The New Yorker: Politics And More



A weekly discussion about politics, hosted by The New Yorker's executive editor, Dorothy Wickenden.


  • Rachel Held Evans and Her Legacy

    29/11/2021 Duración: 32min

    Growing up, Rachel Held Evans was a fiercely enthusiastic evangelizer for her faith, the kind of kid who relished the chance to sit next to an atheist. But when she experienced doubt, that sense of certainty began to crumble. “We went to all these conferences about how to defend your faith, how to have an answer for what you believe,” her sister Amanda Held told Eliza Griswold. “That’s why it was particularly unsettling to have questions, because we were taught to have answers.” Held Evans began to blog and then wrote a string of best-sellers about her faith, beginning with “Evolving in Monkey Town,” in which she separated the Jesus she believed in from the conservative doctrine she was raised with. Her work spoke to the millions of Christians who have left evangelical churches since 2006. “There’s this common misperception that either you are a conservative evangelical Christian or . . . you become agnostic or atheist,” Griswold explains, but many Christians were turning away from politics and still retainin

  • Mexican Abortion Activists Mobilize to Aid Texans

    22/11/2021 Duración: 12min

    Mexico is a deeply Catholic nation where abortion was, for a long time, criminalized in many states; just a few years ago, Coahuila, near the U.S. border, imposed jail time on women who underwent the procedure. But, this year, as Stephania Taladrid reported, Mexico’s ten-member Supreme Court voted unanimously to decriminalize abortion throughout the country—a decision that shocked even longtime activists. Before Mexican pro-choice advocates had finished celebrating, though, they turned their attention north to Texas, which has, with Senate Bill 8, essentially banned most abortions. (The law is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.) Texans may now find themselves crossing the border to obtain legal abortions. Taladrid spoke to activists who are sending medications that induce abortion—which are available over the counter in Mexico—across the border into Texas. As the legal scholar Jeannie Suk Gersen explains, however, a new Texas law criminalizes delivering those medications to pregnant women, po

  • Britney Spears, Free from the Conservatorship, but Not from the Public Eye

    18/11/2021 Duración: 27min

    This month, Britney Spears was released from the conservatorship that had overseen her finances, communications, and professional and personal life for more than thirteen years. The details of the arrangement were shrouded in mystery and poorly covered by the media. But over the past two years, things started to change, as the #FreeBritney movement, as it was known, increasingly advocated for her autonomy, publicizing such restrictions as Spears’s inability to choose her own lawyer. Journalists and documentarians began to look into such abuses, and chronicled Spears’s attempts to get out from under the conservatorship’s control. In September, Spears’s father, Jamie, was removed, and this month the conservatorship was dissolved. Jia Tolentino, a New Yorker staff writer, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how the media shaped Spears’s life and the role of online movements in effecting change.

  • The Essential Workers of the Climate Crisis

    15/11/2021 Duración: 29min

    After storms and other climate disasters, legions of workers appear overnight to cover blown-out buildings with construction tarps, rip out ruined walls and floors, and start putting cities back together. They are largely migrants, predominantly undocumented, and lack basic protections for construction work. Their efforts are critical in an era of increasing climate-related disasters, but the workers are subject to hazards including accidents, wage theft, and deportation. “Right now, there is a base camp for the National Guard; FEMA officials in Louisiana are staying in hotels,” Saket Soni, the founder of the nonprofit group Resilience Force, tells Sarah Stillman. “But the workers who are doing the rebuilding with their hands are sleeping under their cars to protect themselves from rain.” Stillman travelled to Louisiana, to the parking lot of a Home Depot, to report on Soni’s effort to organize and win recognition for these laborers as a distinct workforce performing essential work. “These years ahead,” she n

  • Politics and Justice at the Kyle Rittenhouse Trial

    11/11/2021 Duración: 15min

    In August, 2020, during a period of civil unrest after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the seventeen-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people, killing two and maiming the third. Rittenhouse’s actions ignited a political firestorm. To some, he was a right-wing vigilante radicalized by conservative rhetoric about the threat posed by progressive groups such as Black Lives Matter. To others, he had exercised his constitutional right to defend himself from violent attackers. Rittenhouse became an obsession for pundits and politicians on the left and the right. This month, a jury in Kenosha has been hearing testimony in Rittenhouse’s trial, and—barring a mistrial—will rule on his culpability in one of the most publicized and politicized killings in recent memory. Paige Williams joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the case, and the intersection of politics and justice.

  • Will the Office Survive the Pandemic?

    08/11/2021 Duración: 15min

    Cal Newport, the author of “A World without Email” and other books, has been writing about how the shutdown has affected businesses and the culture of work. Remote operation, he says, has raised fundamental questions about the purpose of work, its role in our lives, and how productivity is measured. While most companies are asking employees to return to the office as the pandemic eases, Newport predicts that economic forces will eventually drive an exodus toward permanent remote work. Tech companies that launched as fully remote operations, he thinks, have a head start on the economic advantages of ditching the office for good.

  • Was Last Week Really So Bad for the Democrats?

