An interview with Unkechaug Chief Harry Wallace and Native Coffee Trader’s Amy Wallace
Summary: Today we break from our format to introduce you to our partners from Native Coffee Traders on the Poospatuck Reservation in New York. Harry Wallace, the elected chief of the Unkechaug people, founded Native Coffee Traders in 1994. The company is now run by his niece and head roaster Amy Wallace. Harry and Amy joined Max in the studio to discuss issues facing Native people today, the importance of economic development and sovereignty, and why their coffee is so fucking delicious.
We've gotten so much incredible feedback from Unf*ckers who have purchased our Native Roasted Coffee, saying, “This is exceptional coffee. I didn't believe you at first, I was just trying to support the show. But now I'm tasting this coffee, and oh my god, this coffee is unbelievable.”
So yes, it is amazing coffee. But more than that is the rationale behind why we partnered with this group in particular. You'll come to learn that it’s a long standing friendship that started first, but it really is an appreciation for the type of people that are on the Poospatuck Reservation, the spirit that they bring to manufacturing this coffee. The reason they do it. The way that they do it, which I think you'll find fascinating.
And I think it's just time for you to meet these incredible, incredible people that I am really fortunate to know. So without further ado, I want to introduce you to Amy Wallace, who is the head roaster at Native Coffee Traders. She's a magical person, and I'm going to talk a little bit about what it's like to watch Amy work. But Amy, first of all, welcome.
Amy: Thank you for having me today.
Max: And the man she calls uncle because it's her uncle, Harry Wallace, who is the leader, the elected chief of the Unkechaug people on Poospatuck Reservation. He's an old friend of mine… I am terrified of him. But I love him dearly as well. Harry, welcome to the show.
Harry: [Traditional Unkechaug Greeting]
Max: My man, we met a long time ago. And it was during a rather raucous period when Poospatuck was under fire from the Bloomberg administration. What I found fascinating was—as I watched you work that process and battle back against the Bloomberg administration in New York City, and then battle the New York State Senate and all of these committees in these hearings; what struck me at first about you was how nobody saw you coming.
You're not just the elected chief on Poospatuck Reservation, and a passionate loyal defender of the sovereign way of life there, but also an attorney and a pretty badass attorney at that. So can you tell our listeners a little bit about your personal backstory and then bring them through what your role is on the Reservation, what your job is like day-to-day and what life is like for you?
Harry: [Unkechaug Greeting] We do personal greetings. My name means hunting man in my language. I'm a turtle clan. I’m an elected chief of the Unkechaug Nation, and I live on Poospatuck Reservation.
We are old friends, we met kind of in the throes of combat, as you recalled. Bloomberg was one of two billionaires that tried to sue the smallest native nation in New York.
Max: Right, Catsimatidis.
Harry: Catsimatidis was the other billionaire, yeah. So, I was fortunate to be in a position where I could defend a nation. And we needed that kind of defense to go up against these well financed and well-heeled opponents. I went to law school in New York and I practice law with a small law firm. I was originally a candidate for Law Review, which I turned down because I didn't feel that was the way I was going to go, so I established a small law firm in New York City and gained the experience that was necessary in order to defend myself.
I felt it was necessary, that ultimately I would be put in a position where I would have to defend the way in which we conduct ourselves as sovereign people. And I was right. First thing we did was we established the sovereign government, a sovereign method of doing business. And it created havoc in Long Island territories and New York under the first Cuomo administration.
And, again, it got to a point where we didn't do anything wrong, but the state of New York and the city of New York and the local governments began raising taxes to such a level that we became an issue. Not of any doing of our own, but we became an issue. We had been involved in the untaxed sale of goods and services from the beginning, and yet, it wasn't an issue until the disparity between what they do to their citizens and what we don’t do to ours became dramatic.
And so one day, they raised the taxes like $6. And the next day, there was a line outside our store. This is the reality. So we've been in various stages of opposition—different levels of that since then. And that's when I met you and we became good friends, because we think kind of alike, outside the box, and we like to defend the way we behave and protect that.
Max: This is going to be a little out of order and all over the place, but because of the personal greeting that you gave at the beginning—one of the things that I recall from that period that was extremely important to you that has taken root and really continued since that time was the language reclamation project to restore the original language of the Unkechaug people.
