Podcasts/Sacred Tension-BigDataPenemue92lza

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BigDataPenemue92lza SUMMARY KEYWORDS fucking, feel, data, book, people, big, information, privacy, conversation, fact, good, capitalism, leftist, bernie, system, social media, transhumanism, twitter, long, david pakman SPEAKERS Greg Stevens, Stephen Bradford Long

00:00 You're listening to a rock candy podcast. Hi, I'm Peterson Toscano I host Bubbl n Squeak here in the rock candy network. I tell personal revealing story whispered Did you just masturbate because I felt a terrible presence of evil. Enter the I make prank phone calls to the past. I'm Eliza heimbach breaking down into the future because my boyfriend and I are just not having enough sex all that you just have to listen to it. It's too hard to describe. Check out bubble and squeak wherever you listen to podcasts.

Stephen Bradford Long 01:02 This is sacred tension, the podcast about the discipline of asking questions. My name is Stephen Long. And we are here on the rock candy Podcast Network. For more shows like this one go to rock candy recordings.com All right, well, welcome back to the stripped down unedited Coronavirus series, sacred tension. So I'm living in kind of this perpetual brain fog right now I feel like just this brain fog has descended upon all of civilization. And we're all just not thinking very clearly and making really stupid mistakes and tiring really easily. So I do not have the energy for the same level of editing and work and labor that these shows usually require. But I still want to bring you regular content. To give you some company during this time, a lot of us are feeling uncertain, a lot of us are really struggling emotionally, financially. A lot of us are feeling lonely, shut up in our homes. And so I think that it is on on us creators to provide you some refreshment, and some company and kindness. So that's what we're going to do. But it's going to be unedited, so if you hear my cats yelling in the background, if Greg accidentally confesses to being a serial killer on air, none of it is being edited out. So I'm sorry, Greg, it is it's it's not going to be edited out. So what'd you say? You better be careful, because I am not going to edit this show at all, unless you absolutely insist. All right. So with that said, I've been doing kind of these long, chill hangout episodes with friends, just to provide some company for everyone who's struggling right now and who might feel a bit lonely. And first, before we get on with the conversation, I have to thank my patrons. So my patrons are the lifeblood of the show and the podcast or the show and the blog rather. And they help ensure the long life of my work. And also if you enjoy all the other stuff that I'm doing with rock candy recordings, if you like bubble and squeak, common creatives, Bible bash, eleventy life, if you like our live events, if you saw us at Wild Goose last year, and like our appearance there, if you like all the other stuff that I'm involved in, donating to my Patreon really helps all of it. And it helps keep my fat my cat children fed and it pays the bills. So it also goes to very kind of basic stuff as well. So I need to thank my latest patrons who have made this show possible and that is Kelly Kisa, Christopher, Lady Lillith, Jen Mao, Lisa Willer, clowns, Kitty, and Vaughn. Thank you all so much. You're so amazing. Also, with that said, I'm currently at 57 patrons. And if you have a little bit of cash, just bear even if it's just $1 a month. $1 gets you access to all of the benefits because I want you to be able to support multiple artists that you love. And so if you have multiple small indie artists and creators you enjoy support as many of them as you can. So I keep costs low so that you can support others so just $1 will get you access to all of the benefits helped me break 100 patrons I'm currently at 57 It would be so awesome. If you were to help me get to 100 patrons, maybe I'll do something special when I hit 100. And also, right now is really hard for everyone financially. So if you aren't able to, there is absolutely no pressure. And please take care of yourself. First and foremost, I will continue to produce a blog a week, and when I'm able to, and the podcast as often as I can for free. And when all of this blows over, if you see and if you're find yourself in a financially stable position, and you still want to give, go for it, but no pressure if you find yourself financially struggling right now. I have my sugar daddy to take care of me so everything's okay. All right. Well, with all of that out of the way, I am so happy to welcome Greg aka Pena Moo. Back to the show, my dear friend. Hello, Greg.

Greg Stevens 05:53 Thank you for having me on.

Stephen Bradford Long 05:54 It's so great to see you. It's been a while since we text a lot, but it's been it's been so long since I've actually like, laid my eyes on your beautiful, immaculate, gorgeous face.

Greg Stevens 06:08 It's well, I've I've I live in a completely different state now than I did when we last did one of these chats? I think,

Stephen Bradford Long 06:15 yeah, a lot has changed. You've moved and there's a fucking Apocalypse going on right now. THE GODDAMN pandemic. So how are you doing? How are you managing through all of this?

Greg Stevens 06:32 I'm doing I'm doing pretty well, it's, uh, it's funny, because the move actually coincided. So I moved from Massachusetts, down to Tucson, Arizona here. And it was like, the end of March, beginning of April. So it was exactly when things were really starting to get crazy. And it was a move that I had planned, you know, maybe a month prior. But as March, you know, was progressing. And we started seeing more and more questions about things being locked down and everything. And, you know, I had people and in fact, Lucien was just like, interested, we're going to be allowed to go out, you may have to stay in Salem, it might not be possible. I'm going, I'm gonna do it, no matter what, they can't stop me. This is a miracle. And I was like, what are they gonna do? Like, like, stand in the middle of the road at the border of Massachusetts? And not let me out of the state? And ship? Or if they do that, like, I mean, fuck, oh, but it turns out that the, I did get out a prior to, you know, anything like that. And, and who would have guessed, like it was actually quite a nice drive from Massachusetts to Arizona during that time, because, you know, it's not like there was a lot of people on the roads. And so, but it was put arriving here was very weird, because, but actually, I'll be honest, for the first couple of weeks, I was my life was so discombobulated from moving in, you know, and like having this house now with a lot more space than where I was kind of crashing up in Massachusetts. And so getting furniture getting settled, my life was so taken up by the act of moving, that I didn't really have, you know, I didn't notice personally, I knew what was going on, obviously. But I wasn't personally that disrupted by the lockdown or anything. And so it wasn't until maybe week two or so, when all of a sudden I start being like, alright, I moved in, I need to get a routine, I need to, you know, develop a normal life here, when that's when it became apparent that, you know, developing a normal life was not going to be the normal developing a normal life. And so and so yeah, it was, it was interesting to me that I was because of the way I was dealing with, like, I have to find, you know, where to hang paintings on the wall and all of that just moving in stuff. It wasn't until after that it's settled. That it kind of, you know, oh, you know, now I really have facing the fact that I'm trying to get into a normal work routine. And that normally involves going to the gym and so I have to, you know, work out in and working out from home. Or normally it involves just going out and doing normal things like shopping and stuff where it isn't like, you know, suiting up for an expedition in order to go to this price. Yes.

Stephen Bradford Long 09:38 Like you have to put on like a full fucking hazmat suit just to go to the grocery store.

Greg Stevens 09:45 Yeah. And so and so that it was really Yeah, it was like middle of April that suddenly started hitting me and I was, you know, I was a little bit I was having a tough time and I talked to a couple of I have friends and and there were really two things. That helped me out a lot. One of them was a friend of mine who was, who was Well, it's because I was talking a little bit about how I was kind of upset about my workouts and how I felt like I was so easily distracted at home, you know, I've got the little resistance bands, and I've got a TRX straps and all that I've got the things. Yeah, I'm working out like I had everything because I was sort of still getting moved in, I had stuff sort of all piled, I was kind of living my life in the living room. And so the TV was there, the computer was there, everything was right there. And I was really easily distracted. And so you know, I would like do 10 minutes of a workout, and then I would get distracted by something. And then I'd be like, oh, and I have to add that on to the end. And at the end ended, I end up having like a four hour workout, but not feeling like I really worked out because of all of the things. Yeah. And, and it was a friend of mine who said, you know, it's like, right? Come on, if anybody, how would you explain this to someone? If someone came to you with this problem? What advice would you give them? Greg, I can't believe that you of all people would not be able to solve this problem. And it was, it was hilarious. Because like that little pep talk or repudiation or whatever that was like that work. Suddenly, I was like, What would I say to someone who came to me with this problem that I'm having? And I'd be like, well, I know what advice I would give that person I'd be like, You need to sort of section it off and make it like going to the gym, going to the gym, even though you're not leaving the place. And so I was like, okay, so I moved all of my workout stuff into its own separate room. And now in the mornings, I pass through the doorway to that ruin, I'm like, I'm going to the gym, I'm not going to do anything, in much the same way that I can't do anything other than be at the gym at the gym, until I leave that room. And it just made a huge difference.

Stephen Bradford Long 12:04 It's incredible. The difference little tiny, like psychological manipulations like that make, it makes such a huge difference.

Greg Stevens 12:15 Yeah, mindset things. It's yeah, and even because it's funny, because, you know, if, if you consider yourself a smart together person, you're like, oh, that's just tricking myself. I don't need that. But like, no, no, take the time to do it. And it just that that was one thing that really changed. My world is now like me, I walked through that doorway, like, I'm going to the gym now.

12:41 That's great. And it worked.

Greg Stevens 12:43 The other thing was, was just, I've heard from a few different people. The the comment that it's like what you said, actually, in the intro, you're talking about how it was a sort of a follow up over everything. And you mentioned to me before that, um, that, you know, just kind of almost a chronic feeling of exhaustion. Yeah. Ron A's have the added fatigue. And it's just a sort of added background stress of just the world right now. Yep. And I was I was talking to someone about feeling sort of guilty or feeling like, Oh, I'm off my game, because I'm not getting as much done as I would like to. And another one of my wise asked friends, by the way, these are the sorts of people he was like, well, Brooke, have you considered the possibility that one of the factors is you're living through a fucking pandemic right now?

Stephen Bradford Long 13:44 Ah, you know, yes, exactly. And I, I have come to the realization and I am never the person to ever say this. But I've I've just found myself telling myself this, but also my colleagues at Rock Candy recordings. Now is the time to be okay with mediocrity. It really is. It really is. And I am not the person to ever say that. But it's like, if for me, if the choice is between releasing a not releasing a show and doing an unpolished show, then I'll just do the unpolished show that's better. Like now is that now is the time to be okay with letting some standards slip if you are just unable to have the margin right now. So you know, by my schedule, like I've, you know, I'm I've been not booked as many shows close together. Now I'm, I'm being a bit easier on myself with a work than I normally would And I'm just telling myself now's the time to do it because and I feel like I'm actually, I'm going to be easy on it. But I feel like in maybe in the coming weeks, depending on how I feel, I might start to put on just a little bit more pressure, just a bit more standards, maybe rise up just a bit above mediocrity and see, see how it goes. But for now I am 100% comfortable with mediocrity.

Greg Stevens 15:29 I think a lot of people, you know, it was all talk, especially on social media about these, like, Oh, I'm gonna do all this stuff. Now that you know, if you can't go, we're gonna get all this done. There was a lot of this pressure, you know, the way people were talking on like, fucking Twitter or whatever, and

Stephen Bradford Long 15:49 we're going to get all these books done. We're going to read War and Peace. Finally, we're going to get that master's we're gonna finish. I'm going to finish that doctorate. Finally. Yeah, exactly.

