By: Sarah HepolaPublished: December 27, 2022

Meghan Daum and the New Counter-Culture

Meghan Daum is an acclaimed essayist who hosts two podcasts, the interview show “The Unspeakable” and the current topics-based “A Special Place in Hell” with Sarah Haider. Meghan is an inspiration to many, including Sarah. While Nancy bakes pie in some upstate New York location, Sarah engages in a far-ranging solo interview with Meghan that somehow includes: Terry Gross, Michael Barbaro and his noises of affirmation, Fran Lebowitz, Meghan’s unconventional childhood of music theory and tiny adulthood, Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell, the birth of “call outs,” Roxane Gay and Bad Feminist, why heterodox writers might be the new counter-culture, the invisibility of Generation X, whether Meghan and Sarah are “conservative” despite identifying as liberals (and what “conservative” even means in an era of political realignment), why neither of us became mothers, and if there’s any truth to Candace Owens’ crack about childless women that “if you don’t use your eggs, they scramble.”

Episode Notes:

Terry Gross and the Art of Opening Up,” by Susan Burton (New York Times Magazine)

About Those Hmmms,” by Michael Barbaro, host of The Daily podcast (New York Times)

Trailer for Public Speaking, Martin Scorsese documentary about Fran Lebowitz:

The Beverly Hillbillies, season 1 & 2 compilation:

Classic Seventies McDonald’s commercial that Meghan Daum’s father did not write:

Wilder Woman: The Woman Behind the Little Housestories,” by Judith Thurman (New Yorker)

The answer to that burning question, “What is an oboe?”:

My Dinner With Joni,” by Meghan Daum (Los Angeles Times)

The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion, Meghan Daum’s 2015 book

Tom Waits: The Fresh Air interview,” 2011

An early Tom Waits ballad that Sarah loves:

My Misspent Youth, Meghan Daum’s collection of essays

My Misspent Youth,” Meghan Daum’s original essay in the New Yorker

Safe Sex Lies,” controversial 1996 NYT essay by Meghan Daum

How Madonna’s New ‘Sex’ Book Caused a Scandal 30 Years Ago,” by Chuck Arnold (New York Post)

Sarah couldn’t find the Benetton ad Meghan mentions, but enjoy this:

The Unspeakable podcast with Meghan Daum

The Problem with Everything: My Journey Through the New Culture Wars,” 2019 book by Meghan Daum

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay: Meet the Bad Feminist,” by Kira Cochrane (Guardian)

Sarah’s second appearance on Meghan’s podcast, The Unspeakable: “Are You Becoming Some Kind of Republican?

Musk's media renegades: The anti-establishment writers including Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss chosen for the 'Twitter Files',” by Lindsay Dodgson (Business Insider)

A Special Place in Hell,” podcast co-hosted by Meghan Daum and Sarah Haider

Wes Yang: Year Zero (Substack)

Wes Yang and the Successor Ideology,” podcast with Andrew Sullivan

Generation X: America’s Neglected Child” (Pew Research Center)

Where Millennials End and Generation Z Begins” (Pew Research Center)

Candace Owens on Joe Rogan: “If women don’t use their eggs, they scramble”

The Difference Maker: The Childless, the Parentless, and the Central Sadness,” by Meghan Daum (New Yorker)

Why I Left My Children,” by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto (Salon)

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, 2016 collection of essays that Meghan Daum edited


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