The Nostalgia Trap podcast features weekly conversations about history and politics with some of the left’s most incisive thinkers, writers, and extremely online personalities, exploring how individual lives intersect with the big events and debates of our era.
Vaya Con Dios w/ Claudia Moreno Parsons (PREVIEW)
Point Break (1991, dir. Kathryn Bigelow) is a classic of 90s action cinema, combining an absolutely ludicrous plot (a gang of surfing bank robbers infiltrated by a rookie FBI agent) with masterfully staged action sequences and goofy performances. Claudia joins us to explore how Point Break’s intense engagement with gender, homosociality, and violence gives us a toxic mix of pure pleasure and pure ideology. For full episode, subscribe at patreon.com/nostalgiatrap.
Perfect Storm w/ Jason Wilson
Jason Wilson is an independent journalist whose work focuses on the American far right, extremist groups, and the U.S. security state. He joins us in the wake of Trump’s Capitol riot to offer details on the specific groups involved, from Boogaloo boys to Qanon, and to explore how the right’s world is shifting in response to Trump’s loss, internal fissures, and a looming federal government crackdown.
A Year in Hell w/ Luke O'Neil
Luke O’Neil’s Hell World newsletter collects stories and transmissions from the darker corners of modern American life, which at this point seems like every fucking corner, to be honest. In this conversation, he talks about his latest book, Lockdown in Hell World, which takes us on a detailed journey into the madness of the COVID-19 year. Along the way, we try to understand how the “good ones” (you know, us) might be able to take the world back from hell.
Time of My Life w/ Claudia Moreno Parsons
A deceptively straightforward romantic drama set in the early 1960s, Dirty Dancing (1987) is a unique entry in the pantheon of 1980s blockbusters. Claudia Moreno Parsons joins us to explain what makes this film such a potent nostalgia trap, from its epic rock and roll soundtrack to the infectious chemistry of its two main stars, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, telling a coming of age story with complex critiques of class, gender, and racialized bodies at a specific moment in American history.
Trojan Horse w/ Justin Rogers-Cooper (PREVIEW)
Justin Rogers-Cooper joins us to navigate the politics of desire as we unpack the career of Brad Pitt, an enigmatic American mega-celebrity whose on-screen presence and media persona carry a particular resonance in the story of American capitalism. This conversation features take after take on Pitt movies, from 90s bad boy stuff like Fight Club and Seven to later works like Moneyball, Fury, War Machine, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. To hear full episode go to patreon.com/nostalgiatrap.
World on Fire w/ Jordan Thomas
Jordan Thomas is a graduate researcher in anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, whose work focuses on the cultural and historical forces that shape fire. In this conversation, Thomas tells us why these fires have grown so large (hint: it’s climate change), tells us about his research into the history of indigenous fire practices erased by imperialism, and provides perspective on the fierce ground battles waged by firefighters on the front lines of climate catastrophe.