Austerity Ecology: A Live Discussion with Leigh Phillips (Group Video Discussion – 9th February 2021)
January 16, 2021
Podcast 20: Against Equality with Yasmin Nair (Part 1)
January 30, 2021

The Dirtbag Left: A Live Discussion with Amber A’Lee Frost (Interactive Group Video Session – 23rd February 2021)

Amber A'Lee Frost

Amber A’Lee Frost



“Civility is destructive because it perpetuates falsehoods, while vulgarity can keep us honest.”
Amber A’Lee Frost, The Necessity of Political Vulgarity


Amber A’Lee Frost is a writer and podcaster. She writes for publications such as the Baffler, Current Affairs, Jacobin and is a co-host of the political and satirical podcast Chapo Trap House. In this session we will be joined by Amber to discuss her work, and the cultural movement known as the dirtbag left. According to Amber “the cultivation of the dirtbag left” involves “the embrace of the vulgar and the irreverent, and an absolute zero tolerance for po-face humourlessness.” (Zero Squared #94: Free Speech for Dickheads) Fusing radical left politics with irreverence and vulgarity, dirtbag leftism attempts to reclaim traits often associated with Trump for the lefts own ends. Writing in Current Affairs Amber tells us,
“The left will always need its journals and polemic and academic writing, but there are times when it is both right and proper to terrify the bourgeoisie with your own feralness. Reclaiming vulgarity from the Trumps of the world is imperative because if we do not embrace the profane now and again, we will find ourselves handicapped by our own civility. Vulgarity is the language of the people, and so it should be among the grammars of the left, just as it has been historically, to wield righteously against the corrupt and the powerful. We cannot cede vulgarity to the vulgarians; collegial intellectuals will always be niche, but class war need not be.” (The Necessity of Political Vulgarity)
In this session, we will discuss a range of political issues raised in Amber’s work, the ways she integrates humor, satire, irreverence and vulgarity into her work, and the ways the “Dirtbag Left” could be seen as constructing a counterculture in our own time.
This session will be run as part of the Exploding Appendix Avant-garde Art Practice and Research Group’s fortnightly meetup, which will be taking place online via Zoom ( The meeting ID is 731 769 8673. The passcode is “go“. This session will be run by Bradley Tuck and take place on the 23rd February 2021 from 19:30 – 22:30 (GMT). If you would like to join us for the session, or have any questions please message me at
Follow the event on Facebook here.