Episode 71

Published on:

9th May 2023

Interview with Matt Johnson on Christopher Hitchens

We are back for an interview with the author and independent writer Matt Johnson discussing the New Atheist hero and legendary debater, Christopher Hitchens. The other Matt recently published a book called "How Hitchens Can Save the Left: Rediscovering Fearless Liberalism in an Age of Counter-Enlightenment" and kindly agreed to come on and waffle with us about Hitchens and where he fits in comparison to the modern gurus.

We cover a range of topics including whether Hitchens would have been in the IDW, if he was an extremophile, how far did he rely on rhetoric over substance and to what extent different labels apply to him. Matt Johnson offers a surprisingly nuanced take and provides us with lots of interesting tidbits regarding Hitchens. This can also be listened to as Part 1 of our Hitchens coverage, as we have a full decoding of a debate of his coming shortly.

And what if you are not into Hitchens? Well, there are still some goodies for you! In this episode, we also cover:

Guru magnetism & depressing crossovers, Sam Harris' recent appearance with Maajid Nawaz, Scandinavian geopolitics, Chris' review of the Super Mario Bros Movie, and whether we are actually in the pocket of Big Harris!

So join us one and all! And don't forget to subscribe to Sam Harris' meditation app using the code 'GurusPodSentMe'.


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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.