A podcast exploring America's identity, culture, and values.
This episode was originally published on December 17, 2020 In this episode, I interview three crew members of the EPIX / BBC docuseries Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. While 2020 has been a year of intense examination of racism in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Enslaved takes a deep dive at the historical realities of the Middle Passage. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, The Guardian’s Afua Hirsh, and investigative journalist Simcha Jacobovici, the series travels across the globe to sites of slave ships to uncover what these sunken graveyards can reveal about life onboard––lives of which there is little historical record or archive. Our first guest is the British marine archaeologist Dr. Sean Kingsley who served as a historical advisor to the series’ diving crew. Then two of the divers will join me: Kinga Philipps and Kramer Wimberley. An award-winning journalist, writer, TV host, and esteemed member of the Explorer’s Club, Kinga provided a European perspective to the shoot, and also was one of the few non-Black divers for Enslaved. Next, Kramer will introduce himself as the series’ lead diving instructor who also leads “Diving with a Purpose,” a maritime archaeology program that protects the legacy of the Transatlantic slave trade shipwrecks. Each of the three interviews was broadcasted live and can be watched in full on the Back in America’s YouTube channel. As I conducted these interviews, I wanted to understand two things. First, what did diving on the wrecks of slave ships us about the history of the slave trade. Then, I wanted the divers to speak about their own experiences as they dived and explored these sunken mass graves, especially in light of recent activism in America. Dr Sean Kingsley Wreckwatch Mag Kramer Wimberly Diving With a Purpose Kinga Philipps This episode was partially edited by Back in America’s Podcast Editor Josh Wagner. Read the Transcript
45 min 44 sec
Back in America is a podcast exploring America’s culture, values, and identity. This conversation was recorded live on September 17. You can watch the unedited version on our Youtube channel. Listen to this episode to learn more about the release of the Pentagon report on UFOs to Congress. The importance of cosmos exploration. The chances of finding extraterrestrial life in our lifetime. After taking a long summer break during which my intern Josh Wagner took over Back in America with his excellent series Poetism I am happy to be back behind the mic. My guest, Seth Shostak is a Doctor in Astronomy, and an Alien Hunter working with the SETI Institute, a research organization whose mission is to explore, understand, and explain the origin and nature of life in the universe. In fact, SETI stands for the "search for extraterrestrial intelligence". He has published more than 400 articles on science including regular contributions to NBC News MACH, gives many dozens of talks annually, and is the host of the SETI Institute’s weekly science radio show, “Big Picture Science.” During our conversation, he said, “The equipment is getting faster and faster. We're looking at more and more of the universe. And on that basis that I've bet everyone a cup of Starbucks coffee, that we will find some evidence that we're not alone by 2035. The SETI Institute https://www.seti.org/ Dr. Soth Shostak http://sethshostak.com/ The Big Picture Science Podcast https://radio.seti.org/
35 min 25 sec
If the particular cannot be repeated, it remains forever lost; and this is why there can be no ﬁnal closure to mourning. There can only be, alongside of mourning, learning to love new particulars ––Louise Fradenburg In this week’s installment of “Poetism,” we’d like to ask about how words, poems, songs, and other kinds of art objects help bring life to a world. And by world, we mean a perspective, something experienced and understood in the innermost part of our being. Whether faced by inner solitude or loss, words attempt to communicate a state of affairs. But do they have to? Is there a way of placing listeners and readers directly into an experience without only describing it? Are there more direct ways of touching or “worlding” or elegizing? Or, in the words of this week’s poet, a moment: “Stands, the way a status / does in the mind. Perhaps! And it is in this great abyss of a perhaps that this episode takes off. Our working theory is that the sonic qualities of words, and of language in general, can help transmit moods and sensations without the need for specific meanings. To ask such questions, Josh is joined by his college roommate Scott Stevens, a recent English graduate of Stanford University (and incoming Fulbright Scholar) who also speaks in Japanese and French. And, in the course of their dialogue, Scott they are assisted by the Cocteau Twins’ 1984 track “Amelia” off of Treasure as well as Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s “Field Song” from the collection Song (1995). Over the course of their conversation, Scott and Josh touch upon the uniqueness of sound as a medium of communication, their difficulties of listening to the lyrics of a song, and poetry’s collective oral tradition. *** For more Poetism, stay tuned for next week’s two-part series finale on Rachel McKibbins, blackface, and FKA twigs.
49 min 20 sec
The sullen murmur of the bees shouldering their way through the long unmown grass, or circling with monotonous insistence round the dusty gilt horns of the straggling woodbine, seemed to make the stillness more oppressive. The dim roar of London was like the bourdon note of a distant organ. These lines, from the opening pages of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, emphasize unseen background noises as constituting an environment. The bees, working through the grass, create the biological condition of possibility for nature and the world, especially in their unseen state. And, so too, does the roar of London create the background chatter that allows the plot of the novel to take off. In this week’s installment of Poetism, we’d like to ask a similar question about our own age: what is the background noise that has made all this––society, labor, world–– possible? Michael Leon Thomas, a professor of philosophy at Susquehanna University, joins Josh in the studio to tackle the vicissitudes and interisies of Alfred North Whitehead’s conception of philosophy alongside Pharoah Sanders’ 1973 album Izipho Zam, particularly the 28-minute titular track which closes the album. For Whitehead, a worldview is always in the process of emerging, and our language needs to follow suit. A reformed logician, Whitehead balks against a wholly systematic view of philosophy, suggesting that it is in the gaps, silences, and wetness of philosophy that something happens. And to figure out what this something might be, we turn to Pharoah Sanders’ enigmatic, if expansive, composition which traverses through various languages, instruments, and cosmologies. The bandleader himself cannot be heard until the last third of the track, creating and leaving space (a society?) in which music creation can happen. In other words, it’s a slow reconditioning process. Along the way, Michael and I talk about why he’s decided to spend his life with philosophy, how experience feeds into our listening habits, the postcolony of American, and why philosophy might have more in common with poetry than one might assume. To read more about Michael’s work on music, check out an interview in Aesthetics with Birds. Here is the 2016 Pharoah Sanders performance mentioned in the episode. *** For Poetism, stay tuned for next week’s episode on Brigit Pegeen Kelly and the Cocteau Twins with Scott Stevens
52 min 42 sec
Across Northern Europe, so-called “bog people” have often been discovered shuffling around in the peat. While no one is quite certain where these quasi-mummified bodies come from––some date as recently as the 1940s––they have posed a strange mystery for countless poets and artists. This week, Back in America’s Poetism team takes a look at one of Seamus Heaney’s bog-inspired poems “The Bog Queen” from his 1975 collection North. Written in the spring of the May 1968 movement and the beginning of the Irish “Troubles,” “The Bog Queen” ventriloquizes the voice of its eponymous queen, pretending to experience underground life before her eventual discovery. In 2014, Irish musician Hozier released a setting of the poem, “Like Real People Do, ”removing many explicit references to Heaney himself, while keeping the ethos of the poem. For Hozier, the relationship of the fallen queen to her discoverer is one of love, even if from afar. Is it possible to love those who we will never meet? Can such a love be anything more than one-sided or wonderfully ironic? To explore these questions, Stanford graduate student Lorenzo Bartolucci joins Josh in the studio to offer his take on love, Heaney, bog bodies, and American-ness itself. *** If you’re enjoying this summer series, stay tuned for next week’s installment, featuring Susquehanna Philosophy Professor Michael Leon Thomas and the works of Alfred North Whitehead and Pharoah Sanders.