    04/11/2021 Duración: 22min

    This week, the Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated the Democrat Terry McAuliffe to become the next governor of Virginia. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the Democrat Phil Murphy narrowly won a gubernatorial race he was expected to dominate. The results further destabilize a Democratic Party struggling to find consensus on the infrastructure and social-spending bills, which are the backbone of President Biden’s legislative agenda. Susan B. Glasser joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss tensions within the Democratic Party, and what this week’s election results portend for the 2022 midterms and beyond.

  • The Nobel Prize Winner Maria Ressa on the Turmoil at Facebook

    01/11/2021 Duración: 13min

    The roughly ten thousand company documents that make up the Facebook Papers show a company in turmoil—and one that prioritizes its economic interests over known harms to public interest. Among other things, they catalogue the company’s persistent failure to control disinformation and hate speech. David Remnick spoke with Maria Ressa, an investigative journalist, in the Philippines, who runs the news organization Rappler. She has been the target of hate campaigns by supporters of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and in October Ressa (along with the Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov) received the Nobel Peace Prize for working to protect freedom of expression. Ressa is also a co-founder of what’s called the Real Facebook Oversight Board, a group of expert observers and critics who are not affiliated with Facebook’s own quasi-independent Oversight Board.  She doesn’t see easy tweaks to ameliorate the damage; the fundamental approach of steering content to users to maximize engagement, she feels, is inherentl

  • Is the Virginia Governor’s Race a Preview of the 2022 Midterms?

    28/10/2021 Duración: 16min

    Next Tuesday, Virginia voters will go to the polls to elect a new governor, choosing between the Democrat Terry McAuliffe and the Republican Glenn Youngkin. Pundits have been describing the race as an indicator for the 2022 midterm elections across the country. Both candidates have seized on the broader messages of their parties. Youngkin has used the culture wars to woo voters; McAuliffe has recruited former President Barack Obama to campaign with him. Benjamin Wallace-Wells, a New Yorker staff writer, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss Virginia’s close gubernatorial race, and what it could mean for 2022 and beyond.

  • How a Girls’ School Fled Afghanistan as the Taliban Took Over

    25/10/2021 Duración: 18min

    In the summer, Shabana Basij-Rasikh came on the Radio Hour to speak with Sue Halpern about founding the School of Leadership Afghanistan—known as SOLA—which was the country’s only boarding school for girls. She and those around her were watching the Taliban’s resurgence in the provinces anxiously, but with determination. “It’s likely that Taliban could disrupt life temporarily here in Kabul,” one woman told Basij-Rasikh, “but we’re not going to go back to that time. We’re going to fight them.”    In fact, Basij-Rasikh had already been forming a plan to take her girls’ school abroad, and soon settled on Rwanda. When the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan led to a precipitous collapse of the government, she suddenly had to sneak nearly two hundred and fifty students, staff, faculty, and family members to the airport to flee as refugees. She seems traumatized by the terror of that experience. “That thought still haunts me—it suddenly takes over all my senses in a way, just this idea of ‘what if’? What if we lost a

  • The Complicated Legacy of Colin Powell

    21/10/2021 Duración: 19min

    Colin Powell was a Vietnam War veteran, a four-star general, and—among other high-level positions in the U.S. government—the Secretary of State under George W. Bush. Powell was well known for his conviction that the United States should go to war only when the likelihood of victory was overwhelming. But then the Bush Administration used his popularity to persuade the public to support the Iraq War, which became one of the greatest military calamities in U.S. history. Dexter Filkins joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss Powell’s long record of public service, and how he shaped post-Cold War foreign policy.

  • Jon Stewart: “That’s Not Cancel Culture”

    18/10/2021 Duración: 21min

    “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” defined an era. For more than sixteen years, Stewart and his many correspondents skewered American politics. At the 2021 New Yorker Festival, Stewart spoke with David Remnick about his new show, “The Problem with Jon Stewart”; the potential return of Donald Trump to the White House; and the controversy around cancel culture in comedy. “What do we do for a living?” Stewart asks, of comedians. “We criticize, we postulate, we opine, we make jokes, and now other people are having their say. And that’s not cancel culture, that’s relentlessness.”

  • The U.K.’s “Funkapolitan” Conservative Party Struggles with the Effects of Brexit and the Pandemic

    14/10/2021 Duración: 20min

    The United Kingdom officially withdrew from the European Union on January 31, 2020. On that day, the first cases of COVID-19 were officially confirmed in Britain. Like every other country, the U.K. has had trouble containing the pandemic—the economic devastation, the implementation of lockdowns, the distribution of vaccines. But it has had another challenge, as it tries to redefine its place in the international diplomatic order and in the global economy. All of this has come at a time of deep division in the country’s politics: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of failing to address Brexit-related shortages of workers and supplies, and of mismanaging the government’s response to the pandemic. And the Labour Party, under the leadership of Keir Starmer, has failed to mount a popular or effective opposition. Sam Knight, a New Yorker staff writer, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how Brexit has affected conditions in the U.K., and the state of the Conservative and Labour Parties as the country face

  • Attorney General Merrick Garland, Interviewed by Jane Mayer

    11/10/2021 Duración: 16min

    At the 2021 New Yorker Festival, the investigative journalist Jane Mayer sat down for a conversation with Merrick Garland, the longtime federal judge now serving as President Biden’s Attorney General. Mayer asked about the central role that the Department of Justice plays in some of the most critical issues of our time: racial justice, domestic terrorism, threats to voting rights and abortion access, and the looming power of big tech companies.

