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Slow Burn

Author: Slate Podcasts

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Clarence Thomas is one of the most powerful figures in America today. Nearly every issue of national consequence has his fingerprints all over it, from voting rights to gun rights and from abortion access to affirmative action. But nothing about his journey from rural Georgia to the Supreme Court was inevitable.In the eighth season of Slate’s Slow Burn, host Joel Anderson traces Justice Thomas’ surprising path from youthful radical to conservative icon. You’ll hear about why he came to despise the race-based admission policies that personally benefitted him, how he credited his political rise to the Black self-sufficiency preached by Malcolm X, and what the American people didn’t hear during his explosive confirmation hearings.

143 Episodes
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Introducing The Queen

Introducing The Queen

2019-06-0423:38

Linda Taylor was a con artist, a kidnapper, maybe even a murderer. She was also America’s original “welfare queen,” the villain Ronald Reagan needed to create a vision of a country being taken advantage of by its poorest citizens. In this new narrative mini-series, Josh Levin, one of the editors behind Slow Burn, reveals the never-before-told story of a woman whose singular life was forgotten in the rush to create a vicious American stereotype. This podcast is based on Josh Levin’s new book, The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. To listen to the rest of the bonus episodes this season, sign up for Slate Plus now. In this Slow Burn bonus episode, host Joel Anderson and producer Christopher Johnson discuss the growing feud between Tupac and Biggie and the role of Faith Evans. Then, you’ll hear an extended interview with Larry “The Blackspot” Hester, a former staff writer at Vibe who interviewed Tupac, Biggie, and other people at Death Row and Bad Boy as their drama heated up. Production by Chau Tu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. This is a preview of the bonus episodes released this season:—interviews with Slow Burn host Joel Anderson and producer Christopher Johnson about the making of the series, and extended interviews they conducted with Tupac's attorney Shawn Holley, hip-hop journalist Matty C, and Biggie biographer Cheo Hodari Coker. To listen to all eight bonus episodes from this season in full, sign up for Slate Plus now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Hey Slow Burn listeners. We have something special for you this week. It's an episode of Broken Record, a music podcast from Pushkin Industries, co-hosted by Malcolm Gladwell and music producer Rick Rubin. In the episode, Malcolm and Rick talk to Questlove about his memories of the MOVE police bombing in Philly, the music of his childhood, and Quest gets behind the drums to show the evolution of his playing.  Being the music lover he is, Questlove can't help but turn the tables to ask Rick about his own Hip Hop history: working on the Beastie Boys' first album, License to Ill, and LL Cool J's first album, Radio. Then it all culminates in one of the best Obama stories ever. You can subscribe to Broken Record wherever you get your podcasts, and see some amazing studio session photos on Instagram, @TheBrokenRecordPod. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Slow Burn's Watergate season is now a TV docu-series, premiering Feb. 16 on Epix. Read more about it in this interview with host Leon Neyfakh. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Introducing: I Spy

