Kurt Andersen - Breaking Down America's Anti-Establishment Past in "Fantasyland"

September 25, 2017 - Kurt Andersen 09/25/2017 Views: 639

Author Kurt Andersen expands on America's history of mistrusting the establishment in his book "Fantasyland." (3:48)

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Opposing me tonightis author Kurt Andersen.

Here's you what need to know.

His new book is called Fantasyland.

I assume it's about Democratsretaking congress.

(laughter)

He cofounded Spy magazine,

so he's obviously in bedwith the surveillance state.

And one of his interestsis time travel.

Sorry, Kurt. You can't skip pastthis interview.

Kurt Andersen, everyone.

-(cheering, applause)-Kurt, thank you.

So, Kurt...

here's your book, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire.

nor a farmer, so I want youto explain this to me.

Well, uh, you're everythingI'm writing about here.

-You... It's a 500-year hist...-I should read this book, then.

It's a...it's a 500-year history

leading to President Trumpand you, basically.

Which is to say, people not onlyuntethered from reality,

-uh...-(laughter)

-Thank you.-but... but...

people untethered from realitynow dominating

one of our political parties,

dominating manyof our cable channels,

uh, having a placein the mainstream

they've never had before.

-Now, this is about America's500-year history. -Right.

Which-- I did some research--America's been around

-for only about a hundred years.-(laughter)

Uh, how-how did this beginin America?

Is this a new phenomenonthat you speak of?

Have I been around even longer?

Uh, it's not...it's not a new phenomenon.

This... the...what's sort of flowered now,

in you, in all of your realm,

has been in our bloodstream,our national bloodstream,

our DNA forever.

The-the-the passionate beliefin the untrue.

-The, uh...-(laughter)

the-the... the willingnessto sell and buy

all kinds of...of fantasies over reality.

Would you call thattruly American?

Is this thing that we're seeingright now, what you see in me,

does this make metruly American?

Or does this exist in whatI think other people call

-"other countries"? -Um,it exists in other countries,

but it is definingly American.

You are...you are the apotheosis

of all that I'm talking aboutin this book.

But how do we gofrom the Puritans

to where we are in Americaright now?

Well, we...it was little by little of-of...

And again, one of the greatthings about America

is that people can believeanything they want,

create any kind of nutty,uh, group that they want.

And-and until fairly recently,the last 50 years or so,

that has been keptin check by, uh,

various kinds of establishments

that basically say:no, this is bogus,

this might be real,this is real.

And that's the way we behave.

That reality check on...on the kind of, uh,

passionof the American craziness.

Until... until, in the late '60sand-and ever since,

uh, whatever you wantedto believe was true was okay.

You have your truth,I have my truth,

you have your reality,it's all good.

-So it's the hippies' fault.-It's partly...

-it is partly the hippies'fault, yes, indeed. -Great.

-It's-it's...-(laughter)

So I think we havesome common ground.

Hey, yeah.That's a fact we can share.

I wanted to end this interviewby asking you

to tell me somethingI don't know.

-But I'm not interestedin that, so... -(laughter)

I'd... like to ask you

to tell me somethingI already know.

Well...

Um, how about the fact that, uh,

a quarter of Americans-- whichis to say half of Republicans--

believe thatseveral million "illegals"

voted against Donald Trumpin the last election.

-Oh, yeah, that I already knew.-There you go.

Kurt Andersen, everybody.

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