The Gist

The Gist

www.slate.com/thegist
Slate’s The Gist with Mike Pesca. A daily afternoon show about news, culture, and whatever else you’ll be discussing with friends and family tonight. Part of the Panoply Network.


Giuliani Whisperer
Oct 11 • 31 min
On The Gist, Trump’s trade war with China. In the interview, Mike talks to writer Elaina Plott about her reporting on Rudy Giuliani, new White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and the future of the impeachment hearings. Plott is a staff writer at the…
Who Deserves the Right to Vote?
Oct 10 • 36 min
On The Gist, how should we feel about Ellen and George W. Bush? In the interview, Desmond Meade of the Florida Restorative Rights Coalition is here to talk with Mike about the recent movement in Florida to give voting rights back to individuals who have…
Uncomplicating the NBA and China
Oct 9 • 32 min
On The Gist, what Trump is doing to the Kurds is everybody’s fault but Trump’s. In the interview, Mike talks to Ozy’s national politics reporter Nick Fouriezos about U.S. voter apathy, where its most prevalent, and its ramifications for future elections.…
Selling Out the Kurds
Oct 8 • 37 min
On The Gist, Trump and the Kurds. In the interview, Mike talks to Aaron Mehta, deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News. They talk about why Ukraine wants javelin missiles, the internal conflicts in the Pentagon, and China’s rising…
The Cowardice of the NBA
Oct 7 • 34 min
On The Gist, Daryl Morey versus NBA China.In the interview, Comedy Bang Bang host Scott Aukerman is here to talk about Between Two Ferns: The Movie, the early beginnings of the Between Two Ferns show, and how he writes and directs great cringe comedy. You…
Norbert Leo Butz Is on the Long Haul
Oct 4 • 32 min
On The Gist, dishonesty and the media.In the interview, Norbert Leo Butz is a Broadway powerhouse who’s been in all sorts of projects like Wicked and Catch Me If You Can, but he’s also a talented musician out with a new album, The Long Haul. He’s here to…
Gary Gulman’s Great Depresh
Oct 3 • 25 min
On The Gist, getting pronunciations right and extremely wrong.In the interview, comedian Gary Gulman talks to Mike about his new HBO comedy special The Great Depresh, how he talks about mental health on stage, and the magic of vision boards.In the Spiel,…
Presidential Temper Tantrums
Oct 2 • 29 min
On The Gist, suing the swamp. In the interview, Marc Randolph is here to talk with Mike about the early beginnings of Netflix, his relationship with co-founder Reed Hastings, and what he’s doing now post-Netflix. Randolph’s new book is That Will Never…
ZuckyLeaks
Oct 1 • 36 min
On The Gist, the Zuckerberg audio leaks. In the interview, Martha Minow is here to talk with Mike about forgiveness, who should be forgiven, and how to incorporate more forgiveness in the U.S. legal system. Minow’s new book is When Should Law Forgive? In…
The Self-Impeacher in Chief
Sep 30 • 29 min
On The Gist, what’s going on at Café Altura? In the interview, journalist Amanda Aronczyk is here to talk with Mike about her recent series for WNYC’s The Stakes podcast, “A History of Persuasion.” Through the lens of Ted Kaczynski she explores the way…
Whistleblower Woes
Sep 27 • 32 min
On The Gist, Trump and Ukraine-gate? In the interview, journalist and author Mary Lane is here to talk with Mike about Hitler’s art, how he seized “degenerate” art in Germany, and the people who finally recovered these lost works in 2013. Lane’s new book…
The Power of Greta Thunberg
Sep 26 • 27 min
On The Gist, MSNBC cutting Trump’s speech short. In the interview, writer Katy Lederer is here to talk with Mike about Greta Thunberg, why she’s such a force, and if she will bring about any change. Lederer’s latest piece on Thunberg is “Can They Read,”…
The Beginning of Impeachment
Sep 25 • 32 min
On The Gist, the beginning of the Trump and Ukraine analysis. In the interview, CIA alum and head of Lawfare David Priess is here to talk with Mike about impeachment, the Ukraine phone call, and this time things are different. Priess’ latest book is How…
Lauren Duca Wants a Revolution
Sep 24 • 34 min
On The Gist, journalist Lauren Duca is here to talk with Mike about her new book, inspiring young people to get more involved in politics, how activism and journalism might intersect, and the problems with our binary political system. Duca’s new book is…
Hungry for Murder
Sep 23 • 28 min
On The Gist, the news we missed during Comedy Week. In the interview, Rachel Monroe is here to talk with Mike about why people, and women in particular, are so interested in true crime. Is it a new thing or just newly popular? Does being an at-home sleuth…
Comedy Week: Late-Night
Sep 20 • 35 min
On The Gist, late-night writers Steve Waltien, Bryan Tucker, and Alison Leiby sit down with Mike to discuss what it’s like to write on a late-night show. How do they deal with the constant churn of topical humor? Why is it so difficult to continue…
Comedy Week: Film
Sep 19 • 33 min
On The Gist, screenwriters Dana Fox and John August, and film critic K. Austin Collins are here to talk all about the comedy film. What makes a funny movie? how has that changed over the years? And has humor just creeped its way into all the other genres…
Comedy Week: Podcasts
Sep 18 • 36 min
On The Gist, our third part of comedy week is all about comedy podcasts. Podcast hosts Jesse Thorn and Ron Funches join Mike to talk about the wide variety of comedy podcasts, how they both got started, and why they are such a freeing avenue for…
Comedy Week: Improv
Sep 17 • 39 min
On The Gist, our second installment in this week of comedy focuses on the world of improv. Improvisers Amber Nash, TJ Jagodowski, and Zach Cherry join Mike to talk about what the improv scene is like in their respective cities, how the form has grown so…
Comedy Week: Stand-Up Comedy
Sep 16 • 38 min
On The Gist, we’re kicking off our week on the world of comedy by talking to three comedians about the state of stand-up comedy. Adam Ferrara, Aparna Nancherla, and Hari Kondabolu talk with Mike about the way they perform, how they interact with their…
Do the Hustle
Sep 13 • 32 min
