September 20, 2020
Journalist Lenore Skenazy was dubbed “America’s Worst Mom” in 2008 for a column about letting her nine-year-old ride the subway alone. The controversy led her to speak out about finding safe ways to allow kids to be more independent and she founded the Free Range Kids movement. In 2018 she co-founded Let Grow, a nonprofit that offers resource materials, school curricula and even does policy work with an aim toward helping kids be more self-sufficient (and helping their parents allow them to be). In this interview, Lenore talks with Meghan about her work, her own parenting and the fact that, as she puts it, “There’s never been a safer time to be a child in America.”
Lenore Skenazy is co-founder and president of Let Grow, a nonprofit promoting independence as a critical part of childhood. Ever since her column “Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone” created a media firestorm, Lenore has been declaring that our kids are smarter and stronger than our culture gives them credit for. She is the author of Free-Range Kids, the book-turned-movement that garnered her the nickname, “America’s Worst Mom.”
August 30, 2020
British academic Helen Pluckrose is the co-author, with James Lindsay, of Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity—And Why This Harms Everybody. She was also part of an infamous academic hoax wherein “grievance studies” papers about subjects such as fat bodybuilding and dog park rape culture were accepted for publication in established journals. In this interview, Helen talks about how the social philosophy known as critical theory came to inform mainstream culture and politics and how we can understand it better while also stop pretending to understand what is fundamentally nonsense. She also gives a concise definition of “intersectionality” and offers tips on what to say when your friend or boss asks you to read White Fragility.
Helen Pluckrose is a liberal political and cultural writer and commentator currently focusing on postmodernism and Critical Social Justice scholarship and activism. She is the editor of Areo, a digital magazine looking at politics, culture, science and art from a broadly liberal and humanist perspective. Helen's background is in late medieval and early modern religious writing by and about women. She took part in the "grievance studies affair" with James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian and her book with James Lindsay breaking down Critical Social Justice scholarship is entitled Cynical Theories: How Universities Made Everything about Race Gender and Identity - And How This Harms Everyone.
August 23, 2020
We forget that beyond thoughts and ideas and language there is a three-dimensional reality that gives us valuable experiences and can teach us a lot about how to be in the world. — Sasha Ayad
In this edition of the podcast, Meghan speaks with Sasha Ayad, a Licensed Professional Counselor who treats adolescents and young adults dealing with issues related to gender identity. Over the last few years, the number of teens announcing transgender identities has increased dramatically. Some statistics point to increases of more than 1000 percent in the annual rate of children seeking specialized gender services. Sasha talks about what may be driving this phenomenon, why it’s more common in girls, why trans identification often appears in clusters within peer groups, and how the power of trans activism has affected treatment models and standards of care.
Sasha Ayad is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works in private practice, and has treated adolescents for over 10 years. Her work focuses on teens and young adults struggling with issues of gender dysphoria and gender identity. She became interested in the sharp rise in teenagers, mostly girls, who declare a trans identity for the first time during adolescence. She discovered, through working with hundreds of families, that teens were developing gender dysphoria only after adopting a transgender identity. She questions the practice of medical transition for children and adolescents, and her clinical work focuses on a developmentally appropriate, least-invasive-first talk therapy approach to gender dysphoria. Visit her at www.inspiredteentherapy.com
August 16, 2020
“You’re far less likely to be shot as a black man in New York City than as a white man in Tulsa.” - Peter Moskos
In this episode, Meghan talks with Peter Moskos, a professor of law and police science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice who also happens to be a former Baltimore City police officer. They discuss the media’s role in public perceptions of policing, the various definitions of “defund the police, the impact of ubiquitous cameras and viral videos and what big city police departments get right that smaller ones tend to get wrong. Peter also talks about the death of George Floyd and shares his theory about what the other officers on the scene might have been thinking as they watched the events transpire.
Professor Peter Moskos (A.B. Princeton, PhD Harvard) is chairperson of the Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He is the director of John Jay College’s NYPD Executive Master’s Program and a former Baltimore City Police Officer.
In addition to his primary duties at John Jay College, Moskos is a faculty member in CUNY’s Doctoral Program in Sociology, has taught introductory criminal justice classes at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, and is a Senior Fellow of the Yale Urban Ethnography Project.
Moskos is the author of three books: Cop in the Hood, In Defense of Flogging, and Greek Americans. In 2011 he was recognized as one of The Atlantic Magazine’s “Brave Thinkers” of the year.
Visit his website at www.petermoskos.com
August 9, 2020
<i><b>"No one escapes. Everyone ends up in the guillotine eventually."</i></b>
In this episode of the podcast, Meghan speaks with celebrity physician Dr. Drew Pinsky, whose career in both medicine and media dates back to the 1980s, when he began co-hosting the nationally syndicated call-in radio program <i>Loveline</i>. Recorded in May on the heels of a controversy over some of Drew’s initial comments about the coronavirus pandemic, this conversation delves into Drew’s theories about how trauma is driving social media mobs, his own “traumatic reenactments” and how the whole world has been taken over by the Dunning Kruger Effect. They also talk about the inherent uncertainties of epidemiological medicine and how some of the chaotic public health messaging of the AIDS crisis mirrors what we’re experiencing today around COVID-19.
Visit Dr. Drew at www.drdrew.com
August 2, 2020
“It feels so good to feel like you’re on the right side of history."
In this episode of the podcast, Meghan talks with novelist Leigh Stein, whose wickedly satirical new novel Self Care sends up internet influencers and Goop-flavored millennial startup culture while also slyly poking fun at the commodification of social justice activism. Leigh discusses the feminism, capitalism, and “performative workaholism” that inspired her novel and talks about how she went from being “part of the woke mob” to embracing more nuanced discussions.
Leigh Stein is the author of four books, including the novel Self Care. From 2014–2017, she ran a secret Facebook group of 40,000 women writers, in her role as cofounder and executive director of Out of the Binders/BinderCon, a feminist nonprofit organization. She’s been called a “leading feminist” by the Washington Post and “poet laureate of The Bachelor” by The Cut. Self-Care has been called “highbrow brilliant” by New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix and is on numerous must-read summer book lists, including those of Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Publisher’s Weekly and Vulture.
Visit Leigh at www.leighstein.com
July 23, 2020
**Recorded July 15th**
“I do think on average men are more likely to be more disruptive than necessary and women are more likely to be less disruptive than necessary” — Dr. Heather Heying
Evolutionary biologist Dr. Heather Heying has emerged over the last few years as a free speech advocate, largely because of her connection to a now-infamous set of protests at Evergreen State College, where she and husband, evolutionary biologist Bret Weinstein, taught for fifteen years. But less is known about Heather’s own story. In a wide-ranging conversation that covers sex differences, sex discrimination, and what it was like to grow up in the 1970s and 1980s as a girl who felt “invincible,” Heather talks about doing field work in Madagascar, wanting to be a science fiction writer, and why there aren’t more women in the “Intellectual Dark Web.”
Heather Heying is a scientist, educator, and author. Currently a Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton, she was a professor at The Evergreen State College for 15 years, where she pushed students from their comfort zones, in part through exploring remote sites in the neotropics. She earned her PhD in Biology from the University of Michigan, receiving the university’s top honor for her dissertation, and has a B.A. in Anthropology. Her first book is Antipode (2002), written while she was studying the sex lives of poison frogs in Madagascar. With husband Bret Weinstein, she is now writing A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century, which will provide an evolutionary toolkit for living a good and honorable life as an ape in the 21st century.
Visit Heather Heying at https://heatherheying.com