Daniel (the homeless bookseller), Thomas Frank, and Henry Giroux

Jul 18, 2022

Pigeon Shit Bookstore

On Street Bookselling, Populism, and Public Intellectuals

New Books Network 2022

Hi! This is Darts and Letters. We’ve just become a part of New Books Network, so we want to introduce ourselves.

Fundamentally, This is a show about the politics of ideas. Another way to say that would be “intellectuals”, but we don’t really gel with this classic idea of intellectuals being white guys at Harvard. We’re more populist than that, and we have a whole segment in this episode about what we really mean by populism.

This is our first episode, and we made it in 2020 in the run up to Biden’s election. We’ve had 60 episodes since then and our production is tighter and we have a much clearer idea of who we are as a show, but we wanted to start by playing you this because I think we have stayed pretty true to our original goal of democratising ideas, and looking for them in unusual places.

We’re taking a bit of a production break right now for summer, so until September we’re going to catch you up with our favourite episodes from the catalogue, then on September 18th we launch the new season of Darts and Letters.

Until then we’re doing a different theme each week and our theme for this week is what I said before - ideas in strange places. Starting with episode 1, and the owner of the Pigeon Shit Bookstore. An intellectual of the street, who the show’s host Gordon found selling books in downtown Toronto.

  • First, host Gordon Katic asks: what is an intellectual? Hard to say, but to quote the Supreme Court justice who tried to define pornography, “I know it when I see it.”
  • Next (@10:48), we meet Daniel—the homeless bookseller of Bloor St, who might just be one of the most well-read people you’ve ever met.
  • Finally (@47:32), critical educational scholar and dissident Henry Giroux celebrates academics who are true ‘public intellectuals,’ and he attacks the neoliberal educational reforms that have made that kind of work so difficult.

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If you want to do a little more we would love if you chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patrons get content early, and occasionally there’s bonus material on there too.

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To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to write us, email darts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly.


This week, Darts and Letters was produced by Jay Cockburn and Gordon Katic. Research and support from Addye Susnick.

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Your Host

Gordon Katic

Gordon Katic is an award-winning radio producer and journalist with a background in health, science, and climate reporting. He is director of Cited Media Productions, which produced Cited Podcast and CRACKDOWN. Now, Gordon hosts Darts and Letters. When he’s not making podcasts, he’s working on a PhD at the University of Toronto focussed on theorizing a critical theory of science communication. Previously, he earned a Masters in Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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