If you’re a regular listener of the Lean Out podcast, you know I’m pretty concerned about the state of the left. Here’s a clip of the kind of thing that drives me crazy, from a 2019 conference of the Democratic Socialists of America. In it, the forum is derailed by interruptions from delegates who recite their pronouns and then demand that audience members stop whispering (it upsets those who are prone to sensory overload and triggers those with anxiety), stop clapping, stop waving banners, and stop using gendered language like “guys.”
My guest on today’s episode touches on this incident in his hilarious book, and notes that the DSA was live streaming the conference. “Everyone knew this,” Ben Burgis writes, “and everyone seemed to think ‘we’re building the kind of movement where no one is allowed to make a loud noise’ was a good face to present to the world.”
Ben Burgis is a philosophy professor, a columnist for Jacobin magazine, and the host of Give Them An Argument podcast. He’s also the author of Canceling Comedians While the World Burns: A Critique of the Contemporary Left. He joins me on the podcast today to make the case for a smarter, funnier, and more strategic left.
If you’re in Toronto on April 22, Ben will be giving a talk at Ryerson University, followed by a Q&A with Matt McManus and Victor Bruzzone.
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