Reviews For KunstlerCast - Suburban Sprawl: A Tragic Comedy

Instead of gaining wisdom in his old age, Jim Kunstler's mind has become slow and mushy with right wing-nut conspiracy theories. Unfortunately this sad confused old man is no longer relevant...
I have found your talks on the future that awaits is fascinating, if alarming, and greatly appreciated your insights about such things. I thank you for that. You have lost this older white man forever with your episode 308 about "the sexual hysteria of our time." Casually claiming that the accusations of sexual misconduct against a Supreme Court nominee were some conspiracy is myopic to the extent that I will never trust what you say again. You even have the gall to let some guy who admits he is not even paying attention to Trump, much less the nomination process, make the accusation! You appear too blind, old, or uninterested to realize that this is an episode in a change that is taking place for the better in our society, one that is taking longer than most of us wish: dismantling patriarchical power relations that protect men, especially powerful men and white men, from accountability for misconduct. It's not only about sexual misconduct, but that's an important part of the undeserved power. I agree with you that things are not seen or reported or thought about realistically in our society, but you have a huge blind spot. You just go on pretending to be above the fray. I see now that it ultimately amounts to condescension, without empathy. Goodbye.
I sure miss the Duncan Crary days. This guest and Jim are being chickenshit. They should come out and say they didn’t think Dr Ford was assaulted if that’s what they think. Then we’ll know what they are really saying. Very disappointing, but clarifying. Know the enemy.
Good stuff! Been a fan since “The End of Suburbia.” You should turn off your email alert when your recording the show.
I love Kunstler's Podcasts. Great audio quality and terrific subject matter. There is something about Jim's voice that is soothing and comforting, despite the seriousness of the Long Emergency we are in. Highly Recommended. Give it a listen.
Love this podcast as much as I love your books, Thank you.
I always like to read & hear what JK has to write & say, but MAN can his stuff be frickin' depressing! And his guests just add fuel to the flames of hopelessness. The one I just heard with John Greer made me want to put a bullet in my head! Every time I think of myself as well informed, versed - even hardened - to the inevitable decay of our culture & society, along comes the things I hear on this podcast. Thanks for the bleak and meaningless future of existence, guys! I believe I have my cyanide capsules ready. Greer's chuckling about our downward spiral into a savage, barbaric culture made me physically ill. I'm no defender about the current global situation. I'm not naive about the uncertain years ahead, but give us a morsel of optimism to chew on here! Even if it's meek and miniscule. Geez! Is there a reasonable alternative? A Robert E Howard nightmare realm of "only the strong survive" is unacceptable. If "living by the sword" is the only option, I'm gonna go commit hari kari right now. Thanks for cheering me up! Looking forward to the next podcast! (gunshot. thud!)
I'm giving the podcast a 4/5 rating because it used to be good and is filled with a lot of great content about urban planning. His more recent shows seem to be about the economy - after hundreds of shows I guess it's hard to stay on just one topic. He really knows his stuff about urban planning, cities, architects, etc. though I feel when he talks about the economy it's overly pessimistic. His early podcasts, especially after the crash of 2007/2008, made lots of predictions about an impending collapse within 5 years, which clearly hasn't happened yet. My advice is to ignore those parts and listen to the podcasts about good and bad urban design, although even when he's wrong, he's still a lot of fun to listen to.
This is a great informative work and I look forward to it every week.
Great guests on the revived Kunstlercast. Better now without the inane giggling of Duncan Crary.
Essential listening in this crazy world
When you listen to a few of these podcasts with Duncan and Jim, three things happen. First, you begin to understand, filter, and analyze the mainstream news we get through the normal channels much better. Second, you begin thinking about the kind of world you want to live in, and hopefully you start to make small changes that will make that happen. Finally, you find yourself listening to the rest of the podcasts over time, laughing, taking notes, and sharing their ideas with others.
