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The New Yorker Radio Hour

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David Remnick is joined by The New Yorker’s award-winning writers, editors and artists to present a weekly mix of profiles, storytelling, and insightful conversations about the issues that matter — plus an occasional blast of comic genius from the magazine’s legendary Shouts and Murmurs page. The New Yorker has set a standard in journalism for generations and The New Yorker Radio Hour gives it a voice on public radio for the first time. Produced by The New Yorker and WNYC Studios.
WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, On the Media, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, Nancy and many more.
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337 Episodes
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Jamie Lee Curtis comes from Hollywood royalty as the daughter of Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. She credits her mother’s role in “Psycho” for helping her land her first feature role, as the lead in “Halloween,” in 1978. “I’m never going to pretend I got that all on my own,” she tells The New Yorker’s Rachel Syme. But Curtis says she never intended to act, and never saw herself as a star: “I was not pretty,” she explains; “I was ‘cute.’ ” Eventually, the pressure she felt to conform in order to keep working led to a surgical procedure, which led to an opiate addiction. Curtis talks with Syme about recovery, second chances, and more than forty years of films between “Halloween” and Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out.” Plus, the chef at one of Los Angeles’s best restaurants on how to build a woman-friendly kitchen.
The current impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump are only the fourth in American history, and William Cohen has been near the center of power for three of them. First, he was a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee in 1974, when his vote in favor of articles of impeachment helped end the Presidency of Richard Nixon. Twenty years later, as Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Defense, he had to navigate American military policy around the Lewinsky scandal. Cohen is now a Washington power-broker, and he tells The New Yorker’s Michael Luo the story of both sagas and their relation to today’s news. During Watergate, Cohen received death threats for what was perceived as his betrayal of Nixon, and he says that his chances for a Republican leadership position were “finished.” But Cohen implores his G.O.P. successors in Congress to put Constitution above party; otherwise, “this is not going to be a democracy that will be recognizable a few years from now.”
Senator Kamala Harris had a lot going for her campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination: national name recognition, strong fund-raising, an association with Barack Obama, and a way of commanding the spotlight both on television and on Twitter. She promised to be the prosecutor who would bring Donald Trump to justice and a candidate who could take him on in the race, a combination that thrilled her supporters. But, on Tuesday, two months before voting begins in Iowa, she ended her campaign. What happened, and what does it reveal about the Presidential race? Eric Lach calls three New Yorker colleagues to debrief: Dana Goodyear, who reflects on her Profile of Harris from the promising early days of her campaign; Jelani Cobb, who talks about Harris’s standing with black voters; and Ben Wallace-Wells, who notes that the gap between the progressive and centrist wings of the Democratic Party may have grown too large for any candidate to straddle. Finally, Lach calls a heartbroken campaign volunteer, who estimates that she made thirteen thousand calls on Harris’s behalf. 
In November, Iran announced new fuel rationing and price hikes, just at a time when U.S. sanctions are crippling the economy and especially the middle class. Protests broke out immediately, and the government responded by shutting down access to the Internet, arresting protesters, and using lethal force: more than two hundred people are said to be dead, according to Amnesty International. The Iranian government has laid blame on the United States, which has a campaign of “maximum pressure” aiming to destabilize the country—and Donald Trump is happy to take credit. But Robin Wright, the author of several books on the Middle East, notes that Iran is also facing opposition from some of its Shiite allies in the Middle East. In Iraq and Lebanon, protests have erupted against Iran’s efforts to increase its influence in the region, and the Iraqi Prime Minister announced his resignation partially because of that unrest. The Iranian regime is in real trouble, Wright believes. As she sees it, the country’s Green Movement of a decade ago, and the Arab Spring in the same period, were not a failure or a blip but the start of a process that may yet reshape democracy in the Middle East.
In August, India suspended the autonomy of the state of Kashmir, putting soldiers in its streets and banning foreign journalists from entering. Dexter Filkins, who was working on a story about Narendra Modi, would not be deterred from going. To evade the ban, he sought the help of an Indian journalist, Rana Ayyub. Ayyub had once gone undercover to reveal the ruling party’s ties to sectarian and extrajudicial violence against the Muslim minority. In a conversation recorded last week, Filkins and Ayyub tell the story of how they got into Kashmir and describe the repression and signs of torture that they observed there. Ayyub’s book “Gujarat Files,” about a massacre of Muslims in Gujarat, has made her a target of Hindu nationalists; one of the book’s translators was killed not long ago. She spoke frankly with Filkins about the emotional toll of living in fear of assassination.
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. 
Billy Porter’s résumé is as impressive as it is difficult to categorize. His performance in the musical “Kinky Boots” won him a Tony Award and a Grammy, and, recently, he won an Emmy for his character on Ryan Murphy’s FX series “Pose.” Take any style award and he probably deserves that as well: at the 2019 Oscars, he showed up in a gender-bending “tuxedo gown.” In the words of the  New Yorker fashion columnist Rachel Syme, his “torso looked like it was smoking a cigar with a brandy, while his skirt . . . was ready for a gothic Victorian-era coronation.”  Porter sat down for a conversation with Syme at The New Yorker Festival, in October. “I grew up in the black church,” he said, which “is a fashion show every time you show up.” Porter spent much of his early career searching for work that represented him—a black, gay man in show business. Such work was dry in those early days, but it’s a problem he’s left behind. Porter’s just signed a book deal for a memoir, he’ll play the role of the Fairy Godmother in the upcoming live-action adaptation of “Cinderella,” and he’s working on a new album. But Porter sees downsides to his success, and describes being mobbed at dance clubs by admirers. “I am a person who is of the people,” he says. “And when you lose your anonymity inside of celebrity—that scares me.”
Jenny Slate Gets Dressed

