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The Very Not Normal Podcast

The Very Not Normal Podcast

By Frieda Vizel
Cultural reflections from a a fellow human who is not quite at home in this era.

Frieda Vizel is an outsider. She grew up in the insular Hasidic Jewish sect — and left it as an adult. Then the rest of the world started to go mad. From tech-addled brains to draconian health measures, from terrifying technocrats to Orwellian journalism, every day brings new surreal events. Is this normal, and if so, what does normal really mean?
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Tech-dystopian Future

The Very Not Normal Podcast

Tech-dystopian Future

The Very Not Normal Podcast

Are We Getting Stupider?
A comparison of two dystopias that predict human decline: The film Idiocracy vs the short story: The Machine Stops Blogpost for links:
April 14, 2021
The Big Picture
A year into covid19, it's becoming clearer that this period is transforming the very structure of society. In this episode, I discuss the big picture, which I believe to be a transformation into a techno-medical society. Blog post with links to articles mentioned:
April 7, 2021
In a bit of a squeeze, this last minute podcast is a bit of reflection on the question: do I regret leaving the Hasidic community? Link to post:
March 31, 2021
Journal from the year NYC Cancelled Humanness
Bits and pieces from the year that felt like a bit prank was played on humanity. Post with links and images:
March 24, 2021
Conservatives vs Leftists
Where I tell you everything I know on the subject, and that tells you everything I don't know as well.  Post with links:
March 17, 2021
Political Boxes / Part 1
Biting off more than I can chew in an attempt to articulate what various political/philosophical terminologies mean to me. Part 1 covers liberalism, neoliberalism and libertarianism. // Link to blogpost with notes:
March 10, 2021
Where Are Their Feelings
A Hasidic family is kicked off a plane because the very young kids weren’t properly masked. I talk about what this saga means to me, how I understand empathy and my fear that petty tyrants are exercising power unchecked. Notes in blogpost:
March 3, 2021
BONUS I: Yiddish-English episode on Veker’ Covid article
This podcast is a discussion on the Hasidic covid data. Since it's in response to a Yiddish article, the recording is in Yiddish and English. Send a voice message @ Link to post with mentions:
February 25, 2021
Extremely Offline
A weeklong audio diary -- charting time spent "detoxing" from my ipad. Send a voice message @ Blog post with mentions:
February 24, 2021
Mazel tov, it's a transhumanist!
I won’t be focusing on tech ideology forever, but this is what’s fascinating me now. So reading all about technological influences led me to the question: what’s a transhumanist? Links to mentions here:
February 17, 2021
Your Attention is their Profit
A global economy provides opportunity for the winner to take it all; if only he can get your attention. What does that lead to?  Links to mentions in post:
February 10, 2021
Tech-dystopian Future
I see in my crystal ball a future of faces buried in screens, everything and always tech mediated. Tech-capitalism is now the most important shaper of the future, and it’ll be a Brave New World. // Links and Image Attribution —
February 3, 2021
Conforming to Individuality
Why do people stay in repressive societies? Are they too dumb to know better? Would you ever be sucked in by one? Send a voice message @ See here for sources mentioned in the episode: ‎
January 27, 2021
Netflix Unorthodox Part II
Should we criticize entertainment? Should we criticize our common narrative tropes? What’s wrong with the coming-of-age fantasy story? For links to things mentioned in the podcast, see my blogpost on the episode:
January 20, 2021
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.  MENTIONS:
January 13, 2021
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
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
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
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