The ‘anti-woke’ podcaster is paid well to perpetuate the status quo

Illustration by Jenica Cruz

Earlier this week, Joe Rogan was widely mocked for claiming on his podcast that the logical outcome of “woke” discourse is that “straight white men” will no longer be allowed to talk or go outside:

You can never be woke enough that’s the problem. It keeps going. It keeps going further and further and further down the line. If you get to the point where you capitulate where you agree to all these demands, it will eventually get to “straight white men are not allowed to talk.” Because it’s your privilege to express yourself when other people of color have…


A new law takes aim at content deemed to “exacerbate and inflame divisions”

On Wednesday afternoon, Idaho’s Republican governor Brad Little signed a bill into law that takes aim at what it calls “critical race theory.” Framing itself as a law to promote “dignity and nondiscrimination,” House Bill 377 makes it a crime for public educators—including at the university level—to promote the idea “that individuals, by virtue of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin, are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin.”

According…


Basecamp bosses banned politics at work over a social justice diagram

The ADL’s “Pyramid of Hate.” Image via adl.org.

Earlier this week, I wrote a response to tech company Basecamp’s decision to ban political speech in the workplace. That same evening, Casey Newton published an article for The Verge that shed some light on the events that apparently prompted this announcement. As Newton’s article explains, the political discussions taking place at Basecamp largely focused on the internal culture of the company itself — not conversations about the outside world brought into work, as many were led to believe by the company’s original statement. Newton writes,

Interviews with a half-dozen Basecamp employees over the past day paint a portrait of…


The company’s ban on social discussions forgets that workers are people

For the past several years, Chicago-based company Basecamp has positioned itself as a moral and strategic leader in the tech world. This posture has come, in no small part, from the tireless workplace culture evangelism of cofounders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson—better known by his web handle DHH. DHH’s reputation for performatively calling out the unethical practices of other tech companies is part of the reason it came as a shock to many when, on Monday, Basecamp issued a statement outlining a series of internal changes to the company. Among other things, this statement (which has already been heavily…


How the Best Picture winner portrays the American West

Dusk at West Wind Solano Drive-In and Swap Meet, Concord, CA

One of the things I’ve missed the most during the pandemic is seeing first-run movies in the theater. However, the next best thing, I’ve discovered, is seeing first-run movies at the drive-in theater. The drive-in I’ve been going to is in Concord, California, a northeastern suburb of the San Francisco Bay Area. By day, its enormous parking lot plays host to a massive swap meet. At sundown, it becomes a drive-in theater, where patrons munch popcorn and tailgate amidst a sea of trash left behind by the day’s activities.

As much…


A survey of the prints by the greatest painter of the German Renaissance

Albrecht Dürer’s Self-Portrait at age 28. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Many details of the life of the German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer have survived into the modern era. This is because the artist kept great notes, as though he himself believed that his own life was something of great import. In addition to his paintings, the artist’s production includes some 105 intaglio prints and 346 woodcuts, making him one of the most prolific graphic artists of the first century of European printmaking. …


In many ways, her work prefigures the contemporary preoccupation with the anthropocene

Lee Bontecou, “Untitled” (1961). Welded steel, canvas, black fabric, rawhide, copper wire and soot.

When I was a teenager, I saw this piece at MoMA for the first time and it took my breath away. At the time, I was doing some welding and had this idea to stretch fabric inside planes created by a metal armature. When I saw that Lee Bontecou had already done it, I knew two things. First, I knew I never had to stretch fabric inside a metal armature; Lee Bontecou had already done it better than I ever could. Second, I knew that I wanted to…


A brief introduction to Jean-Louis Baudry’s apparatus theory

Apparatus theory was an influential contribution to film studies in the 1970s. The theory combined Louis Althusser’s idea of the ideological state apparatus with a psychoanalytic approach inspired by Freud. The purpose of this post is to provide a basic introduction to this theory as expressed in the works of Jean-Louis Baudry. (It is adapted from a presentation I gave as a student in a graduate film and media seminar, and is intended to be used as a supplement to, not a replacement for, the quoted texts.)

In his classic writings on…


The cryptoart hype is designed to help people get rich doing something morally reprehensible

This collage by the digital artist Beeple sold at Christie’s for $69.3 million. Image via Christie’s.

Just a few weeks ago, few people outside the niche world of cryptocurrency trading knew what an NFT was. This changed about a month ago when celebrities like Grimes began producing their own NFTs. Then on March 11, the auction house Christie’s made headlines for selling a digital collage of 5000 images by the artist Mike Winkelmann (who uses the moniker Beeple) for $69.3 million. This staggering sum is the third highest price ever realized at auction for the sale of work by a living artist.


Trump delivers the first speech of his post-presidency from a stage that is definitely shaped like a Nazi symbol

This past weekend saw Donald Trump’s first post-presidential appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando.

Days before Trump took the stage, CPAC was already trending on Twitter. This was partly because of a weird golden statue of Trump wearing what looked like American flag swim trunks, and partly because many people had pointed out that the stage was clearly shaped like an Odal rune, an insignia used by the Nazis and more recently, as the logo of the American Nazi Party.

Before we go any further, let’s talk about the stage. As people began to tweet…

Emily Pothast

Artist and historian. PhD student researching religion, material culture, media, and politics. Bylines at The Wire Magazine, Art in America + more.

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