42 min 29 sec
Elegy Who would I show it to In this short one-line poem, W.S. Merwin condenses the anguish of loss, of being alive, and of the limitations of languages into a neat little package. Why write in the absence of finality? And what happens when mortality catches up with us? In this installment of Poetism, Podcast Editor Josh Wagner takes to the studio to ask about the honesty of writing––can writing ever reflect a true impression of reality? To field such questions about life, poetry, and everything in between, Stanford graduate student Gabriel Ellis takes the mic. Studying musicology, Gabriel focuses on contemporary pop music, and especially what he terms “anaesthetics,” music that describes, induces, or creates a sense of narcotic escape. Our conversation loosely tracks Gabriel’s musical career before turning to Jos Charles’ 2018 poetry collection feeld, which he reads in a faux-Chaucerian accent: “i care so much abot the whord i cant reed.” Then, we talk about the late SOPHIE’s 2018 track “Immaterial” off of Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides to explore a sonic tapestry of vibe. Stay tuned at your dials for next week’s episode of Poetism, featuring dead Irish myths, Seamus Heany, Hozier, and more Stanford friends! Note: Both Charles and SOPHIE identify as trans and use she/them pronouns, so we use both interchangeably.
49 min 44 sec
She listen to a little of that D’Angelo music, some love’s melody, sophisticated-type rap, which she say sounds more like real music, like intelligent music, than some of that other music, then she cuts the radio off ––Gayl Jones, The Healing Like the narrator in Gayl Jones’ The Healing, this week’s installment of Poetism focuses on and around “black music,” that is music which conveys a specific feeling of a sensation or time without explaining anything. For me, it’s like being a child at an adult’s card table; no one tells you how the game works, you have to learn by being attentive and tuning into the tricks at hand. But the joy is in the puzzle, almost as much as in the rules of the game. When his producer tried to market his serpentine music as “neo-soul,” D’Angelo rejected that moniker for the more expressive and expansive “black music.” There’s history and respect in his 2014 collaboration with the Vanguard, “Black Messiah,” but also affection, nostalgia, and rage. In scholar D’Angelo’s own words, “it’s all about capturing the spirit. It’s all about capturing the vibe. I’m kinda a first take dude.” To tackle such questions of lineage and history, actor and tap dance instructor Johnnie Hobbs joins me in this week’s episode. Our conversation starts with Johnnie’s own background and love for films––especially the rare period piece that displays the mundane. As Sumana Roy and Xander Manshel have noted, it’s rare for art made by people of color about the everyday to be accepted by mainstream culture. The vast majority of literary awards given to writers of color are for historical novels which focus on their ethnic identities. To be taught within the university, Indian novels need to be about what it means to be a postcolonial subject;––it’s uncommon to see a novel about one’s dreams of becoming a famous poet, midnight walks, and family fights. And Johnnie has developed his own test to see whether a historical film can do more than just showcase violence against Black bodies. In the final minutes of the podcast, we turn towards Amiri Baraka’s “Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note” (1961) to unpack it’s own relationship to Black suffering and its future(s). Stay tuned for next week’s episode on bubblegum pop and Old English verse in Jos Charles’ feeld (2018) and SOPHIE’s “Immaterial” (2018)––guided by anesthetic wizard Gabriel Ellis, who you might remember from his cameo in last week’s installment.
42 min 56 sec
Why are we so blind, why do we see so little, when there is much around us to see? So asks philosopher Alva Noë in Strange Tools, an exploration of how art objects contain, persuade, envelop, and direct our attention. What happens when we love a song, poem, or a moment in a day? How do these works of art direct and misdirect our attention? What––physically, emotionally, actually––happens to us in these moments of transport? And how can we talk about any of this without poorly paraphrasing that direct experience? These are the questions Podcast Editor Josh Wagner was left with at the end of our last episode of Poetism. So, in this week’s installment, Josh invited Mitch Therieau, a Stanford researcher working on contemporary literature, to unravel the interstices of Lisa Robertson’s R’s Boat (2010) and the Airborne Toxic Event’s 2011 hit “Numb” off of All at Once. Robertson’s poetry captures fleeting moments of stillness and the everyday, placing them in complex and abstract forms, while Numb’s soundscape desensitizes listeners to the world around them. Over the course of their conversation, Mitch and Josh plumb the surface-level depths of Robertson’s avant-garde poetry and trace the music history at the core of the Airborne Toxic Event’s track. Longtime listeners might be interested to compare Mitch’s idea of what America is with Josh’s––way back from his first episode with Back in America. Stay tuned for next week’s episode with Los Angeles-based filmmaker and tap dancer Johnnie Hobbs, featuring Amiri Baraka and D’Angelo and The Vanguard. Check out frontman for the Airborne Toxic Event Mikel Jollett’s 2020 memoir Hollywood Park.
42 min 25 sec
Happy July! While Stan and the usual Back in America podcast are on a hiatus this summer, Podcast Editor Josh Wagner will be hosting a new series entitled Poetism, tracing the foundations of and influences behind American poetry and music. Each week, Josh will invite a guest on the air to talk about an unusual pairing of a poem and song––seeing how they overlap and converse with one another. In the process, we hope to expose listeners to new poets and songs and make a case for the enduring relevance of poetry in an age of digital and visual media. In our inaugural episode, Josh is joined by Fang Liu, a linguistics major from Stanford, to talk about memory and imagination in Patrick Rosal’s 2015 ekphrastic poem “Children Walk on Chairs to Cross a Flooded Schoolyard” and The Doors’ “Wild Child” off of the 1969 record The Soft Parade. Stay tuned for next week’s episode on sensations of loneliness through the Airborne Toxic Event’s early 2000s bop “Numb” and poet Lisa Robertson’s R’s Boat (2010).
42 min 59 sec
Before we dive into today’s episode, a personal note: This summer, I will be going back to France for the first time in two years, and I will take a break from podcasting until September. However, my interns Josh and Emma will be keeping the lights on by releasing podcast episodes and newsletter articles (subscribe here). Josh has been working on a series of episodes discussing American music and poetry, which will be released weekly in July and August. So, Back in America will be in summer mode, and I know you will love it! Now, it is time for our interview. Starting this podcast back in November 2019, I wanted to make sense of the Trump years, and the sadness I felt for a country I loved but no longer understood. In more than 50 episodes and countless conversations, I have time and time again asked my guests: What is America to them?. Careful listeners to this podcast might have gained a better understanding of the fabric of this country––I know I certainly have. In this episode, I turn to Professor Douglas Steinel, a man whose life has been dedicated to just that: understanding America. His students have praised him for forcing them to confront opposing views, and his course syllabi require reading political critiques from both sides of the aisle. Professor Douglas Steinel has been a professor of American Political Thought since 1982 at the George Washington University, just a few blocks away from the White House. Professor Steinel's book suggestions Plato's Republic Bertrand Russell Collection, Selected Works, 1912-1922: The Problems of Philosophy, The Analysis of Mind, Why Men Fight, Free Thought and Official Propaganda Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects by Bertrand Russell The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite by Michael Lind
38 min 47 sec
This episode was recorded live on May 26 and includes questions from the audience. It is part of a series on sustainable initiatives to save our planet. In his latest interviews, host Stan Berteloot spoke with Navi Radjou about the frugal economy and Bruno Sarda about how corporations are experimenting with sustainability. Stan’s guest, Stefan Gallard, is a French-American working for Grain de Sail, a company that has built the first modern wind-powered cargo ships. Grain de Sail transports wine, coffee beans, and chocolate across the globe in its 80- foot schooner. Its sailboat cargo is an essential part of the company’s green logistics chain. More information on Grain de Sel at: Graindesailwines.com
46 min 9 sec
Subscribe to Back in America, the newsletter Back in America is a podcast exploring America's culture, values, and identity. This episode is part of a series on positive initiatives to save our planet. In his last interview, Stan Berteloot spoke with Navi Radjou about the frugal economy. Today, he is talking to Bruno Sarda, an internationally renowned expert in sustainability. For years, corporations have advertised their green initiatives to reassure both investors and customers about their sustainable practices. Yet as we know, climate change is only getting worse, so we wanted to ask Bruno if this was just “greenwashing.” On a personal note: Back in America now boasts more than 50 episodes, and we am very grateful to you, our listeners, for your support during all this time. This summer, Stan will be going back to France for the first time in two years, and he will take a podcast break until September. However, Back in America’s interns Josh and Emma will be keeping the lights on by releasing podcast episodes and newsletter articles (subscribe here). Josh has been working on a series of episodes discussing American music and poetry, which will be released every week in July and August. So Back in America will be in summer mode, and we know you will love it! To learn more about Bruno Sarda check out his Linkedin profile.
