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Slow Burn

Slate

Clarence Thomas is one of the most powerful figures in America today. Nearly every issue of national consequence has his fingerprints all over it, from voting rights to gun rights and from abortion access to affirmative action. But nothing about his journey from rural Georgia to the Supreme Court was inevitable.In the eighth season of Slate’s Slow Burn, host Joel Anderson traces Justice Thomas’ surprising path from youthful radical to conservative icon. You’ll hear about why he came to despise the race-based admission policies that personally benefitted him, how he credited his political rise to the Black self-sufficiency preached by Malcolm X, and what the American people didn’t hear during his explosive confirmation hearings.

Location:

United States

Networks:

Slate

Description:

Clarence Thomas is one of the most powerful figures in America today. Nearly every issue of national consequence has his fingerprints all over it, from voting rights to gun rights and from abortion access to affirmative action. But nothing about his journey from rural Georgia to the Supreme Court was inevitable.In the eighth season of Slate’s Slow Burn, host Joel Anderson traces Justice Thomas’ surprising path from youthful radical to conservative icon. You’ll hear about why he came to despise the race-based admission policies that personally benefitted him, how he credited his political rise to the Black self-sufficiency preached by Malcolm X, and what the American people didn’t hear during his explosive confirmation hearings.

Language:

English


Episodes

Announcing Slow Burn Season 9

2/22/2024
Hosted by Christina Cauterucci. Coming in May 2024. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:01:00

Decoder Ring: Why Do So Many Coffee Shops Look the Same?

2/14/2024
The eerie similarity of coffee shops all over the world was so confounding to Kyle Chayka that it led him to write the new book Filterworld: How Algorithms Are Flattening Culture. In today’s episode, Kyle’s going to walk us through the recent history of the cafe, to help us see how digital behavior is altering a physical space hundreds of years older than the internet itself, and how those changes are happening everywhere—it’s just easier to see them when they’re spelled out in latte art. This episode was written by Willa Paskin and produced by Katie Shepherd. Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin, Katie Shepherd and Evan Chung. Derek John is Executive Producer. Merritt Jacob is Senior Technical Director. Special thanks to Ben Frisch and Patrick Fort. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, please sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring and all other Slate podcasts without any ads and have total access to Slate’s website. Your support is also crucial to our work. Go to Slate.com/decoderplus to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:33:59

One Year: 1990 | 5. The Angry Death of Kimberly Bergalis

12/21/2023
Before 1990, there had never been a documented case of a patient getting HIV from a health care worker. Kimberly Bergalis changed that. Her claim that she’d been infected by her dentist would captivate and terrify the country. And the dentist, David Acer, would be made into a villain without America ever knowing who he really was. This episode was written by Kelly Jones and Josh Levin, One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Olivia Briley. It was edited by Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is senior technical director. We had mixing help from Kevin Bendis. We had production help this season from Jabari Butler. Join Slate Plus to get a special behind-the-scenes conversation at the end of our season about how we put together our 1990 stories. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:56:03

One Year: 1990 | 4. Art on Trial

12/14/2023
Robert Mapplethorpe was one of the most famous photographers in the world—and one of the most controversial. When his work came to Cincinnati in 1990, it would be at the center of a vicious fight over obscenity and the First Amendment, one that threatened the future of art in America. This episode of One Year was written by Evan Chung, One Year's senior producer. It was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Olivia Briley. It was edited by Josh Levin, One Year’s editorial director, with Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Join Slate Plus to get a special behind-the-scenes conversation at the end of our season about how we put together our 1990 stories. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:58:14

One Year: 1990 | 3. Bush vs. Broccoli

12/7/2023
In March 1990, a story broke that shocked the nation: George H.W. Bush had banned broccoli from Air Force One. The frenzy that came next would change the fate of a vegetable—and maybe even alter the course of a presidency. This episode was written by Olivia Briley and Josh Levin, One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Olivia Briley and Kelly Jones. It was edited by Joel Meyer and Evan Chung. Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is senior technical director. Join Slate Plus to get a special behind-the-scenes conversation at the end of our season about how we put together our 1990 stories. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:40:44

