Blame It On The Alcohol

This week, we devote an entire hour to what one important scholar deemed “the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.” From its earliest role as a source of nourishment to its depictions in ancient literature, we examine the roots of mankind’s everlasting drinking problems. Plus, how a bizarre 60 Minutes piece spread the idea that red wine has medicinal effects. Then, a look at how popular culture has incorrectly framed Alcoholics Anonymous as the best and only option for addiction recovery. And, a scientist cooks up a synthetic substitute for booze. 1. Iain Gately, author of Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol, on the ancient origins of our core beliefs about booze.  2. Robert Taylor, assistant managing editor at Wine Spectator, on red wine's constantly changing reputation as a healthy substance.
  1. Gabrielle Glaser [@GabrielleGlaser], author of Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink - Continue reading "Blame It On The Alcohol"

This Is Not A Test

It was yet another week of will-he-won't-he: Will President Donald Trump authorize the release of the House Intelligence Committee's "memo," in spite of senior FBI and Justice Dept. officials' warnings not to do so? (Spoiler alert: He did.) Will he continue to edge the U.S. closer to a devastating military encounter with North Korea — as he did for the first year of his presidency, and as he did during his State of the Union address earlier this week? And if the United States finds itself engaged in the unimaginable — nuclear conflict — what lessons will we learn from those who have already tried to imagine just that? 
  1. Steven Aftergood [@saftergood], transparency advocate, on the House Intelligence Committee's notorious "memo."
  2. Lawrence Krauss [@LKrauss1], theoretical physicist and chair of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Board of Sponsors, on the Doomsday Clock's Continue reading "This Is Not A Test"

Rallying Cry

A year into the Trump Administration, thousands continue to take to the streets but has the press lost interest? This week we look at the nature of protest in an era of never-ending distraction. We also take a deep dive into the world of right-wing conspiracies, as well as meme culture as a whole. Plus, we remember Ursula Le Guin, the monumental science fiction author who passed away earlier this week. 
  1. Will Sommer [@willsommer], author of of the Right Richter newsletter and editor at The Hill, on the latest right-wing conspiracies. 
  2. Amanda Hess [@amandahess], internet critic at the New York Times, on the dynamics and politics of meme culture.

  3. Zeynep Tufekci [@zeynep], professor at the University of North Carolina, on coverage of protest movements like the Women's March.

  4. David S. Meyer [@davidsmeyer1], sociology professor at the University of Continue reading "Rallying Cry"

Unsettled: A Story from the Global Refugee Crisis

Over these last few months, WNYC reporter Matt Katz has been reporting the story of a congolese man named Andre and his wife, Lisette. They were living in a Malawi refugee camp, but then Andre was given the chance to be resettled in Elizabeth New Jersey. And he had to leave Lisette behind. When Matt started researching this story he was struck by the fact that in the last 3 years the largest number of refugees to the US were not from Syria or any of the other majority Muslim countries named in Trump’s “extreme vetting” list but from the Democratic Republic of Congo. President Trump came into office promising a wholesale remaking of U.S. immigration policy - there was the travel ban and, of course, the border wall. But what's gotten less attention is the dramatic shift in refugee policy, like slashing the number of refugees allowed into Continue reading "Unsettled: A Story from the Global Refugee Crisis"

Outrage Machine

The book that took D.C. by storm; evaluating our first year under President Trump; the story of the Pentagon Papers, from someone who helped write them; and the latest scholarly research on "fake news" — that is, using the original, vintage meaning of the term. Plus, a live report from the Fake News Awards. 
  1. Michael Wolff [@MichaelWolffNYC], columnist and author, on his latest book Fire & Fury and the dysfunctional Trump White House from whence it came. 

  2. Masha Gessen [@mashagessen], journalist and The New Yorker contributor, on her rules for surviving autocracies, one year into the Trump presidency. 

  3. Les Gelb, former columnist and former Defense Department official, on his experience leading the team that wrote the Pentagon Papers, subject of the new Hollywood drama, "The Post." 

  4. Brendan Nyhan [@BrendanNyhan], professor of government at Dartmouth Continue reading "Outrage Machine"

Death to the Mass(es)!

In the tweets above, leading journalists Ezra Klein and Anne Applebaum reflect the accepted wisdom, raison d’être, and foundational myth of their field: that journalism exists to align the nation upon a common ground of facts, so a uniformly informed mass of citizens can then manage their democracy.

The idea that the nation can and should share one view of reality based on one

Continue reading "Death to the Mass(es)!"

The Feelings Show

Father Time — his 2017 sash bloodied and muddied, no doubt — will soon hand off the baton to Baby New Year and, like the reluctant old fellow reaching the end of his tenure, we have some feelings about it. It's been a weird one, and we're obviously not holding our breaths hoping for a respite in the next calendar year. So in anticipation of emotions of all kinds, we present The Feelings Show: three interviews from that past that helped us deal with, you know —  things.
  1. Rebecca Solnit, writer and historian, on her impatience with despair and her insistence that the future is unknowable — and therefore full of potential.

  2. Robert Wright [@robertwrighter], writer and theologian, on how adopting basic mindfulness techniques could improve our lives and help us avoid outrage fatigue.

  3. Jad Abumrad [@JadAbumrad], host of WNYC's Radiolab, and Eugene Thacker, professor Continue reading "The Feelings Show"