The Unspeakable Podcast
You Too Can Go Broke In Middle Age! Annabelle Gurwitch Leads The Way

You Too Can Go Broke In Middle Age! Annabelle Gurwitch Leads The Way

February 28, 2021

Writer and performer Annabelle Gurwitch never got rich over the course her decades-long career, but she managed to carve out a decent life as a working actor and published author. In her fifties, however, her fortunes changed and she found herself divorced, renting out a room in her house, and wondering how a middle class existence can slip away after a lifetime of hard work. She chronicles these struggles—often hilariously—in her fifth book You’re Leaving When? Adventures in Downward Mobility. In this conversation, Annabelle speaks with Meghan about how she thinks she got to this place, what she’s learned about homelessness and access to health care, and how a recent medical crisis has raised her stakes even further. She also speaks about her child, now a young adult, who identifies as nonbinary and how coming to understand that identity led her to think that future  generations might be able to make better sense of the world than we do.

 

Guest Bio:

Annabelle Gurwitch is the author of five books, including The New York Times bestseller and Thurber Prize finalist I See You Made an Effort. She’s written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, LA Magazine and Hadassah among other publications. Her latest book is You’re Leaving When? Adventures in Downward Mobility, published by Counterpoint Press. 

Who Needs Therapy? Lori Gottlieb On the View from Both Sides of the Couch

Who Needs Therapy? Lori Gottlieb On the View from Both Sides of the Couch

February 21, 2021
In her bestselling book Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, author Lori Gottlieb tells the stories of five people in psychotherapy. Four are her own patients and one is Lori herself. A practicing therapist for more than a decade, she took an unusual route to her vocation, working as a television writer and then attending medical school before realizing that her love of storytelling could be combined with helping people in a clinical setting. Since then, she’s become celebrated as a writer and as a therapist. Lori spoke with Meghan what's most often misunderstood about therapy, what therapists secretly think of their patients and how to know when it’s time to end treatment. She also talked about her work with singles seeking committed partnerships, the pros and cons of dating apps and how having realistic expectations is not the same thing as “settling.” 
 
Guest Bio: 
Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and author of the New York Times bestseller Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, which is currently being adapted as a television series. In addition to her clinical practice, she writes the “Dear Therapist” advice column for The Atlantic and is co-host of the popular “Dear Therapists” podcast. Her recent TED talk was one of the top ten most watched of the year. Find her at https://lorigottlieb.com
The Unspoken Trauma Of Adoption: Moses Farrow on His Work, His Famous Family and “Coming Out of the Adoption Fog”

The Unspoken Trauma Of Adoption: Moses Farrow on His Work, His Famous Family and “Coming Out of the Adoption Fog”

February 14, 2021
Moses Farrow is a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in what he calls adoption trauma. Born in South Korea in 1978, he was adopted by actress Mia Farrow when he was two-years-old, becoming one of ten adopted and four biological children in that family. He was later adopted by Mia’s former partner, Woody Allen and in 2018 published a stunning account of what it was like growing up in this family and why he supports his father in the highly publicized sexual abuse allegations made in the wake of a custody battle in 1992. Moses spoke with Meghan about his mission to help adoptees make sense of their lives and shared his personal experiences as a survivor of abuse, attempted suicide, and suicide loss. 
 
Read Moses’s 2018 blog post about his family story here: http://mosesfarrow.blogspot.com
 
Guest Bio:
Moses Farrow, LMFT is an Adoption Trauma Therapist, with over 20 years in the mental health field. He is also an outspoken advocate for mental health, suicide prevention and adoption reform. Most recently, he has created videos on YouTube and gave his first newspaper interview with The Guardian, about his family and adoption work. He has begun the #truthislouder movement which encourages adoptees to speak their truths and invites everyone to become an ally to the adoptee community to help save adoptee lives.
Who’s Afraid Of The Lab-Leak Hypothesis? Dr. Alina Chan and Dr. Filippa Lentzos On The Possible Origins Of The SARS-CoV-2 Virus

Who’s Afraid Of The Lab-Leak Hypothesis? Dr. Alina Chan and Dr. Filippa Lentzos On The Possible Origins Of The SARS-CoV-2 Virus

February 7, 2021
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the prevailing wisdom from government officials and much of the scientific community is that the SARS-CoV-2 virus originated in an animal and at some point jumped to humans. The idea that it might have accidentally escaped from a lab has been widely dismissed as conspiracy theory, partly because it was easily conflated with inflammatory rhetoric coming out of the Trump administration. But plenty of scientists and policy have quietly taken the so-called “lab-leak hypothesis” seriously and now that the volume has been lowered on some of Trump’s more dangerous distortions they’re starting to talk about it. 
 
