126 episodes

Host Michael Shields brings you Beyond the Margin, guiding you deeper into the stories told at the online literary and cultural magazine, Across the Margin. Listen in as they take you on a storytelling journey, one where you are bound to meet a plethora of intriguing writers, wordsmiths, poets, artists, activists, musicians, and unhinged eccentrics illustrating the notion that there are captivating stories to be found everywhere.
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Across the Margin: The Podcast Osiris Media


    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 20 Ratings

Host Michael Shields brings you Beyond the Margin, guiding you deeper into the stories told at the online literary and cultural magazine, Across the Margin. Listen in as they take you on a storytelling journey, one where you are bound to meet a plethora of intriguing writers, wordsmiths, poets, artists, activists, musicians, and unhinged eccentrics illustrating the notion that there are captivating stories to be found everywhere.
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    Episode 125: The Other Dark Matter with Lina Zeldovich

    Episode 125: The Other Dark Matter with Lina Zeldovich

    This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast features an interview with Lina Zeldovich, a writer and editor specializing in the journalism of solutions. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Smithsonian, Popular Science, Scientific American, Atlantic, and Newsweek, among many other popular outlets, and she has won awards from the Newswomen’s Club of New York, the Society of Professional Journalists Deadline Club, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Her first book, The Other Dark Matter: The Science and Business of Turning Waste Into Wealth and Heath, is the focus of this episode. Did you know that the average person produces about four hundred pounds of excrement a year (keep in mind, more than seven billion people live on this planet!). Because of the diseases it spreads, humankind has learned to distance themselves from our waste, but the long line of engineering marvels we’ve created to do so — from Roman sewage systems and medieval latrines to the immense, computerized treatment plants we use today — has also done considerable damage to the earth’s ecology. Now scientists tell us that we have been wasting our waste. When recycled correctly, this resource, cheap and widely available, can be converted into a sustainable energy source, act as an organic fertilizer, and provide effective medicinal therapy for antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection. In clear and engaging prose that draws on her extensive research and interviews, Lina Zeldovich documents the massive redistribution of nutrients and sanitation inequities across the globe. She profiles the pioneers of waste upcycling, from startups in African villages to innovators in American cities that convert sewage into fertilizer, biogas, crude oil, and even life-saving medicine. She breaks taboos surrounding sewage disposal and shows how hygienic waste repurposing can help battle Climate Change, reduce acid rain, and eliminate toxic algal blooms. Ultimately, she implores us to use our innate organic power for the greater good. In this episode host Michael Shields and Lina Zeldovich discuss the stigmas around human waste that has led it to being undervalued throughout history. They converse upon many invaluable uses of our organic matter, from fertilizer to biofuels and beyond. And they explore how sewage technologies and greening up fuel can help fight Climate Change. Grossly ambitious and rooted in scientific scholarship, The Other Dark Matter shows how human excrement can be a life-saving, money-making resource — if we make better use of it.


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    • 38 min
    Episode 124: American Gadfly with Skye Wallin

    Episode 124: American Gadfly with Skye Wallin

    This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast introduces you to American Gadlfy, a documentary that tells the story of how, a decade since his last campaign, 89-year-old former senator and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Gravel came out of retirement when a group of teenagers convinces him to run for president one last time. Through the senator’s official Twitter account, the four “Gravel teens” embark on an unlikely adventure to qualify him for the Democratic debates in order to advance an anti-war, anti-corruption, and direct democracy agenda in the 2020 presidential race. Working together, the young activists and the experienced politician confuse and amaze the generations between them. To properly delve into this powerful, inspiring documentary, this episode features an interview with the director of American Gadfly, Skye Wallin. For over a decade, Wallin has been deeply immersed in the worlds of documentary, journalism, and activism. He spent several years filming with scientists and activists at more than twenty water-related disasters across the United States. Wallin worked closely with Mark Ruffalo on this project, leading video and short documentary production for Ruffalo’s organization Water Defense for three years. Wallin's work helped to expose multiple water pollution scandals that had been covered up, including EXXON's poisoning of Lake Conway in Arkansas and millions of organic crops being watered with oil-contaminated water sold to farmers by Chevron, the latter of which resulted in front page coverage in the Los Angeles Times. His latest effort, American Gadlfy, isn’t simply a documentary about an underdog trying to win an election. It's about how the next generation understands democracy, engages in politics and influences ordinary people with passion, humor and honesty. So tune in to learn all about this rousing political adventure  on this latest episode of Across the Margin: The Podcast.


