The New Yorker Radio Hour

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Alejandro
 Dec 12, 2020

BruceS
 Nov 16, 2020
I didn't even know this existed until I stumbled onto it yesterday on the radio. so I did a search for podcast and was really happy to see that it had one. that was until I downloaded this episode and realized instead of getting an hour I got 12 minutes. extremely disappointed. The content was great, I would have liked all of it.

Description

Profiles, storytelling and insightful conversations, hosted by David Remnick.

Episode Date
Mass Incarceration, Then and Now
31:15

The United States has the largest prison population in the world. But, until the publication of Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow,” in 2010, most people didn’t use the term “mass incarceration,” or consider the practice a social-justice issue. Alexander argued that the increasing imprisonment of Black and brown men—through rising arrest rates and longer sentences—was not merely a response to crime but a system of racial control. “The drug war was in part a politically motivated strategy, a backlash to the civil-rights movement, but it was also a reflection of conscious and unconscious biases fuelled by media portrayals of drug users,” Alexander tells David Remnick. “Those racial stereotypes were resonant of the same stereotypes of slaves and folks during the Jim Crow era.” Plus, a conversation with Reginald Dwayne Betts, who discovered poetry while in solitary confinement, during a prison sentence for a carjacking that he committed when he was sixteen. Betts reads a poem, which appears in his collection “Felon,” about trying to explain to his young son that he has served time in prison.

Dec 03, 2021
Aimee Mann Live, with Atul Gawande
23:36

Aimee Mann, the celebrated Los Angeles singer and songwriter, recently released an album called “Queens of the Summer Hotel.” The album was inspired in part by Susanna Kaysen’s best-selling memoir “Girl, Interrupted,” about Kaysen’s time in a psychiatric hospital. Mann sat down with Atul Gawande at The New Yorker Festival to talk about the new album, the lessons of living through a pandemic, and how liberated she felt when she broke her ties with major record labels. “When you’re at a record label and you’re trying to ascertain whether something can be a hit or a single, you listen in a different way—and then everything sounds like garbage,” she said. Mann decided that she didn’t “want to keep baring my soul to people who hate everything I’m doing.” 

Nov 30, 2021
Dave Grohl’s Tales of Life and Music
26:46

At The New Yorker Festival, Dave Grohl talked with Kelefa Sanneh about Grohl’s new book, “The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music.” Grohl, who was the drummer for Nirvana and then the frontman of the Foo Fighters, recalls his earliest experiences of taking music seriously—harmonizing with his mom to Carly Simon on the car radio. Grohl also talks about what it was like to collaborate with Kurt Cobain, who was known for his capricious genius, and about stepping out from behind the drums to lead his own band. “After Kurt died, I was, like, I’m not playing music anymore—it’s painful,” he remembers. “And then I eventually realized that if music saved my life, my entire life, this is what’s going to save my life again.”

Nov 26, 2021
Mexican Abortion Activists Mobilize to Aid Texans
13:42

Mexico is a deeply Catholic nation where abortion was, for a long time, criminalized in many states; just a few years ago Coahuilla, near the U.S. border, imposed jail time on women who had the procedure. This year, Stephania Taladrid reported, Mexico’s ten-member Supreme Court voted unanimously to deciminalize abortion throughout the country—to the shock even of activists. But before they had finished celebrating they turned their attention north, to Texas, which has practically banned most abortions with the S.B. 8 law, which is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court. Texans may find themselves crossing the border to obtain legal abortions. Taladrid spoke to activists who are sending medications that induce abortion—which are available over the counter in Mexico—across the border into Texas. But they may face risk in doing so. As the legal scholar Jeannie Suk Gersen explains, a new Texas law criminalizes delivering those medications to pregnant women.

Nov 23, 2021
If Roe v. Wade Goes, What Next?
36:26

The Supreme Court, with a six-to-three majority of conservative justices, is hearing critical cases on abortion rights. If it approves restrictive state laws, large swaths of the country might quickly ban abortion. Jia Tolentino co-hosts a special episode on the future of abortion rights for Americans, which includes a discussion of the legal issues at stake and the doctrine of privacy that is now in jeopardy, and a visit to the Mississippi clinic at the center of one of the court cases.

Nov 19, 2021
The Essential Workers of the Climate Crisis
31:33

After storms and other climate disasters, legions of workers appear overnight to cover blown-out buildings with construction tarps, rip out ruined walls and floors, and start putting cities back together. They are largely migrants, predominantly undocumented, and lack basic protections for construction work. Their efforts are critical in an era of increasing climate-related disasters, but the workers are subject to hazards including accidents, wage theft, and deportation. “Right now, there is a base camp for the National Guard; FEMA officials in Louisiana are staying in hotels,” Saket Soni, the founder of the nonprofit group Resilience Force, tells Sarah Stillman. “But the workers who are doing the rebuilding with their hands are sleeping under their cars to protect themselves from rain.” Stillman travelled to Louisiana, to the parking lot of a Home Depot, to report on Soni’s effort to organize and win recognition for these laborers as a distinct workforce performing essential work. “These years ahead,” she notes, “are going to bring more brutal hurricanes, more awful floods, more terrifying wildfires, and heatwaves—more than any of us is really prepared to handle. … And what’s at stake is not just these workers’ fates but also our collective shared survival.”

Nov 16, 2021
Anna Deavere Smith Retells Rodney King’s Story in Theatre
17:31

“Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” premièred nearly thirty years ago, but it’s one of the most current and important plays on Broadway right now. Anna Deavere Smith pioneered a form now known as verbatim theatre: instead of creating characters and writing dialogue, she would interview dozens or hundreds of people about an event, and weave a story from those real characters and their words. “Twilight” is about the deadly violence and unrest that erupted after police officers were acquitted of the ferocious beating of Rodney King—one of the first episodes of police brutality caught on videotape and broadcast to the nation. Her form, she tells David Remnick, let her complicate the racial dynamics of Black and white people, to include the voices of Asian Americans and Latinx people involved in the uprising. Deavere talks about how the play reads now, after George Floyd’s murder and the uprising that followed, and about what still hasn’t changed in the cultural climate for Black theatre artists.

Nov 12, 2021
Rachel Held Evans and Her Legacy
33:06

Growing up, Rachel Held Evans was a fiercely enthusiastic evangelizer for her faith, the kind of kid who relished the chance to sit next to an atheist. But when she experienced doubt, that sense of certainty began to crumble. “We went to all these conferences about how to defend your faith, how to have an answer for what you believe,” her sister Amanda Held told Eliza Griswold. “That’s why it was particularly unsettling to have questions, because we were taught to have answers.” Held Evans began to blog and then wrote a string of best-sellers about her faith, beginning with “Evolving in Monkey Town,” in which she separated the Jesus she believed in from the conservative doctrine she was raised with. Her work spoke to the millions of Christians who have left evangelical churches since 2006. “There’s this common misperception that either you are a conservative evangelical Christian or . . . you become agnostic or atheist,” Griswold explains, but many Christians were turning away from politics and still retaining their faith. She calls Held Evans “the patron saint of this emerging movement.” After Held Evans died, at thirty-seven, after a sudden illness, her final, incomplete manuscript was finished by a friend, Jeff Chu. Griswold travelled to Held Evans’s home town of Dayton, Tennessee, to meet with her widower, Dan Evans, as well as Chu and others. “I think people resonate so much with her work [because] she was giving words that people couldn’t say themselves,” Evans says. “It’s not going to stop for them just because Rachel died. There’s going to be one less traveller. One less person to translate for them. But there’s more people born every day.”

Nov 09, 2021
Will the Office Survive the Pandemic?
16:00

Cal Newport, the author of “A World without Email” and other books, has been writing about how the shutdown has affected businesses and the culture of work. Remote operation, he says, has raised fundamental questions about the purpose of work, its role in our lives, and how productivity is measured. While most companies are asking employees to return to the office as the pandemic eases, Newport predicts that economic forces will eventually drive an exodus toward permanent remote work. Tech companies that launched as fully remote operations, he thinks, have a head start on the economic advantages of ditching the office for good.

Nov 05, 2021
Wole Soyinka on His New Satire of Corruption and Fundamentalism
19:45

Wole Soyinka is a giant of world literature. A Nobel laureate, he’s written more than two dozen plays, a vast amount of poetry, several memoirs, and countless essays and short stories—but, up until recently, only two novels. His third novel was published this past September, forty-eight years after the previous one. It's called “Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth.” The book is both a political satire and a murder mystery involving four friends, with subplots that include a secret society dealing in human body parts and more corruption than any one country can bear. 


Like his cousin the Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, Soyinka has made social commentary integral to his work. Soyinka’s journey into political activism began at a young age, and, in 1965, when he was twenty-one, he was arrested for armed robbery. But Soyinka tells Vinson Cunningham that political opposition didn’t come naturally to him. “I love my peace of mind and my tranquility,” he says, “[but] I cannot attain that if I have not attended to an issue or problem which I know is . . . manifesting itself in a dehumanizing way in others.” “Chronicles” explores not only how the governments are corrupt but the effect of corruption on societies and peoples. Soyinka also talks about why he waited so long to write another novel, and what the medium offers that theatre does not.

Nov 02, 2021
The Nobel Prize Winner Maria Ressa on the Turmoil at Facebook
30:37

The roughly ten thousand company documents that make up the Facebook Papers show a company in turmoil—and one that prioritizes its economic interests over known harms to public interest. Among other things, they catalogue the company’s persistent failure to control disinformation and hate speech. David Remnick spoke with Maria Ressa, an investigative journalist, in the Philippines, who runs the news organization Rappler. She has been the target of hate campaigns by supporters of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and in October Ressa (along with the Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov) received the Nobel Peace Prize for working to protect freedom of expression. Ressa is also a co-founder of what’s called the Real Facebook Oversight Board, a group of expert observers and critics who are not affiliated with Facebook’s own quasi-independent Oversight Board.  She doesn’t see easy tweaks to ameliorate the damage; the fundamental approach of steering content to users to maximize engagement, she feels, is inherently destructive. “We’ve adapted this hook, line, and sinker: ‘personalization is better,’ ” Ressa points out. “It does make the company more money, but is that the right thing? Personalization also tears apart a shared reality.” Plus, a disinformation researcher says that, to understand dangerous conspiracy stories like QAnon, you have to look at the online horror genre known as creepypasta.

Oct 29, 2021
Jane Goodall Talks with Andy Borowitz
28:55

Jane Goodall is as revered a figure as modern science has to offer, though she prefers to call herself a naturalist rather than a scientist. Goodall learned a great deal about being human by studying our close relatives among the primates. When she began working, some of her research habits, such as naming her subjects and describing their personalities, caused consternation among other primatologists, who insisted that intelligence and emotion were the exclusive province of human intellect; Goodall persevered, and shifted how we conceive of the relationship between humans and other creatures. She’s the author of more than thirty books for adults and children, including a new volume called “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times.” 

 

In her work as a conservationist and a United Nations “Messenger of Peace,” the eighty-seven-year-old Goodall used to travel as many as three hundred days per year. Since the pandemic began, she’s been at her home in England, in the house where she grew up. In a conversation for the New Yorker Festival, The New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz (known primarily as a humorist) asked Goodall about the secrets to her success as both a researcher and an advocate. “I’m very passionate,” she told him. “Secondly, I’m probably obstinate and I’m pretty resilient. So knock me over and I’m going to bounce back up. Because I will not be defeated.”

Oct 26, 2021
How a Girls’ School Fled Afghanistan as the Taliban Took Over
19:02

In the summer, Shabana Basij-Rasikh came on the Radio Hour to speak with Sue Halpern about founding the School of Leadership Afghanistan—known as SOLAwhich was the country’s only boarding school for girls. She and those around her were watching the Taliban’s resurgence in the provinces anxiously, but with determination. “It’s likely that Taliban could disrupt life temporarily here in Kabul,” one woman told Basij-Rasikh, “but we’re not going to go back to that time. We’re going to fight them.” 

 

In fact, Basij-Rasikh had already been forming a plan to take her girls’ school abroad, and soon settled on Rwanda. When the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan led to a precipitous collapse of the government, she suddenly had to sneak nearly two hundred and fifty students, staff, faculty, and family members to the airport to flee as refugees. She seems traumatized by the terror of that experience. “That thought still haunts me—it suddenly takes over all my senses in a way, just this idea of ‘what if’? What if we lost a student?” She spoke with Halpern about the evacuation to Rwanda, and what she hopes for as the school resettles.

Oct 22, 2021
Jon Stewart: “That’s Not Cancel Culture”
21:51

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” defined an era. For more than sixteen years, Stewart and his many correspondents skewered American politics. At the 2021 New Yorker Festival, Stewart spoke with David Remnick about his new show, “The Problem with Jon Stewart”; the potential return of Donald Trump to the White House; and the controversy around cancel culture in comedy. “What do we do for a living?” Stewart asks, of comedians. “We criticize, we postulate, we opine, we make jokes, and now other people are having their say. And that’s not cancel culture, that’s relentlessness.”

Oct 19, 2021
Daniel Craig Takes Off the Tux
28:38

Daniel Craig made his career as an actor in the theatre and in British indie films. When he showed up in Hollywood, it was usually in smaller roles, often as a villain. So, in 2005, when Craig was cast as the original superspy, James Bond, he seemed as surprised as anyone. In “No Time to Die,” Craig gives his final performance as Bond—a role, he tells David Remnick, that sometimes grated on him. Craig hasn’t lost his love of theatre, and is set to play Macbeth on Broadway. “I try not to differentiate” between Shakespeare’s work and Ian Fleming’s, he tells David Remnick. “You’re trying to aim for some truth, to ground things in reality,” and “both require the same muscles.” Though he admits that “there’s a lot more chat” in a Shakespeare script. Plus, the beloved comic character actor Carol Kane discusses her Oscar-nominated turn in 1975’s “Hester Street,” which is being re-released.

Oct 15, 2021
Kara Walker Talks with Thelma Golden
17:12

Kara Walker is one of our most influential living artists. Walker won a MacArthur Fellowship (the “genius” grant) before she turned thirty, and became well known for her silhouettes, works constructed from cut black paper using a technique that refers to craft forms of the Victorian era. Walker has put modest materials to work to address very large concerns: the lived experience and historical legacy of American slavery. Though she often depicts the racial and sexual violence that went largely unspoken for centuries in the past, her work is aimed squarely at the modern world. “What I set out to do, in a way, worked too well,” she said, “which was to say, if I pretty everything up with hoop skirts and Southern belles then nobody will recognize that I’m talking about them. And then they didn’t! They said, ‘The past is so bad.’ But I’m not from the past. . . . I do live here now. And so do you.” Walker was interviewed at The New Yorker Festival by Thelma Golden, the director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Oct 13, 2021
An Interview with Merrick Garland, and Susan Orlean on Animals
33:03

At The New Yorker Festival, the renowned investigative journalist Jane Mayer asked Attorney General Merrick Garland about the prosecution of January 6th insurrectionists, the threat of domestic terrorism, and what the Justice Department can do to protect abortion rights. Plus, the staff writer Susan Orlean talks with David Remnick about her obsession with animal stories, and her new book, “On Animals.”