35 min 53 sec
Careful listeners of Back in America may have noticed that we have expanded our team and welcomed two interns to research, record and write the podcast alongside me, Stan Berteloot. In the spirit of transparency, I’d like for you to formally meet my interns Josh Wagner and Emma Myers in true podcast fashion as they interview each other! They also discuss their own exciting projects coming soon: be on the lookout for Josh’s Poetry and Eugenics series both releasing this summer, and Emma’s deep dive into the history of vaccine hesitancy and medical ethics later this month.
20 min 24 sec
In this episode, Back in America’s host, Stan Berteloot speaks with Navi Radjou, internationally renowned Indian-French-American scholar, innovation and leadership advisor, and bestselling author based in New York. Navi’s most recent book, Frugal Innovation: How To Do More With Less, shows how companies can innovate faster, better, and more sustainably. The conversation focuses on Navi’s work on developing an alternative to capitalism and concrete actions individuals and businesses are taking to build a better, more sustainable world. “My job is to introduce Americans to new ways of doing business, new ways of creating economic and social value in a sustainable way,” says Radjou. He describes the “frugal economy” as a new economy that is built on business-to-business (b2b) sharing, local production from micro-factories, the notion of regeneration, or how companies can consciously have a positive impact on society and the planet. Since Navi is multicultural, the episode focuses on the values, culture, and identity of America. Navi comments on an excerpt from a previous Back in America interview with American writer and thinker John Michael Greer. In the audio clip, we hear Greer say that America is all about independence and every man for himself, while European countries have a more communal attitude. In response, Navi asked: “Why do we have to choose? Why can we have both? Why can we go into a kind of the third dimension where we try to integrate the goodness of America, the goodness of Europe? The ideal society,” he says, “is the one that tried to find the sweet spot between maximizing individual expression while contributing to social integration.” Navi backs up his theories with concrete examples of companies, such as Xometry, People + Work Connect from Accenture, Unilever, Civica RX, or Convoy that are currently working according to the frugal economy precept. Here are two of Radjou’s articles on Frugal Economy and B2B Sharing : The Rising Frugal Economy The sharing economy’s next target: Business-to-business Navi Radjou’s Movie and Books Selection The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the Third Millennium Paperback by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi The Life Divine Paperback by Sri Aurobindo Movie Losers on Netflix Watch the full, unedited, interview on YouTube
45 min 19 sec
Bridging COVID-19 Isolation and the Digital Divide with Bridging Tech In 2021, it is nearly impossible to get anything done without a laptop: apply for a job, go to school, safely connect with friends, or schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Yet, there are fewer laptops in existence than humans on this planet, presenting a unique challenge for unhoused students. Not only are they disadvantaged in terms of their living situation, but also have to deal with this extra technological hurdle known as the digital divide. Naturalized Americans have a unique set of familial and institutional knowledge about how to navigate the complex and confusing American system: What is an SAT? Who can I ask for help on my math homework? Where can I get free public Wi-Fi? While these questions might seem obvious to a second-generation resident, they are anything but for immigrant and first-generation communities. This week’s episode of Back in America, hosted by Podcast Editor Josh Wagner, highlights Bridging Tech, a charity devoted to providing hardware and other educational resources for unhoused students. Having donated nearly 1,000 laptops nationwide, Bridging Tech is developing infrastructure for companies and individuals to donate disused computers to be wiped/refurbished before being donated to unhoused communities. Founded by rising Stanford seniors, Isabel Wang and Margot Bellon, Bridging Tech is committed to listening to the unhoused community and creating actually helpful resources, rather than assuming what would be best and offering potentially unhelpful solutions. Holly Giang, Bridging Tech’s Foundation Relations Manager, also joins us for the interview. To find out how unhoused youths can go to online school, what policy measures are holding back their success, and how to get involved with Bridging Tech, listen to our episode! ––– In the coming weeks, the Back in America team will be launching an eight-part series investigating the relationship between music and poetry, tentatively titled “Rhythmic Verses.” Join Podcast Editor Josh Wagner as he poetically travels around the country, asking the age-old question: What is American to you?
33 min 56 sec
As Biden announces new executive actions on gun control, the Back in America team invites you to re-listen to an episode on guns in America, initially published on Oct. 23, 2020. In his executive actions today, Biden restricted the sale of “ghost guns,” untraceable guns which are sold in kits. Today’s announcements are less expansive than the president’s initial campaign promises. Yet, administration officials suggest that these measures are only the first steps of Biden’s plans for addressing gun violence. Further legislation will require Congressional approval and include a nationwide assault weapons ban (something that Australia successfully adopted 25 years ago) and universal background checks. The following episode is an edited version of live interviews that were recorded on October 20th and 21st. 2020. You can watch the entire broadcast on Back in America’s YouTube channel. A few weeks ago Jon, a good college friend, visited us for the weekend. At night, we were joined by a couple living next door and we started to talk about politics as we drank beers by the fire pit in the backyard. In the backyard were two French nationals (my wife and I) joined by three Americans. I can't remember exactly how or why Jon started to talk about gun rights, but the conversation became serious when he professed not only his belief in the right to bear arms but also that it was essential to the protection of civilians against the tyranny of the government. Historically, the people most affected by governmental tyranny (forced displacement, slavery) have been denied access to firearms and the ability to use them. This made me dig further into the American gun debate. I've learned that many citizens support the idea of owning any type of gun and that some believe that it is a God-given right. What has God got to do with guns? How can a democracy work when its citizens trust their guns more than their votes? And with the recent bankruptcy of the NRA, will gun control actually work? To try to make sense of all this we are going to hear from three people: first, my friend Jon Phebus will clarify his views; then David Treibs, a Christian and gun activist, will talk about his God-given right to bear arms. Finally, SUNY Cortland’s Professor Robert Spitzer, an expert on constitutional law and gun control, will offer his interpretation of the constitution and bring some historical context to the debate. Books and Movies Recommendations: David Treibs Love Letter to America by Tomas Schuman The Persecutor by Sergei Kourdakov Marx & Satan by Richard Wurmbrand Professor Robert Spitzer The Politics of Gun Control by Robert J. Spitzer Casablanca (1942)
1 hr 1 min
In this episode, Stan Berteloot continues to explore how leading American collapsologists thinkers conceive of the collapse of our Western civilization. Since the 1990s, scholars have been predicting that the end of the Cold War and the struggle between capitalism/communism will also bring about “the end of history.” But, are these worries founded? What are we to make of the last 30 years? After previous episodes with John-Michael Greer and Richard Heinberg, Stan sat down with Derrick Jensen, an American author, ecophilosopher, radical environmentalist, and anti-civilization advocate. He once said that “We’re going to watch the end of the world on television until the TVs go out.” For Jenson, the solution is essentially to return to the Stone Age. You say that’s ridiculous?! Well, his movement, the Deep Green Resistance (DGR), is gaining international traction in the West. In any case, many people agree that, whether we want it, our civilization is on the brink of extinction.
