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Season 4

Episode 19: “This is the march of progress.”: a conversation with Lionel & Jim

Wednesday, December 13, 2023   #86

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Jim and Lionel recording episode 19 of season 4

Jim begins by talking about Kung Fu Hustle and suggests Lionel watch it. He then moves on to the AI songwriterthat’s going around the socials. Lionel remembers the song David Wilcox got an AI to write. Jim says that songwriters are the canary in the coal mine. Lionel likens the current situation to the loss of work for the U.S. autoworkers in the 1980s. Jim and Lionel dispute Shel Silverstein’s name for the Slitheydee or the Slithergadee and fail to decide which one it was.

From there we shift to the subject of Luddites. Jim mentions that he’s been reading Blood In The Machine by Brian Merchant, and discussion ensues about the historical Luddite movement. This dovetails into the topic of another book Jim’s been reading A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit. In her book, Solnit discusses about how revolutions and disasters tend to bring communities together, but that those movements are often disrupted when the bogeyman of property loss scares people. This reminds Lionel of garage door openers and lawsuits sighting garage robberies which were close to non-existent. Jim shares stories about getting mugged in New York City back in the day and shares a funny story about a near miss on a skateboard. Point being, robberies do happen, but that Solnit shows how disasters bring communities together despite our tendency to distrust each other. Lionel talks about his experience living in Texas which leads to our recollections of near catastrophes in southern diners by both Jim and Lionel.

We move on to talk about Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea and several of his other novels. We talk about Paris in the 20th Century, which was not published while Verne was alive, but was remarkably prescient. Jim says he’s looking for his next read, and Lionel recommends The Great Nadar, about a famous photographer in Paris in the 19th Century. Lionel mentions The Faun by Claude Debussy and we close.