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Still Processing

New York Times

Wesley Morris and J Wortham are working it out in this weekly show about culture in the broadest sense. That means television, film, books, music — but also the culture of work, dating, the internet and how those all fit together.

Wesley Morris and J Wortham are working it out in this weekly show about culture in the broadest sense. That means television, film, books, music — but also the culture of work, dating, the internet and how those all fit together.

Location:

New York, NY

Description:

Wesley Morris and J Wortham are working it out in this weekly show about culture in the broadest sense. That means television, film, books, music — but also the culture of work, dating, the internet and how those all fit together.

Language:

English


Episodes

We Belong Together

6/16/2022
Reunited at last, J Wortham joins Wesley Morris in the studio for the last episode of the season. They reflect on the challenges of being apart for almost a year while J was on book leave. How did J deal with the inevitable stretches of loneliness? How do you re-enter your home and your relationships after so much time away? J and Wesley discuss how they managed to stay connected over the past year, and the role of community and intimacy in moments of tragedy.

Duration:00:24:35

When Your Neighbor’s the Highway

6/9/2022
Today, Wesley leaves the studio – and goes home. He embarks on a journey that involves a car named Khad'ija, a tireless 92-year-old activist and one Chinatown. Last year, President Biden signed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law. One part of the initiative especially struck Wesley: the federal government’s acknowledgment that its mid-century push to build a massive highway system had caused suffering. Wesley started thinking about a highway that he sometimes crossed as a kid in...

Duration:00:33:48

And a Britney Song Was On …

6/2/2022
"This Is How We Do It" by Montell Jordan is an unforgettable hip-hop relic, a jam whose opening six words alone make you want to party. Wesley has heard this 1995 hit countless times since he was a teenager, but it wasn’t until hearing it recently at the gym that he had an epiphany: It’s a country song. It belongs to a long tradition of country music that expresses love and respect for one's hometown. Wesley explores other songs that have changed in meaning for him over the years (like...

Duration:00:20:43

Sweat Equity

5/26/2022
When Wesley was 11, he wanted to be just like Sandra from the sitcom “227,” played by Jackée Harry. Sandra was sassy, boisterous and always got what she wanted. But it took reading Margo Jefferson’s latest book, “Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir,” for Wesley understand the complexity of this memory. On today's episode, Wesley and Margo Jefferson sift through their most deep-rooted, and sometimes difficult-to-explain cultural influences. Why did Margo adore the scatting of Ella...

Duration:00:33:10

Can Athletes Ever Be Movie Stars?

5/19/2022
What happens when athletes decide to act? And what doesn’t happen? Wesley Morris and Bill Simmons, sportswriter and founder of The Ringer, break down the history of athletes in movies. They start with Jackie Robinson playing himself in 1950, discuss the Blaxpoitation-era stars and make their way to the ’90s, from “He Got Game” (where Ray Allen turns in a solid performance opposite Denzel Washington, directed by Spike Lee) to “Space Jam” (the less said, the better). They trace this phenomenon...

Duration:00:28:25

Keanu

5/12/2022
Wesley wants to get to the bottom of Keanu Reeves — and to understand “why we get so much out of a movie star who appears to give us so little.” He’s joined by Alex Pappademas, the author of “Keanu Reeves: Most Triumphant: The Movies and Meaning of an Irrepressible Icon,” to solve this mystery. They discuss Keanu’s three-decade acting career, how he became the internet’s adorably tragic boyfriend and why we are seeing ourselves when we look at the actor. Click here for more information...

Duration:00:27:23

Sex, Death & Bunnies

5/5/2022
"Fatal Attraction" came out in 1987 when Wesley was 11, and it made a permanent impression on the way he thinks about certain aspects of lust and suspense. With Jenna away on book leave, he welcomed Parul Sehgal, a staff writer at The New Yorker, to the show. Both Wesley and Parul watched “Fatal Attraction” over and over as preteens, and they’ve rewatched it multiple times in the years since. As they break down the most powerful scenes, they are reminded of the loss of high-stakes sex...

Duration:00:31:36

Where'd All the Method Acting Go?

4/28/2022
In the 20th century, method acting was everywhere. Actors went to extreme lengths to inhabit the complicated psyche of a character, sometimes making audiences deeply uncomfortable. Think Robert De Niro in “Raging Bull” or Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now.” But in 2022, in our heyday of superhero blockbusters and bingeable story lines, the Method seems to be fading away. Wesley invites Isaac Butler — critic, historian and author of “The Method: How the 20th Century Learned to Act” — to...

Duration:00:30:28

Skip Intro

4/21/2022
Wesley worries the “skip intro” button is killing the TV theme song. He takes his concern to his friend Hanif Abdurraqib, a poet, music critic and MacArthur “genius grant” winner. Together, they explore their childhood memories of “Good Times,” “The Wonder Years” and “The Jeffersons.” Then, producer Hans Buetow unearths a rendition of a theme song that blows their minds — and they vow never to hit “skip intro” on it. We have a special request: Can you identify the choir that is singing the...