Introducing: I Spy

2021-01-2928:54

We're excited to introduce you to I Spy, a production of Foreign Policy. Each week on I Spy, a former intelligence operative from somewhere around the world tells the story of a single mission. They've featured guests from the CIA, Mossad, MI5, the KGB, and more. The host is three-time Emmy winner Margo Martindale, who played Claudia the KGB handler on FX’s hit show The Americans.  In this first episode of season 3, DEA special agent Steve Murphy describes his role in the hunt for narco-terrorist Pablo Escobar in Colombia in the early 1990s. This is part one of a two-part episode. To hear part 2, make sure to look for I Spy wherever you get your podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Slate's new podcast One Year and will introduce you to people and ideas that changed American history--one year at a time. The show is hosted by Josh Levin, Slate's national editor and host of Slow Burn Season 4. And our first season covers 1977: a year when gay rights hung in the balance, Roots dominated the airwaves, and Jesus appeared on a tortilla. In this show, we’ll focus on key moments that transformed politics, culture, science, religion, and more. This episode you’re about to hear will take you into a courtroom in Miami, Florida, where a local fight over gay rights was about to become a huge national standoff, one with life-altering stakes for millions of Americans. And at the center of it all was a pop singer and orange juice spokesperson named Anita Bryant. How does the nation’s past shape our present? Subscribe to One Year on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Decoder Ring is Slate's show about cracking cultural mysteries. In each episode, host Willa Paskin takes a cultural question, object, or habit, examines its history, and tries to figure out what it means and why it matters. This episode introduces you to Ilona Granet, who was a New York art-scene fixture who won the praise of the art world when she put up anti-harassment street signs in lower Manhattan in the mid- 1980s. Her career seemed like a sure thing, but three decades on, and so much more art later, it still hasn’t materialized, even as her contemporaries are now hanging in museums. This episode is not about the familiar myth of making it, but the mystery of not making it. What happens, to an artist—to anyone—when they’re good enough, but that’s not enough? If you like the show, subscribe to Decoder Ring on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mary Shane made history with the Chicago White Sox, becoming the first woman hired as a legitimate major-league baseball announcer. But in 1977, she had to fight to be taken seriously in one of America’s most sexist industries. One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme. Mixing by Merritt Jacob. To support this show, subscribe to One Year on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Medical authorities said that Laetrile was dangerous quackery. It became a sensation anyway. Diana Green saw this drug made from apricot pits as her son Chad’s best chance to survive leukemia. Her shocking actions, and the little boy affected by them, became the focus of a heated national debate over freedom of medical choice. One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme. Mixing by Merritt Jacob. To support this show, subscribe to One Year on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Three stories from one day in August 1977. Elvis Presley dies, and the National Enquirer goes after the ultimate tabloid scoop: a photo of the King in his coffin. A New Jersey high schooler becomes a pariah when she refuses to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Astronomers in Ohio get a mysterious signal from outer space—could it be a message from aliens? One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme. Mixing by Merritt Jacob. To support this show, subscribe to One Year on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
America’s top weed evangelist and the nation’s drug czar shared the same goal: to loosen up the country’s marijuana laws. In 1977, everything was trending their way—until a blowout Christmas party destroyed their plans, and transformed the future of marijuana in the United States. One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme. Mixing by Merritt Jacob. To support this show, subscribe to One Year on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Alex Haley’s Roots displayed the brutal realities of slavery to more than 100 million Americans. The book and mini-series also made a bold claim: that Haley was the first Black American to trace his lineage all the way back to Africa, and to a specific ancestor captured into slavery. What would it mean, for Haley and America, if he hadn’t found what he said he’d found? To support this show, subscribe to One Year on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
After Maria Rubio saw Jesus on a tortilla, her family got besieged by believers and gawkers and the national press. But for the Rubios, the tortilla wasn’t just a public spectacle. It was the miracle that changed their family. And decades later, they’re still reckoning with how that tortilla upended everything. One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme. Mixing by Merritt Jacob. To support this show, subscribe to One Year on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
(While we work on the next season of Slow Burn we're showcasing Slate's other narrative podcasts, starting with a new season of Decoder Ring.) What do we lose if we lose the mall? 70 years into their existence, these hulking temples to commerce are surprisingly resilient and filled with contradictions. In this episode, Alexandra Lange, the author of the new book Meet Me at the Fountain: an Inside History of the Mall walks us through the atriums, escalators, and food courts of this singular suburban space. We also hear from mall-goers whose personal experiences help us make sense of this disdained yet beloved, disappearing yet surviving place. This episode of Decoder Ring was written by Willa Paskin and produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. Derek John is Sr. Supervising Producer of Narrative Podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our Technical Director. If you have any cultural mysteries you want us to decode, email us at DecoderRing@slate.com If you love the show and want to support us, consider joining Slate Plus. With Slate Plus you get ad-free podcasts, bonus episodes, and total access to all of Slate’s journalism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rod McKuen sold multiple millions of poetry books in the 60s and 70s. He released dozens of albums, was a regular on late night, and was even nominated for an Oscar. So, how did the most salable poet in American history simply disappear? On today’s episode, Slate writer Dan Kois went searching for Rod McKuen, a famous poet who isn’t so famous anymore. We’ll hear from Stephanie Burt, Mike Chasar and Barry Alfonso, author of Rod’s biography A Voice of the Warm. Along the way, Dan meets Andy Zax, a guy who, like him, was bewildered by this forgotten star—until he became an accidental fan, and then somehow the only person keeping Rod McKuen’s flame alive. This episode of Decoder Ring was written by Dan Kois and edited by Willa Paskin. It was produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. Derek John is Sr. Supervising Producer of Narrative Podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our Technical Director. If you have any cultural mysteries you want us to decode, email us at DecoderRing@slate.com. If you love the show and want to support us, consider joining Slate Plus. With Slate Plus you get ad-free podcasts, bonus episodes, and total access to all of Slate’s journalism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
