Indirect Message Episodes
Indirect Message is a series of discussions across ideological divides
about sex, media, and culture.
33. Beyond Bigots and Snowflakes
feat. Ilana Redstone, Unassailable Ideas
Discourse about hot-button social issues is broken. Can we fix it?
Sociologist Ilana Redstone joins Laci to discuss the challenges of embracing viewpoint diversity. They explore how identity politics took academia and social media by storm, society's turn toward moral absolutes, whether our intentions matter, bad behavior vs bigotry, dealing with being offended, the secret ingredient for a vibrant discourse, and more.
32. Hacking Polyamory
feat. Geoffrey Miller
Even in progressive company, polyamory is a widely misunderstood relationship style. Today we take a deep dive to better understand polyamory through the lens of our sexual evolution.
Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller joins to discuss the stigmas of evolutionary psychology and polyamory, negotiating sexual boundaries, mate selection, dealing with jealousy, how poly can help people who struggle romantically, and technological threats to monogamy.
31. The Secret Life of Emotions
feat. Lisa Feldman Barrett, How Emotions Are Made
Emotions sometimes feel like built-in reactions that are out of our control. But what if this is all wrong? Laci explores a mind-bending new view of emotion that is changing everything.
Neuropsychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett joins to discuss how our emotions are made and how we can gain control of them, techniques to experience more joy and awe, the psychological pros and cons of trigger warnings, and how we can become more emotionally intelligent.
30. The Hard Questions to Ask Before You Get Married
feat. Susan Piver, The Hard Questions
America's 50% divorce rate is a jarring reality check. In this episode, Laci shares her evolving thoughts about getting married. She discusses why we tend to ask the wrong questions before tying the knot, the 4 communication habits that destroy relationships, and a shockingly simple way we can cut the divorce rate in half.
29. Is TikTok Manipulating Us?
feat. Chris Stokel-Walker, TikTok Boom
Seemingly overnight, TikTok became one of the most addictive social media apps on the planet. It is also the first giant created in the authoritarian state of China. Laci discusses how TikTok managed to capture the world's attention, their controversial history of censorship, and whether the app could be used as a weapon of mass manipulation.
Content Warnings: brief mentions of slavery, ableism, and the Uyghur genocide
28. Hooking Up with Dr. Drew
feat. Dr. Drew and Paulina Pinsky, It Doesn't Have To Be Awkward
Dr. Drew dished out sex advice on the radio for over 30 years. He and his daughter Paulina join Laci for a fireside chat.
They discuss their father/daughter relationship and the impact of Drew's fame, sex ed in '80s, how hook up culture developed, gender differences in desire, why college students binge drink, rejection and emotional development, rehabilitating abusers, and more.
Content Warning: brief mention of eating disorders, extensive discussion about perpetrators and rehabilitation.
27. The Female Dating Strategy
feat. Lilith, Reaux, and Savannah, r/FemaleDatingStrategy
Is dating the next feminist frontier? The ladies who started Reddit's Female Dating Strategy certainly think so.
Laci is joined by the strategy's creators to explore what it means to unapologetically center women's needs in dating. They discuss their critiques of sex positive & liberal feminism, the "manosphere" and online backlash, the problem with 50/50 dating, "forever girlfriends", how they vet men for relationship success, and more.
Content Warning: brief mentions of non-consensual choking and violent porn
26. The Quiet Poison of Virtue Signaling
feat. Brandon Warmke, Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk
Moralizing, outrage, and condemnation are all over social media. While it may be well-intentioned, there is quite often a dark side to this behavior.
Laci is joined by philosopher Dr. Brandon Warmke to explore the use and abuse of moral talk on social media. They discuss the five ways we virtue signal and why it is so widespread, the threat it poses to activist causes, and what those of us who crave better moral discourse can do about it.
25. Is It Time to Redefine “Body Positive”?
feat. Lexie and Lindsay Kite, More Than a Body: Your Body Is an Instrument, Not an Ornament
Despite the body positive movement's enormous virality online, girls and women are just as fixated on their bodies as they ever have been. Is there a better approach?