On The Gist, questions the debate needed. In the interview, director Lorene Scafaria is here to talk with Mike about the new film Hustlers. They discuss recruiting Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo, and Cardi B, the importance of Chopin, and filming at a strip club.…
Leave It to Lovett
Sep 12 • 30 min
On The Gist, what should we care about? In the interview, Jon Lovett is here to talk with Mike about Joe Biden, debate in liberal roundtables, the Overton window, and the live Lovett or Leave It show at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2019. In the…
The Ousting of Donald Sterling
Sep 11 • 33 min
On The Gist, Fort Campbell middle schoolers and the border wall. In the interview, journalist Ramona Shelburne is here to talk about her new five-part 30 for 30 series on Donald Sterling and the Clippers. She and Mike discuss how she started covering the…
The Made-for-TV President
Sep 10 • 28 min
On The Gist, Bolton is out. In the interview, New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik is here to talk about his new book about Trump and television. He and Mike discuss how the increasing variety of television networks and the boom of reality TV led to…
Scientific Solutions to Absurdity
Sep 9 • 29 min
On The Gist, Trump and Scotland. In the interview, creator of xkcd Randall Munroe is here to talk about his new book How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems. He and Mike talk about puzzling out the chicken and the egg, testing…
It’s an Economist’s World
Sep 6 • 31 min
On The Gist, Trump’s lightbulbs. In the interview, economists weren’t always at the levers of public policy in America. The New York Times’ Binyamin Appelbaum tracked the profession’s post-war movement into power, and how the laissez-faire philosophy…
How We Speak Internet
Sep 5 • 30 min
On The Gist, Mike Pence and Boris Johnson. In the interview, it’s internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch on how the language we use has been shaped by the information superhighway—and for starters, people never say “information superhighway” anymore. They…
Lobbying for Good?
Sep 4 • 40 min
On The Gist, it’s Boris Johnson’s show now. In the interview, Thomas Sheridan isn’t your mother’s lobbyist—or wait, maybe he is? His firm, the Sheridan Group, fights for social change. He tells Mike about why lobbyists aren’t all bad, how he got his…
The Big Power of Right-Wing Radio
Sep 3 • 31 min
On The Gist, how hurricanes are like racism. In the interview, talk radio has shaped so much of our political discourse, often in ways we don’t even realize. Brian Rosenwald sought to figure out just how much influence it’s had and condensed it all into…
To Greta Goes the Glory?
Aug 29 • 31 min
On The Gist, this week in the news, truth is stranger than science fiction. In the interview, guest host Seth Stevenson talks to the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. And it turns out that when you’re a citizen…
The Mystery of Ivanka Trump
Aug 28 • 33 min
On The Gist, journalist and podcast host Lauren Ober was shocked to realize Chelsea Manning is back in jail. In the interview, Ober talks with journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis about the new podcast Tabloid: The Making of Ivanka Trump. What’s it like to go…
They Tried to Cancel You
Aug 27 • 31 min
On The Gist, journalist Katie Herzog fills in for Mike Pesca and focuses on cancel culture. In the interview, Herzog interviews filmmaker Rhys Ernst about his new film Adam, and the queer backlash against the film. What’s it like for your own community to…
What’s in a Face, Anyway?
Aug 26 • 32 min
On The Gist, Trump is a bad negotiator. In the interview, you’ve probably heard of face blindness. And you possibly wondered whether it was a real thing. Do some people really walk the world, full of other people as it is, without the ability to recognize…
David Koch Was Bad. But Evil? Eh.
Aug 23 • 33 min
On The Gist, if an eleventh Democratic candidate makes the next debate in Houston, we’ll hear more from all of them (because they’ll be split across two nights!). In the interview, it’s part II of Mike’s discussion with Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley. They talk…
Visiting the Migrant Families in Crisis
Aug 22 • 33 min
On The Gist, the Amazon is on fire. In the interview, Sen. Jeff Merkley was the first member of Congress to visit the migrant detention centers along the border and view the atrocious ways we were treating the people forced to live there. He’s here to…
Trump Is America
Aug 21 • 30 min
On The Gist, Scaramucci was wrong about Trump. In the interview, journalist David Robson is here to talk about his new book The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes. He and Mike talk the intelligence quotient, the blind spots smart…
When the CIA’s “Dark Side” Works
Aug 20 • 30 min
On The Gist, if Peter Navarro wants to criticize the Wall Street Journal, he really ought to read it once in a while. In the interview, it’s easy to condemn the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation techniques in retrospect. But as agency alumnus Philip Mudd puts…
Tim Ryan’s Big Plans
Aug 19 • 34 min
On The Gist, despite what Peter Navarro says, a yield curve inversion there was indeed (and a recession there may be). In the interview, in a Democratic field crowded with grand policy promises, Tim Ryan’s more centrist ideas have been crowded out. But…
What Happened to Sha Na Na
Aug 16 • 33 min
On The Gist, the varying sizes of Trump and Greenland. In the interview, journalist Steve Rushin is here to talk with Mike about his new memoir Nights at White Castle. They discuss the amorphous nature of nostalgia, why children should go on boring…
The Leftist Takeover Edition
Aug 15 • 33 min
On The Gist, Slate’s Jordan Weissmann tells guest host Sean McElwee which presidential candidates’ signature ideas are hot (and which are not). In the interview, the Green New Deal isn’t just a set of climate policies—it’s a chance to break with the…
The Problem With “White Supremacy”
Aug 14 • 33 min
On The Gist, getting a bit willy-nilly with “white supremacy.” In the interview, John Hickenlooper may be mulling a pivot from presidential to Senate candidate, but he was at the Iowa State Fair to weigh in on issues that affect the entire country—and to…
Are Attention Spans Shrinking?
