The SFFaudio Podcast #645 – READALONG: Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #645 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Bryan Alexander, and Will Emmons talk about Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

Talked about on today’s show:
a book, not a novel, a fairy tale, is it a novel?, the novel format is old and no longer novel, a thread back to The Efficiency Expert, The People’s The People’s Republic Off Walmart, Four Futures, Trekonomics, Looking Backward, The Coming Race, The Iron Heel, a utopian international experiment, Karl Marx, things out of books, that terrible Vril book, THIS IS REAL!, Marxism vs. Vrilism, the worst takes on communism and the Soviet Union, a nice feel, a meditation, a very personal book, the different socialist personality types, taking personal responsibility for what happened in the Soviet Union, the blood clogging the drain, Pete Seeger, apologizing for Stalin, baiting people to defend death camps, Carl Davidson, Students For A Democratic Society, something her regrets, Democratic Kampuchea, Cambodia, the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, very touching, one man’s personal meditation about his feelings about socialism, does the dog die at the end?, writing into the newspaper, more atheism, unschooled in things can hit on stuff, whether there will be mental illness under socialism, what’s truly painful about what happened in the soviet union, millenarianism, I’m for the end of the world, our religious history, colonial South Africa, they killed all their cows, trying to end the, 2012 (2009) is a comedy, Greenland (2020) is even funnier, the sad part, magical thinking, religious thinking, QAnon, the Millerites, the great disappointment, group magical thinking, a harbinger figure, 12th imamism, how this will be understood in 1,000 years, Saint George, an issue in the collective mind, Trump will be a kind of figure like a Saint George, Babylon 5, The Deconstruction Of Falling Stars, the magical tablecloth, the seven league boots, the invisible cap, a protest letter, shut up and say nothing you’ll be fine, how long can this magic work, straight to the Soviets, Uighurs, Venezuela, do you think you’ll do it better this time, 100 years of building socialism, the worst version, industrializing quickly, the high cost, the book is focused on the 50s and 60s, the break from Stalin, Khrushchev, the utopian drive, the dream, GDP data, defeating the Nazis, industrialization, a weird idea for a novel, a weird beast, exactly on the same topic, a command economy, a planned economy, putting politics in command of the economy, Dracula, Kim Stanley Robinson, science fiction and historical novels are similar, 19th century social novel, very satisfying, the dream behind it, Ernst Bloch, better sausage, the framing of a fairy tale, something Disney never touches (hunger), Hansel and Gretel is about hunger, a house made of food, you become the food, the primal level, a genius move, Ivan is the Russian version of Jack, Lois McMaster Bujold, John Brunner, Stand On Zanzibar, a meta-level, John Dos Pasoss, Soviet film and literature, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Russian humour, Jacobin, Leigh Phillips, Michal Rozworski, linear programming, Verso sales, the Soviet Union as a corporation, the math wasn’t there, what’s always left out is the other player, Cuba, embargoed from the world and yet somehow they are still communist, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, evident in all sorts of places, a thesis, where were the Russians were not really successful, Russian cars, everybody is competing, hard top argue that Russian military aircraft are worse, SU-27, the Steel Eaters (the military industrial complex), the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union was terrible at consumer goods, the kitchen debate, The Death Of Stalin (2017), Steve Buscemi, Network (1976), linear programming charts, lets address that idea, the problems of world communism, pro-american?, what small countries do, Vietnamese glasnost, Spains’ Mondragon, Mondragon vs. neo-liberals, a gleam of hope, not Stalinist, if Lenin or Stalin hated you…, Robin Williams, Russians jokes don’t have a punchline, the blackmarketeer, the buyer agent, standing in for a helluv a lot of people, very real, one of Jesse’s students, an unofficial offer from Harvard, this is the goal of every Chinese mom, hey I’m very happy to say my son is at Oxford, access to the reins of power, you’re one of us now, do amazingly well on the exams, you pay for it, legacy, something like an economy and rigged in the same way, Operation Varsity Blues scandal, just the tip of the iceberg, novelistic, demanding behavior, the scam artists, elaborate, my daughter is a professional rower, very real, when he gets picked up by the cops, a shakedown, a lashing out, a beat-down, spontaneous?, special arrangement shit, what greases the wheels, Pete Buttegieg, that’s very very real, a weird economy with perverse incentives, exploited effectively and efficiency, it is objectively