48 minutes | Mar 23, 2023
In 2016, J.D. Vance informally launched his political career with "Hillbilly Elegy," a memoir that blames the relative poverty of Appalachian and Rust Belt populations on their own culture. Despite its reactionary premise, mainstream and liberal press outlets were so enamored by the book that they accidentally made Vance a senator. Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodWhere to find us: Twitter Peter's other podcast, 5-4 Mike's other podcast, Maintenance Phase Sources: Appalachian Reckoning America’s Divided Recovery What Did Hillbilly Elegy Get Wrong? J.D. Vance, the False Prophet of Blue America Hillbilly Elitism Welfare Queens and White Trash Consumer Expenditures in 2016 Household Expenditures and Income CFPB Data Point: Payday Lending Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
61 minutes | Mar 9, 2023
The Coddling Of The American Mind
TRIGGER WARNING: if you're a SNOWFLAKE college professor afraid of how your students are expressing themselves, you might need a SAFE SPACE, because Michael and Peter are discussing "The Coddling of The American Mind," a book about campus culture that's light on facts and heavy on cherry-picked anecdotes.CORRECTION: The Socrates quote mentioned at the end of this episode is apocryphal. We thank the listeners who pointed this out for refusing to coddle our American minds.Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodWhere to find us: Twitter Peter's other podcast, 5-4 Mike's other podcast, Maintenance Phase Sources: The Miseducation of Free Speech (https://www.virginialawreview.org/articles/miseducation-free-speech/) College and the “Culture War”: Assessing Higher Education’s Influence on Moral Attitudes ( https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/00031224211041094) The Myth of the Campus Coddle Crisis (https://academeblog.org/2018/12/28/the-myth-of-the-campus-coddle-crisis-the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/) What ‘Safe Spaces’ Really Look Like on College Campuses (https://www.chronicle.com/article/what-safe-spaces-really-look-like-on-college-campuses/?bc_nonce=peduocnzcslb08jxmt1dlb&cid=reg_wall_signup) Are College Campuses Really in the Thrall of Leftist Censors? (https://slate.com/human-interest/2015/03/hypersensitive-campus-progressives-judith-shulevitz-is-half-right-but-takes-her-criticisms-too-far.html) Speaking Freely: What Students Think about Expression at American Colleges (https://www.thefire.org/research-learn/student-attitudes-free-speech-survey) ‘Not all cultures are created equal’ says Penn Law professor in op-ed (https://www.thedp.com/article/2017/08/amy-wax-penn-law-cultural-values) How Right Wing Media Has Tried to Stifle Student Speech at Evergreen State College (https://psmag.com/education/the-real-free-speech-story-at-evergreen-college) I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me (https://www.vox.com/2015/6/3/8706323/college-professor-afraid) In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/opinion/sunday/judith-shulevitz-hiding-from-scary-ideas.html) Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
28 minutes | Feb 28, 2023
The New York Times's War On Trans Kids [TEASER]
The nation's most prestigious newspaper insists on asking a very stupid question. So for this month's bonus episode, we decided to answer it. To hear the rest of the show, support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPod As we mentioned at the top of the episode, we're donating this month's support to three of our trans journo-friends! They've been unbelievably patient with Mike as he's navigated the science and politics of this issue over the last year. Here's where to find and support their work: Parker Molloy (readtpa.com) Katelyn Burns (patreon.com/katelynburns) Evan Urquhart (assignedmedia.org)
58 minutes | Feb 23, 2023
The Clash of Civilizations
"If your thesis doesn't hold up to obvious criticisms, there's a chance that your thesis sucks." Thanks to Paul Musgrave and Alex Cruikshanks for helping us fact-check this episode!Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodWhere to find us: Twitter Peter's other podcast, 5-4 Mike's other podcast, Maintenance Phase Links! Huntington’s 1993 article Statistics on deaths in state-based conflicts The Clash of Civilizations: An Islamicist’s Critique Paul Musgrave’s Roundtable on Clash of Civilizations “The Hispanic Challenge” The “Arab Street”? Public Opinion In The Arab World The Clash of Ignorance Can Civilizations Clash?
47 minutes | Feb 9, 2023
The End of History
Francis Fukuyama's "The End of History and the Last Man" changed political discourse forever. Peter and Michael peel back his muddled history and fluffy rhetoric, revealing several more layers of muddled history and fluffy rhetoric. Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodWhere to find us: Twitter Peter's other podcast, 5-4 Mike's other podcast, Maintenance Phase Sources: Reflections on the End of History, Five Years Later (https://www.jstor.org/stable/2505433) More Proof That This Really Is the End of History (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/10/francis-fukuyama-still-end-history/671761/) Francis Fukuyama Postpones the End of History (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/09/03/francis-fukuyama-postpones-the-end-of-history) Endism: why 1989 was not the 'end of history' (https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/endism/) The End of the End of History (https://www.bostonreview.net/articles/maximillian-alvarez-end-end-history/) It's Still Not the End of History (https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/09/its-still-not-the-end-of-history-francis-fukuyama/379394/) Bring back ideology: Fukuyama's 'end of history' 25 years on (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/21/bring-back-ideology-fukuyama-end-history-25-years-on) Francis Fukuyama's Shrinking Idea (https://newrepublic.com/article/152668/francis-fukuyama-identity-review-collapse-theory-liberal-democracy)
15 minutes | Jan 31, 2023
The Lab Leak [TEASER]
In December 2019, the coronavirus pandemic began in Wuhan, China. In May 2021, America experienced one of the most cursed weeks of punditry we've ever seen. This is a condensed version of the full episode. To hear the rest go to patreon.com/IfBooksPod. See you next week!
