Discover more from The Fifth Column (A Podcast)
Workin’ for the Weekend #58: FIRE Slam; Dreyfuss Affairs, Megyn Kelly/Trump Rematch
Also: Brand-spanking new Reason D.C. HQ!
New York City may be a festering, weed-scented hellpit of Subway zombies, migrant-commandeered eBikes, and brain-dead politicians … but it’s also awfully pleasant in September, frequented by terrific people, and home to our not-used-quite-enough-lately podcast studio. And so!
* Hot off the audio presses comes this Moynihan appearance on Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em, the beloved Paloma-enabled pod co-hosted by Sarah Hepola (#354) and Nancy Rommelmann (#79, Special Dispatch #27, S.D. #30, #198, #203, S.D. #34, S.D. #50, S.D. #64, S.D. #111). From the write-up: “And what did Michael — did we all! — want to talk about but the attempted LA Times takedown of this week’s Bari Weiss debate, a piece so deliberately rancid, we decided to read it aloud, with commentary!”
* Indeed making the news this week was Bari Weiss (#89, #115, #159, #180, #187), whose Free Press joined forces with the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) to hold a massive live debate in Los Angeles about the sexual revolution, featuring on one side Sarah Haider (#118) and Elon Musk’s musician-ex Grimes; and on the other Louise Perry and Red Scare’s Anna Khachiyan (#219). In case you were wondering about whether Weiss is still a magnet for the most unhinged media critiques this side of anybody whose last name doesn’t rhyme with Rump, check out the single worst pieces of criticism you will read this week/month/year: “Bari Weiss’ big L.A. debate was less ‘free expression’ than self-promotion,” by Lorraine Ali in the L.A. Times. This sentence alone should, but won’t, get someone suspended: “The debate was the first in a planned series organized by Weiss’ new media venture, the Free Press, and the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), a group that claims to advocate for free speech on college campuses — except when the speakers don’t share its political views.” (Emphasis added.) Srsly?
* Our new media-juggernaut ladyfriend Megyn Kelly, who for some reason can’t get up the nerve to invite all of US into her studio, this week roped in some dude named Donald Trump. Things got testiest near the end with an exchange about Anthony Fauci; here’s the whole thing:
Rustin, who was characterized by The Times in 1969 as “A Strategist Without a Movement” and, upon his death, an “Analyst Without Power Base,” would most likely find himself no less politically homeless were he alive today. A universalist who believed that “there is no possibility for black people making progress if we emphasize only race,” he would bristle at the current penchant for identity politics. An integrationist who scoffed at how “Stokely Carmichael can come back to the United States and demand (and receive) $2,500 a lecture for telling white people how they stink,” he would shake his head at an estimated $3.4 billion diversity, equity and inclusion industry that often prioritizes making individual white people feel guilty for the crimes of their ancestors while ignoring the growing class divide. A pragmatist who noted, “There is a strong moralistic strain in the civil rights movement which would remind us that power corrupts, forgetting that the absence of power also corrupts,” he would have no patience for social justice activists unwilling to compromise. And a committed Zionist — supportive of the state but likely critical of its government — he would abhor the Black Lives Matter stance on Israel and the recent spate of antisemitic outbursts by Black celebrities. Mr. Rustin’s resistance to party dogma is a neglected part of his legacy worth celebrating, an intellectual fearlessness liberals need to rediscover.
* Just when you people thought we’d kept The Fifth Column safe from Ben Dreyfuss, there he was again bum-rushing the Second Sunday Zoomcast, as captured in Members Only #180. (Chances of getting an unplanned Dreyfuss appearance is one of THE best reasons to become a paying subscriber to this here podcast.) Previous incursions of Our Ben: #83 (Kevin Spacey seduction story), #97, #148 (Shitty Media Men list), #214 (Mother Jones breakup), M.O. #129 [the Hey Koolaid appearance], M.O. #140, and #392.
* Fifdom stalwarts Ya-El Bar-Tur and Chaya Leah Sufrin, on their award-winning Ask a Jew podcast, brought on for a special Rosh Hashana episode the great American Rabbi David Wolpe. “Since he’s so knowledgeable on issues like ethics, faith and the human condition, naturally we choose to pick his brain about diet books and Elon Musk,” etc.
* Hey look, it’s a picture from the brand spanking new Reason D.C. HQ, as modeled by ol’ psychedelic grumpus Nick Gillespie (S.D. #72, #379), Fifth Column coiner Katherine Mangu-Ward (#75, #395), and Rising pinup Robby Soave (#332)! We had a Reason editorial retreat this week, for the first time in a generation, and there were a surprising and frankly uncomfortable number of colleagues at least semi-fluent in the arcane language of Fifdom. We appreciate your (and your spouses’!) support & encouragement, and maybe one day we’ll use the nice new podcast studio there, or something even more ambitious….
* Speaking of Planet Dayjob, your forthcoming Reasontastic events in New York City are as follows: 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 tussle 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. See you at some of them, maybe!
* Comment of the Week comes from Not a True Scotsman:
To all the freeloaders: the benefits of subscribing are, if anything, *underplayed* by Matt. For just the price of a cup of coffee in NYC, you can support a trio of men with varying levels of degeneracy.
Yet, even members do not have access to the TFC merch store. Gentlemen, when am I going to be able to buy a pair of Fif'-branded calipers?
Walkoff music is a patriotic ode to the city I stubbornly call home: