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Profiles, storytelling and insightful conversations, hosted by David Remnick.
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Lily Gladstone had been in several films, but unknown to most moviegoers, when she got a call for Martin Scorsese’s period drama “Killers of a Flower Moon.” The role was challenging. She plays the historical Mollie Burkhart, an Osage woman married to a white man, Ernest (played in the film by Leonardo DiCaprio), who perpetrates a series of murders of Osage people in a scheme to secure lucrative oil rights. Ernest may be poisoning her with a cocktail that includes morphine, and some of the dialogue is in Osage, a language that Gladstone—raised on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana—had to learn. Gladstone is the first Native person nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and is aware of the historical weight the nomination carries.  “We’re kicking the door in,” she says. “When you’re kicking the door in, you should just kind of put your foot in the door and stand there,” she adds. “Kicking the door and running through it means it’s going to shut behind you.” Plus, our film critic Richard Brody returns with his annual movie honors: the Brody Awards. An awards show exclusively for The New Yorker Radio Hour, he’ll be handing out imaginary trophies—and trash-talking Oscar favorites like “Oppenheimer”—alongside the staff writer Alexandra Schwartz.
Ty Cobb represented the Trump White House during the height of the Mueller-Russia probe, so he has a unique insight into the former President’s admiration for all things Putin, and his refusal to condemn the dissident Alexey Navalny’s death in prison. Trump’s response, bizarrely, was to compare his own legal troubles to Navalny’s political persecution and likely murder.  Yet Cobb still feels certain that Russia has nothing concrete on Trump, which was the question of the Mueller investigation. Rather, Putin “has what Trump wants,” he tells David Remnick, “total control and adulation and riding the horse with his shirt off.” His quest to secure that power, seemingly by any means necessary, has made Trump “the greatest threat to democracy we’ve ever seen.” Cobb has been following Trump’s myriad of criminal cases closely, and he has concluded that only the January 6th case concerning Trump’s attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power has the potential to derail his political career. If a trial decision is not reached before the November election, and Trump were to win again, he can order the Justice Department to dismiss the case, and “it will be as though it never existed.”
Brontez Purnell is a Renaissance man. He’s a musician, a dancer, a filmmaker, and the author of a number of books. His latest is “Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt,” a departure from the traditional memoir form. It's written in verse and playfully embellishes the truth throughout. “Memoir is fiction—I don’t care what anyone says,” Purnell tells The New Yorker Radio Hour’s Jeffrey Masters. “You [or] I could both write down our lives as true as we know it. But the second our mom reads it, or one of our siblings reads it, or anybody else peripherally in the book, they can easily say, ‘What are you talking about? That never happened like that.’ ” Purnell, who came of age in the underground punk scene in Oakland, California, during the early two-thousands, is no stranger to hard knocks, but that doesn’t mean he needs to divulge everything. “If you write about your life, you have to protect the wicked; namely, yourself,” he says. “So there is this game of pulling and punching.”
Jon Lovett had been deep inside politics, as a speechwriter in the Obama Administration, before he joined his colleagues Tommy Vietor and Jon Favreau to launch Crooked Media, a liberal answer to the burgeoning ecosystem of right-wing news platforms. “There was too much media that treated people like cynical observers,” Lovett tells David Remnick, “and not enough that treated them like frustrated participants.” Crooked Media has gathered millions of politically engaged listeners—“nerds,” Lovett calls them—to “Pod Save America,” “Lovett or Leave It,” and other podcasts. But Lovett is more worried about voters who no longer get a steady stream of reliable political coverage at all, as local news outlets wither and platforms like Facebook downplay the sharing of news. “The vast majority of people do not know about Joe Biden’s accomplishments,” he says. “When they say to a pollster that this is not someone they view as being up to the job, they’re not . . . understanding how he performed in the job so far.” Lovett shares the widespread concerns about Biden’s apparent aging, but notes that his performance remains effective, whereas, “in Trump, the reverse: he is more energetic—I think the threat of federal jail time sharpens the mind!—but by all accounts is emotionally, psychologically, and mentally not up to the job.”
The comedian Jacqueline Novak wasn’t well known before her Netflix début “Get on Your Knees.” The show was a big swing in her career, an ambitious attempt to establish her singular voice, and it worked. A fast-paced and raucous examination of her personal journey with oral sex, Novak tosses out so many tangents—philosophical, psychological, anatomical, linguistic—that you’re liable to miss many of her allusions. Novak knows that her hectic delivery is an acquired taste. “We’ve got to get through this, because I’ve got a lot to say,” she tells David Remnick. Although she relentlessly probes the power dynamics between men and women, she doesn’t “want to come out here and say ‘male fragility.’ I’m really not trying to do that. But it happens, sort of.” The show could make a lot of people uncomfortable, but she’s not worried about cancellation, as many male comedians have been. “Choosing to make art of any kind is sort of this self-appointment. No one’s asking you to do it. So it’s sort of weird for me to get into a mind-set as though you're owed any comfort.” 
