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New York Times

Welcome to the world according to Wesley and Jenna! They’re talking every week (to each other, to colleagues, to friends, to makers) 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 is The Times’s Pulitzer Prize winning critic at large, and Jenna is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. They're working it out, one week at a time.

Welcome to the world according to Wesley and Jenna! They’re talking every week (to each other, to colleagues, to friends, to makers) 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 is The Times’s Pulitzer Prize winning critic at large, and Jenna is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. They're working it out, one week at a time.
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Location:

New York, NY

Description:

Welcome to the world according to Wesley and Jenna! They’re talking every week (to each other, to colleagues, to friends, to makers) 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 is The Times’s Pulitzer Prize winning critic at large, and Jenna is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. They're working it out, one week at a time.

Language:

English


Episodes

We Are Tired of Sexual Harassment (and Sequels) | Season Finale

10/12/2017
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It’s our season finale! We’ve spent our second season keeping a critical eye on the unreality of America and dissecting the systems of power that uphold the status quo. Last week, a series of news articles reported that Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful movie producers in Hollywood, has been accused of sexually harrassing women for decades. Twitter is ablaze with other women and men sharing their own stories of sexual misconduct at the hands of the powerful, spawning conversations...

Duration: 00:42:03


We Get Biracial

10/5/2017
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For months, the two of us have been trying to figure out a way to have a conversation about the experience of being biracial. This week we just go for it. First, we talk about the cultural and historical suspicion America still has of black-white interracial romantic relationships. It gives us an excuse to revisit the reason ‘‘Get Out’’ has been one of the year’s major movies: It articulates the previously inarticulable about race. Then we consider the offspring of interracial coupling —...

Duration: 00:54:06


We Take a Knee

9/28/2017
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Another day, another rant from Donald Trump. This time, the president took aim at Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who spent the majority of last season sitting or kneeling during the national anthem to draw attention to police brutality and racial injustice. Trump’s remarks — that the owners of football teams should fire anyone who followed suit — prompted a nationwide demonstration the following Sunday from players and team owners who knelt or linked arms. We...

Duration: 00:35:56


We Assess the Outrage over "Bodega" and Mother!

9/21/2017
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Last week, a Silicon Valley startup called Bodega instigated an internet meltdown after a Fast Company profile made the company’s intentions clear. “Eventually, centralized shopping locations won’t be necessary, because there will be 100,000 Bodegas spread out, with one always 100 feet away from you,” said Paul McDonald, a co-founder, who used to work at Google. The outrage made moral sense. “Bodega” is name that’s asking for trouble, especially with people who frequent them. The outrage...

Duration: 00:43:45


We Bow Down to Rihanna and Venus

9/14/2017
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Last week, we witnessed two extraordinary events: Venus Williams playing some of the best tennis in the last decade of her career (she lost in the U.S, Open, but with grace and style), and the rollout of Rihanna's new cosmetics line, Fenty Beauty, which was splashier than the launch of the new iPhone X. We learned something unexpected from both. Venus showed us what it means to lose, and yet somehow remain undefeated, and the Rihanna event gave us insight into the economy of social media...

Duration: 00:41:53


We Debate NPR’s Greatest Albums by Women

9/7/2017
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Last month, NPR published a list of the 150 greatest albums by women. The list was debated. It was discussed. There were alternative lists of 150 additional albums not on the NPR list. But quibbling with the particulars misses an important concern about what it means to argue for a women-only canon. This week we discuss why it takes an all-women team at NPR to celebrate women musicians, and why women are glaringly missing from lists determined by both genders. We also revisit the song of...

Duration: 00:41:06


We Have a Chappelle Show

8/31/2017
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This summer, Dave Chappelle returned to the stage for an ambitious, monthlong residency at Radio City Music Hall in New York. We saw the show independently, on separate nights. What we witnessed inspired us to dedicate an entire episode to the legacy of Chappelle’s comedy as he works to re-establish his place in American culture. But much has shifted in the decade since Chappelle, through his much-loved TV show, “Chappelle’s Show,” brilliantly explored how black people are represented and...

Duration: 00:56:31


We Care For Ourselves and Others in Trump’s America

8/24/2017
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The events of the last few weeks have shown us that we are fully living in Trump's America, with a president who is slow to condemn the actions of white supremacists. The realization has been exhausting. This week, we take a step back to think about what the political moment is doing to our emotional and physical states. We discuss our routines of self-care — and investigate the origins of the phrase, and why it feels overused and even a little cliche. We also talk to Dr. Matthew...

Duration: 00:48:50


We Grieve Charlottesville

8/15/2017
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What happened in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend was the largest public melee during a presidential administration that includes men with white nationalist ties. Three people were killed, dozens of people were injured and the country was thrown into a state of anguish and shock. The show was on vacation, but we came back early to do a special episode about Charlottesville. We talk about why the violence there isn’t surprising, what it means to remove totems of the American...

Duration: 00:29:10


We Discuss: Who Owns Stories About Blackness?

