OK, Maybe Centrism Really Is Bad for Your Brain

During the hot, endless summer of 2008 the Slate Gabfest considered chocolate chip cookie recipes, and the fact that people care about them. The ensuing discussion (downloadable here) was so officious and tone deaf that one Rob Zacny realized he need never listen to this show again. A group of pundits who could fuck up a conversation about chocolate chip cookies could, clearly, fuck up anything. Meanwhile, across the country, Patrick Klepek listened to this same group of people and had a political awakening.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/mbykd3/ok-maybe-centrism-really-is-bad-for-your-brain

I have listened to three episodes of Slate Political Gabfest when I was 17 and have carried an ever-burning torch of personal dislike since. Looking forward to listening to this.


Waypoints is very quickly becoming my favorite part of the site. Also becoming one of the best extant sports podcasts somehow???


As one who has been pretty inconsistent with listening to Waypoints, inject this type of discourse directly into my veins.


I’m halfway through this podcast and I just need to drop in here to say: wow the politics segment of this episode was *chef kiss* extremely good - y’all were on fire


man i think i need to go back n listen to all these this n the last one r really good


Can I get a podcast that’s just the gang dunking on bad political takes?


I’d like to pile on to the outpouring of love for Waypoints. The Gabfest dunk sesh was fantastic and as a Dolphins fan it was interesting to see an outside perspective on Jarvis Landry in general and his infamous Hard Knocks speech which was mostly dunked on by people in local circles (and me).

Edit: Also I hadn’t previously realized how niche a term “herb” apparently is


This was an excellent episode. Hard Knocks is always a fascinating show, especially when they cover a team like this one. Their original offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, was the head coach of the KC Chiefs back when I lived there, I know he comes from that Belichick school of coaching, which generally isn’t the best with empathy. He had an incident I think in his last season in Kansas City where he kept playing starting players throughout the preseason, thus putting them at risk of injury, and a couple of players got injured and they basically had a poor season because of it. His and Hue Jackson’s headbutting and then joint firing is interesting to me, I hadn’t heard about him practically since he got fired from the Chiefs.

I have not watched the NFL this year for the most part, but hearing that really empassioned speech from Jarvis Landry is the sort of thing I understand sticking around for, knowing the amount of work that these people put into this game is something I find positive compared to the other aspects, like the league’s tendency to look the other way on head trauma issues, the overwhelming aesthetic militarization of the league, and the fact that the league just up and left the city where I live (San Diego) in favor of putting a secondary team in Los Angeles that people don’t care about.

The crew just sounds very comfortable on Waypoints and they get into discussions that don’t normally arise from Waypoint Radio, so this has been a great addition to the site’s repertoire from my POV.


Emily Bazelon calling out Plotz for saying WASPs were trash, dissipated people and also immediately praising their wise rulership was pretty good. For the record, Ross Douthat evidently pronounces his name “Dow-thut,” but I have always seen his name as Doubt Hat.

I used to listen to the Gabfest regularly but Waypoint displaced it from the rotation by putting out podcasts on four out of seven days, so you’ve won there.

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I pitched the show to my partner on the strength of the last two episodes because dang, waypoints has been FANTASTIC in this sphere of talking about political roundtables. Let me join in the chorus that happily answers “yes” to the question “Am I allowed to do a Waypoint on something I hate?” Though I’d be sad if the show were the dunk contest, you guys said things that do, in fact, challenge me to think through my opinions (which are very leftist, but maybe more anarchoutopian than Austin lays out) and inform me as to how to engage with the wider liberal world. Great episodes.

It’s helped by how fun the conversations about Don Zacny and Hard Knocks were. And the connections are flying through my head now about how those stories shed light on the absolute absurdity of social psychology in a way that so obviously rejects the “marketplace of ideas” put forward by the Gabfest. People are irrational, need to be motivated, and often inertia overcomes the right approach. Good, good stuff.


The “Rob, that’s liquor” moment was hilarious


Will “Austin explaining what Rob is doing in a concerned, alarmed tone” ever get old? Ever? “Rob is off screen he’s under the table; Rob, Rob if you can hear me give me a thumbs up; okay Rob has given me a thumbs up.”


“Rob it is one-thirty-five-P-M.”

I desperately need video of that.


The Waypoint team has consistently proven to me this year that even if I have zero interest in the topic, I’m still going to enjoy listening to them discuss it. I’ve been shocked to find myself entertained listening to talk of football.
Certainly a first for me.


Lightly off topic but the best thing Waypoint has done for me is introduce me to the fucking powerhouse that is Rob Zacny.


For real. 3 Moves Ahead has become appointment listening just so I can get more Rob in my ears.


I only listened to the Gabfest in the beginning stages of the 2016 election cycle between episodes of TYT, Belaboured, and a few anarchist podcasts because these were all the political podcasts I could find that were left leaning and tolerable. Since the Chapo boom that has thankfully not really been an issue hahaha and I immediately dropped Gabfest because it’s politics are pretty shit and Plotz is incredibly insufferable. The only political podcast that I still listen to from around then is Belaboured.

Oh man, this pod is good. The only political podcast I listen to is the NPR politics podcast, which at least comes from the view of reporters. And those reporters said they don’t have a good solution to the morning powerful political figures, which is at least refreshingly honest.

But the whole David French thing speaks to me because that was every discussion I was having during those hearings. I kept saying: “There is no judge in the court of public opinion, so the rules of evidence and everything else don’t apply. Courts have judges that tell the defendant and prosecution what is and is not allowed.”

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I’m watching Hard Knocks episode 1 and it cannot be stressed how much more insane the financial advice sequence is than the Waypoint team let on. They left out a whole embarrassing Taylor Swift sequence that came right after. There’s gold in this thing.

(And even Hue Jackson telling Baker Mayfield that he needs to be showing up in the morning to do a special workout is done with no charm. He stutters, he does not instruct, he negs - saying effectively “hey man it’s your choice how you start your season” to say “you don’t work hard, you will he left behind.” He is such a HERB)