Past Shows

Moral Prophecy

Thomas Jefferson said: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” That is eighteenth-century American language for an intuition that never quite dies – the idea that people and nations are ...

The Abyss

The omens are powerful and clear for the American future—that is, for a reputedly sane and stable multi-racial democracy. It’s just that the two auguries of January 6 cut both ways and collide head on. ...

St. Louis Blues

The city of St. Louis is the story of this hour. At the heart of North America, where the great Missouri River joins the Mississippi, it was the gateway to Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase—to Indian ...

Yo-Yo Ma’s Bach

This show first aired on May 21, 2020. The force of art to rescue a world breaking down; the power of music in particular to heal people one by one, perhaps all together: this was ...

Greta Gerwig Meets Louisa May Alcott

This show originally aired January 23, 2020. In the Oscar-excitement around the new Little Women, director Greta Gerwig has a note for all of us: her hero at the party is still the woman who ...

The Joy and Genius of Erroll Garner

Erroll Garner, the jazz pianist, is undergoing an upward revaluation of the sort that artists dream of: a reputational transition forty-some years after he died. In his time, mid-twentieth century, Erroll Garner was a pop ...

The mRNA Story

mRNA is the bright spark in a disaster year still darkening under the surge of COVID deaths and new cases. mRNA is the messenger molecule with news of help on the way. It’s described as ...

Empire in Denial

It’s not just Joe Biden under pressure in the post-Trump transition. It’s the American way in the world, the mindset of a global enforcer. Stephen Wertheim is our guest: a remarkable young historian with a ...

Etcetera

May 21, 2018

Remembering Philip Roth

Our long, gabby afternoon with Philip Roth in 2006, at his farmhouse in Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut, was a sort of pay-off. I’d helped him find just the right Boston location for a scene in his ...
December 26, 2019

Ben Lerner’s Literary Charge

This week we have an Open Source literary treat. It’s our producer Adam Colman in conversation with Ben Lerner, the MacArthur Genius who speaks as a poet, theorist, and storyteller in everything he writes. Ben ...
May 17, 2018

The Split Screen View in Jerusalem and...

One split screen wasn’t really enough for the asymmetries we’re looking at now, but there it was: Ivanka unveiling the Trump embassy plaque in Jerusalem, and 40 miles away, the massacre at Gaza, Israeli soldiers ...
March 29, 2018

Van Morrison’s Cosmic Accident

In the annals of rock music albums, Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks is one of a kind. In an earthy medium, it’s a masterpiece of abstraction.  Indecipherable. Irresistible. Influential. Accidental, it seemed, from the first licks ...
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