Can you tell everybody a little bit about that process, because losing language, as we talked about in our Culture Cancel episode, whether it’s just over time, or it was a forced loss of language through the programs and the institutions that were set up in the United States and Canada—and by the way, this is an issue with First Nations relationships with colonial governments around the world, we have a number of Australian listeners as well. So they're very, very keen to this process.
But forcing a culture to lose their language is one of the first ways that they try to erase a culture, and you battled back against that and have had some success. Can you talk about that process?
Harry: I love to talk about that. Language is the voice of this land. It is the soul of this land, the native language of our people. So when you hear these towns like Syosset, like Hauppauge, like Setauket, like Poospatuck. That's the soul of this territory. So when we claim that those words truly represent, it's not just colorful verbiage. It has a meaning, it has a significance, it has a purpose.
When you reclaim that understanding, then what you are doing is protecting the land. Because you are reminding people why it was called that in the first place. What was important about it? Why were we there? What were we trying to save? What were we trying to do? What was our relationship to that land? So these names are relational. And when they tried to take the language away from us, they tried to eliminate not just the words, but the relation to it.
Max: But it's one thing to say like, “oh, we want to recover and reclaim our original language.” The actual process of doing that is really, really complicated. This is not an easy thing. I mean, you're talking about—people are so far removed from it.
If you think about American culture, we refuse to learn any other languages. You travel to other parts of this world and people speak seven languages, it's no big deal. In America it’s just not a thing that we do. So reclaiming a language, that must have been a really arduous process.
Harry: It is an arduous process because it's not just about learning words. It's about learning a way of life. So what we teach in the language is the way of life. I remember the day when Grand Chief told us, “We don't lose language, we just disassociate ourselves from it, because it is a way of life that we have to understand.”
I was just reading an article earlier today that there's an Anishinaabe man who is learning how to say the words of plants and medicines in the language because he realized that those plants have retained the original words of the land, and the language of the medicines are those places that life—all life: bird life, fish life, animal life—thrive, and those that lose that meaning, those are the places where that life is in danger.
That's not a coincidence. I don't believe that's a coincidence. I believe that that is a reflection of the way of life. And that's what we're doing here. So it's more than just words. And yes, it is difficult to do that.
Max: So speaking of way of life, can you give us a little bit of context about the area, the region, the coastal aspect of Poospatuck as it’s formed today—historically, the Unkechaug people lived and they fished and they were very much an agricultural community. They were a hunting community, the water meant a lot.
I know that Shinnecock as well is on the island. But there were a number of other tribes that don't have current territories, right?
Harry: Current occupation.
Max: Current occupation, right.
Harry: But they still exist. And we have kinship relationships with all the different communities from Long Island. Long Island is one of the real special places, I believe in the world, because it has its own source of fresh and saltwater. And if you are looking for —you know the saying “water is life,” if you're looking for life in that context, you have all freshwater beings and saltwater beings all within a 110 mile radius. And that is an incredible way in which to live.
We have the ocean, we have saltwater rivers and freshwater rivers and bays where all life forms have been able to thrive on that. I was talking to Amy a little while ago, and I said “You know the Pilgrims didn't survive on turkey.”
They survived because they were taught how to catch eels. Eels floated up the rivers because they live in both salt and freshwater. They're born in saltwater. And then they travel and grow in the saltwater estuaries of our coast. So their abundance was phenomenal. And it's a very lost knowledge of how to raise, grow and catch eels and survive through the winter. And that's how they did that that first winter.
Max: Are you still connected to what's taught in school and the cultural history that you helped maintain as a leader of the nation? Are there aspects that might be different to your sovereign identity as the Unkechaug people than what others might associate in different parts of this country as reservation living or different territories?
Is there an experience about being on the water, near the water and a cultural aspect of Unkechaug people that is different and you’re still connected to?
Harry: We're still connected to it. As a matter of fact, we're fighting the state of New York now over our right to fish. I mean, the fight never ends. The subject matters just change.
Because if we create a market where we make $1 for catching a fish, it's not so much a big deal. So they don't pay attention to us when we make the dollar. But if we catch our fish and it’s $1,000, well, they want to control that.
Because $1,000 gives you independence. Independence of life, independence of thought, independence of action. So they want to control that. And New York is not about protecting the species because all they are are resource managers.
Because if everybody in New York got a license to fish, then there wouldn't be any fish. So they're expecting you to ignore those. Their issue is not environmental protection, their concern is control. And as you know, I have a hard time with control.