Aug 13 • 28 min
On The Gist, Biden’s gaffes. In the interview, Maria Konnikova, author of The Confidence Game, is back for another round of Is That Bullshit? This time she and Mike talk all about attention spans. There always seem to be claims that attention spans are…
Who’s the Filibuster For?
Aug 12 • 34 min
On The Gist, the opinions of the people at the Iowa State Fair. In the interview, Jay Inslee was among the 21 Democratic presidential candidates to converge on the Iowa State Fair this past weekend. Washington’s governor grabbed a seat with Mike to talk…
How to Rob a Bank, And Be Funny While You’re at It
Aug 9 • 27 min
On The Gist, the real consequences of immigration laws. In the interview, Charles Duhigg is who you get when you combine an investigative reporter with an agony aunt. In his new Slate podcast (How To!), he teases out advice on everyday problems, from how…
Politics Is a Circus
Aug 8 • 30 min
On The Gist, Montana has gone a little berserk. In the interview, Joshua Cohen is here to discuss his new book Attention: Dispatches From the Land of Distraction, and the many discursions he and Mike go on thanks to it. Like the depth of Bernie’s…
Turning Out the 2020 Voter
Aug 7 • 32 min
On The Gist, Dayton and El Paso deserve better than the presence of Donald Trump. In the interview, FiveThirtyEight elections analyst Geoffrey Skelley talks through what Democrats need to do to turn out voters in 2020. Should they focus on the “Obama…
Trade War Rumblings? We’re Already In One.
Aug 6 • 32 min
On The Gist, if you want gun control, you clearly have to just vote Democrat. In the interview, the tit-for-tat trade war with China is unceasing. Slate’s Jordan Weissmann tells Mike about the latest developments in the fight between presidents Trump and…
There Are the “Maybe” Factors, and Then There’s the Rifle Factor.
Aug 5 • 27 min
On The Gist, this weekend’s mass shooters had different motives. It won’t do to draw lessons from just one of them. In the interview, Amherst College professor Austin Sarat wants to enlist gun owners themselves in the fight for firearm regulation. “48…
The Case of “The Case of Al Franken”
Aug 2 • 37 min
On The Gist, a theory as to why we still hear dusty old terms like “happy warrior”—at least during election season. In the interview, Slate writer Christina Cauterucci, who recently wrote about Al Franken, criticizes a recent New Yorker story on the…
How Fantastic Negrito Started From Scratch
Aug 1 • 36 min
On The Gist, the Democrats making Republican soundbites. In the interview, Fantastic Negrito walked a long and winding road to blues stardom. His first album (under his legal name, Xavier) was a bust—“everyone hated it”—and saw him dropped from his label.…
Chuck Klosterman and the Ivory Tower
Jul 31 • 33 min
On The Gist, Jeffrey Epstein’s ideas. In the interview, when Chuck Klosterman writes non-fiction, he worries about missing some grand historical context in a way that would ruin his work. With fiction, that anxiety goes out the window— if someone reads…
The Consultants of Yore Weigh in on 2020
Jul 30 • 35 min
On The Gist, billionaire Tom Steyer didn’t qualify for this round of Democratic debates, but he’s bought a lot of CNN ad space to make up for it. In the interview, political consultants David Axelrod and Mike Murphy have spent years advising politicians…
How the GOP Got Here
Jul 29 • 31 min
On The Gist, Trump and racism. In the interview, Politico’s Tim Alberta has been covering the Republican Party since 2009, back when it was “totally rudderless and beaten into the ground.” Ten years later, and though in control of the White House, the GOP…
The Lie of Live PD
Jul 25 • 42 min
A few months ago, Dan Taberski joined us to talk about latest season of his Headlong podcast, Running From Cops, focused on reality television shows about police. One series in particular, Live PD, was billed as a documentary but seemed to fall into the…
Mueller Is No Showman
Jul 24 • 27 min
On The Gist, Robert Mueller was a bit of a broken record in his congressional testimony. In the interview, David Wolman once happened upon a small Hawaiian museum dedicated to a small crew of cowboys in the state—and that was the first he heard of them.…
How to Talk About Addiction
Jul 23 • 30 min
On The Gist, the governor of Puerto Rico will not seek reelection. In the interview, Chris Herren’s NBA career ended largely because of drug abuse that started in his teens. Now he speaks to thousands of students about making better choices—not by using…
Robert Mueller’s Return
Jul 22 • 32 min
On The Gist, Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony isn’t likely to increase the pressure on president Trump. In the interview, losing weight is hard, but keeping it off is even harder. What can successful dieters do to maintain their goals, and are…
The Moon Landing’s Glory Has Faded
Jul 19 • 36 min
On The Gist, why the moon landing’s 50th anniversary isn’t getting all that much attention. In the interview, success stories are great, but what about those business ventures that end in spectacular failure? Those tales are often better. Lauren Ober…
How Michael Bennet Wants to Fix America
Jul 18 • 32 min
On The Gist, Ivanka Trump is every bit the monster her father is. In the interview, Senator Michael Bennet is here to talk about his campaign for president and his new book The Land of Flickering Lights: Restoring America in an Age of Broken Politics. He…
The EPA Is Losing Its Mandate
Jul 17 • 31 min
On The Gist, Chance the snapper. In the interview, former EPA head Gina McCarthy expected the Trump administration’s backwardness on climate change—but not on no-brainers like limits on power plant mercury emissions and auto industry regulation, both of…
Trump Will Lose in 2020
Jul 16 • 31 min
On The Gist, it’s a good day for those who love quarterly fundraising numbers among Democratic presidential candidates! In the interview, we’re used to the Nate Silver approach to election forecasting, using constantly changing polling data to predict the…
Bring Back Late-Night Cruelty
Jul 15 • 32 min
On The Gist, Elizabeth Warren and ICE. In the interview, Jason Zinoman, who writes about the New York Times, thinks the late-night shows need to return to the playful cruelty they once had. He and Mike talk about the current state of things, David…
Acosta Is Out
Jul 12 • 38 min
On The Gist, they. In the interview, Emily Bazelon writes for the New York Times magazine, co-hosts Slate’s Political Gabfest, and she’s out with the new book Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration, and its…
