Category Archives: Authors

More Questions Than Answers?

What happened? How did we get to where less than one percent have more wealth than everyone else in America combined? Why are so many people holding down jobs but living in their cars because they can’t afford rent? Who are the people panhandling at every busy intersection of every American city? How is it possible that we spend gazillions of dollars on weapons that will never be used while children starve across all fifty states? Why is health-care debt the number one cause of bankruptcy in America? Questions. So many questions. Dale Maharidge has spent the last couple of decades asking these questions. He has written extensively about all of these problems and more. Dale has traveled the length and breadth of the USA to investigate, to interview, to experience, to learn—to attempt to understand the downward spiral of the American working class. His latest book, Fucked At Birth delves deep into all these issues. He explores the realities of being poor in America in the coming decade, as a pandemic, economic crisis, and social revolution up-end the country. Maharidge channels the history of poverty in America to help inform the voices he encounters daily. With Fucked At Birth, he dares the reader to see themselves in those suffering the most and to finally, after decades of refusal, recalibrate what we are going to do about it.

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To begin the show, new music from Cathal Coughlan an Irish singer-songwriter who is not shy about sharing and exposing his opinions. As you’ll hear with Owl In The Parlour from his latest solo album, Songs Of Co-Aklan. The Irish Times described Cathal as the “genius of Irish rock”, noting his earlier and acclaimed bands, Microdisney and The Fatima Mansions. Make sure you check out Norman B’s Conversation With Cathal Coughlan. We close the show with a powerful new singer-songwriter discovery from London, YVA with a beautiful acoustic version of her debut single, I Won’t Wait. Amy Holford performs under the moniker of YVA, and we suggest you keep a watchful eye out for more releases from YVA.

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Two Important Books

                       
Andrew Marantz – Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation 

For several years, Andrew Marantz, a New Yorker staff writer, has been embedded in two worlds. The first is the world of social-media entrepreneurs, who, acting out of naïvete and reckless ambition, upended all traditional means of receiving and transmitting information. The second is the world of the people he calls “the gate crashers”–the conspiracists, white supremacists, and nihilist trolls who have become experts at using social media to advance their corrosive agenda. Antisocial ranges broadly–from the first mass-printed books to the trending hashtags of the present; from secret gatherings of neo-Fascists to the White House press briefing room–and traces how the unthinkable becomes thinkable, and then how it becomes reality. Antisocial reveals how the boundaries between technology, media, and politics have been erased, resulting in a deeply broken informational landscape–the landscape in which we all now live. Marantz shows how alienated young people are led down the rabbit hole of online radicalization, and how fringe ideas spread–from anonymous corners of social media to cable TV to the ex-President’s Twitter feed.

Laura Levitt  – The Objects That Remain

Professor of Religion, Jewish Studies, and Gender, Laura Levitt was raped in her own bed. The police arrived too late to apprehend her attacker. When they left, investigators took items with them—a pair of sweatpants, the bedclothes—and a rape exam was performed at the hospital. However, this evidence was never processed. Decades later, Laura returns to these objects, viewing them not as clues that will lead to the identification of her assailant but rather as a means of engaging traumatic legacies writ large. Her book, The Objects That Remain is equal parts personal memoir and fascinating examination of the ways in which the material remains of violent crimes inform our experience of, and thinking about, trauma and loss. Considering artifacts in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and evidence in police storage facilities across the country, Laura’s story moves between intimate trauma, the story of an unsolved rape, and genocide. Laura Levitt talks frankly about the trauma of her rape and reveals how these objects that remained the stories that surround them enable forms of intimacy. In this way, she models for us a different kind of reckoning, where justice is an animating process of telling and holding.

Plus, new music from UK-based singer-songwriter, Léanie Kaleido with All The Things I’m Made Of a cut from her new album, How To Weigh A Whale Without A Scale. With a stellar musical heritage – her father is Top Topham of The Yardbirds fame, Léanie says “I’m an indie freak who makes music that isn’t very indie at all”. Her album was produced by Mark Gardner of Ride which kind of contradicts her not so indie claim. Expect to hear more from Léanie Kaleido on an upcoming Life Elsewhere Music show.