interesting to see polite people interact with impolite people, why it is a compelling story, attempting a little Marxism, a system is going to be dynamic, look at the contradictions, the criminals became the main economy, China is the 70s and the 50s, automatically give birth to robust black market sectors, the education industry, Felicity Huffman, a bunch of rich people need to get their kid into a university, users and offerers of services, hire a Jesse, what Evan’s school does, more counselors than teachers, grade inflation, begging for grades, pressure from the bosses, top 50 or top 100 schools, they don’t really deserve it, the Svoiet Union’s education system, you can’t do humanities, more engineering, philology, a flood of highly competent flood, cancel cultures, the problem with cancel culture is it doesn’t cancel enough, during the purges, during the War, killing people and expanding operations, massively expanding education, massively educating in the sciences, so many programmers coming out of the former Soviet Union, Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, Kolyma Tales, the NRA (under FDR), an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Nog, “Treachery, Faith And The Great River”, Sisko’s desk, Picard’s desk, Jesse spends a lot of time reading, in the military, Parker’s backstory, he was selling jeeps to the Nazis, common throughout any system, external pressure keeps the people more united, the Cold War was not as pressured as we might thing, making the system work despite the problem, a lot of merit to what Marx was saying, part 4, this problem comes up, spread out the pain, prisoner’s dilemma, side quest with the police, The Wire, mandates from the top, middle managers, its kid of universal, this book doesn’t explain why all this failed, not buying the plan completely, some PUBG rando starts talking about communism, its becoming a genuine option at this point, the forever war in Afghanistan, their war in Afghanistan was too much, when the top people don’t care, the description of Kruschev, Stalin I really cares a lot, Kurschev: I care too, I’m more of an ideas man, I’m a psychology guy, Ronald Regan, George H. Bush, back to being competent, Obama’s latest 25 hour book, the clown president, no one is arguing isn’t demented, why communism talk is spreading now, the book is talking about private desires and private pleasures, overall despair at the broader systems, climate change, economic inequality, the cold war training (indoctrination), Firefox (1982) with Clint Eastwood, Gorky Park (1983), all a fantasy, in the movies its always winter in Russia, Galena’s giving birth, suffering in childbirth, give us morphine, pain in childbirth is capitalist propaganda, my husband is powerful you better give me morphine, corruption, one of the most important scenes in the book, a symbolic summing up, this really painful thing, she just breaks, this is what happens to the communists, relying on lies to ration goods, a very human thing, if that’s the attitude it’s not going to work, can they successfully manage information, free-market theorists, Ludwig von Mises, progress in women’s rights, childbirth plummeting, hero-mother, pleasure, physical goods, practical healthcare, housing, the replicators, industrial replicators, a machine that can solve your wants, 100% free when you show up, what is a little bit hard to understand, oversell on medical services, you have to be your own advocate, it helps to be vocal, I’m going to call my MP, hospital managers don’t want to deal with that shit, home-care, more and more disabled people have the ability to hire and fire their own employees, I need my butt wiped every day (not every second Tuesday), a mixed system, not top down bureaucracy, do what you want you know what you need, people are desperate, the current system of capitalism fuckin sucks, the industrialized countries are least interested in market reforms, a decline, its going to be guillotines and a revolution, time to revisit why socialism never happened in America works, the frontier, the Red Scares, running out of explanations, Russia Russia Russia!, the Democratic party, quashing its left flank, Occupy protestors, Woodrow Wilson, the populists, trans-partisan and anti-elite, upset with the status quo, Joe Biden, suspicious and skeptical, Pavlovian when it comes to socialism, Putin is communist, an old habit, reflexive, moronic, people under 50, what Scandinavia has, Canada, we’re going to flee to if X becomes president, closing comments from Francis Spufford, gender, teaching at an AP center in China, Human Geography, 6 kids vs. 3, Israel and Idaho, going through modernity, land reform, marriage law, revolutionary in terms of gender, no fully liberated, the education themes, Lenin’s parents, Philly Socialists, a public service program called Red Plenty, In hopes of 21st century socialism, the economist and the apparatchik, conscious arranger, Olaf Stapledon.

The Magic Tablecloth

Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

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