A podcast where politics, history, and culture are examined from perspectives you may not have considered before. Call it a parallax view.
A podcast where politics, history, and culture are examined from perspectives you may not have considered before. Call it a parallax view.
Sleazy Mike Cernovich is Not a Friend of Epstein Victims w/ Marlon Ettinger
On this edition of Parallax Views, right-wing "journalist" and, by all accounts, all-around sleazeball Mike Cernovich has been taking credit for the recent unsealing of court documents related to the Jeffrey Epstein case, Ghislaine Maxwell, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, and Epstein survivor Virginia Giuffre. In a past life Cernovich grifted in the odious waters of GamerGate and the Pick-Up Artistry movement, (in)famously expressing his belief that "date rape doesn't exist" and hustling his self-help book The Gorilla Mindset. Since then, however, Cernovich has reinvented himself as a defender of children and women against human traffickers and sexual abusers. In particular, Cernovich has found himself in the middle of the Jeffrey Epstein case as part of litigation also involving Dershowitz and the Miami Herald. And, he's claimed, that he's played a big part in exposing the elite billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. In fact, the "Intellectual Dark Web" movement figurehead (and associate of Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel) Eric Weinstein recently took to the social media platform Twitter to laud Cernovich for his role in the Epstein story and discourage his listeners from considering the right-wing journalist's notoriety prior to his involvement in the case.
Freelance journalist Marlon Ettinger, who has been dubbed "The French Connection" correspondent in our various examinations of the Epstein case, joins us to challenge Cernovich's reputation for allegedly exposing the whole Jeffrey Epstein story. In particular we hone in on how according to Virginia Giuffre's own attorney argued that Mike Cernovich, far from wanting to help the Epstein survivor, was acting as a proxy for Alan Dershowitz. Marlon cites and quotes the documents in this conversation for the listener. Additionally J.G. relays a recent article on the Daily Dot that features Dershowtiz's interesting comment about Cernovich in light of Cernovich distancing himself from Dershowitz. Additionally, Marlon and I discuss the potential political motivations of Cernovich behind being a glory-hound upset that he's not accepted by the journalistic establishment. And, finally, Marlon offers his own comments on Eric Weinstein, why Weinstein is promoting Cernovich, and Peter Thiel. All that and more on this edition of Parallax Views!
Links:"Panel Signals Epstein Files Likely to See Sunlight" by Adam Klasfeld (Courthouse News Service)
"What exactly are Mike Cernovich and Alan Dershowitz doing in the Epstein case?" by Olga Lexell (The Daily Dot)
"Someone Is Trying to Discredit the Story of Peter Thiel’s Interest in Young Blood" by J.K. Trotter (Gizmodo)
Mrs. America and Arch-Conservative Phyllis Schlafly
PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED:On this edition of Parallax Views, 2020's began the "Prestige TV" season earlier this year with FX's Mrs. America leading the charge. This show, based on the battles of the feminist Women's Liberation Movement of the 1970s, centers on the anti-feminist arch-conservative Phyllis Schlafly. The show gained a lot of attention upon it's release for being "timely" in regards to the American political moment of polarization and dealing with the fights between the right (Schalfly) and the left (Gloria Steinem, who is also features in the series) that echo today. Eileen Jones, a film critic at Jacobin, however, has a different take on the series that is decidedly more critical.
Eileen, J.G., and Casey discuss the real Phyllis Schalfly and her contributions to the American right wing in the 20th century as well as her often covered-up ties to the fringe John Birch Society. Then we begin to discuss the portrayal of Schlafly in Mrs. America as well as the portrayal of Gloria Steinem. Additionally we discuss the contradictions in Schalfly own life. We also talk about Schlafly's involvement with the Barry Goldwater movement and the role she played in promoting the elite Republican or RINO (Republican in Name Only) narrative within conservative circles through her book A Choice Not an Echo.
Eileen and J.G. also note that Schlafly was a huge part of integral part of movement conservatism up until her death and, in fact, even after - her last book, The Conservative Case for Trump, was published posthumously after her death. Eileen expresses her issues with the way Mrs. America doesn't tackle the grotesqueness of Schlafly's legacy and the attempts to psychologize Schlafly and the liberal use of fictionalized dramatization. J.G., on the other hand, notes the conservative backlash against the TV series. This leads us into a discussion of the show's repeated "poor Phyllis" trope to explain Schlafly's politics and what Eileen considers the lame symbolism utilized in the series. And, of course we address the conservatism criticism of the show that claims Schlafly's is portrayed as a cynical operator rather than a true believer, anti-communist ideologue and the racist element of Schlafly's career and activism that is often overlooked. All that and much more on this previously unreleased edition of Parallax Views.