8/3/2017
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It’s been a summer of outrage over the question of who can tell stories about black history and black pain. We reckon with this question by examining Kathryn Bigelow’s film "Detroit," Dana Schutz's painting “Open Casket” and the recently announced new project from the "Game of Thrones" showrunners, an HBO drama called "Confederate." Without promising any answers, we also ask: Do stories about the American black experience belong to all Americans? Are there any criteria by which white...

Duration: 00:48:56


We’re Freaking Out About O.J. and Girls Trip

7/27/2017
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The country was barely on the other side of a period of deep thought about the cultural meaning of O.J. Simpson, and then last week we found out that O.J. will be a free man this October. We explore the vexing empathy that racism toward him inspires in us. Second, we can’t believe how much fun we had watching "Girls Trip"! Comedies starring black women – in which they aren’t the butt of the joke – are virtually non-existent. We cheer the movie for giving us four fun, sexual black women...

Duration: 00:39:51


We Pick Science Fiction for Mitch McConnell

7/20/2017
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2017 feels sort of like the End Times, and we’re leaning into science fiction TV shows and movies to imagine the outcome of our current political and geological climate. If science fiction functions as a cautionary tale, offering lessons in morality and asking us to consider our relationship with technology, what should our country’s leaders be watching? We discuss “War for the Planet of the Apes,” in which highly intelligent apes and plague-riddled humans battle for control of the Earth....

Duration: 00:36:35


We Get Bodied Talking Jay-Z and Beyoncé

7/13/2017
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“4:44” is Jay-Z’s first album since Beyoncé turned their marital trouble into a masterpiece called "Lemonade." On “4:44,” Jay-Z expresses regret for his infidelity and ruminates on the socioeconomic state of black America. The album is knotty and contradictory, especially when compared with the psychological clarity of "Lemonade." We spend the episode unpacking “4:44” as a work unto itself, and also in the context of “Lemonade.” We also discuss why the survival and performance of Jay-Z and...

Duration: 00:53:18


We Seek “Authentic” BBQ

7/6/2017
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It’s barbecue season! But let’s be clear: We aren’t talking about throwing burgers and veggies on a grill. We’re talking about the rich culinary tradition of slow-cooking meat over a dirt pit, a cuisine cultivated by enslaved Africans in the American South. We both live in Brooklyn, where barbecue is gentrifying as quickly as our neighborhoods. To talk through our feelings, we invited two Southern food experts on the show: John Thomas Edge Jr., the author of “The Potlikker Papers,” and...

Duration: 00:44:28


We Revive Tupac and Side-Eye Sofia Coppola

6/29/2017
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What responsibility does a movie have to the details of history? In Sofia Coppola’s new film, “The Beguiled,” a remake of Don Siegel’s 1971 psychological thriller set in the American South during the Civil War, she omits a key character from the original film: a slave woman named Hallie. Is Coppola’s omission a correction of history or an act of artistic cowardice? Speaking of history and responsibility: We take a look at “All Eyez on Me,” which tells the story of the brief but remarkable...

Duration: 00:42:00


We Celebrate Gay Pride — The Highs and Lows

6/22/2017
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June is Gay Pride month: four weekends of parades, pageantry, and partying, all over the country. But now, a year after the Pulse nightclub shooting, people are asking whether Pride celebrations are sufficiently black, political and confrontational. We talk about the joy we feel during Pride, while also recognizing the limits of the parade and the gay rights movement in general. We also reckon with the racism in gay life, and where that leaves the two of us.

Duration: 00:48:19


We Said, He Said, She Said

6/15/2017
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In a live-stream to promote her new album, “Witness,” Katy Perry put on an elaborate performance, giving a series of confessional interviews about her cultural missteps. We analyze all the reasons this was an experiment gone terribly wrong. We then turn to a much more sinister attempt by a celebrity to reshape his image by performing for the public: Bill Cosby pretending he is Cliff Huxtable at his trial for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand. The cross-examining of Constand strangely...

Duration: 00:38:00


We Watch 'Wonder Woman' and Do a Taxonomy of the Summer Jam

6/8/2017
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Summer is here, and so are the superhero movies and hit pop songs that define the season. We discuss the politics of “Wonder Woman,” the first female-fronted and female-directed superhero blockbuster. We also search for the definitive summer jam of 2017 and try to define what makes a great summer song along the way.

Duration: 00:45:12


We Love the Beach, We Hate the Beach

6/1/2017
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Last week, the Baywatch franchise returned — this time on the big screen — with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron leading a cast of tan, muscled lifeguards. But the film isn’t just a goofy romp; it presents the beach as a place of danger that needs to be patrolled, raising questions about who beaches are for. Jenna spends as much time at the beach as she can, while Wesley has always resisted going. As they try to untangle why that is, they discuss the history of American beaches and...

Duration: 00:35:07


We're Going Black(er) AKA Dear Woke People

5/25/2017
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In the last 30 years, blackness has migrated from the margins of American popular culture to its center. Right now, a bounty of television, movies, and music engages with the question of how people signal to each other that they’re down with blackness. And it isn't just white people doing the signaling. It's black people too, albeit in a different way. We’ll dig into Netflix’s new show “Dear White People,” and television and film from the 1980s and 1990s and try to understand: what does it...

Duration: 00:54:28

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