Wednesday, September 28, 2022

We Live in a Golden Age of Ignorance: A conversation with Andy Borowitz

Look at the British press most days, and you’ll find that the government and the royals are being skewered and made fun of. The Brits have a long tradition of publicly calling out their leaders for absurdity, stupidity or embarrassing behavior. In America, it seems that part of the population almost embraces this kind of behavior; that rather than calling it out, it votes for it.

It celebrates it on talk radio and on Fox. Imagine an entire portion of the electorate for whom ignorance is bliss. What we do have, however, is a healthy tradition of satire but almost entirely on the left. Historically, from the likes of Will Rogers or H.L. Mencken or Ambrose Bierce and in more contemporary times, folks like Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce and Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Al Franken and Andy Borowitz.

Andy is an award-winning comedian, a New York Times bestselling author, a graduate of Harvard College, where he became president of The Harvard Lampoon, and in 1998, he began contributing humor to The New Yorker‘s Shouts & Murmurs and Talk of the Town column. And in 2001, he created The Borowitz Report, a satirical news column that’s must reading for anyone that cares about the country. His newest book is Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber.

My WhoWhatWhy conversation with Andy Borowitz:: 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Harvard Is Once Again The Center of Psychedelics: A Conversation with Patrick Schmidt

If our current era is one of politics, technology, and economics, it's fair to say that the 60s were an era where social science, self-reflection and cultural anthropology ruled the day.

And if places like Stanford, and MIT are the intellectual hubs of our day, Harvard was an intellectual hub of the ’60s

Nowhere was that more true than in Harvard's establishment of a Department of Social Relations.  With figures like Timothy Leary, Ram Das, and Ted Kaczynski, as part of the faculty, it was an epicenter of its time.

Today Harvard is restarting psilocybin reaching and launching a new center for the neuroscience of psychedelics in association with Mass. General Hospital.  So it’s a good time to look back at the antecedents of this effort.

Patrick Schmidt has written about it in his new book HARVARD’S QUIXOTIC PURSUIT OF A NEW SCIENCE.

My conversation with Patrick Schmidt: