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Depends What You Mean by Extremist

Going Rogue with Australian Deplorables
Narrated by: John Safran
Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (439 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

No one turns up where they're not wanted quite like John Safran. In this hilarious and disorienting adventure, he gets among our diverse community of white nationalists, ISIS supporters, anarchists and more, digging away at the contradictions that many would prefer be left unexamined.

Who is this black puppet master among the white nationalists? And this Muslim fundamentalist who geeks out on Monty Python? Is there a secret radicalisation network operating in John’s own Jewish suburb? And ultimately - is hanging with all these radicals washing off on John himself?

Populated by an extraordinary cast of 'ordinary' Australians, Depends What You Mean by Extremist is a startling, confronting portrait of contemporary Australia. We all think we know what's going on in our own country, but this larger-than-life, timely and alarmingly insightful true story will make you think again.... Drinking shots with nationalists and gobbling falafel with radicals, John Safran was there the year the extreme became the mainstream.

©2017 John Safran (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

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Great stuff

This is just what we needed - someone to show us the human (and sometimes all-too-human) side of the racial and religious tensions in our country. Well done, John! (Father Dave)

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Nasally voices are my thing

I enjoy just about everything John does. This is no exception. Great book! A must listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • Canberra, Australia
  • 22-03-2018

Safran's unique voice tackles radicals

Due to the charged subject matter, this may be a difficult listen for many people, and there is probably something in here to challenge almost everyone, including me. Safran breaks some of the seemingly inviolable rules we have for talking about racism, particularly post-Charlottesville: "there are good people on both sides?" Well, Safran does talk to some sympathetic, misguided characters who found themselves on the side of nationalists and islamophobes. He also talks to a lot of really vile, hate-filled people, but with a surprising lack of the sort of moralising to the audience one might expect. It's as though Safran gets that his audience already knows that racism and ISIS are bad, and feels that he can skip stating the obvious.
What he focuses on instead are the often surprising, criss-crossing faultlines in the culture wars over race, religion, and identity, which are easily glossed over in our search for simple narratives. The radical left's antisemitism problem is something that particularly irks Safran; he shows repeated contempt for their tendency to dismiss antisemitic attacks committed by Muslims as "non-structural violence."
His observations about the homophobia that persists in many otherwise-left-leaning non-white immigrant communities has proved prescient: in the national marriage equality survey, Chris Bowen's immigrant-packed, safe Labor seat was one of the few electorates to vote no.
Lest anyone think that Safran gives Israel a free pass, there are also vignettes with an IDF-loving, Trump-supporting gym owner, and at several other points Safran turns his probing gaze inward, not sparing himself from the scrutiny he applies to others.
The book at times feels like a loose collection of anecdotes, rather than points in service of an overarching argument, and that's because it *is* a loose collection of anecdotes. But Safran does seem to have a point, that point being that there is hypocrisy on both the far right and the far left, and that the conflicts that we think are so simple actually have so many facets, factions, and axes, and the motives of the principal players are not always stated upfront. As Safran might put it, it's not just the Jews that are wily.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent!

A fascinating dive into Australia's extreme ish political movements and the interesting characters involved.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • 17-07-2017

That wiley jew! As predicted, worth a listen.

A brilliant balance of satire and inside interviews. John takes a closer look at key members on both sides of the anti-immigration conversation. In typical Safran style, he magnificently highlights how strange and silly it is to hold black and white opinions on such a complex topic. He weasels himself into the underbelly of both the left and right camps and exposes the underlying agendas that are being pushed and all their hypocrisies. Great read!!!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Safran at his best

This might be the funniest book ever written about Australian race relations and religious extremists of every sort. Previous fans of Sunday Night Safran on the radio will be thrilled to have hour upon hour of John's inimitable narration making the book even funnier. As well as being highly engaging, it's intelligent and investigates divisive movements and individuals that many other writers would shy away from.

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Unique! highly recommend reading this

John Safran first hand insights with its wit will pull the wool off your eyes.

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loved it

i felt this worked really well as an audio book. It was cool to hear John Safran narrating the book.

really interesting insights into all sides of the "extreme".

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Brilliant and hilarious

Eye-opening, regardless of personal politics. A must-listen for all Aussies. I can't wait to seek out more Safran!

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  • Nick
  • Australia
  • 13-05-2017

Great story showing multiple sides of the extreme

A great story by everybody's favourite TV personality, John Safran. He covers multiple sides of the extreme including so called "Australian Patriots"

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Alex
  • 13-03-2018

Classic

The genuine nature of John's storytelling makes pausing this audiobook difficult even jarring at times. I only wish there was more, it's left me googling what happened to everyone and where things ended. The way John breaks down his thinking for the audience is great too. Bravo mate.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-07-2017

An intriguing problematisation of extremists

Johns writing is easy to follow as he takes you on an exploration of the different voices of the far right, far left and Islamist extremists. It is easy to oversimplify our political adversaries, but with this book John reminds us that they are still humans with complicated histories and beliefs.

The characters of Safran's story provide a way of understanding what has unfolded in politics in the past few years. By imbedding himself into the narrative, Safran offers a funny and intelligent point of view.

While Safran is the main character of the story, he also has the least to say. It's not often that he raises his point of view directly, and instead asks some good questions.

I would have liked to if seen some form of conclusion where John takes a stand or tries to explain why history has unfolded this way. But frustratingly the book doesn't really show that Safran learned much along the way.

I can recommend Depends What You Mean By Extremist to anyone who enjoys character driven, long form journalism. Especially fans of Jon Ronson.

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  • Alan J. Couch
  • 27-05-2017

Refreshingly Irreverent

Safran takes difficult and politically charged topics and tells a funny yarn in a very Australian way. Approaching even-handed, although his leanings are not entirely concealed, he pokes fun at both ends of the political horseshoe and the big religions to make many insightful observations. The real concerns of the large set in the middle of the horseshoe are necessarily omitted. In any case these are better dealt with by others, albeit without a trace of humour. The Strange a Death of Europe is one example. Some may not love Safran's voice but there is an authenticity coming from this author's narration of his own work.