34 min 51 sec
Today is March 8, International Women's Day, and on this day I suggest that we listen to Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and her work for civil justice. This episode was previously released on Jan. 22, 2021. In this episode of Back in America, I speak with Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, political consultant, and activist. She recently ran to represent Maryland’s 7th District in Congress after undergoing a double mastectomy. Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is the widow of Congressman Elijah Cummings, a good friend of former Congressman John Lewis. When Lewis died in 2020, hundreds of Twitter account accidentally posted memorial photos of Cummings since the two looked so much alike! On Back in America, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore. Cummings discusses the ongoing fight for civil rights. “I fight for the right to exist. I fight for the right of everyone to be recognized on the level of our common humanity. I fight for the history in this country that has been suppressed. I am the fourth generation from slavery in this country. My parents grew up in the Jim Crow South. My late husband, Elijah Cummings grew up in the Jim Crow South. They were born into a world that denied African Americans the right to exist,” she said. We also spoke of Black feminism and the importance for Black women to take charge of their struggle against racist and institutionalized patriarchy. In recent months, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings has been working to publish We're Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy, her husband’s final, unfinished book. The book came out last September and she talks to me about the importance of getting her husband’s voice out there. We're Better Than This - My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy
22 min 49 sec
As countries worldwide scramble to vaccinate their citizens against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, governments have to make the uncomfortable calculus of who deserves to get the vaccine right now. The ones who are spreading it the most? The ones in essential high-risk jobs? People over a certain age? That threshold is unclear and hotly contested. With several months to go before vaccines are readily available to any desiring American adult, legislators have to ask The Question: who first? And, as more vaccine becomes available, they will also have to ask whether it is morally justified for the U.S. government to mandate every citizen or every healthcare worker to take the vaccine? If many states mandate every child to be vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella, is COVID-19 significantly different? In August 2020, Justin Bernstein, a philosopher at Florida Atlantic University, co-authored a paper answering precisely this question. And while the state of the world has changed significantly since then, the core question of how governments value their citizens, when, and why remains constant (if you’re curious, the U.S. government places the monetary value of a human life at roughly $10 million). Podcast Editor Josh Wagner sat down with Justin to ask precisely these burning questions. For Justin, vaccines are just like any other vital resource that the government needs to allocate. And, in his mind, while our government has been failing in its mandate to protect public health, it is still the best means we have. Listen in to find out the answers to these questions and more! Justin’s website Alexander Guerrero’s blog post about dividing up the United States
40 min 2 sec
First published on November 18, 2019 When a French journalist returns to live in the US 25 years after leaving it as a student, he struggles to recognize the country he loves. He embarks on conversations with Americans of all backgrounds in a quest to understand what America means today. This was the first installment of Back in America. The episode is part of a series on masculinity in America. Here I speak to Eric Marsh a Black activist and a social worker in Philadelphia. We speak about being a Black man in America; the impact of slavery. The impact of the Trump election; consumerism. We discuss an art piece by Hank Willis Thomas, Branded Head, a photo of a Black man’s head with the shape of the Nike swoosh, and what Thomas called commodifiable blackness.
21 min 6 sec
Witches are everywhere! Your neighbor might be a witch, you can run into one at the farmer market, the organic food store, the alternative medicine section of your bookstore, and definitely at feminist rallies––you could even be a witch without knowing it! Since the 1960s, the historical stereotype of the witch has been reclaimed as a feminist icon. In their everyday lives, American witches act just the same as anyone else. While it is forbidden for outsiders to enter certain covens, many sell protection spells on Etsy for $15 a pop. They post pictures of Midnight Sabbaths on Instagram and Livestream Tarot readings on YouTube. Beyond the folklore and the spells, the modern American witch is taking a stand against the patriarchy. You will hear from three witches in this episode: Amanda Auchter, an American writer, professor, and editor. Amanda has won several literary awards and is currently working on her third book of poems which focuses on how witchcraft and faith empowered women. Then, Cabra Woodwell, a witch “dedicated to changing the narratives of magic to decolonize, decarcerate, and liberate” comes in. The third witch is Pixie from Salem, Massachusetts. The interview with Pixie was recorded live and can be watched in full on YouTube. If you want to learn more about Amanda, her books and her new witchcraft store, and if you want to explore what Pixie and Cabra are up to, see this episode's note. To explore even further witchcraft and feminism check out Back in America's Newsletter on Substack! Amanda Auchter Amanda is about to open an occult-based shop, Midnight Apothecary, on March 1, with her creative partner, Eddy Roberts. Their information and stories are available on Instagram, here: https://www.instagram.com/midnight.apothecary/. Pixie Pixie’s Instagram account is https://www.instagram.com/thisisreallypixie/ Cabra Woodwell Cabra Woodwell on Instagram is https://www.instagram.com/garlicwitchzines/ Their astrology school can be found on https://starsdanceastrology.com/mystery-school/
25 min 19 sec
This episode was originally recorded live and you can watch the entire interview on our YouTube channel. Trica Baker was the VP of Marketing Services at Merrill Lynch for 13 years before leaving her job to take care of her teenage son who was struggling with severe depression. After battling this disease for three long years, her son tragically committed suicide. In the aftermath of those dark days, Tricia fell into a terrible depression and suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress, barely able to leave her bed. Yet, her dog Miki, guided by a mysterious instinct, helped her deal with her depression and got her out of bed each day. “Miki saved my life,” says Tricia. In this episode of Back in America, the podcast we hear from Tricia who has since dedicated her life to training dogs to prevent suicide. You can find Tricia’s suicide prevention organization, Attitudes In Reverse, at https://air.ngo/. 20 Paws is her dog training business: https://20paws.com/. If you or a loved one is depressed or having suicidal thoughts, the suicide prevention text line can be found by texting ‘AIR’ to 741 741. To speak to a counselor call 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255) or go online: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
29 min 10 sec
What is really at question is the American way of life. What is really at question is whether Americans already have an identity or are still sufficiently flexible to achieve one. This is a painfully complicated question, for what now appears to be the American identity is really a bewildering and sometimes demoralizing blend of nostalgia and opportunism. ––James Baldwin In recent months, shows about Jewish thought and theology (Pretend it’s a City, Unorthodox) have populated Netflix’s “Trending Now” tab. But what does it mean to be an American Jew in 2021? Why are many Jews today turning towards Hasidism and more conservative forms of religion in a time of unprecedented secularism? Are spirituality and personal faith compatible with traditional Jewish precepts? Why is it the case that Jews have both benefited from and been victimized by white nationalism? And how does Zionism, Jewish nationalism, fit into this story? To think about these questions, Podcast Editor Josh Wagner spoke with Sam Shonkoff, Professor Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, California as well as two of his students. Sam’s research delves into the intersection between secular spiritual practices and the contemporary Hasidic movement, especially in the thought of not-quite theologian Martin Buber. For Buber, religion was less about acting according to the letter of the law than cultivating a sense of “embodied theology” in the everyday––faith as less of a regulating authority than source of spiritual transformation (tiqqun). His students, Eva Sturm-Gross and Jonah Gelfand both took Sam’s Jewish Mysticism seminar at Oberlin College and became fascinated with the downright odd and weird mystics in Jewish thought. Eva is a junior from Vermont who works at a bakery and is majoring in Studio Art and Religion with a minor in Jewish Studies. Jonah just graduated from Oberlin last June and has followed Sam to the GTU and hopes to continue his personal and professional engagement with Jewish thought. Both Eva and Jonah grew up as secular Reform Jews, yet have decided to become more seriously devout. While their experience cannot speak for all American Jews, Sam, Eva, and Jonah tell a story about their return to a practical faith in a time of uncertainty and doubt. To find out more, listen to the episode on Podbean, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you usually find your podcasts! Links: Sam’s latest book on contemporary Hasidism, edited with Rabbi Ariel Evan Mayse: Hasidism: Writings on Devotion, Community, and Life in the Modern World The book on top of Sam’s desk at the time of recording this episode: The Obligated Self Maternal Subjectivity and Jewish Thought by Mara H. Benjamin Eva’s art Instagram Martin Buber’s I and Thou
