Matt Christman, et al.Dec 24, 2020
The Chapo Guide to Revolution
A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason
Simon and Schuster 2018
Let’s face it, 2020 has been a hell of a year. We could all use a good laugh. But as historians and/or fans of history, we have to read something historically grounded, right? Well, fear not! Felix Biederman, Virgil Texas, Will Menaker, Brendan James, and Matt Christman, those rapscallions from the Chapo Trap House podcast wrote a book, The Chapo Guide to Revolution; A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason (Simon & Schuster, 2018), and it’s got a lot of history in it. I sat down with Matt Christman to talk about history, humor, and the hell-world of late capitalism. He offers his critiques of American liberalism and conservatism, as well as discussing how history shapes his thinking and analysis.
Matt Christman co-hosts Chapo Trap House, a hugely popular and rather influential podcast. The Chapo crew includes the above authors (although the traitorous Brendan James was purged for revisionism and replaced with Amber A'Lee Frost). For the uninitiated, Chapo Trap House is a comedic political podcast that has been branded as the “Dirt Bag Left”. With a solid dose of scatological humor and subversive irony, it’s not for everyone, but I find it to be some of today’s smartest and most well-informed political and cultural criticism. On the Chapo podcast and in his other appearances, he displays an impressive command of history, frequently grounding his analysis in historical context. He also put out a few special episodes of Chapo Trap House called “The Inebriated Past”, the best of which offered insightful discussions of topics ranging from fascism to sewer socialism.
Michael G. Vann is a professor of world history at California State University, Sacramento. A specialist in imperialism and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, he is the author of The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empires, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam (Oxford University Press, 2018). When he’s not reading or talking about new books with smart people, Mike can be found surfing in Santa Cruz, California.