I've been working my way back through the KunstllerCast catalog since being turned onto Jim by a coworker a couple weeks ago and enjoyed the process of sinking into the auditory observations and quips. A fair disclaimer is that I find these topics fascinating, but it certainly takes some talent and a good sense of humor to carry on close to 200 podcasts - and on an impressively regular basis it seems - on the subject of the end of the world as we know it. I do have to say, for two seemingly dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy theorists, they could use some help concealing the identity of Jim's new locale in #183. Pinpointing the distance to a specific mountain due East? Describing the road in complete with landmarks? Mentioning the town's original name which they just happen to have a festival named after? Oh well, it only served to draw me into listening to the whole episode!
I'm a big fan of the subjects addressed (public transportation, new urbanism, politics, the environment) and find Kunstler's acerbic wit engaging, honest and thought provoking. I may not agree with everything he says. But I sure look forward to listening to this podcast every week.
After reading (and buying) JHK's books over the past twenty years, I eagerly look forward to the Kunstlercast each week. JHK is super-informed, opinionated (fine with me), salty, funny. For anyone who has any anger at all about the dumbing down of America's built environment, and a desire to play a part in its restoration, this is a must-listen. Kudos to Mr. Crary as well for the vast amount of work he does so capably to keep this going.
Really makes you rethink so many of the basic assumptions our modern lifestyle is predicated on. It's far more precarious than we realize.
Have been enjoying this show for sometime. I don't always agree with what Kunstler has to say, but I always look forward to it. Duncan has really grown over last couple of years, finding his own voice. I am the same age as Duncan and it's been great to listen to him grow from Jim's mentorship. They may disagree, but it's what i've noticed. I think Jim has an extremely important message, that is sidelined by mainstream media. I really think that the immediate direction of humanity will be decided in the next decade or so. The Kunsterler Cast gives you much to think about. The episodes recorded at the Congress for the New Urbanism (162-168) were a deviation from the norm and very enlightening. Always looking forward to the next cast!
Just listened to this episode. I wonder what the outpouring of emotion would be if it was Palin who was shot through the head instead of Giffords? The whole gun control is a nonissue. Most gunowners will not give up their rights no matter what law is passed or what penalty there is for violating it. It would be impossible to enforce. Most law enforcement would refuse to do so. I enjoy both your books and podcast. JHK, you are wrong about ammunition availability. Your story takes place five years after the collapse. That is not long enough for all the ammo to be used up. I reload my own and have upwards of 5000 rounds in various calibers. I have the components to make another 2000.
I look forward to the podcast each Thursday evening. In my opinion, Jim is one of the few people who really understands what the important issues are in today's world, and is doing something about it. Great work Jim!
It's odd that I have discovered this after making the choice to leave a career in restoration carpentry to seek a design degree, in the unspeakable discipline of architecture. I took this plunge because my position in the hierarchy of those that build our human habitat was so low that I felt like I could affect very little positive change. Perhaps idealistically naive I thought an AIA at the end of my name would give me some leverage. I would have to say that being essentially a professional "vernacular-ist" in a large design school is stunning. I'm hear to report that they, the design education community, are beginning to integrate many of the notions Jim Kunstler is expounding. Though the notions are there they seem very much to have shown up on the door step in the night, obviously worth while, but there is a real sense that they don't really know what to do with it. Kind of like a terrifying pantomime of Three Men and a Baby but no Steve Guttenburg. This pod cast series is so good it has me seriously questioning my decision. But when you really listen to the nuances in the discussions my move from rural living, truck dependence, dependent on wealthy client vacation home construction lifestyle to a situation where I'm on a bus or bike, I walk to my corner store, wine shop and bakery, and I'm slowly learning to get along with urbanites--might be the best I can do, for now. So listen to Jim. Care about where you live. And care about what it looks like. Go to a damn town hall meeting. And listen to Jim.