Greg Stevens 15:59 And I think I think it for for people who have done that, that's awesome. For people who want to do that. That's awesome. But I think that it's also okay to admit yourself, the, you know, it's completely legitimate. If you have if you have this feeling of exhaustion like we, we as a as a culture as a world right now, we're going through something unprecedented in our collective memory span. And so you know, giving yourself a little bit of permission to to...

Stephen Bradford Long 16:34 Play Animal Crossing.

Greg Stevens 16:36 ...enjoy being freaked out and being and and chill out. Yeah...

16:39 Play video games for six hours at a time. No, don't do that, that can make you feel like trash, but two hours at a time is fine. Or I'm not judging, maybe six hours is fine. Just, you know, just pay off your mortgage to Tom, Nick and Animal Crossing, day after day after day after day. Yeah, exactly, I and I had that exact same weird experience where at the beginning of this, I was like, Okay, I'm going to be so productive and get so much work done. And I found that I was, it was like, my inner space, my inner mental household or, or inner space had become smaller, is the way it felt. And so it's like if I, if previously, you know, before, the pandemic, If I lived in a mansion internally, and now I live in a single bedroom house. And it felt like I just had less space, cognitively to do stuff. So I actually, you're the one who told me to do this. Because, you know, the first month was really fucking miserable and hard for me because I manage a grocery store. And I don't have to get into all of that. But so I am, I am one of those essential workers who I will say, I will just mention, for the first time in six years, everyone, well, not everyone, but a lot of people are now are now like, thank you so much. You're a hero, like these customers coming through. And, and just looking at us very earnestly and being like, thank you so much. You are a hero, you're on the front lines. Part of me really appreciates it. The other part of me is like, well, I've known that civilization would fucking collapse without people like me. All this time. I've known that like, what would you what would you do without people like me? Would you actually go forage for your Paleo Food? Would you actually go gather berries and twigs to to get your food if people like me didn't sell it to you? Like, I've known that civilization would crash overnight if there weren't grocery store workers and grocery managers. So on the one hand, I really really appreciate the response because it used to be that people would be like, let someone like you working in a place like this. All the time, all the fucking time. Feeling people feeling kind of weirdly personally offended that someone is well spoken and educated as me was managing a grocery store. And now there's been this complete turnaround of people thanking thanking me for my work, and I do genuinely appreciate it. I would also like to point out that this is the way it's always fucking been. Essential workers have always been essential that never they aren't suddenly essential. Anyway, this is a rant I need to get off of this rant. and get back to the topic. So I am a grocery store cashier and I manage a grocery store. And it was hellacious. And we actually talked on the phone, just immediately after kind of the the hell broke loose. And I was just feeling physically destroyed. Any emotionally destroyed. And for whatever reason, I was finding myself unable to get off of social media. And social media was just like, amping me up and stressing me out even more, and the news was stressing me out. And so you're like, okay, just every night from 10 Till bedtime, put your phone away. And just disconnect. And I've actually, I've been doing that. And so I've been reading every night before bed. And it's actually been really, really, really great. And so that is one way that I've been staying sane and healthy. Another way I've been staying sane and healthy is I, I just listen to David Pakman. For my news, where he every week day, he has

Stephen Bradford Long 21:26 a podcast and David Pakman is like so even keel and chill. And he could deliver, you know, he could be the messenger of like, aliens are coming to the planet to destroy us. But because his delivery is so chill, I would be like, Okay, we got this, everything's fine. And so it's like he's able to deliver this terrible news in such a level headed way. So when I feel the need to ingest news like to fig to hear what's happening outside of the outside of my fagot ranch here on a mountain outside of pisco National Forest, when I just listened to him, and I don't listen to anything else, and that's how I get my news. And that's also been very helpful.

Greg Stevens 22:18 David's one of my favorite people, I haven't been for years and years now. And and I've always really enjoyed the thoughtfulness that he brings to his show in any of the interviews he's done, and any of the topics that he sort of addresses agree, he spends, he spends a lot of effort in sort of, you know, he definitely he definitely is very interested in making sure that he presents information in a way that can clarify things for people and doesn't like fall into a trap of just, you know, hyping up whatever, um, he very clearly has particular scientist is very left, you know, very progressive, but he is wants to be very responsible, about, about being thoughtful, and about sort of big community picking apart, especially when there are sort of disputes on the left about, you know, different takes on different issues. And so, ya know, I've I've always been a big fan of his styles ever since. I've, so he's in, you know, he's in the Boston

Stephen Bradford Long 23:33 area. Yes.

Greg Stevens 23:34 I didn't know that. Yeah. And I actually, although the first time I met him, was actually when he was like, even long before that was when he was in New York City for a while. And, but I've I've known him since, gosh, since prior to I'm trying to think, like, since prior to the phase when I was running this little political satire website. That's where that was before 2013 2012. So I've known for a good long time now.

Stephen Bradford Long 24:08 Great. That's awesome. Yeah. And, and he, I do really love the way he is on the left. And he is also often critical of the left or critical of parts of the left and never in a malicious way, never in a cynical way, but just in a very sincere, balanced way. And I appreciate that because I actually found that a lot of the leftist media that I consumed prior to the pandemic actually started to not be great for me mentally. And I don't know what it was like I so in what way well, so I'm a big I'm a I'm a big dirtbag leftist. And I try not to Yes, and I and I try and do I try to be more even keel on my show and on my blog. And I, you know, I tried to, I guess try to emulate David Pakman more, but personally and when and the media that I consume and very much the way I interact with other leftist friends is I am very Chapo. I'm very Chapo trap house. I am. I'm very, like queer, filth, leftist, and, and aggressive. I know that aggressive is not a word that a lot of people would associate with me, but that is the me that is the leftist media that I like, for whatever reason, I really love it. And so, Chapo trap house, Michael Brooks zero books VOSH, who's been on the show, and he's great. I love VOSH and several, several other creators Matt Taibbi, who is, you know, the great journalist. He's a fantastic leftist journalist. He has a show called useful idiots, the hill rising on the hill, and they're great. Sometimes a lot of the time, but I just started to find the especially after Bernie dropping out. The left has become I'm okay. And let me preface this by saying I'm a stupid leftist. I'm not a smart leftist. I'm a leftist who I politics is a very side gig for me. And I know what I think but I'm not very good at articulating why, or why it that it's just not my forte, and I know that about myself, so I identify as a stupid leftist. But I found a lot of the people on the left, especially after Bernie dropped out, it became so vicious and ugly, and cynical. And, and, and Doomer. And I'm and I am so prone to being a Doom or anyways, like, I'm so prone to just looking at, you know, Christian nationalism in America and climate change in the far right, and Donald Trump and how defeated the left has been over and over and over again on a lot of issues, not all issues but on a lot of issues especially lately and just want to give up and just want to get like just give up in despair and be like fuck it, there's no way and just dissolve into cynicism and I found that this leftist media was actually starting to really push me in that direction, for whatever reason. And this combination of a of aggressive sin, aggressiveness with cynicism, and I just didn't like the person I was becoming i guess i i didn't like the thought patterns that I was finding myself have like, I still need hope. I don't want to cast everyone is evil. I don't you know, I don't like that and, and I've been very, very upset. I've been very alarmed by the leftists who are Bernie and busters and and like, trust me, I get it. I think that Biden is a geriatric senile rapist, warlord, and Biden versus Trump is not the geriatric Thunderdome, the grandpa Thunderdome? I wanted, and for 2020, like, but I'm going to vote for Biden, and I think everyone should vote for Biden, because I don't think he don't I don't think he has the existential threat to humanity that Trump is, but the left is very divided right now over that. And Noam Chomsky came out, you know, like the Gandalf the fucking Gandalf of the left, like the the old man on the mountain came down from his cave, and said, You need to

Greg Stevens 29:43 I love that description so much.

Stephen Bradford Long 29:46 Like, yes, you know, he came down from his mountain, and was like, You need you all need to vote for Biden. I don't know what the actual quote was. But you all need to vote for Biden. And then people on the left started saying, Oh, he's Sold out. Chomsky has sold out. And I'm like Chomsky is literally like 5 million years old, and he is consistent. He has consistently been on the left he is he is one of the modern architects of the modern left. How the fuck does Chomsky sell out?

Greg Stevens 30:19 Like, I think I remember I remember when that happened. And I do think that the reflex that some people had to just knee jerk, say, the chumps of soda. It did. It did reflect a certain shallowness of thinking. I mean, it was a knee jerk reaction, it was what they, it was what those people would have said, regardless of who said it, which showed an incredible lack of knowledge of context or, or anything. And yeah, I actually even I remember I was, I was so entertained by the fact that all of the tweets that I was seeing about Noam Chomsky would refer to him as like, Noam Chomsky himself or known fucking Chomsky, or, you know, it was always actually I actually made you saw it, I saw it, I made a twitter poll. I was like, alright, which of these titles is more superlative when you have so and so you know, himself or print you know, first name fucking last name? Like I just want to know, you know, which one should we should we consider like the real winner in this

Stephen Bradford Long 31:21 line of like, Contra fucking points? Yeah, he's so Noam Chomsky has joined the First Name fucking last name Hall of Fame for the left. You know there's contra it's a certain level Yes. Natalie fucking when aka contra fucking points and then now known fucking Chomsky. No, I I've just been so I don't know. So demoralized because I had, you know, there was this moment. Okay, so actually, there was this moment or and I have not talked about this yet. So I bring this up, fully acknowledging Pena MOU, that you are not my therapist. And you are under no obligation to to act like one. But there was this period, when during the first primary where things were looking really fucking good for Bernie. And, and I just prematurely was like, we've got this, you know, no one gives a fuck about Biden, he hasn't done he has he's hardly done any campaigning. He's, you know, he's clearly he's clearly on the decline and whoever is forcing him to campaign should be convicted of elder abuse because the man needs to be in a nursing home. And, or, you know, home with his family enjoying his final years. Like, no one, no one cares about Biden, things are looking really good for Bernie and I allowed myself to feel a bit of hope. You know, and I allowed myself kind of the I think what a lot of leftists were feeling actually like this. Things felt possible for once, because Bernie had this amazing turnout in the first primaries. And, and then it all went to fucking hell. And South Carolina, the South Carolina primaries happened or leading up to the primaries, things were looking really good for Bernie. I mean, and yeah, leading up to the primaries, things were looking really good for Bernie and it's like I had, I allowed myself to feel a little bit of hope. And, and then South Carolina happened. And, you know, everyone, and a lot of Democrats came out for Biden, and Bernie just lost he just didn't have the votes. He just he just lost the votes. He could not win them. And so that happened that was super fucking demoralizing. And then COVID-19 hit and so I feel like I feel like I'm on this devastate. I don't know like I've I went on this devastating downward spiral after this brief moment of uplift of being like, oh my god, we got we have a chance Bernie could win Bernie could be the nominee.

Greg Stevens 34:36 And having hope was obviously your first mistake.