Oct 08, 2021
Broadway’s Unusual Reopening, and Amanda Petrusich Picks Three
22:14

Broadway theatres are welcoming audiences to a new season, mounting original works and restaging shows that closed in March, 2020. In this unusual season, Broadway is featuring atypical works such as “Is this a Room,” directed by Tina Satter, which stages the F.B.I. interrogation of the whistle-blower Reality Winner using the official transcript verbatim for all of its dialogues. But the most notable thing about Broadway this season is the record-breaking eight plays by Black playwrights, including Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s “Pass Over,” and the reopening of Jeremy O. Harris’s “Slave Play.” Two theatre critics, Alexandra Schwartz and Vinson Cunningham, discuss whether this diversity is a sign of change on Broadway or a short-term response to the racial reckoning that began in 2020. Plus, the music critic Amanda Petrusich shares three tracks from her playlist for a new baby—featuring Aretha Franklin, Paul and Linda McCartney, and the Velvet Underground.

Oct 05, 2021
Jonathan Franzen Talks with David Remnick About “Crossroads”
27:50

Jonathan Franzen’s sixth novel, “Crossroads,” is set in 1971, and the title is firmly on the nose: the Hildebrand family is at a crossroads itself, just as the America of that moment seemed poised to come apart. In the course of his career, Franzen has evolved away from an early postmodernist sensibility that highlighted “bravura” writing, and “with this book I threw away all the po-mo hijinks and the grand plot elements,” he tells David Remnick. “It’s really only in the course of writing ‘Crossroads’ that I have said to myself, What I am is a novelist of character and psychology. . . . It’s not about formal experimentation and it’s certainly not about changing the world through my social commentary.” Franzen also discusses the complex ethics behind writing a character of another race, and takes issue with the belief of some in the academy (and much of the political right) that leftist sensibilities are stifling free expression; he declined to sign the “Harper’s Letter” last year. Despite political polarization, Franzen says, “It’s a much better time to be an American writer than I would have guessed twenty-five years ago.”

Oct 01, 2021
Should the Climate Movement Embrace Sabotage?
35:15

Andreas Malm, a climate activist and senior lecturer at Lund University, in Sweden, studies the relationship between climate change and capitalism. With the United Nations climate meeting in Glasgow rapidly approaching—it begins on October 31st—Malm tells David Remnick that he believes environmentalists should not place too much faith in talks or treaties of this kind. Instead, he insists that the climate movement rethinks its roots in nonviolence. His book is provocatively titled “How to Blow Up a Pipeline,” though it is not exactly an instruction manual. Malm advocates for “intelligent sabotage” of fossil-fuel infrastructure to prevent more carbon from being emitted in the atmosphere. “I am in favor of destroying machines, property—not harming people. That’s a very important distinction,” he tells Remnick. Plus: Parul Sehgal, The New Yorker’s newest staff writer, introduces David Remnick to some notable works off the syllabus of a class she is teaching. It’s called “Writing the Unspeakable,” about the literature of trauma and atrocity.

Sep 28, 2021
Jelani Cobb on the Kerner Report, an Unheeded Warning about the Consequences of Racism
19:54

In 1967, in the wake of a violent uprising in Detroit, President Lyndon B. Johnson assembled the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders to investigate what had happened. This seemed futile: another panel to investigate yet another uprising. “A lot of people felt that way—‘We don’t need more studies, nothing’s going to come out of that commission,’ ” Fred Harris, a former senator from Oklahoma and the commission’s last surviving member, tells Jelani Cobb. But the conclusions were not typical at all. In the final analysis, known as the Kerner Report, the commission named white racism—no euphemisms—as the root cause of unrest in the United States, and said that the country was moving toward two societies, one Black, one White—separate and unequal.” The report called for sweeping changes and investments in jobs, housing, policing, and more; the recommendations went so far beyond Johnson’s anti-poverty programs of the nineteen-sixties that the President shelved the report and refused to meet with his own commission. The Kerner Report, Cobb says, was “an unheeded warning,” as America still struggles today to acknowledge the reality of systemic racism. 

Jelani Cobb co-edited and wrote the introduction to “The Essential Kerner Commission Report,” which was published this year.

Sep 24, 2021
Joaquin Castro: “Americans Don’t Know Who Latinos Are”
22:50

On Tuesday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a preliminary report on the long-standing underrepresentation of Latinos in the media. While most people consider Hollywood a relatively liberal industry, “the system as a whole is actually quite regressive and . . . exclusionary,” Joaquin Castro, the representative of a Texas district that includes much of San Antonio, says. “I’m convinced that Americans don’t know who Latinos are,” Castro tells Stephania Taladrid. Unlike Black Americans, who are linked in the white imagination to the civil-rights era and other historical turning points, Castro says, non-Latinos “don’t associate us with any particular time period in American history. They don’t know who among us has contributed to the nation’s prosperity or success. And they have no sense where to place us within American society.” What Castro calls a “void” in America’s narrative gets filled by pernicious stereotypes of Latinos as criminals and “illegals.” “There has been now, for several years at least, this dangerous nexus between representation, portrayal, and the abuse of Latino stereotypes . . . by politicians who abuse them for their own political gain. And, in that dangerous mix, in its worst form, you get what happened in El Paso in August of 2019, where a madman drove ten hours and killed twenty-three people because he considered them Hispanic invaders.” Castro suggests that states and local governments should do more to hold the media accountable, for example, by tying tax breaks for entertainment production to improvements on diversity.

Sep 21, 2021
Wes Anderson and Jeffrey Wright on “The French Dispatch”
29:06

“I wanted to do a French movie, and I had this idea of wanting to do a New Yorker movie,” Wes Anderson explains. “Somehow, I also wanted to do one of those omnibus-type things where it was a collection of short stories.” The result is the new film “The French Dispatch.” Anderson describes his interest in The New Yorker as “almost fetishistic.” Each of the movie’s four story lines was inspired by a work from the magazine or by one of its writers, though Anderson has played freely with biography. Jeffrey Wright, for example, plays Roebuck Wright, an amalgam of James Baldwin, a Black American expatriate in provincial France, and A. J. Liebling, a beloved writer on food and much else from The New Yorker’s early years. “Even in exile,” the actor says, his character “realizes that he’s only at home within himself, that there is no home for him. And maybe there is no home for anyone, really, other than within one’s own body and one’s own soul.” Anderson and Wright join David Remnick to discuss “The French Dispatch” and the classic New Yorker essays that inspired it.

Sep 17, 2021
Bonus: “The French Dispatch” Reads The New Yorker
28:26

Wes Anderson’s new film, “The French Dispatch,” is about a magazine, and it was inspired by Anderson’s long-standing love of The New Yorker. In this special episode, introduced by the articles editor Susan Morrison, cast members read excerpts from classic works associated with the magazine. Bill Murray reads a letter from the editor Harold Ross to an angry writer, Steve Park reads James Thurber, and Elisabeth Moss reads E. B. White. Owen Wilson reads Joseph Mitchell’s piece on rats; Frances McDormand reads Mavis Gallant’s record of the 1968 student uprising in Paris; Tilda Swinton reads a Calvin Tomkins art-world profile; and Jeffrey Wright reads James Baldwin’s “Equal in Paris,” a remarkable indictment of French institutions.

Sep 17, 2021
The Insidious Procedural Traps of the Texas Abortion Law
29:23

The new Texas law Senate Bill 8 effectively outlaws abortion in Texas, violating constitutional protections on reproductive rights. Yet the Supreme Court is in no rush to review it. The law professor and staff writer Jeannie Suk Gersen speaks with Leah Litman, a law professor at the University of Michigan. They examine the novel ways in which the law insulates itself from judicial review. “It seems like the Texas law is an onion, with layers upon layers of unconstitutionality,” Suk Gersen notes. “It’s basically saying to the courts, ‘We’ll do your job for you. You are cut out of this.’ ” 

 

Plus, Jia Tolentino talks with the pop musician Caroline Polachek, as the singer-songwriter gets ready to play her first live concert since March of 2020, for the biggest crowd of her career.

Sep 14, 2021
Remembering September 11th, and the Future of the Taliban
20:26

Twenty years after the events of September 11th, the writer Edwidge Danticat reads from her essay “Flight,” about the way that tragedies are memorialized by those who survive them. And the New Yorker contributor Anand Gopal reports from Afghanistan, where, he says, the younger rank and file of the Taliban are hardly aware of the way that the 9/11 attacks have shaped the last two decades.

Sep 10, 2021
The Child Tax Credit: One Small Step Toward Universal Basic Income?
29:31

David Remnick talks with Senator Michael Bennet, of Colorado, who campaigned for the Presidency in 2020 advocating for the child tax credit, which is now a centerpiece of the Democratic agenda. Bennet describes why direct cash payments make such a big difference. Our economics correspondent Sheelah Kolhatkar describes the policy as a scale model of universal basic income. She moderates a conversation between two academics on different sides of the issue: Michael Strain, a senior fellow and the director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, and Amy Castro, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Plus, Radio Hour listeners go toe to toe in a round of The New Yorker’s Name Drop, a new quiz.

Sep 07, 2021
Riz Ahmed on “Mogul Mowgli”
19:40

As a rapper, Riz Ahmed has released critically acclaimed albums, and he was featured on the chart-topping “Hamilton Mixtape.” At the same time, he was becoming a leading man in the movies, with roles including a small part in the Star Wars picture “Rogue One” and an extraordinary, Oscar-nominated performance in “Sound of Metal.” Like his previous film, “Mogul Mowgli” is about a musical artist facing a health crisis that could end his career. Ahmed stars as the British-Pakistani rapper Zaheer—stage name Zed—and he co-wrote the film with Bassam Tariq. “It was very much a kind of inward journey,” Ahmed tells David Remnick. “It was very much about holding up a mirror and hoping that in the honesty and the vulnerability of that exercise, people would just connect emotionally—even if they couldn’t necessarily connect to the specificity of the experience. But for those who could connect to that specificity, you would be, like, ‘Jesus Christ, I never thought I’d see that onscreen!’ ”

Sep 03, 2021
The Joy of Beach Reads
31:13

Our guest host, Vinson Cunningham, looks at the joys of the beach read, hitting Brighton Beach on a hot, muggy day to peer over readers’ shoulders. He relates his own fortuitous encounter with Lawrence Otis Graham’s “Our Kind of People,” after finding the book in a rented house on Martha’s Vineyard. Plus, Rachel Syme feels that “books have a season that they tell you to read them in,” and “summer is the season of the classic Hollywood memoir”; she shares three favorites with David Remnick.

Aug 27, 2021
Kim Stanley Robinson on “Utopian” Science Fiction
18:50

One of the premier writers of thinky sci-fi, Kim Stanley Robinson opened his book “The Ministry for the Future” with an all too plausible scenario: a lethal heat wave descends on India, with vast, horrifying consequences. It’s a sobering read, especially after July, 2021, was declared the hottest month on record. And yet Robinson tells Bill McKibben that his work is not dystopian; his central concern is how the globe could respond to such a disaster and begin to halt the momentum of global warming. “That whole dystopian postapocalyptic strain—it doesn’t serve as a warning, it doesn’t make you change your behavior,” Robinson notes. “I reject all that. I write as a utopian science-fiction writer.” But, “at the moment we’re at right now in world history,” he admits, “I have to set a pretty low bar for ‘utopia.’ If we dodge a mass-extinction event in this century, that’s utopian writing. That’s the best we can expect from where we are right now. Having put that story on the table as being possible, it suggests that we ought to be trying for it.”

Aug 27, 2021
Home Cooking with Jacques Pepin and Klancy Miller
32:34

For generations of cooks, Jacques Pépin has been the master. Early in his career he cooked for eminences like Charles DeGaulle, and was offered a job at the White House. But after a serious car accident ended his time in restaurants, Pépin remade a new career as a teacher, cookbook author, chef, and broadcaster. On television—at first alongside his friend Julia Child—he brought the gospel of French cooking into so many American homes, at a time when there was no other fine cuisine. At eighty-five, he is still active on Facebook Live, with a notably humble variety of use-what-you-got cooking that’s well suited to the pandemic era. Pépin consented to a one-on-one lesson with David Remnick, a cooking novice, and together they tackled the subtle art of making a crêpe. Plus, Klancy Miller, the author of “Cooking Solo,” talks with the food correspondent Helen Rosner about her underlying philosophy: you should treat yourself as well as you would treat anyone else.

Aug 24, 2021
Dexter Filkins on the Fall of Afghanistan
17:33

Dexter Filkins covered the American invasion of Afghanistan when he was a reporter for the New York Times, and has continued to report on conflicts in the region for The New Yorker. Filkins’s best-seller from 2008 carried the resonant title “The Forever War.” Thirteen years after the book’s publication, the forever war is over, but its end has been the chaotic worst-case scenario that many feared. Filkins talks with David Remnick about whether it had to go this way, and whether twenty years of war changed America more than it did Afghanistan. 

Aug 20, 2021
Liesl Tommy, Director of “Respect”
14:34

Aretha Franklin was the Queen of Soul, the greatest voice of her generation, an eighteen-time Grammy Award winner whose career spanned five decades. She was also a famously private person, which makes the project of directing a film about her life challenging. The job of telling Aretha’s story went to a South African-born director named Liesl Tommy, known for her work in theatre and nominated for a Tony, in 2016. Tommy had also directed episodes of TV shows like “The Walking Dead” and “Jessica Jones,” but the movie about Franklin—called, almost inevitably, “Respect”—is her first feature film. Tommy’s long-standing passion for the singer, she says, made the job relatively easy, even though she first fell in love with Franklin’s voice as a child living on a different continent.  “I don’t think I ever thought of her as American,” she told Vinson Cunningham. “I thought of her as a woman that I wanted to grow up to be.” As a small child, she recalls, “Even if I don’t understand the feelings specifically, I understand how the way she sang them made me feel. And that was, excited to be alive.”

Aug 13, 2021
Amanda Petrusich Talks with the Weather Station’s Tamara Lindeman
23:50

Amanda Petrusich describes herself as a “die-hard fan” of folk music, but not when it feels precious or sentimental. That’s why she loves the Weather Station, whose songs, she thinks, “could take a punch to the face.” A solo project of the songwriter and performer Tamara Lindeman, the Weather Station’s new album, “Ignorance,” focusses on the theme of climate grief: Lindeman was responding to a devastating report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change about the consequences of elevated carbon levels for human societies. If that sounds heady, Lindeman tells Petrusich that it may be her heritage. “There’s this thread in Canadian music of philosophical songwriting, and that’s how I like my lyrics to be. I like them to be about ideas as well as stories. . . . Most people want songs that just tell a story; they don’t want the complicated ideas. But I do.”

 

The Weather Station performs “Robber” and “Tried to Tell You,” with Evan Cartwright on percussion and Karen Ng on saxophone. 

 

This segment originally aired February 5, 2021.

Aug 10, 2021
Atul Gawande on the COVID-19 Resurgence
25:14

For a few brief moments this summer, in places where the vaccination rate was high, we could imagine life after COVID-19: restaurants and theatres were filling up, gatherings of all kinds were taking place, and many businesses were planning to return to their offices after Labor Day. Then the story changed, as the highly contagious Delta variant began sweeping the nation. Atul Gawande, a professor of medicine and an internationally recognized expert on public health, tells David Remnick that the Delta surge has also caused a vaccination surge, which is promising. They discuss the idea of booster shots and the possibility of a future variant that would resist the vaccine and cause more severe breakthrough infections. The Lambda variant, Gawande says, has already reached the U.S., but little is known yet about how it responds to the vaccines in use here. Plus, forget the big white tent and the plate of rubber chicken: the real New York style is a City Hall wedding, complete with metal detectors. Vinson Cunningham tells us what it’s all about.