Jenny Slate Gets Dressed

2019-11-2200:10:241

Jenny Slate is on tour for her new book “Little Weirds.” It comprises short, strange essays, many of which involve clothing and how we present ourselves to the world. While Slate was in New York, the fashion columnist Rachel Syme paid her a call at her hotel room. Together, they rifle through Slate’s suitcase and analyze what she had packed for her appearances as a début book author, and what those choices said about her. Syme finds Slate to be a kindred spirit: someone for whom getting dressed is a complex but pleasurable business. Sweater vests, top buttons buttoned, and other choices are dissected. “More and more,” Slate says, “I want to turn away from things that are designed for men—or a certain man, I should say, to be fair. ” Her authorial wardrobe, Slate says, expresses a simple credo: “I know who I am, I know what’s going on, I’m not freaked out, and I think I’m allowed to be here.”
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 “seig 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 out 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 naive and foolish to think that you are impervious to it. No one is impervious to this.” Samantha appears in Andrew Marantz’s new book, “Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation.”
As he opened public impeachment proceedings last week, Representative Adam Schiff invoked Watergate—which, after all, ended well for Democrats. To understand how that history applies, or doesn’t, to the current proceedings, The New Yorker’s Dorothy Wickenden spoke with Thomas Mallon, the author of the deeply researched “Watergate: A Novel,” and of historical fictions about Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. How would Mallon write the story of the Trump impeachment as a novel? “I would go right inside the heads of Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, and Mitt Romney,” he tells Wickenden. “A guilty conscience is one of the best springboards for fiction.” Plus, a conversation with Philip Pullman, whose beloved trilogy, “His Dark Materials,” has been adapted for a new HBO series. But he’s already onto a second trilogy about its heroine, Lyra, because he has more to learn about her universe. 
Eliza Griswold spoke recently with Doug Pagitt, a pastor from Minneapolis who is a politically progressive evangelical Christian. Pagitt left his church to found an organization called Vote Common Good, which aims to move at least some religious voters away from decades of supporting conservatism, and toward messages of inclusion and tolerance that he identifies as Biblical. And the radio personality Lenard McKelvey, known professionally as Charlamagne Tha God, talks about why he wrote a book, “Shook One,” about his treatment for anxiety disorder. Charlamagne wants to reach black men, in particular, to try to remove a perceived stigma around mental-health treatment in the black community. 
Jeff Sessions, then the Attorney General, announced in 2017 the cancellation of the Obama-era policy known as DACA—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. A number of plaintiffs sued, and their case goes to the Supreme Court next week. The New Yorker’s Jonathan Blitzer spoke with two of the attorneys who will argue for it. The noted litigator Ted Olson is generally a champion of conservative issues, but he is fighting the Trump Administration on this case. He told Blitzer, “It’s a rule-of-law case—not a liberal or conversative case—involving hundreds of thousands of individuals who will be hurt by an abrupt and unexplained and unjustified change in policy.” And Blitzer also spoke with Luis Cortes, a thirty-one-year-old from Seattle who is arguing his first Supreme Court case. Cortes is an immigration lawyer who is himself an undocumented immigrant protected by DACA status; if he loses his case, he will be at risk of deportation. Plus, while reporting on wildfire in Los Angeles, the writer Dana Goodyear was evacuated from her home. She sees the increasing frequency of intense fires as a wake-up call from the California dream.