Stephen Bradford Long 34:39 Having hope was obviously my first mistake. Oh, literally, I should be a Doomer. Clearly I should know and I don't regret having hope. Like I I'm not. I don't regret hoping that Bernie could win because I think things were actually all the evidence. I had suggested that he had a chance However. So then Biden won all most of the primaries and then Bernie dropped down in the midst of Coronavirus and then the Coronavirus fucking hit. And now we're in like, we're like on our way to like Mad Max. And you know, I have a lot of bondage gear in my closet right now that's not being used. And I've talked to my couple. Well, and I've talked to my co manager about how, you know, we should just start coming to work and like Mad Max bondage gear. You know, it's just sitting there. It's not being put to any use, we might as well.

Greg Stevens 35:41 I mean, honestly, there's never a wrong time to go to work in Mad Max bondage.

Stephen Bradford Long 35:46 I agree with that. To quote, Dave, I think I agree with that.

Greg Stevens 35:54 I agree with that. I think that no, I mean, I, I don't I didn't follow the same emotional journey that you did. Because I was never a full throated Bernie supporter. I was more leaning towards Warren for a while and, and so I just, you know, I kind of was, I was one of those that very early on was leaning against, just like, Oh, I really need just another old white guy. Like, can't we do better than that. And so I was never a full throated not to just anything wrong with Bernie like, I was, I was somewhat excited about the possibility of Bernie being the nominee, when it looks like that might be a possibility as well, but I was never like, you know, full throated. Yeah, this is gonna be amazing. And so I think I didn't have the same dip. You know? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I journey for that reason.

Stephen Bradford Long 36:51 And, and looking back, it was probably a bit naive on my part. And I think a lot of leftists are in this position, where I mean, I, I am 100%. I was 100%. Like, like, bear my tits for Bernie, like, I if I saw him in person, I would just show him my hairy bear tits and have him sign. Sign them so that I could get them tattooed. So I could so I could get his signature tattooed like, I was a full blown Bernie, bro. And I don't know, I will acknowledge that it might have been a bit naive, you know, and, and looking back, I think that if he had one, it would have been good. But it wouldn't have been easy to accomplish the things that he wanted, and it's likely that we wouldn't have even accomplished most of them.

Greg Stevens 37:52 I agree with that. Yeah, I think I think that I think that in some ways, I not actually, I don't want to say that. I was gonna say that. I'm glad. No, that's not true, I still would have much preferred Bernie, over Biden. But at the same time, I think that we would have been in for a rude awakening, had Bernie been elected president, even beyond just being the nominee for president, because the structures that we have in place would have grounds to a complete fucking halt. Like, yeah, you've been able to accomplish anything because of having not just obviously, just the wall of Republicans against him, but because he has, from time to time not made friends within the Democratic Party. You know, there were well there as well. And we would have really had revealed the extent to which the President when, when not, you know, working all of these angles, and these collaborations really can't do anything. And I think it would have been duck we all have been. I mean, I think that a lot of us, on an emotional level have been bamboozled by things like um, like, like the fantasy, the fairy tale like the Lion King. You remember seeing the Lion King. So like in The Lion King, you've got this lion, who is the good ruler who's caring and just and there's food, and it's sunny, and everybody is doing well. And then the evil lion, dude, I'm forgetting the names right now. God evil lion to pick Yes, thank you, becomes the king.

Stephen Bradford Long 39:33 And all of a sudden, Jeremy Irons. Yes,

Greg Stevens 39:37 everything goes good, and there's no food and there's nothing. And then at the very end, when the good, Simba becomes king, and all of a sudden, everything becomes good. Again, just by virtue of the fact that symbol was a good lion and scar was a bad line. You didn't talk anything about their policies, didn't talk anything about like what they were actually doing to accomplish this like great difference in the amount of food available or anything else. But it was just that by having a leader who was a good person, you get a wealthy happy country by having a leader who is a bad person, you get devastation. That was kind of the subtext of The Lion King. And I think a lot of people kind of work on that assumption, not consciously, of course, but like, that's the thing like, Oh, if we get someone who's virtuous and moral and a good carry person, then things will be okay. And no, they fucking won't.

Stephen Bradford Long 40:34 And yeah, and that will, I guess, I mean, I mean, that was exactly what happened with Obama too. Yeah, you know, and, and,

Greg Stevens 40:43 and, moreover, Obama already was having to play the game that one of the things he gets criticized so hard about by the left is all of this sort of compromise and finagling. And he was called like, oh, yeah, Obama's the best you know, conservative president we've had in a while haha. But because I think that he on some level, he realized his own preference for how to do health care reform or whatever, almost didn't matter because of what you and I were just talking about a second ago if you aren't able to make alliances and stuff, you can't get anything fucking done. And so even Obama didn't accomplish everything that he wanted to be accomplished more than she would have by all those compromises that the left hate him for that if he hadn't made compromises. Yeah, that's the system we have.

Stephen Bradford Long 41:34 Exactly. And you know, my like, I tweeted something. When a I was not very fucking right in the head. After Yeah, big, big mistake. Yeah, don't do the complete aside, I'm realizing that I didn't actually introduce who you are. Oh, hi, this is Pena Moo. He is the director of ministry for the Satanic Temple and to the executive producer for the Satanic Temple TV. Okay, moving on. So now you know, 40 minutes in or however long it is. It's all good. People, people know who you are pretty well,

Greg Stevens 42:21 so I'm just some guy really?

Stephen Bradford Long 42:24 He's just some dude. With gorgeous hair. Perfect. Perfect Hair. I'm so sad.

Greg Stevens 42:34 I might have to riot soon. If I don't get a haircut though. Like I've heard this is the way to solve it. And like, cause trouble in the streets. I somehow this is what Hey,

Stephen Bradford Long 42:43 are you might have to turn into me. So I am I am made for this moment. Um, I have been I am living my best life. Can you hear me? Okay? Did my audio just shut out? Okay, great. So my I am living my best fucking life right now because I've been practicing my whole life for this. For this moment. I have been a cellar dwelling gamer boy my whole fucking life. And now I have an excuse. Same with John, my partner like John is so introverted. I might as well have an imaginary friend. And like he is he is Hobbs to my Calvin. And so we're both just living our best life. You know, we're playing lots of video games, getting lots of reading done and I'm just letting my hair grow out very long. It's wet right now so you can't see it. But when it's not wet, it is huge. And Aedes and I have kind of a moment going on in the back. I look like Joe exotic. I need to die. I need to dye the top blonde like Joe exotic.

Greg Stevens 43:50 You could shave the sides and do a mohawk Yes, I

Stephen Bradford Long 43:53 could do that to hold on a cat Neato. Alright, okay, I was I was saying something. Well, what the fuck was I saying? Oh, yeah. So, you know, when I Okay. The thought that I had before I completely derailed it with a self interrupted with another thought was when I was not very sane. And this was during the grocery apocalypse. And I was just physically rundown. And I was and, you know, dealing with Bernie, you know, dropping out and being sad about that, but also seeing the complete and utter incompetence and disgusting levels of disregard for human life on the far right. During the pandemic, just like oh, yeah, let's just reopen and if all people have to die, that's fine. That's okay. It's worth it. Just seeing that I tweeted. The right is a death cult. You Republicans are a death cult and Democrats are craving careerists. And thinking about that. I'm not actually sure if that's all true. I'm not sure if all Democrats if all centrist liberals, if all liberals in general are are just craving careerists and realizing that it's true for a lot, probably, but it isn't true for all and I shouldn't end but I. And that's what I found a lot of the leftist media I was consuming pushed me towards was just this, this categorizing of, of any centrist or any, anyone less left than me as being Craven. And that's not true. I mean, it's just, it's just not true. You know, maybe a lot of them are Craven careerists, but be Ezra Klein is not a fucking supervillain because he isn't as far left as me. You know?

Greg Stevens 46:10 Sure, we'll see, ya know, I mean, I think this is a this is a legitimately complicated conversation. Yes, it is. Because when you talk about rhetoric, there are, you know, any sort of rhetoric is simultaneously sort of two different purposes. One is for communication of information, and one is for achieving an effect. Right. And, yeah, and so, and there's, and there is some burden on the listener to sort of understand context. And so, you know, you don't want to wander too far into the, you know, the not all, you know, hashtag not all, not all men, it's like, yeah, of course, when, when anyone's ever says, So and so category are like this, there's, um, there's usually an implicit acknowledgement that does doesn't mean every instance of the group is like that, it means that there's a general tendency. And so you don't want to wander too far into being really pedantic about like, generalized statements. But on the other hand, you also don't want to wander too far into the accepting wholeheartedly without any nuance these generalizations because that also, you know, problematic, exactly what the solution shouldn't be. So like, there's some there's got to be some sort of middle ground in that dialogue. Exactly.

Stephen Bradford Long 47:32 And I feel like I have, and I feel like I'm not even close to figuring that out. Like, I feel like I'm not even close to figuring out that balance. And lately, my lately my honestly, this is the first time I think I've talked about, like, political candidates on the show. This was not at all the conversation I expected to have tonight.

Greg Stevens 47:57 We have notes about the topics and this is not on the list. Yes, we have.

Stephen Bradford Long 48:01 We have actually notes for the show tonight. And this was not at all intended, but it is it's fine. It is a good conversation, because I think a lot of people are struggling with this. And

Greg Stevens 48:16 I started using this as a quick plug. I wasn't doing this before. But um, but I've been working there's a there's a show that I've been working on for the Satanic Temple TV, kind of for a while. But I'm, we're finally in the in the last stages. And I think that it's going to be we're going to be dropping a premiere is going to be sometime this month. And I'm super excited about it. And it is we decided the title that we decided on for the show is unraveling. And it is a dialogue show it's a discussion shared between myself and my friend, Gregory Stevens, his name is also Gregory Stevens. And, and it's it's and he's this incredibly smart, incredibly well educated guy. His background is dramatically different from mine. He actually went to he got a master's in divinity and was a Baptist minister. Where

Stephen Bradford Long 49:18 did he get his master's of divinity by the way? Do you know?

Greg Stevens 49:22 I don't know offhand. Unfortunate. Okay,

Stephen Bradford Long 49:24 cool. No worries. I

Greg Stevens 49:24 feel like maybe somewhere in San Diego but Fuller

Stephen Bradford Long 49:27 was at Fuller Seminary. I would have to know where to go now.

Greg Stevens 49:32 But um, but but now he did you know, then he was very dramatically you know, sort of fired from his church for being like to left wing which was weird because he was specifically hired to be the like, noisy. Young like appealing to young people like he was kind of hired for that box. But, but then now One thing is that we both agree on so much. But we also fundamentally disagree on certain things too. Specifically. He's an anarchist. He he is He is full on like, we've, when we talk about Satanism, he is he likes the idea of Satanism. He's like, come to it relatively recently. But he feels that the Satanic Temple is too conservative, because he doesn't think that it makes sense to participate in such a genocidal, corrupt horrific system as capitalism, and we should be spending every single moment that we have trying to tear it down. And, and I'm just not, I'm just not there. I'm pretty far left, but I'm not there. Yeah, um, and we see so much dialogue on social media, especially where, like you were just talking about this is what made me think of it is the, the, you know, accusing anyone who, you know, excusing anyone who isn't as far left as whatever stake in the ground, as you know, being complicit or as being, you know, as being essentially complicit in genocide and a mass murdering machine because of the fact that you're not the you're not trying to, you know, tear down and boycott the military or whatever. And so we decided we were going to do a show where we talk about stuff, because the fact is Gregory and I have been friends for years. And so we can have a conversation where we can even sort of be overt and express the fact that like, like, Dude, you really frustrate me sometimes I don't understand how you can't get this like we can have that level of. Yeah, but But it won't turn into one of those like, oh, you know, you're in it won't become a name calling whatever thing like it often becomes on social media. Yes, we decided on the name of the show being unraveling, because I'm really entertained by the fact that the word unravel can mean both explain and

Stephen Bradford Long 52:09 destroy, and simultaneously Oh, I love that, actually. Oh, that's, that's fantastic.

