Past Shows

Going Nativist

The battle over the travel ban echoes our history from the founding, slicing deep into the heart of American sympathies: Are refugees and migrants coming ashore to be seen as humble ‘guests of the nation?’ or ...

The Great Trump Debate: Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader

On Super Bowl weekend, we’ve lined up a couple of hall of fame political players who run outside Establishment lines to help us watch the game that’s unfolding so far in the Trump White House.  Pat ...

The Obama Years

What the “Yes I Can” president wanted most of all was to bring together a robust democracy in spirit if not every line of substance. What he ran into was a rockslide of revolt and ...

Silvio Berlusconi: The Godfather of Trumpismo

According to Henry Kissinger, “Donald Trump is a phenomenon that foreign countries haven’t seen.” Don’t tell that to the Italians. The parallels between Donald Trump and former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi are as striking as ...

Good News for Bad Times: Gospel Music from Boston

In transition time, pre-inauguration, was there ever a clearer cue for Gospel music?  “Good news for bad times,” it’s been called. Sanctified music for a broken world. While Michele Obama’s hope is challenged, the giants ...

Beethoven at the Piano

This show originally aired December 2014.We’re getting the Beethoven fundamentals, as never before, at my own piano. At a short safe distance from the keyboard, I’m learning, among other things: As volcanic was the man’s ...

Post-Democracy in America

"Donald Trump is a post-democratic leader. The liberal democratic model—of which Obama was the last president—is completely dead."

Bob Dylan, The Poet

Bob Dylan, the poet, has been singing more than 50 years, but have you ever really stopped to listen to the words? Now that Dylan is a Nobel giant of literature, we asked Christopher Ricks, professor of English ...

Etcetera

January 22, 2014

David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Boston

Here’s how to read David Foster Wallace’s thousand-page door stop and masterpiece Infinite Jest: it’s a Boston novel the way Ulysses is a Dublin novel, as Les Miserables is a Paris novel. Infinite Jest is a novel about Wallace’s alcohol...
November 11, 2014

Cornel West’s View From Ferguson

"To be on fire is to have a deep love that ignites a holy anger and a righteous indignation and moral outrage at unemployment, decrepit schools, wealth inequality and callousness toward poor and working people."
February 6, 2014

A Flailing State

We’re somewhere between the legend and the facts of the U.S. economy. The legend, still in our heads, is it’s a rough-and-tumble democracy and a classless society.  Facts are: the top of the heap owns ...
July 8, 2014

Ruby Braff’s Tribute to Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong came out of the Colored Waifs’ Home in New Orleans and the honky-tonks of the red-light Storyville district. Then and ever after Louis Armstrong’s time and phrasing, his tone and spirit made him the most influential voice in...
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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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