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Annalee Newitz with Lindy West

Stories are Weapons

Thursday, June 6
7:30 pm PDT
$5 – $25 Sliding Scale
Learn more about Sliding Scale tickets.


The Wyncote NW Forum
1119 8th Ave (Entrance off Seneca St.)
Seattle, 98101 United States
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Note: Town Hall events are approximately 75 minutes long.

Book cover: Blue background with title "Stories Are Weapons" in the center as red 3d text. Subtitle at the top says "Psychological Warfare and the American Mind" in small white text.
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Stories Are Weapons: Psychological Warfare and the American Mind

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Headshots of Annalee Newitz (with short brown hair, fair skin, eyeglasses) and Lindy West (with fair skin and wavy blonde bob)

Have you ever thought what #FakeNews might have looked like 200 years ago? 

While we may be experiencing a new era of disinformation, the tactics aren’t necessarily original. Drawing from their latest book, Stories Are Weapons, journalist and science fiction author Annalee Newitz traces back in history how disinformation, propaganda, and violent threats — all elements of psychological warfare — have evolved into tools of today’s domestic culture wars.

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Newitz argues that America has a deep-rooted history with psychological operations. Beginning with Benjamin Franklin’s Revolutionary War–era fake newspaper, then the nineteenth-century wars on Indigenous nations, Newitz follows disinformation to its peak of today’s online influence campaigns. Newitz zeroes in on conflicts over race and intelligence, school board fights over LGBTQ students, and campaigns against feminist viewpoints to show how damaging our cultural storytelling can be. Newitz argues that, in each case, specific groups of Americans are singled out and treated as enemies of the state.

Newitz also shares their insights from speaking with the researchers and activists who are pushing against these stories, working toward psychological disarmament and cultural peace. Since #FakeNews isn’t a new concept, Newitz believes we can learn from history and build a better story.

Annalee Newitz is a journalist and author of science fiction and nonfiction, including the national best-seller Four Lost Cities. They write for the New York Times and New Scientist and co-host the Hugo Award–winning podcast Our Opinions Are Correct. They live in San Francisco.

Lindy West is the co-host of the NPR podcast Text Me Back and author of the movie newsletter Butt News. She is a former contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and is the author of Shit, Actually, the New York Times bestselling memoir Shrill, and the essay collection The Witches Are Coming. Her work has also appeared in This American Life, The Guardian, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Vulture, Jezebel, and others. She is the co-founder of the reproductive rights destigmatization campaign #ShoutYourAbortion. Lindy was a writer and executive producer on Shrill, the Hulu comedy adapted from her memoir. She co-wrote and produced the independent feature film Thin Skin.

Presented by Town Hall Seattle.

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