Past Shows

JFK in the American Century

A bold new life of JFK cues Emerson’s line: “there is no history, only biography,” particularly when the life of a man and the American Century roll out together. John F. Kennedy was born – ...

The Upswing

Here’s the good news about the awful condition we’re in, from one of the great American people-watchers, Robert Putnam of Bowling Alone fame: it’s that we’ve been here before. “Unprecedented” is the wrong tag on ...

Green New Generation

The other historic 2020 political contest began in a hallway outside Speaker Pelosi’s office just two years ago. Not along party lines, oddly enough. The language was incendiary, but Donald Trump wasn’t there and didn’t ...

The Confidence Man

From that food-fight of an un-presidential debate, the last month of the 2020 campaign is about democracy itself, in danger: reduced now to slanging between “this clown” and that “fool,” as they said of one ...

Warped Speed

The “warp speed” race for a COVID vaccine is a sort of lesson in bio-capitalism under pressure, as well as in pandemic politics. The vaccine tracker in the New York Times online charts almost 100 ...

Wagner and Wagnerism

Richard Wagner, man and musician, was the embodiment of excess—too much of a good thing if you loved him, something worse if you didn’t. Those weren’t just operas he was writing, but total works of ...

Look on the Blyth Side

Mark Blyth is stumped. He’s the people’s economist who speaks the people’s language through his thick working-class Scottish accent. He hasn’t gone silent in the pandemic ruins of our prosperity. He’s as noisy as ever, ...

The Neuro-Adventures of Oliver Sacks

This week, we’re replaying the conversation with Lawrence Weschler about his friend Oliver Sacks (it first aired on October 10, 2019). Oliver Sacks was the beloved doctor of strong souls in afflicted bodies. He was ...

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 ...
November 21, 2019

Hong Kong Crackdown

“May you live in interesting times” was never in fact a Chinese curse. It’s a modern American cliché that could work as a caption on both China and the US as 2019 winds down. We’ve ...
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 ...
August 31, 2017

Amiri Baraka: Ennobled by Coltrane

Amiri Baraka‘s death prompts me to repost a conversation we had about the music of John Coltrane, which inspired Baraka and ennobled the ambitions of his Black Arts movement. “Trane was our flag,” Baraka remembered ...
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