"I was shocked that instead of a hit or a slap, she wanted to hug me."
October 16, 2019 6:43 PM   Subscribe

"I don't think I need to forgive you, because I understand what happened. He and I were like two rocketships on the same trajectory, from different directions. He had been raised and trained in an environment that caused him to react exactly like you would expect a human being to react, given his training and environment. I was doing exactly the same thing, reacting exactly how I was trained. To me it was almost inevitable what had happened. I don't need to forgive him. If he wants it, if that's something that would be of value to him, I would give it." Ear Hustle, the podcast featuring inmates at San Quentin State Prison in California, talks about forgiveness. CW: graphic descriptions of violence. The Victim Offender Dialogue program as mentioned in the show.
posted by Evilspork (12 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I've been listening to this since it started a couple years ago. There were two episodes, at the end of season 3, that had me trying to conceal my leaking eyes. Every episode has its moments, but the stories build up in power, from the beginning, just trying to explain it for those who haven't been there. The arc gets longer as it goes on. And they continue, along the way, trying to convey the situation. And the stories they're able to relate, the humanity of it, just continues to build. Coincidentally, I listened to 3.5 of them today.

Thanks for posting this. I'm pretty sure I would not have. Sometimes there's bluster, and sometimes there's the most human thing ever put on tape. It's devastating, beautiful, heartbreaking, inspiring.
posted by rp at 7:27 PM on October 16, 2019 [5 favorites]

Does that app have a volume control and I'm just missing it?

Looking forward to the content, but honestly, a more opaque set of controls I've never seen. The down button makes all the controls go away, sure, who wouldn't want to do that, and the only way to make everything come back is to refresh the page, then you get to start over. Don't even want to guess what the "+" button is for, or the down arrow with some kind of tray under it.
posted by adam hominem at 8:26 PM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Here are some alternates:

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/prx/ear-hustle

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ear-hustle/id1240841298
posted by Evilspork at 9:35 PM on October 16, 2019

I'd recommend looking for this podcast on whatever app you use to listen to podcasts if the interface at the link is annoying. Exactly what rp notes above - this show is always amazing.

Seven-year-old Jason scrambling to get food for his siblings. Winding up where he did at 17. Ugh. This particular episode was also really astounding to me because I don't think I've heard a police officer explain so eloquently how the job can very easily make people lose their humanity. He obviously hasn't lost his. He didn't blame civilians, he didn't want to be seen as the victim... he was just explaining how things were. I'm still no lover of cops, but once again this show made me get off my high horse and rethink things a little more.
posted by queensissy at 9:46 PM on October 16, 2019 [7 favorites]

It's such a great show, glad you posted.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 10:12 PM on October 16, 2019

I always like Ear Hustle. I'm sorry they are taking a break until spring.

I did think at the end, "hey, this isn't their usual format," maybe it's what they had to come up with while a lockdown is going on at San Quentin.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:23 PM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

They did mention a then-current lockdown in a recent show, so possibly.
posted by Evilspork at 1:50 AM on October 17, 2019

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this show.

On one hand, it does an admirable job of humanizing men and women who have been through the prison system and illuminating the trauma and institutionalized cruelty and neglect that leads to recidivism.

On the other, it looooves to uncritically valorize the "hustle" of the victims of mass incarceration in the face of systematic injustice.

Also, today I learned that Airbnb is using prison labor and paying them a fraction of the wage a free engineer would command (especially in the Bay Area). So that's fun.
posted by Reyturner at 7:33 AM on October 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

The Snack Money episode was especially egregious.
posted by Reyturner at 7:40 AM on October 18, 2019

On the other, it looooves to uncritically valorize the "hustle" of the victims of mass incarceration in the face of systematic injustice.

This is related to the aspect of the show that I have mixed feelings about, though I think I'd frame it a little differently. Obviously the content has to be approved by San Quentin and as such there's definitely an aspect that functions as P.R. for the prison. There are a lot of little bits that reinforce that SQ is the sort of prison that you "want" to be sent to - even the very existence of the show functions this way.

But I thought the prison jobs episode mostly did pretty okay conveying that inmate wages are outrageously poor, given that the show probably cannot editorialize about the issue directly. I don't really have a problem with the idea of casting the things people do to get by in the system in a positive light, as long as the subtext about the nature of the system is there.
posted by atoxyl at 3:57 PM on October 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

cannot editorialize about the issue directly

well, past a certain point anyway
posted by atoxyl at 4:02 PM on October 18, 2019

I really like Ear Hustle and have been listening since the first season. They do a great job of showing the humanity in prison life.
posted by ceramicblue at 1:57 PM on October 19, 2019

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