In a Presidential race with two leading candidates who are broadly unpopular, any small perceived edge can make a tremendous difference. According to Clare Malone, more and more people will have their judgments formed by memes—visual jokes about the candidates floating on social media. Republican memes capitalize on widespread discomfort with President Biden’s age, by highlighting his stumbles, verbal or otherwise. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is a master of turning bad press to his advantage: he propagated his own mug shot on social media, feeding his outlaw image. Malone says that conservatives also have a leg up here because their beliefs suit the medium. “The right wing can ‘go there’—they can say the thing everyone thinks, but doesn’t actually say out loud.” Now the partisan fight on social media has roped in a relatively innocent bystander, Taylor Swift. The pop star, who has endorsed Biden in the past, and her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, have been labeled a “psy op” by right-wingers online. “My theory about American politics, especially in the past decade, is basically none of it’s really policy,” Malone argues. “It’s all political pheromones.” Plus, Michelle Zauner, the front woman for the indie band Japanese Breakfast, talks about her memoir, “Crying in H Mart,” with The New Yorker’s Hua Hsu, author of “Stay True.” 
The writer Sheila Heti is known for unusual approaches, but her latest work is decidedly experimental. Heti “is one of the most interesting novelists working today,” according to The New Yorker critic Parul Sehgal. “She is ruthlessly contemporary. By which I mean, she’s not interested in writing a novel as a nostalgic exercise. She’s constantly trying to figure out  new places fiction can go. New ways that we’re using language, new ways that our minds are evolving.” To write her new book, “Alphabetical Diaries,” Heti combed through a decade’s worth of her own diaries, then alphabetized the sentences; in the first chapter, every sentence in the narrative begins with the letter “A,” and so on. “It’s fun to find writing that shouldn’t be in a novel, and to figure out, can it do the same things that we want writing in novels to do,” she shares, “which is [to] move us, and tell us something new about the world and about ourselves.” In other words, she’s not interested in experimentalism for its own sake. “I always want to write a straight realist novel,” she says. “Something proper, like the books that I love most. . . . It doesn’t happen, because I think I don’t notice the same things that those writers I love notice. I’m impatient with certain things that they were patient with.” 
In the shadow of another election year, Democrats and Republicans are at a bitter crossroads over immigration, as the system becomes increasingly unmanageable. With as many as twelve thousand migrants arriving at the border per day, and resistance to asylum seekers growing—even among Democrats—the Biden Administration is in a political bind. “You have a global moment of mass migration converging on the border at a time when resources are down. Congress is refusing to give the president the money that he needs for basic operations—it’s a perfect storm,” The New Yorker’s Jonathan Blitzer tells David Remnick.  Blitzer has covered immigration for years, and his new book, “Everyone Who Is Gone Is Here,” takes a long and deep look at U.S. policy and the forces that drive migrants to undertake enormous risks. According to Blitzer, both sides are obscuring the actual problem. “There’s always been an assumption that the case for immigration makes itself—that the moral high ground makes sense to everyone, that we should be welcoming, that people showing up in need obviously should seek protection,” Blitzer says. “I don’t think defenders of immigration have squared the high ideals with some of the practical realities. And sadly the border, which is a tiny sliver of what the immigration system is as a whole, ends up dominating the conversation.”Plus, the pop singer and songwriter Olivia Rodrigo’s rise to fame has been meteoric. She talks with David Remnick about her models for songwriting, dealing with social media as a young celebrity, and how it feels to be branded the voice of Generation Z.
The wives and daughters of Dubai’s ruler live in unbelievable luxury. So why do the women in Sheikh Mohammed’s family keep trying to run away? The New Yorker staff writer Heidi Blake joins In the Dark’s Madeleine Baran to tell the story of the royal women who risked everything to flee the brutality of one of the world’s most powerful men. In four episodes, drawing on thousands of pages of secret correspondence and never-before-heard audio recordings, “The Runaway Princesses” takes listeners behind palace walls, revealing a story of astonishing courage and cruelty. "The Runaway Princesses" is a four-part narrative series from In the Dark and The New Yorker. Listen here: https://link.chtbl.com/itd_f
Journalism has often been a dangerous business, and many reporters have lost their lives reporting the news from conflict zones.  But the rules that have, at least to a degree, protected the safety and freedom of journalists are being violated around the world, nowhere more so than in Gaza.  “Gaza is unprecedented,” Jodie Ginsberg, the president of the Committee to Protect Journalists, says.  “It is unprecedented for the intensity of the killings, the number of journalists killed in such a short space of time. Part of that is to do with the size of Gaza, the density. The fact that there is nowhere to go that’s safe.”  Eighty-three journalists, most of them Palestinian, have been killed in the recent fighting, and the Israel Defense Forces has been accused of targeting journalists deliberately.  “Since October 7th, we’ve seen a number of cases in which journalists are killed when clearly wearing press insignia,” Ginsberg notes, “for example the Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah.”  Ginsberg also discusses with David Remnick the decline in press freedom and safety around the world, including Donald Trump’s insults and threats to journalists, whom he has labelled “enemies of the state.” 
