• Neoliberalism has become an all-purpose insult, but what does it actually mean? In the final episode of Series 1, Dorian and Ian tell the extraordinary story of how a friendless group of outsider economists started a decades-long campaign to turn their fringe ideas into mainstream orthodoxy – and succeeded. 
    Neoliberalism: A Reading List
    From Ian:
    Wealth of Nations and Theory of Moral Sentiment by Adam Smith. Both of these can be read in their own right, they're not as tough-going as you think
    History of Economic Thought by Lionel Robbins. One of the greatest economics books ever written. Or spoken rather, given that they're basically transcripts of Robbins’ lectures at the LSE. Masterful. 
    The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek. Quite completely insane. Rather fun.
    Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crisis Changed the World by Adam Tooze. Arguably the best single account of the financial crash. Can be tough going, but it’s worth it.
    From Dorian:
    Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics by Daniel Stedman Jones. It gets a little dry towards the end but it’s still a valuable attempt to ground an intellectual history of a movement in the combative personalities of the people who created it.
    A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey. Does what it says on the tin from a left-wing perspective. He’s not a fan.
    The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. Her thesis might be overstated but Klein shows how the economists of the Chicago School teamed up with authoritarian leaders such as Pinochet to turn entire countries into experimental laboratories for neoliberalism.
    A reading list and whistle-stop history from the academic and author of The Limits of Neoliberalism, William Davies. 

    “What you see here is the fetishisation of economics above all other concerns. An anatomised view of humanity as economic agents and very little else.” – Ian 

    “One of the big problems with the term neoliberalism is that it gets applied equally to Barack Obama and General Pinochet.” – Dorian 

    “Friedman didn’t even believe in certificates for doctors. He thought the market would protect everyone. So this guy chopped up your auntie? That’s OK, the market realises he should no longer practice…” – Ian 

    “These guys embarked on a 20 year process of legitimising these ideas. They trained people so that when things start to go wrong in the late 60s, they were ready.” – Dorian 

    “Sometimes Hayek sounds like he’s having a religious experience. The market is unknowable. It’s almost like it really is the hand of God.” – Ian 

    Written and presented by Dorian Lynskey and Ian Dunt. Audio production and music by Jade Bailey. Logo art by Mischa Welsh. Group Editor: Andrew Harrison. Origin Story is a Podmasters production
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  • Who turned Woke from a badge of African-American pride into a hammer to beat liberals with? How does it relate to PC? And what are Erykah Badu, Piers Morgan, the weaponisation of African-American slang against black people, Julie Burchill and Google’s salad emoji doing in the eye of the Culture War storm? 
    Ian and Dorian investigate another world-changing concept you thought you knew. 
    Woke: A Reading List
    From Dorian:
    The War of the Words by Sarah Dunant. Fascinating 90s collection of essays about political correctness from writers across the political spectrum. We are still having many of the same arguments.
    Debating PC by Paul Berman. As above but American.
    Political Correctness: A History of Semantics and Culture by Geoffrey Hughes. A serious attempt at a history of PC.
    The Culture of Complaint by Robert Hughes. Extremely opinionated and entertaining 1994 polemic against censors and heresy-hunters on both left and right.
    The Myth of Political Correctness by John Wilson. This forensic examination of the original anti-PC backlash reveals how many of the key case studies were exaggerated or invented, and the role that right wing think tanks played in drumming them up. Sounds familiar.
    The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom. Of historical interest only. The cranky jeremiad that became a colossal bestseller and kickstarted America’s obsession with political correctness.
    And from Ian:
    Wake Up by Piers Morgan. Don’t read this.
    Welcome To The Woke Trials: How Identity Killed Progressive Politics by Julie Burchill. Don’t read this.
    The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Jonathan Heidt and Greg Lukianoff. Don’t read this, but if you’re really going to insist on reading one of these, I guess make it this one.
    “Even racists seem to want to appropriate MLK. Maybe if you’re woke and dead you’re OK?” – Dorian Lynskey

    Written and presented by Dorian Lynskey and Ian Dunt. Audio production by Jade Bailey and Alex Rees. Music by Jade Bailey. Logo art by Mischa Welsh. Group Editor: Andrew Harrison. Origin Story is a Podmasters production. 
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  • It had to happen! Superheroes have shaped our shared culture – both popular and political – but where did the idea of the “good superman” come from? How did idealism, power fantasy and radicalism merge so that an outsider generation of young (often Jewish) Americans could transform America? 
    Join Dorian and Ian on a senses-shattering odyssey that takes in socialist Superman, juvenile delinquents, the polyamorist roots of Wonder Woman, the Nazis (again), the great lost horror comics of the 50s, Stan Lee, how Churchill and FDR inspired Spider-Man… and which one of the X-Men was based on Menachem Begin. 
    Superheroes: A Reading List
    From Ian:
    American Comics by Jeremy Dauber. Really comprehensive and full of love for the genre. But maybe a bit too comprehensive. Dauber covers absolute everything, so it can feel a bit too thinly spread.
    The Ten Cent Plague: The great comic book scare and how it changed America, by David Hajdu. Absolutely masterful retelling of the 50s moral outrage against comics. Impeccably researched, brilliantly written, and full of striking insights.
    Watchmen by Alan Moore, Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller and All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison. If you were to read these three together, even as a non-comics fan, you would get a really good crash course in the different approaches taken to the genre since the 80s.

