We’re Damir Marusic & Shadi Hamid, co-hosts of the Wisdom of Crowds podcast—and now this newsletter of the same same. Glad you could join us! Drawing on what we’ve learned from doing the podcast over the past year, we hope this newsletter can offer something a bit unusual and perhaps even odd.
The basic concept of the podcast is simple: we hang out in each other’s living rooms, sometimes with friends, and try to figure out why we believe the things we believe, working through the tensions and contradictions in real time. It’s a deliberately “odd” podcast in that sense—raw, rambling, and almost entirely unscripted.
For the newsletter, we hope to draw on that same spirit that has driven the podcast. Freewheeling exchanges and conversations around culture, identity, religion, and politics—as unscripted as something written can possibly be.
Both of us have long felt that the venues for this sort of approach are limited, and that this vacuum has impoverished the public conversation. (Twitter can be fun, but for exploring ideas it’s less than ideal. Magazines still feel like an imperfect graft of an old form into a new medium.) It will be just us for now, but we’re hoping to build a community of participants—people who share similar commitments to lively, raucous, “agonistic” debate.
Both of us are infused with a contrarian sensibility, while knowing, just the same, that contrarianism for the mere sake of it can be tiresome. The impulse to contradict is genuine, but we try to keep each other in check and direct each other’s respective misanthropy and grouchiness in a, shall we say, more constructive direction.
We don’t know exactly what this newsletter will become, but we’re kind of excited. Join us for the adventure!