Greg Stevens 52:16 So we'll keep an eye out. For that we're hoping to we're going to try to drop a trailer in the next week or two and get the first episode, it's going to be a Live series, which is something we've been doing on the Satanic Temple TV, where each episode comes out as a live episode. And then the recording of it goes in, you can also get you know, see it as a series episodic series The recordings afterwards, but as the individual episodes are just recorded live events. That's awesome.

Stephen Bradford Long 52:43 Yeah, and by the way, everyone, everyone should be subscribing to the satanic temple.tv. That's the address online on the browser. Just go right now. It's so easy, it is so easy to do just go in and type the satanic temple.tv and subscribe. It's just $15 a month, it isn't anything, is it? 1510 I don't remember five, I think

Greg Stevens 53:14 it's 999 a month for a membership. Now. There you go. I do want to point out that because we do know a lot of people are struggling with with stuff right now, we have made a commitment to keep a lot of content. Like some for example, all of our live events are free. And so for these live series, when it's airing, it's free and if you want to like get access to that then you become a member but um, but a lot of our things have been you know, if you want to catch it live, then it is free. And then you get access sort of the archives as it were as being a paid member so

Stephen Bradford Long 53:53 that's really cool. Yeah, so everyone needs to go watch the what was what's the name of the process church documentary? I can't remember Yeah, Sympathy for the Devil Sympathy for the Devil. Everyone needs to watch Sympathy for the Devil and then there's some really cool stuff about Genesis P orage. And Anton LaVey and yeah, super cool stuff. So go that's the that's the plug. Okay, so I guess at this point in the conversation, we can go in two different directions. One is a direction that we did not plan for at all and the other direction is what we did plan for because you mentioned a social media and be accusations on the left of not being left enough and that means that you might be a crypto fascist Okay, so um I'll leave it up to you to decide which which way we want to go and I'm at this point I'm okay talking about either.

Greg Stevens 54:54 I mean, the conversation is is worth having. I feel like On, I feel like maybe we should have dedicated another another point in time for that. Let's do that might need a caffeinated drink and, and

Stephen Bradford Long 55:09 nitrile more might need a bong might

Greg Stevens 55:12 something something in the in the emotional reserves.

Stephen Bradford Long 55:16 I mean, if we're going to sell flagellate in that way we I'm definitely going to need, I'm going to need some liquid courage for that. But yeah, that's an interesting conversation. We can have that one later and for people who have no idea what we're talking about, that's okay. Just that is totally fine. Okay, so we would so Okay, so on the show, um, social media, we you mentioned social media and how things get distorted so easily on social media. I've been reading a lot of books lately about big tech. And of course, I just recently had both Lucien and a, what's his name? Oh, God, I'm such a terrible host raw Larson. Rob Larson, who is an incredible socialist economist and super smart guy. He's a smart socialist, he is a counterpoint to my stupid socialist. He is one of the smart socialists and He's, um, and he wrote a book called bit tyrants. I think it is a, I released that show a week or two ago, definitely go check it out. And so he is very critical, of course of big tech. His book covers the primary and he he approached it primarily as an economist, so he, he approached it purely as an economist. Here are the evil, villainous things that these gigantic companies have done to their workers, for example. And here's what we can do to organize to help stop them from abusing Amazon warehouse workers, you know, really important stuff. Here's, here's how we can organize to help Foxconn who who does who makes the iPhone who manufactures the iPhones. In China, here's how we can organize to put pressure on them so that, you know, their workers don't go on a suicide strike, which did happen, because the conditions are horrific. And yeah, so he approached it primarily as an economist and didn't talk as much about big data and the collecting of information. But he touched on it and then I had Lucien on Lucian, grieves, the founder, co founder of the Satanic Temple spokesperson of the Satanic Temple. And he has a very, we spend a lot of time on our previous over to our conversation talking about this about big tech, and especially Facebook, how destructive Facebook has been. That is a talking point for him. I think that Greg is laughing. Greg is holding back laughter.

Greg Stevens 58:01 You're not even mentioned Facebook, in His presence will launch I did entire rant.

Stephen Bradford Long 58:08 So I learned that actually, I it was great. I loved it. I love when I have a guest, where I just say a word and it's like, boom, and they just go for the next hour. And that is exactly what Lucien did and I fucking loved it. It was great. I, so I I personally lean towards, okay, how do I how do I feel about big tech, because we're talking about this, this has been coming up on the show unexpectedly, because we're all relying on technology more than we ever have before, right? You know, we're in this apocalypse, we're all hiding out in our homes. And we are connecting through social media, through Facebook, through Twitter, and through these video platforms, and through discord, so on and so forth. And a lot of these platforms collect big data. So now is actually a really fucking good time to have this conversation about big tech and our relationship to it. Um, my personal, I guess, position is that I think technology is generally a force for good. I think it makes humanity better. I think the technology that we're on right now we're talking on Zoom. makes the world a better place. And I think the concept of social media is good. I think the business plan for social media as it stands right now is very bad, personally, and I and I fear that it brings out the worst in humanity. I fear that the way the business plan of I They fear that the business plan of platforms like Facebook, and Twitter and Google, which is basically, you are not the customer, these other gigantic third parties, invisible third parties who want to manipulate you for weird creepy ends, they are the customer, and your data is the currency. And that hits me on a really deep visceral level. And so I understand that I might not actually be thinking about this very clearly, because we've been primed for generations by books like 1984, and Fahrenheit, 451, and so on, you know, we've been primed forever by dystopian sci fi to, for this stuff to come up and for it to be bad. And so and it, and it hits me on a very visceral level. Like, that's awful. That's bad. And I do think that a lot of stuff that Facebook has done is fucking criminal, if not criminal, just fucking reckless and is not good. But that isn't to say that technology is evil. That isn't to say that data collect and here's, here's my more ambiguous feeling on it. Is mass data collection on us alone? Bad when it isn't being sold to third parties? Is it bad? And is there so much data on so many people that it just becomes meaningless? Like, you know, like, they, like they know, Greg, like, they know all your favorite kinks. They know every single thing about you. Same with me. They know my routine, like, but but doesn't matter? Because they know that about every other human being on this planet? Does the fact that it happens to everyone make it meaningless? I don't know. Your thoughts? I feel a so you've okay. And also, let me preface you, I'm asking you this, because you've done a lot of thinking about this. You're a tech guy, you do. I read I read your LinkedIn account, actually. And I understood only about a fifth of what it said, I understood only about a, a tiny portion of, of have, I understood that you got a doctorate and something. And that was about that was about or a master's in something. And that was about the last thing I understood. So

Greg Stevens 1:02:39 um, so right, I have, let's say, so I have have thought about specifically the question of privacy for a while I actually, I was in an argument with Lucien, like, maybe six months ago, eight months ago, we were talking about privacy. And, and for some reason, I got on a kick, I was like, I was like, I've written about this topic a lot. So I went back, and I went to check. And so sort of googled myself a little bit on this. And it turns out that like I've written starting in, I think the earliest one out there that I've written is like, 2010. Yeah, and I have written, you know, a dozen more more things on the topic of privacy, and all of them have been fairly consistently, like repudiating people for expressing privacy concerns. Now, I want to, I want to be very careful about like, explaining what I mean by that. Because I'm, I'm not like, I guess. So. The funny thing is, when it comes to and I'm sorry, before I get sidetracked on that, I'm also my technical background, before I quit, my corporate job is in big data and machine learning and analytics. And so it was exactly during the sort of, like, you know, what kind of

Stephen Bradford Long 1:04:00 so So you were like the evil scientist, you're, you're like the the evil scientist behind, you know, in the lab concocting these things that all of the privacy, you know, people who are worried about privacy are stressing over.

Greg Stevens 1:04:17 Even worse, I was in the energy sector. And so, so, so like, so but but yeah, I was like looking at all sorts of data, and trying to come up with predictive models or these different sorts of things to try to figure out things about people based on this massive, massive flow of data and information that we got about them. And it was like, you know, for real it was like, you know, in, in the energy sector, you know, it's like you can depending on where you are in the country and where, what grid you're on, like potentially your energy company can get your energy usage every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, exactly how it fluctuates over different things. Between that and frickin, you know, Google Maps and all these other things like, you can get a lot of information about people, whether or not they're home, how many people are in the household, what their daily routine is, whether or not they go on vacation regularly, certain times of year, is all stuff that can be sort of inferred from this, this type of information. This information is also very heavily regulated and controlled by within the energy sector, and so it's not per se public data, but it's information that the the energy company has, right. So um, so that's so that was sort of just to give you by sort of where I'm coming from why

Stephen Bradford Long 1:05:46 so this is exactly this is. So that is exactly the background that I want to hear from actually because what I have been ingesting is people is with the exception of Jaron Lanier, whose book 10 arguments to delete your social media accounts right now, I read his book recently, with the exception, and he was like, you know, he's been a longtime techie in Silicon Valley. But with the exception of him, all of the criticisms of big data have come from not that I have heard and that I have arrived, have come from concerned citizens who are not part of that industry and don't have an insider view. So it's very, this is actually exactly what I want to hear.

Greg Stevens 1:06:37 And, and it's interesting, because in our day to day lives, we do always come in contact with the conveniences of having a big data and big data analytics, you know, all of the things from the little targeted selections of interest stuff you might be interested in. And I remember I actually, last year, I gave a talk at a artificial intelligence and machine learning conference in Las Vegas. And at this conference, I'm like, poking around and watching other people's presentations. And there was a presenter there from Netflix. And, and I, there was something about Netflix in that talk that I didn't realize, and now that I've been told I can't unsee it. So this is this is what I learned at this talk. Awesome. He was saying that not only like everybody knows that the recommended, you know, things you might like, is based on patterns of things you've watched, and it's very, very sensitive, like they get information about not just what you've watched, and how long, but like thumbnails, you've hovered over different amounts of time and what data was when you hovered over it, and they can infer and from that they can infer things like you know, whether sometimes they can tell differences in patterns, whether there's a spouse home, looking over your shoulder to see whether or not you hesitate longer on certain types of movies than others.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:08:00 Oh, that's cool, and creepy. It's creepy, creepy, creepy Creel gets gets creepy and cool. It's career.

Greg Stevens 1:08:13 cruelty, yes. But then on a whole nother level, you mentioned that like, there are more subtle types of tailoring of the content as well. Like, for example, a lot of these days, it's very common for the big movies and TV shows to have more than one primary cover image for the show. And the one that you see is tailored to you.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:08:45 I didn't know about this, actually, I forget where I read. I read something about this a couple of years ago.

