Podcast — September 13, 2019, 11:43 am

Common Ground

Feet of clay: on the troublesome uses of archeology, past and present

Podcast — August 28, 2019, 4:58 pm

The Black Axe

Everywhere and nowhere: tracing the evolution of a notorious Nigerian fraternity

Podcast — August 15, 2019, 3:36 pm

The Family

Brought into the light: Jeff Sharlet and Jesse Moss discuss the secretive, Washington-based religious organization that is the subject of a new Netflix docuseries

Podcast — August 8, 2019, 12:47 pm

The Call of the Drums

Where the barbarians are: the Hungarian right’s obsession with a false history

Podcast — July 31, 2019, 12:57 pm

The Last Frontier

Range life: the not entirely romantic existence of homesteaders in the San Luis Valley

Podcast — July 25, 2019, 2:00 pm

A Play with No End

Force majeure: What the American left could learn from the Gilets Jaunes

Podcast — July 12, 2019, 10:22 am

The Hardest Music and the Softest Animals

Nell Zink discusses her latest novel, zines, and musical reverberation

Podcast — July 3, 2019, 12:06 pm

“Just Keep Going North”

Theories on the frontier: the process, politics, and ethics that arise while covering the U.S.-Mexico border

Podcast — June 26, 2019, 4:18 pm

Stonewall at Fifty

Three writers and activists consider the meanings of Pride

Podcast — June 5, 2019, 10:27 am

Is Poverty Necessary?

Who generates value in the modern economy, and who should benefit?

Podcast — May 23, 2019, 1:34 pm

The Abortion Bans

A discussion about the recent spate of legislation that seems to threaten a woman’s right to choose

Podcast — May 15, 2019, 3:05 pm


Rag-and-bone: the resale of items trashed in the United States and shipped to Haiti says a lot about history, politics, and drugs

Podcast — May 7, 2019, 2:30 pm

Humanitarian Wars?

Olive branch as a club: a former president of Doctors Without Borders outlines how the justifications for war have evolved

Podcast — May 1, 2019, 12:22 pm

The Truce

Bad neighbor policy: Did the United States’ influence over El Salvador countermand a solution to gang violence?

Podcast — April 23, 2019, 2:55 pm

Lost at Sea

Time and tide: among the residents of abandoned boats just outside Sausalito

Podcast — April 15, 2019, 2:21 pm

The Storyteller

Pierre Jarawan explores the evolution of identity and home in his debut novel

Podcast — April 8, 2019, 9:40 am

Destined for Export

Family history: the phenomenon of widespread, wrongful international adoption in Guatemala, and its long shadow

Podcast — March 25, 2019, 2:05 pm

Like This or Die

What gets lost in the age of the algorithm

Podcast — March 18, 2019, 1:58 pm

Not Mere Projection

Reconsidering the work of the notoriously elusive Cy Twombly

Podcast — March 11, 2019, 4:44 pm

Emily Bernard and Mychal Denzel Smith

How to get there from here: two authors discuss their recent work and breaking out of the limits on the public discourse around race

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October 2019


Secrets and Lies·

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In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

Seeking Asylum·

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Out of sight on Leros, the island of the damned

Poem for Harm·

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Reflections on harm in language and the trouble with Whitman

Good Bad Bad Good·

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About fifteen years ago, my roommate and I developed a classification system for TV and movies. Each title was slotted into one of four categories: Good-Good; Bad-Good; Good-Bad; Bad-Bad. The first qualifier was qualitative, while the second represented a high-low binary, the title’s aspiration toward capital-A Art or lack thereof.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

Life after Life·

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For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.

I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:


A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

A solid-gold toilet named “America” was stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, in Oxfordshire, England.

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Happiness Is a Worn Gun


“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

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