I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 1-8 March 2022

The Coming Storm (BBC) I enjoyed this so much that I binge-listened to the final four episodes. Episode 5 Blowback starts with the US attempts to shore up Boris Yeltsin through the use of rock music (what a weird idea that was). Decades later, British spy Christopher Steele, who was hired to dig up dirt on Donald Trump, claimed that the Russians held ‘pee tapes’ that they would use as blackmail. Half of America believed that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton; the other half believed that the investigations into Russian collusion are a hoax, as a way of unseating a democratically elected president. Q-Anon and General Michael Flynn, took up this second narrative. Episode 6 The Usual Suspects goes to a pro-Trump rally after the 2020 election where Michael Flynn whips up the crowd, urging people to join school boards etc. to refute the big lie and take over the country from the bottom up. (Actually, Heather Cox Richardson said that the Republicans have been using this approach from Phyllis Schlafly onwards). Episode 7 Welcome to the Future takes us back to the first scenes of the series, where he was contemplating the 16th century panic about witches. On attending a Rock the Red event in mid-2021 he wonders if the ‘satanic panic’ of the QAnon conspiracy is a parable for the takeover by a minority elite, or is it an epochal shift? He believes that QAnon is being weaponized, and it is a beginning of something new. Episode 8 Epilogue was an afterthought: the series was supposed to finish at Episode 7 but he returns to ‘The Sovereign Individual’, the book written by James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg (father of the MP), a book that responds to our desire to link everything together. It is a favourite of the tech billionaires of Silicon Valley, who think a new version of the web, based on cryptocurrency and blockchain, will bring about the next step in the societal shift driven by the internet. Take, for example, Peter Thiele, the founder of Paypal who is buying up New Zealand, and who has vowed to be back in the game for the 2022 mid-term elections. What does this mean for democracy?

The History Listen (ABC) To celebrate International Women’s Day, Steely Women celebrates the decades-long fight for women to be employed by BHP, and then to receive equal pay. It was Australia’s longest anti-discrimination case.

Deeply Human Accents starts off with an attempt at an Australianism – the increasing rapid repetition of ‘Rise Up Lights’ to end up with ‘Razor Blades’. (Personally, I don’t think it does, really). Apparently the language patterns of the future are already in evidence amongst 15, 16 and 17 year olds (what a depressing thought) with the shifting of vowels. The program then goes on to look at a case in the America courts where the Afro-American accused may have said “You know I committed that crime” or maybe “You know I ain committed that crime.” How much hangs on an “ain”.

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