  • How Many Scandals Can Facebook Survive?

    07/10/2021 Duración: 20min

    Last month, the Wall Street Journal began publishing a series of reports called “The Facebook Files.” Based on leaked internal documents, the series highlights how Facebook has stoked fear, anger, and division in order to increase user engagement—and how it then failed to effectively fight the spread of misinformation and the use of its platform to exploit and abuse vulnerable communities around the world. This week, Frances Haugen, a former data engineer at Facebook, revealed herself to be the whistle-blower who leaked the documents to the Journal, and on Tuesday she provided explosive testimony before a Senate subcommittee. The company has announced no significant plans to change its operating structure. Andrew Marantz joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the latest uproar over Facebook, and what can be done to drastically change its practices.

  • Jonathan Franzen Talks with David Remnick About “Crossroads”

    04/10/2021 Duración: 26min

    Jonathan Franzen’s sixth novel, “Crossroads,” is set in 1971, and the title is firmly on the nose: the Hildebrand family is at a crossroads itself, just as the America of that moment seemed poised to come apart. In the course of his career, Franzen has evolved away from an early postmodernist sensibility that highlighted “bravura” writing, and “with this book I threw away all the po-mo hijinks and the grand plot elements,” he tells David Remnick. “It’s really only in the course of writing ‘Crossroads’ that I have said to myself, What I am is a novelist of character and psychology. . . . It’s not about formal experimentation and it’s certainly not about changing the world through my social commentary.” Franzen also discusses the complex ethics behind writing a character of another race, and takes issue with the belief of some in the academy (and much of the political right) that leftist sensibilities are stifling free expression; he declined to sign the “Harper’s Letter” last year. Despite political polarizati

  • Recurring Nightmares on Rikers Island

    30/09/2021 Duración: 21min

    The first jail on Rikers Island opened in 1932, and the complex has since expanded to include ten jails holding thousands of inmates every day. Violence among Rikers inmates is common, and there are accusations of mistreatment, neglect, and abuse by correction officers and the facility’s administrators. Despite promises by city and state officials to reform Rikers, this year alone twelve people held there have died—two in the past week and at least five by suicide. Jennifer Gonnerman joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the history of Rikers, why this year is proving particularly deadly, and what the detention center reveals about the incarceration system in the U.S. today.

  • Andreas Malm on the Environmental Movement and “Intelligent Sabotage”

    27/09/2021 Duración: 21min

    Andreas Malm, a climate activist and senior lecturer at Lund University, in Sweden, studies the relationship between climate change and capitalism. With the United Nations climate meeting in Glasgow rapidly approaching—it begins on October 31st—Malm tells David Remnick that he believes environmentalists should not place too much faith in talks or treaties of this kind. Instead, he insists that the climate movement rethink its roots in nonviolence. His book is provocatively titled “How To Blow Up A Pipeline,” though it is not exactly an instruction manual. Malm advocates for “intelligent sabotage” of fossil-fuel infrastructure to prevent more carbon from being emitted in the atmosphere. “I am in favor of destroying machines, property—not harming people. That’s a very important distinction,” he tells Remnick.

  • Biden’s Big Economic Gamble

    23/09/2021 Duración: 26min

    Even before his election, Joe Biden described the upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to reform the American economy. Now, after months of negotiations, Biden’s trillion-dollar infrastructure plan will soon come up for a vote in the House, and Democrats expect to pass an enormous social-safety-net package through budget reconciliation. At the same time, the federal government is approaching the debt ceiling, and a government shutdown could occur as soon as next week if a stopgap funding bill isn’t passed. The New Yorker staff writer John Cassidy joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss Biden’s attempt to create a more equitable economy amid some strong opposition within his own party.

  • Jelani Cobb on the Kerner Report, an Unheeded Warning about the Consequences of Racism

    20/09/2021 Duración: 18min

    In 1967, in the wake of a violent uprising in Detroit, President Lyndon B. Johnson assembled the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders to investigate what had happened. This seemed futile: another panel to investigate yet another uprising. “A lot of people felt that way—‘We don’t need more studies, nothing’s going to come out of that commission,’ ” Fred Harris, a former senator from Oklahoma and the commission’s last surviving member, tells Jelani Cobb. But the conclusions were not typical at all. In the final analysis, known as the Kerner Report, the commission named white racism—no euphemisms—as the root cause of unrest in the United States, and said that the country was “moving toward two societies, one Black, one White—separate and unequal.” The report called for sweeping changes and investments in jobs, housing, policing, and more; the recommendations went so far beyond Johnson’s anti-poverty programs of the nineteen-sixties that the President shelved the report and refused to meet with his own

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