One of the almost unsolvable problems with the U.K.’s exit from the E.U. is that it would necessitate a “hard border” between Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., and the Republic of Ireland, which would remain a member nation in Europe. The border was the epicenter of bloody conflict during the decades-long Troubles, and was essentially dismantled during the peace established by the Good Friday Agreement, in 1998. The prospect of fortifying it, with customs-and-immigration checks, has already brought threats of violence from paramilitaries such as the New I.R.A. At the same time, moving the customs border to ports along the coast of Northern Ireland—as the U.K.’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has proposed—strikes Northern Irish loyalists as a step toward unification with the Republic, which they would view as an abandonment by Britain. Patrick Radden Keefe, who wrote about the Troubles in his book “Say Nothing,” discusses the intensely fraught issues of the border with Simon Carswell, the public-affairs editor of the Irish Times. Plus, the writer Carmen Maria Machado takes us back to a farmers’ market of her childhood.
Six months ago, David Remnick interviewed a politician named Pete Buttigieg, who was just beginning his campaign for the Democratic nomination for President. Buttigieg was an unlikely candidate: the youngest person to run in decades, he was a small-town mayor with no national exposure, and had a difficult last name to boot. But a smart campaign has made Buttigieg a contender, and a recent Iowa poll put him in second place, behind Elizabeth Warren. Gay, Christian, and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Buttigieg is running as a kind of centrist outsider. “If you really do want the candidate with most years of Washington experience,” he told Remnick, “you’ve got your choice”—meaning Joe Biden. Furthermore, “if you want the most ideologically, conventionally left candidate you can get, then you’ve got your choice”—between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. But, he claims, “most Democrats I talk to are looking for something else. That’s where I come in.” Buttigieg spoke with Remnick in October, at the New Yorker Festival. They discussed whether he can overcome one notable weakness in his campaign: a lack of support among black voters, which would injure him in the South Carolina primaries. Plus, the New Yorker food correspondent Helen Rosner shares three current food-world favorites with David Remnick, including an ingenious cheat that blows the lid off of lasagna.
The director Sophia Takal is working on a remake of “Black Christmas,” an early slasher flick from Canada, in which sorority girls are picked off by a gruesome killer. Takal brought a very 2019 sensibility to the remake, reflecting on the ongoing struggle of the MeToo movement. “You can never feel like you’ve beaten misogyny. . . . In this movie the women are never given a rest, they always have to keep fighting.” Her producer, Jason Blum, of Blumhouse Productions, talks with David Remnick about the success of horror movies with a political or social message, like Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.” 
For a new music ensemble, Roomful of Teeth has made an extraordinary impression in a short time. Caroline Shaw, one of its vocalists, received the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for “Partita for 8 Voices,” which was written for the group. Then, in 2014, the vocal octet’s début album won a Grammy. Their sound is often otherworldly: apart from the singers’ expertise in classical technique, they have incorporated other musical traditions into their sound, including Tuvan throat singing, Korean pansori, yodelling, and more. Almost all the pieces they perform are new compositions written by or for them, and they hold a residency every year, demonstrating their unique capabilities to the composers who are commissioned to write for them. The staff writer Burkhard Bilger visited the residency at MASS MoCA, a contemporary-arts museum and complex in Massachusetts, in 2018. While they may be the only group that can currently perform the full range of their repertoire, Bilger found that their goal is not exclusivity. “If the songs are good enough, and the techniques are appealing enough, then more and more classical singers will learn how to how to throat sing, will learn how to yodel, and belt, and do Korean pansori,” Bilger says. “And Roomful of Teeth songs will start to sound like yesterday’s classical music.” 
