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LA Times columnist Meghan Daum on the intellectual dark web and the pursuit of nuance

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Most of us experience moments that challenge and shape our ideological beliefs, sometimes in ways that are small and sometimes foundation-shattering.

In her recent piece on Medium “Nuance: A Love Story,” Meghan Daum lays out her ideological evolution and her recent intrigue with the so-called “intellectual dark web.”

She traces her path from child of pro-union liberals to college liberal to democrat who didn’t fully board the identity politics bus and then to social and cultural critic, who sought nuance within a party where she felt it was lacking. Her essay examines the last three years of her life, marked by the rise of Donald Trump, a hyper-partisanship of thought and politics and the crumbling of Daum’s marriage.

This confluence of events leads her to a flirtation with the “intellectual dark web,” where she finds thinkers who she doesn’t always agree with, but who are asking the messy, complex questions that she feel are missing from current discourse, and which also remind her of the rapport she shared with her ex-husband.

We sit down with Daum to discuss her ideological evolution and her reflections on the intellectual dark web.


Meghan Daum, book author and contributing columnist for the Los Angeles Times; her recent essay “Nuance: A Love Story” was published on the online publishing platform, Medium; she tweets @meghan_daum