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Things Fell Apart - new Jon Ronson podcast

Started by Icehaven, November 11, 2021, 04:49:54 PM

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Noodle Lizard

Quote from: Pranet on November 13, 2021, 07:21:55 AM
He says it is on apple podcasts in the US and Canada.

I just checked and it is not.

Ferris


Ray Travez

I found episode 1 a bit boring. I have to own this- I just don't find the Christian right in America especially interesting. They're pathological and hypocritical, and basically mad in a way that seems highly distasteful. I watched the two Theroux docs about the Phelps guys, and again, they're crazy in a very unappealing way.

bgmnts

To he fair the Phelps family is probably on the far edge of extremity in terms of Christianity, and are weirdly single issue Christians. Which is a bit boring I suppose.

Pranet

Quote from: olliebean on November 13, 2021, 10:13:55 PM
Is there a link for it? Apple podcasts run on RSS feeds, but Apple obscures the feed link. There are sites that will take an Apple podcast link and give you the URL of the RSS feed.

The link he gave goes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/things-fell-apart-by-jon-ronson/id1592984136?ign-itscg=30200&ign-itsct=bbc_podcasts

But I don't know if that is any use to anyone. It says "Requires subscription" and I don't know what that means. I haven't used itunes for podcasts for a while so I don't know if there is some new stuff involved.

Ferris

Quote from: Pranet on November 14, 2021, 04:06:20 PM
The link he gave goes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/things-fell-apart-by-jon-ronson/id1592984136?ign-itscg=30200&ign-itsct=bbc_podcasts

But I don't know if that is any use to anyone. It says "Requires subscription" and I don't know what that means. I haven't used itunes for podcasts for a while so I don't know if there is some new stuff involved.

Yeah that just gives me the option to pay for bbc podcasts. It's a mystery, looks like I'll just wait.

mr. logic

Quote from: Noodle Lizard on November 13, 2021, 08:08:45 PM
Yeah, I remember thinking that as well. It was the perfect project for Ronson; he'd just done a book about public shaming followed by a podcast about the US porn industry, and then here's a real-life tragic story that combines the two! I understand why someone in that position would rush to it, but it's a bit grim and I'm not sure the podcast really "honoured her memory" as such. You can imagine him reading the news and jumping on the phone to his co-producer: "Lina! We can go back to America and start looking at poooooorn again! Something's happened!"

I do, generally, like Ronson though and have enjoyed pretty much everything he's put out. Some of it has aged poorly, but I reckon his heart's more or less in the right place.

Doesn't Lisa Ann make this point to him? I remember the interview being pretty tense, but can't reAlly recall the details.

Noodle Lizard

Quote from: mr. logic on November 14, 2021, 07:04:26 PM
Doesn't Lisa Ann make this point to him? I remember the interview being pretty tense, but can't reAlly recall the details.

Neither can I, I'm afraid. I only listened to it the once when it came out. But yeah, I do remember some people getting a bit testy with him (including August's husband, obviously).

greenman

Quote from: beanheadmcginty on November 13, 2021, 11:26:38 AM
Little chat between Jon and Ads Curts in the Guardian today:

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2021/nov/12/jon-ronson-and-adam-curtis-on-the-culture-wars-how-has-this-happened-where-is-the-escape-hatch

Count me as another who thinks BBC Sounds needs to get cunted in the fuck.

Really the final point I think makes the most sense rather than the idea of "activist journalists".

An environment were the right and the centre manufacture conflict to minimalise the chance of genuinely progressive left wing voices being heard. The BBC might generally be centralist but its idea of compromise is to give a voice to extreme transphobia as more legitimate than say the idea allegations of antisemitism against Corbyns labour being dishonestly weaponised.

The hysteria around Trump he mentioned really I'd say most of it was actually defensive, a way for centralists to avoid having to face Clintons failure and resorting to conspiracy theory.


Pranet

The music from this goes around my head when I am feeling sad or anxious.

katzenjammer

Quote from: Mister Six on November 12, 2021, 08:50:36 PMAnnoyingly, this isn't available in the US, at least on the Sounds app or BBC website. Anyone got a clever workaround?

Even my usual VPN isn't working for some reason, but I'd rather listen to it on my phone anyway.

The Free VPN IOS app worked for me. I did have to watch a couple of adverts for it to actually be free though

Mister Six

Hm, I'll see if there's an Amazon version. Thanks!

Icehaven

Quote from: Pranet on November 24, 2021, 12:15:25 PMThe music from this goes around my head when I am feeling sad or anxious.

The high tinkly piano music? I'm sure I've heard it somewhere else but it might just be my unreliable memory. There's some other bits that sound like they could be from NIN's Still but I haven't listened to it for ages.

