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

Podcast — March 4, 2019, 9:43 am

Catechism of the Waters

No easy way out: the overpopulation of sea lions in Oregon demonstrates the need for humanity to live sustainably

Podcast — February 25, 2019, 4:28 pm

The Myth of White Genocide in South Africa

An ongoing racial and economic crisis in a republic that reflects our own

Podcast — February 7, 2019, 4:40 pm

Going to Extremes

In sickness, only: on mercy killings, and the crisis in our health care system

Podcast — January 17, 2019, 3:30 pm

Without a Trace

The story of one man’s search for his brother speaks to the pain of hundreds of thousands of missing migrants’ families

Podcast — January 10, 2019, 3:11 pm

Machine Politics

Rather than creating a more equal society, the internet has given rise to a new age of authoritarianism

Podcast — December 20, 2018, 5:32 pm

The Gatekeepers

Unknown knowns: the limits of racial discourse in a system almost exclusively controlled by white people

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August 2019

A Play with No End

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The Call of the Drums

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Brutal from the Beginning

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The Alps

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A Play with No End·

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When I caught up with the Gilets Jaunes on March 2, near the Jardin du Ranelagh, they were moving in such a mass through the streets that all traffic had come to a halt. The residents of Passy, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Paris, stood agape and apart and afraid. Many of the shops and businesses along the route of the march, which that day crossed seven and a half miles of the city, were shuttered for the occasion, the proprietors fearful of the volatile crowd, who mostly hailed from outside Paris and were considered a rabble of invaders.

The Call of the Drums·

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The Great Kurultáj, an event held annually outside the town of Bugac, Hungary, is billed as both the “Tribal Assembly of the Hun-­Turkic Nations” and “Europe’s Largest Equestrian Event.” When I arrived last August, I was fittingly greeted by a variety of riders on horseback: some dressed as Huns, others as Parthian cavalrymen, Scythian archers, Magyar warriors, csikós cowboys, and betyár bandits. In total there were representatives from twenty-­seven “tribes,” all members of the “Hun-­Turkic” fraternity. The festival’s entrance was marked by a sixty-­foot-­tall portrait of Attila himself, wielding an immense broadsword and standing in front of what was either a bonfire or a sky illuminated by the baleful glow of war. He sported a goatee in the style of Steven Seagal and, shorn of his war braids and helmet, might have been someone you could find in a Budapest cellar bar. A slight smirk suggested that great mirth and great violence together mingled in his soul.

Brutal from the Beginning·

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Celebrity sightings are a familiar feature of the modern N.B.A., but this year’s playoffs included an appearance unusual even by the standards of America’s most star-­friendly sports league. A few minutes into the first game of the Western Conference semifinals, between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston ­Rockets—the season’s hottest ticket, featuring the reigning M.V.P. on one side and the reigning league champions on the other—­President Paul Kagame of Rwanda arrived with an entourage of about a dozen people, creating what the sports website The Undefeated called “a scene reminiscent of the fashionably late arrivals of Prince, Jay-­Z, Beyoncé and Rihanna.”

The Alps·

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A Toyota HiAce with piebald paneling, singing suspension, and a reg from the last millennium rolled into the parking lot of the Swinford Gaels football club late on a Friday evening. The HiAce belonged to Rory Hughes, the eldest of the three brothers known as the Alps, and the Alps traveled everywhere together in it. The three stepped out and with a decisive slam of the van’s side door moved off across the moonscape of the parking lot in the order of their conceptions, Rory on point, the middle brother, Eustace, close behind, and the youngest, ­Bimbo, in dawdling tow.

Hurrah for the Plaza·

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There has been a proliferation of plazas in the past twenty years, here in New York City but also elsewhere in America, even in Minnesota, where I’m from. Maybe in the zoning laws there is provision for the apportionment of sunshine, or maybe it’s just leftover space waiting to be developed, but here it is, an open ­plaza where people can mingle freely, enjoy face-­to-­face encounters, take a break from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram—­the national unconscious with its fevers of conspiracy and ancient hatreds and malignity—­and walk out into the fresh air of democracy, where the general looseness—­no security personnel, no ropes, no questions—­testifies to the inherent good manners of one’s fellow citizens. There is no sign reading: your consideration of your neighbors is appreciated. thank you for not engaging in abusive talk or elaborate paranoia. People just behave without being told, as if their mothers were watching them.

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.

“What’s the point?” said Senator Tim Scott, who is paid at least $174,000 per year as an elected official, when asked whether he had read the Mueller report.

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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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