Didactic SynCast #87: An Evening with Avner Vengosh

After an insanely long hiatus, we’re back! And we’ve got a special guest: Avner Vengosh! (Yes, the Avner Vengosh!)

DS #87: An Evening with Avner Vengosh

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Didactic SynCast #84: Pegatron and the Cult of Money

It’s only been, what? Four years since the last episode? I hope it was worth the wait!

DS #84: Pegatron and the Cult of Money

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Sir Mix-A-Lot: Swass

Didactic SynCast #81: The Dutch Sandwich

It’s been a long time, but hopefully the new show is worth the wait. Fecal transplants, Yahoo! profits, and lots of yelling. Enjoy!

DS #81: The Dutch Sandwich

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Matt Taibi on Zero Dark Thirty

From his Rolling Stone blog:

Bigelow made it clear that she wasn’t making any half-assed Rumsfeldian claim that what went on after 9/11, in thousands of grimy rooms around the world with thousands if not tens of thousands of people, somehow wasn’t torture. [...]

Here’s my question: if it would have been dishonest to leave torture out of the film entirely, how is it not dishonest to leave out how generally ineffective it was, how morally corrupting, how totally it enraged the entire Arab world, how often we used it on people we knew little to nothing about, how often it resulted in deaths, or a hundred other facts? Bigelow put it in, which was “honest,” but it seems an eerie coincidence that she was “honest” about torture in pretty much exactly the way a CIA interrogator would have told the story, without including much else. [...]

Bigelow is such a great storyteller that she has to know, deep inside, that the “depiction is not endorsement” line doesn’t wash. You want audiences gripped to the screen, you’ve gotta give them something to root for, or against. This was definitely not a movie about two vicious and murderous groups of people killing and torturing each other in an endless cycle of increasingly brainless revenge. And this was not a movie about how America lost its values en route to a great strategic victory.

No, this was a straight-up “hero catches bad guys” movie, and the idea that audiences weren’t supposed to identify with Maya the torturer is ludicrous.

Didactic SynCast #80: East Timor

You asked for it, you got it. Here is my presentation on East Timor, from soup to nuts. It’s a story of bloodshed, atrocity, suffering, oppression, resistance, nonviolent struggle, peace, and hope. It’s how I met my wife and why I am who I am today.

DS #80: East Timor

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