Activists, researchers, and identical twins Drs. Lexie & Lindsay Kite join Laci to share their perspective. They discuss why the body positive movement has struggled to achieve its radical goals, self-objectification and a critique of the selfie, the effects of shame on motivational states, navigating diet talk, and integrating body positivity with a healthy lifestyle.
Content Warning: brief mention of eating and exercise disorders.
24. Should Western Feminists Support Islam?
feat. Yasmine Mohammed, Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam
Liberal feminism and Islam have become unlikely bedfellows; the hijab is largely celebrated, while critical discussion is hampered by accusations of bigotry. Activist Yasmine Mohammed, an ex-Muslim child abuse survivor who was forced to marry an Al Qaeda operative, questions the narrative.
She joins Laci to discuss her life experiences, why the liberal conversation about Islam is so fraught, Islam (the doctrine) vs. Muslims (the people), double standards and racism, violence prevention in multicultural societies, and feminist approaches to the hijab.
Content Warning: discussions of sensitive cultural issues, child abuse, homophobia, descriptions of FGM, sexual violence, and suicide.
23. Unpacking "Sex Addiction"
feat. David Ley, The Myth of Sex Addiction
Is it possible to become addicted to sex? How much sex is too much, exactly?
Laci is joined by Dr. David Ley to untangle the sticky web of sex addiction. Ley makes the case against the concept of sex addiction, arguing that it is rooted in sexual shame. They discuss sexual repression, porn addiction, "normal" sexuality, impulse control, politically incorrect fantasies, and why our sexual fantasies often correlate with our politics.
Content Notice. This episode contains: frank discussions of sensitive sexuality issues, a brief mention of a mass shooting, and brief descriptions of sadomasochistic sex acts.
22. The Sex Ed Spiral
feat. Arielle Scarcella, YouTuber
How does making sex ed videos on YouTube land you in the center of the online culture wars? Pretty quickly, in fact.
Laci is joined by YouTuber Arielle Scarcella for an open ended discussion of her controversial perspectives and work. They discuss critiques of "woke" activism, abusive tactics in leftist circles, lesbian identity, impossible discussions about sex and gender, Arielle's "conservative" re-brand, being a lesbian on OnlyFans, and collective self-censorship.
Content Warning: This episode contains frank discussions of sensitive sexuality issues as well as graphic descriptions of sex acts.
21. Four Secret Truths About Relationships
feat. Susan Piver, The Four Noble Truths of Love
How can we cultivate happy relationships that last years, or even decades? While the modern explosion of self-help books tell us how to get love, ancient Buddhist texts offer a different approach: how to give it.
In this episode, Laci and Susan explore The Four Noble Truths of Love. They discuss how our modern approaches to relationships can set us up for failure, expectations vs. reality, how to create the right "container" for relationship success, the pitfalls of passion, intimacy vs. love, and a well-traveled path to lifelong partnership.
20. Is YouTube Radicalizing People?
feat. Anna Zaitsev, transparency.tube
A storm of media coverage regularly accuses YouTube of radicalizing the masses with their recommendation algorithm. The only problem? A closer look at the research paints a very different picture.
In this episode, Laci and Anna explore the YouTube politics scene and how the 2020 algorithm works. They discuss left and right content "bubbles", mainstream media vs. YouTube, the plight of independent content creators, and why the rabbit hole theory has enduring psychological appeal.
19. Why Are We So Polarized?
feat. Lee Drutman, Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop
November 11, 2020
Americans are more polarized than we have been since the civil war. Data shows growing numbers of people feel political violence is justified. How did we get into this hellscape? And how do we get out of it?
18. Your Attention, Please!
feat. Ben Parr, Captivology
October 9, 2020
The internet is flooded with attempts to grab our attention. So what gets us to click?