The CIA’s Bad Ideas
Jul 11 • 30 min
On The Gist, the metal straw incident. In the interview, Vince Houghton is a historian and the curator of the International Spy Museum and he’s here to talk about his new book Nuking the Moon: And Other Intelligence Schemes and Military Plots Left on the…
Soccer’s Pay Parity Problem
Jul 10 • 38 min
On The Gist, the Trump cabinet and violence against women. In the interview, Will Wilkinson from the Niskanen Center is here to talk with Mike about his new paper The Density Divide about the surprising way urbanization affected the rise of populism. In…
The Legacy of Ross Perot
Jul 9 • 35 min
On The Gist, jail time for absurd reasons. In the interview, journalist Jack Fairweather is out with a new book about the untold story of Witold Pilecki, a Polish resistance fighter who chose to get sent to Auschwitz so he could report back on atrocities…
Life After Death Row
Jul 8 • 33 min
On The Gist, did Joe Biden’s apology work? In the interview, Anthony Ray Hinton was wrongfully convicted for the murder of two teenagers in Alabama in 1985. After 30 years on death row his conviction was overturned and he was released. He’s since become…
Let’s Rank the Presidents
Jul 3 • 33 min
On The Gist, should we rethink the structure of a week? In the interview, founding CEO of C-SPAN Brian Lamb and Co-CEO Susan Swain are here to discuss their new book The Presidents: Noted Historians Rank America’s Best—and Worst—Chief Executives. They…
Solving Urban Violence
Jul 2 • 31 min
On The Gist, the Hong Kong protesters and Chinese conspiracies. In the interview, Harvard research fellow Thomas Abt is here to discuss his new book Bleeding Out: The Devestating Consequences of Urban Gun Violence—and a Bold New Plan for Peace in the…
Groaning Through Dad Jokes
Jul 1 • 33 min
On The Gist, the South Bend shooting and Pete Buttigieg. In the interview, Jason Zinoman recently wrote about dad jokes for the New York Times so he’s here to talk with Mike about his grand theories, why we love to hate dad jokes, and if they really are…
Who Is the Real Kim Jong-un?
Jun 28 • 34 min
On The Gist, Joe Biden had no good answers at Thursday’s Democratic debate. In the interview, the Washington Post’s Anna Fifield is out with a new book on Kim Jong-un. She interviewed as many people who have had even a fleeting interaction with the man as…
Pen, Sword, or Rock and Roll
Jun 27 • 35 min
On The Gist, an absurd criminal charge in Alabama. In the interview, the Iron Curtain couldn’t block radio waves, or, in the ‘50s and ‘60s, a new form of music called rock and roll. András Simonyi, a former Hungarian ambassador to the United States, was…
Data in the Dugout
Jun 26 • 33 min
On The Gist, the first Democratic primary debate is about to start. In the interview, Ben Lindbergh is a staff writer at the Ringer, host of the Effectively Wild podcast, and author of the new book The MVP Machine: How Baseball’s New Nonconformists Are…
Economic Anxiety? Joy Disagrees.
Jun 25 • 38 min
On The Gist, Trump and Pence talking nonsense. In the interview, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, especially when it comes to elections. MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid figures that “the hungriest constituency” often gets its way at the ballot box. Black voters…
Erdogan Loses Istanbul. Now What?
Jun 24 • 32 min
On The Gist, Kamala Harris still has a lot to answer for. In the interview, media outlets used to employ ombudsmen—public editors who addressed readers’ concerns and weighed in on a newspaper’s reporting. Those roles have disappeared over the years but…
Trump’s Chaotic Approach to Iran
Jun 21 • 30 min
On The Gist, how much sanity does it cost to change a lightbulb? In the interview, babies don’t come with instructional manuals, but the publishing industry is more than ready to bombard new parents with the latest, always evolving wisdom on how to raise…
The Science of Song
Jun 20 • 30 min
On The Gist, are children growing horns? In the interview, how does Pandora know what music I want to hear? That’s all thanks to the work of Nolan Gasser, musicologist and the architect of Pandora’s Music Genome Project. He’s here to talk the origins of…
Taffy Brodesser-Akner Doesn’t Care What You’re Wearing
Jun 19 • 29 min
On The Gist, presidential candidates say the darndest things. In the interview, the best profile writer of our day doesn’t focus much on what her subjects are wearing—so we’ll only quickly mention that in the studio with The Gist, Taffy Brodesser-Akner…
Love, Rules, and Animal Puns
Jun 18 • 32 min
On The Gist, when science proves George Carlin right. In the interview, Raphael Bob-Waksberg is the creator of Bojack Horseman, but his so-earnest-it-hurts talent also extends to print. His new collection of short stories is Someone Who Will Love You in…
Where Christianity Meets Big Oil
Jun 17 • 25 min
On The Gist, Trump knows how to produce himself. In the interview, America’s discovery of oil fields has long been entwined with godly significance—whether these were exploited by oil barons like the Rockefellers or the smaller producers (or…
Un-Biel-ievable
Jun 14 • 29 min
On The Gist, Canada declares war on the plastic straw. In the interview, Emmy Blotnick has written for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and served as head writer on The President Show. But she also does stand-up, including in her new album Party Nights,…
A Generalist and a Scholar
Jun 13 • 31 min
On The Gist, who doesn’t get to be at the debates? In the interview, David Epstein’s new book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World is all about how having a wide base of knowledge is so much better than narrowing your focus. He’s here to…
Just Take My Money
Jun 12 • 35 min
On The Gist, curse the gauntlet that is buying an event ticket online.In the interview, John Urschel played as an offensive lineman in the NFL all while pursuing the PhD that would support an accomplished career as a mathematician. The values he practiced…
The Politics of Pith
Jun 11 • 26 min
On The Gist, Joe Biden curing cancer.In the interview, senior writer at the National Review Michael Brendan Dougherty is here to discuss his new book My Father Left Me Ireland: An American Son’s Search For Home. He and Mike talk about Dougherty’s journey…
Warren’s Wealth Tax Isn’t Enough
Jun 10 • 38 min
On The Gist, Democrats bob and weave around the question of abortion. In the interview, victims of crimes are often sidelined in the judicial process—the perpetrator is punished, but his or her target isn’t given the opportunity to set up the kind of…