Two experts that have been talking about it all along are Dr. Alina Chan, a molecular biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard, and Dr. Filippa Lentzos, a biosecurity expert and senior research fellow at King’s College London. Together, they spoke with Meghan about what we do and don’t know about the origins of the virus, why knowing the origins matters in the first place, and, above all, why people have such difficulty separating the idea of a deliberately released bioweapon, which no serious person has suggested, with the possibility of an unintentional lab spill-over, for which there is plenty of room for questions in this case.
 
Guest Bios:
 
Dr. Alina Chan is a recent Human Frontier Science Program fellow with 12+ years of research training in medical genetics, biochemistry, synthetic biology, and vector engineering. At the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard, Dr. Chan is currently researching next generation AAV vectors for human gene therapy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Chan began to investigate problems relevant to finding the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and spearheaded the development of the COVID-19 CoV Genetics (covidcg.org) browser for scientists worldwide to rapidly track emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants by locations and date ranges of interest. Follow her on Twitter @ayjchan.
 
Filippa Lentzos, PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London, where she has a joint appointment in the Department of War Studies and the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine. She is also an Associate Senior Researcher within armament and disarmament program at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a biosecurity columnist at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, an editor of the social science journal BioSocieties, and the NGO Coordinator for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. Her May 5, 2020 article on the need for a credible investigation into the virus’s origins appeared in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. For more about her work see www.filippalentzos.com or follow her on twitter @FilippaLentzos.
What’s The Matter With Portland? Nancy Rommelmann on the Puzzling Politics of Protest

What’s The Matter With Portland? Nancy Rommelmann on the Puzzling Politics of Protest

January 31, 2021
Veteran reporter Nancy Rommelmann is based in New York City these days, but she was a longtime resident of Portland, Oregon who knows the city—and its people, politics, and assorted proclivities—with a unique combination of intimacy and objectivity. As the city erupted into protests last summer in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Nancy returned to Portland and began covering the action for Reason Magazine. This conversation is divided into two parts. In the first part, recorded in late December, Nancy focuses on Portland and helps define the boundaries between leftist so-called antifacist groups like Antifa, anarchist movements like Black bloc, and the peaceful protestors whose efforts are sometimes overshadowed by extremists. In the second part, recorded after the January 6 siege at the Capitol and the subsequent inauguration of President Biden, she talks about some of the differences between the Capitol protestors and the ones she’s reported on in Portland. 
 
 
Guest Bio:
Nancy Rommelmann is a journalist whose work appears in Reason, the Wall Street JournalThe New York Times and other publications. Her latest book is To The Bridge: A True Story of Motherhood and Murder. Find her at nancyromm.com, follow on Twitter @nancyromm and Substack. She lives in New York City.
When Your Publisher Calls You Problematic: Bruce Wagner Goes Rogue By Going Public

When Your Publisher Calls You Problematic: Bruce Wagner Goes Rogue By Going Public

January 24, 2021
Bruce Wagner, a successful Hollywood screenwriter and the author of twelve novels, has been a beloved literary figure for decades, especially in his home city of Los Angeles. His most recent novel, The Marvel Universe, was enthusiastically acquired by a small press until, he says, the publisher objected to certain “problematic” language, specifically the word “fat,” which a character uses to describe herself. This led Bruce to release the book into the public domain by making it available on his website for free. In this conversation, Bruce talks about how a public domain release differs from self-publishing, how sensitivity readers are setting the tone for much of the culture now, and what this means for artists who are drawn to the more monstrous qualities of the human condition.
 