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    • 28 min
    Episode 123: The Aldous Huxley Episode with Jake Poller

    Episode 123: The Aldous Huxley Episode with Jake Poller

    This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast features an interview with Jake Poller, the author of Aldous Huxley, which is the focus of this episode, and also Aldous Huxley and Alternative Spirituality. Poller edited the essay collection Altered Consciousness in the Twentieth Century and his articles have appeared in the Aldous Huxley Annual, the D.H. Lawrence Review, Aries, Literature and Theology and International Journal for the Study of New Religions. His research focuses on the intersection of alternative spirituality, Western esotericism, philosophy and psychoanalysis with twentieth-century literature and culture. Aldous Huxley was one of the twentieth century’s most prescient thinkers. Poller’s biography, named after the philosopher, is a rich and lucid account that charts the different phases of Huxley’s career, from the early satirist who depicted the glamorous despair of the postwar generation, to the committed pacifist of the 1930s, the spiritual seeker of the 1940s, the psychedelic sage of the 1950s — who affirmed the spiritual potential of mescaline and LSD — to the New Age prophet that defined his later years. While Huxley is still best known as the author of Brave New World, Jake Poller argues that it is The Perennial Philosophy, The Doors of Perception, and Island — Huxley’s blueprint for a utopian society — that have had the most cultural impact. Huxley’s influence was vast. We see it today in the ever increasing appetite for spiritual experiences, meditation retreats, ayahuasca holidays, the multi-billion dollar “shroom boom,” the popularity of yoga, tai-chi and other mind-body practices, and the rise of spiritual communities and centers. Now more than ever, Poller points out so vividly in his book, the work of Aldous Huxley leads the way. In this episode host Michael Shields and Jake Poller discuss what compelled Huxley to seek out transcendent experiences and how psychedelics changed his life and worldview. They explore what his novel Island means to his legacy and why his bounteous, insightful essays deserve a much wider readership, and much, much more.
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    • 36 min
    Episode 122: Pushing Cool with Keith Wailoo

    Episode 122: Pushing Cool with Keith Wailoo

    This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with Keith Wailoo, Henry Putnam University Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University. His books include Dying in the City of the Blues, How Cancer Crossed the Color Line, and Pain: A Political History. Along with Dr. Anthony Fauci and others, Wailoo won the prestigious 2021 Dan David Prize which supports outstanding contributions to the study of history and other disciplines that shed light on the human past. Wailoo is also the author of Pushing Cool: Big Tobacco, Racial Marketing, and the Untold Story of the Menthol Cigarette which is the focus of this episode. In Pushing Cool, he tells the intricate and poignant story of menthol cigarettes for the first time. Wailoo pulls back the curtain to reveal the hidden persuaders who shaped menthol buying habits and racial markets across America: the world of tobacco marketers, consultants, psychologists, and social scientists, as well as Black lawmakers and civic groups including the NAACP. Today most Black smokers buy menthol cigarettes, and calls to prohibit their circulation hinge on a history of the industry’s targeted racial marketing. In 2009, when Congress banned flavored cigarettes as criminal enticements to encourage youth smoking, menthol cigarettes were also slated to be banned. Through a detailed study of internal tobacco industry documents, Wailoo exposes why they weren’t and how they remain so popular with Black smokers today. Spanning a century, Pushing Cool reveals how the twin deceptions of health and Black affinity for menthol were crafted — and how the industry’s disturbingly powerful narrative has endured to this day. In this episode host Michael Shields and Keith Wailoo discuss exactly why menthol cigarettes were “pushed” so vigorously upon Black urban communities and assess how increased governmental restriction on cigarette advertisements actually heightened this push. They explore the lies about the health benefits of menthols used to market the cigarettes, point out a plethora of surprising public figures who have consistently pushed back against a ban on menthols, examine the link in the fight to ban menthol cigarettes to e-cigarettes, and much, much more.
     