Greg Stevens 1:08:52 And it's something that I was unfamiliar with, and but you know, listening to this talk, you know, and so the example that they gave in the talk was Stranger Things. You know, if you have shown a habit of watching family oriented things with Kinston you'll get the Sunday with the cute kids. If you ever haven't. You get the big creature. And so like, right, what's the one I get? Right? The one you see will depend on and so all of a sudden I had that moment of revelation. I was like, that's why it's always shirtless guys on every show standing through but yeah, so it's really to what you were likely to to select and and a lot of people find that whether it's that or whether it's Twitter recommended stores or whatever it is, right. A lot of people do find that convenient, right? They don't like open edges into creepy

Stephen Bradford Long 1:09:48 I love Yeah, I love it for like Kindle. You know, like Kindle knows exactly what I want to read. Yeah, I fucking love it.

Greg Stevens 1:09:56 It does. It does have it. It's To the you know, it has some obvious drawbacks and some obvious complaints where people say, Oh, well, what if I'm deliberately looking for something new or different, but like, you know, don't think that the people who are in the analytics and marketing departments whose companies don't realize that that's an objection, like, they're working on that as well, like, that's a problem that they want to solve. Because they're all very motivated to sort of get, you know, you're interested in their products and all these things. So, um, so in that sense, there, in that sense, we're all very used to being okay with certain types of data, you know, not being, you know, private or being fed back to us and used in a, sort of, for the purposes of encouraging our further capitalism. Um, and so I, I feel like, I worry about the conversation about privacy, because I feel like, in some ways, it's a, it very easily distracts us from what the real problem is. So I bring up that example of convenience as just one example of a case where, you know, it's like, there's certain types of privacy or certain, I want to say types party, but just certain boundaries that are a little bit squishy, you know, in terms of what we care about and what we don't. There's also another facet of the way privacy is constructed legally. That is very, very squishy. And if you don't mind, like we're chatting for a while right here, I'm going to tell a quick story

Stephen Bradford Long 1:11:40 for it. Yeah, no, I, I am locked in quarantine in my office. And if I wasn't talking to you, I would be lip reading a book or playing Animal Crossing. So Well, alright. So I will try to go for it. Maybe this will be the Yes. So I'm describing by the way, I'm describing peep to potential guests. Like think of it as like, long Joe Rogan show, like his chill hang out, but with less transphobia

Greg Stevens 1:12:13 Oh, god, yeah. Right. Excellent. Well, thank you for that qualifier. Yeah. So several years ago, I was I was called to serve on a jury. And, you know, I went down, I got the little letter. And, and I, I actually don't mind some people hate serving on juries.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:12:36 I think it's fascinating. I think it's really Yeah, I think it's cool.

Greg Stevens 1:12:41 I like it, because I feel like I'm doing I'm participating in the system in a positive way. And I also feel like, I get exposed to a cross section of people in that environment that I just wouldn't really wouldn't in my day to day life, I find it very interesting. Sure. And so I got selected for this for this jury. And it turns out that the case is a member of a biker gang, who is suing other members of the biker gang for having disclosed their HIV status at a biker gang meeting. So already is fascinating. The whole thing was, like this sitting on a single was was, was just mind blowing in so many ways. Because for one thing, I guess, I guess they commonly refer to each other by their like biker gang nicknames. And so even though when the people would first get up on the stand, they'd be introduced with their full name, I guess, maybe just because it was so common and so natural, they would refer to each other when we're counting events with the night biker gang nicknames. So we'd see the lawyer there in the suit, and they'd be dressed in, you know, whatever. They're dressed in the sleeveless leather vest, and a lawyer would say, so is it your allegation that on such and such date, tattoo Barbie came into the place?

1:14:05 That's great.

Greg Stevens 1:14:07 So so like, this is the sort of context and the whole thing, whether or not you know, some of the facts of the case were established. The the person who was the plaintiff did tell another person in the background about their HIV status. And, and it was added by at one of their events. The plaintiff said that it was their belief that because it was a one on one conversation, it was a private conversation. Yeah, the allegation of the defendant was, Oh, I just thought that because I was being told at this event, it was general public knowledge. And so later on what happened was the person who heard us there was some disagreement Did this person then according to the plaintiff, maliciously, according to the defendant, just out of not thinking it mattered, went and told everybody. And, and the entire way that we were instructed to think about the case, the jury was, you know, one of the key questions was, did the plaintiff have an expectation of privacy? A reasonable expectation of privacy, I should say, um, around the information about their HIV status, given that they told this one of the person at this public event. And so, and this is just one of the facets of, of privacy that I find very interesting is that from a legal the way, it's legally constructed. Now we can get into other philosophical notions of privacy, but as a legal construction, a lot revolves around this idea of an expectation, but when are you justified in expecting that something will be private? And I think that I think that that's, that's extremely difficult, especially as technology evolves, well, you can reasonably expect now, I mean, all right. So obviously, if you are walking down the street, and one of the big misapplications of the privacy concept that that you hear, and then even people start joke about it is like, the guy who gets caught being seen by a friend or coworker or wife coming out of the porn store. He's like, Oh, I feel so violated that this is an invasion of privacy. And of course, it's not an invasion of privacy, because he's walking out onto the street.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:16:44 Yes, exactly. Okay, but he didn't expect to be caught. So

Greg Stevens 1:16:47 he feels violated. And so even though legally, it doesn't stand up, that's where that intuition of privacy comes from. It's like, well, I thought, I thought that I wouldn't be able to, you know, that no one would find out. And so therefore, I feel as though it should be private. But

Stephen Bradford Long 1:17:09 well, okay, so basically, what I'm hearing you say, is that there is a dissonance between the intuitions regarding privacy, and the reality and, or legality of privacy. And that those are actually two very different things. And that we have to decouple them, we have to, we have to decouple the the intuitive sense of, of privacy, like the guy walking out of the porn shop. With, with the actual expectations of being a human being living in society, is that what I'm hearing you say?

Greg Stevens 1:17:51 I think that's the first step of the point that I'm making. Okay. But to an extent, to an extent. I mean, our legal system has always worked a little bit on intuition anyway, like, that's why we have juries and stuff, like, you know, it's, it's a constantly, you know, the even the whole notion of the term of expectation of privacy gives some gives some, you know, acknowledgement to the fact that there is this socially sort of constructed idea of what is reasonable to expect. And that's fine. I mean, our legal system has all kinds of vague things like that. And that's, you know, that's fine. That's human. But, um, but as technology goes on, and as we get these big data systems, and as we get these algorithms that can do more and more the question of what can reasonably be expected, also becomes very interesting. Back when I was living with my husband in Dallas, and we had the little ring, the little the ring, doorbell with a little camera.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:18:56 Yeah, that's what I have. I mean, so yes, house is basically, you know, suited up with Amazon. So, you know, we have the Alexa we have a ring. Yeah.

Greg Stevens 1:19:09 And so and so, like, you know, it used to be maybe, you know, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, person, you know, comes home, comes home, stumbling a little bit having trouble getting in the door at 2am and has the expectation that the next morning when I wake up, and I'm like, Oh, hey, when did you get in a lot of know a little bit after midnight or whatever, it might have the expectation that um, you know, you'll get away with that. And of course, now I can go back and look at the video nope, says here at 2:30am. Actually, honey. And, and as technology changes, more and more of that's going to be the case you can be when you're walking down the street. You have not only the fact that you're walking down the street, but all of that now can be potentially recorded, collected with other data correlated with other information about how often how regularly you walk down the street at that time of day, inferences can be made. We have satellites that can have high enough resolution images of you, when you're walking down the street, to be able to tell how quickly and slowly you're walking, which potentially could be used to infer your mood. We have all we have all these sorts of different avenues of information. And so now, as our computer systems get better and better at figuring stuff out with patterns of data, this is what big data and analytics really are about. It's about looking at the minutiae of details, of masses of information, and being able to find patterns to be able to make inferences. And so let me put this to you. F, if I can infer something from public information that you normally would consider private, is it private? Or is it public? If I, if the computer systems can look at the pattern of of how quickly you're walking with the expression on your face, because you know, the satellites, if they're not that good, now, there will be soon they can look at these things that are publicly viewable information. If they can, they can calculate, draw diving into their massive database of what sorts of things caused people to act or change their behaviors in certain ways and come up with an inference about something about you that you normally would think, Oh, I haven't told anyone that That's private. Is that private? Or is it public? Because the computer algorithm figured it out based on public data?

Stephen Bradford Long 1:21:58 So what I'm hearing is that we expect privacy not to scale with the development of technology.

Greg Stevens 1:22:14 Yes, that is exactly. Exactly. That is exactly what I think that as our computational power increases, as our technology improves, we're going to rapidly approach the point where nothing, nothing substantive is private. Because if something can be inferred from public information, there's no grounds for believing it to be private.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:22:43 Yeah. So yeah, I mean, I get that. And I guess that is, I don't know, I guess that's kind of my when I say everything, everything is public. Therefore, my personal information being mined, or known, collected, I should say, becomes meaningless. I guess that's what I'm talking about. It's like, it's happening to everyone. Therefore, why should I care that Alexa is listening to me, but fuck my husband in the next room?

Greg Stevens 1:23:25 But well, let's go into that a little bit. Because, um, because when you ask when you really dig down into this Congress, and this is why I started off this whole thing, saying that I feel that the argument about privacy is a distraction, or can get people to stop it from what really matters? And let me go back to Yes, please, because

Stephen Bradford Long 1:23:45 that did interest me a lot. And I And if, and I have a question that I will ask later that might tie in to that.

Greg Stevens 1:23:52 Um, yeah. And this is directly related to what what you were just saying is that when you ask, you know, and yes, that hypothetical question, why should it matter? Like, when you ask people, when you really get into this conversation, why does privacy matter what you mean by privacy, and why do you care? Usually, the answer is some sort of form of not necessarily intrinsically about the information simply being in existence somewhere. It's about how it potentially could be used. Exactly. So yeah. And

Stephen Bradford Long 1:24:27 that's why and that's the issue with Facebook. And like I was about to ask you, sorry, I'll just go ahead and throw it out there. Do you personally have an issue with having Facebook on your phone? No. And we can talk about this maybe a bit later, knowing the specific ways in which data on that platform has been used, of course, the whole annal Cambridge analytical, whatever, microtargeting advertising to people to manipulate elections, so on and so forth. worth. That strikes me as a very creepy and bad use of big data, while maybe the collection of data itself that feels more ambiguous to me honest,

Greg Stevens 1:25:16 exactly, well, no, that's a perfect example. Because if I work, what I would love to do, what I would love for us we as a culture to do is to move the conversation away from talking about what information should or should not be considered private, and away from the progress of composition and tours, data governance, what are you allowed to do with data?

Stephen Bradford Long 1:25:41 And isn't that something Sorry? Go on?