Farrow’s reporting on Harvey Weinstein and other accused perpetrators of sexual assault helped opened the floodgates of the #MeToo movement. In his new book, “Catch and Kill,” and in “The Black Cube Chronicles” published on newyorker.com, Farrow details the measures that were taken against him and against some of the accusers who went on the record. These included hiring a private spy firm staffed by ex-Mossad officers. Speaking with David Remnick, Farrow lays out a connection between accusations against Harvey Weinstein and NBC’s Matt Lauer. And he interviewed a private investigator named Igor Ostrovskiy who was assigned to spy on him—until he had a crisis of conscience.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a lot of fights on her hands. After she led the Democrats to victory in the 2018 midterm elections, her legislative agenda hit a number of roadblocks, including the Republican-controlled Senate. But it is Pelosi’s confrontations with Donald Trump that will go down in history. Through numerous scandals, Pelosi resisted pressure to move to impeach the President, frustrating many members of her party and leading some on the left to question her leadership. “There was plenty the President had done, evidenced in the Mueller report and other things, that were impeachable offenses,” she tells Jane Mayer. “For me, timing is everything. I said, ‘When we get more facts, when the truth has more clarity, we will be ready. We will be ready.’ ” While she has come around on impeachment, Pelosi still hews toward the center of the Party and resists some proposals from the progressive left, such as Medicare for All. “November matters,” Pelosi likes to tell colleagues running in the primaries. “What works in Michigan . . . [like] economic security for America’s working families—that works in San Francisco. What works in San Francisco might not work in Michigan. So let’s go with the Michigan plan, because that’s where we have to win the Electoral College.” Pelosi, who has been in Congress for more than thirty years, has led the House Democrats since 2003. She spoke with the staff writer Jane Mayer in a live interview at The New Yorker Festival, on October 12th. 
The months of protests in Hong Kong may be the biggest political crisis facing Chinese leadership since the Tiananmen Square massacre a generation ago. What began as objections to a proposed extradition law has morphed into a broad-based protest movement. “There was just this rising panic that Hong Kong was becoming just like another mainland city, utterly under the thumb of the Party,” says Jiayang Fan, who recently returned from Hong Kong. In Beijing, Evan Osnos spoke to officials during their celebration of the Chinese Communist Party’s seventieth year in power. He found that the leadership is feeling more secure than it did in 1989, when tanks mowed down student protesters. “I think the more likely scenario,” Osnos tells David Remnick, “is that China will keep up the pressure and gradually use its sheer weight and persistence to try to grind down the resistance of protestors.” And, from the archives, reflections from Richard Nixon on the fallout from Tiananmen Square.  
In fifteen years, people of retirement age will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history. But, the staff writer Adam Gopnik finds, the elderly are poorly served by the field of design, whether it’s a screw-top plastic bottle or the transportation system of a major city. Gopnik visited the M.I.T. Age Lab, where he tried on a special suit that simulates the pains and difficulties of advanced age for research purposes. And, to put the issues in context, he called a much older friend: the painter Wayne Thiebaud, who, at ninety-eight, is still leading an active career and is preparing for an upcoming exhibition. Plus, the writer Elizabeth Strout has set many of her books in Maine, including “Olive Kitteridge.” She brought us to one of her favorite haunts: a steep hill on her college campus, where she would sit and look out over the world.  And in a new sketch by Colin Nissan, a routine call for technical support leads to a chilling transformation.
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Comments (26)