Ideology and the Virtual City: Videogames, Power Fantasies, and Neoliberalism w/ Jon Bailes
On this edition of Parallax Views, video games are a popular pastime at this point. From Halo to Super Mario Bros., video games have become become a juggernaut within the entertainment industry and remain hugely popular with people from various generations. As with other forms of entertainment it is possible to look at such video games as a reflecting pool for the culture from which they were produced. In Ideology and the Virtual City: Videogames, Power Fantasies, and Neoliberalism (Zero Books; 2019), Jon Bailes uses popular games to examine and interrogate the culture of neoliberalism. Specifically, Jon seeks to understand, through the lens of games like Saints Row IV, Grand Theft Auto V, No More Heroes, and Persona 5, the demands placed upon the neoliberal subject to be constantly productive, the burnout this produces in said subjects, and the ways in which neoliberal subjects imagine the possibility of escape from neoliberal hegemony.
Synopsis of Ideology and the Virtual City: Videogames, Power Fantasies, and Neoliberalism from Zero Books:
Ideology and the Virtual City is an exploration of modern society and the critical value of popular culture. It combines a prescient social theory that describes how ‘neoliberal’ ideology in today’s societies dominates our economic, political and cultural ideals, with an entertaining exploration of narratives, characters and play structures in some of today’s most interesting videogames. The book takes readers into a range of simulated urban environments that symbolise the hidden antagonisms of social life and create outlandish resolutions through their power fantasies. Interactive entertainment can help us understand the ways in which people relate to a modern ‘common sense’ neoliberal background, in terms of absorbing assumptions, and questioning them.
A short review of Ideology and the Virtual City: Videogames, Power, and Neoliberalism by philosopher Slavoj Zizek:
Videogames are gradually recognized as a new cultural form which reaches far beyond mere entertainment: they enact new forms of subjectivity and temporality. However, this fascination with the new form should not render us blind for the fact that, in their content, even at its most magic, videogames are firmly rooted in our neoliberal capitalism and faithfully mirror its antinomies. This is where Bailess book enters. Through a detailed analysis of selected games, from Grand Theft Auto to Persona, he demonstrates how they reproduce the key dimensions of a modern megalopolis: the City as Playground, as Battleground, as Wasteland, as Prison Ideology and the Virtual City is not only insanely readable; in its combination of vivid descriptions with theoretical stringency, it provides an unsurpassable introduction into the deadlocks of our real life. In short, an instant classic for everyone who wants to understand not just games but our reality itself.
Tekashi 6ix9ine and the Trial of the Nine Trey Gangster Bloods w/ Casey Gane
On this edition of Parallax Views, the rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine has proven a controversial figure within the hip hop scene. A master troll within the hip hop community, Tekashi69 became famouse after his sleeper hit track "Hummo" which features members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods appeared in the music video for it. Tekashi would then become even more infamous when his NTG associates were busted for multiple offenses and went on trial. Tekashi himself got in trouble and eventually acted as a witness against the Nine Trey Bloods during the trial. This has led some to speculate Tekashi (real name Daniel Hernandez) was "a fed all along". But our guest, Casey Gane-McCalla, also known as the rapper "The Mighty Casey" and the author of Inside the CIA's Secret War Inside Jamaica, believes that Kristian Kruz aka CEO Kris is the more insidious player in the case. According to Gane, Kruz was heavily involved in trafficking the dangerous drug fentanyl while simultaneously acting as an informant for the feds.
As of August 2nd, 2020 Tekashi69's house arrest will come to an end. Report are flooding in that Tekashi 6ix9ine is currently afraid that he lacks protection after his house arrest is over.Casey and I go over Tekashi's history, from his prior offenses (including a charge involving sexual misconduct against a minor) to his current predicament and what the whole case says about our current justice system. Additionally, Casey tells us about the new Amazon documentary series The Last Narc concerning the kidnapping, torture, and murder of DEA agent Enrique `Kiki" Camarena that contains explosive allegations against CIA officer Félix Rodríguez. All that and more on this edition of Parallax Views.