36 min 1 sec
In this episode of Back in America, I speak with Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, political consultant, and activist. She recently ran to represent Maryland’s 7th District in Congress after undergoing a double mastectomy. Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is the widow of Congressman Elijah Cummings, a good friend of former Congressman John Lewis. When Lewis died in 2020, hundreds of Twitter account accidentally posted memorial photos of Cummings since the two looked so much alike! On Back in America, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore. Cummings discusses the ongoing fight for civil rights. “I fight for the right to exist. I fight for the right of everyone to be recognized on the level of our common humanity. I fight for the history in this country that has been suppressed. I am the fourth generation from slavery in this country. My parents grew up in the Jim Crow South. My late husband, Elijah Cummings grew up in the Jim Crow South. They were born into a world that denied African Americans the right to exist,” she said. We also spoke of Black feminism and the importance for Black women to take charge of their struggle against racist and institutionalized patriarchy. In recent months, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings has been working to publish We're Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy, her husband’s final, unfinished book. The book came out last September and she talks to me about the importance of getting her husband’s voice out there. We're Better Than This - My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy
22 min 49 sec
In this week’s episode, Podcast Editor Josh Wagner takes a look at transhumanism, the philosophy, and ideology that the next stage in human evolution will arrive through artificial enhancements. Started in the early 1990s in Silicon Valley, transhumanism has accrued a wide variety of adherents, ranging from Ray Kurzweil and Elon Musk to Jeffrey Epstein, who believe that the human body itself needs to be upgraded. In their minds, such technological enhancements will increase the quality of life and abilities of every human being––“if nature is unjust, change nature!” But, are such transhumanist dreams even possible, and would such biological enhancements actually help transform the human race rather than reinforcing the social, racial, and economic divides which are tearing at the foundations of our democracy? Joining us this week is James Clement, director of BetterHumans, the world’s first transhumanist-oriented biomedical research lab. A former international tax lawyer and brewpub founder, Clement now works on the scientific side of anti-aging, often collaborating with Havard geneticist George Church to discover why certain humans are able to live for more than 100 years. At the heart of his transhumanism rests a fundamental belief in human capabilities and their liberation, beliefs which motivate his biological research. For him, transhumanism is a real technology, fundamentally linked to medical vaccines, stitches, and contact lenses. The only difference is that, like any new technology, transhumanism is not fully understood, especially by Americans who are resistant to such changes. At the core of this interview lies a concern that a so-called transhumanist utopia, while possible, may not be entirely desirable. Like Odysseus’ searching beyond the limits of human cognition in Dante’s Inferno, transhumanism crucially aspires to alter our relationship with our own bodies, potentially increasing carbon emissions, overpopulation, and racial/social inequalities. James Clement: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jwclement/ Transhumanist Manifesto: https://natashavita-more.com/transhumanist-manifesto/ Humanist Manifesto: https://zelalemkibret.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/humanist-manifestos.pdf
In this episode, I interview three crew members of the EPIX / BBC docuseries Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. While 2020 has been a year of intense examination of racism in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Enslaved takes a deep dive at the historical realities of the Middle Passage. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, The Guardian’s Afua Hirsh, and investigative journalist Simcha Jacobovici, the series travels across the globe to sites of slave ships to uncover what these sunken graveyards can reveal about life onboard––lives of which there is little historical record or archive. Our first guest is the British marine archaeologist Dr. Sean Kingsley who served as a historical advisor to the series’ diving crew. Then two of the divers will join me: Kinga Philipps and Kramer Wimberley. An award-winning journalist, writer, TV host, and esteemed member of the Explorer’s Club, Kinga provided a European perspective to the shoot, and also was one of the few non-Black divers for Enslaved. Next, Kramer will introduce himself as the series’ lead diving instructor who also leads “Diving with a Purpose,” a maritime archaeology program which protects the legacy of the Transatlantic slave trade shipwrecks. Each of the three interviews was broadcasted live and can be watched in full on the Back in America’s YouTube channel. As I conducted these interviews, I wanted to understand two things. First, what did diving on the wrecks of slave ships us about the history of slave trade. Then, I wanted the divers to speak about their own experiences as they dived and explored these sunken mass graves, especially in light of recent activism in America. Dr Sean Kingsley Wreckwatch Mag Kramer Wimberly Diving With a Purpose Kinga Philipps This episode was partially edited by Back in America’s Podcast Editor Josh Wagner. Read the Transcript
45 min 44 sec
Richard Heinberg is a Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and is regarded as one of the world’s top advocates for a shift away from our current dependence on fossil fuels. He is also the author of thirteen books on climate and energy. Today, in this episode I am releasing the complete interview I had with Richard on November 11. This interview was broadcasted live and you can watch it on Youtube. Richard and I talk about the election and what impact the new government might have on the environment. Richard asks, who's going to cleaning up the fracking mess as the oil and gas companies go bankrupt? We wonder if Trump in the time he has left at the White House can do more damages to the climate and Richard warns that Biden will need to prepare Americans for the hard change looming ahead. If you enjoy this podcast please share it with your friend and leave us a review on Apple podcast. I would like to wish you all a happy holiday and to thank you for your incredible support in 2020. A big shout out to my top fans: Celine, Missy, Jon, Caroline, Natja, Nicolas, Mark, Aurelia, Ben, Zoe. Our Intern is Josh Wagner and he is busy editing the episode on the BBC Series Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. I hope to be publishing it before the end of the month. make sure you listen to it as we are working on a new no linear format mixing the interviews with great soundtracks. Bye for now and have a great day.
19 min 57 sec
The 2020 election cycle has been wracked with scandal, accusations of fraud, and uncertainty. Fearing the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans voted by mail, and have little idea what in-person polling looked like in this historic year. Join us this week as Stan sits down with Back in America’s new Podcast Editor and poll worker Josh Wagner. A native Los Angeleno, Josh worked the polls in Downtown Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, site of the Los Angeles Opera. Amid a startling amalgamation of modernist and abstracted artworks, voters took to the polls, casting their ballots in the decisive 2020 presidential election. To make sense of the opulence of the polling station alongside the monotony of the democratic process (not to mention the scores of unhoused people living just blocks away), Josh spoke with several of his fellow poll workers––comic Chistine Medrano, high schooler Emilee Salas, and assistant lead Harrell Greene––as well as several voters. How were poll workers kept safe? Who voted at The Music Center? Listen to find out what it was really like to vote in the 2020 election downtown! You can find Josh’s published works here and make sure to look out for future episodes with him.