Intellectual Agoraphobia
Jun 7 • 32 min
On The Gist, who’s on the right side of less auto pollution? In the interview, Adam Gopnik is here to discuss his new book, A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism, inspired by a conversation with his daughter. Who gets to make…
The Melodies of Evil
Jun 6 • 31 min
On The Gist, Joe Biden’s careful moderation leads him astray on abortion rights. In the interview, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick is back to talk all about the Supreme Court. How the recent abortion laws passed in the South impact the continued dismantling of…
What “Conservative” Means
Jun 5 • 34 min
On The Gist, holding Scott Peterson accountable after the Parkland shooting. In the interview, George Will has led conservative thought for decades, in over a dozen books and a Washington Post column he’s penned since 1974. In his latest work, The…
Saving Civilians, and the Mission
Jun 4 • 27 min
On The Gist, Trump visits the UK and drags London’s mayor. In the interview, Larry Lewis doesn’t just analyze civilian casualties in the midst of wars; he’s worked within the State Department to minimize them. His research makes clear that sparing…
Out Like a Champ
Jun 3 • 32 min
On The Gist, even in defeat, Jeopardy! genius James Holzhauer made one really smart play.In the interview, Mike Pesca sometimes bikes to work, and—in full adherence to New York City law, mind you—he doesn’t wear a helmet when he does. Should he, or are…
The Impeachment Tree of Possibilities
May 31 • 30 min
On The Gist, what to make of (alleged) executions in North Korea. In the interview, Slate’s chief news blogger, Ben Mathis-Lilley, makes the case for impeaching Trump. In his reasoning, impeachment proceedings would give Congress a stronger hand in…
Enemies in Eurasia
May 30 • 32 min
On The Gist, using Olympic-sized swimming pools as units of measurements. In the interview, beyond covering national security as a journalist, CNN’s Jim Sciutto worked a stint in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. In both careers, he’s seen signs of a shrinking…
The Mueller Dud
May 29 • 29 min
On The Gist, it’s a shoe! It’s a phone! It’s… both?In the interview, Darrick Hamilton’s ideas and research have the attention of more than one Democratic candidate for president. The Ohio State University professor—and head of the Kirwan Institute—studies…
Impeach a President
May 28 • 38 min
On The Gist, calculating whether or not impeachment is the right move. In the interview, Andrew Johnson was the first president to be impeached so Congress had to basically figure out how it worked as they did it. Brenda Wineapple is here to discuss the…
The Impeachment Special
May 27 • 34 min
President Trump may yet face impeachment proceedings, so we’re bringing you a roundup of two previous Gist interviews on the topic. The first is with the youngest woman ever elected to the House, Liz Holtzman—who participated in the Nixon impeachment…
The Real Crimes of the TV Show Cops
May 24 • 33 min
On The Gist, Theresa May’s resignation. In the interview, Dan Taberski’s latest podcast series Running From Cops digs into the long-running reality series Cops to understand what’s actually going on in those arrests on screen and how accurate the stories…
Life After Parkland
May 23 • 31 min
On The Gist, a look at the worst arguments in the debate over abortion. In the interview, After Parkland follows the lives of those affected by the Parkland shooting. That includes Tori Gonzalez, who lost her boyfriend, Joaquin Oliver, to the tragedy.…
Planned Parenthood Plans for Action
May 22 • 32 min
On The Gist, Biden’s electability. In the interview, eight states have passed bills to limit abortion access so far this year. And while these may not end up surviving challenges in court (whether Supreme or lower), getting an abortion is already…
What Basketball Gave Felipe Lopez
May 21 • 32 min
On The Gist, oh, Ben Carson. In the interview, Felipe Lopez was once billed the Dominican Michael Jordan. His star power even in high school led the team to play in bigger New York City venues—the better to fit the legions of fans who cheered as he…
The First “Welfare Queen”
May 20 • 36 min
On The Gist, the gift to the Morehouse graduates is great, but should it be celebrated or just the standard? In the interview, Linda Taylor committed many crimes, but only one of them—welfare fraud—really mattered to politicians, the press, and the…
A Very Grumpy Death
May 17 • 40 min
On The Gist, Grumpy Cat is dead. So are Bill de Blasio’s chances at winning the White House. In the interview, 1999 might be the greatest year in film—think The Matrix, The Sixth Sense, and Fight Club. But does Magnolia belong in the great movie pantheon,…
The Personal Is Geopolitical
May 16 • 33 min
On The Gist, what correlates with anti-abortion views (and votes) more than being a man? Being a Republican. In the interview, Jared Diamond brings new meaning to the old slogan that the personal is political. The author of Guns, Germs, and Steel argues…
Have a Job? Thank Yourself, Not Trump.
May 15 • 33 min
On The Gist, anti-abortion state legislatures know full well that the Supreme Court could one day turn on Roe v. Wade. In the interview, Chuck Rosenberg is a former U.S. attorney who also once worked for Robert Mueller. He’s here to talk about his new…
“No War” Is the Best Trump Can Do
May 14 • 35 min
On The Gist, the NBA draft lottery. In the interview, Richard Clarke doesn’t have security clearance anymore, so on his podcast he talks to a lot of people who still do. His 10 years as a White House official gave him the bug for asking questions to sharp…
Decoding the Bliss Gene
May 13 • 31 min
On The Gist, groans over Game of Thrones. In the interview, Maria Konnikova is back for another round of “Is That Bullshit?” Because Mike experiences less anxiety than most, he has often wondered if he has higher levels of anandamide—a neurotransmitter…
Comedy Is No Revolution
May 10 • 33 min
On The Gist, Instagram and FOMO. In the interview, they say president Trump has killed comedy. But in Larry Wilmore’s book, comedy isn’t responsible for leading us to the “right” kind of outrage or political enlightenment. Its role—get this—is to make us…
Bigger Than Titanic
May 9 • 41 min
On The Gist, magic mushrooms afoot!In the interview, every Avengers movie has an argument at its core. In the Marvel franchise’s finale—Avengers: Endgame—director Anthony Russo says it’s “that you can change destiny, but at the same time, you can’t always…
Who Makes The Gist?
