Even though he died in 2009 Michael Jackson is still the most famous person in the world. With the release of Leaving Neverland his legacy has been once again called into question. Why is his life and art so meaningful to us? Join us as we try to unravel this history.
Podcast 0064 – The hosts conclude their conversation about White Supremacy. They discuss the reasons why even radical critiques of race relations in the U.S. have reasons to be hopeful about the future. And they preview their next topic: Michael Jackson.
TAA 0063 – In what ways does “white” ideology interfere with human empathy and compassion? And what does it mean to be “human” anyway? Can a better version of the United States be written in the twenty-first century? The hosts draw together several threads from their previous podcasts.
Podcast 0062 – What does it mean to say, as Malcolm X famously did, that it’s the responsibility of whites to educate themselves? If each group is responsible to educate only those who are already a member of that respective group, how can we forge a coherent national identity?
Podcast 0061 – What does institutional “white” power look like in the 21st century? In what ways are institutions oriented against people of color, and in what ways are institutions a result of that historical orientation? The hosts untangle the ways people use and are used by that history.
TAA 0060 – What do structural impediments to African-American progress look like in the United States? Even if cultural bias can be controlled, there is a history of segregation in real estate and education that has shaped contemporary American communities.
TAA 0059 – The hosts discuss Obama’s legacy as a “black” leader, and what it means about the present and future of “white” misanthropy. In particular his 2013 and 2016 speeches at Moorehouse and Howard Universities are closely examined.
TAA 0058 – The hosts begin their conversation about “white supremacy.” What does the supremacy of whites mean? Who is “white”? Are institutions or individuals primarily to blame for its perpetuation? And is it, in fact, perpetuating? Join us as we work through these and other questions.
TAA 0057 – The hosts conclude their conversation with a discussion of the role of race in the sexual imagination. Why is the white, blonde female body so often the location of heterosexual desire in American culture? Why is the male black body so often fetishized?
TAA 0056 – The hosts continue their conversation about pornography. This week they explore the emotional cost of pornography. Who shapes our desires? And what happens when we are regularly reminded of what we don’t have?
Steven G. Fullwood
Steven G. Fullwood was born on January 15, 1966. He is an author, filmmaker, podcaster, and curator who may best be known as the archivist who founded the In the Life Archive at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library.
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TAA 0038 – C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh in the light of the #MeToo movement. The conversation turns to issues of personal responsibility, power, integrity, and, as always, the history of civilization. This is part I of a multi-part discussion.
TAA 0035 – C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss fatherhood. Being sons and having sons informs their exploration of masculinity, pride, misfortune, and the culture’s ambivalence towards traditional masculine values.
C. Travis Webb
C. Travis Webb, PhD, is editor of The American Age.
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TAA 0040 – C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss why human beings of limited economic means purchase luxury items–such as expensive sneakers. Who gets to ask the question, how does it manifest across culture, what do these items mean?
TAA 0039 – C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss the #MeToo movement and the way in which mainstream American culture over-simplifies sexual desire. Woody Allen, The Son’s of Anarchy, and Brett Kavanaugh are dissected and analyzed.