Prolific writer, essayist, and occasional actor, David Rakoff joined Media Mayhem to talk politics and culture with the sharp sensitivity of a love bite. Having spent years as a contributor to “This American Life,” as well as “The Daily Show,” David is no stranger to the turbulent winds of the political playing field, and he opens up with Allison with the candor of a man with nothing to lose.
From the current presidential election and the latest Rush Limbaugh storm of controversy, to the overlooked shamblings of the Supreme Court and virtues of pessimism, this talk is as good natured as it is ‘half-empty.’
David Rakoff is an essayist, humorist and New York Times bestselling author. His books include Half Empty, Fraud and Don’t Get Too Comfortable. Rakoff has won the Thurber Prize for Humor for Half Empty and was short-listed for the Whiting Award and the Stephen Leacock Medal. He is a regular contributor to NPR’s This American Life and his writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Outside Magazine, Salon.com, GQ, New York Magazine, Vogue and other publications. He is also a regular contributor to The Daily Show.
David has worked in theater with Amy and David Sedaris on their plays, Stitches, The Little Freida Mysteries, The Book of Liz and One Woman Shoe. Rakoff adapted the screenplay and starred in The New Tenants which won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.
00:01 Media Mayhem introduction.
00:31 Welcoming David Rakoff.
02:40 Speaking about “Half Empty,” and the changing rules of media in the Internet age.
07:58 Corporatization in the entertainment media.
10:23 “Did you get responses to things you had written from your subjects?”
12:38 “Managing the future with negative expectations.”
14:34 Talking about “Half Empty,” and the science to back up pessimism.
18:11 “How was it for you when first started out in journalism?”
20:45 The Rush Limbaugh ‘slut’ controversy.
25:31 What right-wingers seem to be focused on.
27:39 Misunderstanding the Constitution from the Right and Supreme Court.
29:11 Conflict of interest from Scalia and Thomas.
31:50 “If a Democrat had yelled ‘You Lied!’…”
33:25 Assessing Clarence Thomas’ performance and the accusation of a “digital lynching.”
36:14 “How much power does Rush Limbaugh actually have?”
39:00 “Will Obama get in the gutter with the eventual Republican nominee?”
41:09 David’s description of Hollywood Blvd.
46:41 The Mayhem Round
48:37 Applying the principle of defensive pessimism to the upcoming election.
51:52 The Republican beauty pageant and mysterious appeal of Ron Paul.
57:15 The pitfalls of satirical comedy.
1:04:26 Thanks and goodbye!