69 minutes | Jan 26, 2023
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
In 1992 a yoga instructor with a distance-learning PhD had the courage to ask: "Are women not getting help around the house because they're using the wrong modal verb?" Support us on Patreon Where to find us: Twitter Peter's other podcast, 5-4 Mike's other podcast, Maintenance Phase Sources: The Myth of Mars and Venus: Do Men and Women Really Speak Different Languages? A critical response to John Gray's Mars and Venus portrayals of men and women The Gender Similarities Hypothesis The Rebuttal from Uranus Coming home upset: Gender, marital satisfaction and the daily spillover of workday experience into couple interactions FDA warning letter Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus: An Analysis of a Potential Meme Women, Men and Language Women, Men, and Gender: Ongoing Debates Women and Men Talking: Are They World’s Apart?
43 minutes | Jan 12, 2023
Rhonda Byrne's "The Secret" sold millions of copies based on a simple premise: All of science is fake and the only reason anything ever happens is because people manifest it by communicating with the universe. Support us on Patreon Where to find us: Twitter Peter's other podcast, 5-4 Mike's other podcast, Maintenance Phase Sources: Power Lines Oprah's Ugly Secret The Staggering Bullshit of The Secret Death by “alternative” medicine: Who’s to blame? For Some Seeking Rebirth, Sweat Lodge Was End A Little Secret About The Secret Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
49 minutes | Dec 15, 2022
The Population Bomb
How a Stanford lepidopterist convinced the world to fear the breeding habits of the poor. Again. Support us on Patreon Where to find us: Twitter Peter's other podcast, 5-4 Mike's other podcast, Maintenance Phase Sources: Sonia Shah’s “The Next Great Migration” Barbarian Hordes: The overpopulation scapegoat in international development discourse Optimism and Overpopulation The Population Bomb Revisited The Strange History of Birth Control Birth Control for Others How the World Survived the Population Bomb: Lessons From 50 Years of Extraordinary Demographic History Why the Population Bomb is a Rockefeller Baby
10 minutes | Dec 8, 2022
A Bari Special Bonus Episode [TEASER]
Our first premium episode is a deep dive into the blog of the infamously (and dubiously) "canceled" Bari Weiss. To hear the full episode, subscribe on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodMore free episodes are on their way!
56 minutes | Dec 1, 2022
Neil Strauss's "The Game" aimed to teach any man how to hook up with beautiful women. All he needed was a little bit of sociopathy, a lot of misogyny and a fanny pack full of props.Support us on Patreon Where to find us: Twitter Peter's other podcast, 5-4 Mike's other podcast, Maintenance Phase Sources: He's Simply Resistable Pickup Artists Are Still A Thing. And They Want You To Know They’ve Evolved. Misogynist Incels and Male Supremacism Would the Pickup Artist Stand a Chance in the #MeToo Era? Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
60 minutes | Nov 17, 2022
David Brooks's "Bobos in Paradise"
David Brooks became liberals' famous conservative by telling them what they wanted to hear. But ... why did they want to hear something that was lazy and wrong?Support us on PatreonWhere to find us: Twitter Peter's other podcast, 5-4 Mike's other podcast, Maintenance Phase Sources: A Reasonable Man David Brooks: Boo-Boos in Paradise A Cartoon Elite David Brooks’s Conversion Story David Brooks and the Endless Grift of the Conservative Commentariat How The Bobos Broke America Death Of A Yuppie Dream: The Rise And Fall Of The Professional-Managerial Class Stuff the Professional-Managerial Class Likes: "Distinction" for an Egalitarian Elite David Brooks’s Search for Meaning The facts vs. David Brooks: Startling inaccuracies raise questions about his latest book David Brooks Is Not Buying Your Excuses, Poor People Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
50 minutes | Nov 10, 2022
Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers"
In "Outliers," Malcolm Gladwell posited that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in something. Mike and Peter prove him wrong by mastering his dumb book over the span of about 50 minutes.Support us on Patreon Links: Malcolm Gladwell talks about responding to critics, and the perils of ‘Talking to Strangers’ Gladwell for Dummies Malcolm Gladwell interview The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance The Dangers of Delegating Education To Journalists Good intuition takes years of practice Blinkered How Malcolm Gladwell Tricks You Into Believing Complexity and the Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
73 minutes | Nov 2, 2022
In 2005, two men named Steven and Stephen published the quintessential airport book. In 2022, two men named Mike and Peter started a whole podcast just to make fun of it. Thanks to Ted Joyce and Ames Grawert for helping with the research for this episode!Support us on PatreonWhere to find us: Twitter Peter's other podcast, 5-4 Mike's other podcast, Maintenance Phase Sources: The 2003 NYT article Freakonomics: What Went Wrong? A Review of Freakonomics Dismal Science Freak-Freakonomics The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime: Comment The Abortion–Crime Link: Evidence from England and Wales The Impact of an Abortion Ban on Socioeconomic Outcomes of Children: Evidence from Romania Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime? On the Choice of Control Variables in the Crime Equation Steven Levitt on Abortion and Crime: Old Economics in New Bottles The Impact Of Legalized Abortion On Crime The Great American Mystery Story: Why Did Crime Decline? Is There an iCrime Wave? The Great Crime Decline The Crime Drop in America 10 (Not Entirely Crazy) Theories Explaining the Great Crime Decline What Caused the Crime Decline? Freaks and Geeks: How Freakonomics is ruining the dismal science. Interesting Questions in Freakonomics Incentives And The Economic Point Of View: The Case Of Popular Economics Abortion and Crime in Australia Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!