Retinend

Just starting this. I just know this is right up my alley - and a fitting sequel to "So You've Been Publicly Shamed" - after the slight rehash that was "The Last Days of August".

I'm already loving how this begins with this weird Christian art historian documentary thing (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Schaeffer) and the beginnings of the abortion "debate" (war?). Already I can see how injured pride (I mean reaction to Roe vs Wade, in this case) can galvanize a people and drive them into radicalization - something common to all radicalization, as far as I can tell. It also shows the power of the documentary format to persuade people that they have seen the truth.

Pranet

Quote from: icehaven on November 30, 2021, 09:18:07 PMThe high tinkly piano music? I'm sure I've heard it somewhere else but it might just be my unreliable memory. There's some other bits that sound like they could be from NIN's Still but I haven't listened to it for ages.

That's it the piano music at the start and the end, and sometimes in the middle.

Mobbd

#45
Don't know if this is just me but when I hear "culture wars" I think of squabbles about whether Doctor Who should be a woman or not (and for a show about culture wars to go into what those arguments really mean beyond the surface level).

But the topics Ronson has looked into so far are important conversations about, for example, when the cut-off should be for abortion and at what age kids should be taught sex education. Is all that stuff really "culture wars?" The right-wing Christian protesters he profiles aren't trying to change opinion or shift the Overton Window through cultural production. They're protesting and campaigning, as is their right, and it's surely up to the more liberal mainstream to address their concerns through open debate and discussion. Or, you know, to shut the cunts down when they get into the territory of hate speech.

Aaaanyway, I have long admired Ronson's mild-mannered even-handedness as a way to gain insight into oddball points of view but the conversations he's having in this show don't really come up with much. It's hard to see the perspective of someone who campaigned against the inclusion of books by Black writers in school libraries. He doesn't show "another side" of her at all so his even-handedness just looks a bit odd.

To be honest, I miss the sugared pill of Jon's earlier stuff. Comparing these episodes about right-wing Christians with, say, the "Kidneys for Jesus" story or the one about rebranding the KKK makes me miss that sense of levity and the way it was actually successful in eliciting a modicum of sympathy. If he wants to close the gap on culture wars, to make Liberal podcast-listeners see the other side, he might want to go back to his earlier tack. Maybe he's worried about looking flippant? I'm not sure what prompted the gear change after The Psychopath Test.

Mobbd

#46
A little more about the even-handedness I mentioned above and whether or not it comes up with the goods on this occasion. This is from the Adam Curtis & Jon Ronson conversation linked to earlier:

QuoteJR I like to steer clear of conflict as much as I can.

AC Which is good and also rare. Most people would pursue her with their agenda. Right now, everyone is judged as either being good or bad. It's good versus evil – that's where journalism has got to now. But yours doesn't do that.

JR I'm interested in everybody as a human being and I'm quite startled by the myriad examples of the media being a part of the culture wars. It seems to happen everywhere, this mistelling of a story so it fits into a particular ideology a little more clearly. It happens on all sides.

The story that prompted these reflections on Jon's work concerns an Evangelical Minister's wife who campaigned against a school's curriculum being too liberal, caused a lot of dangerous mayhem, and was ultimately driven back into her pit. Those seem to be the facts of the story and those are the facts Jon presents to us on the podcast. I'm not sure how this shows us another side to this person, as having any other agenda than showing her as "bad"/"evil" (in AC's terms). Where is the other side? Is there one?

I'm not sure Jon has ever been part of the non-partisan, dispassionate media. His work is highly stylised. He is very liberal in agenda and usually has an angle. In his older work, the subject matter happened to be his pet subject of fringe oddness and the angle was something like "look at this, this is a curious point of view, it might amuse you."

Later in the JR/AC interview, they talk about self-expression being our modern conformity. This might be true but JR and AC have never been an antitheses to this. It's how we know their names, their voices and faces, and why we get excited when one of them releases another thing. They, perhaps more than any other journalist currently working, use journalism as a creative art and they put their names all over it. Quite often, the real story isn't "the KKK are rebranding" but rather "look at Jon, he's in another pickle." They have become famous and successful because of their commitment to self-expression in an area where it is neither expected or necessary.

I like both of these people but some of this is a bit rich.

Icehaven

New episode, and apparently the first internet cancelling was in the early 80s. Wellinever.

Ambient Sheep

Just seen this:

https://twitter.com/jonronson/status/1468348539814219781

Quotejon ronson
@jonronson

Oh! I should say that every episode of Things Fell Apart has about five extra minutes in the podcast / bbc sounds version. Five golden minutes.

10:35 PM · Dec 7, 2021 · Twitter for iPhone

Quotejon ronson
@jonronson

And my pinned tweets explain how you can / will soon be able to listen to it.

