Past Shows

Mutually Assured Madness

At the brink of who knows what with North Korea, we seem to be back on the scary ledge as in the old Cold War cartoon: enemy rock-climbers hanging off a cliff by the same ...

Let Us Now Praise John Ashbery

John Ashbery seemed to lower, not raise, his voice when he spoke his poems. “Hammer and tongs, as it were, tended to drive ideas and meanings away,” he thought.  “They only come back in when ...

The Plague of Fascism in America

It’s plague time in America. We’ve reacquainted ourselves with the wannabe centurions of white supremacy: their faces, their weapons, their torches. We have a new notion of what homegrown American fascism could look like in the ...

Harder, Better, Faster, CRISPR

The dawn of a new age flashed across the news this summer – dateline Oregon: scientists from the US, China and South Korea together had tweaked the genes of a living human embryo to correct ...

This is Your Brain on Trump

If you can believe your eyes, and ears, your screens, your Twitter feed, this is your mind, your country, our very public American life, “on Trump.”  There is no following this story, this confounding condition, this ...

Billy Bragg’s Guide to the Music of Dissent

Billy Bragg has been the premier troubadour for British radicalism for more than thirty years: a democratic socialist with a guitar and a steadfast commitment to fighting fascism, racism, and homophobia.He was the voice of the ...

The Concord Circle & the Birth of American Philosophy

Henry David Thoreau on his 200th birthday has invited us back to his woodsy, watery old town of Concord, Massachusetts where crystalline American prose was born and grew up.  “The biggest little place in America,” ...

Walden & the Natural World of Transcendentalism

Henry David Thoreau, our specimen of American genius in nature, wrote famously short, and long.  “Simplify,” in a one-word sentence of good advice.  But then 2-million words on 7-thousand pages in his quotable lifetime journal. ...

Etcetera

February 15, 2014

Nick Flynn Reads “Embrace Noir”

Nick Flynn — memoirist of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City — gave us this reading of one of his own poems: “Embrace Noir.” It’s a bonus on his appearance on our show about Boston ...
April 27, 2017

Building the People’s Party

100 days of Donald Trump in the White House, 100 days of Democrats in the wilderness, 100 dumbfounded days of dismay at the New York Times, 100 days for a lot of white America to ...
June 30, 2016

The Great British Break-Off

This week, we’re catching up on the split heard round the world. People laughed at Tory historian Niall Ferguson for warning that Brexit—Britain’s proposed exit from Europe—would be like his own divorce: a nasty and desolating affair that ...
June 2, 2015

Whitman at War

The best of American poets and the worst of American wars met head-on 150 years ago this summer in Walt Whitman’s Drum-Taps, his reflections on nursing the wounded and dying soldiers of Union and Confederacy. ...
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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