Tag Archives: Politics

#72 – The Mob Historian: An Episode You Can’t Refuse

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Christian Cipollini writes very good books about very bad things. This is a very good podcast about those same very bad things. In this edition of The Aidan Project, Christian Cipollini, an award-winning historian of the criminal underworld, discusses organised crime, the mob and some of its most notorious characters. Charles “Lucky” Luciano is a particular person of interest for Christian, and with good reason. Luciano, an Italian mobster in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, is considered by some to be the father of modern organised crime. Aidan and Christian discuss Luciano, the definition of ‘mob’ and ‘mafia’, prohibition, violence, Hollywood’s obsession with gangsters, and much more. Christian has been a featured expert guest on numerous television documentaries for various broadcasters, including the History Channel and National Geographic. For more information on Christian, you can visit Stache Publishing’s author profile, including a look at Christian’s remarkable graphic novels, at http://www.stachepublishing.com/creator-profile-christian-cipollini-gangster-historian/, you can head to Christian’s website at https://www.ganglandlegends.com/, you can browse his impressive Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.com/Christian-Cipollini/e/B00CP95F4K for the United States, or https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christian-Cipollini/e/B00CP95F4K for the United Kingdom.

Expanded show notes:

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse. Okay? I want you to leave it all to me. Go on, go back to the party.”

Don Corleone
The Godfather (1972)

Cipollini-Publicity-4-750x499

Christian Cipollini on IMDB.

‘Narcos’ filmmaker shot dead scouting for locations in rural Mexico, The Telegraph, 17 September 2017.

#71 – Inspiring The Aidan Project – I am still gratefully accepting your feedback on this episode within an episode.

Introducing The Aidan Project Live

Note: You can join the mailing list for information on future live specials and new podcasts.

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#71 – Inspiring The Aidan Project

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In a very different edition of the podcast, Aidan takes you behind the scenes of The Aidan Project. Within this reflective podcast, Aidan introduces Inspiring The Aidan Project, a potential separate podcast series which would highlight the men and women whose thinking has inspired Aidan. Aidan then presents a pilot episode for this prospective series; the pilot tells the story of George Orwell. Also in this episode, Aidan offers further reflections on Winston Churchill, following episode 69: The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours, and talks about every podcaster’s worst nightmare: a full-length conversation which will never be heard.

Expanded show notes:

#69 – The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours

Churchill was flawed like all the greats but his achievements outshine his shortcomings, Sky News, 1 February 2018.

Mary Shores web site

More information on the pilot for Inspiring The Aidan Project:

Copy of Copy of UPSTART

Potential artwork for Inspiring The Aidan Project

Inspiring The Aidan Project is a prospective podcast series, separate to The Aidan Project.

Inspiring would feature five-minute episodes telling the stories of the incredible men and women who have inspired my thinking, for better or worse, according to your preference.

In some instances, I may disagree with certain statements and behaviours of the luminaries in question, but this does not obscure their overall importance. This is because, as Christopher Hitchens so adeptly explained, “The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”

Hitchens, Orwell, Paine, Bentham, Mill, Russell, Gandhi, Voltaire, Luxemburg, Hume, Aristotle and Arendt are examples of notables who have passed on. However, Inspiring would also profile living persons, too. After the introductory episode, each edition would be an episode unto itself, which is to say, you could listen in any order.  Episodes would neither be released in order of how I rank their influence – even if this were possible – nor according to the year of their birth. All episodes must simply meet the criteria, which is principally of being a person who inspired me to think critically. It may be, too, that a given person was somewhat dogmatic and prone to superstition; nevertheless, their immense moral courage and/or grand ideas served to inspire me, thus meriting their inclusion.

I want to pay homage to the men and women who inspired me, because I merely stand on the shoulders of these giants. I hope these persons could inspire you, too.

Your feedback will be important to me: I want to hear what you think of the vision, the format, the pacing, even down to the cover art and podcast’s title! Please get in touch.

After I have collated your feedback, the podcast could be launched as a separate entity to The Aidan Project, to be made available via this web site and via all major podcast providers. Episodes could possibly be released within a number of ‘seasons’, ala Netflix.

Kind regards,
Aidan

Aidan Coughlan
2 February 2018

#70 – Notes on the Great Debate: Paine Versus Burke

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In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan looks at the remarkable debate that is, according to some historians, the origins of left versus right politics – or progressive versus conservative. In the late eighteenth century, Edmund Burke went up against Thomas Paine, each offering entirely different opinions on the French Revolution. Paine, writing in his most celebrated book, Rights of Man (1791), argued: “Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess.” Burke had spoken out against the revolt in France, saying the chaos and upheaval would eventually be settled by a dictatorship. He was right. Paine certainly did not see Napoleon coming. Britain avoided revolution; instead, Britain moved further to the right. This episode further explores some of the themes from episode 69, The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours. Aidan also gives his damning verdict on the dire standard of discourse on social media, where debate is certainly not great.

Related links:

How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently.

#69 – The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours

#58 – Notes on Shame and the Modern Pillory

Guest Appearance on Miracles and Atheists

‘The Great Debate’ bibliography:

Paul Langford, ‘Burke, Edmund (1729/30–1797)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography web site, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/4019, September 2012, accessed on 14 October 2017.

