American Swastika

In American Swastika: Inside the White Power Movement’s Hidden Spaces of Hate (2nd edition), Pete Simi and Robert Futrell look at the white power movement. Over 15 years of interviews allow the authors to use real stories to focus on white power families and the different ways the white power movement indoctrinates the next generation of white power warriors.

To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of American Swastika click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player here on this post. Or you can download it and subscribe through ApplePodcasts, Soundcloud, or Google Play

Slow Philosophy & The Slow Professor

Inspired by the article, “In Praise of Slowness,” in the Los Angeles Review of Books, we decided to look at two books: The Slow Professor by Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber and Slow Philosophy by Michelle Boulous Walker. What might happen if we gave ourselves time (and permission) to understand and learn, rather than, or in addition to, acquire more and more skills? Is slowness the nature of wisdom?

To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of The Slow Professor and Slow Philosophy click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player here on this post. Or you can download it and subscribe through ApplePodcasts, Soundcloud, or Google Play

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The narrator of Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist may be unreliable as he tells his American experience before and after 9/11 with an unknown American dinner guest, but we wonder if he is any more unreliable than the voice inside all of us. We discuss the East/West conflict, the relationship between fundamentalism and nostalgia, the narrator’s reluctance and fundamentalism, the narrator’s love of America and Erica, as well as puzzle over the ending as we delve into this deep and short novel.

To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of The Reluctant Fundamentalist click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player at the top of this post. Or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play

Bonus- Cop in the Hood (part 2)

In part 2 of our discussion of Cop in the Hood by Peter Moskos, we discuss the notion of discretion in the legal system – by police all the way to prosecutors & parole/probation boards. We think about discrimination in enforcement made possible by discretion. We think about conflicts of interest in investigations of police misconduct – especially in relation to the war on drugs. How should we move forward?

Cop in the Hood

We ask how to define “good” policing, as we discuss sociologist Peter Moskos’ Cop in the Hood: My Year Policing Baltimore’s Eastern District. What expectations do we put on police officers? How do police departments measure success? What should we measure for success? What does “law and order” mean? Do police receive the right kind of training to deliver the service communities want them to provide? How does Baltimore differ from Los Angeles? We also discuss the epic policy failure of the War on Drugs and the idea of legalization.

The Underground Railroad

*Warning: Spoilers!*

In Colson Whitehead’s award winning novel The Underground Railroad, Cora, daughter and granddaughter of slaves, flees her plantation after a horrific punishment. She heads out with a fellow slave Caesar, who takes her to the underground railroad – in this novel, a real RR. She is passionately pursued by Ridgeway, a slave catcher while she experiences the horrors of American racism and the courage of the RR personnel. The book compares a mythological Southern narrative of slavery with Cora’s truths and Ridgeway’s version of the “American imperative.” Beautifully written, full of horrific incidents, the book reminds us of the power of racism, the government’s complicity in its implementation and persistence, and reminds us freed African Americans carried with them the legacy of violence, oppression, suppression, and more violence whether from the police, physicians, or any other institution.

To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of The Underground Railroad click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player here – or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play

Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy is a memoir by J. D. Vance about family; about Appalachia, hillbillies, and the American white underclass in the rural and semi-rural interior of the United States. Vance relates his traumatic, poverty stricken upbringing to the larger social problems in both his hometown and the larger population. Through his personal struggles, he raises questions of personal responsibility and role of government in communities.

To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of Hillbilly Elegy click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player here, or download and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

American Gods

The novel is a fascinating exploration of the meaning of ethnicity, modernism, memory, and community in which we are reminded of the many ethnicities that make up America, but also their amalgamation into a secular American society with few gods. As multiple characters remind us, America is a hard place to be a god. This is a quintessential American novel from a quintessential British storyteller – it’s a sprawling road trip into the vast highways and byways of the American landscape, it’s a horror novel, a mystery, a romance, a western, a fantasy, and ultimately a look into the heart of America.

This podcast features Caroline Bhalla, Raphael Bostic, Lisa Schweitzer, and David Sloane

The City & The City

The City and The City by China Miéville is a noir detective murder mystery set in an urban fantasy landscape where the cities of Beszel and Ul Qoma are not just neighboring, but enmeshed in overlapping space. What begins as a question of whether the young woman’s murderer transferred the body between the cities illegally (Breach) becomes a…

White Trash

In White Trash: The 400-year Untold History of Class in America, historian Nancy Isenberg traces white poverty and class from the earliest British settlements through to the 21st century. What she finds is that the mythology of social mobility and classlessness of American Exceptionalism is just that, a myth. By taking a deep dive into a sub-class of Americans, Isenberg hopes that Americans can face a truth about the enduring poverty on inequality that has shaped the American consciousness. That not only do we have classes, but these classes have been built by policies going back to the very reason British citizens came to the colonies. Our discussion of the book looks at where this history contributes to our current political conversation and where it could have been more focused to tell the story in a more cohesive way.

Featuring Aubrey Hicks, Anthony Orlando, Lisa Schweitzer, and John Sonego