Doug Schoen (author & campaign consultant) drops in to discuss his most recent book The End of Democracy?: Russia and China on the Rise, America in Retreat. He and Bridget have a frank conversation about the fact that we are so divided in this country we are failing to pay attention to the larger threats of Russian and Chinese influence in the world. They cover how a lack of common purpose and a failure to recognize the challenges we face in America puts us at risk, the damage caused by putting politics ahead of the greater good of the country, and the fact that if the US abandons the global stage, other countries will turn to Russia and China who are only too happy to intervene in ways that put our country’s interests at risk. They acknowledge how helpless individuals can feel in the face of such large-scale problems and how we must unite as a country behind some of our core principles, such as liberty and freedom of speech, if we are to have a hope of maintaining national resilience and international influence.

Karol Markowicz (New York Post, Spectator USA, Time) and Bridget discuss the effect of the pandemic in NYC, how nobody in California seems to be able to connect policies they hate and the people they’re voting for, why large portions of immigrant communities love Trump, looking back and seeing their own blindspots going into 2016, and the best and worst case scenarios for how the 2020 election might go. They cover the future of the Democratic party, why Karol tries to bring up the fact that she’s a conservative very early in a conversation with a new person, whether she fears for her safety being an outspoken conservative in a liberal place, and why she doesn’t worry about what she’s going to tell her grandchildren about who she voted for.

Bridget & Maggie reminisce about 100 episodes of Walk-Ins Welcome. What they love, what they’ve learned, favorite episodes, and they marvel at their unprecedented consistency. They explore Bridget’s gift of gab and her genuine love for talking to people (inherited from their grandmother), discuss the need for a Hero’s Journey and how lost we can become without one, and plan for the future and what they’d like to see happen for the podcast and Phetasy. Become a subscriber at phetasy.com or make a donation and support another 100 episodes!

David French (The Dispatch, Time) stops in to talk about his latest book Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation. He and Bridget cover how he sources his news, the liberation of shedding the partisan mindset and meeting in the wasteland of the center, the rise of journavism, being expelled from your tribe, taking precautions against being “swatted” by online trolls, and the times they wonder if it’s worth it. They discuss the differences between this election and 2016, take issue with the idea of voting for “the lesser of two evils” when the response should be “don’t vote for evil,” examine how our rage and hatred are what will destroy our country, and ask the question, what kind of country do we aspire to and how should I behave as a human being to try and reach this aspiration?

Colin Quinn (stand-up comic, actor, writer, Saturday Night Live alum) stops in to talk about his book Overstated – A Coast-to-Coast Roast of All 50 States, and he and Bridget manage to cover, the election, why Bridget should be a criminal profiler and write a book about U-Haul rentals, Colin’s plans for modern-day Constitutional Conventions, the fact that everybody’s crazy now and nobody seems to notice, and they compare psychic experiences (Colin’s involves OJ Simpson). They discuss how odd it is that our society has reached a place where people on the extreme left and right give people in the middle sh*t rather than vice versa, Colin’s elaborate plan to become best friends with Jeff Bezos, how he almost starred in Crocodile Dundee 2, why giving your opinion can be very expensive, and learning the meaning of the word “consequences.”

Felecia Killings is the founder and visionary of the Conscious Conservative Movement which wants to empower people who are looking to expand the authentic conservative space, and to go back to the principles of conservatism and spiritual understanding. She and Bridget delve into the complex topic of Black Conservatism, what it looks like today, why Felecia was primarily getting attacked by black conservative influencers, the fact that the black community is not a monolith, and that a lot of people in that community are politically homeless at the moment. They discuss the history of the Republican Party and black voters, where Felecia thinks opportunities are being missed to reach black communities, why fellowship, knowing history, and asking questions that leave aside the talking points is a better way to do things than the current strategies, and why people on the fringes of both parties are the ones that get the attention and the platforms. Learn more about the movement and Felecia’s body of work at feleciakillings.org.

In some sense the United States was an innovation, a bold experiment that turned into a spectacular success. According to Bret Weinstein, this success is proof of concept, and the system devised has been wildly successful at producing well-being, though unfairly distributed to certain population groups. The solution is not to un-invent the system, it’s to figure out how to correct the unfairness. The system needs an adjustment. Bret believes that Unity 2020 is our way to break the corrupt duopoly holding this country in gridlock and sowing division between Democrats and Republicans. A biologist and evolutionary theorist, Bret’s background is in studying complex systems and the evolution of humans in particular. He outlines his innovative and bold plan to galvanize disaffected voters, force both parties to meet in the middle and affect a lasting change in the way this country is governed. Will it work in 2020? Is there time? If not, what can we hope for in the future?