    From Dorian:
    Supergods by Grant Morrison. One of the all-time great comic-book writers has also the written the most entertaining and provocative history of the superhero.
    Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe. Essential reading for anyone interested in the people who built the Marvel universe. Howe has all the stories. I’ve given this book as a gift more than once.
    All Of The Marvels by Douglas Wolk. The Marvel Universe as explained by somebody who has read all 27,000 comic books. While Howe covers the creators, Wolk digs into the evolution of the characters and ideas.
    True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee by Abraham Riesman. Juicy and unflinching biography of Mr Marvel.
    The Comic Book Heroes by Will Jacobs and Gerard Jones. Dated but interesting 1985 encyclopaedia of superheroes.
    The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore. New Yorker writer’s eye-opening history of the love triangle that gave us Wonder Woman.
    “Even by thinking about superheroes, you’re thinking about politics. What is politics about but power and how you use it?” — Dorian
    Written and presented by Dorian Lynskey and Ian Dunt. Audio production by Jade Bailey. Music by Jade Bailey. Logo art by Mischa Welsh. Group Editor: Andrew Harrison. Origin Story is a Podmasters production
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  • Centrism has become an all-purpose term of abuse but what does it actually mean? And what does Centrism want? Dorian and Ian journey to the centre of the middle, dropping in on Tony Benn, William Rees-Mogg, the crises of the 70s, Trotsky, fascism, communism, Clinton, Blair, and the guillotine.…
    Help Ian and Dorian move NOT LEFT, NOT RIGHT, BUT FORWARD by supporting their Origin Story research on Patreon:
    Centrism: A Reading List
    From Ian:
    The Oxford History of the French Revolution by William Doyle. The single best all-in-one history of the French revolution. And one of my favourite history books of all time – a rare instance in which the author combines pace, thoroughness and impeccable research.
    John Stuart Mill, Victorian Firebrand by Richard Reeves. Decent, if slightly pedestrian biography of the great liberal philosopher.
    John Maynard Keynes trilogy by Robert Skidelsky. The best work on Keynes.
    The Third Way by Anthony Giddens. Nowhere near as good as it should be, nor as I expected it to be. Surprisingly vacuous.
    From Dorian:
    The Vital Centre by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Fascinating post-war argument for the importance of the radical centre
    Trotsky on centrism 
    Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics by John Avlon. Solid history of those who sought to occupy the centre of American politics.
    Toward a Radical Middle by Renata Adler. New Yorker writer’s 1969 manifesto for radical centrism in a fractious time.
    Life in the Centre by Roy Jenkins. The arch-centrist’s juicy memoir.
    Safety First: The Making of New Labour by Paul Anderson and Nyta Mann. A first-draft history of New Labour from 1997.
    Blair and Brown: The New Labour Revolution. Satisfying BBC documentary series on iPlayer, with contributions from all the key players.

    “When centrism is so hard to define, like nailing jelly to the wall, you have to ask does it even deserve to be called an ism at all?” – Ian

    “Trotsky says Centrism is parasitic, opportunistic, vain, uninterested in theory, and harder on the left than the right… and those criticisms are still levelled at centrists today.” – Dorian

    “The thing is, Centrism is often popular with voters but unpopular with people who are very interested in politics. Because it’s not passionate.” – Ian 

    “I myself am an ideologue, an ideologue for liberalism, so it’s possible I feel threatened by something which essentially isn’t ideological.” – Ian 