May 8 • 37 min
On The Gist, maybe Trump wants to be impeached? Then it’s a change of format as all the former and current producers of The Gist gather together for a roundtable. Founding producer Andrea Silenzi discusses the origins of The Gist, past producers Chris…
The Retro Hits and Repeats of 2014
May 7 • 37 min
On The Gist, president Trump’s mixes and matches idioms all the time, but his rhetoric doesn’t really suffer from it.In the interview, 2014 was full of retro vibes and repeats, with hits like “Happy,” “All About That Bass,” and “Blank Space” echoing older…
The Gist of the Past Five Years
May 6 • 34 min
On The Gist, do we need primary debates? We’re starting our fifth anniversary celebration week with a look back at the past. Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad was a guest on the first episode of The Gist so he’s back to reflect on the last five years, how podcasting…
Bird City
May 3 • 28 min
On The Gist, is it unusual that Attorney General William Barr didn’t look at the underlying evidence covered in the Mueller report? In the interview, Tuca & Bertie is the new series from Lisa Hanawalt, best know for her art direction on Bojack Horseman.…
“I’ll Take Second Place for $2,000”
May 2 • 31 min
On The Gist, how many people have declared they’re running for president? In the interview, breaking a record doesn’t always mean going home a winner. Adam Levin learned that in his recent run on Jeopardy!, where he banked more money than any runner-up in…
Derby or Die?
May 1 • 30 min
On The Gist, the latest in the Mueller report saga. In the interview, the Kentucky Derby is this Saturday, but this year, the horse racing event is overshadowed by high fatality rates among equines in California’s Santa Anita Park: 23 have died in just…
It’s a Code World
Apr 30 • 28 min
On The Gist, the New Yorker’s profile of John Bolton. In the interview, coders have gone from a band of misfits to rulers of Silicon Valley. Clive Thompson is out with a book about that evolution, which examines the reckless product design stoked by the…
Avengers: But For Real
Apr 29 • 31 min
On The Gist, the news media is getting better at demoting the names of America’s mass shooters. That’s a good thing, even as the internet’s darker corners do the opposite. In the interview, comedian Josh Gondelman is from Boston, but he often comes across…
Why Fools Fall in Love
Apr 26 • 36 min
On The Gist, the 2020 candidates’ proposals shouldn’t be compared to some progressive ideal, but to some of the stuff we spend taxpayer dollars on now. In the interview, the pace of technological change means we might only be catching onto malicious…
It’s Getting Hot in Here
Apr 25 • 34 min
On The Gist, the difference between one million and one billion. In the interview, Nathaniel Rich is here to discuss his new book Losing Earth about the decade of 1979-1989 and why they are so important to understanding America’s political history of…
Joe Biden’s Battle
Apr 24 • 35 min
On The Gist, whether he’s on the most electable part of the political spectrum or not, Joe Biden is about to go through the wringer. In the interview, winning a major sports championship is a thrill few ever get to know. But what happens when you keep…
The Never-ending CNN Town Hall
Apr 23 • 35 min
On The Gist, Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America.” In the interview, comedian and filmmaker Lake Bell is here to discuss her new tv series Bless This Mess. About a newlywed couple who move from New York City to Nebraska, it’s a play on the…
Elizabeth Stormborn, Mother of Democrats!
Apr 22 • 31 min
On The Gist, Rudy Giuliani was a big, loud, and busy distraction this past Sunday.In the interview, it’s a round of “Is That Bullshit?” with Maria Konnikova. In the hot seat: the humble egg. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical…
The International Hilarity of Loyiso Gola
Apr 19 • 34 min
On The Gist, sick children and dead ducks are pretty convincing. In the interview, South African comedian Loyiso Gola is here to talk about his stand up special on Netflix, what it’s like performing in different countries, and why talking about the…
It’s Mueller Overtime
Apr 18 • 31 min
On The Gist, Trump’s fundamental misreading of politics. In the interview, Garrett Graff’s afternoon was as busy as any journalist’s, picking through the redacted Mueller report released by the Department of Justice. There’s something new on every page,…
The Better Angels of Big Business
Apr 17 • 28 min
On The Gist, the redacted Mueller report as an exercise in Zen. In the interview, economist Tyler Cowen is just about the smartest person in Mike Pesca’s podcast feed. He’s on the Gist to answer rapid fire questions on the college admissions scandal, what…
Lock Up Your Mothers
Apr 16 • 30 min
On The Gist, sparing a thought for Notre Dame… and how Americans pronounce it. In the interview, Politico’s Anna Palmer on what Trump is doing to America as he navigates a government he doesn’t understand. Her book, co-written with Jake Sherman, is The…
The Farmers’ Candidate
Apr 15 • 33 min
On The Gist, wait, what did I miss? In the interview, Democratic candidates for the presidency recently flew to Iowa for a forum on agriculture to answer some questions. And asking them was Storm Lake Times editor Art Cullen, who knows a thing or two…
The Divergent Charts of 1994
Apr 12 • 39 min
On The Gist, two popes is one pope too many.In the interview, songs like “The Sign” and “I’ll Make Love to You” dominated the charts in 1994, but they weren’t all that emblematic of what was happening in music that year. Chris Molanphy has ideas as to…
The Real Cost of Medicare for All
Apr 11 • 36 min
On The Gist, the political parties of Israel. In the interview, Jean McConville’s murder in 1972—when The Troubles were at their bloodiest—sparked what few deaths did in Northern Ireland: a reckoning. The New Yorker’s Patrick Radden Keefe joins us to give…
The Candace Owens Sideshow
Apr 10 • 36 min
On The Gist, Candance Owens isn’t digging herself out of this ahistorical, Hitler-relativizing hole. In the interview, Ian Chillag is back with another season of Everything Is Alive, a podcast where he interviews the everyday objects around us that we…
Misquoter in Chief
Apr 9 • 35 min
On The Gist, Trump’s latest campaign video is wild. In the interview, Scotland’s Daniel Sloss churns out comedy specials at an almost alarming rate, completing his tenth at age 28. He’s here to talk about circumcision, Brexit, and why the left is doomed…
The Puppet Masters
Apr 8 • 31 min
The worst part about the Trump administration’s high turnover? Every cabinet member is worse than the last. In the interview, Grigori Rasputin bent the ear of the last Russian tsar, manipulating affairs of state behind the scenes as he saw fit. But how…
Are Chiropractors Quacks?