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Thoughts On Our Eco-Crisis Responsibility & A Chilling Account Of Motherhood

 

Nathaniel Popkin loves writing. And he is passionate about delivering his thoughts to his readers. He agrees that his latest book is a guidebook to what we need to be thinking, not what to do, but what to think about the eco-crisis. In To Reach The Spring – From Complicity To Consciousness In The Age Of Eco-Crisis, the Philadelphia-based writer doesn’t lecture, he shares his own thoughts on responsibility. In the shadow of an escalating eco-crisis—a looming catastrophe that will dwarf the fallout from COVID-19. Popkin asks, how can we explain our society’s failure to act? What will we tell future generations? Are we paralyzed because the problem is so vast in scope, or are there deeper reasons for the widespread passivity? Nathaniel Popkin explores the moral, social, and psychological dimensions of the crisis, outlining a path to a future spring, using a smart technique of writing a letter to an as-yet-unborn grandchild. We welcome Nathaniel back to Life Elsewhere and urge you to listen carefully to what he has to say.

It would be accurate, if not seem contradictory to suggest that Ashley Audrain is demure yet vivacious. Not unlike her debut novel, The Push, engaging yet chilling. In our Zoom conversation, the Canadian author smiles sweetly a lot then responds to questions with animated laughing. All the while we are talking about a dark tale about a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for—and everything she feared. “The women in our family, we’re different,” Says Blythe Connor, this is the central character in The Push. Blythe is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had. But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter—she doesn’t behave like most children do. Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Ashley prompts the reader to ask, is this a novel that manipulates and exploits the fears and insecurities almost every mother has, however happy her own childhood? 

Over on our other show, ingeniously titled, Life Elsewhere Music we have 60 minutes of new releases, expertly curated for your listening enjoyment.

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Sex, Greed, Power, and Treachery

“How the KGB Cultivated Donald Trump, and Related Tales of Sex, Greed, Power, and Treachery” That’s just the sub-title to investigative journalist, Graig Unger’s latest book, American Kompromat. Jam-packed with what would otherwise be easily described as fantastical fiction, Mr. Unger’s intricate research and painstaking interviews unravel layer-by-layer a roller-coaster ride of truth. At the center is a person of such exaggerated ego, vanity, and willful ignorance, it would be absurdly cruel to create him as a fictional character. That he actually exists and actually became President of the United States is mind-boggling. Unger goes deep into the Trump-Russia connection, back to the 70s, and then carefully traces events up until the present day. Along the way, American Kompromat delves deep into Russian spies who brazenly used a small electronics store in Manhattan as a meeting place. We learn of the antiquated workings of the KGB; how Trump’s purchase of hundreds of televisions aided the KGB; Roy Cohn’s influence; the Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell connection; Opus Dei and Attorney General, William Barr; the former Florida deputy sheriff who received asylum in Russia and so much more. To set the stage for Craig Unger’s new book, we go back to the time of the Mueller investigation and share part of our conversation on House Of Trump. House Of Putin. Make sure you don’t miss one second of this show!

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Who Are They?

When you study the scores of images from the January 6, 2021 storming of the US Capitol Building, you can easily spot Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Neo-Militia, unabashed-Nazi wannabes, the MAGA-garbed, the Fascist-cos-play actors, and the QAnon cultists. They were all there, along with even more factions, resplendent in their uniforms. The one consistency is the faces – the angry, scowling, raging, snarling, faces. Let’s be honest, this was a monumental event. A terrifying moment in the history of the United States. If we ask the question, “Why?” then, we have to ask, “Who?” Citizens from across this extraordinary country came together en masse to not just protest the outcome of the presidential election but to prevent the confirmation of a new administration. Despite the cartoonishness of a man with a painted face, bare-chest, buffalo horns, and holding a spear, this assortment of truth-deniers were serious – deadly serious of their intentions. David Neiwert, author, and journalist predicted the storming of the Capitol and has been writing about the rise of the radical right for many years. His most recent book, Red Pill, Blue Pill: How to Counteract the Conspiracy Theories That Are Killing Us goes further and looks ahead. David joins Life Elsewhere to share his thoughts on who are the people that stormed the Capitol Building? What will they do next? And, is there another charismatic leader waiting in the wings to consolidate all the different factions into a falsely-named Patriots Party?

We close this edition of Life Elsewhere with some meditative music from Manchester-based, The Lovely Moon with As The Sun Rises from the album, Meditations

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