Politics and History

disposable razor

Half the reason we buy so much new stuff is that our old stuff keeps breaking. Author Giles Slade says there's a reason for that — planned obsolescence.More

shadow arm

Do you ever have trouble sleeping? Steve Paulson does. And maybe you do too. How can something so simple be so hard — for so many people?More

man walking to work

The anthropologist David Graeber says “BS jobs” are an epidemic. Especially in that circle of hell known as middle management.More

dollar bill

"Before there was money, there was debt" says David Graeber in his book “Debt: The First 5,000 Years."More

clock

In interviewing hundreds of women, writer and journalist Ada Calhoun learned something startling: that her insomnia, which felt so personal and private, might actually be generational and gendered.More

bars

"Just Mercy" author Bryan Stevenson believes in creating incentives to reduce the country's prison population.More

Demonstrators protest police brutality at a June 2 event in front of the White House.

At the heart of many Americans' fear of Black men is an ugly stereotype — the stereotype of the Black criminal. Historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad traces some of our current attitudes about race and crime to the late 19th century, when sociologists first began looking at crime statistics.More

Malcolm Gladwell

The narrative that police brutality is a question of a few "bad apples" is precisely the wrong way to think about police brutality, says journalist Malcolm Gladwell. More

Empty prison

Scholar and activist Ruth Wilson Gilmore says when you put mass incarceration in a larger context, it's pretty clear — you don't solve a problem by repeating the kind of behavior that brought you the problem in the first place.More

Women Who Rule

It's common in literary and historical accounts of powerful women to make them out to be villains — witches, demons, succubi, changelings — or erase them entirely. Historian Kara Cooney, author Madeline Miller, Religious scholar Serenity Young, and classics scholar Emily Wilson talk about why that might be.More

blurred man

College campuses have long been hotbeds of political activity, fervent debate and occasionally violence stemming from a war of words, but today, in this era of call outs and cancel culture, there is a renewed and controversial argument over free speech playing out at universities and colleges around the country.More

In 2010, then-LAPD Chief William Bratton asked civil rights attorney Connie Rice to investigate the biggest police corruption scandal in Los Angeles history, and to train 50 LAPD officers in what she calls "public trust policing."More

The high profile deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have raised all sorts of questions about racial profiling and the use of force by law enforcement. For writer Emily Bazelon, the debate has also raised an ethical question: When do you call the cops on an African American man?More

Twitterstorm

Journalist Alissa Quart thinks it's unfair when people's reputations are torn to shreds on Twitter for saying the wrong thing. She even wrote a poem about it.More

Famed novelist Kazuo Ishiguro recommends “Prayers for the Stolen,” by Jennifer Clement —a harrowing tale about young children who are abducted in the midst of Mexican drug wars.More

Singer/songwriter Tori Amos tells Steve Paulson that her new album, "The Beekeeper," is all about reclaiming representatives of the sacred feminine tradition who weren't afraid of their own sexuality.More

child getting vaccinated

Producer Charles Monroe-Kane's son goes to a school with a 13.8% non-vaccination rate. So why aren't his neighbors vaccinating their kids? Charles went out searching for the answer.More

Stanley Crouch

Cultural critic Stanley Crouch tells Steve Paulson that Americans have some pretty messed up ideas about what it means to be authentic.More

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