Past Shows

American Socrates: The Life and Mind of Noam Chomsky (rebroadcast)

Noam Chomsky for 50 years has been America’s Socrates, our public pest with questions that sting … not the city-square of Athens but a vast global village in pain and now, it seems, in danger. ...

Unmasking Misogyny

The news in our scandal-sick USA is that a woman can complain of sexual oppression with some assurance that she will be heard. Toxic masculinity is now a firing offense, for a change. The women saying “no” ...

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 ...

Etcetera

December 11, 2014

Steve Pinker’s Prose Guide

Our friend the linguist and psychologist Steven Pinker has written a manual on prose style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, as he calls it. We asked Steve to bring along some samples of his favorite...
May 21, 2014

Derek Bok: The View from the Top

Derek Bok is the only two-time president of Harvard University, which is to say he has twice reinvented the management of the oldest, richest, maybe the best university in the country. So he’s a qualified fixer of the university and...
May 18, 2017

Lessons from Nixonland

Welcome back to Nixonland: After four decades, the Oval Office is once again the seat of empire, occupied by a paranoid pilot hellbent on an unremittingly personal fight, and no holds are barred. Between US Presidents ...
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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