Episode 508: Political Tentpole

What do we want? Podcast! When do we want it? Now! On the Overthinking It Podcast we tackle protests and demonstrations.

Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather consider the taxonomy of parades: protest, carnival, St. Patrick’s, Greek street festival.

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One Comment on “Episode 508: Political Tentpole”

  1. John C #

    As (I suppose) a counterpoint to Matt’s thought that Things Don’t Really Change, it seems worth pointing out two details. (Note: Not a criticism, just something I feel like talking about…)

    First, old stories at least partly resonate with audiences specifically because we’ve all spent two decades or so having the themes explained to us in detail, not because we know people who deliberate their options until goaded into a duel that accidentally kills all their family and friends. A lot of students dismiss it until it’s carefully recontextualized and pre-digested for them.

    Second, all it took were a few dozen people talking at coffee shops about maybe being nice to each other to take us from a world where the Divine Right of Kings (and similar theories), slavery, and strict hierarchies are part of a steady state of oppression to one where it takes absurdly large sums of money to prop up those relics as more equal societies outperform the less. Meanwhile, a religion founded on those very premises with full power over Western civilization for centuries couldn’t do that in almost two thousand years, largely because it diluted its “brand” to pick up high-profile endorsements. But it’s only been two or three hundred years, so we certainly still remember that earlier world. We still live with those relics (and they’ve been particularly loud for the last few years), but they’re outnumbered and increasingly desperate.

    Which I guess is all to say that the Enlightenment taught us that (to paraphrase the master) this time it’s right, it will work, and no one will have to get nailed to anything. We just need to, y’know, watch out for destructor fleets, whether from Vogons, Pences, or Shkrelis. It’s not utopia, but it’s closer after just a couple of centuries than the likes of Plato, Margaret Cavendish, or even Jesus (who, in particular, pioneered a lot of these ideas) ever imagined.


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