Episode

1/13 The Case Against Compromise w/ Rachel Greenwald-Smith

January 13, 2022

Emma hosts Rachel Greenwald Smith, professor of English at St. Louis University, to discuss her recent book On Compromise: Art, Politics, and the Fate of An American Ideal, on compromise in art and politics, and as an American ideal. Professor Greenwald-Smith and Emma first back up and look at how the US values compromise as a whole, looking at Biden’s role in 2020 as the “compromise candidate,” and how his failures have sort of proved the validity of this title, before the Professor takes on the difference between viewing compromise as an end which, itself, is politically valuable, and viewing it as a means, which is more reflective of everyday life, and sees compromise as resulting in some feelings of loss and resentment. This brings her and Emma to the role of compromise in capitalism and liberalism, as a value that turns us around to implicitly accept some amount of suffering and exploitation, turning to the Clinton Administrations’ acceptance of neoliberalism as the beginning of our current era of leftist compromise, effectively giving up on socialist valences for almost two decades. Next, Professor Greenwald-Smith shifts to a discussion of the aesthetics of compromise, in politics, as we see with the constant attitude policing of the left, and in art, from early 20th Century avant-garde publishers to 90s and early 21st Century punk artists and look at the lessons we can learn from the punk movement, particularly around accessibility and structure. They wrap up the interview by looking at the role of compromise in reinforcing America’s anti-blackness throughout history, from the 3/5ths to the Missouri Compromise, to various reconstruction policies, and touch on how the narrative of compromise as the midpoint between pain and progress gets stretched further and further, as we’ve seen it begin to break with mass labor resignations under COVID. Emma also touches on Donald Trump turning on his MiniMe, Ron De(Santis), and Kyrsten Sinema proudly displaying another trophy claimed from the Biden Agenda.

And in the Fun Half: Emma is joined by Matt and Brandon as they take on the failure of Democrats to not just support, but cultivate democracy, Mark from Mass asks for clarification on liberals’ insistence on uplifting incorrect voices, and the Chi Bureaucrat and Dr. Gus give insights into the goings on of US public schools in Chicago and Florida, respectively. They also cover Gov Kristi Noem advancing educational bills to teach kids not to protest or challenge the system, and David from SC ask for the crew’s sports-personality alter egos, plus, your calls and IMs!

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