Trump 'bans' TikTok, the NBA Bubble protests, and teaching during COVID-19


Hello from three time zones! 

This week, we mull the Covid-era classroom (fears of contagion and falling behind), the meaning of Trump’s attack on TikTok, Nike-brand kneeling (and not kneeling) in the NBA bubble, and universalism and particularism in the Black Lives Matter uprising.

1:40 – Will Tammy find an Oriental market in Missoula? How does Andy plan to teach through his screen? What will be the impact of these lost semesters on poor and working-class students? Also, should we blame diversity administrators for the collapsing academy? 

17:07 – Why is Trump raging against TikTok? Is it because of Sarah Cooper’s impersonations, the Tulsa BTS Army, or his larger vendetta against China? Are we being tricked into siding with a mega-corporation or military state? Further reading: on US fears of the app, Western and Eastern Internets, Microsoft and tech nationalism against China, and whether TikTok is basically just as bad as Facebook. Bonus: Jay reveals his strategy for making Twitter “unusable” through his war with music writers.

35:45 – We discuss Tammy’s recent article probing the tensions within the “POC” label. Are Asians excluded from new euphemisms for ethnic minorities (“Black and brown,” “BIPOC”)? Can we include non-Black perspectives without going “all lives matter”? Could a new political bloc emerge amongst immigrants, especially Latinx and Asian Americans (see recent exchange between Pankaj Mishra and Viet Thanh Nguyen)? Does foundation funding keep domestic and global politics separate? Are we helping the right wing capture the immigrant vote? Bonus: an update on the Portland Wall of Moms. 

1:01:10 – Jay advances a Manufacturing Consent thesis: the media’s coverage of BLM has kept public discussion within the boundaries of safe and acceptable topics. This leads to a bro-out over the NBA’s cringey coverage, in which the richest companies in the world have turned “social justice” into a profitable brand. (Also, Jay and Andy are hypocritically watching lots of games.) More generally, should we be optimistic or skeptical about the evolution of progressive politics this summer?

1:17:50 – Our listener question of the week! We’ve heard from some of you that our podcast is one of your first experiences with politically-oriented Asian Americans, in part because you were too busy studying orgo in college (like this comrade). Is there a split between “STEM Asian Americans” and “humanities Asian Americans”? 

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