 

(Gawande has been nominated by President Biden to lead global health development, including COVID-19 efforts, for the United States Agency for International Development. The appointment awaits confirmation in the Senate.)

Aug 06, 2021
Jack Antonoff on Growing up Jersey
18:05

Jack Antonoff has had a busy pandemic. Sought out by Taylor Swift as a producer, he ultimately made two records for her—one of which, “Folklore,” won the Grammy for Album of the Year. He also worked on albums for Lorde, Lana Del Rey, and Clairo that are out or forthcoming this year. And Antonoff just released his own new record, “Take The Sadness out of Saturday Night,” his third album with the band Bleachers. It’s music for driving fast down the highway—heavy on the horns, the power chords, and the emotions. But, like his fellow New Jerseyan Bruce Springsteen, Antonoff tells intensely personal stories in his anthems. He talks with David Remnick about how growing up in the suburbs inspired him, and about a death in his family that shaped his songwriting.

Aug 03, 2021
John Kerry on the Battle Against Climate Change
32:21

With the world overheating, glaciers melting, and landscapes in flames, it’s difficult to think of a harder or more important job than John Kerry’s. The former senator and Secretary of State is now the special Presidential envoy for climate, a Cabinet-level post created by President Biden. Kerry talks with David Remnick about reasserting the United States’ fitness to lead on global climate action in the wake of Trump Administration policies, and about how to get allies and adversaries to engage in the battle together. He is heading to Glasgow for talks that aim to hold the warming level to 1.5 degrees Celsius. “Imagine what happens at 1.5, if you already see what’s happening at 1.2,” Kerry exclaims. “Is that what we want? You would think not!” Plus, an evangelical historian who is the wife of a pastor breaks from her church’s doctrine, arguing that Biblical readings of female submission are mistakes. She has felt the personal consequences of taking this stance.

Jul 30, 2021
An Iranian Plot Grew in Brooklyn, and the Revelations about Pegasus
26:28

The indictment reads like a not-so-great spy novel: the operatives would kidnap the dissident from her home in Brooklyn, deliver her to the waterfront to meet a speedboat, bring her by sea to Venezuela, and then move her on to Tehran—where she would, presumably, face a show trial, and perhaps execution. But this was no potboiler. The Iranian nationals charged in the indictment were allegedly researching an audacious plot to capture a naturalized American citizen, on U.S. soil. The target of the scheme was Masih Alinejad, a journalist and activist who has been critical of the Iranian theocracy and particularly vocal in speaking out against the compulsory wearing of hijab; she has a large following on social media and a show on Voice of America. Her brother has been jailed in Iran, and her sister was forced to renounce her on television. The F.B.I. took the threat to Alinejad seriously enough to sequester her and her husband, Kambiz Foroohar,  in a series of safe houses, where they stayed for months. Alinejad and Foroohar spoke about their ordeal with David Remnick, and explained why the regime regards her as such a threat. “For Iran, hijab is like the Berlin Wall was to the Soviet system,” Foroohar points out. “The narrative of the Islamic Republic was that women are choosing to wear hijab, and Masih is challenging that narrative.” Plus, the revelations about Pegasus. Marketed as a tool against terrorism, the spyware was also deployed by governments against journalists and activists. Isaac Chotiner interviews one of the targets, the Indian journalist and scholar Siddharth Varadarajan.

Jul 27, 2021
Eric Adams Talks with David Remnick
23:53

The New York City mayoral primary, which culminated in a vote held in June, was full of surprises, including the introduction of ranked-choice voting to a confused electorate, and the presence of Andrew Yang, a newcomer to municipal politics who quickly attained front-runner status. But the winning Democrat was no surprise. Eric Adams is the borough president of Brooklyn and a former state senator, making him an establishment favorite. He was also, for more than two decades, a police officer. With policing at the center of public attention since last year’s uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement, Adams occupies a unique position in the debate. He was a firebrand in the N.Y.P.D. and an advocate for Black officers; and he was, as a teen-age boy, a victim of police abuse himself. But Adams is also a strong defender of the police department. He has spoken about the correct way to implement stop-and-frisk policies, which have been previously carried out in ways that were ruled unconstitutional. He rebuked candidates to his left who talked about defunding the force. And he made the national spike in violent crime part of his candidacy, when others focussed their platforms elsewhere.  

 

The nation’s cities face a budgetary crisis, the COVID crisis, a crisis of confidence in policing, and more. Adams doesn’t seem fazed. “We need to be very honest that our city is dysfunctional. And it always has been for a large number of New Yorkers,” he told David Remnick. “I could take you throughout the city where the conditions have remained the same through mayor after mayor. What I must do is stop the dysfunctionality of a city that has normalized being dysfunctional.” Remnick spoke with Adams on July 21, 2021.

Jul 23, 2021
Helen Rosner’s Summer Drinks, Plus an Anxious Future in Afghanistan
34:45

Shabana Basij-Rasikh is the co-founder of Afghanistan’s only all-girls boarding school, and she is anxiously waiting to see if the Taliban—which brutally opposes the education of girls and women—will make inroads in Kabul. “I was speaking with a young woman,” Basij-Rasikh told the staff writer Sue Halpern, “and she said, ‘Yes, sure, the Taliban will kill more of us. The Taliban will kill a lot more of us. But they will never, ever rule over us.’ ” Plus, the food-and-drink writer Helen Rosner prepares three summer cocktails to toast a reopening world: a Cynar spritz; a Michelada made with nonalcoholic Upside Dawn Golden Ale; and a classic piña colada, complete with umbrella.

Jul 20, 2021
The Golden Arches in Black America
15:12

Marcia Chatelain, a historian at Georgetown, recently won the Pulitzer Prize for History for her book “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America.” Chatelain looks at how McDonald’s leveraged the social upheaval of the nineteen-sixties to gain a permanent foothold in Black communities across the country. McDonald’s strategically positioned franchise ownership as an economic goal for Black entrepreneurs. Black franchisees, she notes, have navigated the economic promise and the pitfalls of that corporate relationship, while the wages for fast-food workers, who are disproportionately Black and Latino, have remained notoriously low.

Jul 16, 2021
Gillian Flynn, Akhil Sharma, and Alison Bechdel on Their Most Memorable Jobs
16:46

The U.S. economy seems to be showing real signs of life, and lots of people are finally returning to the labor force—eight hundred and fifty thousand in the month of June alone. At the same time, job resignations are at a record high, and many workers are changing careers. With work life at top of mind, we asked three writers to tell us about the most memorable jobs they’ve had in the past. Gillian Flynn, the author of novels including “Sharp Objects” and “Gone Girl,” remembers having to wear a frozen-yogurt costume as a teen-ager. Akhil Sharma talks about lying his way into a lucrative gig as a banker, spinning stories that played into ethnic stereotypes, before becoming the author of books such as “Family Life” and “An Obedient Father.” Plus, the cartoonist Alison Bechdel shares how she rewarded herself after her shortest job ever. 

 

 

This story originally aired on August 25, 2017.

Jul 13, 2021
Bon Iver Live at the New Yorker Festival
24:56

In the winter of 2007, a songwriter by the name of Justin Vernon returned to the Wisconsin woods, not far from where he grew up. Just a few months later, he emerged with “For Emma, Forever Ago”—his first album produced under the name Bon Iver. Since then, Vernon and various bandmates have released three more records, won two Grammys, and collaborated with Kanye West, becoming one of the most celebrated bands in indie music. The music critic Amanda Petrusich spoke with Vernon at The New Yorker Festival, alongside his bandmates Brad Cook and Chris Messina. They discuss using made-up words as lyrics; Vernon’s deep, deep love of “Northern Exposure”; and how a group like Bon Iver engages with current events in today’s toxic political climate. 

 

Bon Iver performed “U (Man Like),” “Marion,” and “RABi”; Vernon was accompanied by Sean Carey, Jenn Wasner, and Mike Lewis.  

 

This story originally aired November 29, 2019

Jul 09, 2021
Janet Mock Finds Her Voice
24:46

Janet Mock first heard the word “māhū,” a Native Hawaiian word for people who exist outside the male-female binary, when she was twelve. She had just moved back to Oahu, where she was born, from Texas, and, by that point, Mock knew that the gender she presented as didn’t feel right. “I don’t like to say the word ‘trapped,’ ” Mock tells The New Yorker’s Hilton Als. “But I was feeling very, very tightly contained in my body.” 

 

Eventually, Mock left Hawaii for New York, where she worked as an editor for People magazine. “[Everyone was] bigger and louder and smarter and bolder than me,” she tells Als. “So, in that sense, I could kind of blend in.” After working at People for five years, she came out publicly as trans; since then, she has emerged as a leading voice on trans issues. She’s written two books, produced a documentary, and signed a deal with Netflix. In 2018, she became the first trans woman of color to be hired as a writer on a TV series—Ryan Murphy’s FX series “Pose,” which just concluded its final season.

 

This story originally aired January 4, 2019

Jul 06, 2021
Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino Investigate Britney Spears’s Conservatorship
31:49

Britney Spears has been one of the world’s most prominent pop stars since her début, in the late nineteen-nineties. But, since 2008, she’s been under a court-ordered conservatorship—a form of legal guardianship—which has restricted nearly all aspects of her life. Details about the arrangement have been kept out of public view, all while Spears has continued to turn out records and perform lucrative shows, earning millions of dollars for those around her. But the pop star is now directly confronting the people and structures that have ruled her life for the past decade. In recent court testimony, Spears openly detailed her experience under the conservatorship for the first time. She demanded her liberty and expressed her anger, profound sadness, and frustration. She even alleged that her conservatorship, which is led by her father, prevented her from getting an IUD removed from her body, which the family denies. The staff writers Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino have investigated how Spears wound up in this situation, in the article “Britney Spears’s Conservatorship Nightmare.” They speak with David Remnick about Spears’s life under relentless public scrutiny, her cultural significance, and the thorny legal problems posed by conservatorships. “Conservatorships essentially deem someone incapacitated,” Tolentino says. “And from that point, because they do remove your rights by necessity, they sort of foreclose the possibility of proving or gaining capacity to anyone under it.”

Jul 03, 2021
A Family Divided Over the COVID-19 Vaccine
20:07

Across the country, COVID-19 vaccines are becoming available for teen-agers. But most states still require parental consent for minors to receive the shot. David Remnick spoke with a teen-ager who asked that we call him Aaron Williams. He is desperate to be vaccinated, but his parents are skeptical. “We waited three months, and, during the span of that time, they started going through all sorts of conspiracy rabbit holes,” reading fabrications about mRNA vaccines’ changing the recipient’s genetic code, he said. “They pushed it back to six months, to a year, to two years, until they just said, ‘You’re never getting the vaccine.’ ” Misinformation continues to pose a public-health risk around the world, but for this family the stakes are also personal. “I’m missing out on friends’ gatherings and other things at school,” Williams told Remnick. “But they’re saying that I’m hurting them because I’m causing stress.” Plus, Naomi Fry on a turning point for reality TV. As “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” comes to a close after almost a decade and a half, Fry talks with David Remnick about “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” “90 Day Fiancé,” and other shows that look at real social issues in unique, dramatic ways. 

Jun 25, 2021
The Newspaperman Who Championed Black Tulsa
36:33

In the years leading up to the horrific Tulsa massacre of 1921, the Greenwood district was a thriving Black metropolis, a city within a city. Buoyed by money from Oklahoma’s oil boom, it was home to the original Cotton Club and to one of the first Black-owned daily newspapers in the United States, the Tulsa Star. The Star’s founder and editor was A. J. Smitherman, a lawyer and the Alabama-born son of a coal miner. He addressed his eloquence and his ire at local nuisances like prostitution and gambling halls, as well as the gravest injustices of American life. The Radio Hour’s KalaLea is the host of “Blindspot: Tulsa Burning.” She looks in this story at how Smitherman documented Greenwood at its height, and how he tried to prevent its destruction. 

“Blind Spot: Tulsa Burning” is a six-part podcast co-produced by the History Channel and WNYC Studios, in collaboration with KOSU and Focus Black Oklahoma. The team includes Caroline Lester, Alana Casanova-Burgess, Joe Plourde, Emily Mann, Jenny Lawton, Emily Botein, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Bracken Klar, Rachel Hubbard, Anakwa Dwamena, Jami Floyd, and Cheryl Devall. The music is by Hannis Brown, Am’re Ford, Isaac Jones, and Chad Taylor. The executive producers at the History Channel are Eli Lehrer and Jessie Katz. Raven Majia Williams is a consulting producer. Special thanks to Herb Boyd, Kelly Gillespie, Shelley Miller, Jodi-Ann Malarbe, Jennifer Lazo, Andrew Golis, Celia Muller, and Andy Lanset. Maurice Jones was the voice of A. J. Smitherman. Additional voices: Terrance McKnight, Dar es Salaam Riser, Javana Mundy, John Biewen, Jack Fowler, Tangina Stone, Emani Johnston, Danny Wolohan, and Jay Allison.

Jun 22, 2021
Naftali Bennett and the New Hard Line in Israeli Politics
13:38

In 2013, David Remnick published a profile of Naftali Bennett.  He wrote that Bennett was something new in Israeli politics, a man who would “build a sturdy electoral bridge between the religious and the secular, the hilltop outposts of the West Bank and the start-up suburbs.” Though religiously observant, Bennett was cosmopolitan: fluent on Facebook, and as quick to quote Seinfeld as he was the Talmud. He had been a leader of the settler movement, and, although he lived in a modern house in a well-to-do Tel Aviv suburb, there was no ambiguity about Bennett’s hard-line stance on the Palestinian question. He disdained the peace process of an earlier time. “I will do everything in my power to make sure they never get a state,” he told Remnick. “No more illusions.”


Bennett has now unseated his former boss, Benjamin Netanyahu, as Prime Minister of Israeli. Remnick spoke with two writers in the region about this political upheaval. Raja Shehadeh, who is based in Ramallah, says that the changing of the guard will mean little on the West Bank, where the recent bloody conflict was a propaganda victory for Hamas. Ruth Margalit, who is based in Tel Aviv, says that, while the peace movement seems all but dead, the changing of a political epoch, and the presence of the first Arab-Israeli party ever represented in the Knesset, has to be seen as an opportunity for change.

Jun 18, 2021
A Rift over Racism Divides the Southern Baptist Convention, Plus, the Fallout from Gamestop
33:43

The largest Protestant denomination in America is in crisis over the group’s reluctance to acknowledge systemic racism; our reporter talks with the Reverend Dwight McKissic, who considered himself a loyalist but may have reached a breaking point. Plus, our producer looks at the GameStop squeeze of last winter and tries to figure out the motives of the small investors on r/WallStreetBets. Are they out for vengeance on the Man? Are they after lulz? Or are they just trying to make a buck?

Jun 14, 2021
Jon M. Chu on “In the Heights”
16:08

It’s easy to see why the director Jon M. Chu was adamant that the release of “In the Heights” wait until this summer, when more people could see it in theatres: it’s big, it’s colorful, the dance sequences are complex—it’s a spectacle in the best sense of the term. “In the Heights,” based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit stage musical, is a love letter to the largely Latino community in Washington Heights, in upper Manhattan. The characters are dreaming big and wrestling with what happens when those dreams start to pull them away from the neighborhood. For Chu, who directed the enormous hit “Crazy Rich Asians,” directing the film was a risk—it’s said that Miranda teased him by writing “Don’t fuck this up” on his copy of the script. As an Asian-American from California, Chu “was already one step removed from this neighborhood,” he tells David Remnick. “How do you make sure you don’t miss a detail? The director is probably the only person on set who can stop everything and say, ‘Let’s discuss this.’ . . . That’s what made me nervous, making sure I was always present to hear those things.”