The writer and director Cord Jefferson has struck gold with his first feature film, “American Fiction.” Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay for Jefferson, the film is winning praise for portraying a broader spectrum of the Black experience than most Hollywood movies. It’s based on the 2001 novel “Erasure,” by Percival Everett, a satire of the literary world.  And Jefferson, who began his career as a journalist before branching out into entertainment, has long seen up close how rigid attitudes about what constitutes “Blackness” can be. “Three months before I found ‘Erasure,’ I got a note back on a script from an executive” on another script, Jefferson tells his friend Jelani Cobb, “that said, ‘We want you to make this character blacker.’ ” (He demanded that the note be explained in person, and it was quickly dropped.) Jefferson hopes that his film sheds some light on what he calls the “absurdity” of race as a construct. He finds race “a fertile target for laughter. … On the one hand, race is not real and insignificant and [on the other hand] very real and incredibly important. Sometimes life or death depends on race. And to me that inherent tension and absurdity is perfect for comedy.”
Pramila Jayapal, a Democratic representative and leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has been sounding the alarm about President Joe Biden’s reëlection prospects.  She fears that the fragile coalition that won him the White House in 2020 – which included suburban swing voters, people of color, and younger, progressive-leaning constituents – is “fractured” over issues like immigration, and his support for Israel’s war in Gaza. Gaza in particular “is just a very difficult issue because we don’t all operate from the same facts,” Jayapal tells David Remnick. “It is probably the most complex issue I have had to deal with in Congress. And I certainly didn’t come to Congress to deal with this issue.” But Jayapal sees a longer-term problem facing the Democratic Party. “The problem I think with a lot of my own party is we are very late to populist ideas,” she says. “The two biggest things people talk to me about are housing and childcare. They saw that we had control of the House, the Senate, and the White House—and we didn’t get that done. And I can explain till the cows come home about the filibuster . . . but what people feel is the reality.” Of the political struggle that accompanied President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, she thinks, “a road or a bridge is extremely important, but if people can’t get out of the house, or they don’t have a house, then it’s not going to matter.”
After winning the Iowa caucuses by a historic margin, Donald Trump made his way to a courtroom in New York, where a jury was selected in a second defamation trial involving E. Jean Carroll. In May, 2023, after a jury found Trump liable for sexual abuse, David Remnick spoke with Carroll and her attorney Roberta Kaplan. Trump continues to attack Carroll on social media, even during the ongoing court proceedings to determine damages. “I don’t think he can help himself, honestly,” Kaplan tells Remick. “I don’t think he has enough development in the frontal lobe of his brain to do that.” Plus, to mark the copyright expiration on the classic Mickey Mouse, we’ve resurrected a 1931 Profile of Walt Disney from The New Yorker archives, which has some prescient things to say about the iconic character and its creator.The interview with E. Jean Carroll and Roberta Kaplan first aired in May, 2023.
“I think of ‘The Color Purple’ as the epic of our time,” Doreen St. Félix said in a conversation with the actress Danielle Brooks.  While St. Félix admits, “I wasn’t convinced that we needed necessarily to have a new envisioning of the story—which has been a novel, which has been a film, which has been a musical twice over”—she finds that Blitz Bazawule’s film, which opened at the end of 2023, is different from its stage and screen predecessors in significant ways, reflecting the concerns of its millennial cast and director.  The actress Danielle Brooks has played a critical role in the work’s transition back to film. In 2016, the “Orange Is the New Black” star was Tony-nominated for her performance as the no-nonsense Sofia, and she is now earning strong Oscar buzz playing Sofia on film. The transition from stage to film dramatically changed her performance. “Being actually in Georgia, feeling the hot Georgia sun, being on plantations, actually holding a ten-pound baby and having to be careful with that child,” Brooks tells St. Félix, “opens up the world. Now I feel like I was painting with an endless amount of color.” Sofia was the role first portrayed onscreen by Oprah Winfrey, in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 version, and Winfrey is a producer of the new film. “Huge shoes to fill,” Brooks says, of Winfrey. “But I feel like she really allowed me to be the cobbler of my own shoe.”
This time last year, Republicans were reeling from a poorer-than-expected performance in the 2022 midterm elections; many questioned, again, whether it was time to move on from their two-time Presidential standard-bearer. But Donald Trump is so far ahead in the polls that it would be shocking if he did not clinch the Iowa caucuses.  The New Yorker’s Benjamin Wallace-Wells and Robert Samuels have seen on the ground how much staying power the former President has despite some opposition from religious leaders and establishment power brokers. For MAGA voters, “The core of it is, ‘If Donald Trump is President, I can do anything I want to do,’ ” Samuels tells David Remnick. “ ‘I won’t have anyone … telling me I’m wrong all the time.’ ” Since 2016, Trump has honed and capitalized on a message of revenge for voters who feel a sense of aggrievement. Among evangelical voters, Wallace-Wells notes, Trump seems like a bulwark against what they fear is the waning of their influence. “To them, [Biden] is the head of something aggressive and dangerous,” he says. Susan B. Glasser, who writes a weekly column on Washington politics, takes the long view, raising concerns that we’re all a little too apathetic about the threats Trump’s reëlection would pose. “What if 2024 is actually the best year of the next coming years?  What if things get much much worse?” she says. “Now is the time to think in a very concrete and specific way about how a Trump victory would have a specific effect not just on policy but on individual lives.”
