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Still Processing

Author: The New York Times

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Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham are working it out in this weekly show about culture in the broadest sense. That means television, film, books, music — but also the culture of work, dating, the internet and how those all fit together.
133 Episodes
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Lil Nas X? Not Sorry!

Lil Nas X? Not Sorry!

2021-04-1544:162

Social media apologies have become the standard celebrity response to internet outrage. But why do they feel so deeply inadequate? Jenna and Wesley dissect a new spate of public apologies from the last year. And they look to the activist and writer adrienne maree brown for an example of a “fully evolved” apology.You can find more info about today’s show here. And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning” by Cathy Park Hong. Read it along with us!
40 Acres and a Movie

40 Acres and a Movie

2021-04-0843:293

Disney owns a piece of every living person’s childhood. Now it owns Marvel Studios, too. Jenna and Wesley look at depictions of racist tropes and stereotypes in Disney’s ever-expanding catalog. The company has made recent attempts to atone for its past. But can it move forward without repeating the same mistakes?You can find more info about today’s episode here. And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning” by Cathy Park Hong. Send us your questions and thoughts about the book at stillprocessing@nytimes.com.
No Country for Any Men

No Country for Any Men

2021-04-0137:572

“Promising Young Woman” is one of this year’s major Oscar contenders. It’s a dark revenge fantasy that asks a sweeping moral question: What if there are no good men? Wesley and Jenna go deep into the film and consider what it gets right — and wrong — about sexual assault and justice. Beware: There will be spoilers.You can find more info about today’s show here. And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning” by Cathy Park Hong. Read it along with us!
“Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo makes Wesley nostalgic for his favorite part of a song: the bridge. Bridges used to be a core feature of popular music, but they’ve become an endangered species, right next to the sitcom laugh track. While Wesley laments the demise of the bridge, Jenna points out that TikTok has given us new ways to experience the best part of a song. You can find more info about today’s episode here, and follow our playlist of Wesley and Jenna’s favorite bridges. 
The N-Word