Jun 11, 2021
Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax on Beethoven’s Politics of the Cello
21:17

Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax have both been playing Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 3 in A Major for over forty years. But it took a global pandemic for the two of them to fully understand it. “This is such open, hopeful music,” Ax said. But when Beethoven dedicated the original piece to a friend, he signed the manuscript, “amid tears and sorrow.” Beethoven, Ma and Ax reflected, finished the sonata during a tumultuous period in which Napoleon was at war with Austria and the composer was losing his hearing. “I thought this was a good piece for this moment,” Ma told The New Yorker’s music critic Alex Ross. “Because people are suffering, and we do think that music can give comfort.” The musicians spoke to Ross and performed from an empty concert hall as part of the New Yorker Festival. 

 

The segment originally aired November 13, 2020.

Jun 08, 2021
A Vaccinated Day at the Ballpark, and Sarah Schulman on ACT-UP
28:47

The staff writer Patricia Marx checks out the new vaccinated sections at New York’s Major League Baseball parks. The author and activist Sarah Schulman talks with David Remnick about her new book on the early years of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. The group’s radical tactics forced changes in government policy and transformed how America saw gay people and AIDS patients.

Jun 04, 2021
Looking Back at the Year of Protest Since the Death of George Floyd
34:34

We look back on the year since the murder of George Floyd galvanized the nation. David Remnick talks with Vanita Gupta, the No. 3 official in the Justice Department, who is charged with delivering on President Biden’s bold promises to address racial injustice. A Minneapolis activist explains why it is so hard to abolish the police. Plus, Hilton Als on why America finally rose up against long-standing abuses of Black people.

Jun 01, 2021
Spike Lee on the Knicks’ Resurgence

Spike Lee is one of the most passionate and committed fans of the New York Knicks—not to mention one of the most celebrated filmmakers of our time. Underdogs for many years, the Knicks are enjoying a renaissance, and Lee is in his glory. David Remnick and Vinson Cunningham called Lee to talk about a life of fandom, the politics of activism in the N.B.A. and the N.F.L., and Lee’s multipart documentary about life in New York since September 11th, which will be released to mark the twentieth anniversary of the attacks.

May 28, 2021
Can We Finally End School Segregation?
49:01

By many accounts, American schools are as segregated today as they were in the nineteen-sixties, in the years after Brown v. Board of Education. WNYC’s podcast “The United States of Anxiety” chronicled the efforts of one small school district, Sausalito Marin City Schools, in California, to desegregate. Fifty years after parents and educators there first attempted integration, the state’s attorney general found that the district “knowingly and intentionally” maintained a segregated system, violating the equal-protection clause of the Constitution. The district’s older public school, which served mostly Black and Latino students, suffered neglect; meanwhile, a new charter school, though racially diverse, enrolled virtually all the white children in the district. The reporter Marianne McCune explored how one community overcame decades of distrust to finally integrate.

May 21, 2021
“Fire in Little Africa,” A Rap Album about a Historical Tragedy
30:09

The Tulsa massacre of 1921 was a coördinated assault on and destruction of the thriving Black community known as Greenwood, Black Wall Street, or Little Africa. Even today, the death toll remains unknown. In fact, for generations, most people—including many Tulsans—did not know about the massacre at all. This year marks its hundredth anniversary, and it is being commemorated with documentaries, official events in Tulsa, and one very unusual rap album: “Fire in Little Africa,” which comes out in May on Motown Records. It features about forty rappers, and thirty other singers, musicians, and producers who tell the story of Greenwood at its height—and of their dreams of a revitalized Black Tulsa. The freelance producer Taylor Hosking explains the creation of the album to The New Yorker’s Vinson Cunningham.

May 18, 2021
The Post-Pandemic Dress Code, Plus Hilton Als on Alice Neel
30:24

When a very long year of doing business from home—in sweatshirts and pajamas and slippers—is over, how much effort will people be willing to expend on dressing for the office? Richard Thompson Ford, a law professor and the author of “Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History,” tackles that question along with the New Yorker editor Henry Finder. Clothing, he says, has mostly been used to maintain social hierarchies, but it has also occasionally helped to overthrow them. Dressing up, he says, can be a form of transgression: historically, in Black communities, refined dress has been used to demand dignity and resist white supremacy. Plus, the celebrated critic Als on the work of Alice Neel, who painted her neighbors, friends, and colleagues in a multicultural New York.

May 11, 2021
Atul Gawande and Siddhartha Mukherjee on the State of the Pandemic
19:47

After a year of battling COVID-19, parts of the United States are celebrating a gradual turn toward normalcy, but the pandemic isn’t over—and it may never be over, exactly. Atul Gawande tells David Remnick that a hard core of vaccine resisters, along with reservoirs of the virus in domestic animals, may make herd immunity elusive. Rather, he says, the correct goal is to bring the impact of COVID-19 down to that of something like the flu. Meanwhile, India is now overwhelmed by a devastating death toll, reported at around four thousand per day but likely much higher. Siddhartha Mukherjee, who reported on the pandemic in developing nations, says that commitments from the West such as extra doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will barely scratch the surface. A national mobilization will be required to even begin to flatten the curve.

May 07, 2021
Thomas McGuane Reads “Balloons”
17:03

Thomas McGuane reads his story from the May 10, 2021, issue of the magazine. McGuane has published more than a dozen books of fiction, including the story collections “Gallatin Canyon,” “Crow Fair,” and “Cloudbursts: Collected and New Stories,” which came out in 2018.

May 04, 2021
Three Women Who Changed the World
19:38

“The Agitators” is a book about three women—three revolutionaries—who changed the world at a time when women weren’t supposed to be in public life at all. Frances Seward was a committed abolitionist who settled with her husband in the small town of Auburn, in western New York. One of their neighbors was a Quaker named Martha Coffin Wright, who helped organize the first convention for women’s rights, at Seneca Falls. Both women harbored fugitives when it was a violation of federal law. And, after they met Harriet Tubman, through the Underground Railroad, Tubman also settled in Auburn. “The Agitators,” by The New Yorker’s executive editor, Dorothy Wickenden, tells their interlocking stories. “These people were outsiders, and they were revolutionaries,” Wickenden tells David Remnick. “They were only two generations separated from the Declaration of Independence, which they believed in literally. They did not understand why women and Black Americans could not have exactly the same rights that had been promised.”

May 04, 2021
Are U.F.O.s a National Security Threat?
31:14

In June, the director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense are expected to deliver a report about what the government knows on the subject of “unidentified aerial phenomena,” more commonly known as U.F.O.s. The issue is nonpartisan: while he was the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, a Democrat, secured funding for a secret Pentagon project to investigate the subject; John Podesta, a chief of staff in the Clinton White House, argued for government transparency on the topic; most recently, the Republican senator Marco Rubio introduced language in last year’s Intelligence Authorization Act calling for the forthcoming report.

This is a shocking turn of events. For generations, U.F.O.s were in the purview of late-night call-in radio shows and supermarket tabloids, not the Department of Defense. Gideon Lewis-Kraus reports on how this change came about. The journalist Leslie Kean, who published a bombshell story in the New York Times, explains how the C.I.A. got involved in casting doubt on U.F.O. sightings. Reid tells Lewis-Kraus that the Pentagon refused to authorize his inspection of contractor facilities which, it was rumored, held U.F.O. crash debris. And a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Christopher Mellon, says that the phenomena observed in many sightings cannot be explained as advanced technology built by one of our rivals. “I really doubt that the Russians or Chinese could be that far ahead of us,” he says. “It looks like centuries ahead.” So, whereas the word “aliens” still seems like taboo in serious conversation, he adds, “it's hard to come up with a hypothesis to explain that without considering the possibility that some other civilization is involved.”

Gideon Lewis-Kraus’s “How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously” appears in the May 10th issue of The New Yorker.

This segment features scoring by Pablo Vergara. Additional archival clips were provided courtesy of James Fox.

Apr 30, 2021
A Surge at the Border, and the Children of Morelia
37:08

Nearly a century ago, during the Spanish Civil War, a group of parents put five hundred of their children on a boat and sent them across the ocean to find safety in Mexico. Few of the refugees ever saw their parents again. The youngest of the children was Rosita Daroca Martinez, who was just three. On this week’s show, her granddaughter, the writer and radio producer Destry Maria Sibley, traces the impact of her grandmother’s trauma down through the generations. Plus, the immigration reporter Jonathan Blitzer ties the story to today’s refugee crisis at the U.S. southern border, where a surge in arrivals has put the Biden Administration on its heels. 

Apr 27, 2021
Jelani Cobb on Derek Chauvin’s Conviction and the Future of Police Reform
12:42

The murder of George Floyd galvanized the public and led to the largest protests in American history. Even Donald Trump said of the videos of Floyd’s killing, “It doesn't get any more obvious or it doesn't get any worse than that,” presumably referring to the use of force by police. America waited anxiously for the outcome of the murder trial of the former police officer Derek Chauvin. The prosecution’s case was notable for the unusually candid and definitive statements against Chauvin’s actions that were made by senior figures in the Minneapolis Police Department. The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb covered the trial and says that this testimony sends a message to law enforcement. “There are now circumstances where public scrutiny and public outrage and egregious offenses that come to light can actually generate enough outrage that you actually will not be defended by your fellow-officers,” he tells David Remnick. “It may seem like a low bar. But, given what we’ve seen previously, that’s a pretty astounding development.” 

Apr 23, 2021
What Is Happening in the Internment Camps in Xinjiang
49:27

In a special episode on the crisis in Xinjiang region of China, the staff writer Raffi Khatchadourian investigates Xi Jinping’s government’s severe repression of Muslim minorities, principally Uyghurs and Kazhaks. Accounts from a camp survivor and a woman who fled detainment show how, even outside the camps, life in the province of Xinjiang became a prison. The crisis meets the United Nations’ definition of genocide, and the U.S. State Department has also made that determination. With the 2022 Winter Olympics coming up in Beijing, what can the world do about Xinjiang?

Apr 16, 2021
Rickie Lee Jones’s Life on the Road
22:36

Rickie Lee Jones emerged into the pop world fully formed; her début album was nominated for five Grammys, in 1980, and she won for Best New Artist. One of the songs on that record was “The Last Chance Texaco,” and Jones has made that the title of her new memoir. The song evokes a service station on a long stretch of highway, and Jones’s book reflects on her almost obsessive need to travel and uproot herself at almost any cost. “All I wanted to do was leave” from a very young age, she says.“When I talk about it from here, it seems like it was so horribly dangerous.” She adds, “Suddenly I’ll [say], ‘I think I’ll go to Big Sur,’ and I’m in a car, going. But the chaos and trouble that brings to a life!” The producer Scott Carrier, who hosts the podcast “Home of the Brave,” interviewed Jones near her home in New Orleans. 

Apr 13, 2021
The Brody Awards, and Louis Menand on “The Free World”
27:35

Oscars, schmoscars! Richard Brody is a critic of wide tastes and eccentric enthusiasms. His list of the best films of the year rarely lines up with the Academy’s. Each year, he joins David Remnick and the staff writer Alexandra Schwartz to talk about the year’s cinematic highlights. Plus, the staff writer Louis Menand talks with Remnick about his new work of cultural history, “The Free World.” Menand writes about the postwar flowering of American culture, when the United States evolved from an economic and military giant into a global creative force. Modern jazz and rock and roll were exported and celebrated around the world. Painters got out from under the long shadow of Europe and led the way into new forms of abstraction and social commentary. Writers like James Baldwin turned a spotlight back on America’s fundamental, unexamined flaws. It was a time, Menand writes, when “ideas mattered. Painting mattered. Movies mattered. Poetry mattered.”

Apr 09, 2021
David Fincher on “Mank,” and Daniel Alarcón’s Favorite Children’s Books
24:06

David Fincher made his name in Hollywood as the director of movies that pushed people’s buttons—dark thrillers like “Fight Club,” “The Game,” “Seven,” and “Gone Girl”—but his new film belongs to one of Hollywood’s most esteemed genres: stories about Hollywood. Around thirty years ago, his father, the late Jack Fincher, gave him the draft of a screenplay about Herman J. Mankiewicz, who wrote “Citizen Kane” and other classics. Fincher tells David Remnick that Mankiewicz was a key figure in film—one of that first generation of writers who invented a vibrant language for movies as they came into the sound era.  Nominated for ten Academy Awards (including a Best Director nomination for Fincher), “Mank” is the story of the writer’s conflict with Orson Welles in the making of “Citizen Kane,” and their struggle is one that has bedevilled creators and critics down the decades: Who really authors a film? Plus, the journalist and fiction writer Daniel Alarcón talks about three children’s books he’s been enjoying with his son during the pandemic.

Apr 06, 2021
Race and Taxes, and Jane Mayer on How to Kill a Bill
25:43

The investigative reporter Jane Mayer recently received a recording of a meeting attended by conservative power brokers including Grover Norquist, representatives of PACs funded by Charles Koch, and an aide to Senator Mitch McConnell. The subject was the voting-rights bill H.R. 1, and the mood was anxious. The bill (which we discussed in last week’s episode) would broadly make voting more accessible, which tends to benefit Democratic candidates, and it would raise the curtain on “dark money” in elections with stringent disclosure requirements. The problem for this group, a political strategist says, is that the bill is popular among voters of both parties, but H.R. 1, they insist, must die. As we hear the participants tick through options to tarnish the bill’s public appeal, Mayer notes how the political winds have shifted in Washington, leaving the Republican coalition newly fragile. Plus, Dorothy Brown, a professor of tax law, uncovers how the seemingly race-neutral tax code compounds many inequalities in American life, and prevents Black people from building wealth. She talks with Sheelah Kolhatkar about her new book, “The Whiteness of Wealth.”

Apr 02, 2021
The Complex Story of Being Trans in Africa, and Derek DelGaudio on Deception
32:35

Our producer talks with the South African scholar Dr. B Camminga, whose essay “Disregard and Danger” deconstructs the viewpoints of so-called TERFs—trans-exclusionary radical feminists—through an African-feminist lens. And we speak with Derek DelGaudio, whose magic special on Hulu is “In & Of Itself.” DelGaudio says that he’s never liked tricking people, and he credits his brief stint as a “bust-out dealer”—a professional card dealer who cheats the players on behalf of the house—with changing his perspective on the power of deception. DelGaudio compares the claims of a rigged election that preceded the actual election to his work as a crooked dealer: he made his legitimate deals look shady in order to camouflage the bad ones.

Mar 30, 2021
Will the Most Important Voting-Rights Bill Since 1965 Die in the Senate?
17:13

No sooner had Joe Biden won the Presidential election than Republican state legislatures began introducing measures to make voting more difficult in any number of ways, most of which will suppress Democratic turnout at the polls. Stacey Abrams, of Georgia, has called the measures “Jim Crow in a suit and tie.” Congress has introduced the For the People Act, known as H.R. 1. Jelani Cobb looks at how the bill goes beyond even the 1965 Voting Rights Act in its breadth, and how it will likely fare in the Senate. And Jeannie Suk Gersen speaks with David Remnick about the Supreme Court’s views on voting rights. The Court is currently weighing an Arizona case that will help decide what really counts as discrimination in a voting restriction.