Max: [Laughing] I sensed that about you, I don’t know. It's just something I picked up on.
Harry: The other thing that we have relation to is wampum, which is the shellfish, the quahog clam. Your detritus—the things that you throw away every day—the shell, to us, is a living thing. It's part of a living thing. And we make wampum out of the shell beads.
Traditionally, it was used to make belts, used to tell a story, to record an agreement, to record historical events. Also to make beautiful things, beautiful jewelry, beautiful items. And we still have that connection to it. We are the largest wampum making factory in North America, currently.
Max: Is that right?
Harry: That's right.
Max: I had no idea.
Harry: Yeah. And we continue to do that. I have another relative who is in charge of that—because I'm trying to move away from all this activity—but my daughter Lydia Chavez is primarily responsible for Wampum Magic. We call it Wampum Magic.
Max: I like it.
Harry: She's exciting, it's an exciting business. She's an artist. These guys are really smart people. They're taking it to the 21st century man, and I'm barely tech savvy [Laughing].
Max: So before we get into the economics of things, I do want to talk about one relational item and that is the idea of sovereignty. What's interesting is through my former life in reporting on sovereign issues, and then exploring them through the narrative of this show—believe it or not, well, I know you believe it, because you live it—it's still a very difficult concept for most people in the U.S. and Canada; actually, not as much Canada, because they at least have a sort of spoken element to understanding that there is a nation-to-nation contractual obligation and negotiation that needs to occur before they can make any sort of decisions.
And Amy and I were talking before the show about sort of the performative nature of things; I know that it doesn't necessarily resonate up there all the time through policy and it might be a little bit performative, but at least there's some sort of stance, there's a recognition that these are independent, sovereign nations.
In the United States, culturally, we really don't have that type of relationship with native people here, we don't really recognize the autonomy and the idea of sovereignty. And the idea of sovereignty does mean something different, depending upon the territory that you're in. One of the things that I'm always careful about—and again, Amy and I were talking about it before—is to recognize that tribal nations are not a monolith. You can't just assume that if you understand how one works, that you can paint with the same brush all across the country, it's just not the way.
To me, that was actually the most important thing to understand about sovereignty, is once I understood that there's nothing more fucked up than tribal politics, you just cannot assume anything about it. Because I could not put my finger on it when I was going from nation to nation.
I realized, “Wow, this is not a singular entity. These are hundreds of uniquely identified entities that all have to have a relationship with the bigger brother, which is the United States.”
Can you discuss in your relationship as a citizen, as an attorney, and as the leader of your people right now, this idea of sovereignty, the importance of it and what it means by definition?
Harry: Okay, well, the United States may not recognize it or recognizes it to a limited degree, but it used to, because the fundamental foundation of this government was based on a sovereign relationship with the native people here. And the concept of representational democracy was formulated through treaties and agreements especially in New York, and the colonial relationship we had that carried over into the formation of the United States government recognized that we have a nation-to-nation relationship with the native people.
It was only when the numbers began to diminish—and the numbers of, I mean, the numbers of population through disease, war, genocidal practices, starvation and so on—that the government representatives began to think ultimately that this problem will go away. But we didn't go, we stayed, we survived, we survived the Holocaust. And we are the survivors of that.
Amy: We're still here.
Harry: We're still here. The problem is that we were taught that our side of the equation never changed. So we are still those people who negotiated as equal partners, especially in New York, because there's no conquered people in New York, especially in New York.
So our side of the equation says that we made an agreement with you, we kept up our bargain, you violated yours. Now, we may not have the numbers to challenge you like we were able to do so in the beginning. But we still maintain that relationship.
And historically, you look at the record and you see that, yes, that's how we dealt with issues as equal partners in the beginning, and it hasn't changed. And your laws don't apply, unless we accept them. And our relationship, whether it be political, whether it be economic, whether it be social, is as equals.
It wasn't until 1968, that an “Indian” in New York was considered a minority because it wasn’t a racial definition, it was a political definition. And in the United States Constitution and in the New York State Constitution, these political definitions were incorporated and represented from colonial times.
So the concept of dealing with each other as equals—first as military equals, and then as political equals, and then as economic equals—is something that is hard for modern day people to wrap their minds around. But it is how we have always grown up and we are taught. Our children are taught that you represent yourself as an equal to the state of New York and to the federal government, not as a citizen, or subservient, or beneath, or less than.