I enjoy listening to the Kunstlercast with Duncan Crary. I have read most of Mr. Kunstler's books and have been certainly enlightened and entertained. I agree with most of his opinions on peak oil, I enjoy discussing his views with friends and family. I just want to wish him well.... and encourage him to continue with his writings and his blogs... ... sincerely rich methot
I've been following this podcast for almost two years now, and I still look forward to a new episode every Thursday evening. Jim has been speaking up about the unsustainability of suburban development for nearly 20 years. Now, as the housing market continues to crumble and oil prices ratchet up steadily higher, his words become all the more poignant. Jim has a bit more pessimistic view of long-term trends than I personally think is warranted. However, I believe that his analysis of current trends is spot-on and I support his assertion that the US is entering the beginning of what he calls "The Long Emergency." If you're sick of vacuous news reports that shine little light on the structural weaknesses at the root of our current troubles, look no further. Jim and Duncan's dialogue will expand your understanding of the economic and energy challenges facing the world in the years ahead as well as the state of current solutions. I strongly believe that if more people were exposed to this show, we could more proactively engage with these issues rather than reacting to the consequences after the damage has been done.
You may disagree with Kunstler, but you have to admit he is a genuinely non-partisan pundit with a profound understanding of culture and society. I notice that when I mention any of his ideas to most 'normal' people they tend to get very upset. Unfortunately, most of America is sleepwalking through life, blaming "Liberals" or "Conservatives" for the nation's ills. I think people need to start looking in the mirror first, then organizing their communities with other like-minded denizens. His concepts of 'other living arrangements' and 'streetscapes' and 'scale' are terrific conversation starters. You will at least come away with a new point of view and perspective if you listen to his podcasts with regularity.
This is one of the great podcasts out here. Jim consistently is on point about the state of current affairs while most of our mainstream commentators are hopelessly off point. I believe our built environment has made us stupid, isolated and massively wasteful. Jim was one of the first to see this and he describes this lifestyle with no future in precise and unforgettable language. Listen up folks. The truth might set you free.
I read Jim's books and I loved the early episodes and listened to every single episode of Kunstlercast. At first, Jim's near-encyclopedic knowledge of history and city planning (and his gift at juicy adjectives) was pretty captivating. But after a while, this podcast just sounded more and more like a broken record, or perhaps a soap opera where I thought I'd already heard the plot in a dozen prior episodes. To save yourself a hundred hours of listening, here's basically everything Jim says: #1: We're running out of oil (duh) #2: Because Jim loves small-scale living and pre-modern architecture, that's what we'll be returning to after the oil crash happens. #3: Everyone who doesn't share Jim's opinions is incompetent or an idiot. I finally stopped listening.
Great discussions on the built environment...
I haven't found another podcast like this. Kunstler gets that how things have been are not how they will be. This podcast is educational, thought provoking and fun.
Everybody should listen to/read James Howard Kunstler. He's an important voice in these transformative times of debt and depravity. He's damned entertaining as well. Many kudos to Duncan for making this happen.
The question isn't do you 'agree' with JHK or not, but can you aford to not pay attention to what he has to say. Kunstler is a true American Humanist (with a touch of prophetic zeal) in the finest sense of the word. Think Lewis Mumford with an acute sense of urgency. I'm new to his pod cast but, from what I can tell, it takes his complex diagnosis of the problem (The Geography of Nowhere), his prescirption for a rememdy (Home from Nowhere), within the context of a looming, well, catastrophe -- Peak Oil. Even the Kuwaities agree (2014, so they say).
A cogent, ongoing discussion of the numerous issues facing 21st century America. The presentation is not at all pedantic; more like sitting around a bookstore eavesdropping on a fascinating conversation.