25 min 36 sec
Today is The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In this episode, first published a year ago, I speak with Sheri Kurdakul the CEO and founder of VictimsVoice an app that provides a legally admissible way for victims to document abuse incidents. Sheri speaks with Back in America about her father’s abuse that started when she was a toddler, her recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD and how she reclaimed her life to become who she is today. Since I first interviewed Sheri Kurdakul the pandemic has struck and VictimsVoice experienced massive growth. “The law enforcement officers that I've spoken with have said that while the number of reports has decreased, the severity of the incidents, by the time they do report, they are pretty much at the life or death stage,” says Sheri. She adds, “You have people who probably have lost their jobs, money is tight, the Feeding America saw a double increased need in food distribution, for people needing food. You have people that normally are being watched all the time when their spouses or significant others are home. And now they're forced to be home all the time. So whereas an abuser may have gone to work, or, left the house for any length of time, that was an opportunity for a victim to be able to talk to a nonprofit and put together a safety plan to get out or be able to just have some downtime, where they're not being controlled and abused. They don't have that anymore. They don't have the luxury of having any downtime at all. And if the victim is also employed, now they must act professionally in a space where they're being abused." Sheri says, “We saw six states between January and February. And then we compared it to March and April. We had six states in the US that had triple-digit percentage increases, Utah saw a 450% increase in usage. And we had over 30 states that had double-digit percentage increases as well. New Jersey is one of those.” For more information about Victims Voice https://victimsvoice.app/
47 min 9 sec
Twenty-four years ago, I was living in Washington D.C. while studying at the University of Maryland. I came back to America in August of 2016, this time with my family. It was just a few months before Trump's election. As I settled in the US and tried to understand why Trump got elected, I noticed how much the country had changed. I believe that two major crises have determined the shape of what the country is today: the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and the subprime economic crisis in 2008. Then came Trump. A man loved by half the country for being anti-elite, playing tough, and speaking his mind and hated by the other half for pretty much the same reasons. Trump has polarized America and the world at large, pushing what we thought was politically possible. Lies and mediocrity became the new normal. For a year now, with this podcast, Back in America, I have been exploring and questioning America's culture, values, and identity. In every episode, I ask my guests “What is America?”. Quite often, they say that America is a story, an idea in the making. By many standards, the 2020 election is historical and will once again help define what America is. The pandemic, the foreign interferences, the mistrust in the democratic voting process, and now the legal attacks against Biden's victory. I have asked Americans what they thought of the outcome of the election. Here they are: Jake Hoffman, the president of the Tampa Bay Young Republicans. Mark Charles, an independent candidate who ran in the 2020 Presidential Election who holds dual citizenship to the United States and the Navajo Nation. https://twitter.com/wirelesshogan Previous episode https://pod.fo/e/a048d and https://pod.fo/e/a048e Richard Heinberg, a Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, and one of the world’s foremost advocates for a shift away from our current reliance on fossil fuels. https://twitter.com/richardheinberg Live Interview David Treibs, a Constitutionalist, Christian, and gun-rights activists from Fredericksburg, Texas. Previous episode https://pod.fo/e/a2f78 Live Interview Chivona Renee Newsome, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Greater NY. https://twitter.com/newyorkvonni Live Interview Majid Padellan, social justice warrior, social media expert, Twitter celebrity, an author, a digital designer, and a proud father of 5. His Twitter handle is BrooklynDad_Defiant. https://twitter.com/mmpadellan Previous episode https://pod.fo/e/9f4f2 Live Interview Read the Transcript
22 min 54 sec
Join our mailing list for exclusive information I am publishing this episode once again for all of the listeners who might not have heard it yet. I find it strangely prophetic and visionary which if you know my guest shouldn't be much of a surprise. John Micheal Greer a widely respected author and blogger in the fields of nature spirituality and the future of industrial society. He is the author of more than fifty books and his blog, Ecosophia. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife Sara. John, a look at your Wikipedia page made me realize that you are a pretty complex person. The most striking aspect of your life for a layman is probably that you are a Druid. When I realized, thanks to you that Druids made their way from Europe to the US was a surprise and I want to learn more about it. The reason for my reaching out to you, however, is that you’re one of the leading minds, in the US, behind the concept of societal collapse. You were quoted on this topic back in 2008. In 2016, you wrote Dark Age America: Climate Change, Cultural Collapse, and the Hard Future Ahead. Since then you published 8 books and countless articles on collapse. Collapse means that our fossil fuel-based civilization, cannot sustain itself and will fail. As our world is going through an unprecedented pandemic and is bracing itself for recession I am delighted to get your view on the situation. John’s blog can be found at https://www.ecosophia.net/ Here is a link to his books on Amazon https://amzn.to/3cANDom Read the Transcript
37 min 28 sec
Rejoignez notre mailing list exclusive Aujourd'hui, et une fois n'est pas coutume, Back in America est en français et contrairement aux épisodes précédents nous n'allons pas traiter de la culture, des valeurs et de l'identité des Etats-Unis. Mon invité, Thierry Sauvage, va me rejoindre dans quelques instants. Si je lui ai demandé de partager son expérience avec Back in America c'est qu'à l'image de beaucoup de mes invités interviewés depuis le début de la pandémie de COVID, cette période a été pour lui l'occasion de réfléchir sur sa vie. Eric Marsh nous disait que les Américains ont profités du confinement pour réaliser l'ampleur du racisme systémique aux Etats-Unis. Glenda Wrenn de son côté à redécouvert ses enfants et l'intérêt de diner ensemble chaque soir. D'autres ont été confrontés à la dépression et aux violences domestiques. Positivement ou non, le COVID n'épargne personne. A New York, depuis mars, plus de 246 000 personnes ont quittés la ville ce qui représente une augmentation de presque 100 % par rapport à la même période en 2019. En France, d'après le magazine Capital, 1 cadre parisien sur 2 envisage une mobilité régionale. Pour mon invité, la COVID 19 a été le déclencheur d'un changement de vie radicale. En février il vivait avec son épouse chinoise et son fils de 4 ans à Shanghai. Cadre de l'industrie automobile, il est également DJ et producteur de musique électronique pendant son temps libre. Il est booké un an en avance pour jouer dans les plus grands clubs de Shanghai ! Quatre mois plus tard et après de nombreuses nuits blanches, c'est au Croisic, petit port de 4000 habitants en Loire-Atlantique, qu'il vit avec sa femme et son fils. Retrouvez la video de l’entretien en direct sur YouTube.
Join our exclusive mailing list! The following interviews are edited versions of live interviews that were recorded on October 20th and 21st. You can what the entire broadcast on Back in America's Youtube channel. Welcome to Back in America, the podcast. I am your host Stan Berteloot, and in each episode, I trace America’s identity, culture, and values back to its source: its people. A few weeks ago Jon, a good friend from college visited us for the weekend. At night we were joined by a couple living next door and we started to talk about politics as we drunk beers by the pit-fire in the back yard. You had two French persons: my wife and I, and three Americans. I can't remember exactly how or why Jon started to speak of gun rights but the conversation became intense when he said that not only did he support the right to bear arms but that it was essential to the protection of civilians against the tyranny of the government. This made me dig further into the gun debate. I've learned that many support the idea of owning guns, any types of gun and that in the US some people believe that they have a God-given right to carry a gun. What has God to do with guns? How can a democracy work when its citizens trust their guns more than their votes? To try to make sense of all this we are going to hear from 3 persons: first Jon Phebus, my friend will clarify his views; then David Treibs a Christian and Gun Activists will talk about what he believes is a god-given right to bear arms. Finally, Professor Robert Spitzer from SUNY Cortland, an expert on constitutional law and gun control will give us his interpretation of the constitution and bring some historical context to the debate. Book Recommendations David Treibs Love Letter to America, by Tomas Schuman The Persecutor by Sergei Kourdakov Marx & Satan by Richard Wurmbrand Professor Robert Spitzer The Politics of Gun Control 8th Edition by Robert J. Spitzer Casablanca by Michael Curtiz
1 hr 1 min
Join our exclusive mailing list! This episode is an edited version of a live interview that was recorded on September 16, 2020, and streamed on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. My guest, Majid Padellan might be better known under his Twitter name BrooklynDad_Defiant and his handle @mmpadellan. He is a social justice warrior, social media expert, and Twitter celebrity, an author, a digital designer, and a proud father of 5. And I will add that he is pissed off! He has been upset at the politics of this country since November 8, 2016, and the election of Donald Trump. So upset that he decided to change his twitter handle to BrooklynDad_Defiant. When asked if his online rage could be polarizing Majid Padellan said, "If if what I say is polarizing, so be it, but you have to you do have to pick aside, [Trump] is not somebody who is a regular leader. This is not a George W. Bush. This is not a Ronald Reagan. He's not a Jimmy Carter. He's not a Gerald Ford. This is a guy who has lied 20,000 times." He rapidly grew his Twitter fans to over 682K followers (665K at the time of the interview) becoming one of the most popular anti-Trump commentators on Twitter. BrooklynDad_Defiant has been quoted across the globe from L’Obs in France to Newsweek and CBS in the U.S. "I realized that not very many people have an audience the size that I have. I understand that I have a responsibility to use that audience for good. And I think the best good I can do right now is to help not only elect Joe Biden but elect as many Democratic candidates across the country so that we can give Joe Biden a helpful Congress so he can actually get something done," said Majid Padellan. In this episode of Back in America we will try to go beyond the Twitter persona to understand who’s the man behind the handle. Majid Padellan's Book The Liddle'est President can be found on Amazon His website is brooklyndaddefiant.com
44 min 3 sec