Duration:00:23:00

American Top 40

4/14/2022
Wesley has been obsessed with lists since he was a child — think Casey Kasem’s American Top 40, the Academy Awards and Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums of All Time. Now, he wants to think more seriously about expanding what we call the canon, making sure more people have a say in which works of art are considered great, enduring and important. For guidance, Wesley sits down with Daphne A. Brooks, an academic, critic and music lover, to ask whether expanding the canon is even the right way to...

Duration:00:38:26

A New Season of 'Still Processing'

4/7/2022
We’re back with a new season on April 14! Jenna Wortham is on book leave, so Wesley Morris will be taking on solo hosting duties for much of this spring. He will be joined by a stellar cast of guests, including Daphne Brooks to talk pop culture hierarchies, Hanif Abdurraqib to examine television theme songs (and that polarizing “skip intro” button) and Bill Simmons on what happens when athletes try to act. We can’t kick off this season, however, without first hearing about what Jenna has...

Duration:00:05:01

'Before I Let Go'

5/20/2021
When the three opening notes of the song hit, there’s only one thing to do: Find your people and dance. Today, we’re talking about “Before I Let Go,” by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, and the song’s unique ability to gather and galvanize. It wasn’t a huge hit when it came out in 1981, but it has become a unifying Black anthem and an unfailing source of joy. We dissect Beyoncé’s cover, and we hear from friends, listeners and the Philadelphia DJ Patty Jackson about their memories of the...

Duration:00:45:00

The People in the Neighborhood

5/13/2021
A powerful — and revealing — aspect of the Derek Chauvin trial was the community it created out of strangers. Week later, we’re still thinking about the witnesses, and the way they were connected in telling the story of how George Floyd lost his life. This phenomenon is reflected in works of art, like Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” which explores the conflict inherent in a community. You can find more info on today's episode here.

Duration:00:41:15

We, Tina

5/6/2021
She’s simply the best. A new documentary on HBO (called, simply, “Tina”) explores Tina Turner’s tremendous triumphs, but we wanted to go deeper. We talk about how her entire career was an act of repossession: Taking back her name, her voice, her image, her vitality and her spirituality made her one of the biggest rock stars in the world, even in her 50s. You can find more info about today's episode here, and follow Wesley’s playlist of his top Tina Turner songs. Also, Jenna and Wesley want...

Duration:00:43:53

Cathy Park Hong

4/29/2021
The Asian-American poet wants to help women and people of color find healing — and clarity — in their rage. Hong's book of essays, “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning," came out in February 2020, and it’s taken on new urgency with the rise in anti-Asian violence and discrimination during the pandemic. You can find more info on today's episode here. And check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our series on Asian-American racism from 2018.

Duration:00:37:55

Lil Nas X? Not Sorry!

4/15/2021
Social media apologies have become the standard celebrity response to internet outrage. But why do they feel so deeply inadequate? Jenna and Wesley dissect a new spate of public apologies from the last year. And they look to the activist and writer adrienne maree brown for an example of a “fully evolved” apology. You can find more info about today’s show here. And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning” by Cathy Park Hong. Read it...

Duration:00:44:21

40 Acres and a Movie

4/8/2021
Disney owns a piece of every living person’s childhood. Now it owns Marvel Studios, too. Jenna and Wesley look at depictions of racist tropes and stereotypes in Disney’s ever-expanding catalog. The company has made recent attempts to atone for its past. But can it move forward without repeating the same mistakes? You can find more info about today’s episode here. And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning” by Cathy Park Hong. Send...

Duration:00:43:26

No Country for Any Men

4/1/2021
“Promising Young Woman” is one of this year’s major Oscar contenders. It’s a dark revenge fantasy that asks a sweeping moral question: What if there are no good men? Wesley and Jenna go deep into the film and consider what it gets right — and wrong — about sexual assault and justice. Beware: There will be spoilers. You can find more info about today’s show here. And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning” by Cathy Park Hong. Read...

Duration:00:37:53

Now That's What I Call a Bridge!

3/25/2021
“Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo makes Wesley nostalgic for his favorite part of a song: the bridge. Bridges used to be a core feature of popular music, but they’ve become an endangered species, right next to the sitcom laugh track. While Wesley laments the demise of the bridge, Jenna points out that TikTok has given us new ways to experience the best part of a song. You can find more info about today’s episode here, and follow our playlist of Wesley and Jenna’s favorite bridges.

Duration:00:42:08

The N-Word

3/18/2021
It’s the episode we’ve been wanting to make for years. In our season premiere, we’re talking about the N-word. It’s both unspeakable and ubiquitous. A weapon of hate and a badge of belonging. After centuries of evolution, it’s everywhere — art, politics, everyday banter — and it can't be ignored. So we’re grappling with our complicated feelings about this word. You can find more information about today's episode here.

Duration:00:52:17