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In a nearly double-length and incredibly wide-ranging, I talk with journalist, editor, activist, and podcaster Una Mullally about the erosion of old structures and the possibility of new ones. Not just the government, but the environment, our relational structures, our spiritual structures, and more. 

We talk at length on how neoliberalism and tech imperialism is eating the soul of Dublin, but our talk is by no means Ireland-specific. What we're discussing at the core is how we fight against the consuming algorithms of neoliberalism and capitalism with our hearts and humanity. The reason we talk for so long isn't merely because she's Irish! It's because we keep going deeper and deeper.

I was so excited to have this conversation with one of Ireland's great minds.

Una is one of Ireland's best known journalists, and one of the most incisive. She's also the co-creator of the great podcast United Ireland, which chronicles the current landscape and history of Ireland, county by county. I can't recommend a more accessible intro to this place I love so much.

On top of being an extremely prolific author, Una is also an activist, and much of that activism features in her work, including the book Repeal the 8th, which Una edited - an anthology work by women resisting misogynist abortion laws in Ireland (which features an essay by AEWCH 72 guest Sinead Gleeson!)  Plus she's written (briefly) about leprechauns, so how could I not be excited to speak with her?

Also on this episode:

  • When and why Una left the Catholic church
  • The tech gentrification  of Dublin and everywhere
  • The cruelty of ugliness
  • Why Irish meter maids are the best
  • The ways neoliberals pretend to be the drivers of progress
  • Equality vs freedom
  • The uses and dangers of nationalism
  • The feeling of Ireland, and Irish people laughing at me for moving here
  • The mystic pulse of the Irish land
  • Why we need to fight oppression and heal trauma simultaneously
  • The zombification of party politics
  • Why relationship is the most important part of activism
  • Why facts no longer matter
  • How self indulgent emotional performativity holds back change
  • Giving conflict over to the angels
  • The problems with Extinction Rebellion


• For more on Una, go to her website, or her column in The Irish Times.

ª Far be it from me to recommend anything  by Carl Jung, but I do think his one good book is Answer To Job, which I mention a quip from on this episode.

• I talk a lot about the Irish economy, and economics in general, on AEWCH 76 with Conor McCabe (and it's one of my favorite episodes of the show!).

• Here's more on the utterly reprehensible destruction of the Tallaght wetlands. Una mentions podcaster and scientist Collie Ennis, and he's worth a follow for sure. Una also discusses the debacle on episode 19 of her podcast.

• The John O'Donohue book I meant to reference is Beauty: The Divine Embrace. John (pictured below) is one of my very favorite Irish thinkers. His work is breathtaking.

• Two architects who Una mentions (and who I know nothing about yet!) are Eileen Gray and Patrick Scott.

AEWCH 50 guest Mona Eltahawy says, "It's too late for equality, I want freedom!" And you can listen to her say it in a mini-interview about her latest book, and you can buy her latest book, The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls, too!

• I think you'd like to learn more about Malidoma Somé, and if you click there, you can also sign up for events with him.

• Yes, it's true, I've been reading Johann Gottfried von Herder. I'm kind of obsessed. Check him out and let me know what you think of his concept of national genius.

The Hill of Tara (pictured below) is a strange meeting place of Christianity and paganism, and the raised skin of Ireland is profoundly pronounced there.  and Una talks about Newgrange on episode 21 of her podcast.

• To learn more about how the church recreated its strategy of controlling sexuality in the 18th Century, read Faramerz Dabhoiwala's excellent book, The Origins of Sex.

• Una collected stories during the marriage equality campaign in Ireland, and you can find them in the very Irish-ly titled In The Name Of Love.

• Una touches very briefly on her cancer event. If you'd like to read more about it, you can here.

• My episode with theorist Franco Bifo Berardi - AEWCH 83 - has a lot of overlapping themes, and makes a perfect companion episode to this one.

• I urger everyone to read Dr. Ben Goldacre's Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients, which is a truly eye-opening look at how medical information and disinformation is generated.

• Read Sarah Schulman's book Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair, among her other works!

• I had Billy Bragg on the show! AEWCH 79 was one of the high points of my public life, I've got to say. I named the episode after a line in one of his songs, "Upfield," and I talk about that on this episode.

Until next time!

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