80 episodes

Darts and Letters is about ‘arts and letters,’ but for the kind of people who might hack a dart. We cover public intellectualism and the politics of academia from a left populist perspective. Put simply: we love ideas, but hate snob culture. Each week, we interview thinkers about key debates that are relevant to the left. We discuss politics, arts, culture, and ideas. But the show is for everyone. That means sometimes you'll hear from the usual suspects, like that authoritative old professor; but just as often, you'll hear from the young iconoclastic scholar, the crass podcaster, the journalist, the activist--even so-called 'ordinary working people.' We're here to discover exciting intellectual life, wherever that might be.

Darts and Letters Cited Media

    • News
    • 4.2 • 22 Ratings

Darts and Letters is about ‘arts and letters,’ but for the kind of people who might hack a dart. We cover public intellectualism and the politics of academia from a left populist perspective. Put simply: we love ideas, but hate snob culture. Each week, we interview thinkers about key debates that are relevant to the left. We discuss politics, arts, culture, and ideas. But the show is for everyone. That means sometimes you'll hear from the usual suspects, like that authoritative old professor; but just as often, you'll hear from the young iconoclastic scholar, the crass podcaster, the journalist, the activist--even so-called 'ordinary working people.' We're here to discover exciting intellectual life, wherever that might be.

    EP63: Who Researches the Researchers?

    EP63: Who Researches the Researchers?

    Researchers with the best of intentions still get things wrong. “Who made you the expert” is a valid question that research subjects might ask… and frankly, they’re right to ask that. If you’re, say, a drug user in Vancouver’s downtown east side you probably don’t want some guy from Harvard telling you what paternalistic research he’s doing on you. You want to be a partner in research done with you.

    So what does it look like when the old paternalistic ways are dispensed of? Garth Mullins hosts Crackdown, a podcast about the drug war in Vancouver covered by the drug users themselves. Gordon talks to him about being the researcher and the researched in the downtown east side, a place where activists and academics have come together to develop better methods.

    We also talk to Michelle Fine of City University of New York. She’s a leading proponent of “critical participatory action research“. That’s a way of researching that de-centres the academic. We find out the theory, and what that means for expertise more broadly.

    Special thanks to Samona Marsh, one of the authors of Research 101: A process for developing local guidelines for ethical research in heavily researched communities, and also to Liz Dozier of Chicago Beyond. Liz and Samona’s work was really important to this episode even if we couldn’t get their voices to air.

    ——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW————————-

    We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers usually get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content.

    Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

    —————————-CREDITS—————————-

    For a full list of credits, contact information, and more, visit our about page.

    • 55 min
    EP62: Socialize the Series of Tubes (ft. Ben Tarnoff)

    EP62: Socialize the Series of Tubes (ft. Ben Tarnoff)

    Recently a major outage took nearly a third of Canada offline. No phone, no internet… even access to 911 got shut down in some places, all thanks to Rogers Media Inc. But why does one company get so much control over a vital service like the Internet in the first place? This is the story in the USA as well as Canada – our digitized lives are all being held captive by a tiny number of huge corporations. We at Darts don’t necessarily believe the market is the solution here. But if the market isn’t, what is? How do we make a more democratic, socially driven Internet? Gordon Katic interviews Ben Tarnoff, author of Internet for the People, to help us answer these questions – and most importantly, we ask whether the internet is indeed a series of tubes. Read Ben’s book, and keep up with his work on his website.

    —————————-CREDITS—————————-

    For a full list of credits, contact information, and more, visit our about page.

    • 53 min
    EP61: Enter the Zuckerverse (ft. Sandrine Han and Ian Bogost)

    EP61: Enter the Zuckerverse (ft. Sandrine Han and Ian Bogost)

    The term “metaverse” was coined in a 1993 science fiction novel. Since then, it’s grown from a dystopian literary concept to a reality that corporations want to sell you. Strap on some VR goggles and escape your tired analog life! Except that the systemic issues we already have seem to be creeping into the metaverse, too.

    As the lines between virtuality and physicality continue to blur, companies like Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta are setting their sights on virtual worlds. It’s a new frontier, full of potential – and full of our valuable data. Metaverses like Second Life or World of Warcraft can be positive and even game-changing experiences on the individual level, but when it comes to the navigating a virtual society with a capitalist backdrop…things get a bit dicey.

    On this episode, guest host and producer Ren Bangert explores the metaverse. First, we hear a love story from the glory days of Second Life, told to us by Sandrine Han – a scholar of virtual worlds and a long-time Second Lifer. Then, writer and game developer Ian Bogost takes us on a deep dive into the corporatization of the metaverse. We’ll hear how the metaverse has grown from a dystopian warning from science fiction to a sinister data-mining reality – and how even the shiniest of tech utopias are still functioning under the same old capitalism.

