Past Shows

An American Sickness

With Barack out of the White House, Obamacare now looks something like a 7-year-old orphan: the unwanted child of yesterday’s Washington; a needy patchwork mega law with holes in its coverage.  Strange part is that Obamacare ...

American (De)generations

Is American history a cyclical thing; a series of concentric circles endlessly repeating? Are its contours defined by temporary revivals of old hopes and old fears, inevitably renewed and repeated every 80 years or so? Or ...

The Russian Riddle

"Conspiracy thinking is our response to the unimaginable."

The American Experiment

We’re looking for big answers from big thinkers this week, in the first episode of our series on the American Condition.Pick one: the American Experiment (A) has run its course, (B) is catching its breath ...

Welcome to Our Neoliberal World

In recent weeks, our comments section has been filled with request to define a term we use constantly on this show: neoliberalism. For people who like buzzwords parsed and spelled out, this hour’s for you.There ...

‘Deportation Nation’

The ICE age: ICE for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal agents that will swoop down if they think your citizenship is irregular. Suspense, surprise, and a certain arbitrary striking power are essentials in the ...

Return of the Prophet: Baldwin in the 21st Century

James Baldwin was the prophetic voice of an era that isn’t over. Fifty years ago, he was a young, bug-eyed man from Harlem who wrote, in essays and novels, his own version of the civil-rights movement. Now his words ...

The Fog of Trump

Should Donald Trump have spelled it out that what he really had in mind for Washington was regime-change?  The darkest truth about the squalling Trump administration is that nobody knows what’s happening.  Old-time news guy ...

Etcetera

November 25, 2015

Colm Tóibín’s Working on his Sentences

This is provincial Ireland, a place of long winters but not freezing winters. There’s drizzle as much as there’s rain. You’re trying to find a style just to bring things down to size, maybe bring ...
September 12, 2014

The End of the Lone Genius

Joshua Wolf Shenk's new book, completely fascinating and a safe indoor sport for any number of parlor players, is called Powers of Two. The core idea is that the creative spark that rules our lives — in music, comedy, sports,...
November 4, 2014

The Big-Money Midterm

The news from the big-money midterm is: meh!Democrats are out, the Republicans are in, and the country’s feeling bluer than ever. Six years after the rise of Obama, we are coming together as a country: not around the ‘hopey, changey ...
August 25, 2014

WWI: Remaking Music

In the last show in our series on the Great War, we're listening to the sounds that emerged from its ashes. In Vienna concert halls and New York jazz clubs, from Maurice Ravel’s piano elegies to Igor Stravinsky’s explosive symphonies,...
Listen to this

For our podcast, George Scialabba is speaking about philosophy, life, and his decades-long bout with depression on the occasion of an article he wrote for The Baffler magazine, “The Endlessly Examined Life.” | Hear More
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