Mon, 25 May 2015
In this episode it was my great pleasure to be joined by Jon Ronson. Jon has worked as a columnist for TimeOut and the Guardian, has made lots of excellent tv and radio, has written multiple bestselling books, and co-wrote the movie Frank.
We met in Dublin's elegant Merrion Hotel to discuss Jon's latest book; So You've Been Publicly Shamed, and I was delighted to discover that Jon is as curious, entertaining, and warm in person as he comes across in his books.
Shamed explores the recent renaissance of public shaming. If the internet thinks you've abused a position of privilege watch your back because we're coming to destroy you. And it is us doing the destroying, not some malignant, distant, 'they.' Social media has given us the power and it's gone to our heads. We are the angry mob with tweet shaped pitchforks. Just think of Justine Sacco.
In Shamed we are guided throught the absurd by Ronson's trademark humour, compassion, and empathy. Empathy is important because, as Jon discusses in our conversation, we are all only one ill-advised tweet from being the next target.
This episode is shorter than usual as Jon was on a whirlwind promotional tour but luckily I managed to get one of Jon's last interviews before he returns to New York where he's currently based. Enjoy the episode. Dave
For all the episode notes, visit the blog at inspirelandpodcast.com
Wed, 13 May 2015
In this episode I was joined on the phone by recovering skinhead Frank Meeink. During his teens Frank was one of the most notorious and violent skinheads on the east coast of the US. Frank's story is one of the broken American family, inner city life, addiction, abandonment, racism, violence and ultimately, thankfully, redemption.
While Frank was in jail he became friends with a couple of black kids by playing sports with them in the prison yard. It was these friendships that first caused Frank to question some of his long held sectarian beliefs. Having left the Skinhead movement (a violent exit of course) Frank descended into addiction at the same time as he ascended into public speaking for America's Anti Defamation League.
Frank's work with the ADL exposed him to a world, and parts of himself, that he barely knew existed but Frank's recovery from his Neo-Nazi past and addictions was attritional rather than dramatic. As Frank says himself; "There were no burning bushes."
Frank has since dedicated his life to the promotion of harmony rather than hate. Frank founded the Harmony Through Hockey programme and currently works with Life After Hate. Links to these sites, as well as all the other episode notes, can be found at inspirelandpodcast.com.
Enjoy the episode. Dave