Apr 5 • 30 min
On The Gist, like every week in Trump’s America, this has been a wasted one. In the interview, Maria Konnikova is back for another round of “Is That Bullshit?” She talks chiropractors, whether or not cracking your back and neck is helpful, and what…
There’s No Real Dirt on the Dems So Far
Apr 4 • 36 min
On The Gist, Mueller’s report (or much of it) is bound to go public. In the interview, Wright Thompson has his place on the Mount Rushmore of sports writers, and his signature form is the profile. Tiger Woods, Lionel Messi, Michael Jordan and the like are…
We All Need to Talk
Apr 3 • 31 min
On The Gist, Trump should avoid healthcare. In the interview, Lori Gottlieb is a journalist and a therapist, and she’s here to discuss her new book Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, why she became a…
The Societal Optimist
Apr 2 • 32 min
On The Gist, calming down about Trump’s bombast. In the interview, Nicholas Christakis is here to discuss his new book Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society, how he studied the progression of goodness throughout human history, the way…
The Thrilling Don Winslow
Apr 1 • 29 min
On The Gist, Joe Biden’s nose nuzzle. In the interview, Don Winslow’s new book The Border is the final part of his trilogy on drug cartels. He’s here today to discuss the work, how it’s been twenty years in the making, and the difficulty of trying to get…
“Guest is God”
Mar 29 • 32 min
On The Gist, the next wave of start-ups should be like the tech companies we have now, but with a conscience. In the interview, filmmaker Anthony Maras is more wedded to a theme—people in extremis—than a form, and his latest is a thriller based on true…
Adam Schiff Is Not Okay
Mar 28 • 36 min
On The Gist, Mike Pesca, in true hipster fashion, laments the end of Wow Air. In the interview, much of the news media was guilty of hyping up the knockout blow that Mueller’s report would deliver president Trump. But a few journalists on the left were…
The Boeing Lesson
Mar 27 • 32 min
On The Gist, Boeing is in a tight spot. In the interview, the boxing match between Mike Tyson and Buster Douglas was one for the ages. Everyone so expected Tyson to win that people weren’t even placing bets until the odds were 42 to 1. In the new 30 for…
Trump’s Post-Mueller Strategy
Mar 26 • 35 min
On The Gist, the latest gridlock facing the Green New Deal should clue in its backers in Congress. In the interview, Huwe Burton was 16 years old when detectives browbeat him into a false confession of murder. He spent about 20 years in prison as a…
The Mueller Report Report
Mar 25 • 35 min
On The Gist, we should be willing to accept that the Barr letter and Mueller report won’t lead to any indictments. In the interview, David Priess, former CIA staffer and daily intelligence briefer for Robert Mueller, is here to talk about the Mueller…
The Real March Madness Upset
Mar 22 • 31 min
On The Gist, ISIS may be defeated, but the people who made up its forces aren’t gone. In the interview, novelist John Lanchester is here to discuss his new novel The Wall, the symbolic and practical use of walls, and how closely we should pay attention to…
The Past and Future Biden
Mar 21 • 33 min
On The Gist, who paid for those two Chinese-born tech magnates to take photos with Trump? In the interview, Vanderbilt professor Jonathan Metzl is here to discuss his new book Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s…
Solving Maternal Mortality
Mar 20 • 28 min
On The Gist, have you heard about the mob hit that took place a few weeks ago? In the interview, journalist Sarah Kliff joins us to discuss maternal mortality rates in the United States, what California has done to fix it, and what the rest of the country…
What Merchants of Truth Gets Right
Mar 19 • 38 min
On The Gist, it wouldn’t just be morally right for Trump to finally denounce white nationalism. It would be politically smart.In the interview, Jill Abramson’s Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts was released to glowing…
Beto Takes a Stand
Mar 18 • 31 min
On The Gist, Beto O’Rourke, the countertop candidate. In the interview, historian Rutger Bregman got in a spat with Fox host Tucker Carlson, but you wouldn’t know it if it weren’t for his own video of the incident. Fox never aired it, as Bregman accused…
In New Zealand, the Internet at Its Worst
Mar 15 • 35 min
On The Gist, Senator Thom Tillis’ op-ed, now with moral fiber! In the interview, no one’s ever had to wonder what was on tech journalist Kara Swisher’s mind (she’ll just tell you) and that includes the litany of Silicon Valley oligarchs she’s interviewed.…
Manafort in Ostrich Court
Mar 14 • 29 min
On The Gist, Beto O’Rourke is running for president. But should he? In the interview, Tim Alberta, chief political correspondent for Politico, recently wrote a piece about Reps. Ilhan Omar and Dean Phillips and the current divide in the Democratic party,…
How to Close the Justice Gap
Mar 13 • 33 min
On The Gist, three stray thoughts on the college admissions scandal. In the interview, Maria Konnikova is back to talk about those naïve millennials. Last year many of them were duped into paying thousands for tickets to Billy McFarland’s Fyre Festival, a…
The Fraud Squad
Mar 12 • 37 min
On The Gist, Bill de Blasio flapping his arms to R. Kelly. In the interview, Sal Gentile writes for late night television, but he lives in president Trump’s mind around the clock. Every day he writes insights and jokes about Trump’s latest ramblings for…
Let the Sun Shine in 2020
Mar 11 • 33 min
On The Gist, much ado about a toothpick ban. In the interview, Wikipedia is famously edited by its own readers. And no one has made more contributions than Steven Pruitt. A third of English language pages on the site bear his mark! What goes into editing…
American Carnage? It’s Real
Mar 8 • 34 min
On The Gist, Rep. Ilhan Omar and Israel. In the interview, the Guardian’s Chris McGreal covered the deadly toll opiates take on poor American communities “long before it became fashionable because of Trump.” He speaks to Purdue Pharma’s zealous campaign…
The Endless Fact Check
Mar 7 • 30 min
On The Gist, Stormy is in the news (but not that Stormy).In the interview, Donald Trump speaks many untruths every day, and someone has to track them all. Somehow that task has fallen to a Canadian. The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale is here to tell us what…
The Unbelievably Bad Michael Jackson Defense
Mar 6 • 35 min
On The Gist, distracting Congress from H.R. 1. In the interview, sexual promiscuity is judged differently among men compared to women, and that goes double for sex addiction. Franco-Moroccan novelist Leïla Slimani’s latest protagonist, Adèle, knows that…
Top Chef, the Anti-Reality TV?