The N-Word

2021-03-1852:288

It’s the episode we’ve been wanting to make for years. In our season premiere, we’re talking about the N-word. It’s both unspeakable and ubiquitous. A weapon of hate and a badge of belonging. After centuries of evolution, it’s everywhere — art, politics, everyday banter — and it can't be ignored. So we’re grappling with our complicated feelings about this word. You can find more information about today's episode here. 
We’re back with a new season on March 18! Join culture writers Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris in the juiciest group chat, the coziest diner booth, the crowded kitchen at a house party with the best snacks and the real talk. Each week, they’ll come together to talk art, identity, politics, the internet — whatever they’re grappling with. Subscribe for deep chats, uncomfortable but necessary conversations and incisive takes on the cultural landscape. New episodes come out every Thursday.
We’re preparing to drop a whole new season this spring. In the meantime, we want to make sure you’ve had a chance to hear some of our all-time favorite episodes. Like this one, about Whitney Houston. It’s been nine years since Ms. Houston died. She was one of the biggest pop stars of her time, but she’s often remembered as a tragic figure. In this episode, we argue that her music is much more important than any of the scandals. When we listen to some of her best performances, we remind ourselves who we actually lost: the greatest singer of the rock ’n’ roll era.
When “Hillbilly Elegy” showed up on Netflix last November, it was just the latest in a series of media attempting to explain whiteness to its audience. We’re revisiting a better (though not perfect) example: the podcast “S-Town.” Check out our episode from 2017 while we prepare for a new season of Still Processing — coming to you in March. 
Not long ago, Harry Styles graced the cover of Vogue magazine in a dress. It was just one example of how traditional ideas of masculinity have been expanding — on the runway and in culture. In our episode “Psychobros” from a couple of seasons ago, we appreciated another man in a dress on the front page of a magazine: Brad Pitt on the cover of Rolling Stone, published just as the movie “Fight Club” came out in 1999. It’s one of our favorite past episodes coming your way … while we're getting ready to drop a whole new season this spring.
Next month we’re starting a whole new season of shows! Yes, in March! We’re thrilled. While we’re getting ready, we selected four of our favorite past episodes for you to enjoy. This first one is about one of the greats: Aretha Franklin. A singer, writer, arranger, pianist, performer and more, Ms. Franklin channeled both the difficult and beautiful aspects of American culture to make the songs that have scored our lives. She left a legacy of virtuosity and swagger that will live on — both online and off.
With the election (nearly) resolved, we have a moment to step back and look at what fantasies our country is built upon. From the role of president, to the threat of another civil war to the soul of the country itself, we’re all harboring some kind of fantasy that we should probably interrogate.
With a monumental election on the horizon, we want to bring up a few recent events that show some sort of truth amid the confusion. From the NBA bubble to the fly in Mike Pence’s hair to HBO's “Lovecraft Country”, these are moments that point us beyond the present, to be our best and greatest selves.Discussed this week:“Scandal” (Season 4, Episodes 9-12, ABC, 2015)The N.B.A. bubbleThe vice-presidential debate (Oct. 7, 2020)“Lovecraft Country” (Episode 7, HBO, 2020)Sun RaMore Sun RaEven more Sun Ra
“Hamilton” is back in the mix, but the flavor has changed from beloved historical blockbuster to “wait, that’s what this is?” Elsewhere, in new works like “Baited,” on Instagram Live, and “I May Destroy You,” on HBO, Black women are getting personal in ways that are expanding our palates for discomfort.Discussed this week:“Hamilton” (written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Disney+, 2020)“Baited” on Instagram LiveZiwe Fumudoh“I May Destroy You” (written by Michaela Coel, HBO, 2020)Native Land project“White Fragility” lecture (by Robin DiAngelo, 2019)
When Quaker decided to take Aunt Jemima off the red pancake box after 131 years, did it also try to scrub the legacy she represents? And what sort of compensation is appropriate — and to whom — from a brand that maintained that image in public for so long?Discussed this week:“Aunt Jemima Brand to Change Name and Image Over ‘Racial Stereotype’” (Tiffany Hsu, The New York Times, June 2020)“Aunt Jemima: I’se in Town, Honey” (Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University)“The Dixie Chicks Change Their Name, Dropping the ‘Dixie’” (Ben Sisario, The New York Times, June 2020)“Lady Antebellum Sues the Singer Lady A Over Name Change” (Joe Coscarelli, The New York Times, July 2020)“Aunt Jemima’s Heirs’ $3 Billion Lawsuit Against Pepsi, Quaker Oats Tossed by Judge” (Tim Kenneally, The Wrap, February 2015)“What Is Owed” (Nikole Hannah Jones, The New York Times, June 2020)“The Case for Reparations” (Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, June 2014)
Excerpts from our June 12 live event, where we caught up about the uprisings and resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. This is the first of three special summer episodes.Discussed this week: Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris in a live New York Times event (June 12, 2020)“‘Cops,’ Long-Running Reality Show That Glorified Police, Is Canceled” (The New York Times, June 2020)“LEGO Pulls Back Police Playset Affiliate Marketing Amid George Floyd Protests” (ToyBook, June 2020)“NASCAR Says It Will Ban Confederate Flags” (The New York Times, June 2020)Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris on “CBS This Morning” (Aug. 18, 2017, CBS)Speech by Stokely Carmichael (a.k.a. Kwame Ture) (Oct. 29, 1966, Berkeley, Calif.)“John Lewis: Good Trouble” (directed by Dawn Porter, July 2020)
New Loop, America