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    • 32 min
    Episode 121: Intentioning with Gloria Feldt

    Episode 121: Intentioning with Gloria Feldt

    This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with best-selling author Gloria Feldt, an acclaimed expert on women, power, and leadership. Feldt is co-founder and president of Take The Lead, whose mission reflects her life’s passion: to prepare, develop, inspire, and propel women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors. She is the author of five books. Her latest, Intentioning: Sex, Power, Pandemics and How Women Will Take The Lead, examines how people can seize the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of massive disruption to build back stronger with women at the center of the recovery. Through the lens of women’s stories, Intentioning delivers a fresh set of leadership tools, skills, and concepts that help all women reach their own highest intentions, purposefully creating new norms, while guiding institutions to break through the remaining barriers to gender and racial parity for everyone’s good. Feldt is formerly president and CEO of the world’s largest reproductive health and advocacy organization, Planned Parenthood. She teaches “Women, Power, and Leadership” at Arizona State University and has been widely quoted and published, including by the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, The Daily Beast, Forbes, Fast Company, Time, Huffington Post, Glamour, Elle and Ms. She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, the Today Show, Good Morning America and The Daily Show. In this episode host Michael Shields and Gloria Feldt examining exactly what the word "Intentioning" means while conversing upon how the disruption of the pandemic can lead to positive changes (if we #putwomenatthecenter). They talk about Feldt’s Nine Leadership Intentioning Tools, how men can be a part of the movement towards women’s parity, the difference between power “over” and power “to,” and much, much more!
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    • 38 min
    Episode 120: The Nutmeg's Curse (Parables For a Planet in Crisis) with Amitav Ghosh

    Episode 120: The Nutmeg's Curse (Parables For a Planet in Crisis) with Amitav Ghosh

    This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with Amitav Ghosh, a novelist and essayist whose many books include the acclaimed Ibis Trilogy (Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke, and Flood of Fire), Gun Island, Jungle Nama: A Story of the Sundarban, and The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable. His latest book, The Nutmeg’s Curse (Parables For a Planet in Crisis), is a powerful work that traces our contemporary planetary crisis back to the discovery of the New World and the sea route to the Indian Ocean. The Nutmeg’s Curse argues that the dynamics of Climate Change today are rooted in a centuries-old geopolitical order constructed by Western colonialism. At the center of Ghosh’s narrative is the now-ubiquitous spice nutmeg. The history of the nutmeg is one of conquest and exploitation — of both human life and the natural environment. In Ghosh’s hands, the story of the nutmeg becomes a parable for our environmental crisis, revealing the ways human history has always been entangled with earthly materials such as spices, tea, sugarcane, opium, and fossil fuels. Our crisis, he shows, is ultimately the result of a mechanistic view of the earth, where nature exists only as a resource for humans to use for our own ends, rather than a force of its own, full of agency and meaning. Writing against the backdrop of the global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, Ghosh frames these historical stories in a way that connects our shared colonial histories with the deep inequality we see around us today. By interweaving discussions on everything from the global history of the oil trade to the migrant crisis and the animist spirituality of Indigenous communities around the world, The Nutmeg’s Curse offers a sharp critique of Western society and speaks to the profoundly remarkable ways in which human history is shaped by non-human forces. In this episode host Michael Shields and Amitav Ghosh discuss the history of the nutmeg, a spice whose narrative is tied to colonialism in ways that relate to today’s Climate Crisis and particularly fossil fuels. They discuss terraforming, a term known in science-fiction writing that relates to the ways in which colonizers, both in days of yore and today, reshape landscapes to meet their covetous ways. They converse on the power of storytelling in fighting Climate Change, those who see the Earth as an inert body, the future of vitalist politics, and much, much more.
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    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
20 Ratings

20 Ratings

Daddy Unscripted Podcast ,

Fascinating Minds, INDEED!

There are so many excellent episodes to choose from with this podcast. And, I don't just find myself going to the ones that I immediately think: "Oh, yeah... that's in my wheelhouse". And bonus: the ones that aren't maybe something I would necessarily imagine myself being wowed by... I am usually very pleasantly surprised! Can't wait to see where else this podcast goes down these roads!

letsbabbleon ,

A podcast and a road trip

We were getting out of DC and driving to a new hiking location in VA. We decided to listen to Beyond the Margin's first podcast. As we were traveling through the winding roads of VA, the segment The Banjo came on. I could picture the father and son sitting on the porch of the houses we were passing by and I quickly got lost in the story. When we got to our location we had not finished the podcast. It was a sunny day out so we laid on the ground, starred up at the sky and listened to the segment Pinwheel. We sat around for awhile, not even realizing that the podcast had ended. We were both deep in our thoughts about a bond with a family member, a 30 second segment of our day and a chance encounter when we realized that we should start our hike.

We cannot wait for the next podcast and see where it will take us. Maybe it will be the next soundtrack to our road trip.

chazferrari ,

Wonderful story telling

For fans of The Moth, This American Life, and other story telling / journalistic shows with a bit more of an artistic flair. Great accompaniment to their online publications, which are also worth checking out. Looking forward to see how future episodes develop!

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