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.
TAA 0037 – C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood continue their discussion about fathers. Picking up from last time, they consider what is and isn’t possible in our intimate relationships. From fathers to history, we are born into dynamic contexts that both injure and inspire us. What tools do we have to manage these overwhelming forces?
C. Travis Webb talks about narrowing our critical targets to those who truly oppose progressive agendas. He argues against generalizations that describe Republicans as “racist,” “greedy,” “homophobes,” and suggests these generalizations are the equivalent of indiscriminate machine gun fire. Only by committing ourselves to principles of empathy and courage can we hope to defeat those who oppose progressive politics.
C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss Plato’s “noble lie.” Are some kinds of myths necessary to promote comity between strangers? Is the American Dream a worthwhile national story? How might we update it in the twenty-first century so that it remains relevant today?
C. Travis Webb discusses memes. He argues that typical discussions about memes, from their silliness to the gene-meme theory of Richard Dawkins, miss something very important about their function. He explains why The American Age produces memes and how they’re related to Buddhist prayer flags.
C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss Seph’s recently completed book project. Seph has spent years studying how art museums cadre to and shape public expectations. Is it possible for the museum to be a neutral space of aesthetic engagement, or is it hopelessly bound to a political agenda?
C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood begin by discussing Rachel Dolezal, but quickly move to a free ranging discussion of why we’re so bound up in racial narratives. What’s at stake, and what do African and European Americans gain by focusing on it?
C. Travis Webb, Steven Fullwood, and new contributor Meloo discuss the limits of civility. Does justice demand that we make public life uncomfortable for members of the Trump administration, or have we left too little space for principled disagreements on immigration?
C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss Comedy Central’s recently aired skit, “The Blackening.” From dissecting the underlying racial codes, to discussing what constitutes racial “progress,” they examine some of the dynamics that allow people to play with their “blackness.”
C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss “context collapse.” This is the idea that “new media” has decontextualized the facts of our lives and cultures. We don’t have enough information to make judgments about one another. Is this a new phenomenon, and is it necessarily bad? How might we deal with it?
C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss writer David Roberts recent take down of the New York Times opinion page, and its attempt to incorporate conservative leaning writers. Is conservatism just a series of “irritable mental gestures” or a vital and coherent worldview?
In this episode C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss faith in the future. Is faith in the future justifiable or naive? Contrasting Ta-Nehisi Coates with Jeffrey Goldberg (the editor of The Atlantic), Webb argues that “faith” isn’t the point, and Rodney emphasizes the importance of honesty in any assessment of the American project.
On the inaugural episode of The American Age podcast, C. Travis Webb and Seph Rodney discuss “unlucky days.” Taking inspiration from the Mayan tradition of the haab (i.e. the five “unnamed” days that fall between the end of the old sun calendar and the start of the new) Travis and Seph discuss the days between Christmas and New Year, and the ways in which we try to make sense of our lives.