Rob Henderson On Overcoming Trauma
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This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit andrewsullivan.substack.com Rob is a young independent writer. His work has been featured in the NYT, the WSJ, the Boston Globe and others, and he writes a popular substack that coined the term “luxury beliefs.” He had a tumultuous childhood in foster care, joined the Air Force at 17, and went on to graduate from Yale and Cambridge. He tells that story in his first book, Troubled: A Memoir of Foster Care, Family, and Social Class. For two clips of our convo — on attending Yale during the Halloween costume meltdown, and how to reform the foster care system — pop over to our YouTube page. Other topics: born into poverty in LA; an absent father; a drug-addicted mom who grossly neglected him; her arrest and deportation; entering foster care at age 3; having his first beer at age 5; his social worker being the most stable figure in his childhood; seven different homes by age 8; an eccentric foster mom who used Rob for free labor and nearly let him drown in her swimming pool; finally adopted by parents — who divorced 18 months later; the adopted father who cut him off; the adopted mother who partnered with a woman — who suffered a near fatal gunshot; growing up in the working-class Central Valley; constantly getting into fights; constantly using drugs and booze; drunk-driving on the reg; getting terrible grades; barely graduating high school; enlisting in the Air Force at 17 and serving eight years; entering rehab at 24; his life saved by a standardized test in the military; how the SATs are a life-line for marginalized teens; Rob getting into Yale; being mystified by the “luxury beliefs” and victim culture of his privileged peers; micro-aggressions and emotional labor; Orwell on oikophobia of the intelligentsia; the high marriage rates of liberal elites; Google’s Gemini trying to indoctrinate the masses with CRT; and the importance of a stable family above all else. Browse the Dishcast archive for an episode you might enjoy (the first 102 are free in their entirety — subscribe to get everything else). Coming up: Christian Wiman on resisting despair as a Christian, George Will on Trump and conservatism, Abigail Shrier on why the cult of therapy harms children, Adam Moss on the artistic process, and Richard Dawkins on religion. Please send any guest recs, dissents, and other pod comments to [email protected].
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