Greg Stevens 1:25:43 No, just because because and it's just in some ways, this is just one of those subtle like shifts of nuance. But I think it makes a huge difference, because as long as we're locked into this mindset of thinking that the topic of the conversation is classifying types of data as private or not private, it really prevents us from acting on solutions that are disordered solutions that matter, because it isn't a question of whether Facebook should or should not have data extra data. Why? Because like I said, in the end, they're going to be able to have good enough algorithms to figure out the types of data they shouldn't have, from the types of data they should have. So that's the wrong conversation to have, the conversation is let's assume everybody can get the data. Let's talk about governing what can be done with it and making sure that there are real consequences to using data improperly. So it's a data, I feel it should be a data governance conversation, not a privacy conversation, because privacy is, is getting everybody to look at it in a way that becomes mired in questions of types of data. And can you have the data on the server or not fuck it, if the data exists, or can be extrapolated, people will have it. So that is a useless conversation.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:27:03 Sorry, I'm getting all fired up here. But no, I love it, it's great.

Greg Stevens 1:27:07 Use this conversation to have because in the end, in the end, the data, the with Internet of Things with all of the sources of information out there, the data will be able to be obtained, I say in the passive voice. It's the idea of trying to prevent people from having it is simply a fool's errand. What we need to do is say, All right, let's assume that they're all going to get it. And that you can still make it hard for people, but let's not have our laws and restrictions and our governance based on trying to prevent it from getting there. Let's make it so the conversation we're having is, if you do this with people's data, then that's you know, then there's going to be these consequences. Because in the end, that's really what it's about what people you know, it's when people say that they want their information to be private, what they mean is, they don't want to be fucking blackmailed. They don't want to be manipulated. I was just, yeah, these things happen.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:28:08 Okay, so I was I was actually just going to bring that up. So base. So we already do this, we already have data governance, just not in the age of big data, if that makes sense. So it's like, you can extract so we have laws, for example, against libel, blackmail, slander, and threats of violence, right. Those are the big in my understanding, again, stupid leftist. And my understanding. Those are the big restrictions on free speech, right, slander, threats of violence and libel. In a way, that is data governance, we all we Does that make sense? Like we already do this, but but now that the data is scale is whether we like it or not, is scaling with the technology that we have, but we are expecting it to not scale? We have this intuitive sense that it shouldn't scale, when really we should just apply the same kind of government's governor or maybe not the same kind. But it isn't a big leap to say because we have this data, essentially, what is data governance and libel, slander, so on and so forth? There's no reason that can't scale either. I don't know. I don't know how much sense I'm making. Yeah, no,

Greg Stevens 1:29:45 I agree with that. I think that makes sense. And a part of it is is part of it is the that things aren't very well enforced. And part of it is that a lot of these issues are there aren't understood or the or simply are a sort of an untried in terms of case law and stuff. The whole thing is, the whole thing is a bit of when you get into new technologies, and the part of the problem is that you, you don't have things that are being properly enforced. And that's due, in part, I believe, it's just my opinion. Because the people who are sort of in the system, all the way through from the people who could bring the lawsuits to the people who are the judges, or to the people who are the legislators, they don't really understand, like, they don't understand the issues behind behind like what, you know, they don't know, they don't know who to when someone does a deep fake revenge porn of someone else. They don't know who's supposed to supposed to get blamed for that. And, and they're just real. There's, it's, it is, and that's another reason why my big appeal would be, you know, to have our cultural conversation shift to the to governance, because obviously, as you were just saying, the data governance side of it needs a lot of attention.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:31:18 It needs a it needs a ton of attention. And yeah, and the business plans, and this is this is something that I have a real, I have very real concerns about i i worry, and maybe this is just me being a Luddite, but I really worry if the way social media platforms are set up, the way their business plans work, are bringing out the very, maybe not the very worst, I shouldn't go that far, but bringing out the bad and human nature, and that there's something about the business plans themselves meaning, you know, Jaron Lanier goes into all of this. And I thought, you know, of all the perspectives that I've read on this lately. So I also recently read the circle by Dave Eggers, and this and Dave Eggers writes a and it's a novel. It's this kind of dystopian novel, which takes place in what is a very clear facsimile of Google and Facebook kind of combined. So it's like a, a search. It's a it's a search app plus social media plus payment app. It's everything. And

Greg Stevens 1:32:36 you just describe Google.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:32:38 Yes, I did. I just described Google. And, and my concern with that book, I don't know I, I enjoyed it. It was a fun read. But my concern with that book was Dave Eggers is seemed very opposed, not just to the uses of data, but the data itself. And those to me, that strikes me as a conflation. Those are two separate issues that require different wood that requires different philosophies and approaches. Right. And but I think a lot of people and if I'm hearing you correctly, I think a lot of people are conflating big data and the uses of big data as just one big thing. And that isn't correct. And so I you know, like I said, I have very grave concerns about social media, and it really scares me to Facebook, Facebook. Yeah, Facebook scares me Twitter scares me even though I practically no, I don't live on Facebook. I don't live on Twitter anymore actually have been really good. I only look good, bro. What's that?

Greg Stevens 1:33:58 You haven't been that good, bro. I've seen you.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:34:01 Hey, I, I only I only look at at Twitter now when I'm on my laptop. So it's off my phone completely. So that's good. No, I'm, I'm still a little degenerate Twitter troll. Who doesn't know how to control himself on Twitter, but I'm I'm getting better I'm learning every day every day. What's really alarming is when people are like how are you so chill on Twitter? Like, you know a lot of my followers have like, you're like the most chill person on Twitter. I follow and I'm like, Jesus Christ. That's mortifying. I feel like I'm ready to burn everything down on Twitter.

Greg Stevens 1:34:41 You um Well, I mean, I feel like I feel like just in the time that we've known each other and been talking about the topic of twitter using social media you've you've consciously like I know we've talked about this right? You've consciously Oh yeah. crafted a She'll response thing but but yeah, I mean, it's like we all is everyone should know that how chill the carefully crafted responses versus what might be going on inside. Oh my god, a lot of people use Twitter in a way where they don't carefully craft their responses maybe they're not familiar yet this connection but

Stephen Bradford Long 1:35:20 and it takes a Herculean effort to, to so I've had conflicts on Twitter that this is so fucking stupid that weeks later, I'm still so mad about, there's something about it where I know, and I know this because I've had these conversations in person where if I had that exact same conversation in person, it would have been fine. It would have been great. Or, or over or over the phone or even on Discord even in the chat logs on Discord would have been better. But there's something about Twitter and I and I know that it's fucking hacking my brain and when the only currency on social media is social currency, that I think is actually kind of a problem when you feel when the only currency on social media is, is your social rank, then suddenly, in that setting, disagreement feels so much fucking bigger. And, and anything that might demote your status in the tribe in the pack, you know, in the in the chimpanzee troop, that is the the human experience. Anything that might demote that or anything that might feel like it threatens that or anything that might threaten a sense of standing, any disagreement, it suddenly feels, there's something about Twitter, I think that amplifies that. And even though I know that it doesn't change the fact that it still happens. And so I've just realized, knowing it isn't enough, I have to just limit my use of Twitter. And amazingly, people hating you on Twitter doesn't matter as much when you're not on Twitter.

Greg Stevens 1:37:19 Well, I mean, first of all, in all sincerity, good for you for, for having that realization, and for having the realization that, that simply being aware of the thing doesn't necessarily solve the emotional aspect of it without actually behavior as well, because a lot of people don't even like a lot of people. It's so this isn't a criticism of people. By the way, this isn't a critique, but I'm saying is not to demean or criticize people who are caught up in it. But what I'm saying is that it is a very human thing, it's a very natural thing to get caught up in that moment. And to and to just have the, and it's I think Twitter has made it worse. I think that there's an extent to which the way that the immediacy and the interconnectedness of social media currently, is ramping up. What has been a gradual, you know, there's this exponential curve of interconnectedness that's been going on. I mean, forever, but, uh, you know, just thinking back to the internet 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and you know, yes, similar things sort of would happen on a smaller scale, like, like, I remember, in 1995, what was it? Three or four, when I have like,

Stephen Bradford Long 1:38:41 I was five years old,

Greg Stevens 1:38:43 five years old, I had a bad breakup with a with a boyfriend, who decided to take to use net. So shout out to anyone in the audience who's old enough to remember what Usenet was.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:38:58 Yes. I know when Usenet is because I've been reading these books about tech. I learned about it in my history class. Exactly. I learned about it. And my history class. Also, by the way, speaking of ancient history, Greg, aka Panama, just had a birthday. We're not going to ask him how old he is. That is forever a secret. It is a probe a deeply protected secret. All I know, is that he looks like he's in his 30s but he is not in fact, in his 30s No, I read this hilarious article by someone who interviewed you and it said a, a fit young man and his, you know, Greg Stevens, a fit young man in his 30s and I was like, I don't know how old Greg is, but I know he's not in his 30s

Greg Stevens 1:39:44 Right. Um, ya know, that's that kind of mistake is always very sweet. But, but yeah, like I remember so in like, 1993 for whatever it was, I had a bad breakup with a guy who was dating who, who decided to take Usenet and post all kinds of awful things about me. And you know, and I was horrified because in in that moment, I was like, Oh, everybody, this is the infamous everybody, everybody is seeing these things, and everybody is hearing these things about me. And, and I didn't even want to go on the internet and see because I was just so embarrassed and I was so crushed. And, and you know, the fact of the matter is that eventually when I got up the courage to go and look at what's right, first of all, no one fucking cared like the replies to the

Stephen Bradford Long 1:40:39 No, again, no one gives a shit.

Greg Stevens 1:40:41 Like, literally there was someone who wrote, why should we care about drama going on between the two living Kindles, that was like literally the really, that was one of the comments was left. But then But then of course, the reality also is that, you know, a year, a year later, two years later, it was it was a small corner of you know, us net, and it didn't really impact. And now of course, nowadays, things are slightly different, like social media is big, interconnected. And there can be real depending on what someone says about you, or how it gets amplified. And now employers can see it, you know, what isn't it this isn't the internet of 1993. And I recognize that, but at the same time, I'm like, you know, that that sort of feeling the every little slight that happens in social media. Now, that's something that was like the reality of using the internet, you know, 2030 years ago, but of course, it is all been amplified, and they all has become more of our universal human interconnected experience in, you know, in the world we're living in here in the United States, and, and in the countries where internet usage is really prevalent. So

Stephen Bradford Long 1:41:53 so it's like it with our current state of social media and all this information being out there and all the terrible things being out there. It's like, it does matter, but it doesn't have to. And we can create, and we can create an internet where, you know, everyone's dick pics are on the internet, because they are and it doesn't matter. It shouldn't have to matter. Right? Right. Like the fact that that's

Greg Stevens 1:42:17 the thing is, I think that there is a legitimate, legitimate argument to be made, that there are structural things about the way that internet functions that are allowing the worst to come out on people and stuff. But I also think that the problem isn't the technology per se. It's partially culture, and it's partially capitalism.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:42:40 Yeah. The incentives, the incentives create this disgusting system, where, okay, I'm gonna stop before I before I become like, full blown Jacobin, like full blown Bolshevik start, you know, hey, I'm

Greg Stevens 1:42:57 the one who threw out the comment, the problem is capitalism. And you

Stephen Bradford Long 1:43:01 and suddenly, I'm singing the, the Soviet anthem, suddenly, I'm donning like, that furry cap, and I'm, I'm ready to go. Okay, so. So let me ask you this, like, so? Do you have a problem? Or do you have concerns for example, about micro targeting? Meaning, or, or the way in which the way in which people become isolated within their worldview bubbles? And I was actually just recently listening. I think it was, I think it was actually on David Pakman, that I heard about this, where he was talking to someone who who talks about, or who studies the workplace. And he said, one of the real, one of the things that keeps different political views connected to each other. And so that so that empathy can be cultivated is the workplace will now people don't have that as much. And now people are living even more within social media, where they are micro targeted, because that's the business model. And does that worry you like the fact that, that my family members and I live in practically two different universes, where COVID-19 Would they live in a universe where COVID-19 is invent, you know, is, is caused by 5g networks, whereas I live in a universe where COVID-19 is a virus or the fact that like, say, if I enter a Google search, and if a Trump voter enters a Google search, we will get two different results. kind of cater to our viewers. Does that worry you?