Max: I remember, I was reporting on Seneca, and someone I was talking to said, “well, think about it this way. Our relationship, it's a familial relationship. But it's not a parent-child relationship. It's a fraternal relationship. We are brothers, we're natural brothers. It's just that one brother is a little bit bigger, and he's an asshole.”
That actually helped. All of these little pieces and anecdotes helped me codify my understanding as I was reporting through it of, “Well, how do we talk about these issues, because it is such a foreign issue, such a foreign concept to most people still that there can be sovereign nations within the landmass and territory and geographic area of another nation.” That doesn't really compute for a lot of people.
And there aren't all that many examples of it across the world. And it is really kind of the ugly wart and stain that is a legacy of the colonial aspect and the aggressive colonial aspect of the conquered people in the conquered nations. And I love that you just put that qualifier in there that there are no conquered nations in New York, I'd never really thought about it that way. And that's kind of a brilliant way to state it because I did also get the feeling as I was reporting, that the New York relationships were very different than relationships that I had seen across the country.
Well, actually, before we get into economic development, let’s start talking about this fantastic fucking coffee. As Unf*ckers know, one of the guiding principles of this show when we started it was that we didn't want to just sort of haphazardly represent brands or things that we didn't necessarily believe in. So early on, I reached out to Harry and I said, “Hey man, are you still roasting coffee out there?”
And then I got an ear full. “Am I roasting coffee? Well let me tell you. I'm not just roasting coffee, we're making the best fucking coffee you can buy.”
And so I took a trip out and I met Amy. And just very, very quickly, I just want to tell you what I walked away with and my impression, then I want Amy to talk a little bit about this product, and then we'll talk about the importance of this type of economic development.
It is a small, extremely well organized, tidy operation on Poospatuck. Amy is there for every batch. And watching her watch her beans, to me, was like watching a painter at work. And I was really struck by how this was not really a manufacturing process. This was art. This was true love. And the way that you touched the roasting machine, what do you call that thing?
Amy: Big Mama.
Max: Big Mama, you had a hand on it. And the way that you spoke to the coffee and you're like, “Oh, she's not ready yet. And hang on, watch this turn. And this is beautiful. Oh, and I want to take this out.”
It was such a loving, artistic hands-on process. I want you to, as best as you can, pour that love through the microphone and tell everybody about how beautiful this process really is.
Amy: Well, to get to where I am now I have to go back to when the company was started in 1994. And being an 11 year old girl watching my family, this generation above me putting all of this together. As far as, what kind of beans are we going to choose? What can we do to give back to the community? What's the purpose behind it all? What's our mission here?
So watching that as a young girl—it was so important for them to put out a healthier, tasty product that was still coffee for the people of our nation. So, as an 11 year old, no one asked me, “Hey Amy, I need you to come over here and do this.”
Just watching the process, as an adult said, “I want to be a part of this. I need to be a part of this. I want to learn everything I can about this industry and bring it back to my family.”
I started with Becky, she was the master roaster at the time and she told me everything she knew about the business, the love, how to care for the equipment, how to wisely choose your green beans, roasting temperatures, the works. She gave me everything she knew. Uncle Harry gave me everything he knew about the industry. Everyone around from that generation said “This is what I know. You take this.”
But it was a blessing for them to trust me with this company and say “It’s your turn now, it's time for you to grow.” So when you see me roasting, see me in my element, it comes naturally for me to be like, “Wait, big Mama's not ready. Max, hold on, give me a second, just let me do this.”
Because it's a gift that they gave me. It's the blessing that they gave me. I feel obligated to produce every batch with love. Because my family loved me and trusted me enough to say, “We want you to do this.”
And I love the artistry of roasting as well. And I love what I do. The smell alone that fills the room during, after, before. When you walk in, it smells like coffee. Every roast is just breathtaking within itself. So even when I leave work, and I may have to go to the grocery store, people are like, “What’s that smell? Oh my God, you smell like coffee!” Just that comment from people, it's flattering. And then once people get the opportunity to taste what I created.
Max: It’s so good, Amy.
Amy: So good. And I'm only tooting my own horn a little bit. But it really is good because the feedback that I get from every person who's ever tried Native coffee, I'm flattered. I'm blown away by it. And it makes me want to continue to produce a great quality, great tasting, organic, Fairtrade product. I take so much pride in what I do. Every roast, I take pride.