calafia

I thought my app was malfunctioning, but the sound makes it impossible to listen.

Nov 21st
Reply (1)

Peter Lansdale

the sound is messed up

Nov 16th
Reply

Alex Mercedes

somehow, Remnick too often sounds/feels antagonistic. Makes me grind my teeth as I listen...so...unsubscribing from podcast today. Fresh Air interviews many of the same people, poses challenging questions, permits a closer look without sounding like the verge of an argument.

Nov 11th
Reply

Alex Mercedes

Jelani hits the nail on the head. Trump is mentally imbalanced and this is not being taken seriously enough.

Oct 13th
Reply

Sqeedledee

mmm,m k.nommm9mmm m

Oct 5th
Reply

Alex Mercedes

if this had been the first episode I ever heard...the climate change report was too short to say much and the conversation with the Congressman was worthless, as in unfocused questions and blah blah SOS politician talk. it's okay. I know you can do better -- I've heard past episodes.

Sep 16th
Reply

Rachel McVey

important topic -- personally, not a fan of this different "investigation" kind of format for the episode

Sep 15th
Reply

Robby Mckelvey

Cortez is a retard..

Sep 13th
Reply

Alex Mercedes

tough interview. she handled herself well.

Sep 2nd
Reply (1)

Alex Mercedes

only 2 minutes in and already my time is well spent. I did not grow up with Internet. I predate it and the description at 1:40 is exactly how it seems to me too (with unlivable being the essential descriptor) though most people tell me I'm being harsh or hysterical. thanks for the validation.

Aug 27th
Reply (1)

Pema Karma Deschen

LOL. Great interview... Lena is so well spoken and articulate. But did anyone catch the end where he said thank you Amelia after he clinked her glass? Interesting in particular to me because I have been listening to old podcasts..currently August 2019...but I JUST finished listening to the Amelia Clarke interview.hmmmmmm. They weren't anywhere near one another Amelia was 2018 I think? 😲🤔😄

Aug 20th
Reply

ABR

First interview was great, no thanks to Wickenden. I have to admit, there were several times I felt like screaming at her. She has a very poor understanding of the adolescent experience in the late 20th and early 21st century. And for the record, many teenage girls are into guns and explosives too.

May 30th
Reply

Natalia Mironova

I am crying from happiness, right now! The most fragile social group of sybarite Southern Aristocrats found!

May 26th
Reply

Wendy Bruder

The idea of endless growth NEEDS to end. Humans need to stop procreating and change our ways drastically. Glad to day no progeny of mine will be forced to live on the planet humans have destroyed.

May 10th
Reply

Toby Barraud

Why aren't the prosecutors named in this radio program? I agree with John Thompson : they are guilty of attempted murder. It's an outrage the legal system refuses to hold them accountable. The very least punishment they suffer should be the public recognition of what they did.

Jan 30th
Reply

Rachel McVey

Thanks for having David Bentley Hart on the show to talk about his translation of the New Testament! I was a member of a Bible church until age 24 and was "in the word" every day, instructing others in the scriptures -- while trying my best not to think too much about research on the history of the Bible and its translation that suggested my leather bound NIV might not be precisely God's truth. After listening to this episode, I immediately bought a copy of Hart's translation. It will be the first Bible I'll have opened in more than two years!

Dec 23rd
Reply

Peter Chaloner

Call them Arabs. Call them owners of 22 countries. There are no 'Palestinians.'

Sep 25th
Reply (1)

L.S. Mitchell

The ending of this podcast made irony incarnate.

Jul 7th
Reply

Drea Griffin

I think Mark is right. Unless DEMS win being "on my side" serves no purpose

Jun 1st
Reply

Bridget Rathman

it's a little hard to listen to two men talk about women hiding their sexual assault. at one point the interviewer says that one of the women lied to Ronin about her sexual assuault. that's a harsh word choice to apply to a survivor. it's every survivor's choice as to whether or not they want to speak about what happened to them. it's no one's place to judge them for that decision. also the comment Ronin made that it's surprising that pretty, poised women also get sexually harassed is gross on multiple levels. I appreciate what you're doing and am glad this story is out, and am grateful for the part these journalists played. I'm so thankful that you had the woman come on and point out at that it's men listening that had changed. I feel like so much of the focus was on blaming women for not speaking out rather than on men not listening.

May 11th
Reply
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