Episode 97

Published on:

13th Mar 2024

Hasan Piker: A swashbuckling Bromance

Avast Ye Harties! 

Yar! This week be the inaugural episode of a New Streamer/Academic Guru season. Join us as we set sail with a bang and embark on an adventure with the famous and controversial Twitch streamer Hasan Piker. Formerly of the Young Turks, Hasan has carved out a niche as a popular left-wing commentator. He is sometimes described as representing a new wave of political communicators who leverage social media and live streaming to reach new audiences, particularly disengaged younger viewers.

But how does he fare in these Decoding waters?

We take a look at his recent interview with Rashed Al-Haddad, a dashing Yemeni teenager (nicknamed Tim Houthi Chalamet), who recently found himself streaming video on an international transport ship hijacked by Houthi militants. But fear not! Hasan addresses this sensitive topic and the complex geopolitical issues involved with due diligence and care. Moreover, Rashed reports that all of the kidnapped crew are having a grand old time in Yemen! They are simply vibing with their captors, chewing khat, and have fully embraced the honourable Houthi perspective.

The Houthis' official slogan, "God is the Greatest, Death to America, Death to Israel, A Curse Upon the Jews, Victory to Islam", and reports of severe human rights abuses in their territory, might still give one pause... but as Hasan explains—drawing on his deep political and psychological insights—the Houthis are just like the heroic Straw Hat pirates in the popular anime One Piece!

So with that settled, we can focus on the more important questions like what videogames Rashed likes, if he has ever heard of Mr. Beast, whether he's eaten 'Western' food, what cartoons he watched growing up, and if there are KFCs in Yemen? Truly, this is a conversation for the ages, and Hasan is just the man for the job.

So join us for this week's episode as we ponder whether combining influencer culture with political analysis was a wise move and if there are any possible contradictions or minor ideological skews in Hasan's content.


- Hasan Interviews Viral 'Hot Yemeni TikTok Pirate' | Hasanabi Reacts

- Atlantic article about the Houthis and the situation in Yemen

- AP article on the crew of the hijacked 'Galaxy Leader' ship and their ability to contact their families

- Amnesty article on Houthi sentencing of stoning and crucifixion for crimes of homosexuality

- Human Rights Watch article on Houthi recruitment of child soldiers

- Human Rights Watch article on the al-Ahli Hospital Explosion

- Willy Mac 'drama' YouTuber collated episodes on Hasan (part 1 and part 2)

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About the Podcast

Decoding the Gurus
A psychologist and an anthropologist try to make sense of the world's greatest self-declared Gurus.
An exiled Northern Irish anthropologist and a hitchhiking Australian psychologist take a close look at the contemporary crop of 'secular gurus', iconoclasts, and other exiles from the mainstream, offering their own brands of unique takes and special insights.

Leveraging two of the most diverse accents in modern podcasting, Chris and Matt dig deep into the claims, peek behind the psychological curtains, and try to figure out once and for all... What's it all About?

Join us, as we try to puzzle our way through and talk some smart-sounding smack about the intellectual giants of our age, from Jordan Peterson to Robin DiAngelo. Are they revolutionary thinkers or just grifters with delusions of grandeur?

Join us and let's find out!
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About your hosts

Christopher Kavanagh

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A Northern Irish cognitive anthropologist who occasionally moonlights as a social psychologist. Chris has long standing interests in the psychology of conspiracy theorists and pseudoscience. His academic research focuses on the Cognitive Science of Religion and ritual psychology. He lives happily in Japan with his family.

Matthew Browne

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An Australian psychologist and numbers-guy. He does research on all kinds of stuff, but particularly enjoys looking into why people believe the things they do: religion, conspiracy theories, alternative medicine and stuff. He's into social media in the same way people slow down for car accidents.