Join our exclusive mailing list! The podcast is an edited version of the first live interview of the podcast Back in America. The original can be seen on the Podcast YouTube or FaceBook page. My guest is a model, a dancer, a singer, and an incredible performer. Look him up on Spotify or wherever you listen to your music and you will understand why he is such a rising star in this industry. Getting where he is today has been a long and challenging journey. A Journey that started in New York with a drug addict father and abusive stepfather. A journey that took him through homeless shelters and psych wards. Despite the pain and humiliation he somehow managed to make it to school, to rehearsals, and to castings. His determination and hard work paid off. The Alvin Ailey Theater hired him to do a series of recitals. He won a modeling contract for 7 for Mankind and for Marc Jacob, which lead to his now 8th year as a professional model. While working as a dancer and a model in New York City, He teamed up with Nate Beats, and D.Gatez, who produced and released his early singles. Now living in Los Angeles he is working with Grammy award-winning producer Ebonie Smith. He’s recording his latest music at Atlantic Records and Warner Music studios. He was even invited to become a member of the Recording Academy and is now recognized by the Grammy Board as a recording professional. Derrick Cobb can be found: https://www.instagram.com/d_cobb https://www.dcobbnow.com/
53 min 42 sec
Join our exclusive mailing list! "COVID-19 has created a worldwide public health crisis, and the resulting lockdowns and social distancing measures have sent most country’s economies into a severe downturn. But we believe these crises are only the tip of the pandemic’s iceberg," writes Mario Iacobacci and Mathieu Laberge in a recent Deloitte study. "There is another crisis looming – a human crisis," they add. "Our past research ... has revealed a potential for increased incidences of mental illness, poorer educational outcomes, an increase in substance abuse and crime, and the weakening of the community fabric." The researchers called on the governments to get ready for the looming crisis. It is particularly striking that they stressed the need for employers to address employees' mental health, reviewing the mix of employee benefits and to see how to better accommodate employees in this stressful period, sometimes by introducing flexible benefit options that respond to different needs from employees at different stages in life. Since 1989 in France, employers must 1989 ensure the physical and mental well being of their employees. This is in line with the European tradition of social class differences and community solidarity. The American tradition is influenced by the like of Locke, Jefferson, Smith, and Mill, and favors individual freedom and economic freedom. In the US, a country of hard work, individualism, and personal privacy culture, many corporations are hesitant to tackle employees well being. Indeed, The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted our lives as families sheltered in place and juggled homeschooling, work from home together with keeping their household afloat. According to a poll conducted in mid-July, by non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation 53% of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus. This is significantly higher than the 32% reported in March. In this episode of Back in America: corporate America, COVID and Employees well being, or lack of. Back In America speaks with Glenda Wrenn a psychiatrist, chief medical officer for Franklin, Tenn.-based 180 Health Partners, and previously the founding director of the Kennedy Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity in the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine. "I think we are addicted to working in our culture," said Glenda Wrenn. "it is promoted by our work environments. What is the incentive for your employer to get you to slow down? You're rewarded for working more. I know this from personal experience as a true recovering workaholic. I love working. I do. I really love working. And it has been such a process for me to redirect that energy to my home. The same excellence that I put into doing mental health policy work, now I'm just redirecting it at home. I'm giving it to myself and my family. I was honestly incapable of doing that before this pandemic." Glenda's Book Recommendation A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America by John Lewis Read the transcript
50 min 10 sec
Monday at 3 pm EST with Derrick Cobb a singer, model, and performer. Wednesday at 1 pm EST Majid M. Padellan known on Twitter as @BrooklynDad_Defiant!. Majid who has over 260K followers is an anti-Trump political commentator. The event will be streaming live from Linkedin, Twitter, and the podcast Facebook page. Facebook @backinamerica.podcast Twitter @Back_in_America Linkedin @Berteloot
2 min 7 sec
Join our exclusive mailing list! Back in America is a podcast exploring America's culture, values, and identity. After my interview with Cadex Herrera a lead artist of the memorial mural of George Floyd in Minneapolis, I asked Eric Marsh a Black community leader and activist in Philadelphia what he thought of controversy around the mural. Some black activists, including Keno Evol, the executive director of Black Table Arts, have voiced their concern about the fact that Black artists had not been invited to participate in the mural creation.
16 min 33 sec
Back in America is a podcast exploring America's culture, values, and identity. The death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a Minneapolis police officer has triggered protests against police brutality, police racism, and lack of police accountability. Three days after Floyd's death a group of artists painted a mural on the Cup Foods building at the corner where George Floyd was killed on May 25. The artists started at about 7 a.m. on May 28 and finished the mural at 5:30 p.m. the same day. Most of us have seen an image of the mural since almost every American TV station live-streamed the George Floyd funeral whose backdrop was a digital version of this mural. Inspired by this work, artists across the globe started producing similar tributes to George Floyd, and a digital database of such art has gathered a repository of 1324 pieces of art so far. In this episode, I speak with Cadex Herrera a co-artist behind this iconic memorial mural of George Floyd. Cadex immigrated to the United States from Belize when he was 19. Today at 45, he works as an elementary school behavioral specialist and social justice art is his passion. Cadex can be found on Instagram His website is www.cadexherrera.com He recommended the following book and movies: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez The Platform FOUTAISES (THINGS I LIKE, THINGS I DON'T LIKE) Episode's Transcript
39 min 56 sec
About Back in America Back in America explores the American's identity, culture, and values. In this podcast, journalist Stan Berteloot explores American life stories from his French perspective and questions the way we understand this nation. Each episode explores why and how Americans do what they do. While easy and entertaining to listen to, Stan doesn't shy away from difficult and personal questions and explores issues from different angles and perspectives. Every topic is game; politics, social issues, climate crises, gender issues, racial issues, sex, and diversity... and everything else in-between. Provocative ideas for inquisitive and open-minded listeners. Read the episode's transcript The Trailer These soundbites are taken from 12 episodes of Back in America, recorded between November 2019 and August 2020. They are representative of the diversity of the guests and of the topics addressed. Here are in order of appearance in the trailer the list of interviewees. Eric Marsh Eric is a Black activist and social worker in Philadelphia. We speak about being a black man in America; the impact of slavery. The impact of Trump election; consumerism. Sheri Kurdakul Sheri is the CEO and founder of VictimsVoice an app that provides a legally admissible way for victims to document abuse incidents. Sheri speaks about her father’s abuse that started when she was a toddler, her recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD, and how she reclaimed her life to become who she is today. Denis Devine Denis Devine a 46 years old man from Fishtown, Philadelphia. Denis, an ex-journalist, is the organizer of Dad's night a monthly meeting of men. For the last 6 years, Denis' Dads Night has brought together dads from his neighborhoods at different bars. This safe space allows men to address topics related to dad-hood, dads-related cause, and non-traditional understandings of masculinity. Elan Leibner Elan Leibner is the chair of the Pedagogical Section Council of North America and a teacher at the Waldorf School of Princeton. Elan grew up in Israel, lived in a kibbutz, and moved to the US at the age of 23. He was a class teacher at there for 18 years, before directing the Teacher Education program at Emerson College in England. John Lam John Lam, is the principal dancer at the Boston Ballet. His parents immigrated to California from Vietnam. He grew up in an underprivileged household and discovered his love for dance at the age of four. Imani Mulrain I met Imani at the Kneel for justice protest in Princeton. She was one of the speakers. She is a Prospective Molecular Biology Major at Princeton University. Gil Lopez Gil Lopez is the founder of Smiling Hogshead Ranch an urban garden in Queens New York. The Smiling Hogshead Ranch started 9 years ago as a “guerilla garden” on a set of abandoned railroad tracks. After many backs on forth with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Gil managed to secure a lease. Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Price Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Price talks to Back in America about the current racial unrest, about meritocracy, the values, culture, and identity of this country. We speak about the separation between the military and the government and of the current administration. Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Price is known for his published research on terrorism and counterterrorism. Mark Charles Mark is a candidate running as an independent for president of the United States. A man who's not white, not black but a dual citizen of The United States and The Navajo Nation. For three years he lived with his family in a one-room hogan with no running water or electricity out in a Navajo reservation. He dreams of a nation where 'we the people' truly means 'all the people'. Richard Heinberg Richard Heinberg is a Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute and one of the world’s foremost advocates for a shift away from our current reliance on fossil fuels. Erden Eruç Erden Eruç, a Turkish-American adventurer, is the 1st man to do a solo a circumnavigation by human power. He has done it on a 24-foot ocean rowing boat. He & his wife Nancy Board joined Back in America to discussed the challenges and the mental health issues experienced by Erden upon return. Louise Kekulah In July 2020, according to the census bureau, nearly 25 million people would not be able to pay rent in the next month and almost 30 million people said they didn't have enough to eat. Without federal intervention, housing experts and advocates warn of an unprecedented wave of eviction in the coming month. Louise Kekulah is a woman who grew up in Liberia, Africa. Moved by herself in the US as a child. Had a baby, graduated from Rutgers, and now works as a counselor for families at risk of losing their children.