I first came upon Jim Kunstler in 2008, amid my concern over the soaring oil prices. I read his book "The Long Emergency" and it changed my life. He brings his wide knowledge and opinions to the Kunstlercast on the many wasteful tendencies of suburban life, sprawl, architecture, peak oil, our dwindling wealth, and in general, our final reckoning with a way of life that is becoming more and more unsustainable all the time. He also happens to be very funny. Duncan Crary also does an outstanding job interviewing Jim and coming up with topics for each episode. While there are many excellent podcasts, this one is truly exceptional and is my favorite on the web.
Kunstler takes a fantastic no holds barred approach to our problem and forget the politicking. I quote him daily.
This is a great piece of lifelong learning. I've really enjoyed JHK's accurate, useful and weirdly positive description of where we are, how we got here, and where we're going.
The subtitle says it all: The Tragic Comedy of Suburban Sprawl. Duncan Crary and James Howard Kunstler find new angles from which to discuss our pattern of development, our sedentary lifestyles, and our love affair with the automobile each week, and how these paradigms are unsustainable in the age of peak oil. Duncan Crary is a talented interviewer, and James Howard Kunstler brings wealth of knowledge, opinion, and sardonic wit to every episode. I look forward to getting the new podcast each Thursday.
I found Kunstlercast some time ago while looking for urban planning podcasts, had already read Geography of Nowhere which I enjoyed, but after listening to him for the last 1 1/2 years the luster has faded for me. He's thoughtful, but a generalizer, and spends a good amount of his time justifying his thorough pessimism to his doting young host, discounting every rare positive development (that can actually be called positive) with some qualifying caveat that will lead us all back to the Kunstler model of self-inflicted, slow, blind, societal decline. As an observer of urban planning the man is a genius, but his rhetoric about our future, serious vapors and visions of an urban armageddon we're destined to, lives a little too much in the tin-foil hat category. This is the same guy who believe Y2K was going to destroy us all. Is it that bad, Jim? For him, yes. The myriad problems all of us live with in this world can only begin to be dealt with if we, just occasionally, believe we're capable of solutions. In the meantime, enjoy listening, but have your own caveat regarding the content here.
I've listened to every one of James Howard Kunstler's podcasts. He and Duncan Crary (the host) produce a consistently entertaining and informative show about where we have gone wrong in our built environment. If you'd like to hear a critique of suburbia that is lucid, unflinching, and historically accurate you've found the place.


By apratts
This was an excellent podcast. Now is just more Obama propaganda.
Jim and Duncan are doing a public service to America by educating us about some of the underlying problems affecting America today - the podcast is funny with a somewhat tongue in cheek attitutude towards the world. I really enjoy listening to it.
Jim Kunstler has given me more food for thought than any philosopher in a long time. Well worth your time.
James Kunstler has a way of seeing the world around us that is not to be found hardly anywhere else. This podcast is definitely worth investing the time in to listen to once or twice. After that, you just might get hooked.
I can't say enough good things about James and Duncan. The only thing I can do, as an intelligent person, is to encourage others to listen.
What an excellent and thought-provoking podcast. It is well produced, besides having interesting content. These topics affect us all and yet they are not part of the normal discussion. I love this podcast!
I only listen to two radio programs: This American Life and KunstlerCast.
Kunstler makes numerous incorrect assumptions about American history, American culture, and world cultures. His appeal is that he delivers his rants in a calm and eloquent manner, which makes his point of view seem sensible. My other problem with this show is the "host," because he does not push Kunstler on his claims and opinions, he just laugh and agrees with him. This podcast is meant to make middle aged white males who are scared of change feel better about the world.
The world is ending, and hey, that matches the premise of my book; on sale now at bookstores everywhere. Some Ideas are common sense, but mostly very gloom and doom. The web is full of this stuff lately, most professed by people with precious little qualification. It's just the same thing week after week. I suspect Jim hates the look and feel of the vast majority of the towns, and cities of the U.S.,and he has a point, but creating predictions on wishes and desires does not an analyst make.
This podcast informs the listener on one of the most important issues of the day. Your time is well spent.