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Workin’ for the Weekend #57: Bump Bitched, Substack Pitched, Gillespie Hitched
Also: Second Sunday taping TONIGHT for paying subscribers, penciled in for 5 pm ET.
Is there a single best reason to become a paying subscriber to a podcast (plus Weekend roundup thingie) that you otherwise get once a week for free? Nope; they’re all equal in the eyes of the Maker—encouraging more output, supporting the creative acquisition of Adderall, signaling airline class status, what have you. However, there are three immediately obvious perks in return for mashing the give-us-money button: 1) Instant access to ALL of our 179 or so weekly Members Only dispatches, which range from responding to listener mail to interviewing historians to cassingling weird personal stories; 2) a golden ticket to participate in the Internet’s best comments section, and now also to initiate threads in the Chat; plus 3) an invitation to join and heckle as we tape Members Only episodes on the Second Sunday of each month. That day is (*checks notes*) TODAY, so let’s tentatively plan for 5 p.m. ET here; Zoom info will come around then … to those who pay.
* Last weekend I mentioned the headline-generating podcast exchange between Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman and Washington Post columnist Philip Bump over the media’s incuriosity about Hunter Biden’s various scandals. On his Live From the Table podcast Friday, Dworman convened to discuss this episode an absolutely Fiftastic lineup: Mike Pesca (#343, #418), Eli Lake (#52, #65, #141, #174, Special Dispatch #51, #326, #368, #407), and our very own Michael Pointyhands. Worth a watch/listen not just because Noam called us “one of the most famous podcasts in America, by the way,” or because Moynihan uttered the relatable (that is, if you’ve experienced him drive) phrase, “I almost had to pull over and find someone to punch in the face,” but rather because you are guaranteed to learn something about Hunter Biden, media, or some other damn thing when you watch the smart men talk:
* Matt Taibbi (#226, #348) reacted Thursday to Dworman/Bump with a piece, “Inside the Blue Bubble,” that I was mostly nodding along with, until it got to the end part about how it’s essentially Bumpesque for a media-commentator person to sputter and guffaw at the notion that Donald Trump might have been a good president. Say it along with me—opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one, and they do tend to smell funny. Even journalos are allowed to have snap/crude political opinions, and they are not necessarily obligated in every public scenario to soberly detail to a skeptical audience the reasons for said judgment. (For what it's worth, on the subject in question, here’s my attempt.)
* Taibbi was the first name referenced in this promo essay Thursday by our pal Hamish McKenzie (#369), talking about Substack authors/podcasts/publications worth following this political season. I will be bolding names and adding Fifth Column appearances in this excerpt; tell us which of #NeverFifths you’d like us to invite on most!
Some of the best political writing is already happening on Substack, from writers more and less known, from big names like Matt Taibbi and Robert Reich to up-and-comers like N.S. Lyons and Martyr Made. Millions of readers trust writers and publications like Heather Cox Richardson, Dan Pfeiffer, The Free Press, Dan Rather, Simon Rosenberg, Ann Coulter, Neal Katyal, The Bulwark, Erin Reed, Chris Rufo [#322], Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Mike Cernovich, Michael Moore, Bryan Caplan, Joyce Vance, Nate Silver, Matt Yglesias, Josh Barro, The Fifth Column, and Andrew Sullivan [#139 & #200]—along with myriad others—to make sense of what is going on. With the election season ramping up, we expect even more people to turn to the voices they trust on this platform as it becomes more obvious that the Substack model leads to better work and better conversations than those that have dominated legacy social media in past elections.
* Re: the discussion in #420 about the lengthy Proud Boys sentences, the trial penalty, the trouble with “seditious conspiracy,” and comparisons to lesser sentencing for objectively worse crimes, the first 20 or so minutes of Monday’s Reason Roundtable was on point, especially from pinch-hitters C.J. Ciaramella and Joe Lancaster:
* Thank y’all very much for the generous words about my Members Only #179 episode on the late Richard Riordan and the never-relaunched L.A. Examiner. You have encouraged me to do more! I’ve been asked to expand more on the Hunter Thompson cold-call to 18-year-old Matt anecdote; here’s a (deliberately HSTesque) 1998 piece for Tabloid.net that starts off with that; also, Not a True Scotsman informs us that there is some discussion at around the 1:40 mark of #135. One of our partners in the LAX prototype, Tim DeRoche, had a nice little Twitter-thread reaction detailing his own (very different) experience, including this bit: “One weekend I had a dream that Dick fired me. I woke up, saying to myself, ‘That's ridiculous. He's never going to do that. We're on the brink of something great.’ That Monday morning, he came down into his living room in his boxer shorts, sat down, and fired me.”
* On Wednesday, me & Nancy Rommelmann (#79, S.D. #27, S.D. #30, #198, #203, S.D. #34, S.D. #50, S.D. #64, S.D. #111) made one of our semi-regular appearances on Compound Media’s Mornin!! show w/ Joanne formerly Nosuchinsky now Goodhart & Bill Schulz (#79, S.D. 72), to talk about … Bill repeating 5th grade, schools bringing cameras in the classroom, stuff old people stop doing, and whether the ladies can get up off the floor without using their hands:
* Speaking of Nancy, this week’s Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em podcast features as special guest beloved Fif’ Shabbat-dinner benevolent and Ask a Jew co-hostess Chaya Leah Sufrin to talk about how she, like Smoke ‘Em co-host Sarah Hepola (#354), has lost just buckets of weight this summer, which is super weird because these people ARE NOT TALL. Seriously, congrats, and courage to all in the fam who are out there tryna make their lives better.
* Did someone say congrats? Look what else died at Burning Man this year—Nick Gillespie’s (and Sarah Rose Siskind’s) singlehood! Here’s The Jacket (S.D. #72, #379) in The Free Press, writing: “Apocalypse Not: I Got Engaged in the Mud at Burning Man.”
* Upcoming Reason (or Reason-flavored) events in New York, which always feature at least some reppin’ from our robust Fif’ NYC crew, include: Sept. 18 Soho Forum debate between Bryan Caplan and Yaron Brook on whether “Anarcho-capitalism would definitely be a complete disaster for humanity”; Sept. 20 Gillespie-moderated Open to Debate event in which Michael Ian Black and Lou Perez rassle over whether “wokeness is killing comedy”; Sept. 26 Reason Speakeasy with Yascha Mounk (#124, #195) on his new book The Identity Trap: A Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time; and Oct. 10 Reason Speakeasy with Alexandra Hudson, author of The Soul of Civility: Timeless Principles to Heal Society and Ourselves.
* Comment of the Week goes to poor Michelle:
LA resident here to contribute to the “every city is a nightmare” point--I work in a research lab on the medical campus, and at any given time my building has 2-3 homeless people living in it. About 5 times since February we’ve come in to find remnants of a meal and cigarettes next to the computers, along with a several hour search history of seriously debased pornography. They eventually found the guy living in an empty lab two floors below me--he just likes to pop in after dark for some computer time. I finally spoke to a police officer about it last Monday (his most recent visit) and it’s just funny because we all know the guy’s name, what he looks like, another lab has video evidence of him wandering around naked in their space, but because trespassing is only a misdemeanor we basically just have to deal with it. I work long hours often into the night, often by myself, and I’m not looking forward to happening upon him when he’s at it!
Walkoff music, which I’d somehow never heard before, comes care of Tom Breihan, whose ongoing “The Number Ones” series (excerpted into a 2022 book) has been on of THE best things going on the Internet: