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The Very Not Normal Podcast

The Very Not Normal Podcast

By Frieda Vizel
Are you brainwashed? Are you normal? What’s normal, anyway? In this podcast, Frieda Vizel, a Hasidic-expat turned-Brooklyn-misfit, examines how social forces control us and make us think that we are self-directed. We unpack social constructs, Hasidism, late-capitalism, propaganda, fanaticism, human nature and more. Non-conformists welcome!

If you think you might enjoy cohosting an episode, please reach out to the host.
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#5 Netflix Unorthodox - Part I
Netflix’s mini-series is an ex-hasidic cliched fairytale that is problematic on many, many levels.  Part one is a takedown of the show (be forewarned, I am not a fan) and part two will be analysis of if and why it all matters. REFERENCES:  + The Netflix show - here's the trailer / + My criticism of some of the errors on Unorthodox. + The New Yorker Review of Unorthodox / + Some memoirs I mentioned: Unorthodox / Deborah Feldman Glass Castle / Jeannette Walls Educated / Tara Westover In Order to Live / Yeonmi Park Infidel / Ayan Hirsi Ali   + Bill Gates on Tara Westover / + Obama’s praise of Westover / + The Reddit Sub on men writing women: + Shtisel, the Israeli TV show
January 13, 2021
#4 The Cult of Logic
Discussion on the problems with logic when it is mixed up with intuition. I talk about how this type of logic has led us astray in the past (ie in the NYC urban planning scene) and how it applies to Hasidic married women shaving their heads, and how this is now playing out in the scientism of covid19 measures. Send a voice message @ REFERENCES: - On Jewish Dybbuk forlklore see: Dybbuk | Jewish folklore | Britannica - On Jane Jacob's and Robert Moses I drew from The Battle for Gotham by Roberta Brandes Gratz and The Life and Death of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs - On the traffic patterns of more highway space see here: What's Up With That: Building Bigger Roads Actually Makes Traffic Worse | WIRED - On the construction of the BQE in Williamsburg, Brooklyn: Brooklyn-Queens Expressway - s. Williamsburg bk ( The excellent article on the Frankfurt school from which I quote extensively: How the Frankfurt School diagnosed the ills of Western civilisation | Aeon Essays - I must mention John Steppling, whose essays have all been eye opening and have introduced me to the Frankfurt School, esp Dialectic of Enlightenment.
January 6, 2021
#3 Lockdowns as Religion
Here I compare my former Hasidic community with the 2020 lockdown situation and argue that the two have something in common: a religiousness. Send a voice message @ REFERENCES: Learn more about my experience in the Hasidic community in my pilot podcast episode. Also a full podcast episode on TLST podcast where I talk about growing up Hasidic: The Longest Shortest Time. Must read mentioned in this episode: The Prognosis by David Cayley in Literary Review Canada. I also talk about David Cayley's writing on his blog on Ivan Illich & quote from him on religion and the lockdown. For the philosopher Giorgio Agamben's translated work and commentary see everything by Simon Elmer like this and this. PS: upon request, I am working on removing the musical background from the podcast for easier listening. Please stick around for future podcasts. -Frieda
December 30, 2020
#2 Those Maskless Hasidim
Hasidim have gathered by the thousands and publicly burned masks. Why are they not following orders? In this episode, I dispel myths and put forth new theories. Discussion on the technocracy, community, safetyism, the whole delicious smorgasbord.
December 24, 2020
#1 Autobiography of a Non-Conformist
In this episode I tell you a bit about my Hasidic upbringing, not fitting in, leaving and my hard education in the modern normal.
December 22, 2020