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Audio: CBC Radio: Rebecca Solnit and Andrew Solomon on America’s Culture of Violence

In a wide-ranging discussion, CBC Sunday Edition host Michael Enright speaks with authors Andrew Solomon and Rebecca Solnit about the culture of violence and unshakeable attachment to guns in the United States, the gendered dynamics of mass shootings and their link with domestic violence, and the backlash against LGBTQ rights.

On Violence

I’ve been interested in how much people want violence to emerge from the margins. ‘Oh, it’s poor people, mentally ill people, Muslim people, immigrant people.’ But of course, you can… look at the colossal scale of quotidian violence to realize that violence is not marginal, it’s mainstream.

— Rebecca Solnit

On LGBT Rights

In an era in which gay people have won marriage, and have won somewhat more of a right of public display of affection… there is always going to be a backlash, and the country as a whole has been disturbingly tolerant of the notion that the backlash is somehow a matter of religious freedom.

— Andrew Solomon

On Donald Trump

You know, we had lots and lots and lots and lots of mass shootings before the Trump campaign, but in terms of hate crimes against immigrants, people of color, Muslims, and a general atmosphere of, kind of, reckless cowboy, go impose your will on other people, I think he’s really unleashed, in a lot of different ways, a lot of hate, a lot of anger, and a lot of entitlement and division in the country, which is part of why, whether or not he ever holds office, he’s already incredibly dangerous.

— Rebecca Solnit

I haven’t seen [Donald Trump’s] kind of gross, manipulative, bigoted populism in my lifetime in the United States. And I think one of his great talents — if one is to allow that he has some talent — is for figuring out what he can say that is incendiary, and how he can choose to extract a personal advantage from other people’s violence and rage against one another. And so, unlike most people who are essentially trying, of course, to excite their base about their policies, but also to create a calmer and more peaceful world, his very purpose — his really articulated purpose on the campaign trail — is to incite people into a state of hysteria that serves his advantage in being elected, even though it clearly does not serve the advantage of the country, of the world.

— Andrew Solomon

(To listen to the full Sunday Edition episode, America, Guns & Violence, please visit CBC Radio.)