As host of The New Yorker Radio Hour, David Remnick asks a lot of questions, and recently he had to answer quite a few himself, sitting for a long interview with Sam Fragoso, who hosts the podcast “Talk Easy.”  They spoke in December about David’s reporting from Israel at the start of the current war in Gaza; his recent collection of writing about musicians, “Holding the Note”; and more.  We’re sharing this episode of “Talk Easy” as a bonus for New Yorker Radio Hour listeners.
The filmmaker Ava DuVernay has a reputation for tackling challenging material about America’s troubled past. She depicted the bloody fight to achieve equal voting rights for African Americans in her 2014 film “Selma”; examined the prison-industrial complex in her 2016 Peabody Award-winning documentary “13th”; and portrayed the wrongful conviction of five teen-age boys of color in the miniseries “When They See Us.” But “Origin,” her first narrative feature film in five years, may be her most ambitious work to date. “This breaks every screenwriting rule, every rule of filmmaking that I know,” DuVernay tells David Remnick. “Origin” is an adaptation of the journalist Isabel Wilkerson’s best-seller “Caste,” a complex analysis of racism and social structures. “Caste” lacks a cinematic narrative structure, and so “Origin” positions Wilkerson as its subject as she navigates the intellectual journey of the book. DuVernay felt compelled to make this movie now, in part because she thought that its message would be vital for audiences in a Presidential election year when the understanding of America’s past is very much at issue. “We have to wake up and focus—focus on what is happening,” DuVernay says. “And I want this film to contribute to that conversation.”
The veteran political reporter John Nichols was taking his daughter to the orthodontist on January 6, 2021, the fateful day when the transfer of Presidential power was temporarily derailed by a mob at the Capitol. On March 4th of this year, the former President Donald Trump is scheduled to stand trial for his actions on and around that day, and, in a court filing last November, his attorneys implied that the government is withholding information about whether Nichols, and others,  had a role to play in the Capitol attack. This bizarre move not only thrust Nichols uncomfortably into the center of yet another January 6th conspiracy theory but raised some questions about the seriousness of the defense that Trump intends to mount in the case. “It looks like they’re throwing things at the wall,” Nichols tells David Remnick. “Just trying for dozens and dozens of possible conspiracy theories.” And, though Nichols has endured only teasing from his colleagues for getting name-checked in Trump discovery documents, he notes that many other journalists have been targeted and doxxed by far-right actors. False allegations like the John Nichols conspiracy theory can be almost amusing, but they are a dire indicator of the state of American politics. “There are people who desperately want to drive the deepest possible wedges,” Nichols says. “To believe that those who disagree with them don’t just disagree with them but are actually evil.”
Although many hearing and sighted people imagine DeafBlind life in tragic terms, as an experience of isolation and darkness, the poet John Lee Clark’s writing is full of joy. It’s funny and surprising, mapping the contours of a regular life marked by common pleasures and frustrations. Clark, who was born Deaf and lost his sight at a young age, has established himself not just as a writer and translator but as a scholar of Deaf and DeafBlind literature. His recent collection, “How to Communicate,” which was nominated for a National Book Award this past year, includes original works and translations from American Sign Language and Protactile. He speaks with the contributor Andrew Leland, who is working on a book about his own experience of losing his sight in adulthood. This segment originally aired December 9, 2022.
Dexter Filkins has reported on conflict situations around the world, and recently spent months reporting on the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. In a piece published earlier this year, Filkins tries to untangle how conditions around the globe, an abrupt change in executive direction from Trump to Biden, and an antiquated immigration system have created a chaotic situation. “It’s difficult to appreciate the scale and the magnitude of what’s happening there unless you see it,” Filkins tells David Remnick. Last year, during a surge at the border, local jurisdictions struggled to provide humanitarian support for thousands of migrants, leading Democratic politicians to openly criticize the Administration. While hard-liners dream of a wall across the two-thousand-mile border, “they can’t build a border wall in the middle of a river,” Filkins notes. “So if you can get across the river, and you can get your foot on American soil, that’s all you need to do.” Migrants surrendering to Border Patrol and requesting asylum then enter a yearslong limbo as their claims work through an overburdened system. The last major overhaul of the immigration system took place in 1986, Filkins explains, and with Republicans and Democrats perpetually at loggerheads, there is no will to fix a system that both sides acknowledge as broken. This segment originally aired June 16, 2023.
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Comments (97)