Mar 26, 2021
Remembering a City at the Peak of Crisis
49:13

April 15, 2020, was near the apex of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, which was then its epicenter. On that day, a crew of New Yorker writers talked with people all over the city, in every circumstance and walk of life, to form a portrait of a city in crisis. A group station manager for the subway talks about keeping the transit system running for those who can’t live without it; a respiratory therapist copes with break-time conversations about death and dying; a graduating class of medical students gets up the courage to confront the worst crisis in generations; and a new mother talks about giving birth on a day marked by tragedy for so many families. The hour includes contributions from writers including William Finnegan, Helen Rosner, Jia Tolentino, Kelefa Sanneh, and Adam Gopnik, who says, “One never knows whether to applaud the human insistence on continuing with some form of normal life, or look aghast at the human insistence on continuing with some form of normal life. That’s the mystery of the pandemic.” 

 

This episode originally aired on April 24, 2020. 

Mar 19, 2021
“2034,” and Torrey Peters on the Taboo of Detransitioning
32:32

The retired admiral James Stavridis teamed up with Elliot Ackerman, a journalist and former Marine, to imagine how, in the shadow of an increasingly tense relationship between the U.S. and China, a small incident in contested waters could spiral into catastrophe. The result is “2034: A Novel of the Next World War.” The book is a thriller, and also a cautionary tale about a failure of military planning: “We have plenty of intelligence,” Ackerman says. “What we often lack is imagination.” And Torrey Peters describes how her book “Detransition, Baby”—a dishy novel on a taboo subject—aims to move beyond the marginal spaces in which trans writing has flourished, into mainstream success with a major publisher.

Mar 16, 2021
Can the Royal Family Withstand Oprah’s Scrutiny?
17:38

Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan and Harry, the Duchess and Duke of Sussex, was riveting celebrity television, but it may also be a significant turning point in the history of the British royal family. Revelations about racism and about Meghan’s struggles with mental health are already reshaping public perception of the powerful institution. The interview also touched on racism and mental health, issues that are familiar to many families. “In the future, we will look to this interview as a real touchstone marking the change of who it is we see as authorities of their own experience,” says Doreen St. Félix. In conversation with St. Félix and the eminent historian Simon Schama, the author of a three-volume history of Britain, David Remnick discusses how the interview plays into culture wars in the U.K. and in American.

Mar 12, 2021
Bonus Episode from La Brega: Basketball Warriors
37:42

Despite being a U.S. colony, Puerto Rico competes in sports as its own country on the world stage. Since the 70s, Puerto Rico’s national basketball team has been a pride of the island, taking home trophy after trophy. But in the 2004 at the Athens Olympics, the team was up against the odds, with an opening game against a U.S. Dream Team stacked with players like Lebron James and Allen Iverson. This episode of La Brega, from Futuro Media and WNYC Studios, tells the story of a basketball game that Puerto Ricans will never forget, and why he thinks now, more than ever, is a crucial moment to remember it. 

The documentary "Nuyorican Basquet" is here.

If you want to see the famous photo of Carlos Arroyo, click here.  

To read more about sovereignty and sports, we recommend The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico, by Antonio Sotomayor. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Hiram Martinez’s workplace in 2004 as El Nuevo Dia. It was El Vocero. The story has been updated.

Mar 10, 2021
Living in the Shadow of Guantánamo
49:31

When Mohamedou Salahi arrived at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, in August of 2002, he was hopeful. He knew why he had been detained: he had crossed paths with Al Qaeda operatives, and his cousin had once called him from Osama bin Laden’s phone. But Salahi was no terrorist—he held no extremist views—and had no information of any plots. He trusted the American system of justice and thought the authorities would realize their mistake before long. 

He was wrong. 

Salahi spent fifteen years at Guantánamo, where he was subjected to some of the worst excesses of America’s war on terror; Donald Rumsfeld personally signed off on the orders for his torture. And, under torture, Salahi confessed to everything—even though he had done nothing. “If they would have wanted him to confess to being on the grassy knoll for the J.F.K. assassination, I’m sure we could have got him to confess to that, too,” Mark Fallon, who led an investigation unit at Guantánamo, said.

Ben Taub reported Mohamedou Salahi’s story for The New Yorker and tried to understand what had gone wrong in the fight against Al Qaeda. Salahi met Ben in Mauritania, because, when the U.S. released him, it was under the condition that Mauritania would withhold his passport. He would like to go abroad—he needs medical treatment, and he hopes to live in a democracy. But, for an innocent victim of Guantánamo, being released isn’t the same as being free. 

 

This episode originally aired August 2, 2019. Ben Taub’s reporting on Mohamedou Salahi won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2020.

Mar 05, 2021
Clubhouse Opens a Window for Free Expression in China
14:57

Clubhouse is an audio-only social-media platform offering chat rooms on any subject, allowing thousands of people to gather and listen to each other. Jiayang Fan, who often reports on China, tells David Remnick that the chance to talk in private and without a text trail has opened a window of free expression for Chinese users. (Recently, some questions have been raised about whether the app is as secure as its makers claim.) Suddenly, in chat rooms with names like “There is a concentration camp in Xinjiang?,” Chinese users are able to address politically taboo subjects out loud in large groups. A Clubhouse chat-room moderator explains to Fan that for Han Chinese, who are the beneficiaries of the government’s persecution of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities, the app offers a space for reckoning and protest comparable to America’s Black Lives Matter movement. The government has clamped down on Clubhouse, but tech-savvy young people are used to finding workarounds.

Mar 02, 2021
Anthony Hopkins on “The Father,” and Patricia Lockwood’s First Novel
34:49

At an age when many actors are slowing down or long retired, Anthony Hopkins has kept up a feverish pace, with recent roles including Pope Benedict XVI in “The Two Popes” and Odin in Marvel’s “Thor” movies. In his new film, “The Father,” Hopkins’s character, Antony, is beginning to suffer from dementia, but he doesn’t want to accept a caregiver when his daughter, played by Olivia Colman, can no longer live with him. The film brings the viewer into Antony’s experience, particularly his confusion about what’s happening around him. Hopkins tells Michael Schulman that he hasn’t dealt with dementia in his own family, thankfully, but that he wasn’t daunted by the role. “When you’re working with a superb script, it’s a road map, and you follow it,” he says. He advises younger actors, “Don’t act too much. Keep it simple.” Plus, the writer Patricia Lockwood, who’s just published her first novel, on how she created literature out of the fractured consciousness of an obsessive Twitter user.

Feb 26, 2021
Atul Gawande on the COVID Vaccine, and Daniel Kaluuya on “Judas and the Black Messiah”
32:09

Atul Gawande, the staff writer and public-health expert, talks with David Remnick about the progress of the vaccine rollout, the new strains of the coronavirus, and whether we will ever take our masks off. And the actor Daniel Kaluuya talks about playing a man many regard as a martyr, in the new film “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Kaluuya stars as Fred Hampton, a young leader in the Black Panther Party, who was shot in his bed by Chicago police in a predawn raid. The actor talked with Kai Wright, the host of WNYC’s “The United States of Anxiety,” about how the F.B.I. and many whites saw Hampton’s affirmation of Black people as tantamount to terrorism.

Feb 23, 2021
Congressman Jamie Raskin on Impeaching Donald Trump—Again
18:15

Tommy Raskin, a twenty-five-year-old law student, took his own life on New Year’s Eve, after a long battle against depression. His family laid him to rest on January 5th, and, the next day, his father went to the United States Capitol, where he serves in Congress. Representative Jamie Raskin, who represents Maryland’s Eighth District, had an enormous task ahead of him: he was mounting the defense of the Electoral College vote. When a violent mob incited by Donald Trump breached the building, Raskin’s life was in danger, along with the lives of his daughter and son-in-law, who had joined him that day for support. Just weeks later, when the House impeached Donald Trump for his role in inciting that insurrection, Raskin was the lead manager prosecuting the case. Raskin told David Remnick about the devastation of a suicide in the family, his condolence calls from President Biden and Vice-President Harris, and how he believed the entire Senate would unite to convict Donald Trump.

Feb 19, 2021
The People Who Will Decide Donald Trump's Fate on Facebook
19:55

Facebook created the Oversight Board to adjudicate high-level claims about what can and can’t be posted, independent of the company’s leadership. This is a big deal: when Donald Trump was displeased by one of the board’s appointees, he contacted Mark Zuckerberg directly, as Kate Klonick learned in her reporting. And then Trump himself became the new board’s biggest test case. Facebook asked the board to rule on whether the former President should be reinstated, after he was banned from the platform for his role in inciting the Capitol riot. Klonick, an assistant professor of law at St. John’s University, had an unusual degree of access to Facebook to document the creation of the board. She talked with David Remnick about how independent the Oversight Board can be, how it may rule on Donald Trump, and why it’s so hard to get Jewish space lasers off Facebook.

Feb 12, 2021
The Supreme Court of Facebook
48:56

Facebook is at the center of the hottest controversies over freedom of speech, and its opaque, unaccountable decisions have angered people across the political spectrum. Mark Zuckerberg’s answer to this mess is to outsource: Facebook recently created and endowed a permanent body it calls the Oversight Board—like a Supreme Court whose decisions will be binding for the company. And Facebook immediately referred to the board a crucial question: whether to reinstate Donald Trump on the platform, after he was banned for inciting the January 6th riot at the Capitol. In this collaboration between the New Yorker Radio Hour and Radiolab, the producer Simon Adler explores the creation of the Oversight Board with Kate Klonick, whose reporting appears in The New Yorker. What they learn calls into question whether Zuckerberg’s fundamentally American-style view of free speech can be exported around the world without resulting in sometimes dire consequences. 

Feb 12, 2021
Amanda Petrusich Talks with the Weather Station’s Tamara Lindeman
26:59

Amanda Petrusich describes herself as a “diehard fan” of folk music, but not when it feels precious or sentimental. That’s why she loves the Weather Station, whose songs, she thinks, “could take a punch to the face.” A solo project of the songwriter and performer Tamara Lindeman, the Weather Station’s new album, “Ignorance,” focusses on the theme of climate grief: Lindeman was responding to a devastating report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change about the consequences of elevated carbon levels for human societies. If that sounds heady, Lindeman tells Petrusich that it may be her heritage. “There’s this thread in Canadian music of philosophical songwriting, and that’s how I like my lyrics to be. I like them to be about ideas as well as stories. . . . Most people want songs that just tell a story; they don’t want the complicated ideas. But I do.”

 

The Weather Station performs “Robber” and “Tried to Tell You,” with Evan Cartwright on percussion and Karen Ng on saxophone. 

Feb 09, 2021
Trump Closed the U.S. to Asylum Seekers. Will Biden Reopen It?
22:52

Immediately after Inauguration, the Biden Administration began trying to unwind some of Donald Trump’s most notorious policies on immigration. But, over four years, Trump’s advisers made more than a thousand seemingly bureaucratic, technical rule changes that have had profound consequences. Sarah Stillman reports on the case of a mother and daughter who arrived at the southern border from Honduras. After the family ran afoul of local politicians and crime figures, the father was assassinated and an older daughter was raped in the presence of a police officer. Yet their appeal for asylum was rejected by a Trump-appointed judge, who went to unusual lengths to explain her reasoning. Replaying a recording of the hearing, Stillman walks through the series of legal barriers designed to send the women back into severe danger. “In order to qualify for asylum,” Stillman remarks, you almost have to have been murdered to show that you could be murdered.”  


(Many of the Trump Administration policies were driven by Stephen Miller, the ultra-hard-line immigration adviser; The New Yorker Radio Hour reported in 2020 on Miller’s influence.) 

Feb 05, 2021
Kurt Vile Talks with Amanda Petrusich
14:10

Kurt Vile—that’s his real name—helped found the rock band the War on Drugs. But he left that band shortly after its début to make records of his own. His albums include “Childish Prodigy,” “Smoke Ring for My Halo,” and the recently released “Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep.)” Vile’s music has been characterized as “slacker rock,” but he takes songwriting seriously. He’s popular enough to have been honored with Kurt Vile Day in his home town of Philadelphia, but he tells the music critic Amanda Petrusich that he still can’t get a reaction from his hero, Neil Young. He joined Petrusich in the fall of 2018, at the New Yorker Festival, for a conversation and to perform a live version of “Pretty Pimpin.” 

 

This segment originally aired April 12, 2019.  

Feb 02, 2021
William Barber, and the Question of Faith and Politics
35:40

The North Carolina pastor William Barber, who spoke at the inaugural prayer service at the start of the Biden Administration, wants politics to be guided by faith and morality. But conservatives, Barber thinks, are deeply confused about Christ’s teachings. Then Paul Elie considers Biden as only the second Catholic President. Elie thinks that Catholics demoralized by decades of the Church’s abuse scandals are welcoming Biden as a “moral authority” outside the religious hierarchy.

Jan 29, 2021
Unearthing Entombed
20:11

Now that we are some sixty years into the digital era, the early days of modern computers are growing distant and mysterious to us. The field of game archeology seeks to uncover the origins and uses of these technological artifacts, and to determine what they tell us about the industry that created them. The New Yorker writer Simon Parkin and his producer Alex Barron try some archeology of their own on a video game from 1982 called Entombed. With the tiny amount of memory on an Atari 2600 cartridge, Entombed accomplished something new, and to this day nobody can figure out how it worked. Was it really developed during a programmer’s drunken blackout?

Jan 26, 2021
Jane Mayer and Evan Osnos on the Balance of Power at the Start of the Biden Administration
29:43

With Donald Trump rated the least popular President in the span of modern polling, President Biden might feel confident in claiming a mandate to advance his progressive agenda. Yet Democratic majorities in Congress are slim in the House of Representatives, and razor-thin in the Senate. That gives a small number of Democratic conservatives and moderate Republicans outsized influence over what legislation can pass. Senator Mitch McConnell, in a power-sharing arrangement with the Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, remains a force to be reckoned with. What will this balance of power mean for the new Administration? David Remnick poses this question to Jane Mayer, who has reported on McConnell’s tenure as a political operator, and to Evan Osnos, who covered Biden’s campaign and wrote a biography of the new President.

Jan 22, 2021
How Far Has the F.B.I. Gone to Protect White Supremacy?
16:49

Today, Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s work on civil rights is celebrated as bringing about one of the turning points of the twentieth century in America. But, in his own time, King was a divisive figure, unloved by millions of Americans—many members of government among them. The F.B.I. surveilled him constantly. President Lyndon Johnson worked with King to shape benchmark civil-rights legislation, but, after King spoke out against the Vietnam War, he was effectively alienated by the Administration. Meanwhile, J. Edgar Hoover’s agents at the F.B.I. began active measures to destroy King’s reputation and end his public influence, threatening to expose an extramarital affair. The documentary “MLK/FBI,” directed by Sam Pollard, examines this low point in the federal government’s abuse of power. Pollard tells Jelani Cobb that Hoover must have wondered, “ ‘How dare a Black man try to change the America I grew up in?’ The America he knew and loved was on a road to change. And he was totally against it.” Even today, as a leaked document shows, some within the F.B.I. see Black activists’ calls for justice and recognition as potential dangers to be watched carefully.

Jan 18, 2021
Donald Trump’s American Carnage Comes to Washington
33:05

Luke Mogelson and Susan B. Glasser report on the convulsions of Donald Trump’s final days in office, an unprecedented second impeachment of a President, and the threat of insurrectionary violence hovering over the entire nation. And a game designer offers insights on how the fantastical, wholly fictional narrative of QAnon has captivated so many people—to such dangerous effect.

