Jun 25, 2021 • 1HR 25M

Norman Finkelstein On Cancel Culture, "White Fragility" plus Andrew Yang's Crucial Mistake

The Canceled Political Scientist Talks About Cancel Culture

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Useful Idiots is an informative and irreverent politics podcast with journalist Matt Taibbi and podcaster/writer Katie Halper. Episodes feature on-the-road coverage of the 2020 campaign and exclusive interviews, with humor, commentary and dissection of the politics news of the week. Join Matt and Katie as they examine important stories that have slipped through the cracks and what the media got wrong – and laugh about whatever is left to laugh about.
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Norman Finkelstein, the prolific (and widely canceled) political scientist, and author of 11 books, joins the show to give us a sneak preview of his new book on cancel culture and identity politics. He explains what makes today's cancel culture new, what makes it not so new, and why it’s worse, in some ways, when the Left does it: “Obviously there’s cancel culture on the right. But the cancel culture on the right, or the mainstream, the establishment, whatever you want to call it, for a person of the left, is a given. That’s a part of what it means to be on the left. The true Left. You’re going to be marginalized, ignored. That’s the history of the Left.”  He critiques MSNBC's Bernie-bashing and identity-politics-weaponizing—Joy Ann Reid and her body-language expert, who diagnoses Bernie Sanders’ self-incriminating “turtling,” in particular— gives Noam Chomksy his due credit and sings the praises of W.E.B. DuBois. 

Finkelstein also directs his formidable fire at White Fragility author Robin DiAngelo: “And what's her message to white people? Her message to white people is every white person... who's laying out in the street because he or she is homeless, which there are quite a lot in my neighborhood. Every white person from that person to Jeff Bezos, they all profit from racism. And then they, the CEOs, they get to play the enlightened ones because they give money to Black Lives Matter. So, the message to white people is be careful what you're willing to give up, because you're benefiting from this system. Every white person benefits from the system. If you let them climb one rung higher, you are going to go one rung lower. So it's a warning to white people to be cautious, careful, wary, of the demands of black people.... ”

Plus, Katie and Matt lament the way Andrew Yang sabotaged his own campaign, depriving himself of what could have been a game-changing “Useful Idiots Show Bump,” and review some important penis-representation-related news stories. 

Stand by for the Substack-only section of the interview where Norman talks more about Angela Davis, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and reveals an early crush.