Max: And you have incredible depth of knowledge too, because we hit you up all the time with random questions that we get from listeners, or we just have ourselves, and you're always prepared with a really deep and thoughtful, sometimes surprising answer.
But speaking to that, the selection of the beans, there's more to it. People know to look for, is this organic, is it Fairtrade? Great, I feel good about myself, I feel good about buying it. But you actually go a little bit deeper, there's another level to the selection of the beans and the territories you get them from. Can you talk about the rationale behind where you get the beans?
Amy: So the first thing we needed to decide on was the quality of bean, it needed to be a premium, Arabica bean, of course organic. And we wanted the family farmers to get paid fair wages. So this is where the Fairtrade Alliance comes in because we wanted everyone to be paid fairly.
Then we took it a step further behind the scenes where, not only do our green beans that we choose have all those things I just mentioned, but we're Rainforest Alliance certified, we do not deal with farmers who destroy the land. We're bird friendly, we do not deal with farmers that will destroy their crops where there's no bird life, where they're not able to thrive in these environments, as well.
Max: There's something about the selection of the countries as well that I found that surprised me.
Amy: So what we do is we only get our green beans from South and Central America. And one of the reasons—
Harry: And Mexico.
Amy: And Mexico. One of the reasons why is that we lost someone that we loved dearly, who was killed in Colombia, trying to fight for fair wages and not destroying the land or overharvesting. And she lost her life fighting for that.
We make sure to keep these things in mind when selecting our green beans. We want to put out a great product, but we don't want to harm the earth and we don't want to harm people and we want them to get paid fairly.
Max: And what about Brazil?
Amy: Well actually, right now, the crops that are growing in Brazil—there's a drought. And it's making the prices of green beans go up dramatically. Prices went up like 30% because in Brazil, they don't have certain laws in place to protect the people. And it's kind of a free for all there.
And although it will cost us more to get our beans from South and Central America, we stand by what we stand by—not just to put out a good product, a quality one, but our morals as well. It's like number one on our list, what do you stand for? And this is what we stand for as a company.
Max: Is there anything that you do differently in the roasting process? Is there a bit of magic that you sprinkle into—why the fuck is this coffee so good? And I'm not even kidding, because everybody that tastes this coffee is like, “Oh, THAT’S what coffee is supposed to taste like.” It's just different.
There's so many people that identify as “I'm a coffee snob, I'll only have Starbucks” which means they won’t have Dunkin’ Donuts. And I don’t want to shit talk anybody or any company here, but then you have the Native roasted coffee that you produce and you're like, “What have I been drinking for 20 years?” I'm not even kidding. Like, it's just so different.
Amy: Absolutely. Every batch is watched the entire process. You have to—I don't want to give up all my secrets, but most roasters are flash roasters. So they put the green beans into the roaster, they start the time at 20 minutes, they release, it’s done. At Native Coffee, once the green—
Harry: And most of them were burned.
Amy: And burned, yes.
Harry: You can taste it. You know that aftertaste that you get from coffee. That's the burned part. And others don’t throw any of that away. They just grind it all up together.
Harry: So we're all engaged in that process.
Amy: Every roast is watched. I adjust the airflow throughout the entire process depending on how it's roasting. I adjust the flame throughout the entire process. I listen for certain crackles. No one roast is the same. I don't understand how you can say “Okay, we're roasting at 450 degrees, turn it off, or release the beans,” I don't understand that. It depends on the temperature.
Harry: [Laughing] Don’t defend yourself. Don’t listen to him! Does he ask Anthony Bourdain how to cook chicken?
Amy: [Proudly] I love what I do.
Harry: People cook the same thing a million times a million different ways. Guess what? We do it better than most.
Amy: Okay, you made it simple. I’ll take it!
Harry: That’s all there is to it, that's the secret, the secret is drink it.
Max: “Just drink it, it’s better.”
Alright, so now I do want to talk about economic development and indigenous economic development and the importance of fostering this type of economy. When we did our Economics of Racism episode, we relied heavily on two main sources, one was called The Color of Law and the other was called The Color of Money.
And it really walked through the history of systemic racism from an economic perspective and a subjugation perspective through the mechanisms of the country, against a certain class of people. It was a great episode, we got a ton of amazing responses from it because so much of it was just eye opening.