Laci and Ben discuss the booming attention economy and how it is changing the world, from parasocial relationships to politics. They discuss 7 common tactics used to capture (and sell) our attention.
17. The Stoic Challenge
feat. William B. Irvine, A Guide to the Good Life
September 4, 2020
How do you handle the setbacks in your life? Laci and Bill discuss a variety of practical Stoic techniques to find greater resilience and strength in the face of life's challenges.
Conversation topics include our need for social approval, righteous anger and victimhood, dealing with failure and rejection, declining civility, an unusual approach to grief, the trappings of consumerism, and what it truly means to embrace our circumstances.
15. Mask Hysteria
feat. Dr. Steven Taylor, The Psychology of Pandemics
July 22nd, 2020
Perhaps the biggest threat in a pandemic is not the virus itself...but how we react to it.
Last year, Dr. Steven Taylor predicted what would happen in the next pandemic with astonishing accuracy. In this episode, Laci and Steve discuss media distortion, the politicization of masks, backlash to mandates, American individualism vs. collectivism, the upcoming anti-vax crisis, personality types prone to mask hesitance, depressive realism vs. optimism bias, and what the past predicts about the future.
14. Anonymity vs. Cancel Culture
feat. Scott Alexander, Slate Star Codex
July 8th, 2020
Anonymity is blamed for some of the worst behavior online. Should everyone be forced to reveal their true identity instead?
In this episode, Laci contends that anonymity isn't the boogeyman it's made out to be. She is joined by Scott Alexander from Slate Star Codex to discuss his crisis over a forced doxxing at the New York Times, the double edged sword of cancel culture, China's censorship problem, internet trolls, group think, and why we struggle with self control online.
13. The End of Policing?
feat. Mecole Jordan-McBride
June 19th, 2020
Is policing as we know it on the way out? In this episode, we discuss the militarization of the police, whether we should defund police departments, and what it will take to move forward in the wake of so much state-sanctioned violence and trauma.
11. Till Death Do Us Part
feat. Dr. Jeff Greenberg
May 8th, 2020
Laci Green explores the myriad ways that existential anxiety may affect human behavior. She is joined by Dr. Jeff Greenberg, one of the original researchers behind Terror Management Theory. She explores what Terror Management Theory is, and how our closely held beliefs and self esteem help us to live forever.
10. Disagreeing Better
feat. Peter Boghossian
January 22, 2020
As mass media infiltrates our lives, our communication skills are waning. Laci is joined by Peter Boghossian to discuss methods to navigate political disagreements.
The psychological functions of virtue signaling, belief hygiene, if and when to draw the line with friends, how to change minds, justice vs. kindness, silencing dissidents, managing anger, and letting others be wrong.
9. Confessions of an
feat. John Dehlin
January 8th, 2020
Faith crises have gone viral. Laci explores the stories of three ex-mormons who learn more than they bargained for, and the creative ways they communicate their differences with devout loved ones.
She is joined by John Dehlin of the Mormon Stories Podcast.
8. (Cam) Girl Power!
feat. Ginger Banks
December 18th, 2019
What happens when girl power unites with the household webcam? Meet the modern cam girl.
Chapter 1: Girl Power
Girl power grew out the 90s punk rock scene and eventually dominated pop music. Nearly 30 years later, it continues to make an impact in unexpected ways.
Chapter 2: The Sex Work Revolution
A heated feminist debate about sex work churns online. Laci explores how the blurred lines between private and public life creates new relationships and career options.
Chapter 3: The Secret Life of Cam Girls
Laci chats with Ginger Banks, a well known cam girl. They discuss her foray into camming, the problems facing performers, and what it all means for girls and the internet.
7. Facing The Camera
feat. TomSka / Thomas Ridgewell
December 4th, 2019
Laci is joined by YouTube's TomSka, creator of asdfmovie, to discuss the joys and horrors of baring your soul to millions of strangers online.
Among other topics, they discuss ego and social justice activism, asking fans for money, the ethics of oversharing, and what it means to turn the camera on yourself.