Greg Stevens 1:44:51 Yes. Okay. Yes, it does. And it is and it is the sort of capitalism element of it. Now this is a very complicated conversation, but Because, because

Stephen Bradford Long 1:45:03 I'm just going to start every time you start opening your mouth, I'm just going to put up a sign that says, This is a complicated conversation and then put it back down again.

Greg Stevens 1:45:13 But the reason I say that is because I want to start down a path. So the first, the first reaction I have with this is, I mean, obviously, a big part of the problem with what you were just describing is the incentive structure, which means that traces back to capitalism, right? And, and I've long been of the belief that Google, Amazon, something like Facebook, like that these should be I'm gonna go out on my sort of personal, political, economic, like, ideal limb here. They should be regulated as utilities. And I'm talking about like,

Stephen Bradford Long 1:45:51 yas, queen, yas, Comrade 100%. They need to be utilities. I 100% agree. This is this is when I this is when I make out with you, because you just hit all of my buttons like that is all of the endorphins are going off right now? Yes, agreed, okay, gone.

Greg Stevens 1:46:10 And not even like these current, like, infected by capitalism, since you know, the 80s Like, notion of what utilities I'm talking about, like back, you know, in the 40s. And when people were like, yes, the purpose of government is to actually supply people with things, not just fight wars, dammit, we're going to have these things function. And, and yeah, like, they should be regulated as utilities, they should be functioning off of a model that is putting service to the public and the public interest as the primary goal. And fuck, you know, getting profits and fuck, like making more money, it should be about making sure that there's equal access to the to good quality information. Now, I believe all that but here's where it gets complicated.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:47:08 Okay, we're breaking up now. Sorry, it's over. I'm leaving. You've burst the bubble.

Greg Stevens 1:47:20 Because cuz, yeah. I mean, it's. And and I'm not saying that. I'm not saying that a system of I'm not saying that we shouldn't work towards that sort of ideal. I mean, I absolutely believe we should, yes. Once we really start getting into the question, once you start taking that series of saying, Alright, so how does that world this glorious future world that we're imagining, how does it actually function? Because the the way that the way that that can go off the rails, right, we've acknowledged we both agree capitalism can go off the rails and does the way that this other sort of approach can go off the rails is the isn't there's the inevitable question. If you think that the purpose of Google, I'm going to use that as my example, the purpose of Google should not be to feed you information that you want, but to feed information that is helpful, educational and correct. Right, right. It's the ideal. Now, in some situations, it's easily identified what those things are. But there's also a lot of gray area, there are situations where identifying what is educational and correct, is something that people disagree about. And so who decides is always the question that threatens it off the rails because we would all be in our, you know, Lefty progressive towers in

Stephen Bradford Long 1:48:53 our wisdom. Rino, obviously,

Greg Stevens 1:48:56 obviously, we know what the correct views are. But,

Stephen Bradford Long 1:49:03 of course,

Greg Stevens 1:49:04 but the reality is good, that like even setting aside some foolish notion that we might be wrong. Even even putting that aside. Of course, obviously, I'm joking. But even putting that aside any large scale social system that relies on any particular group of people having decision making power over what the what's correct, is inherently brittle. Because although you might have the people that you like and agree with in that position of power at that moment, in 10 years, 50 years, 100 years. It's much easier in a system that's already has the power lines set up so that there is a group of people who are deciding what the correct answer the people should see is it's easy for some other groups to simply We take over that system. And so having a having a power system that is as disheveled and fragmented, and frustratingly irritatingly non centralized as, as I don't even know as democracy or whatever the like that the kind of system is completely inefficient. But it's also difficult not impossible, but difficult for that quick kind of takeover. Because I fear that once we got in place, some sort of wonderful system, where you know, myself and the other the, you know, the scientific liberal elite that are well educated, and so on and so forth. And by the way, for those all y'all who don't know me and are tuning in now, I'm being fucking sarcastic,

Stephen Bradford Long 1:50:48 I will definitely make you left as king, you will be satanic king.

Greg Stevens 1:50:55 But let's see, even if, even if, like now, I was able to, like come up with this idea of like, who I think you know, what information Google should spit out. When you Google? You know, is evolution true? Or, you know, whatever is, you know, what caused Coronavirus? And I know what I think should be split up by that. And I think it shouldn't be decided by fucking what people feel like they want to hear or what will cause them to does or not what the answer to your question when you're typing to Google should be based on it all. But I also fear that if we were to actually try to craft once you get into the details of crafting a society, where there is like, how do you do it? What is the thing that decides the correct answer that Google should give to the question, and more importantly, what provisions are in place to prevent whatever that mechanism is. But there's an algorithm a committee whatever it is, from being taken over by the people who say the Coronavirus is caused by 5g and dinosaurs were around the time of Jesus, you know, how do you prevent that from happening? That's the struggle for that's the struggle that I come against. When I say okay, obviously, capitalism is not the right motivation structure for Google. Again, I'm gonna go with this as the one example, we discussed a few things, but people should be given answers that are true and helpful and educational. Yeah, the sticking point is, is like, whatever you come up with for an algorithm that figures out what that answer is, how do you make sure that that a system that definitively that isn't based on popularity of the answer, or bla bla bla, how do you what do you do to put in place something to prevent it from, you know, if your heads chopped off and you're frozen, then you're reawakened in 100 years and you look around you're like, oh, that fantastic system. That algorithm we put in place that forced to give correct answers has been somehow manipulated and and undermined. So now it's telling everybody that Jesus were dinosaurs and Coronavirus was called by 5g. How do you how do you guard against that?

Stephen Bradford Long 1:53:03 So basically, what I'm what I think I'm hearing is that social engineering is inevitable. Because that is kind of what that is, you know, having, whether it's an algorithm or a committee deciding how a search engine works is basically deciding what kind of society do we want? Right, what kind of that's, that's ultimately what that is. And social engineering is always fragile, and always precarious. There's no way for it not to be.

Greg Stevens 1:53:39 I mean, I mean, like, my see, and this is, this is one of these, this goes back to the conversation that I've had, and a lot of people have had over and over again, about, you know, because I would love to, I would love to, I mean, really, when it comes to my ideology, and, you know, my politics, like I have, I have ideals that I claim to, even though I sort of know that they may be factually wrong, because I think that they are important, as ideals to strive for. So like, so like, all of my sort of enlightenment era ideas. Yeah, the idea that, um, you know, well, you know, the Enlightenment era ideals that, you know, sort of, are the grounding of the, of the political philosophy, a representative of free speech and representative government, the idea that at our hearts, at our hearts, humanity is rational, and logical and good. So all you need to do is have everybody out there given their best arguments, and the truth will win out eventually. Like that's the environment Of course, as a person whose study psychology is fucking bullshit. Yes, yes, it is what doesn't work? We are not how human beings work. And we know that. But I don't know how else. I mean, obviously,

Stephen Bradford Long 1:55:15 obviously, you don't know how else to function. Right? And,

Greg Stevens 1:55:19 you know, there are I mean, of course, there's we have centuries worth of dialogue about, you know, part of the reason we don't have a pure representative system, we have a constitutional representative system, because there's certain things that we need to have really in the ground works that can't the shouldn't be voted on, you don't get to vote on whether or not you know, well, of course, even that's amendable. But the point is that, you know, that our political system has tried to accommodate the fact the, that this notion that free speech and discourse, you know, will lead to the best solution, like even even two years ago, people knew it was a little bit of bullshit. And so they put these other protections in to, to our government, but at the same time, like, I, I, I still want to try to find a way forward, where, because I really do believe the solution to all this, at least in the long term, is, is education is mindset is culture. It's like, gosh, if only we had a system that encouraged inquisitiveness, and going against our innate instincts of confirmation bias, and instead taught people to always try to seek out different opposing views and understand them. And, and that's, like, the idealistic part of me, this is where we should have like, the music playing in the background like, like, if we could just foster a culture where that was something that was ingrained in people at an early age, then we could overcome these problems. And, you know, but the fact is that in the meantime, like, we don't have those structures in place, we do have the biological biases that we have humans aren't rational communication isn't something that is evenly distributed enough, and resources aren't evenly distributed enough to make it so that even, you can't, it is fucking insulting to go into poor and underprivileged communicate communities and to tell them, Oh, hey, why can't you just go out and get all this information in order to waste things? These people are fucking trying to survive it because of the situation that our system has put them in? It is like this, this potty kind of idealistic, like, oh, well, if we just put all the views out there, then it's a responsibility of them to decide. It's like, you can't go into communities that are fighting for their lives, and insist that it's their fault for not having consumed enough media. That's absurd.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:57:59 Yes,

Greg Stevens 1:58:01 sir. I'm getting all

Stephen Bradford Long 1:58:02 Oh, it's great. I love it. It's fantastic. I love okay, just as a as an interviewer, I fucking love it. When I accidentally hit on someone's soapbox. It's great. It makes the makes the rest of the interview. So, so much easier. So yeah, I mean, basically, you know, what you're saying kind of makes me think of two things, actually. The first is that, you know, it's like these, having these principles, and then finding out the hard truth that maybe these principles don't always in action work. And I think the internet is actually a really good example of that. I think, from what I've read from the history books that I've read of the internet. Let me get, okay, let me get the door the cats are going in and out. From what I've read, the a lot of the early pioneers of the internet had kind of this utopian vision of the internet, that if, if if everyone just had equal access, and we make everything free, and then everything will be great, it everything will be perfect. And if people have equal access to information, if everyone has this access to information, then then that would just make everything great. And I actually remember listening to a podcast that was done several, it was it was a long time ago, I was going through the archives of of a podcast I liked and I was listening to these really old episodes. And in one of the episodes, they were talking to like one of those kind of mid 2000s Douchebag atheists that were very you know, exactly the type I'm talking about. And it's

Greg Stevens 1:59:51 a very specific thing. Mid 2000s Douchebag. Atheists know exactly what you mean. You

Stephen Bradford Long 1:59:56 know exactly. For those of you who lived through that era of atheism, you know exactly what I'm talking about. You know, I'm nothing against any of these things individually but you know, like the Birkenstock wearing with socks, long hair back in a ponytail, lots of Mountain Dew. You know that that? That guy, that dude. Nothing against it I love guys like that, you know, they're really fun to hang out with. I'm afraid that I might actually be that guy, in some ways. But so.

