Programming Note: Darts and Letters is off and retooling to relaunch in a new format early 2024.

EP#1: Pigeon Shit Bookstore

Introducing Darts and Letters, a show about intellectuals and the work that they do. But it’s not just for the Ivy crowd, it’s for everyone. Even people who hack darts, and people who wouldn’t be caught dead with a New Yorker tote bag.

In this first episode, we look at populism and anti-populism. It’s one of the most intense divides in contemporary politics. You can basically describe it like this: do we like people, or do we hate them? This crosses the ideological divide– there’s an emerging bi-partisan consensus that the people just suck. They are irredeemably stupid, racist, conspiratorial, reactionaries who can’t be saved. But we disagree.

  • First, host Gordon Katic asks: what is an intellectual? Hard to say, but to quote the Supreme Court justice who tried to define pornography, “I know it when I see it.”
  • Next (@10:48), we meet Daniel—the homeless bookseller of Bloor St, who might just be one of the most well-read people you’ve ever met.
  • Then (@21:26), journalist and historian Thomas Frank rights the distorted historical record and redefines “populism.” We discuss his most recent book “The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism.”
  • Finally (@47:32), critical educational scholar and dissident Henry Giroux celebrates academics who are true ‘public intellectuals,’ and he attacks the neoliberal educational reforms that have made that kind of work so difficult.

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This week, Darts and Letters was produced by Jay Cockburn and Gordon Katic. Research and support from Addye Susnick.

This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research,  which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor.

This show is produced by Cited Media, which makes other great shows like Cited Podcast and Crackdown.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

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