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Ep. 31 - Just Citizens

The confidence we’ve always had as a people isn’t simply some romantic dream, or a proverb in a dusty book we read just on the Fourth of July. In this episode we’re talking democracy and consumerism through those American specters John Dewey, the thirty-ninth President James Earl Carter, and the citizen-reviewers of Amazon dot com. SOURCES: - Jimmy Carter, Address to the Nation on Energy (Nov. 8, 1977): ; - John Dewey, The Public and Its Problems (1927): ; -...


Ep. 30 - The Mandala

Let's talk about movies. How would you talk about a movie if it wants you to shut up? Climb aboard for a one-way trip down the river of striking images, dream-like sequences, and too many meaningful looks. From the ridiculous to the sacred, we examine the examinations of the unspeakable silence at the heart of life. SOURCES: - 2001: A Space Odyssey, dir. Stanley Kubrick (1968) ; - Plato, Republic (514a & ff.) ; - Song to Song, dir. Terence Malick (2017) ; - Paul Schraeder's review of Song to...


Ep. 29 - The Swarm

This week it’s fourteen conversations about one thing. We do a little research on the symptoms of fascism and begin to feel like an expendable character in the first act of a horror film. Plus: TED talks are blindfolds at the museum, why you must laminate the best parts of your body, and the moral arc of the universe bends toward destruction, but also hope? Q.E.D., friends. SOURCES: - Umberto Eco, "Ur-Fascism" (NYRB, June 1995): ; - Plato's Meno, 72a ; - "How we can...


Ep. 28 - Ragnarok

It’s time to talk about America. We’re looking at ways to deal with what’s coming, from that bug-out bag full of spare magazines, to terrifying self-sacrifice on South Carolina’s spiritual battlefield, to Hollywood’s last-ditch play for immortality with the forces of global capital. Join us on the beach to watch the blood-dimmed tide roll in. BONUS SCENE for our patreon supporters: ; SOURCES: - "In A Dark Time" by Theodore Roethke (1963): ; -...


Ep. 27 - The Wreckage

How did this happen? What went wrong? We obsess over the brokenness and try to eyeball the true nature of intimacy: fading, faded, and yet-to-fade. ft. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jordan Catalano, Don Draper, the miserable modern self, someone you once genuinely loved, and other dangerous creatures of the heart. SOURCES: - "How Friendships Change Over Time" by Julie Beck in The Atlantic (June 2015): ; - "Mimi O'Donnell Reflects on the Loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman and...


Ep. 26 - This Is Marketplace

Like I always say, if the markets are a-singin', you better know how to make 'em dance. Today on the program, it's a deep dive in the shallow pond that is NPR's Marketplace. We'll ask the question: are there Nazis in-studio forcing them to be like this? Or is there a more covert kind of fascism within the neoliberal soul? I'm Kai Ryssdal, and this sinking ship is called Marketplace. SOURCES: - "Buying 450 Million Ripple? - $1Billion Ripple XRP Buy - XRP Ripple CryptoCurrency," by the right...


Ep. 25 - Drench the Spark

To die, to sleep — perchance to be judged no longer viable in society and sentenced to burn alive from within. Who is truly avenged by our cocktails of untested heartstoppers? Justices: why did we stop, then start, doing this again? Join us at the top of the scaffold of lies we tell ourselves, where we countenance barbarisms and watch the clock till it runs all the way out. SOURCES: - Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975): ; - 60 Minutes,...


PATREON: The Announcement

There's a new channel for hot audio content from The Relentless Picnic. It's on Patreon: Our episodes will still be released for free, and in the same way as always. But, as a Patron, you'll receive weekly "treats" from us, delivered to you via the Patreon. Among the "treats" you might expect from us each week are: ▪️ interviews, conversations, and informal chats with intriguing guests ▪️ question & answer sessions where the Picnic responds to your...


Ep. 24 - The Tightrope

Inspired by an O.G. paragon of male toxicity — Odysseus — this week we confront the meaning of our obligations, the phenomenon of gaslighting, and a certain typified masculinity near-feral in its ineptitude and shimmering in its self-denial. All in the space of a Homeric reverie. Special thanks to Sir Ian McKellan. SOURCES: Homer, The Odyssey, 12.30-200; 23.231-288 (tr. Fagles, read by Sir Ian) ; "Some Clinical Consequences of Introjection: Gaslighting" by Victor Calef, M.D. & Edward M....