Jan 15, 2021
Questions about the Variant Virus, and Posthumous Albums by Pop Smoke and others
23:03

A new variant of SARS-CoV-2 is making its way around the world; in the U.S., it has been found in at least three states: California, Colorado, and New York. Joe Osmundson, an assistant professor of biology at New York University, speaks with the New Yorker staff writer Carolyn Kormann about why this new strain is particularly concerning. It has twenty-three mutations—far more than scientists would expect an RNA virus to have—which makes it at least fifty per cent more contagious than the original virus. The response, Osmundson says, should be to double down on reducing transmission by encouraging a culture of caution. Mask wearing, he warns, might be with us for a long time. Osmundson came of age as a gay man during the AIDS crisis, and he compares our pressing need for social distancing to the cultural change that took place during that era. “It was not a joy, growing up, to worry about H.I.V. every time I had sex, and to feel like if I don’t wear a condom, I might die,” he tells Kormann. “And yet that was part of how we cared for each other. It is a way to care.” Plus, a music editor and writer picks some favorites from a very specific genre: posthumous rap albums. 

Jan 12, 2021
Democrats Take the Senate, and a Mob Storms the Capitol
15:29

On January 6th, pro-Trump fanatics stormed the Capitol, galvanized by the President’s claims that the 2020 election had been stolen. That day, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff were declared the victors of their respective Senate runoff races against Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, two champions of Trump’s incendiary theories. Charles Bethea, a New Yorker staff writer based in Atlanta, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss whether this is the end of an era or just the beginning.

Jan 08, 2021
Bruce Springsteen Talks with David Remnick
48:53

Bruce Springsteen, an American music legend for more than four decades, published his autobiography, “Born to Run,” in 2016.  David Remnick called it “as vivid as his songs, with that same pedal-to-the-floor quality, and just as honest about the struggles in his own life.” In October of that year, Springsteen appeared at the New Yorker Festival for an intimate conversation with the editor. (The event sold out in six seconds.) This entire episode is dedicated to that conversation. Springsteen tells Remnick how, as a young musician gigging around New Jersey, he decided to up his game: “I’m going to have to write some songs that are fireworks . . . I needed to do something that was more original.” They talked for more than an hour about Springsteen’s tortured relationship with his father, his triumphant audition for the legendary producer John Hammond, and his struggles with depression. As Springsteen explains it, his tremendously exuberant concert performances were a form of catharsis: “I had had enough of myself by that time to want to lose myself. So I went onstage every night to do exactly that.”

 

 This episode originally aired in 2016.  

Jan 01, 2021
Atul Gawande and Andrew Bird Discuss the Art and Science of Cancer
19:54

Atul Gawande is a New Yorker staff writer, a practicing surgeon, and an indie-music fan, and he loves the work of the songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and whistling virtuoso Andrew Bird; Gawande has included Bird’s songs in playlists he uses in the operating room. In 2016, at the New Yorker Festival, Gawande spoke with Bird about songwriting, confronting illness, the nature of cancer, and whistling. Andrew Bird performed “Capsized,” in which he played all of the parts with the help of looping devices.


Bird’s latest record is “Hark!” a Christmas-themed album. Atul Gawande was recently appointed to the incoming Biden Administration’s COVID-19 task force.

Dec 29, 2020
Lawrence Wright on How the Pandemic Response Went So Wrong
31:24

The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine mark what we hope will be the beginning of the end of the global pandemic. The speed of vaccine development has been truly unprecedented, but this breakthrough is taking place at a moment when the U.S. death toll has also reached a new peak—over three thousand per day. How was the response to such a clear danger mismanaged so tragically? The New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Wright—who has reported on Al Qaeda and the Church of Scientology—has followed the story of the pandemic unfolding in the United States since the first lockdowns in March. Wright walks David Remnick through key moments of decision-making in the Trump White House: from the response to the first reports of a virus to botched mask mandates and testing rollouts, up through the emergency-use authorization of the vaccine. The Trump Administration bears much responsibility for the bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic, but Wright also finds ample evidence of larger, systemic breakdown. “The magnitude of our failure,” he tells David Remnick, “is unparalleled.” 

Dec 28, 2020
Looking Back at an Unimaginable Year
29:07

It’s a cliché now, but by no means an overstatement, that the past twelve months have been unimaginable. This week, we’ll hear four short reflections on the events of 2020. Dhruv Khullar describes the early days of the pandemic, when he was taking care of patients in a COVID-19 ward. Anna Wiener visits California’s Big Basin Redwoods State Park, which burned during the catastrophic West Coast fire season that destroyed acreage close to the area of Massachusetts. Simon Parkin waxes nostalgic—already!—for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a video game that occupied untold hours of families at home together. And Kevin Young, The New Yorker’s poetry editor, picks two poems that stand as monuments to what we have lived through: “George Floyd,” by Terrance Hayes, and “The End of Poetry,” by Ada Limón, both of which were read by the authors.

Dec 25, 2020
Bryant Terry “Blackifies” Fennel, and Ian Frazier Says Goodbye to 2020, in Verse
18:39

Bryant Terry is a chef, educator, food-justice activist, and cookbook author. He joined Helen Rosner virtually to cook a dish from his recent book, “Vegetable Kingdom”: citrus and garlic-herb braised fennel. The dish calls for marinating the bulb in mojo, a citrus-juice-based Cuban condiment more typically paired with meat. Terry says that he wants to “Blackify” fennel, as part of his project to “uplift” Black culinary traditions from the global African diaspora. Plus, Ian Frazier reads a poem written for the 2020 holiday season.

Dec 22, 2020
The Republican Rift in Georgia, and the Protests Sweeping Nigeria
30:41

In the past month, a fracture has opened up in the G.O.P. between those who grudgingly accept Joe Biden’s win and those who falsely claim that the election was rigged. In Georgia, supporters of Donald Trump have turned on Republican election officials—in some cases, with threats of violence. The Atlanta-based staff writer Charles Bethea explains why this rift is dangerous for Republicans. Georgia’s two incumbent Senate seats are up for grabs in a runoff election in January; the G.O.P. needs to retain at least one to maintain its majority and to give Mitch McConnell near-veto power over the Biden agenda. But the more that the President and his followers attack the election, the less likely Republican voters are to turn out to vote—which would create an advantage for the Democratic Senate hopefuls. Bethea spoke with Gabe Sterling, an election official in Georgia; Lin Wood, an attorney who is fuelling conspiracy theories; and voters at a Trump rally in Valdosta. Plus, protests against police violence took place around the world this year; in Nigeria, they might lead to the undoing of a notoriously lawless and brutal police unit. 

Dec 18, 2020
The “Times Square Two” Fight to Clear Their Names
26:07

As teens, in the nineteen-eighties, Eric Smokes and David Warren were arrested for the robbery and murder of a tourist near Times Square on New Years Eve; an acquaintance had accused them, receving a lighter sentence for an unrelated crime in exchange for coöperating with police. Warren refused a plea deal in which he would have had to accuse Smokes, and both received lengthy sentences. Over decades in prison, they maintained their innocence, but they faced an impossible dilemma: without parole, they might have spent the rest of their lives behind bars, and, in order to get parole, they would have to take responsibility and express remorse for a crime they insist that they didn’t commit. Now middle-aged men, and still best friends, Warren and Smokes continue to fight to vacate the charges against them. Jennifer Gonnerman looks at the impossible choices they faced in the justice system.

Dec 15, 2020
Ayanna Pressley and Abigail Spanberger on the Rift in the Democratic Party
20:03

In November, when the Democratic Party lost seats in the House and a hoped-for victory in the Senate fizzled, centrist Democrats were quick to blame left-leaning progressives. Rhetoric about democratic socialism and defunding the police, they said, had scared away moderate voters and was costing the Party its influence. David Remnick speaks with two prominent House members on opposite sides of this debate: Abigail Spanberger, a centrist whose caustic comments about progressive rhetoric were leaked to the press; and Ayanna Pressley, one of the four progressives known as “the Squad,” who insists that “impact,” rather than compromise, is the best way to sway voters.

Dec 11, 2020
Steve McQueen Comes Home
32:33

Steve McQueen is the director of four feature films, including the Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave.” His new series, “Small Axe,” which is streaming on Amazon, consists of five portraits of the West Indian community in London from the late nineteen-sixties through the nineteen-eighties. For McQueen, the stories allowed him to reflect on painful aspects of his own upbringing in that time and place—like the way many children of immigrant families were shunted into “subnormal” schools. “I wanted to feel that I exist,” McQueen tells Richard Brody. “This is part of the narrative of the world, part of the narrative of life. And sometimes things like that never get seen or never get noticed or never get the recognition.” Plus, the staff writer Larissa MacFarquhar on what happens to families in Haredi Jewish communities when one parent leaves the faith.

Dec 08, 2020
Atul Gawande on Taming the Coronavirus
17:48

Can a vaccine be distributed fairly? What will be the impact if a large number of people don’t take it—as they say they won’t? Atul Gawande, a New Yorker staff writer who was recently appointed to President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 task force, walks David Remnick through some of the challenges of this pivotal moment. F.D.A. approval of at least one vaccine is expected imminently, but hospitalizations are still rising rapidly around the country, and Gawande is concerned that news of an approval could lead to more irresponsible behavior. “If, once people start getting vaccinated, they start throwing the masks away and you can’t get them to do social distancing,” he said, “then you’re really relying on vaccination as the sole prong of the strategy.” More than forty per cent of people polled say that they are reluctant to take the new vaccines, but Gawande suspects that the real number of resisters may be much smaller. “Part of the reason it’s good that health-care workers would go first is [that] . . . health-care workers are everywhere. Which means we’re all going to know people who got vaccinated, and we’re going to see that they did all right.”

Dec 04, 2020
Live at Home Part II: Phoebe Bridgers
32:21

Phoebe Bridgers’s tour dates were cancelled—she was booked at Madison Square Garden, among other venues—so she performs songs from her recent album, “Punisher,” from home. The critic Amanda Petrusich talks about the joys of Folkways records, and the novelist Donald Antrim talks about a year in which he suffered from crippling depression and rarely left his apartment, finding that only music could be a balm for his isolation and fear.

Dec 01, 2020
Live at Home Part I: John Legend
16:39

Like everyone in the United States, John Legend has spent much of the past year in lockdown. He has been recording new music (via Zoom), performing on Instagram, and promoting his upcoming album. Though many artists have delayed releasing records until they can schedule concert dates—increasingly the most reliable revenue in the music industry—Legend didn’t want to hold back. The new album, “Bigger Love,” was written before the pandemic and the current groundswell of protest for racial justice, but his message about resilience and faith resonates. All art, Legend tells David Remnick, “is there to help us imagine a different future.”

Nov 27, 2020
A Novel About a Secret Family, and Adam Gopnik on Being Old
33:53

Sanaë Lemoine’s début novel, “The Margot Affair,” is about a seventeen-year-old high-school student whose father, a high-ranking official, does not acknowledge her or her mother publicly. In telling Margot’s story, Lemoine drew upon her own complex family history: when she was twenty-one, she discovered that her father had a secret second family. In an act of literary justice, Margot decides to take action to force her father’s public acknowledgement, in a way that Lemoine herself did not. Plus, Adam Gopnik explores the predicament of an aging population. People of retirement age will outnumber children in the U.S. in about fifteen years, but they are poorly served by the field of design. Gopnik sets out to experience their difficulties firsthand.

Nov 24, 2020
The Fight to Turn Georgia Blue
15:48

This month, Georgia flipped: its voters picked a Democrat for President for the first time since Bill Clinton’s first-term election. To a significant degree, Charles Bethea says, this was owing to political organizing among Black voters; after all, Donald Trump still received approximately seventy per cent of the white vote. Bethea tells David Remnick about the political evolution of the state, and he speaks with two Democratic organizers: Nsé Ufot, the C.E.O. of the New Georgia Project, and Royce Reeves, Sr., a city commissioner in Cordele, Georgia.

Nov 20, 2020
Steve Martin and Jerry Seinfeld, and Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax
40:01

Between the two of them, Jerry Seinfeld and Steve Martin have nearly a century of experience in the delicate art of telling jokes. In a conversation with Susan Morrison during the 2020 New Yorker Festival, they discussed their long careers, learning how to adjust to new cultural forces, and the process of aging. Plus, Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax perform a piece of music that they have both been playing for more than forty years: Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 3 in A Major. “This is such open, hopeful music,” Ax said. Yet Beethoven signed one manuscript of the music, “amid tears and sorrow.” “I thought this was a good piece for this moment,” Ma told The New Yorker’s music critic Alex Ross. “Because people are suffering, and we do think that music can give comfort.”

Nov 17, 2020
Jane Mayer on the G.O.P.’s Post-Trump Game
9:44

The President’s fantastical allegations about “illegal ballots” are being indulged by quite a number of prominent Republicans in Washington, who have declined to acknowledge Joe Biden as President-elect. If Republicans in some key state legislatures go further and appoint electors who disregard their states’ popular votes, the electoral chaos would be disastrous. To understand how the politicians may proceed, David Remnick spoke with Jane Mayer, who has written extensively about today’s GO.P. and the forces that drive it.

Nov 13, 2020
Jill Lepore on Democracy in Peril, Then and Now
17:21

In the nineteen-thirties, authoritarian regimes were on the rise around the world—as they are again today—and democratic governments that came into existence after the First World War were toppling. “American democracy, too, staggered,” Jill Lepore wrote in The New Yorker, “weakened by corruption, monopoly, apathy, inequality, political violence, hucksterism, racial injustice, unemployment, even starvation.” Lepore talks with David Remnick about how Americans rallied to save democracy, and how we might apply those lessons in a new era with similar problems. 

This segment originally aired on January 31, 2020.

Nov 10, 2020
A Chaotic Election Ends—Maybe?
32:37

No matter the vote count, legal challenges and resistance in Washington continue to make this election historically fraught. David Remnick speaks about the state of the race with some of The New Yorker’s political thinkers: Evan Osnos on Biden’s candidacy, Jeannie Suk Gersen on how the Supreme Court may respond, Susan Glasser on Mitch McConnell’s hold on power, and Amy Davidson Sorkin on Washington and the nation.

Nov 06, 2020
Trump in Review
48:37

The Presidency of Donald Trump has been unlike any other in America’s history. While many of his core promises remain unfulfilled, he managed to reshape our politics in just four years. On the cusp of the 2020 election, David Remnick assesses the Trump Administration’s impact on immigration policy, the climate, white identity politics, and the judiciary. He’s joined by Jeannie Suk Gersen, Jonathan Blitzer, Bill McKibben, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, and Andrew Marantz.

Oct 30, 2020
Driving Through the Pandemic
19:31

It feels like a lifetime since the coronavirus pandemic transformed Americans’ daily lives, seven months ago, and fatigue is setting in even as the disease ravages new regions. The staff writer Jennifer Gonnerman talked with one of the people who has a unique perspective on those terrifying first weeks when the world seemed to be ending. Terence Layne is a bus operator for New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and a chief shop steward for the Transport Workers Union. The city’s transit workers were among the hardest hit of all essential workers, and over a hundred and twenty M.T.A. employees have died from the virus. Yet Layne kept showing up for his shift, day after day, even as the city streets went quiet. 


Jennifer Gonnerman wrote about Terence Layne in the August 31, 2020, issue of the magazine.

