Linda Tirado is a writer who catapulted to online fame after a casual, righteously enraged message board comment went mega-viral. Within weeks she had a book deal, TV appearances, agents, and a lot more attention than she had ever asked for or wanted. Her book, Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America, captures a working class voice that’s rarely heard in mainstream American media, and her experience with internet celebrity reflects the often terrifying ways that class functions in media culture.
Justin Rogers-Cooper helps us takes a deep dive into the aesthetic and political legacy of Kurt Cobain, who died of suicide 25 years ago this month. Cobain is an iconic pop cultural figure for a number of reasons, but this conversation focuses on his personal politics, and how his band Nirvana expressed an organic, biologically-obsessed form of anti-capitalism. Emerging from the working class hell of the 1980s deindustrialized Pacific Northwest, Cobain’s art explored how an empty, impoverished society literally tears human bodies to pieces. From drugs to guns to misogyny, racism, violence, and capitalism itself, if you want to understand the inner contours of the American nightmare, Kurt Cobain’s life story and artistic output remain as critical as ever.
Maximillian Alvarez returns to the Trap to talk about his terrific new podcast Working People, a show that features deep conversations about life, labor, politics, and everything in between, from the perspective of working class people. He joins us to describe his latest series about General Motors and the social costs of the long decline of industrial manufacturing. Along the way, we chat about the alienation of social media, the prison of the gig economy, the continuing prescience of David Foster Wallace, and lots more.
Eileen Jones is a film critic and professor whose biting, polemical movie reviews are featured in Jacobin and a number of other publications. Her recent book Filmsuck, USA investigates the persistently horrific state of American cinema, while outlining Jones’ vision of a liberatory movie culture that honors the medium’s working class roots. In this conversation, she explains how her early experiences watching Hollywood genre films influenced her ideas about movies, why the Coen brothers are her preferred auteurs, and why she thinks the language of cinema can play such a vital role in challenging the organizing principles of capitalism.