New Loop, America

2020-05-1440:391

In our final episode from our living rooms, we visit the dystopia of “Westworld” and the utopia of “Hollywood” to see if we can glean anything about what might be in store on the other side of this pandemic — and about who we want to be.Discussed this week:“Westworld” (HBO, 2016-20)“Hollywood” (Netflix, 2020)Ryan Murphy“The Stepford Wives” (directed by Frank Oz, 2004)“The Stepford Wives” (directed by Bryan Forbes, 1975)The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930“Love Jones” (directed by Theodore Witcher, 1997)“Love & Basketball” (directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, 2000)Anna May WongHattie McDanielOscar Micheaux“Delivering Thanks Team” (Papa John’s, 2020)
Covid-19 isn't "the great equalizer" – except when it comes to making us need our devices more than ever. Screens have revealed superstars as civilians, and turned sitcom grouches into teddy bears. Basically: We’re ready to be more open with one another. Discussed this week:“Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration” (Broadway.com)“The ‘Credibility Bookcase’ Is the Quarantine’s Hottest Accessory” (Amanda Hess, The New York Times)Randy Rainbow’s YouTube Channel“A Parks and Recreation Special” (NBC, 2020)“The Power of Vulnerability” (Brené Brown, TEDx)“Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” (Brené Brown, 2012)The “Unlocking Us” Podcast (Brené Brown)Teddy Riley Verzuz Babyface
Fiona Ex Machina

Fiona Ex Machina

2020-05-0137:32

"Fetch the Bolt Cutters" is Fiona Apple's master class in channeling frustration and anger into what can only be called wisdom. Also, we hear from listeners all over the planet, sharing how they are taking care of the people in their lives.Discussed this week:"Fetch the Bolt Cutters" (Fiona Apple, 2020)Fiona Apple on the VMAs in 1997"Regret" (Fiona Apple, "The Idler Wheel Is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do", 2012)"Criminal" (Fiona Apple, "Tidal", 1996)"Hold Up" (Beyonce Knowles, "Lemonade", 2016)
Halle Berry? Hallelujah.

Halle Berry? Hallelujah.

2020-04-2301:46:08

We’re trying something new this week. We want you to watch a movie with us, and not just any movie, but the 2004 superhero bomb “Catwoman,” starring two of our favorites: Halle Berry and Sharon Stone. We’ve got fun facts, some questions and a little bit of, um, cattiness.Discussed this week: Catwoman Halle Berry Sharon Stone Benjamin Bratt Alex Borstein Pitof
Activists stood up against the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s, but the tools they used to make themselves heard are unavailable during our coronavirus pandemic. Still, many of that era’s strategies and warning signs seem alarmingly relevant now.Discussed this week:“How to Survive a Plague” (directed by David France, 2012)ACT UP New York “How ACT UP Remade Political Organizing in America” (David France, The New York Times, April, 2020)“‘A Tragedy Is Unfolding’: Inside New York’s Virus Epicenter” (Annie Correal, Andrew Jacobs and Ryan Christopher Jones, The New York Times, April, 2020)“America’s Hidden H.I.V. Epidemic” (Linda Villarosa, The New York Times, June, 2017)“Amazon’s Whole Foods to Cut Medical Benefits for Part-Timers” (Spencer Soper, Bloomberg, September, 2019)
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Comments (86)

Andi-Roo Libecap

So glad this show returned -- and wow what a strong episode right out the gate! Interesting discussion for all people regardless of skin color. I appreciate them sharing this insightful conversation with us.

Mar 26th
Reply

Judie Patel

Thank you so much for sharing your processing and keeping us grounded💕

Nov 29th
Reply

ID18470784

Never seen people complain so much about bullshit and bring up the past and use rare cases of police brutality to say “look America hates blacks, give us money and jobs for shit that happened two hundred years ago!”

Aug 8th
Reply

Authentictalks 2.0

I recently found this podcast and I have enjoyed listening to a few episodes already. Thanks for sharing your views.

Jul 15th
Reply

dwanadoc@msn.com

Omg please dont leave us now. My goodness. Will you be back?

Jun 18th
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Diana Bermudez

listening to this on June 14. The irony of what protest has become right now! Can't wait to hear from Still Processing and their most current podcast, gotta catch up!