Oct 27, 2020
The Future of Trumpism
27:40

Nicholas Lemann’s “The Republican Identity Crisis After Trump” explores what will happen to the movement Donald Trump created among Republicans. In his 2016 campaign, he ran as a populist insurgent against Wall Street, “élites,” and the Republican Party itself—mobilizing voters against their traditional leadership. But, in office, he has governed largely according to the Party’s priorities. If Trump loses next month’s election, what will become of the movement he created? Lemann spoke with David Remnick about three possible scenarios for Republicans. Plus, the New Yorker music critic Carrie Battan describes how the sound of Korean pop is becoming part of the American mainstream.

Oct 23, 2020
Elvis Costello Talks with David Remnick
18:02

Elvis Costello’s thirty-first studio album, “Hey Clockface,” will be released this month. Recorded largely before the pandemic, it features an unusual combination of winds, cello, piano, and drums. David Remnick talks with Costello about the influence of his father’s career in jazz and about what it’s like to look back on his own early years.  They also discuss “Fifty Songs for Fifty Days,” a new project leading up to the Presidential election—though Costello disputes that the songs are political. “I don’t have a manifesto and I don’t have a slogan,” he says. “I try to avoid the simplistic slogan nature of songs. I try to look for the angle that somebody else isn’t covering.” But he notes that “the things that we are so rightly enraged about, [that] we see as unjust . . . it’s all happened before. . . . I didn’t think I’d be talking with my thirteen-year-old son about a lynching. Those are the things I was hearing reported on the news at their age.”  

Costello spoke from outside his home in Vancouver, B.C., where a foghorn is audible in the background.

Oct 20, 2020
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren on the State of Our Democracy
32:37

At the 2020 New Yorker Festival, earlier this month, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Elizabeth Warren joined Andrew Marantz to talk about the Presidential race, and how Joe Biden should lead if he wins the election. Plus, Dexter Filkins on the fierce electoral battle taking place in Florida, the largest of the swing states. With a large elderly-voter population and many distinct Latino communities, the state is demographically unique. Filkins spoke with the former sSenator Bill Nelson and others, including The New Yorker’s Stephania Taladrid, who has been reporting on the Latino vote in different states. 

Oct 16, 2020
The Battle Over Portland
24:22

During the Presidential debate in September, Donald Trump was asked to denounce the white supremacists who were battling anti-racism protesters in Portland; instead, he blamed leftists for the violence and told the Proud Boys to “stand by.” The Pacific Northwest has a long history of white-supremacist violence, going back to the days of the Oregon Territory. Today, white nationalists have chosen to make liberal Portland a battleground. As clashes between anti-racism protesters and extremists intensify, one man remembers the basic injustices that brought him to the streets in the first place. 

Oct 13, 2020
Anthony Fauci Then and Now, and the Writer-Director Radha Blank
25:44

At the moment that Donald Trump was leaving Walter Reed Hospital, not yet recovered from a case of COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci sat down with Michael Specter to discuss the coronavirus and its impact on America. For the President—and all of us counting on a vaccine to miraculously deliver us back to normalcy—Fauci offers a reality check. “Let’s say we have a vaccine and it’s seventy per cent effective. But only sixty per cent of the people [are likely to] get vaccinated. The vaccine will greatly help us, but it’s not going to eliminate mask-wearing, avoiding crowds, and things like that.” Plus, Vinson Cunningham talks with Radha Blank about her loosely autobiographical new film, which won her best director at Sundance.

Oct 09, 2020
Marilynne Robinson on Faith, Love, and Politics
19:54

Marilynne Robinson’s new novel, “Jack,” is the fourth to be set among the world and people of a fictional town called Gilead, Iowa. The novelist grew up in Idaho, and, when she moved to the flatter country of Iowa, she “noticed that the landscape had a very high number of little colleges scattered over it,” she tells David Remnick, that were sometimes the oldest buildings in a town. “I wanted to know who had built these things, that this was how you would settle an empty landscape. And that was when I came across the abolitionist movement. Those were the people who did this.” From that history and culture, Robinson imagined Gilead and the old preacher named John Ames who narrates the first book in her series. “Jack” concerns the son of Ames’s closest friend, who was disgraced and left Gilead. The book finds Jack, who is white, in St. Louis and in a predicament: he is in love with a Black woman, at a time when an interracial relationship was a scandal and, in some places, a crime. Plus, the début novelist Douglas Stuart. After two decades of working in the fashion industry and dreaming about writing, Stuart recently published an acclaimed first novel, “Shuggie Bain.” He showed us around his old stomping grounds in New York’s garment district.

Oct 06, 2020
The Election, as Seen from Swing States
30:21

Joe Biden leads the Presidential race in Pennsylvania by around ten per cent, according to most polls, but Eliza Griswold says you wouldn’t know it on the ground. Republicans in the state have organized a huge registration drive in recent years, and, while Griswold was driving to Biden’s working-class birthplace of Scranton, she saw Trump signs blanketing the lawns and roads. Peter Slevin, reporting from Wisconsin, tells David Remnick that Democrats there organized early, to avoid the mistake that Hillary Clinton made in 2016 of taking the state for granted. Even so, Biden’s campaign has declined to do risky in-person events, but the Trump campaign, until recently, has proceeded as if coronavirus had never happened. Plus, Andrew Marantz talks with a Tennessee pastor who’s struggling with the intersection of politics and faith.

Oct 02, 2020
Keith Knight of “Woke,” and Jia Tolentino Picks Three
22:08

“Woke,” a new comedy on Hulu, is inspired by the life of its creator, Keith Knight. The show, which blends reality and animated fantasy, follows Keef, a Black cartoonist who is on the cusp of mainstream success when an ugly incident with the police changes his life. Suddenly, Keef is learning about racism from a chatty trash can and other talking cartoon objects, and he experiences a belated political awakening. Knight describes his work to his fellow-cartoonist Emily Flake as “accessible yet subversive.” “Making people laugh and then punching them in the face with a serious issue is the way to work,” he says. Plus, at home with a newborn, the staff writer Jia Tolentino recommends a book, a record, and a reality show that have been entertaining her lately.

Sep 29, 2020
Can a Newcomer Unseat Lindsey Graham? Plus, Carlos Lozada on “What Were We Thinking”
27:36

Jaime Harrison may seem like a long shot to become a South Carolina senator: he is a Black Democrat who grew up on food stamps in public housing, and he has never held elected public office. But a Quinnipiac poll ties him with Lindsay Graham—each has the support of forty-eight per cent of likely voters. Harrison is not exactly a progressive upstart candidate: he’s spent much of his career as a lobbyist, and has worked in the office of House Majority Whip James Clyburn. “I’ve seen the power of how good public servants can really address the issues of what people deal with,” Harrison tells David Remnick. “The worst thing you can do as a public servant is to betray the trust of the people that you represent.” For Harrison, Graham’s decision to support a fast-track nomination to the Supreme Court proves that “his word is worthless.” Plus, Carlos Lozada, a Washington Post books editor, immersed himself in a new genre: books that purport to explain Donald Trump and his era.

Sep 25, 2020
Miranda July’s Uncomfortable Comedies, and a Toast to Roger Angell
30:50

Miranda July’s third feature film is “Kajillionaire,” a heist movie centered on a dysfunctional family, and her first with a Hollywood star like Evan Rachel Wood. Like most of her work, it can be classified as a comedy, but just barely. “There’s some kind of icky, heartbreaking, subterranean feelings about family that I would not willingly have gone towards if it weren’t for the silly heist stuff,” July tells Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker’s fiction editor. July acknowledges that billing her work as comedy allows her the budget to do things that straight drama might not get: “I knew I wanted to make a bigger movie. It changes the medium, it changes the kinds of things you can think up.” Tresiman, who has edited July’s short stories and other writings for the magazine, talks with her about the thread of discomfort and embarrassment that runs through her work in every medium. Plus, David Remnick toasts the centennial of Roger Angell, who has contributed to The New Yorker since the Second World War with writings on baseball and every other topic under the sun.

Sep 22, 2020
An Election in Peril
19:21

This Presidential race is a battle for the soul and the future of the country—on this much, both parties agree—and yet the pitfalls in the election process itself are vast. David Remnick runs through some of the risks to your vote with a group of staff writers: Sue Halpern on the possibility of hacking by malign actors; Steve Coll on the contention around mail-in voting and the false suspicions being raised by the President; Jeffrey Toobin on the prospect of an avalanche of legal challenges that could delay the outcome and create a cascade of uncertainty; and Jelani Cobb on the danger of violence in the election’s aftermath.

Sep 18, 2020
The Composer Richard Wagner and the Birth of the Movies
16:12

The German composer Richard Wagner had an enormous influence not only on modern music but on artists of all stripes, and on political culture as well. His use of folkloric material to create modern epics won him the admiration of thinkers like W. E. B. Du Bois, and made him popular in Hollywood since the birth of film. Alex Ross, whose new book is called “Wagnerism,” tells David Remnick that Du Bois “might have seen ‘Black Panther’ as a kind of Wagnerian project.” And yet Wagner’s music was used to heroically represent the Ku Klux Klan in “The Birth of a Nation.” In fact, the composer’s strident anti-Semitism fed into the rise of Nazism in Germany. The many aspects of Wagner’s influence were often contradictory. “So much baggage arrives with him,” Ross says, but “we aren’t necessarily imprisoned by what the man himself thought.” The composer himself “starts to disappear” as his influence diffuses through society. “He becomes a mirror for what other people are thinking and feeling. And we have that right, we have that power with art. If there’s something about it we reject, we can—without forgetting or overlooking that darker aspect—remake it in our own image.” 

Sep 15, 2020
What to Do with a Confederate Monument?
33:08

Across the South and well beyond, cities and states have been removing their Confederate monuments, recognizing their power as symbols of America’s foundational racism. In the town of Easton, Maryland, in front of the picturesque courthouse, there’s a statue known as the Talbot Boys. It depicts a young soldier holding a Confederate battle flag, and it honors the men who crossed over to fight for secession. It’s the last such monument in Maryland, outside of a battlefield or a graveyard. Casey Cep grew up nearby, and she’s watched as the town has awakened to the significance of the statue. Five years ago, when a resolution to remove it came before the county council, the vote was 5–0 opposing removal. But, during a summer of reckoning with police violence and structural racism, the statue came up for a vote again. Is time finally catching up with the Talbot Boys?

Sep 11, 2020
N. K. Jemisin on H. P. Lovecraft, and Jill Lepore on the End of a Pandemic
27:13

N. K. Jemisin has faced down a racist backlash to her success in the science-fiction community. But white supremacy in the genre is nothing new, she tells Raffi Khatchadourian. Her recent novel “The City We Became” explicitly addresses the legacy of the genre pioneer H. P. Lovecraft, whose racism was virulent even by the standards of the early twentieth century. It’s not possible, Jemisin says, to separate Lovecraft’s ideology from his greatness as a fantasy writer: his view of nonwhite peoples as monstrous informed the way he wrote about monsters. Rather than try to ignore or cancel Lovecraft, Jemisin felt compelled to engage with him. Plus, the historian and staff writer Jill Lepore describes the desperate measures taken to protect children from polio during a pandemic no less frightening than our own, and how the disease was then forgotten.

Sep 08, 2020
Bette Midler and the Screenwriter Paul Rudnick on “Coastal Elites”
22:18

This segment contains adult language.


In the new film “Coastal Elites,” Bette Midler plays a New Yorker of a certain type: a retired teacher who lives on the Upper West Side, reads the New York Times with Talmudic attention, and is driven more than half mad by Donald Trump. So much so that one day she picks a fight in a coffee shop with a guy wearing a red MAGA hat, and her monologue takes place when she’s in police custody. The role isn’t too much of a stretch: she tells David Remnick about a long-ago dinner at the Trumps’ apartment that she recalls as a nightmare, and, just days after this interview, Midler tweeted some ill-advised comments about Melania Trump’s accent that she had to apologize for. Paul Rudnick wrote “Coastal Elites” as a series of monologues to be performed at the Public Theatre, but seeing no avenue to perform it during the pandemic, he reconceived of it as a film for HBO, starring big names like Kaitlyn Dever, Dan Levy, Sarah Paulson, and Issa Rae. And while he’s sad about the state of live theatre, Rudnick has no regrets about taking the show to television: “You actually got closer than you would if it had been staged live in the theatre,” he says. “You have the best possible seat in the house for a Bette Midler performance.”

Sep 04, 2020
Rick Perlstein on Goldwater, Reagan, and Trump
20:19

“Reaganland” is the new volume in Rick Perlstein’s long chronicle of the American conservative movement; the four books, which he began publishing in 2001, run some 3,000 pages in total. While the author is left of center politically, the series has been praised by William F. Buckley, Jr., and George Will, among others. Andrew Marantz finds that Perlstein uniquely captures the mood of the country and how intangible, emotional factors in the electorate influence political shifts. Perlstein tells Marantz that Trump is neither an aberration from traditional conservative politics nor a continuation but a throwback to an earlier, unruly time in the Republican Party, when its ideologically more disparate umbrella contained open racists, anti-Semities, and conspiracy theorists not so unlike QAnon. The Party became ever more disciplined as the Goldwater era moved into what Perlstein calls Reaganland. “Disciplining what got said, behind closed doors and in public,” he says, “was an enormous part of the political work of [Reagan’s] Administration.”

Aug 28, 2020
Everyone Knew Who Shot Ahmaud Arbery. Why Did the Killers Walk Free?
27:23

It has been six months since Ahmaud Arbery, a young Black man, was shot by three white men while he was out for a Sunday jog near his childhood home. The video of the killing, taken by one of the men who participated in it, could be said to have kindled the blaze that ignited after the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. 


There was no mystery to be solved in Arbery’s killing. It happened in broad daylight, and the men who did it were on the scene when police arrived. But the killers walked free, and no one was arrested for seventy-four days—until after the video was made public and caused a scandal. What, exactly, were prosecutors thinking? Caroline Lester spoke with Arbery’s mother, a local reporter, lawyers, and a district attorney to understand what happened in those seventy-four days. His case, she finds, highlights a fundamental problem for criminal-justice reform: we may change the laws that govern policing, but those laws have to be vigorously enforced. And district attorneys may have little incentive to do so.

Aug 25, 2020
Will This Be Joe Biden’s F.D.R. Moment?
32:18

Joe Biden has been playing it safe during the coronavirus pandemic, but Evan Osnos got the chance to sit down with the nominee in person. It was too hot to sit outside, but the campaign staff didn’t want an outsider in Biden’s home, so the interview took place in a small house on the property that Biden’s late mother stayed in. In a wide-ranging conversation, Biden compares his position—should he win—to that of Franklin Roosevelt: taking office during a disaster, he argues, he would have an opportunity to effect a hugely ambitious agenda, but driven by pragmatism rather than ideology. (He was not comparing himself to Roosevelt, he hastened to add.) While the country is ever more partisan, Biden describes his centrism and his propensity for off-the-cuff remarks as an advantage. “The good news is the bad news,” he told Osnos. “Everybody knows me, and you guys know me, the good and bad. . . . It’s kind of hard to pin a label on someone that’s inconsistent with who they are. To make me out to be a revolutionary, it’s awful hard to do. Conversely, it’s awful hard to make me out to be a right-wing, very conservative Democrat.”