One Year: 1990 | 2. Mandrake the Magician

11/30/2023
A middle-aged single dad in Chicago was outraged by all the cigarette billboards popping up in Black communities. In 1990, he picked up a paint roller and became an anti-tobacco vigilante. And he did it all under a secret identity. This episode was written by Josh Levin, One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones, Olivia Briley, and Evan Chung. It was edited by Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. We had mixing help from Kevin Bendis. Join Slate Plus to get a special behind-the-scenes conversation at the end of our season about how we put together our 1990 stories. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:50:46

One Year: 1990 | 1. Pizzastroika

11/22/2023
Pizza Hut’s adventure in the Soviet Union was unlike any restaurant opening before or since. It involved a fleet of submarines, a very special pizza topped with tuna and salmon, and a casual dining spot on a mission to change the world. This episode was written by Kelly Jones and Josh Levin, One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Olivia Briley. It was edited by Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Join Slate Plus to get a special behind-the-scenes conversation at the end of our season about how we put together our 1990 stories. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:57:07

Decoder Ring: The Forgotten Video Game About Slavery

11/15/2023
In 1992, a Minnesota-based software company known for its educational hit The Oregon Trail released another simulation-style game to school districts across the country. Freedom! took kids on a journey along the Underground Railroad, becoming the first American software program to use slavery as its subject matter. Less than four months later, it was pulled from the market. In this episode, we revisit this well-intentioned, but flawed foray into historical trauma that serves as a reminder that teaching Black history in America has always been fraught. This episode was written by Willa Paskin. Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. This episode was also produced by Benjamin Frisch, and edited by Erica Morrison. Derek John is executive producer. Joel Meyer is senior editor-producer and Merritt Jacob is senior technical director. We’re grateful to Julian Lucas for his expertise, reporting, and generosity, without which this episode would not have been possible. His New Yorker article, “Can Slavery Reenactments Set Us Free?,” revisits the Freedom! story as part of an exploration of the live Underground Railroad re-enactments that Kamau Kambui pioneered. Thank you to Jesse Fuchs for suggesting this topic. Thanks also to Coventry Cowens, Brigitte Fielder, Bob Whitaker, Alan Whisman, Wayne Studer, Alicia Montgomery, Rebecca Onion, Luke Winkie, and Kamau Kambui’s children: Yamro Kambui Fields, Halim Fields, Mawusi Kambui Pierre, Nanyamka Salley, and Kamau Sababu Kambui Jr. If you haven’t please yet, subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, please sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads and have total access to Slate’s website. Your support is also crucial to our work. Go to Slate.com/decoderplus to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:47:23

Decoder Ring: The Dating Manual Unlike Any Other

11/8/2023
From the moment it was released in 1995, The Rules was controversial.. Some people loved it—and swore that the dating manual’s throwback advice helped them land a husband. Others thought it was retrograde hogwash that flew in the face of decades of feminist progress. The resulting brouhaha turned the book into a cultural phenomenon. In this episode, Slate’s Heather Schwedel explores where The Rules came from, how it became so popular, and why its list of 35 commandments continue to be so sticky—whether we like it or not. Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. This episode was edited by Willa Paskin. Derek John is executive producer. Joel Meyer is senior editor/producer. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. We’d like to to thank Benjamin Frisch, Rachel O'Neill, Penny Love, Heather Fain, Elif Batuman, Laura Banks, Marlene Velasquez-Sedito, Leigh Anderson, Caroline Smith. We also want to mention two sources that were really helpful: Labour of Love by Moira Weigel, a paper called Shrinking Violets and Caspar Milquetoasts by Patricia McDaniel If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, we’d love for you to sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads. Their support is also crucial to our work. So please go to Slate.com/decoderplus to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:37:35