Mark Philp, ‘Paine, Thomas (1737–1809)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography web site, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/21133, May 2008, accessed on 14 Oct 2017.

Jonathan Sperber, Revolutionary Europe 1780-1850, (Harlow: Pearson, 2000).

Adam Zamoyski, Phantom Terror: The Threat of Revolution and the Repression of Liberty 1789-1848 [audiobook], (New York: Harper Audio, 2014).

Guest Appearance on Miracles and Atheists

On Thursday 18 January, I appeared as a guest on Miracles and Atheists, a live Facebook show in which believers and non-believers engage in civil discourse. I discussed atheism, my view on miracles, the collision between religion and secular values, Christopher Hitchens, faith healers, and much more. A replay is available – my guest spot begins at around 02:36:00.

For more information on Miracles and Atheists, see https://www.facebook.com/miraclesatheists/.

Follow The Aidan Project on Twitter and/or Facebook for updates on upcoming external appearances.

#67 – Project Extra: New Year’s Revolution

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In this edition of Project Extra, Aidan presents previously unreleased audio from his conversation with Jared Miracle for episode 66, Hope and Chaos: 2017 Unpacked. In this bonus audio, Jared talks about the sexual harassment scandal which rocked Hollywood, the war on experts, and offers his take on a man who needs no introduction – Donald Trump. Aidan also shares his hopes for 2018, including a new revolution in Iran, and what the left needs to do to get back on track. Happy New Year to one and all from The Aidan Project.

For more information on Jared, please visit his web site at http://www.jaredmiracle.com or his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/jaredmiraclewriter. Jared has also started guest-hosting for the New Books in Anthropology Podcast – see http://newbooksnetwork.com/category/anthropology/ for download links.

Items mentioned on this episode:

Hope and Chaos: 2017 Unpacked

Support The Aidan Project

New Books in Anthropology

Related articles:

Iran protests: Why is there unrest?, BBC News, 2 January 2018.

Related tweets:

#66 – Hope and Chaos: 2017 Unpacked

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In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is joined by cultural anthropologist, Jared Miracle, to review 2017. Taking a thematic approach, Aidan and Jared look at the stories which they believe will retain importance in the coming years. This is not a mere countdown show, but a considered appraisal of what 2017 will come to represent in the future. What will 2017 be remembered for in political circles? What issue of protest or division in 2017 will dominate the history books? And, amongst several stories which are perhaps not conducive to generating a smug sense of satisfaction about human progress, what was the most heartwarming moment of 2017? The year has not lacked in hatred, but what can it offer in hope?

Aidan and Jared have both chosen an option from the following themes:

The Biggest Story
Politics and International Relations
Protest and Division
Science, Technology and the Environment
Popular Culture
Heartwarming

To all listeners of the podcast, thank you so much for listening this year – have a wonderful 2018.

If you would like to support the podcast, you can do so here.

References, useful links and further reading:

[In order of episode reference]

For more information on Jared, please visit his web site at http://www.jaredmiracle.com or his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/jaredmiraclewriter. Jared has also started guest-hosting for the New Books in Anthropology Podcast – see http://newbooksnetwork.com/category/anthropology/ for download links.

All False statements involving Donald Trump, PolitiFact, 2017.

For North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, 2017 has been a very good year, Washington Post, 24 December 2017.

Evergreen State College reopens after violent threat and property damage on campus, Washington Post, 5 June 2017.

Don’t shield students from opinions they don’t agree with, universities minister Jo Johnson warns, The Telegraph, 26 December 2017.

After Weinstein: 47 Men Accused of Sexual Misconduct and Their Fall From Power, New York Times, 22 December 2017.

Posthumous wedding for police officer killed in ​Champs-Élysées attack, The Guardian, 31 May 2017.

Related tweets:

#65 – Project Extra: Trump Tower or Bleak House

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In this bonus episode of the podcast, Aidan and cultural anthropologist, Jared Miracle, discuss Donald Trump’s legislative victory on tax reform. Republicans from the Senate and the House of Representatives have agreed on a joint bill which will sanction significant restructuring to US taxation. The Washington Post and Fox News, to the surprise of nobody, have taken entirely different views on the bill. These contrasting stances are typical of the polarisation of political discourse in the age of Trump. Writing in the Post, Fareed Zakaria claimed that the bill is “ushering in a bleak future.” However, David Moore of Fox News argued that Democrats “can’t ever be happy by anything the president or congressional Republicans do.” According to the media, America is either doomed or is on the march towards greatness. Who to believe? In this episode, Aidan looks at the media’s reaction to Trump’s big win, before Jared explains his concerns about the bill. Aidan also discusses what historians are saying about the reforms.

This bonus audio was recorded after Aidan and Jared’s conversation for an upcoming special episode, ‘2017: The Year in Review’. The episode will be released later this month. For more information on Jared Miracle, you can find Jared’s web site at http://www.jaredmiracle.com, on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dockungfu, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jaredmiraclewriter

Related links:

Historians on the tax fight: “This was manufactured urgency”, Vox news, 18 December 2017

US tax bill: Republicans agree sweeping changes, BBC News, 16 December 2017

The GOP tax bill may be the worst piece of legislation in modern history, The Washington Post, 14 December 2017

GOP tax cuts will strengthen our economy and drive Democrats crazy, Fox News, 14 December 2017

Related tweets:

Archive of all podcasts with Jared Miracle