Guest Bio:
Bruce Wagner is the author of twelve novels, including Dead StarsI’m Losing You, and I’ll Let You Go. His latest novel, The Marvel Universe, is available for free at brucewagner.la. He is also the creator of the television series Wild Palms
 
Are Lesbians Going Extinct? Katie Herzog Reports From The Field

Are Lesbians Going Extinct? Katie Herzog Reports From The Field

January 17, 2021

Podcaster and journalist Katie Herzog returns to the podcast to discuss her article Where Have All The Lesbians Gone?, which talked about a trend she’s observed wherein many of her lesbian friends are now identifying as transgender or nonbinary. She explains how she sees the nonbinary identity as a "regressive trend” because it ultimately puts limits on gender expression even as it purports to do the opposite. She also talks about the woman who coined the phrase “the future is female,” the recent announcement that the actor once known as Ellen Page now identifies as male, and (not unrelatedly) her former career as a professional whitewater kayaker.

 

An extended version of this interview, along with a longform version of Katie’s article, is available on the podcast’s Patreon page at Patreon.com/theunspeakable.

 

Guest Bio:

 

Katie Herzog is the co-host, with Jesse Singal, of the podcast Blocked and Reported. She is a former writer for Seattle’s alternative weekly newspaper, The Stranger.

Feminine Chaos Is The Order of the Day: A Conversation with Kat Rosenfield and Phoebe Maltz Bovy

Feminine Chaos Is The Order of the Day: A Conversation with Kat Rosenfield and Phoebe Maltz Bovy

January 3, 2021

After two years on the Bloggingheads platform, journalists and cultural critics Kat Rosenfield and Phoebe Maltz Bovy are taking their popular podcast, Feminine Chaos, independent. In this conversation with Meghan, they share their views on some of contemporary feminism’s most pressing concerns, including the purity policing of white women, the new stigmatization of straightness and the importance of preserving “you guys” as a term of address. They also do a deep dive into the identity category known as “demisexual” and ask if this designation is worthy of special dispensation. 

 

Guest Bios:

Phoebe Maltz Bovy writes for publications including The Globe and Mail and The Washington Post and is the author of the 2017 book The Perils of “Privilege

 

Kat Rosenfield is a culture writer and novelist. Her next book No One Will Miss Her, will be published by William Morrow in 2021.

I Don’t Know What To Think Anymore: A Few Words From Your Host

I Don’t Know What To Think Anymore: A Few Words From Your Host

November 15, 2020
In this very special edition of The Unspeakable Podcast, Meghan departs from the interview format and speaks directly to listeners. Reflecting on the current moment as well as on the election four years ago, she talks about how writing her last book inspired her to create the podcast and also how after 25 years of writing "think pieces” she literally doesn’t know what to think anymore. She also talks about how social media has turned “ambient perception” into a substitute for empirical reality and posits that the best antidote to cancel culture is to stop obsessing about it and have faith in the intelligence of audiences. 
 
She also announces that the podcast will be on a brief hiatus until the first of the year. But it will be back! 
All Artists Are Starving Artists Now: William Deresiewicz on The Rigged Creative Economy

All Artists Are Starving Artists Now: William Deresiewicz on The Rigged Creative Economy

November 8, 2020

Bestselling author William Deresiewicz’s new book, The Death of the Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech, paints a grim picture of the state of the arts—at least as far as actual artists are concerned. For all the talk about how it’s never been easier to be creative, the truth is that it’s never been more difficult to do so professionally. In this conversation, Deresiewicz relays what he learned from interviews with more than one hundred working artists, how the digital economy has obliterated the creative economy, and what he portends for the future of his own career.

Guest Bio: 
William Deresiewicz is an award-winning essayist and critic, a frequent speaker at colleges and other venues, and a former professor of English at Yale. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Harper's Magazine, the Nation, the New Republic, and many other publications. He is the recipient of a National Book Critics Circle award for excellence in reviewing and is the New York Times bestselling author of Excellent Sheep, The Death of the Artist, and A Jane Austen Education.

 

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