Ryan Long, comedian and filmmaker, connects with Bridget from New York and they discuss his move from Canada five months before the pandemic hit, why NYC is a sadboy town, the challenges of being a self-starter and your own boss, the outrage economy, why good editors are so hard to find, and why Canada is dead to him. In the middle of their conversation Bridget receives breaking news of the lockdown at the Capitol on January 6th but that doesn’t derail the conversation. They delve into how Hollywood woke culture feels like a last ditch attempt to maintain their status as gatekeepers, why Millennials are really just young Boomers in disguise, the difference between British comedy, American comedy, and Australian comedy, and how finding a way to turn something you might get mad about into something funny is a means of undermining your anger.
Johann Hari (Chasing the Scream, Lost Connections) sits down with Bridget to discuss the rise in depression, anxiety and addiction in society, particularly during Covid, and what that means about their underlying causes. Through extensive traveling and research for his books, Johann has explored the idea that the roots of all three are not just biological, but also psychological and social, and that we need a more complex approach to treatment in order to address all three aspects of these ailments. In a deep and wide-ranging conversation, they discuss loneliness, tribalism, how Portugal solved its heroin crisis, how Cambodians treat depression, the rising wealth disparity in our society, how junk values have taken over our lives, homelessness, competitive victimhood, and why social media is to having a social life what porn is to having sex.
Yasmine Mohammed, author of Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam, shares her story of growing up in a fundamentalist Islamic home in Canada. At 13, when she tried to report the abuse she suffered at the hands of her step-father, she was told by a judge “you come from a different culture, and that’s how your family chooses to discipline you, so we just have to accept that.” And here lies the inherent contradiction in the way in which the West views fundamentalist Islam versus other fundamentalist religions, and turns a blind eye to the abuse and suffering of millions of girls and women. She and Bridget discuss how alienating that is, the message those girls receive is “we don’t care about you, you are ‘other.'” They cover the escalation of rape culture, sexual harassment, the problems with celebrating the hijab, the indoctrination of attitudes towards girls and women in Muslim culture, and being called Islamophobic for criticizing a tool and system of oppression. They bond over shared traumatic experiences and discuss their belief that if you can use your own trauma to help others, it has not happened in vain. If you only ever listen to one episode of Walk-Ins Welcome, this is the episode.
Full transcript available here: WiW53-YasmineMohammed-Transcript
Bridget finally convinced Cousin Maggie to share her story, from a rather idyllic childhood in a small town in Rhode Island, to being raised in a stable environment with active, involved parents, to having a certain expectation about the track her life would follow, until she was completely derailed by depression in college. They discuss the little known realities of suicidal depression, picking up the pieces, the journey back to “normal” and how falling apart wound up being completely freeing. Maggie talks about the warning signs she has to be aware of when she’s sliding into a dark place, how to counteract the slow creep of depression, and how she found her way to LA. They also cover the importance of setting boundaries in your life, the value of life coaches (even though the name is ridiculous), the battle against laziness, and the absolute necessity of maintaining a sense of humor about it all.
Full transcript available here: WiW52-CousinMaggie-Transcript
Comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan stops by to discuss the long and painful journey to a career in the entertainment industry, from studying finance at Georgetown, to taking improv classes so he can overcome his fear of speaking in meetings at the advertising agency where he worked, to falling in love with stand-up and watching everyone else in his comedy class find success before he did. Jim talks why failure is such a great teacher, getting lost in other people’s expectations, the creepy thing about doing press, and why he doesn’t want power. In his new movie, American Dreamer, he gets the chance to play against type with a complex character in a disturbing thriller, and he shares how he could relate to the delusions of his character, the American fantasy of the “quick fix,” and the rewards of being able to explore a dark character. He and Bridget marvel at Joe Rogan’s abilities, commiserate over the repressed rage of comedians, and reflect that more dangerous than cancel culture, is the growing trend of leaving people out of the discussion altogether.
Full transcript available here: WiW49-JimGaffigan-Transcript
Bridget and Peter Boghossian have a conversation under the Colorado stars about the search for ultimate meaning in life, the denigration of reason, the loss of being able to wonder publicly, figuring out the best type of life to lead, and teaching people how to value the right things. Peter explains how bales of hay, lifting weights, and prison inmates got him started on his career path and led him to question whether you can fundamentally change the way people think about problems and the way they view morality. They cover street epistemology, the truth about “pecking orders,” the difference between rationalizing and reasoning, and the glorification of violence in our society. His book, How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide, co-written with James Lindsay, is a distillation of decades of study and offers the best ways to approach and have conversations with people who have different opinions and foster a climate of civility.
Full transcript available here: WiW-PeterBoghossian-Transcript