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The New Yorker Radio Hour

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New York, NY


David Remnick is joined by The New Yorker’s award-winning writers, editors, and artists to present a weekly mix of profiles, storytelling, and insightful conversations about the issues that matter ― plus an occasional blast of comic genius from the magazine’s legendary Shouts and Murmurs page. The New Yorker has set a standard in journalism for generations, and The New Yorker Radio Hour gives it a voice on public radio for the first time. Produced by The New Yorker and WNYC Studios. WNYC studios is the producer of leading podcasts including Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, Note To Self, Here’s The Thing With Alec Baldwin, and more.




For Teen Activists, What Good Is a Protest Song?

Since the Inauguration, in January, there’s been a kind of protest renaissance for those on the left and some in the center of American politics; at rallies and marches, they’ve dusted off chants and songs that became symbols of resistance during the civil-rights and Vietnam eras. But many of these protesters weren’t alive in the sixties, and the songs of their parents’ or grandparents’ generations may not resonate for them. “Primer for a Failed Superpower” was a concert performance,...

Duration: 00:15:59

Hillary Clinton on the “Clear and Present Danger” of Collusion with Russia

Hillary Clinton harbors no doubts, she tells David Remnick in a long interview, that political allies of Donald Trump astutely “guided” the release of hacked e-mails by WikiLeaks and the planting of fake news in order to sabotage her. In a new book, “What Happened,” Clinton is by turns angry, accusatory, and apologetic about the 2016 election and its outcome. She describes the infiltration by Russia as a “clear and present danger” to the electoral process that Republicans should take as...

Duration: 00:44:15

What Was It Like Before the Internet?

A magical time of unfettered creativity but zero productivity, the days before the Internet were so strange that it’s hard to believe they were real. Clearly no one got anything done, ever. Jenny Slate performs Emma Rathbone’s “Before the Internet,” from The New Yorker’s Shouts & Murmurs. Plus: Ten years ago, Susan Orlean, a staff writer at The New Yorker, wrote about a former laser physicist who had given up a successful career to become an origami artist. In time, Robert Lang became one of...

Duration: 00:16:38

After Charlottesville, the Limits of Free Speech

When is speech no longer just speech? David Remnick looks at how leftist protests at Berkeley, right-wing violence in Charlottesville, and open-carry laws around the country are testing the traditional liberal consensus on freedom of expression. He speaks with Mark Bray, the author of a new and sympathetic book about Antifa; Melissa Murray, a law-school professor at U.C. Berkeley; and Dahlia Lithwick, a legal analyst for Slate.

Duration: 00:42:17

Neil Gorsuch and the Uses of History

We have yet to learn just how closely the views of the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch resemble those of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch conservative and a standard-bearer for the legal philosophy known as originalism. Originalists claim to interpret the Constitution by relying on its words and on the contemporary writings of the Constitution's framers. The New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore, a professor of history, says that Gorsuch has been candid about...

Duration: 00:24:05

A Visit with Harry Belafonte, and an Isolated Tribe Emerges

We take for granted that popular entertainers can and should advocate for causes they believe in. But until Harry Belafonte pioneered that kind of activism in the middle of the last century, stars largely kept their political leanings private. In the lead-up to last year’s Many Rivers to Cross festival, which Belafonte helped dream up, the New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb paid a visit to the actor, musician, and civil-rights icon. Belafonte turned ninety this year and is looking to pass...

Duration: 00:32:45

Nick Lowe Gets Better with Age

Nick Lowe made it big as a pioneer of what the English called “pub rock” and Americans usually call power-pop. Lowe had his biggest successes in the New Wave era but continues to release records and perform, and six of his middle-period records are being reissued this year on the Yep Roc label. In the opinion of one fan, staff writer Nick Paumgarten Nick Paumgarten, Lowe is as great as he ever was. Now Lowe is engaged in figuring out how to age gracefully in rock and roll. “Some of my...

Duration: 00:28:47

John Ridley on Charlottesville and the Legacy of Racism

John Ridley has been active in in film and television since the nineteen-nineties; he also has seven novels under his belt, as well as a play and several graphic novels. And, since the release of “12 Years a Slave,” for which he wrote the screenplay, Ridley has emerged as one of Hollywood’s strongest voices on issues of race. This year he came out with the series “Guerrilla,” a fictional account of a couple in the black-power movement of the nineteen-seventies; and “Let It Fall,” a...

Duration: 00:28:07

Why Men Should Read Romance Novels

The New Yorker’s Josh Rothman finds it hard to get a conversation going about romance novels with male friends or acquaintances. He talked with Curtis Sittenfeld—whose fiction often contains a romantic story, though her books aren’t romance novels, per se—about why that is. Sittenfeld’s most recent book, “Eligible,” is a retelling of the ur-romance novel, Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” It’s been many years since she devoured a trove of bodice rippers, but there’s one—featuring a sex...

