JON WIENER’S 2006 book, Conspiracy in the Streets: the Extraordinary Trial of the Chicago Eight has been re-released to sync with release of the film, The Trial of the Chicago Seven. Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, its ensemble includes Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman, Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden, and Frank Langella as Judge Julius Hoffman. Jon and I will talk about the film. We’ll talk about the Trial. We’ll talk about the attitudes and excesses of Mayor Daley and the Nixon administration and the parallels with 2020. With mass protests and brutal retaliation. A compromised justice department doing the President’s bidding. We will talk about this moment – how different and how similar is it to the 60s? What did we learn? What can we do better?
The US hold only one national popular vote – for President and Vice President – and The Republican party has won that national vote only once since 1988, that’s 32 years. Yet they’ve held the presidency 12 of those years. Under the two most recent popular vote losers / electoral college winners, we’ve suffered 9/11, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 2008 recession, the monstrously failed response to the pandemic, and a devastated economy. I believe that minority rule sickens democracy. The electoral college is anti-democratic. I talk with ALEX KEYSAR about his new book, WHY DO WE STILL HAVE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE?
Even folks who live here, as I have since 1975, may have little idea of the central role Los Angeles played in the culture and politics of the 1960s. Too often LA is portrayed as surfing, Hollywood, and gogo dancing – think Gidget, Beach Boys, 77 Sunset Strip. Wiener and co-author, Mike Davis (City of Quartz) offer a “movement history” featuring early Black Power, the Watts uprising, the Chicano Moratorium, and LA’s star turn as a locus of the anti-war, gay lib, and women’s movements, as well as a driving force of much of 60’s counterculture. Wiener and I both arrived here for the first time in 1969 and this conversation is a lot of fun.
My 20-minute commentary calls for Millennials and Boomers with shared values to forge a movement large enough, creative enough, diverse enough, and powerful enough to successfully confront the critical problems we face. 60s.2.0 – 21st century tech in the service of the best of ‘60s values – meets OK Boomer – the impatience of the young with the failures of the old. “If the challenges we face are big enough to turn us against each other, then they must be big enough to bring us together.”
We often think social contagion yields negative consequences – teens smoke because other teens smoke, for example. However, in his latest book, UNDER THE INFLUENCE: Putting Peer Pressure to Work, ROBERT FRANK makes the optimistic case that the economics of social contagion could solve our most critical problems — from climate change to income inequality – as well as the Covid-19 pandemic. There’s evidence: As VOX’s Ezra Klein points out, in the face of the coronavirus, “social pressure has driven perhaps the single fastest behavioral transformation in human history.”