Greg Stevens 2:00:37 So there is something wrong with wearing socks with Birkenstocks. But apart from that, I agree with you. Okay.

Stephen Bradford Long 2:00:44 So, um, but yeah, so they were interviewing one of those guys like mid 2000s, atheist, and he said, you know why atheism is going to be on the rise, and you know why humanity is going to be better. And he pulled out his phone, his his old iPhone or whatever. So this, this had to have been like, the late 2000s, early 2000 10s pulled out his his iPhone, and he said, because every kid has this in their pocket. And everyone. Oh, my God, yes. And, and I just remember, everyone has this in their pocket, and everyone has the internet, and access to all knowledge in their pocket. And that is why that is why, you know, atheism is going to be on the rise, because suddenly people realize how stupid religion is and how stupid God is because they can look it up. And they can research and they can learn. And I just remember, think hearing that and thinking how fucking naive that is. Access to information does not mean that we can collate that we can, that we can digest that knowledge well. And what we actually find is that people to go become tribal freaks, and start killing each other. When, and then the other thing that I, what you were saying brought to mind was Noam Chomsky, where Noam Chomsky has, he and I, he so this is, I learned this about Noam Chomsky by way of Nathan Robinson, in his book, why you should be a socialist and and so what Noam Chomsky talks about, from what I gleaned from Nathan Robinson, is that we can have a vision about the world that we want, and we can have, we can hold on to that utopia, and he talks about how healthy it is to actually have a utopian vision. It's important to to have a vision of the world where there is no capitalism, for example, or at least a drastically restricted capitalism, or what have you, or so it's important to have that utopia, but then, in the meantime, work to have common sense legislation and work to have those common sense steps along the way. It's like, No, we can't live in a, in a genderless moneyless society or whatever, that some, you know, sci fi utopian might want to live in, but we can fight for legislation for equal rights for for trans people, you know, basic steps, like we can

Greg Stevens 2:03:33 live in that just not right now.

Stephen Bradford Long 2:03:37 Exactly. Yeah. It's like we, we can we can get there at some point, but just not right now. And so I find that really,

Greg Stevens 2:03:44 by the way, by the way, plug for the culture books by Ian banks. If you're a science fiction fan and haven't read these, then they are describing exactly the what you were just describing.

Stephen Bradford Long 2:03:55 Exactly. That's awesome. I have not yet read Ian banks, but he's been on my list for years, and I need to read them. I did just finish. Peter watts, blind sight, which you recommended, and it was so fucking amazing. And everyone should read it. I've been I've been binging so many audiobooks right now. I've been very proud of how many books I'm getting through.

Greg Stevens 2:04:19 Good now that's exciting. Yeah, I've been I mean, I'm a big audio book fan and I've been going through I even went through a little bit of my my you know, Shelter in Place disaster porn type science fiction, like I read, lock in, which was which? Who is that by? I would have to look it up. I don't know offhand. But lock in is a novel about a science fiction novel about a disease that sweeps the world very rapidly. The first symptoms are flu like that. That seems

Stephen Bradford Long 2:05:00 to go no, because

Greg Stevens 2:05:03 it's hit by a second phase that looks like meningitis. And like a certain percentage of people recover from that, but the rest get locked in, meaning they're conscious, and they're aware, and they're awake, and they cannot move at all.

Stephen Bradford Long 2:05:16 Oh, Jesus, that and so that does not sound like a book I should read right now.

Greg Stevens 2:05:21 Um, but it's fascinate because it takes place. So there's the, the idea in the story is that there's a big push, to enable, you know, go into spend whatever, to develop technology to help these people. And so you get this great sort of transhumanist, kind of like, there are, there was a creation of these sort of robot ish bodies, the people can control with their minds, and the development of that technology when they happen as rapidly as it did in order to help these people who needed it. And et cetera, et cetera, some science fiction stuff. And then there's another let's see, there's a book called distress about a disease, the it again, science fiction, science fiction concept, in a world where it is sort of radically transhumanist. You know, there are, there are is direct human mind interfaces, there is all kinds of consequences of radical body augmentation like, like, the voluntary autism movement, and people who decide that they want to both physically and neurologically change their gender, which in this culture, actually, in this book, in distress, I believe, is this great, like little line, and it does, like, obviously, there are the seven accepted genders, but more recently, there has been a movement to accept, you know, these other things. And so it's a great, it's a very fun book, and, and it's called, it's called distress. And it's actually one of the things that's very cool about that book, by the way, the author is, I think, Greg, Egon, um, is that, uh, that the, in addition to there being the background of this sort of disease in this world, for a period of time simulates the symptoms of extreme anxiety and paranoia, this disease called distress. But then, but then, like, the main character actually confronts falling in love with a, with a, a sex with an ace and non gender person. And the author really goes into exploring the sort of the psychological dynamics of that. And so it's just a fantastic sort of, humanist kind of novel. And but also on the list of like, books about like weird viruses that take over the world. So that one,

Stephen Bradford Long 2:08:09 great, I've been reading a not very fun book, The Power worshipers by Katherine Stewart, and it is fantastic. It is about the rise of Christian nationalism. And by phone

Greg Stevens 2:08:21 broke, we were just talking about fiction and your I know, I know, I'm

Stephen Bradford Long 2:08:25 so sorry. But we're talking about things that were really I mean, we could talk about Clive Barker. Instead, I read and Stephen King, I've read a bunch of Clive Barker and Stephen King, through the pandemic. But anyway,

Greg Stevens 2:08:37 but Stewart Stewart, I saw her talking in Cambridge before I moved down here. I actually actually ran into her at a party. And she told me that her book was, she had a book come out, and she was going to be doing these talking tours. And so I ended up hearing about that she's a very compelling speaker talking about the process of writing that

Stephen Bradford Long 2:09:08 book. She's incredible. She has, she's absolutely amazing. And I'm reading the book, because I want to interview her. And so I'm going to try to talk her onto my show, but she's probably out of my league. There's a there are a lot of authors who I really want to get on my show, you know, like I sent Jaron Lanier an email that man is not going to check his email. But, you know, I send a lot of emails to really, you know, amazing writers trying to get them on the show and so far, only a very few get back to me, but that's okay. That is the process of being a podcaster.

Greg Stevens 2:09:44 So, um, so I can I've got Katherine Stuart's number still in my phone. And she and I actually hooked her up with a with a lie connected her with David Pakman. So she kind of owes me so Everyone.

Stephen Bradford Long 2:10:00 Oh my god. Yes. Okay, let me let give me some time to finish her book. I'm, I'm yeah. So let me give me some time to finish her book. And yes, please. Also, there was a gender problem on my show. There are way too many guys way too many way too many dudes on my show and I'm trying really hard to fix that. So I need more not white not says not straight and not male on the show. So I'm I'm trying really, really hard to get more women and so there are actually a lot of interviews with men who I'm just holding on to in the bank because I want to put more in or put more diverse interviews out there before I release those shows with men. So I think that makes sense. Yeah. So I'm, I would absolutely love that. But let me let me finish the book and finish the book. Yes. So okay, well, we've been going for over two hours now. Oh my gosh, yes.

Greg Stevens 2:11:03 It's been, I mean, it's like, it's

Stephen Bradford Long 2:11:04 been so much fun. It's been great. It's been

Greg Stevens 2:11:06 a great conversation. And we didn't even like I, towards the end of there, especially where I was talking about these books, I was kind of getting myself all ramped up, I want to actually have a conversation with you. This is more specifically about transhumanism, because I would love me and this is somebody that I've said a few times in, I forget where in a few different fora. That for me, Transhumanism is like, is a very natural aspect of my Satanism. Like for me, the two are very closely related. And it is something that I acknowledged like, in fact, I think I have used it as an example when trying to tell people why I'm, you know, on the topic of if people have a particular thing that for them, is an outgrowth, or is compatible with their Satanism. So like, for example, if the first tenet for them implies veganism, and then they're all like, Well, why isn't the Satanic Temple you know, focusing on that? And, and I told you like, it's okay for you to have things that for you, personally, are very strongly tied to your Satanism, but that doesn't mean that it needs to be for everybody. And the example in my world is transhumanist. Like for me, like the third Tenet, it represents, like, I want full, you know, full morphological freedom, the ability to have whatever through whether it's through medical or cybernetic manipulation, change ourselves and augment our physical selves into whatever we weren't using technology. And for me, it just makes sense, but I'm not gonna go and say every fucking satanist has to also be a transhumanist like, that would be weird, right?

Stephen Bradford Long 2:12:52 Okay, so So speaking of transhumanism, my for Are you familiar with the author Frank Horne? The name doesn't ring a bell maybe so crazy, crazy right wing Christian nationalist conspiracy theorist whose whose work focuses on the menace of transhumanism. Oh God. And so that was my so when I was in college, and when I was when I was a, you know, conservative libertarian douchebag that was my first exposure to transhumanism was Frank horn. And, and you know how it is? I'm covered. No, no, I'm not. I am Ha, I have very, okay. I am very not okay. Because of my background. But, but you are not my therapist, and we don't have to go there. So that was actually my first exposure to transhumanism and because I feel like if there's an unspoken theme of this show, it is my personal journey of revisiting all the things during my childhood that were taboo, that were evil. I feel like that is the weird. That is the meta narrative of this show is I was told one thing, you know, as an ex Evangelical, I was told one thing, and now I'm learning it that thing was weird or crazy or just not true. And I'm revisiting that thing. So transhumanism has been on my list for a really long time of oh, that's something that I need to revisit on the show. I do not I no longer think that it is evil and of the devil. Or maybe it is of the devil because the good way in the good way because the devil is fucking awesome. But yes, I definitely want to have that conversation at some point.

Greg Stevens 2:14:57 Cool. Yeah, let's Yeah, let's let's do that. Let's do that the next time that we have a chat. And then now I can go and have dinner or

Stephen Bradford Long 2:15:05 something. Yes, go have dinner. And also, dear listeners, please let a lot of people have reached out on Twitter saying that you really enjoy kind of these long chill episodes. I've done two of them so far with illusion, one with Rob Larson one with Danielle. So if you've made it this far, can a congratulations. And B please let me know if you actually enjoyed this. And if you let me know if you say that, you know, this was awesome that you really enjoyed this, then I'll do more of them. And so with that, do you have any final words?

Greg Stevens 2:15:46 No, that is it. This has been a great pleasure. I've enjoyed chit chatting with you about this and that. Yeah, absolutely. again soon.

Stephen Bradford Long 2:15:53 Yes, for sure. Let's do it again soon. And I'm proud of you. You did not confess to being a serial killer. For the next episode Very good. For through the entire recording you did not confess to to any crimes. Okay. All right. Well, thank you so much for listening. I love you so much. And thank you so much for giving us some of your time this week. And I do not take that lightly. It means the whole world to me. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for spending some time with us for giving us a little bit of your week. And as always, the music is by the jelly rocks and eleventy seven you can find their music on iTunes or Spotify or wherever you listen to music. The artwork for the show is by Rama Krishna Das. The show is written edited and produced by me Steven long and it is a production of rock candy media. And as always hail satan. We'll see you next week. All right, peace out.