    ——————-FURTHER READING, LISTENING AND WATCHING——————



    * Check out Ian Bogost’s article “The Metaverse is Bad” in The Atlantic. Ian’s got lots of excellent reading content listed on his website – perfect for a deep dive into game theory.

    * For a further imagining of democracy in a metaverse, check out Eliane Boey’s short story “The Forgotten”. You can read it in Clarkesworld Magazine, or listen to an audio version on the Clarkesworld podcast.

    * Watch the Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern get trapped in the metaverse for 24 hours. It’s a an emotional rollercoaster.

    * Han, H. C. (2013). Visual learning in the virtual world: The hidden curriculum of imagery in Second Life. Immersive Environments, Augmented Realities and Virtual Worlds: Assessing Future Trends in Education. http://www.igi-global.com/chapter/visual-learning-virtual-world/74048

    * Stephenson, N. (1993). Snow Crash. New York: Bantam Books.



    ——————-ABOUT THE SHOW——————

    For a full list of credits, contact information, and more, visit our about page.

    • 44 min
    EP60: Not Alright Alright Alright (Big Shiny Takes ft. Gordon Katic)

    EP60: Not Alright Alright Alright (Big Shiny Takes ft. Gordon Katic)

    Canadian media is full of galaxy brain columnists. Luckily there is a show who reads their crap so that you don’t have to: Big Shiny Takes, aka Jeremy Appel, Eric Wickham and Marino Greco.

    We’re featuring this episode because your esteemed host and editor Gordon Katic made an appearance to discuss the latest unfathomably smart take: Matthew McConaughey has a moral obligation to run for president of the United States. It’s stunning intellectual work like this that has led Big Shiny Takes to become the world’s first anti free speech podcast. They’re also our colleagues, as part of the Harbinger Media Network

    It’s a different vibe to our usual programming, but we think you’ll like it because Big Shiny Takes is witty and anarchic and smart. The team really deserve a lot of recognition for doing the lord’s work: shit-talking columnists.

    ——————FURTHER READING, LISTENING, & WATCHING————————-



    * If you enjoyed this then check out the other episodes Big Shiny Takes, subscribe to the show and never read another opinion column in your life. You too can be free!





    * If however you prefer masochism then you can read the Toronto Star Article yourself: After his moving speech on gun control, it’s time for Matthew McConaughey to give up Hollywood for Washington, by Vinay Menon





    * We also featured Eric, Marino and Jeremy on a previous Darts episode. EP41: Canada’s Dumbest Public Intellectuals. This was one of our more fun episodes, also featuring drug legalisation campaigner and the left’s best psychedelic TikTok star Hilary Agro. Also Kate Jacobs of fellow Harbinger podcast Alberta Advantage and the man behind Harbinger Media himself: André Goulet.



    ——————-ABOUT THE SHOW——————

    For a full list of credits, contact information, and more, visit our about page.

    • 1 hr 27 min
    EP59: January 6th and the Myth of the Mob (ft. James Jasper and Joy Rohde)

    EP59: January 6th and the Myth of the Mob (ft. James Jasper and Joy Rohde)

    The January 6th hearings continued this week, so we took it as an opportunity to revisit how academics tried to explain the events. Many likened it to a kind of psycho-social pathology; terms like deindividuation, psychosis, groupthink, and mob mentality were thrown around liberally. This is basically crowd theory, a line of thought developed in … Read More Read More

    • 1 hr 8 min
    EP58: The Twisted “Science” of Great Replacement Theory

    EP58: The Twisted “Science” of Great Replacement Theory

    The suspect in the Buffalo shooting had a manifesto, as mass shooters often do. However, this one was different. It was littered with references to peer-reviewed scientific research that, he purports, supports his white supremacist beliefs. It’s part of a broader far right subculture, with ‘journal clubs’ and the like, in which research is read … Read More Read More

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

Erin_1989 ,

Really cool take on lots of topics

Lots of interesting angles on topics that you wouldn't expect a lefty/intellectual show to cover

DrSpoonman ,

Great show! If you like ideas, thinking, & more

Well done!
I’m a small part of this show as a matter of full disclosure, but I really do love this show tackling edgy topics and featuring a great mix of perspectives- plus the host Gordon’s a beauty!

Garth Mullins ,

Dope.

It feels like a combination of listening to the radio in a leather wing back chair at a wood panelled library and sitting on a bar stool in a place you can still smoke.

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