Decoder Ring: Mailbag - The Recorder, Limos, and “Baby on Board” Signs

11/1/2023
We receive a lot of fantastic show ideas from our listeners—and we’re grateful for each and every one. For our latest mailbag episode, we’re tackling five of your questions, including “Why the hell do we teach kids to play the recorder?” (We’re paraphrasing a bit.) Also: We’ll explore the rise and fall of the stretch limo, the incredible versatility of the word “like,” the meaning of the “Baby on Board” sign, and why it took so long to develop luggage with wheels. Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. This episode was also produced by Rosemary Belson. Derek John is executive producer. Joel Meyer is senior editor/producer. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Thank you to every listener who has submitted a suggestion for an episode. We truly appreciate your ideas. We read them all, even if we don’t always respond. Thanks for being a listener and for thinking creatively about this show. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, we’d love for you to sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads. Their support is also crucial to our work. So please go to Slate.com/decoderplus to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:40:52

Decoder Ring: When Art Pranksters Invaded Melrose Place

10/25/2023
In the mid-1990s, the prime time drama Melrose Place became a home to hundreds of pieces of contemporary art—and no one noticed. In this episode, Isaac Butler tells the story of the artist collective that smuggled subversive quilts, sperm-shaped pool floats, and dozens of other provocative works onto the set of the hit TV show. The project, In the Name of the Place, inspired a real-life exhibition and tested the ability of mass media to get us to see what’s right in front of our faces. Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. This episode was written and reported by Isaac Butler and produced by Benjamin Frisch. Derek John is executive producer. Joel Meyer is senior editor/producer. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Thank you to Jamie Bennett, JJ Bersch, Mark Flood, and Cynthia Carr, whose book On Edge: Performance at the End of the 20th Century inspired this episode. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, we’d love for you to sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads. Their support is also crucial to our work. So please go to Slate.com/decoderplus to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:41:34

Decoder Ring: The Fast Decline of the Slow Dance

10/18/2023
Judging from teen dramas on Netflix, the slow dance seems to be alive and well. But when you talk to actual teens, it’s clear this time-honored tradition is on life support. In this episode, we trace the history of slow dancing from its origins in partner dances like the waltz to the modern “zombie sway” seen at middle-school dances and high-school proms. Plus, former slow dancers offer up stiff-armed, nostalgia-soaked stories about a rite of passage that’s fading fast. Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. This episode was edited by Zakiya Gibbons. Derek John is executive producer. Joel Meyer is senior editor/producer. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Thank you to Benjamin Frisch and Carlos Pareja. Special thanks to everyone who shared their slow dancing stories, including Ralph Giordano, Matt Baume, Meryl Bezrutczyk, Ari Feldman, Ava Candade, Eileen Zheng, and Harper Kois. Here’s the article by Kyle Denis that we mentioned in the episode: The Death of the Slow Dance? How the One-Time Rite of Passage Has Evolved for Gen Z. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, we’d love for you to sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads. Their support is also crucial to our work. So please go to Slate.com/decoderplus to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:45:43

One Year: 1955 | 6. The Hiroshima Maidens

10/6/2023
Ten years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, 25 women who’d been disfigured by the blast came to the United States. Those Japanese survivors would go to the White House and end up on a bizarre proto reality TV show. They’d also put their lives in the hands of American doctors, hoping that risky, cutting-edge surgeries might repair their injuries and give them a chance for a fresh start. Josh Levin is One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Sophie Summergrad. It was edited by Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Holly Allen created the artwork for this season. Join Slate Plus to get a bonus 1955 episode at the end of the season. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Sign up now to support One Year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:54:56

One Year: 1955 | 5. The Cutter Incident

9/28/2023
Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine transformed America and the world in ways that seemed unimaginable. But in 1955, there was a moment when everything was in doubt. This week, Josh Levin talks with Dr. Paul Offit about the medical mystery that threatened to derail one of history’s most important scientific breakthroughs. Josh Levin is One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones, Evan Chung, and Sophie Summergrad. It was edited by Josh Levin, Joel Meyer, and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Join Slate Plus to get a bonus 1955 episode at the end of the season. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Sign up now to support One Year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:35:28