When you think of an alien abduction, what do you picture? Humanoid creatures, medical experiments, lost memories retrieved through hypnosis? That narrative was largely unknown until Betty and Barney Hill went public about their own alien abduction in the 1960s. Betty Hill’s niece, Kathleen Marden, recounts how the story went viral and her aunt and uncle became unwitting celebrities. Then professors Susan Lepselter, Chris Bader, Joseph O. Baker and Stephanie Kelley-Romano explain how the Hills’ alien abduction changed science fiction forever. Thanks to Eric Molinsky for bringing us this story that originally aired on his terrific podcast Imaginary Worlds. Eric’s got a lot more stories like this one so subscribe wherever you listen.  Decoder Ring is written by Willa Paskin and produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. Derek John is Sr. Supervising Producer of Narrative Podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our Technical Director. If you have any cultural mysteries you want us to decode, email us at DecoderRing@slate.com If you love the show and want to support us, consider joining Slate Plus. With Slate Plus you get ad-free podcasts, bonus episodes, and total access to all of Slate’s journalism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the early 1930s, Mae West’s dirty talk and hip swiveling walk made her one of the biggest movie stars in America. But before West hit the big-screen, she was prosecuted for staging not one, but two scandalous plays. In this episode, we look at how West honed her persona when she was under the bright lights of Broadway and the flashbulbs of the tabloids — and briefly behind bars. More than a century later, her career arc offers a blueprint on how to survive a scandal…and maybe even come out ahead. This episode relied heavily on a lot of archival material and innumerable books: When I’m Bad, I’m Better: Mae West, Sex and American Entertainment by Marybeth Hamilton; When Brooklyn was Queer by Hugh Ryan; Lillian Schlissel’s introduction to Three Plays by Mae West,  Mae West: a biography by George Eells and Stanley Musgrove; Mae West: An Icon in Black and White by Jill Watts;  Becoming May West by Emily Wortis Leider; Gay New York by George Chauncey;  Mae West, She Who Laughs Last, by June Sochen: Goodness Has Nothing to Do with It by Mae West; and Linda Ann Losciavo’s play “Courting Mae West” and her blog, which you can find at Maewest.blogspot.com.  This episode of Decoder Ring was written by Willa Paskin. It was produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. Derek John is Sr. Supervising Producer of Narrative Podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our Technical Director. Thank you to Benjamin Frisch for this topic.  If you have any cultural mysteries you want us to decode, email us at DecoderRing@slate.com If you love the show and want to support us, consider joining Slate Plus. With Slate Plus you get ad-free podcasts, bonus episodes, and total access to all of Slate’s journalism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
McGruff the Crime Dog arrived on the scene at the dawn of the 1980s, just as a firehose of anti-drug PSAs was inundating the youth of America. These messages didn’t always work as intended—but they did work their way into the long term memories of the kids who heard them.  In the first of two episodes, we take a look at PSAs and their strange afterlife through the lens of a trench-coat wearing bloodhound and his bizarre, yet catchy anti-drug songs. We’ll talk to Dan Danger, Sherry Nemmers, Joseph Cappella, David Farber, Mike Hawes and Robin Nelson to discover how the McGruff Smart Kids Album came to exist in the first place. This podcast was written by Willa Paskin. Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. We had production help from Sam Kim.  Editing by Jamie York and Derek John, Slate’s Sr. Supervising Producer of Narrative Podcasts. Merritt Jacob is Sr. Technical Director. Thank you to Wendy Melillo, Dan McQuade, Dale Mantley, Larissa Zargeris, Daisy Rosario, Drew Bledsoe, Larre Johnson, Duane Poole, Ari Merkin, Charles and Karen Rosen and Eric Greenberg.  If you have any cultural mysteries you want us to decode, email us at DecoderRing@slate.com If you love the show and want to support us, consider joining Slate Plus. With Slate Plus you get ad-free podcasts, bonus episodes, and total access to all of Slate’s journalism. Check out Remote Works here Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
McGruff the Crime Dog arrived on the scene at the dawn of the 1980s, just as a firehose of anti-drug PSAs was inundating the youth of America. These messages didn’t always work as intended—but they did work their way into the long term memories of the kids who heard them.  In the second episode of our two-part series on the weird world of PSAs and very special episodes, we look at how the McGruff Smart Kids Album influenced everything from straight-edge hardcore to a couple’s wedding playlist. We’ll hear from Sarah Hubbard, Dan Danger, Joseph Cappella, David Farber, Mike Hawes, Robin Nelson, Daisy Rosario, and Tatiana Peralta. This podcast was written by Willa Paskin, who produces Decoder Ring with Katie Shepherd. This episode was edited by Jamie York. Derek John is Slate’s Sr. Supervising Producer of Narrative Podcasts. Merritt Jacob is Sr. Technical Director. Thank you to Tatiana Peralta, Ari Merkin, Wendy Melillo, Dan McQuade, Dale Mantley, Larissa Zargeris, Dave Bledsoe, Larre Johnson, Duane Poole, Eric Greenberg, Charles and Karen Rosen, and Jennifer Holland, Orla Mejia, Andres Martinez and everyone else at the Rutgers library who helped me listen to some old cassette tapes.  A few things that were helpful in working on this piece: How McGruff and the Crying Indian Changed America: A History of Iconic Ad Council Campaigns by Wendy Melillo, Taking a Bite out of Crime: the Impact of the National Citizens Crime Prevention Media Campaign by Garrett J O’keefe and others, and “This McGruff Drug Album Might As Well Be By Weird Al,” by Dan McQuade for Defector Media. You can hear Daniel Danger’s McGruff cover album in it’s entirety or you can purchase it here. And lastly, if you are interested in hearing the full McGruff educational program or any of Puppet Productions productions they are available for purchase at puppetsinc.com, part of a company that Rob Nelson still runs. If you have any cultural mysteries you want us to decode, email us at DecoderRing@slate.com If you love the show and want to support us, consider joining Slate Plus. With Slate Plus you get ad-free podcasts, bonus episodes, and total access to all of Slate’s journalism. Check out Remote Works here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Comments (194)