No More War (The Misuse and Abuse of 'Humanitarian' Intervention) w/ Dan Kovalik
On this edition of Parallax Views, are the West's humanitarian interventions (or humanitarian wars) really waged for humanitarian purposes? Or is that just an Orwellian façade to cover-up for more strategic interests at play? Our guest labor and human rights attorney Dan Kovalik, author of No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using 'Humanitarian' Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests, makes the case the the latter is closer to the truth. We delve into:- The history of "humanitarian interventions" by the West from the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia to the U.S.-backed overthrow of Muammar al-Gaddafi in Libya and the destruction it wrought.- When could the case be made for humantarian intervention?- King Leopold II and the massacre in the Congo- South African apartheid, the U.S., and Cuba- The Kurds and Turkey-The ideas of pro-interventionist Samantha Powers and how Dan takes them on in the bookAnd much, much moreBook Description for Dan Kovalik's No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using 'Humanitarian' Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests:
"Kovalik helps cut through the Orwellian lies and dissembling which make so-called 'humanitarian' intervention possible." —Oliver Stone
War is the fount of all the worst human rights violations―including genocide―and not its cure. This undeniable truth, which the framers of the UN Charter understood so well, is lost in today’s obsession with the oxymoron known as “humanitarian" intervention. No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using 'Humanitarian' Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests sets out to reclaim the original intent of the Charter founders to end the scourge of war on the heels of the devastation wrought by WWII. The book begins with a short history of the West’s development as built upon the mass plunder of the Global South, genocide and slavery, and challenges the prevailing notion that the West is uniquely poised to enforce human rights through force. This book also goes through recent “humanitarian" interventions carried out by the Western powers against poorer nations (e.g., in the DRC, Congo, and Iraq) and shows how these have only created greater human rights problems – including genocide – than they purported to stop or prevent. No More War reminds the reader of the key lessons of Nuremberg – that war is the primary scourge of the world, the root of all the evils which international law seeks to prevent and eradicate, and which must be prevented. The reader is then taken through the UN Charter and other human rights instruments and their emphasis on the prevention of aggressive war.
Cosmopolitan Dystopia w/ Philip Cunliffe
On this edition of Parallax Views, modern wars in which the U.S. and Western powers invade nations like Iraq and Afghanistan are often waged under the pretext of being necessary "humanitarian interventions". Pro-peace activists and critics of U.S. foreign policy have long argued, however, that claims of "humanitarian intervention" are cover for more sinister motivations From this perspective, U.S. wars are fought for control of resources or for strategic reasons related to the maintenance of Western powers on the geopolitical "Grand Chessboard".
For example, many antiwar activists who marched in opposition to George W. Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq would chant, "No More Wars for Oil!" In other words, the activists believed that war was not fought over WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) or to liberate the Iraqi people, but instead that the invasion was a way to secure resources. The invocation of "humanitarian intervention" in this context, activists claimed, was nothing more than a cynical ruse.
Dr. Philip Cunliffe, a Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent, however, takes a different, and perhaps even more provocative, approach to critiquing U.S. foreign policy. In his book Cosmopolitan Dystopia: International Intervention and the Failure of the West, Cunliffe wills himself to take the claims of humanitarian interventionists at face value rather than questioning whether they have ulterior motives. In taking this tact he argues that humanitarian intervention, however nobly conceived, has led to a dystopian scenario of "Forever Wars" that have caused more harm than good. Put another way, Cunliffe chooses to question the proposed logic of humanitarian intervention itself and uses examples like the fallout from the U.S.-backed overthrow of Muammar al-Gaddafi in Libya (which has led to the unintended consequence, or "blowback", of sexual slavery and human trafficking making a comeback in the region) to make his case.
Although Cunliffe's argument is controversial, and perhaps even unnerving, it does provide an alternative way of looking at Western wars in the 21st century. As always we attempted to hear our guest out rather than have a shouting match. With that in mind this episode is sure to stir the pot in regards to international relations discussion, but Parallax Views is all about providing listeners with an unconventional viewpoint they may have not considered before. And it is our belief that this conversation with Dr. Cunliffe will certainly provide that in spades.
Also be sure to check out Dr. Cunliffe's podcast Aufhebunga Bunga.