This fortnight, while Andrew and I are on our annual Dishcation in August, we are airing a two-part interview of Andrew from 2012, conducted by the journalist Johann Hari (author of the bestselling books Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs and Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope). The idea to re-air the interview all started with this reader:
I began reading Andrew in the early 2000s, and even though I’m a huge fan, I’ve never heard him systematically discuss his intellectual origins and development. I know bits and pieces of the story — a provincial kid, debated at Oxford, proud Tory and Reagan supporter, came to the States, courted controversy at The New Republic, was a pioneering supporter of gay marriage, supported the Iraq War and lived to regret it, and so on. But I bet your listeners might enjoy hearing Andrew being interviewed thoroughly and in-depth about how he sees the trajectory of his intellectual life. (I know I would.) Another impetus for this suggestion is that I recently enjoyed listening to Glenn Loury do something like this on his own podcast. I loved it and learned a lot.
That posted email prompted another reader to write in:
One of your readers suggested that Andrew do an in-depth interview about his early life, his intellectual influences, etc. I listened to his interview with Giles Fraser, which was interesting, but he also did a more extensive two-parter with Johann Hari a decade ago, which covers most of the areas that your reader mentions. Johann put this out as his own podcast, which is no longer available online, but I have mp3 copies that I’m happy to share.
Even Johann doesn’t have the audio files anymore, so a big thanks to our reader for saving them from oblivion! I vividly remember listening to that interview, almost a decade ago, because it was one of the most revealing conversations I’ve ever heard of Andrew (and I’ve known him a long time). Johann has a real knack for allowing people to reveal themselves.
You can listen to the episode right away in the audio player embedded above, or right below it you can click “Listen in podcast app” — which will connect you to the Dishcast feed. (The second half of the interview will air next Friday. Update: here.) For three clips of Andrew’s conversation with Johann — on two of the earliest influences that made Andrew a conservative; on the genius of his dissertation subject, Michael Oakeshott; and on why true conservatives should want to save the planet from climate change — head over to our YouTube page.
In lieu of reader commentary this week, we are trying something different: a transcript of a podcast episode, specifically an interview that Andrew did last month on Debra Soh’s podcast, focused on the AIDS crisis and the marriage movement. We may start making transcripts available for our most popular Dishcast episodes, rather than all of the episodes, because we don’t have the staff bandwidth right now, and transcripts are a lot of work. Let us know if you think they would be particularly useful, or if you have any ideas in general about the Dishcast: email@example.com. For now, we hope you get some value from the transcript below, which gets very personal about Andrew and his friends who suffered during the AIDS crisis.
Debra: I want to start by saying thank you so much for agreeing to do this. It’s really an honor for me to get to talk with you, especially about this subject.
I guess I’ll explain to listeners what got me interested in wanting to do this episode. So my audience knows I’m straight, but I grew up in the gay community. When I was younger all my friends were gay men, and I really do credit them for helping me become the woman I am. I’m very proud of that. I love them so much, and I don’t feel there’s enough of a discussion about the AIDS crisis and what happened in the ‘80s and ‘90s. I feel like there needs to be more educa