Andrew Sullivan & Ian Buruma , The Dishcast with Andrew Sullivan

Ian Buruma On Conmen And Collaborators

06 Oct 2023 • 52 min • EN
52 min
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This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit Ian is a historian, a journalist, and an old friend. He’s currently the Paul Williams Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College, and he served as foreign editor of The Spectator and (briefly) as the editor of The New York Review of Books. He has written many books, including Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo Van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance, Theater of Cruelty, and The Churchill Complex. His new book is The Collaborators: Three Stories of Deception and Survival in World War II. For two clips of our convo — on Trump’s redeeming qualities, and the story of massage therapist for Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler — pop over to our YouTube page. Other topics: Ian growing up in The Hague; his father the Mennonite minister; his “glamorous” mother from a Jewish family of actors and musicians; Ian studying art history, film, and Chinese; his young life in London, Berlin, Hong Kong, and Tokyo; comparing Japan and the UK as island nations; how dictatorships are rife for fantasy and escape; injecting comedy into dark subjects; the conspiracy theories of the MAGA right and the postmodern left; the 2020 riots; how conservative elites in both parties were once a filter against demagogues like Trump; “the armies of DEI advisers”; Kendi’s collapse, Ian’s praise of heterodox liberals like Pamela Paul; his cancellation at the NYRB for publishing a #MeToo piece; how Trump is “the biggest accelerant of extreme leftism”; how conmen and cult leaders are sensitive to what people want to hear; Jeffrey Dahmer talking to a priest; Bernie Madoff; a Jewish character in Ian’s book who convinced other Jews to pay him to avoid the death camps; Pizzagate; Trump pretending to be other people over the phone; Sydney Powell and Roger Stone; the “dictators’ disease” of headaches and ulcers from paranoia; how servants become spies and go-betweens; Cassidy Hutchinson; debating the merits of Brexit; Keir Starmer; the war in Ukraine; the near impossibility of regaining the Donbas; Kissinger’s solution; and the sunk cost of human lives. Browse the Dishcast archive for another convo you might enjoy (the first 102 episodes are free in their entirety — subscribe to get everything else). Coming up: Martha Nussbaum on her book Justice For Animals, Spencer Klavan on How to Save the West: Ancient Wisdom for 5 Modern Crises, and Matthew Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft. Also, two NYT columnists: David Brooks and Pamela Paul. Please send any guest recs, pod dissent and other comments to

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