    Written and presented by Dorian Lynskey and Ian Dunt. Audio production by Alex Rees. Music by Jade Bailey. Logo art by Mischa Welsh. Group Editor: Andrew Harrison. Origin Story is a Podmasters production
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  • How did conspiracy theory grow from a fringe belief to a quasi-religious movement capable of toppling democracies? Ian and Dorian chart the rise of the tinfoil mindset in a wild historical ride that takes in the Illuminati, 9/11, Karl Popper, Watergate, Hitler, QAnon, Oliver Stone’s JFK, and Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn’s secret society.
    And chillingly, they explain why the tinfoil fringe isn’t just on the fringe any more. 
    Help Ian and Dorian DO THEIR RESEARCH by supporting Origin Story on Patreon:
    Conspiracy Theory: A Reading List
    From Dorian:
    Voodoo Histories by David Aaronovitch. Sharp and readable overview of the history and psychology of conspiracy theories.
    The United States of Paranoia by Jesse Walker. A provocative history which argues that paranoia permeates mainstream American politics, not just the fringes.
    Among the Truthers by Jonathan Kay. A reporter’s journey through contemporary conspiracy theories.
    The Paranoid Style in American Politics by Richard Hofstadter. This brilliant diagnosis of the conspiracist mentality still holds up.
    The Hitler Conspiracies by Richard J Evans. Evans uses case studies including the Reichstag fire and the stab-in-the-back myth to illustrate the importance of conspiracy theories to the Nazi era. Very good on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the difference between event theories and systemic theories.
    The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon. The classic novel of American paranoia and the only Pynchon novel you can read in less than a week.
    The Coming Storm. Superbly reported BBC podcast series, presented by Gabriel Gatehouse, explores the 90s roots of QAnon.
    On JFK the movie:
    JFK: The Book of the Film by Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar. The heavily annotated screenplay plus reams of press coverage of Stone’s movie, much of it hostile.
    Reclaiming History by Vincent Bugliosi. Elephantine takedown of every single JFK conspiracy theory. There are no survivors.
    Christopher Hitchens on JFK and conspiracy theories in general.

    And from Ian:
    Conspiracy Theories by Quassim Cassam. The case for a political analysis. Worthwhile, but flawed.
    The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories by Jan-Willem van Prooijen. Decent little overview of the psychological work into the area. Also worthwhile, also flawed.

    “The very fact that it’s not proper scholarship makes conspiracy theory so much more exciting to read — and satisfying to write.” – Dorian

    “JFK is the most powerful argument I’ve seen yet that you should be able to sue for libel after you’re dead.” – Ian

    “According to Hitler, the fact that the Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion had been called fake proved they were true…” – Dorian

    “Certain people believe that the CIA invented conspiracy theory in order to discredit people who criticised the Warren Commission. So that means that conspiracy theory is a conspiracy theory…” – Dorian

    Written and presented by Dorian Lynskey and Ian Dunt. Audio production by Jade Bailey and Alex Rees. Music by Jade Bailey. Logo art by Mischa Welsh. . Group Editor: Andrew Harrison. Origin Story is a Podmasters production
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  • What are the real stories behind the most misunderstood ideas in politics? Ian Dunt and Dorian Lynskey explore the histories of concepts you thought you knew. In this first episode: McCarthyism. Was it really a crusade against communists or just a grifter’s opportunity that got out of hand? How did a witch-hunt morph into a way to denounce any critic, no matter who? And did Joe McCarthy really write the rulebook for Trumpism?
    Help Dorian and Ian dig deeper into other criminally misrepresented ideas by supporting Origin Story on Patreon at 
    Or if you're listening via Apple Podcasts, you can access a premium subscription in the app:
    McCarthyism: A Reading List
    From Ian:
    Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy by Larry Tye. Dense, but readable and very thorough account of McCarthy's life. Tye is perhaps a little too fair to his subject, but he paints a full portrait.
    High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic by Glenn Frankel. Beautiful biography of the film, in which the subject matter and the background oppression go hand-in-hand. Film criticism as political science.
    A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy by David A Oshinsky. The classic McCarthy biography, full of anecdotes and ideas. Fun fact: this is one of the books that inspired REM’s ‘Exhuming McCarthy’.
    From Dorian:
    Reds by Ted Morgan. An exhaustive account of various Red Scares and what McCarthyism meant beyond McCarthy himself. Particularly good on the importance of the Venona intercepts.
    Trumbo by Bruce Cook. Terrifically vivid biography of Dalton Trumbo with much to say about the Hollywood blacklist in general. Much better than the movie.
    The Crucible by Arthur Miller. The essential contemporary allegory.

    “In a way, McCarthyism is actually the origin story of Donald Trump.” – Ian Dunt

    "If you say it loudly and aggressively enough, it becomes the truth.” – Peter Fraser

    “The victims were the people who are always victims in moments of national paranoia: gay people, Jews, free thinkers and liberals.” – Ian Dunt

    “McCarthy hacked the media… It was as if a restaurant served poisoned food and it was up to the diner to refuse it.” – Dorian Lynskey

    Written and presented by Dorian Lynskey and Ian Dunt. Audio production by Jade Bailey and Alex Rees. Music by Jade Bailey. Group Editor: Andrew Harrison. Origin Story is a Podmasters production. 
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