Jun 14th
Reply

Sofia Pereira

I understood vegetable cutters.. so until the song came up, I was in a totally different page... lol

May 5th
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daisy

so fun

Apr 25th
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Vanessa Vartabedian

I love you guys! I loved this episode. I finished watching the "Joe Exotic" series and always dig your insights and perspective on pop culture, and its and historical and social relevance and implications. I understand you're mixed feelings about the series being posed as entertainment. As a documentary filmmaker myself, a main draw for me is the fact that life is often stranger than fiction. and the importance of making the characters humans, is to understand why they made the choices they mafe in life that God sent them to the place where we meet them on the screen. It's always a challenge and a fine line between exoticizing a person and exposing the underlined compelling truth - deeper insight into the rationale of their life. Of course, bias always plays a role, both for the filmmaker and the audience. That's what allows it to live as a form of art through storytelling. I think the upside of this is, as you mentioned, is that we, the viewers of this series, will never think about a zoo or caged animals again in the same way. Yet, at the same exact feelings at the same moments you did Jenna - about the baby tigers being violently yanked away from their mothers at birth, and if put in the position to hold and feel a baby tiger in my arms, I would likely not turn down the chance. If this had been strictly framed with an anti-animal-exploitation bent, I believe it would have suffered in it's mission in a couple of ways: It would have instantly turned off potential viewers by presenting only one agenda and perspective, instead of showing us the little bits of each of us in Joe Exotic (and the people of his world). This could, as you say, only happen in America. We all could bear to take a look at that. But unlike with abused Amazon workers, a world we hear about but do not see, we get a direct glimpse into the strange subculture of the exotic cat world. Therefore, drawing our minds and spirits to all the pitfalls of our country's value system you bring up on the show: gun control, hypocrisy, greed, people kept in cages, narcissism, desperation, our history of slavery. This approach leaves much more room for the audience to think for themselves about country we have created and the individualistic nature of survival in America. How we use animals and each other (among other things) to survive, thrive, maintain an upright ego at all costs is, in my opinion, a fascinating example of people's passions being thwarted by the profit margin. This is is the true American story. Also, and I know the reason you probably didn't mention this is because it's a spoiler (but not a terrible one:) - Joe is in fact in prison. And I'm not sure about this, but it appears that the majority of the footage used to make the film, was not createf by the filmmakers, but dictated by Joe himself, which lends incredible insight into how he himself wants to be seen. In any case, you really got me thinking! Just adding to the conversation. Thank you for always being so provocative, fun and warm to listen to! Vanessa Vartabedian

Apr 11th
Reply

Andi-Roo Libecap

I'm catching up on eps I missed thru year, so I'm listening in Dec. What an unexpected, beautiful message to hear this holiday season! TY for this gift.

Dec 28th
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Sophie Darjeeling

In relation to the “Straws” episode I was 1000% expecting Wesley to say “so the obvious solution is to all join a union” which is the correct answer. Yes - institutions need to change. But who’s going to force them to change by withdrawing their labour until they do? Unionised workers.

Nov 4th
Reply (1)

daisy

I love jlo's resurgence

Oct 21st
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dwanadoc@msn.com

I absolutely love you guys thank you both for the laughter and the knowledge

Oct 18th
Reply

Madeinspace

This is seriously the best podcast in my life right now.

Oct 10th
Reply

Deborah Hinds

Another fantastic podcast! P.S. Still Processing needs a Twitter handle so evangelists like myself can tweet & retweet links to every episode.

Sep 19th
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Mary-Katherine Fleming

I swear, I listen to this episode at least once per week. It's amazing.

Jul 22nd
Reply (1)

Kathy Clay

i thought this was music , i do have WIFI!

May 21st
Reply

Joylene

New comer to the podcast (started listening back in late February.) Is there an ETA when you will be back? :]

May 8th
Reply

Silvana Salles

this podcast is amazing!

May 3rd
Reply

Priscilla Smith

How we got here cause it easy for families to trust fame verses real life. If it was your next door neighbor who just moved in, would you let you little boy go live with him? The Mom and Dad The Guardian is the blame cause the children should never been left alone with a stranger. Michael Jackson was a stranger.

Apr 30th
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