Past Shows

Lessons from Hannah Arendt

We’re calling on Hannah Arendt for the twenty-first century—could she teach us how to think our way out of the authoritarian nightmare? Arendt wrote the book for all time on Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet ...

Taylor Swift’s Tortured Poets

We’re going to school on Taylor Swift, in the Harvard course. And all we know is, as her song says, we’re enchanted to meet her. Taylor Swift comes out of literature but she’s more than ...

Of Melville and Marriage

We speak of the mystery of Herman Melville, or the misery of Melville, the American masterpiece man. For Moby-Dick alone, he is our Shakespeare, our Dante—though he fled the writing of prose for the last ...

Against Despair

The subject, in a word, is despair, both public and private. The poets and spiritual seekers Christian Wiman and his wife Danielle Chapman are back to goad us, each with a new book. Their project ...

The Rebel’s Clinic

Frantz Fanon is our interest in this podcast. The man had charisma across the board in a short life and a long afterlife. A black man from the Caribbean, he went to France, first as ...

Algorithmic Anxiety

The question is how digital tech picks and chooses the content that comes to your phones and your brain, or, as Kyle Chayka puts it in a brave new book Filterworld: “how algorithms flattened culture.” ...

The Humbling of Harvard

Oldest and far the richest among American universities, Harvard is the apex, in some sense, of American intellectualism, and it will be a long time figuring out just how it lost a big game it ...

The Most Secret Memory of Men

The only way into this podcast is a long leap headfirst into postcolonial French fiction, of all things, and a novel titled The Most Secret Memory of Men. Our guest is the toast of literary ...

Etcetera

December 8, 2022

The Maelstrom of Geopolitics

A briefing session this hour from our strategic special branch, which is to say: the mind of Chas Freeman in the maelstrom of geopolitics. If President Obama had been given his first choice to sketch ...
February 25, 2021

Billie Holiday at 100

This show first aired July 30, 2015. The astonishment about Billie Holiday in her 100th birthday summer is how differently we hear her. Back in the day — in her music, in her autobiography — ...
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