najme parsipour

I absolutely love this podcast Great job

Feb 14th
Reply

Abdul aziz

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Feb 9th
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najme parsipour

Good job 👌

Jan 31st
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Doc Sarvis

Hayduke Lives!

Dec 4th
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Nuage Laboratoire

text

Oct 10th
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Dooder

Eery how similar this scenario feels as others have pointed out. I found it oddly comforting to hear politicians changed their stance on Nixon instead of creating even wilder narratives and excuses.

Jun 19th
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Vorec6:17

Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas, both great champions of Black Americanism. Racism is harmful in all its forms, both white supremacy racism and affirmative action racism.

Jun 7th
Reply (1)

JVLnt

their og jingle had the number 854-2020!! love this episode! 😊

Dec 31st
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alli lent

the familiarity of this is sickening......

Aug 11th
Reply

Sam P.

This podcast does the issue of abortion a severe disservice by making it "both sidesable." The arguments made (including those made by the Wilkeys) are based in emotion and religion. In contrast, there is strong empirical evidence that access to reproductive healthcare corresponds to drastic improvements in socioeconomic status, health equity, and maternal mortality. I urge Slate to disregard opinions that mainstream science rejects.

Jun 11th
Reply

Rocky Mountain

I am horrified by the lack of remorse from Kiki and the guy filming on the street. You almost kill someone, but it's not your fault. It's justified to beat strangers because you got caught up in the moment. Brutal.

Jan 7th
Reply

Andrew Connolly

There's something wrong with the hosts bladder... way to many breaks.

Nov 18th
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yoyo

i knew it was only a matter of time before they would mention trump, lol!!!!

Nov 11th
Reply (1)

Shannon Compton

my heart has been pulled from my chest. 😢

Oct 21st
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Sep 27th
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mylincolnportal

Thanks for the post

Sep 27th
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Sep 27th
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merl

listening to this now in the context of covid is a little chilling. the game was spot on, clearly

Aug 19th
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Dawn Shields

I have thoroughly enjoyed season 1 &2 ...you have done an amazing job 👏 ... thank you!

Jul 15th
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