Past Shows

American Autocracy

The late innings of Donald Trump’s four-year campaign in the White House come to look stranger than the big-league baseball season—both of which are in the deep shadow of the pandemic (13 St. Louis Cardinals ...

Nicholson Baker Searches for Secrets

Nicholson Baker, prose writer beyond category, has a new book for COVID time, speaking directly to the dread of weaponized biology as only Nick Baker could treat it, in history and in his head. This ...

The Next Generation

Everybody knows the force of Black Lives Matter by now; many millions have been touched directly. But what do you know about Sisters Unchained, or Families for Justice as Healing, or Say Her Name, or ...

A Public Conversation Gone Sour

The All-American Thinking Class is beside itself: under pressure inside and out. It is a target already in Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, for lock-step conformity, he says, against “our magnificent liberty.” But the intelligentsia has ...

Reparations and the Wealth Gap

Forty acres and a mule was the promise made to black slaves, even before the Civil War was over. General Sherman of the Union Army drew up the plan, and Congress took a good look. ...

Return of the Prophet: Baldwin in the 21st Century

This week, we revisit our 2017 show on James Baldwin. James Baldwin was the prophetic voice of an era that isn’t over. Fifty years ago, he was a young, bug-eyed man from Harlem who wrote, in essays ...

Warrior Cops

Once upon a time in the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s, “community policing” came forth as the solution to a law-and-order problem. In 2020 hindsight, the road to our hellish crisis today of police ...

Deaths of Despair

The warning bell sounded in 2014: a down dip in the ever-rising American lifespan, which was 50 years, on average, in 1900, and up close to 80 years into the 21st century. Then something happened ...

Etcetera

May 8, 2018

Lisa Halliday’s ‘Asymmetry’

This is an unlocked, bonus segment of Open Source. You can hear weekly conversations and extended interviews like this one by subscribing and supporting our work on Patreon. The writer Zadie Smith first clued us ...
June 6, 2019

Tiananmen Square and China’s 1980s

China in the 1980s can sound like a Paradise Lost—paradise crushed by tanks on Tiananmen Square 30 years ago, paradise erased by massacre and state propaganda ever since, an unmarked memory hole. Except that people ...
June 14, 2018

Two Guys Walk Into a Summit in...

From “fire and fury” to a “terrific relationship” in less than a year sound like a happy turn in the Trump-Kim dance around nukes and North Korea. Better news coming is implied in the Singapore ...
December 7, 2016

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 ...
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