Duration: 00:26:36

Building a War-Crimes Case Against Bashar al-Assad

At an undisclosed location in Western Europe, a group called Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) is gathering evidence of war crimes perpetrated by the Syrian government. It’s unclear when or how Assad might ever stand trial, and securing the evidence is extremely dangerous. But CIJA is hoping to build the strongest war-crimes case since Nazi officials were tried at Nuremberg. Ben Taub, who wrote about CIJA for The New Yorker, interviewed members of the group and...

Duration: 00:41:02

Senator Al Franken Really Is Senatorial

When Al Franken ran for Senate, his years as a founding writer on Saturday Night Light and as the author of books like “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot” were held against him. So once in Washington, he buttoned up his sense of humor. Until now. His new book is “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate,” and the cover is a portrait of Franken sitting in front of a roaring fireplace with his hand on a globe, a spoof classic senatorial imagery. Yet Senator Franken really has become senatorial over...

Duration: 00:21:48

The Scaramucci Call

Ryan Lizza and David Remnick listen to excerpts from the infamous late-night call that ended Anthony Scaramucci’s brief term as White House communications director. While Scaramucci’s behavior and language on that call were shocking even by Trump standards—he called Reince Priebus “a paranoid schizophrenic” and accused him of leaking his finances and–Lizza believes that his appointment followed a familiar pattern. “So many politicians believe when they’re failing, they believe that the...

Duration: 00:35:31

An Irish Novelist’s Début Explores Friendship and Adultery in the Digital Age

The Irish writer Sally Rooney, who is twenty-six, wrote the first draft of her début novel, “Conversations with Friends,” in a several-month-long torrent of creativity, when she was just twenty-three. Rooney’s editor calls her a “Salinger for the Snapchat generation,” and The New Yorker’s Alexandra Schwartz speaks with Rooney about how fictional adultery works in the age of social media. And Taran Killam, formerly of “Saturday Night Live,” performs the Daily Shouts piece “Honest Museum...

Duration: 00:16:20

George Strait, on the Record with Kelefa Sanneh

George Strait is a superstar of country music. He rarely gives interviews, but he agreed to speak with Kelefa Sanneh, who marked the occasion by ironing his shirt. Lawrence Wright talks with David Remnick about the politics of Texas, which he sees as a harbinger of what will happen in the United States: the state is redder than ever, even as the demographics trend blue. And cartoonist Liana Finck finds focus and solitude on the Long Island Railroad.

Duration: 00:40:56

A Rookie Reporter in Vietnam Captures the War’s Futility

A rookie reported from Vietnam in 1967, and his eyewitness report on the strategic demolition of a village helped change how we saw the Vietnam War.

Duration: 00:26:24

Maggie Haberman: Gang War in the White House

Maggie Haberman covered Donald Trump years ago for the New York tabloids. Now, in the White House, she has a front-row seat to an Administration in which “rival gangs” are vying for control. Plus, Bob Odenkirk’s amazing exercise tips, and Bruce Eric Kaplan on the naughty TV specials of his youth.

Duration: 00:31:17

The Man Who Would Be King (of Mars)

Phil Davies doesn’t seem like a mad scientist bent on conquering another planet: he’s a mild-mannered general practitioner in a small town in southern England. But, with a telescope and an array of lasers, he’s making a claim that he owns Mars, and he’s presented it to the United Nations. Some thirteen thousand prospective landowners have signed on to his plan. What’s a country doctor going to do with a planet, anyway?

Duration: 00:20:44

Trumpcare Revisited

The future of health care in America hangs in the balance as the Senate releases a revised bill to replace the Affordable Care Act. David Remnick talks with the historian Jill Lepore, and with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an architect of Obamacare who has met with the Trump Administration, about the future of expanding coverage.

Duration: 00:36:00

Lucinda Williams Talks with Ariel Levy

Lucinda Williams won a Grammy for the song “Passionate Kisses,” which was performed by Mary Chapin-Carpenter; but she spent many years overlooked by the music industry: she was too country for rock and too rock for country. In 1998, American music caught up to her, and her album "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" broke through. The staff writer Ariel Levy sat down with Williams at the New Yorker Festival in 2012 to talk about God, Flannery O’Connor, and the musician’s path through the music...

Duration: 00:20:19

James Taylor Will Teach you Guitar

James Taylor’s songs are so familiar that they seem to have always existed. On stage at the New Yorker Festival in 2010, Taylor peeled back some of his influences: the Beatles, Bach, show tunes, and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Taylor played a few of his hits and gave staff writer Adam Gopnik a quick lesson.

Duration: 00:38:05

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