Paja Storec

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Jan 13th
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Miss Br

Did you just say Shah was Iran's last corrupt monarch?! and corrupt as in...?

Dec 22nd
Reply (1)

Nellie Fly

ty for this valuable perspective

Dec 19th
Reply

Richard Thornton

Cheney actually saw merit in 93% of trumps political values. I’m sick of all the phony politicians who are either too naive, too stupid, or too corrupt, but pretend to be looking out for the country. I saw thru Trump in the 1980s. He is and always was an a&&hole , completely unworthy of any respect on any level. The fact that because he’s a “Republican” means that he’s somehow the “lesser of two evils” is sick crap. To hell with the USA if he’s re-elected; I’ve got nothing more to say.

Dec 13th
Reply

Steven Maurice

if only liberals had the unity and used power the way conservatives think they do...

Dec 7th
Reply

New Jawn

I thought it was a nothingburger podcast. Rather than let one speak substantively and at length, all spoke superficially.

Dec 6th
Reply

New Jawn

Exceptionally weak, straw man questions. Her ridiculously uncritical perspective is one of the reasons so many have turned against Israel.

Nov 18th
Reply

New Jawn

it's a chat between friends. it's definitely not a "master class" on how to write non-fiction

Sep 10th
Reply

New Jawn

it's a chat between two friends, but it's definitely not a "master class" on how to write non-fiction.

Sep 10th
Reply

Tom Tomaka

Miller-Meeks is incapable of dodging her own partisan rhetoric. Her reply when Remnick asked her to explain what she means by "common sense solutions": "Well, it's hard to get a consensus on what that means." 🤣😂

Aug 24th
Reply

Leaslie Wilhoit

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Jul 10th
Reply

Jeremy Mesiano-Crookston

what an incredible dipshit. the words "Robert f Kennedy I appreciate your time" must be the most sarcastic words in human history.

Jul 8th
Reply

Cold Night

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Jul 5th
Reply

New Jawn

Two shallow assholes yakking about nothingness.

Jul 3rd
Reply

Eric Lilius

Every American president is a war criminal.

Jul 1st
Reply

Greyson Milo

Radio news plays a crucial role in keeping us informed and connected to the world around us. With its widespread reach and accessibility, radio news provides timely updates on local, national, and international events, ranging from breaking news and weather updates to sports scores and traffic reports. It offers a convenient way to stay updated, especially for those who may not have access to other news sources https://24palnews.net/.

Apr 11th
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Bea Kiddo

People should be forced to listen to #jonmeacham for their own good. #themoreyouknow

Apr 2nd
Reply

Mo

We believe westerners helped mullahs to seize and then consolidate their power in Iran. So after incidents like this, I can't help but think maybe now you can barely imagine what has been happening to Iranians over the past four decades. Iran is taken hostage by these barbaric Muslims and the world is ok with that. it's sad, so sad.

Feb 7th
Reply (3)

ben horne

o

Nov 28th
Reply

Laurie Arnold

by the time he said " like" for the 20th time I decided he had nothing serious to say...

Nov 8th
Reply
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