Aug 23, 2020
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on HBO’s “Watchmen”
21:27

 HBO’s “Watchmen” was nominated for twenty-six Emmy Awards—more than any other show this year—including two for the music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (who are also the members of the industrial-rock band Nine Inch Nails). The music negotiates the show’s superhero plot with its real and traumatic historical context: the Greenwood Massacre, in which mobs attacked the Black community of Tulsa in 1921 and killed as many as three hundred people. It “brings this very difficult history together with the sheer bad-ass fun of fantasy,” Vinson Cunningham says. “That tension shows up on every level of the show, and definitely in its wide-ranging score.” The music in “Watchmen” is “sometimes creepy, sometimes mournful, and sometimes outrageous—it’s not just a mood-setter; it’s like its own character.” Cunningham spoke with Reznor and Ross about how they achieved this effect, musically. “I knew we were not going to let the show down,” Ross said, “because it was clear that this one matters.”

Aug 21, 2020
Sarah Paulson, the Star of Netflix’s “Ratched”
10:14

The actor Sarah Paulson has appeared in “12 Years a Slave,” “The People v. O. J. Simpson,” and eight seasons of Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story.” Now she’s starring in a new Murphy production—the series “Ratched,” which premieres on Netflix next month. It’s a macabre, over-the-top fantasy describing the origin story of Nurse Ratched, the heartless, possibly not-quite-human villain of Ken Kesey’s novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Personified by Louise Fletcher in the 1975 film, Nurse Ratched is considered one of the great modern antiheroes. “I do think any character you play, particularly the ones that, on the surface, seem difficult, angry, monstrous—a lot of people don’t like to investigate that kind of stuff,” Paulson told the staff writer Michael Schulman at the 2019 New Yorker Festival. “But, to me, I think, it’s sort of our job.”

Aug 18, 2020
Samantha’s Journey into the Alt-Right, and Back
39:26

Since 2016, Andrew Marantz has been reporting on how the extremist right has harnessed the Internet and social media to gain a startling prominence in American politics. One day, he was contacted by a woman named Samantha, who was in the leadership of the white-nationalist group Identity Evropa. (She asked to be identified only by her first name.) “When I joined, I really thought that it was just going to be a pro-white community, where we could talk to each other about being who we are, and gain confidence, and build a community,” Samantha told him. “I went in because I was insecure, and it made me feel good about myself.” Samantha says she wasn’t a racist, but soon after joining the group she found herself rubbing shoulders with the neo-Nazi organizer Richard Spencer, at a party that culminated in a furious chant of “Sieg heil.” Marantz and the “Radio Hour” producer Rhiannon Corby dove into Samantha’s story to understand how and why a “normal” person abandoned her values, her friends, and her family for an ideology of racial segregation and eugenics—and then came back again. They found her to be a cautionary tale for a time when facts and truth are under daily attack. “I thought I knew it all,” she told them. “I think it's extremely naïve and foolish to think that you are impervious to it. No one is impervious to this.” 

Samantha’s story appears in Andrew Marantz’s book, “Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation.”  

This episode originally aired on November 22, 2019.

Aug 14, 2020
Isabel Wilkerson on America’s Caste System
33:49

In this moment of historical reckoning, many Americans are being introduced to concepts like intersectionality, white fragility, and anti-racism. But Isabel Wilkerson would like to incorporate a little-discussed concept into our national conversation: caste. Wilkerson is a writer and historian who spent the past decade working on a book that examines the history of race in this county. During the Jim Crow era, “every aspect of life was so tightly controlled and scripted and restricted,” she told David Remnick. “I realized that race was an insufficient term.” Plus, we’ll meet some of the volunteers and the former inmates who make up the Rikers Debate Project.

Aug 11, 2020
The Documentary ICE Doesn’t Want You to See
16:22

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has been given a broad mandate to round up undocumented immigrants. The agency is infamously unwelcoming to journalists, but two filmmakers managed to get unprecedented access to its employees and detention facilities. Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz discuss how they got this closeup look at the agency as it developed ever-harsher policies designed to deter immigrants. Schwarz tells Jonathan Blitzer, who covers immigration for the magazine, that “if [ICE] can make life difficult enough, if [it] can send these messages . . . that this is the hell you’re going to get, then [they’ll] make these people leave.”  

 

The documentary, “Immigration Nation,” is available on Netflix.

Aug 07, 2020
Isabel Wilkerson on America’s Caste System
14:50

In this moment of historical reckoning, many Americans are being introduced to concepts like intersectionality, white fragility, and anti-racism. Isabel Wilkerson, the author of the best-selling book “The Warmth of Other Suns,” is introducing a little-discussed concept into our national conversation: caste. As she researched the Jim Crow system in the South, she realized that “every aspect of life was so tightly controlled and scripted and restricted that race was an insufficient term to capture the depth and organized repression that people were living under.” She explains to David Remnick that “the only word that was sufficient was ‘caste.’ ” The United States, Wilkerson argues, is a rigid social hierarchy that depends on a psychological as well as a legal system of enforcement. Her new book is “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” which has already been hailed as a modern classic. She says that “we need a new framework for understanding the divisions and how we got to where we are.”

Aug 07, 2020
Jeffrey Toobin Explores Donald Trump’s “True Crimes and Misdemeanors”
14:54

The Mueller Report documented enough crimes and scandals in Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign and in his Administration to sink the career of any President before him. But Trump called the whole thing a win. What’s more, he is now running for reëlection—something no impeached President has ever done before. How did that happen? And why? David Remnick discusses these questions with The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin, whose new book, “True Crimes and Misdemeanors,” is an account of the investigation and impeachment of Donald Trump.

Aug 04, 2020
Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Violence in Chicago, and William Finnegan on the Power of Police Unions
35:21

Before she became the mayor of Chicago, last year, Lori Lightfoot spent nearly a decade working on police reform. Now Lightfoot is facing civil unrest over police brutality and criticism by the President for the homicide and shooting rates in her city. David Remnick spoke with Mayor Lightfoot about the state of the city, policing, and President Trump’s recent decision to send two hundred federal agents to help “drive down violent crime.” Plus, The New Yorker’s William Finnegan reports on what the repeal of an arcane law reveals about the conflict among police, protesters, and politicians.

Jul 31, 2020
Black Italians Fight to Be Italian
30:14

In the United States, most of us take it for granted that every person born on American soil is granted citizenship; it’s been the law since 1868, with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment. But birthright citizenship is more the exception than the rule globally. Not one country in Europe automatically gives citizenship to children born there. Ngofeen Mputubwele, a producer for the New Yorker Radio Hour, has been reporting on a group of Black Italians—children of African immigrants—who are working to change the citizenship laws of Italy, which they consider a system of racist exclusion. They are artists, intellectuals, and activists who use film, literature, music, and fashion to fight for the right to belong to the country in which they were born; Mputubwele compares their movement to “the start of the Harlem Renaissance.” Bellamy Ogak, a Black Italian, tells him that she was moved by the sight of white Italians carrying “Black Lives Matter” signs at protests following the killing of George Floyd but was angered that they seemed to overlook racism at home: Why do Black American lives matter more than Black Italian lives?” she asks.

Jul 28, 2020
Emily Oster on Whether and How to Reopen Schools
16:48

The decision about whether to reopen schools may determine children’s futures, the survival of teachers, and the economy’s ability to rebound. Emily Oster, an economist at Brown University, reviews what we do and don’t know about the dangers of in-person classes. How likely are children to transmit the coronavirus? Will teachers spread it to one another? Oster talks about the data with Joshua Rothman and opens up a knottier question about this upcoming school year: How do we measure the trade-off between the lives that will inevitably be lost if schools open against the long-term negative effects of learning loss if schools stay closed? What will a school do when, inevitably, somebody dies? “We’re going to have to accept that there isn’t actually a right choice,” she says.

Jul 24, 2020
Podcast Extra: André Holland on Shakespeare’s “Richard II”
17:16

This summer, the Public Theatre, in New York, is putting on Shakespeare’s history play “Richard II.” Because most theatre was cancelled, even outdoors, due to the pandemic, the Public partnered with WNYC to bring the show to the radio. The production stars André Holland as the weak, indecisive king who faces a rebellion by his cousin, Bolingbroke. Richard is not a “bad dude,” Holland says, but a man doing the best he can in a situation he cannot manage. The theatre critic Vinson Cunningham spoke with Holland about performing Shakespeare as a Black actor and his concerns about taking on the role of King Richard: What would a Black man playing the failed leader convey to an audience? Holland also explains why he thinks that Black actors are particularly suited to inhabiting the language of Shakespeare.  

Jul 23, 2020
The Perils Prison Reform, and the Vision of a Visually Impaired Artist
28:04

In the past few years, there has been a growing bipartisan demand to reduce the extraordinarily high rate of incarceration in the United States, on both moral and fiscal grounds. But some of the key reforms, according to some prison abolitionists, are actually expanding the “carceral web”—the means by which people are subjected to control by the corrections system. “Reform operates according to a logic of replacement,” the journalist Maya Schenwar tells Sarah Stillman. Drug courts and electronic monitoring are widely popular reforms that, Schenwar argues, only funnel people back into physical prisons, and may cause addicts further harm. Stillman spoke with Schenwar and Victoria Law, the authors of “Prison by Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms.” Plus, Rodney Evans discusses his documentary film “Vision Portraits,” which has been streaming on PBS. It examines the creative processes of a writer, a dancer, and a photographer who are—like the filmmaker—visually impaired. 

Jul 21, 2020
Chance the Rapper’s Art and Activism
22:53

My generation was taught that the civil-rights movement ended in the sixties, and that the Civil Rights Act put things as they should be,” Chance the Rapper tells David Remnick. “That belief was reinforced with the election of Barack Obama”—who loomed especially large to a boy from the South Side of Chicago. One of the biggest stars in hip-hop, Chance is also one of the most politically committed, and his art has always been closely tied to his commitment to lift up his community. Quite early in his career, he founded a nonprofit, SocialWorks, that invests in education in Chicago, and he has advocated for progressive candidates in city politics. But as politically aware as he is, Chance says that the protests following the death of George Floyd have given him a new consciousness of the struggle for racial justice. “This movement has shown us that we are very far from an equitable or an equal society. And that we will be the generation that fixes it.”

Jul 17, 2020
Michaela Coel on Making “I May Destroy You”
20:34

The protagonist of “I May Destroy You,” a young woman named Arabella, has her drink spiked at a party and discovers afterward that she has been assaulted. She spends the rest of the show untangling what happened to her. And yet the HBO series is not a crime drama but a nuanced and sometimes comedic exploration of the emotional toll of surviving assault. The series—written and directed by, and starring, Michaela Coel—is based on Coel’s own experience. Coel tells Doreen St. Félix that she was assaulted while working on the second season of her celebrated BBC show “Chewing Gum.” She took notes about what happened, and some of that material made it into the new show, while other aspects are fictional. Of Arabella, who often wears a pink wig, Coel says, “You don't know where she begins and where I end.” 

Jul 14, 2020
The State of the Biden Campaign
30:18

Joe Biden all but locked up the Democratic Presidential nomination just as the coronavirius crisis began triggering national lockdowns. Now he faces an economic disaster and a public-health emergency that prevent traditional campaigning, which may help Biden if swing voters blame the incumbent for the state of the nation. But Biden faces his own heavy baggage: admissions of inappropriate touching of women, an accusation of assault, and a blemished record on racial justice. Amy Davidson Sorkin, Eric Lach, Katy Waldman, and Jelani Cobb reflect on the Biden campaign and on the candidate’s past leadership. Cobb, who discusses Biden’s history with police reform and the 1994 Crime Bill, says that one thing is almost certain: whatever gaffes that the gaffe-prone candidate may utter, the Trump Administration will create a bigger headline five minutes later. Plus, David Remnick interviews the South Carolina congressman James Clyburn, who is the most senior African-American in Congress. Clyburn helped Joe Biden win the critical South Carolina primary, and he defends Biden’s controversial record on issues of racial justice.

Jul 10, 2020
Laura Marling, a Briton in Los Angeles
15:15

The thirty-year-old British singer/songwriter Laura Marling has produced seven albums of dense but delicate folk music, starting when she was only eighteen. After several years touring on the road, she tells John Seabrook, she found herself in Los Angeles. Speaking at The New Yorker Festival in October, 2017, she explained how, growing up, her father played her a lot of Joni Mitchell, and the influence stuck. In Los Angeles, she felt that many of the musicians she had long idolized were still “there in the hills, looking down on the city.”

Marling performed her songs “Daisy,” and “Wild Once,” accompanying herself on guitar.

 

This story originally aired January 26, 2018.

Jul 07, 2020
Hasan Minhaj and Kenan Thompson
34:39

The 2019 New Yorker Festival was the twentieth edition of the annual event, and it was particularly star-studded. This program features interviews with Kenan Thompson, the longest-running cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” and Hasan Minhaj, the “Daily Show” veteran whose Netflix show “Patriot Act” won both an Emmy and a Peabody Award.

Jul 03, 2020
Keeping Released Prisoners Safe and Sane
29:52

Starting this spring, many states began releasing some inmates from prisons and jails to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19. But a huge number of incarcerated people are mentally ill or addicted to drugs, or sometimes both. When those people are released, they may lose their only consistent access to treatment. Marianne McCune, a reporter for WNYC, spent weeks following a psychiatrist and a social worker as they tried to locate and then help some recently released patients at a time of uncertainty and chaos. 


This is a collaboration between The New Yorker Radio Hour and WNYC’s “The United States of Anxiety.”

Jun 30, 2020
Hilton Als’s Homecoming and the March for Queer Liberation
19:54

In the summer of 1967, a young black boy in Brooklyn was shot in the back by a police officer. The writer Hilton Als recalls the two days of “discord and sadness” that followed, and reflects on the connection between those demonstrations and this summer’s uprising following the killing of George Floyd. Plus, an activist group sees an opportunity to reclaim the mantle of gay pride after New York cancels its official parade. 

Jun 26, 2020
Live at Home Part II: Phoebe Bridgers
31:58

Phoebe Bridgers’s tour dates were cancelled—she was booked at Madison Square Garden, among other venues—so she performs songs from her recent album, “Punisher,” from home. The critic Amanda Petrusich talks about the joys of Folkways records, and the novelist Donald Antrim talks about a year in which he suffered from crippling depression and rarely left his apartment, finding that only music could be a balm for his isolation and fear.

Jun 23, 2020
Live at Home Part I: John Legend
16:38

Like everyone in the United States, John Legend has spent much of the past three months in lockdown. He has been recording new music (via Zoom), performing on Instagram, and promoting his upcoming album. Though many artists have delayed releasing records until they can schedule concert dates—increasingly the most reliable revenue in the music industry—Legend didn’t want to hold back. The new album, “Bigger Love,” was written before the pandemic and the current groundswell of protest for racial justice, but his message about resilience and faith resonates. All art, Legend tells David Remnick, “is there to help us imagine a different future.”

Jun 19, 2020
The Supreme Court Weighs the End of DACA
19:50

This month, the Supreme Court is expected to decide a case with enormous repercussions: the Trump Administration’s cancellation of DACA, a policy that protects young immigrants commonly known as Dreamers. In November, Jonathan Blitzer spoke with two attorneys who argued the case, just before they went before the Court. Ted Olson, a noted litigator, is generally a champion of conservative issues, but he is fighting the Trump Administration here. Luis Cortes is a thirty-one-year-old from Seattle arguing his first Supreme Court case. He is himself an undocumented immigrant protected by DACA; if he loses, his own legal residency would be immediately threatened. Plus, the writer Bryan Washington, a native of Houston, remembers the social life of gay bars before the pandemic.

Jun 16, 2020