Ep. 23 - Like This or Die

The medium is our message. We sleuth out data points along the demographic trendlines, and follow them straight towards the beating, gray heart of TV―and beyond. How does it all end? We jump off the edge and file dispatches from the abyss. SOURCES: "E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction," by David F. Wallace (Review of Contemporary Fiction 13:2, Summer 1993); _Network_, by Paddy Chayefsky, dir. Sidney Lumet (1976). _Within the Context of No Context_, by George W. S. Trow (Atlantic...


Ep. 22 - Shanksville

We hit the pavement to grapple directly with the National Park Service's Flight 93 National Memorial, and with 9/11. An album of photographs to aid your listening experience: SOURCES: - Flight 93 National Memorial, NPS Brochure: - Timeline for United 93: ; - Flight 93 National Memorial Cell Phone Tour: ; - Memorial Committee Jury Report: ; - Environmental Impact Report:...


Ep. 21 - No World

Lose yourself in the wild-eyed fearsome shadow of totality. Come see what hippies the Moon made of our steely-eyed missile men. Plus—Elon Musk trips over his own simulated shoelaces, and the Moon Matrix is fully decoded. Join us, but only if you've got the right glasses. SOURCES: Quora queries: Elon Musk speaks with Walter Isaacson at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit: ; "Elon Musk: The Chance We Are Not Living In a...


Ep. 20 - Secret Teaching

This week from our special plans department, Leo Strauss: a guide for the perplexed. Politics, both ancient and modern; the allure of elite cabals; a whiskey spill Rorschach test; polemics, hermeneutics, and sex in the stacks. Plus—Iraq, intelligence, independence, and other declarations of the great atheist priest: Text. WORKS CITED: Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire (Yale University Press, 2004), by Anne Norton; The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss (University of Chicago...


Ep. 19 - Get In

We're trying to get at the allure of permanent consequences, the moral underpinnings of hitchhiking, and the secret greenhouses of your text-based relationships. Whither goest thou, America? And can you get us there before bed, we have to be up early? LINKS/SOURCES: a relationship beset by far-left podcasts: ; "The End of the Open Road: The Inside Story of How Hitchhiking Died," by Molly Osberg (May '15): ; "The...


Ep. 18 - Happy Nation

Chaos reigns! The Relentless Picnic emerges victorious after the heinous destruction of our National Caverns! Justly! Jurassic Park, )))Ace of Base(((, Future Trump Scandals, Groundhog Day, and yet more dredging at the limit of human intelligence.


Ep. 17 - The Cave

Like the man said: We're chained to the earth like a silent slave; trying to break free out of death's dark cave. Bones in South Africa, hoarding in New York City, and finally, a dispatch from our friend Matt Tice as he takes heavy fire, and glimpses reinforcement, on the front line of life. - "Geological and taphonomic context for the new hominin species Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa." (Sept. '15): ; - Map of the Dinaledi cave,...



We want you to hear our rollicking satire of venture capitalists, which involves lots of loose talk about cat masturbation. Here's how to hear it: 1) Leave us a rating/review on iTunes. Be real with us. We can take it. 2) Screengrab that ish. 3) Either a) e-mail that screenshotted review to, or b) DM that screenshotted review to @stanleypicnic on Twitter. Then, we'll send you either a direct download link or an mp3 attachment, featuring the sketch we lovingly refer...


Ep. 16 - Word Alert

Our three-man justice team takes on red ball after red ball: our books, our selves, and our bookshelves; words in the wild; words on screens; mysteries & heresies. Plus—blah blah blah Robert Frost!


Ep. 15 - His Favorite Child

Can computers learn & are Redditors ever right? We do some psychologizing of the modern American cornered by the paranormal. Plus. Are you there, Dad? It's me, Science! Thanks to the bold redditors who shared their stories: u/Parrot-Tamer, u/desk_jockey26, u/[deleted], u/brennnnz, u/TheThirdWheel, u/matics, u/khaustic, u/Squirly, u/[deleted], & u/americanslang59. "Alien Knowledge: When Machines Justify Knowledge," by David Weinberger (Apr. '17): ; 2008 San Diego F/A-18...


Ep. 14 - Stanley Picnic Presents: Money

This week, we try and wrap our heads around money via several parables and case studies. We inquire after the history of the gold standard in America, the implications of certain prison economies, and the predicament of the penny. Plus—who'd Andie MacDowell marry, and what ended the marriage life? SOURCES: - MarriedWiki: &; - "Gold and Economic Freedom" by Alan Greenspan (1966): [don't visit this cursèd site]; - Wikipedia,...