Katie Herzog (podcast host Blocked and Reported) and Bridget have a hilarious conversation that covers everything from Katie’s multiple drunken bicycle accidents, to Bridget’s being put on male-restriction when she was in rehab for heroin. They talk addiction, alcoholism, their first exposure to gender pronouns, teaching yoga in Sri Lanka, The Babes of NPR, and how your darkest moments can lead to new opportunities. Katie shares her many failures in holding down a job before working her way into freelance writing, and how an article on Detransitioning in The Stranger made her one of the most hated people in Seattle.

Ben Shapiro (editor-in-chief for The Daily Wire, host of The Ben Shapiro Show) and Bridget discuss going viral for stupid reasons, how Republicans don’t fight on a cultural level and Democrats do, their impressions of Hamilton, why the book White Fragility is biggest load of horsesh*t in the history of the world, why you should never cross Beyoncé fans, and what led him to write his latest book How to Destroy America In Three Easy Steps. They cover who his pick for president would be if Trump wasn’t running, the dangers inherent in the fact that people think the status quo will never change, why being too secure in your career is a big mistake, Ben’s predictions for what will happen if Trump wins or loses, and his burgeoning career as rap artist B. Shap.

Buck Angel is a 58 year-old trans man who is speaking out against the mob mentality that has taken over the trans community. He and Bridget discuss his life before his transition, how he was essentially a human “guinea pig” in the early days of his transition, the long road and struggle for acceptance, and how the trans movement of today has developed something of a “cult-like” ideology where if you don’t speak and think in a specific way, they don’t want you as a member. He and Bridget discuss the “trans trenders,” the rewriting of factual information, why the label “cis” feels derogatory, how there’s no oversight and no system in allowing young people to self-diagnose as “trans,” being attacked by his own community, and why we should follow the money on the sudden push to enable sexual reassignment surgeries. As an elderly trans person whose own transition saved his life, Buck is passionate about the dangers he sees in the community today, and the fact that this push to transition will kill people.

Allie Beth Stuckey stops in to talk about her book, You’re Not Enough (& That’s Okay) – Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love. She and Bridget have a frank conversation about God, Christianity, and why she believes that the idea you have to love yourself in order to love other people is a fallacy infecting people’s minds. They discuss the tough road through college, the partying, the unhealthy lifestyle, and the struggle with an eating disorder that forced her to the realization that she would die if she didn’t change things. She and Bridget discuss their personal faith and beliefs, where they are similar, and where they differ. It’s an incredibly warm and open conversation between two women who don’t necessarily agree on everything, but respect each other’s beliefs and opinions, and are willing to share and learn from each other.

Joe List, standup comedian and podcast host, stops by for a chat about what he loves about podcasts, how Bruce Springsteen played a role in shaping his life, and the fact that he chose to go into standup because all the adults around him when he was a kid seemed extremely unhappy about their jobs, so he decided not to have one. He and Bridget cover imposter syndrome, hypochondria, anxiety, and their love for Sam Harris’s meditation app. They discuss sobriety, how they’re staying busy during quarantine, the grind of standup, and why you should never go to the bar Coyote Ugly if you’re newly sober. Be sure to catch Joe’s comedy special I Hate Myself, on Comedy Central’s YouTube channel – premiering August 6th, 2020.

John Wood Jr. comes by to talk about Braver Angels, the largest grassroots bipartisan organization in America, focused on the work of political de-polarization. Along the way he and Bridget have a fascinating conversation about his experience being raised by a mother who’s a liberal black Democrat from inner city LA and father who’s a conservative white Republican from Tennessee, and how his white father emphasized the greatness of black culture in the context of the greatness of America and made him proud of being a black man. He and Bridget bond over their similar experiences dealing with their parents’ divorces. They cover how you can engage conflict without suffering the debilitating impact of hatred in your own psychology, being chameleons growing up and learning to integrate all the different parts of themselves as they grew older, how important it is to see the human behind the opinion – especially when it’s one you don’t agree with, what’s truly noble and redeemable in all of our American traditions, and whether Trump is actually racist.

Yascha Mounk is the founder of Persuasion, an online community and publication for people who believe in the importance of the social practice of persuasion, and are determined to defend free speech and free inquiry against all its enemies. They seek to persuade people who disagree with them, rather than to mock or troll them. He and Bridget discuss the rise of the populism, why status anxiety is the strongest predictor of populist movement in society, the idea of white fragility, and why exhorting whites in the US to take on a strong collective racial identity is not the way to build a fair, multi-ethnic democracy in this country. They look at how many authoritarian leaders have come to power in the last 20 years, share their hope for the future, and examine the idea that many Americans don’t want to win the culture war, they want the culture war to go away.