6. Rumor Has It
feat. Dr. Taylor Carlson, PhD
November 20th, 2019
Juicy gossip has entertained us for centuries. But what happens when the rumor mill comes for you?
Chapter 1: The Rumor Mill
Laci traces the origins of the gossip industry and shares some of her own experiences with rumors online.
Chapter 2: #SaveMarinaJoyce
Mass hysteria broke out online after Marina Joyce posted a video with an unblinking stare and bruises on her arms. Laci recounts the bizarre story.
Chapter 3: The Info Warp
Laci is joined by Dr. Taylor Carlson to discuss the psychology of rumor and misinformation. They explore how a story gets changed from person to person. They discuss why we spread rumors, what type of person is prone to gossip, and why we tend to gravitate toward negative information.
5. Did Apps Kill Dating?
feat. Michael Bruch
October 30th, 2019
Online dating is here to stay. Dating should be easier than ever. And yet...it feels more exhausting. Where did we go wrong?
Chapter 1: Woman Seeks Man
Laci shares her crazy first experience with online dating. She pays tribute to the old school dating services that paved the way to the future.
Chapter 2: Failure to Launch
I got 99 problems and most of them are dating apps. Laci explores the pain and pleasure points of today's dating tools.
Chapter 3: The Matchmakers
Laci interviews Michael Bruch, creator of the independent dating app Sweet Pea. They discuss gender differences in online dating, how to find dating success, and some of the more insidious aspects of the dating biz.
4. Dangerous Speech
feat. Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
October 16th, 2019
Online censorship is increasing around the world. What kind of speech (if any) goes too far?
Chapter 1: Your Video Has Been Removed
Laci recounts the escalating censorship of her sex education YouTube channel.
Chapter 2: The Biggest Influencer
F**king algorithms. How do they work? The brutal reality of the codes that govern the internet.
Chapter 3: The Great, Grey Area
Laci discusses free speech online with Jillian York of the EFF. They discuss an array of topics: increasing censorship around the world, hate speech, harassment, the cases of Milo Yiannopoulos and Stephen Crowder, sex work, neo-nazi speech, Twitter’s not-so-free-speech policy, and how to save the internet.
3. There's No "I" In Meme
feat. Tay Zonday
October 2nd, 2019
Memes are the language of the internet. What can they teach us about society? And what happens when you accidentally become one?
Chapter 1: What Do You Meme?
Laci discusses the concept of a meme. Why do some memes spread while others die immediately?
Chapter 2: The Very First Internet Meme
Laci speculates on the first meme she encountered online and the curious virality of Godwin's Law.
Chapter 3: Becoming A Meme
Laci chats with Tay Zonday about his early viral hit, Chocolate Rain. They discuss why the song went viral, its message about race, and the existential crises of being a meme.
2. The Death of Expertise
feat. Dr. Tom Nichols, PhD
September 18th, 2019
The post-truth era has arrived. How do we address mass misinformation and deception online?
Chapter 1: The Death of Expertise
Laci reflects on the promise of the internet to bridge the information gap...and the messy reality we got instead.
Chapter 2: *Fake News Intensifies*
Laci and Tom share their perspectives on why fake news is so pervasive. Should social media companies intervene? They discuss the anti-vax movement, the 24/7 news cycle, and activist websites that pose as news sources.
Chapter 3: A Capitalist Education
Dr. Nichols lays out his case for the role of higher education in the fake news crisis.
1. Internet Kids
feat. Ms. Green, MSW
September 4th, 2019
Welcome to the Super Official First Episode!
Chapter 1: Internet Kids
Laci takes a trip down memory lane and discusses the early internet and digital identity.
Chapter 2: Trouble on the Playground
Youtube drama, the psychology of public humiliation, and the pros and cons of cancel culture.
Chapter 3: Age of Anxiety
Laci chats with her sister, a therapist, about the rise of social media related mental health problems and how to have a healthier relationship with your screen(s).
© 2022 by Laci Green