8 min 10 sec
This part two of a series on housing assistance. I am publishing these episodes at a time when nearly 25 million people reported they will not be able to pay rent in the next month and almost 30 million people said they didn't have enough to eat. In this episode, I talk with Carol Golden the chair of Housing Initiatives of Princeton and also a member of the affordable housing Board of Princeton. If you haven't listened to episode one of this series I encourage you to do so. Carol and I talk about US politics and the crossroad at which is America according to her. She regrets the lack of government social safety nets and blames the current situation to a "loss of devotion to public education and to the antagonism to teachers and public schools. As the chair of Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) Carol talks about the challenges facing HIP, its successes, and upcoming initiatives such as an emergency rental assistance program HIP is working on. Transcript
26 min 11 sec
In July, according to the census bureau nearly 25 million people reported they had little to no confidence they would be able to pay rent in the next month and almost 30 million people said they didn't have enough to eat. Without federal intervention, housing experts and advocates warn of an unprecedented wave of eviction in the coming month and one far more devastating than the 2008 crisis. Today I am releasing a series of two episodes on housing assistance. In this episode, I speak with Louise Kekulah, a woman who grew up in Liberia, Africa. Moved by herself in the US as a child. Had a baby, graduated from Rutgers, and now works as a counselor for families at risk of losing their children. The fact that Louise is very bright and highly driven probably explains how she managed to do so well. Yet, she says that the Housing Initiatives of Princeton has changed her life and allowed her to bounce back and secure a better carrier. You will hear Louise mention Carol. In part two I then speak with Carol Golden the chair of Housing Initiatives of Princeton and also a member of the Affordable Housing Board of Princeton. Transcript
27 min 7 sec
Join our exclusive mailing list! In this episode, I talk with Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Price about the current racial unrest, about meritocracy, the values, culture, and identity of this country. We speak about the separation between the military and the government and of the current administration. Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Price is known for his published research on terrorism and counterterrorism. He holds a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy in U.S. history, an M.A. in international relations from St. Mary’s University (TX), and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University. Bryan and I talk about leadership -- he is the Founding Executive Director at the Buccino Leadership Institute at Seton Hall University. During the interview, Bryan shared a story that exemplifies George Washington’s leadership skills, he then asked: “You can probably guess some individuals that that are in power today. What if they were the George Washington at that time? How differently would our country have a look like?” I ask him if he thinks that the military will escort Donald Trump from the White House should the president loses the election and refuse to leave his office. For my guest, American is a dream, not a reality. Yet he believes that American is the greatest experiment of democracy that the world has ever known and that's a worthwhile cause to fight for. Book List Alexis de Tocqueville -- Democracy in America David Lipsky -- Absolutely American Ron Chernow -- Washington: A Life Facebook Twitter @BryanPrice7 Top Mental Game Transcript
42 min 4 sec
While President Trump has been calling the Coronavirus the Chinese virus and while the US is facing unprecedented protests against police violence and racial discrimination, Back in America is examining how these events have affected the Chinese Community. In this episode, I speak with Cecilia Birge a former Montgomery, NJ mayor, a form bond analyst on Wall Street, now a head coach and a member of the Princeton High School Speech and Debate Team. Cecilia shares her experience organizing fundraising with the Chinese community to help local first responders. For us, she revisits her childhood in Chineses labor camps. As a student in Bejing during the Tiananmen Protests, she talks of her fear at the time and the turmoil in the city. Today America is her home and the way she talks about this country and understands it help us see America in a different light. Transcript
36 min 3 sec
Marina Ahun's website: https://www.marinaahun.com/ Transcript
27 min 51 sec
Transcript Part 1/2 I am Stan Berteloot and this is Back in America, a podcast where I explore American's identity, culture, and values. My guest today is a candidate running as an independent for president of the United States. A man who's not white, not black but a dual citizen of The United States and The Navajo Nation. For three years he lived with his family in a one-room hogan with no running water or electricity out in a Navajo reservation. He dreams of a nation where 'we the people' truly means 'all the people'. Yet as we prepare to celebrate Memorial day he reminds us of the “ethnic cleansing and genocide” the United States carried against the indigenous peoples of this land. Welcome to Back in America Mark Charles. Transcript Books and Movie Recommendation Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery by Steven Newcomb Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery by Mark Charles, Soong-Chan Rah Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action (2005) Director: Roberta Grossman Somebody's Daughter by Rain
28 min 23 sec
Part 2/2 I am Stan Berteloot and this is Back in America, a podcast where I explore American's identity, culture, and values. My guest today is a candidate running as an independent for president of the United States. A man who's not white, not black but a dual citizen of The United States and The Navajo Nation. For three years he lived with his family in a one-room hogan with no running water or electricity out in a Navajo reservation. He dreams of a nation where 'we the people' truly means 'all the people'. Yet as we prepare to celebrate Memorial day he reminds us of the “ethnic cleansing and genocide” the United States carried against the indigenous peoples of this land. Welcome to Back in America Mark Charles. Transcript Books and Movie Recommendation Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery by Steven Newcomb Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery by Mark Charles, Soong-Chan Rah Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action (2005) Director: Roberta Grossman Somebody's Daughter by Rain
47 min 49 sec
The death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Memorial Day after he was pinned down by a white police officer, has sparked protests across the United States and even abroad. In France, the event has even revived anger over the death of Adama Traore a black Frenchman who died in police custody 4 years ago. Some 20,000 people demonstrated in Paris on Tuesday. I met my guest at the Kneel for justice protest yesterday in Princeton. She was one of the speakers. She is a Prospective Molecular Biology Major at Princeton University. Welcome to Back in America Imani Mulrain She recommends watching the following video how to financially help BLM with NO MONEY/leaving your house (Invest in the future for FREE) to help the Black Lives Matter movement Transcript
19 min 7 sec
Hello Back in America's fan! I hope that you are well and safe wherever in the world you are. This is a short update about the podcast and myself. The podcast is doing very very well. I am receiving amazing feedback and have some exciting interviews lined up. On a personal note, we've moved over the memorial day weekend and we are living among boxes. Since my wife my 3 daughters and our 2 dogs are all sharing the same roof 24/7 I struggle to find a quiet space to record... Anyway, I want to find a way to engage more with you and this is why I would like that you go to backinamericathepodcast.com or the Facebook page Back in America and that you subscribe to our mailing list for exclusive content. Once part of the list, you will receive, from time to time unique content and opportunity to influence the conversation. Also, I am very excited to announce that I will soon release an interview with Mark Charles a Native American who's a candidate for the US presidential election. Rember to subscribe to the mailing list. Stay safe And share your love for this podcast!
4 min 35 sec
Join our exclusive mailing list! In this episode, I speak with John Michael Greer (JMG) an author and blogger in the fields of nature spirituality, and the future of industrial society. He is the author of more than fifty books and a blogger. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife Sara. Our conversation takes us to the suburbs of Seattle in the 70s. We discuss Druidry since JMG is a druid and ecology. John is one of the leading minds, in the US, behind the concept of societal collapse. He was quoted on this topic back in 2008. In 2016, he wrote Dark Age America: Climate Change, Cultural Collapse, and the Hard Future Ahead. Since then John published eight books and countless articles on collapse. Collapse means that our fossil fuel-based civilization, cannot sustain itself and will fail. As our world is going through unprecedented pandemic and is bracing itself for what might be also an unprecedented recession. John’s blog can be found at https://www.ecosophia.net/ Here is a link to his books on Amazon https://amzn.to/3cANDom
36 min 53 sec