What overwhelmed me in putting it together was when you go that far into a subject and you're like, “Does this ever fucking end? Does the harassment and the haranguing ever end?”
And it reminded me of what you've gone through, Harry, to build any sort of sustainable economic development, because the second you find success with it, there's somebody knocking on your door with a rule change.
So we were committed, obviously, to doing it this way. If we were going to build the show, we were going to build it for one reason, to partner with you, create this type of economic development engine, so that at a minimum—this is small potatoes—but we're not doing nothing.
But, at a minimum it's a proof of concept to demonstrate that you have great entrepreneurship, you have great drive, great quality processes, you have all of the same type of ingenuity that can be found off reservation, but it's much more important that we create the type of economic independence on Native and sovereign territories to be able to push back when the knocks come at the door with the rule changes.
Tell me from your guiding perspective, what is the legacy that you're leaving in creating this type of environment for others to succeed on your territory?
Harry: Well, I believe the legacy is access to capital and teaching them how to operate a business properly, but being able to access capital that's something completely, entirely different. And it has always been denied to us.
We have a legacy of creating our own businesses in Unkechaug Nation. Back in 1676, we established our own whaling company, and the local Suffolk County whalers tried to prevent us from doing that. They tried to overrun our whales, overrun our industry, destroy our shipping, destroy our boats. And we almost went to war with that.
The governor of New York recognized that this could be a problem for us if they continued to interfere with our rights. That’s why I said the original relationship was much more equal because the military aspect of it was still prevalent then. And so we entered into a treaty with the colony of New York that they will not interfere with our whaling.
So the Unkechaug nation has a distinct economic relationship with the state of New York and the United States where our relationship is independent from yours. So, the difference they’ve developed over the years was access to capital, and by access to capital I mean you can’t borrow money from the bank. You can’t finance your operation. You’re on a Reservation, your land can’t be taken from you. Your land can’t be mortgaged. Because of ABCD and E reasons—some fabricated, some legit, they denied us capital.
So, when we establish the smoke shops and the gas stations and to some extent the casinos too, the reason why those are important to us is because not in and of itself that it is an achievement—I don’t think in and of themselves they’re something that should be lauded, but they provide you with an opportunity to do the more traditional things that you should be doing.
And that is what Amy is doing and what Lydia is doing making the wampum and the coffee. And we provide them access to capital they would not have been able to gain and so because of the developing business, a legitimate business that is worthy of Max’s show, they have the opportunity to do that.
And having someone who is able to take that—as she said she grew up in that environment—and take it to another level, I’m excited. I can’t believe she was paying attention.
Max: She was watching. Watching closely. So my last question, Harry. You are once again the elected chief of the Unkechaug people. That’s the statement. My question is, what the fuck is the matter with you? Do you need this like a hole in the head? Come on.
Harry: Well, I have a couple of unfinished things. I have some unfinished business, and if I can finish it, then I can just relax. As Amy will tell you I have a lot of responsibility to different people through these things.
Max: I know that’s hard for you.
Harry: And, it’s hard, but it’s necessary, because I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to do this, I want to live in peace. I want to live with my family. I want to enjoy the portion of my life as an elder and I want to focus on the things like language and teaching our kids those things and focus on those type of objectives.
Max: To the extent that we can be any wind your sail to help get that done, Unf*ckers, you heard it. Let’s do this. Order this coffee. Support this nation. Support this incredible woman who has been watching this process since 11 years old, who feels and listens to the machines. Who literally looks over every blend and every roast that you’re going to taste. She watches over it all with this incredibly artistic, watchful eye. Amy, thank you for coming in today. Thank you for your partnership and thank you for your artistry. I appreciate you more than you know.
Amy: Thank you.
Max: And Harry, still a little bit afraid of you, but I do love you. I thank you so much for your partnership and for your openness and your willingness to participate in this little project we have going on.
Harry: Well thanks for being a good friend… And for giving me the opportunity. It’s always an honor to speak, to express a thought or a point of view and I respect and appreciate that privilege. So, thanks for that opportunity.
Max is a basic, middle-aged white guy who developed his cultural tastes in the 80s (Miami Vice, NY Mets), became politically aware in the 90s (as a Republican), started actually thinking and writing in the 2000s (shifting left), became completely jaded in the 2010s (moving further left) and eventually decided to launch UNFTR in the 2020s (completely left).