 

Thomas Chatterton Williams (Losing My Cool, Self-Portrait In Black and White) talks with Bridget from France and discusses the view of America from another country, the European response to Covid-19 vs. the US’s, and why the Unites States plays a central role in the imagination of the whole world. Thomas explains how he wound up “accidentally” writing a memoir about the difference between the black culture his dad grew up in from the one he grew up in, America’s historic attitude about race, and how his having his daughter who “looks like a Swedish child” led him to reassess what he’d previously written and his thoughts about the “construct” of race. He and Bridget cover why the hyper focus on racial difference is not the way to get past our divisions, the narcissism in the idea that whiteness in itself is responsible for all that’s wrong, why emigrating to another country was the hardest thing he’s ever done, and what he misses most about America.

Chloe Valdary (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic) returns to discuss her new course Theory of Enchantment an innovative social-emotional, learning course that teaches character development, resilience and love. Her background in international diplomacy and conflict resolution led her to want to create a framework that teaches people how to love each other. The aspirational course blends pop culture and ancient wisdom to teach social and emotional learning and Chloe felt it was necessary as an antidote to the deconstructive ideology that’s permeating our culture right now. She and Bridget discuss why having no reverence for the past leaves us with no way to measure our progress, why we should see suffering as a gift, how people stereotyping others means they also stereotype themselves, and why the world is ending when people no longer dance with each other.

Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, sits down with Bridget for a fascinating, in-depth and controversial conversation about the wave of transgender-identifying females sweeping various countries around the world. For the first time in history the predominant demographic of people identifying as “transgender” is teenage girls with no childhood history of gender dysphoria. Abigail and Bridget discuss how we got here, where this came from, and the social, educational and cultural influences playing a part in this unprecedented trend. They cover the role of teachers, therapists, social media influencers and activists, as well as the dynamics of teenage girl friend groups that make them particularly susceptible to the unconscious pressures and social rewards of coming out as “trans.” They discuss the long-term physical and mental damage that can result from a system that demands immediate affirmation from professionals, rather than a careful and considered approach to a complicated topic which can have permanent consequences.

In 2018 Nikki Mark’s 12-year old son, Tommy, went to sleep one night and never woke up. In an inspiring and heartbreaking conversation with Bridget shares her immediate reaction, what she’s learned, why she said yes to everything that came her way, the project she channeled her grief into, her family’s bond, and the incredible outpouring of support they received from their community. She and Bridget discuss how we’re not taught to deal with death or support someone who is struggling with tragedy, and how if we learned a little bit more about death we’d learn how to live. Her fierce determination to share the lessons her son taught her, her belief that she can turn the pain into something else and rise up to live in a way that honors her son, the knowledge that we should all be playing more and that life is supposed to be fun, and her ability to see the beauty in overwhelming tragedy, is an inspiration and motivation for anyone struggling through darkness. Support the TM23 Foundation to honor Tommy’s memory & legacy.

Yesha Callahan (Essence Magazine) and Bridget bond over their shared fear of being trampled in a crowd, their mutual disdain for agents, and marvel at the spectacular idiocy of people behaving badly in public in the age of camera phones. Yesha covers growing up poor in a house full of extended family, what led her to a career in HR, and how she jumped into a career as a writer on a late night talk show. She shares her darkest moments after being laid off and struggling to support her son, working as a freelance writer, and taking the advice of a best friend to “act like a white lady” and ask for a job at The Root. She and Bridget discuss Black Lives Matter, why she loves TikTok, why she doesn’t believe that struggle makes you stronger, how white people are afraid of saying anything wrong, and the least racist country she’s ever traveled to.

Full transcript available here: WiW84-YeshaCallahan-Transcript

Andrew Heaton (comedian, author, political satirist, podcast host) drops by for a fun and wide-ranging conversation covering everything from dogs vs. cats, why he wants to live on a compound, why comics make the worst audience members, the over-sensitization of language, and the thankless task of being a voice of reason in a tribal world. He and Bridget discuss their fear of living alone for too long and the worry that their weird habits will calcify, why living in New York City only works if you’re really hot, really young, or really rich, how humans are evolutionarily designed to be members of a tribe, the difference between thinking someone is wrong and thinking someone is evil, the death of nuance, the outrage economy, the decline of mainstream media, and why people are less concerned about what you think than about the wording you use to communicate it. Keep up with Andrew on his website MightyHeaton.com

Full transcript available here: WiW83-AndrewHeaton-Transcript