10:53 PM · Dec 7, 2021 · Twitter for iPhone

I mean, most people here will probably be listening that way anyway, but just in case anybody IS listening over the air, thought it worth mentioning.

Icehaven

Current episode is fairly pertinent, although it's so short it barely scratches the surface. I do wish these were longer

Mobbd

I'm not sure about the usefulness or even the truth of this "it was started by people trying to help" theme.

So a Trans area was set up in a women-only feminist festival and, when they tried to expand it to include "pre-op" women, they were hounded out by TERFs (a non-derogatory term coined by a blogger to help make sense if this moment). So... what are we saying exactly? That the Trans women looking out for their pre-op sisters shouldn't have done so? That there never should have been a Trans presence at all? That the blogger who came up with "TERF" shouldn't have done so? That nobody should try to help with anything or even name or identify a cultural trend in case it makes things worse? I honestly don't know what is being said here. Anyone?

I'm not even sure how finding the roots of these strands of the culture wars is supposed to help. I am not sure what to do with this origin story. Interesting to get it all down, I suppose, but I expect it already was.

Icehaven

I don't think anything's being said as such,  he's not presenting an angle at all (well as much as there can ever not be). Might seem a bit pointless but then it's not necessarily aimed at people who already know all about it. That's why I think these would be better if they were longer, and it's better when there's more voices involved too, like with the Satanic panic one where there were several interviewees from different sides of the issue. This latest one really felt like a section of a longer episode.

Mobbd

Quote from: icehaven on December 16, 2021, 04:50:19 PMThat's why I think these would be better if they were longer, and it's better when there's more voices involved too, like with the Satanic panic one where there were several interviewees from different sides of the issue. This latest one really felt like a section of a longer episode.

I think that's absolutely spot on.

gilbertharding

Quote from: icehaven on December 15, 2021, 07:24:22 PMCurrent episode is fairly pertinent, although it's so short it barely scratches the surface. I do wish these were longer

There's a mostly brilliant podcast called You're Wrong About... which you've probably heard already. Anyway, it's very good on the history of these moral panics.

paruses

Thanks for recommending that. Have downloaded a handful to get started on. I skipped the first one though which is Satanic Panic as it seems to have been done to death.

gilbertharding

Things Fell Apart was discussed on the Radio 4 programme Feedback yesterday.

thugler

Quote from: Mobbd on December 16, 2021, 03:26:02 PMI'm not sure about the usefulness or even the truth of this "it was started by people trying to help" theme.

So a Trans area was set up in a women-only feminist festival and, when they tried to expand it to include "pre-op" women, they were hounded out by TERFs (a non-derogatory term coined by a blogger to help make sense if this moment). So... what are we saying exactly? That the Trans women looking out for their pre-op sisters shouldn't have done so? That there never should have been a Trans presence at all? That the blogger who came up with "TERF" shouldn't have done so? That nobody should try to help with anything or even name or identify a cultural trend in case it makes things worse? I honestly don't know what is being said here. Anyone?

I'm not even sure how finding the roots of these strands of the culture wars is supposed to help. I am not sure what to do with this origin story. Interesting to get it all down, I suppose, but I expect it already was.

I don't think any of those is 'the point' more it's about how this issue unfolded in the particular way that it did, and how aspects of that story tell us about the way things have spiraled, perhaps unnecessarily. Anyway i noticed some terfs on twitter furious about him covering the issue unfairly to them. Which tells you all you need to know about how unreasonable they are. It's certainly his biggest strength and weakness they he's unwilling to get into it on certain issues. It works to his advantage sometikes.

idunnosomename

The theme for this sounds like Prokovfiev's Montagues and Capulets but on a bad acid trip. It makes me feel a bit ill.

BritishHobo

The woman in the last episode who says
Spoiler alert
she couldn't get through all of So You've Been Publicly Shamed because she was 'so disgusted'
[close]
is absolutely astonishing. It really does belie a very deliberately narrow mindset that some very extreme people have, whereby they just have to make themselves believe that they're angry about things, even when deep down they're probably not, because to admit otherwise would let in the steady drips of nuance that would force them to concede that actually their crusades are often disproportionate.

I think I would hazard a guess that there's quite a lot of people out there, whether it's in the audience at contentious school board meetings, or hanging around trending tags on Twitter, who aren't actually fully on board with some of the dafter controversies their 'tribe' take against. But continue acting as if they are, because if they admitted they weren't, they would have to start questioning other tenets. Considering other campaigns they were a part of, where the target, who they currently think of as a deserving villain, might actually be more worthy of empathy than they've been saying.

Mobbd

Is this... finished? I think it might be finished.

Saw something about it appearing on other platforms now and there does indeed seem to be one measly episode in Apple Podcasts from BBC Radio 4.