One Year: 1955 | 4. Siberia, USA

9/21/2023
When Alaskans wanted their own mental-health facility, a rumor took hold all over America. This week, Evan Chung traces the origins of that far-right conspiracy theory: that the government was building a concentration camp where Americans would get imprisoned for their political beliefs. Get ready for a strange tale that involves a brainwashing manual, Scientology, and a vast network of Communist-hunting housewives. Josh Levin is One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Sophie Summergrad. It was edited by Josh Levin, Joel Meyer, and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Join Slate Plus to get a bonus 1955 story at the end of the season. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Sign up now to support One Year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:55:39

One Year: 1955 | 3. The Weather Girls

9/14/2023
In the early days of television, women struggled to find their place. In 1955, they got it: forecasting the weather, on stations all across the country. But as these “weather girls” transformed the airwaves, a group of powerful men hatched a plan—one that had the potential to push women weathercasters off the air forever. Josh Levin is One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Sophie Summergrad. It was edited by Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Join Slate Plus to get the first three episodes of One Year: 1955 right away—and a bonus 1955 story at the end of the season. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Sign up now to support One Year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:45:34

One Year: 1955 | 2. The Crockett Craze

9/7/2023
In 1955, the frontiersman Davy Crockett became the most famous man in America, more than a century after his death at the Alamo. This week, Evan Chung dives into a cultural phenomenon nobody saw coming. Not the kids in coonskin caps who started the craze, not the parents whose money fueled it, and least of all Walt Disney, the legendary studio head who created it totally by accident. Josh Levin is One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Sophie Summergrad. It was edited by Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Join Slate Plus to get the first three episodes of One Year: 1955 right away—and a bonus 1955 story at the end of the season. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Sign up now to support One Year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:57:28

One Year: 1955 | 1. The Team Nobody Would Play

8/31/2023
The Cannon Street All-Stars dreamed of playing in the 1955 Little League World Series. Their biggest obstacle didn’t come on the field. In the year that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus, these Black 12-year-olds became unlikely civil rights pioneers—and faced the wrath of a white society that wasn’t ready to change. Josh Levin is One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Sophie Summergrad. It was edited by Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Join Slate Plus to get the first three episodes of One Year: 1955 right away—and a bonus 1955 story at the end of the season. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Sign up now to support One Year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:57:49

Decoder Ring: Think Catchphrases Are Dead? Eat My Shorts.

8/16/2023
Once you start listening for catchphrases in everyday life—you can’t stop hearing them. From the radio era’s “Holy mackerel!” to Fonzie’s “Ayyy!” to Urkel’s multiple go-to lines on Family Matters, we explore the irresistible quotables from sitcoms, movies and social media that have burrowed into our collective lexicon. Oh, just one more thing… bazinga! (Did I do that?) This episode was written by Willa Paskin, who produces Decoder Ring with Katie Shepherd. This episode was edited by Joel Meyer. Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Thank you to Luke Winkie, Stephen Langford, Doug Dietzold and The Good, the Bad and the Sequel podcast, and Shawn Green for the suggestion and Urkel clips. If you have any cultural mysteries you want us to decode, you can email us at DecoderRing@slate.com If you haven’t yet, subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show and want to support us, consider signing up for Slate Plus. As a member, you’ll get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads—and your support is crucial to our work. Go to slate.com/decoderplus to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:40:23

Decoder Ring: The Quest for a Homemade Hovercraft

8/9/2023
When Slate’s Evan Chung was a kid, he was obsessed with a mysterious advertisement that ran for decades in the scouting magazine Boys’ Life. Under the enticing headline “You Can Float on Air,” the ad assured Evan—and generations of scouts—that a personal hovercraft could be theirs for just a few bucks. In this episode, the adult version of Evan journeys halfway across the country to wield power tools, summon his latent scouting skills, and conscript his father into a quest three decades in the making. Will Evan float on air? Scout’s honor: You’ll just have to listen. This episode was written by Evan Chung, who produced this episode with Decoder Ring’s Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. It was edited by Willa Paskin and Joel Meyer. Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show and want to support us, consider signing up for Slate Plus. As a member, you’ll get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads—and your support is crucial to our work. Go to slate.com/decoderplus to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:42:20