Past Shows

The Afterlife of Otis Redding

Otis Redding’s five magnificent years in showbiz transformed the sound of soul music. His grainy, growling, and “squawking” voice kept the music rooted in the older traditions of the black church and black life in America. Yet ...

The Coming Crisis in Opioid Nation

This Thanksgiving, we’re replaying our episode on the issue of opioids. Their epidemic running rampant has a 30-year back story and a grisly punch-line for 2017: drug deaths this year alone are heading toward the US ...

The Future of Food

It’s Thanksgiving season again, and the double shadow on our great American food holiday is feast and famine, both. A bounteous industrial food system is wasting the land and leaving a billion of us humans ...

Democracy After Facebook

It’s Mark Zuckerberg’s world, and we are just scrolling through it: 2 billion of us now, a quarter of all humanity. We’re the unpaid production staff of the fourth most valuable company in Silicon Valley, ...

Trump Goes to China

President Trump is on tour in Asia this weekend: relieved maybe to be “getting out of Dodge” as his campaign team is getting indicted in D.C.  But it’s awkward, and unprecedented over there, too, that our ...

The Scramble for Amazon

Amazon, the online everything store with the arrow-headed smile in its logo, is ready to build its second headquarters (outside Seattle this time) in a post-industrial urban dreamscape.  And there’s barely an American city out ...

Intelligence By Design

The “intelligence explosion” foretold 50 years ago, could be here any minute. Artificial intelligence has now survived the “AI winter” — and is back in public conversation. It’s not just a Silicon Valley buzzword or a subject ...

Thelonious Monk at 100

At Thelonious Monk’s hundredth birthday, it’s our ears that have changed, not his sound.  Instead of odd angles and eccentricity we hear orchids in music, various and beautiful.  The truth of the man’s life is ...

Etcetera

May 7, 2015

Knausgaard: The New Novel Thing

Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle is sweeping the world in six volumes and 3,600 pages. It’s the novelized memory of a mostly ordinary Scandinavian life, a book whose boredom has been called riveting, transcendent, but also…boring.In our ...
December 15, 2016

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."
October 6, 2016

The Cyber

Can a secret still be a secret if everybody knows about it?Top brass US intelligence officials, including former NSA director General Michael Hayden, seem to think so. “Stuxnet, no comment!” echoes like a mantra throughout ...
March 8, 2014

Gunther Schuller: A Life in Pursuit of...

Gunther Schuller is a composer, conductor, horn virtuoso, jazz historian and critic who had the nerve and the authority years ago to decree that “all musics are created equal.”  He’s walked that walk through a ...
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Our podcast with Sven Beckert, whose new book, Empire of Cotton, is an exhilarating, 250-year profile of the commodity that came to model and drive modern capitalism. | Hear More
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