Mar 5 • 36 min
On The Gist, Fox News isn’t distributing Trump’s talking points. Worse, it’s defining them. In the interview, reality TV typically thrives on drama and negativity. Top Chef isn’t necessarily an exception, but season 16 competitor David Viana says morale…
The Incoherent Right
Mar 4 • 31 min
On The Gist, the White House PR machine. In the interview, John Carlin is a former Asst. Attorney General for the Dept. of Justice and former Chief of Staff to Robert Mueller, and his new book Dawn of the Code War tracks the rise of global cyber threats…
Believing Jackson’s Accusers
Mar 1 • 29 min
On The Gist, John Hickenlooper might be running for president. In the interview, Dan Reed reached out to Wade Robson and James Safechuck before #MeToo exploded, but its influence is clear. In the director’s documentary for HBO, Leaving Neverland, we hear…
Is AOC Post-Truth Too?
Feb 28 • 24 min
On The Gist, the empty political rhetoric that is “everyday people.”In the interview, fact-checking is big business in the age of Trump. But one politician diametrically opposed to the president—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—is playing fast and loose with…
Michael Cohen Isn’t Smart
Feb 27 • 21 min
On the Gist, Michael Cohen is not a smart guy, and that makes his testimony all the more trustworthy. In the interview, Casey Burgat of R Street is here to talk about Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s staff turnover data. Does she seem to churn through staff more than…
The Spring Breaker Vote
Feb 26 • 28 min
On The Gist, corn syrup and beer. In the interview, what’s the difference between a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old? In terms of maturity, not so much. But only one of them has the right to vote. In Oregon, state Sen. Shemia Fagan is hoping to change that,…
Mayor for America
Feb 25 • 33 min
On The Gist, asymmetric warfare means America’s got some pretty lame enemies. In the interview, women aren’t the only demographic group making the 2020 race especially diverse. Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is considering a…
Billionaire Bashing Is Just for Sport
Feb 22 • 35 min
On The Gist, even with a genuinely good story, president Trump just can’t get his facts right. In the interview, his name is Mo Rocca, and he’s out with a new podcast of obituaries. So it’s only natural, of course, that it be called Mobituaries. His audio…
A Show, But a Riddle Too
Feb 21 • 36 min
On The Gist, the deep state or a shallow president? In the interview, director Leslye Headland has been on The Gist before, and is back for more. But unlike the protagonist of Russian Doll, her new Netflix show, he isn’t likely to find herself stuck in a…
The Viability of Bernie Sanders
Feb 20 • 34 min
On The Gist, news should be new. In the interview, our resident vexillologist Ted Kaye is back to talk about San Francisco’s flag. Where does its design come from, and is it really the best modern representation of the city? Kaye’s book is Good Flag, Bad…
The Chinese Threat is Overblown
Feb 19 • 31 min
On The Gist, Bernie is in. Are billionaires out?In the interview, president Trump may be the chief saber-rattler when it comes to China, but acting tough against the world’s second biggest economy is a bipartisan pastime. With challenges like global…
New York’s Bad Math
Feb 14 • 37 min
On The Gist, racy names for missiles. In the interview, Chris Molanphy is here to talk about the Billboard hits of 1979, disco’s last hurrah, and how the year prepares for the coming wave of pop. Molanphy is the host of Hit Parade and writes the column…
Matt Braunger, Funny Dummy
Feb 13 • 31 min
On The Gist, sometimes Howard Stern can be helpful. In the interview, stand-up comedian and podcaster Matt Braunger is here to discuss his new special Finally Live in Portland, his podcast Advice From a Dipshit, and whether or not he would eat racist…
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Seconds
Feb 12 • 33 min
On The Gist, Democratic leaders should slow down the next time a Virginia-sized fiasco comes along. In the interview, podcasters can storm off a set too—even if it’s their own. Words Matter host Adam Levine pressed his colleague Steve Schmidt on details…
Open Season For America’s Wars
Feb 11 • 34 min
On The Gist, if president Trump wanted to denounce bullying, he could have done better than inviting a boy named Trump (no relation) to the State of the Union address. In 2001, Congress gave president Bush a nearly blank check for command of an American…
Quoth the Maven
Feb 8 • 26 min
On The Gist, wise words from the mouth of Jeff Bezos… by way of Amazon’s Alexa. In the interview, green energy may be clean, but that doesn’t mean its infrastructure is any less garish. Energy reporter Amy Harder reminds us that one of the…
The Green New Deal Is a Dream
Feb 7 • 34 min
On The Gist, don’t lick people you work with. In the interview, reading a whole book is great, but sometimes all you need is the introduction. Author Elisa Gabbert thinks so, and joins us to talk about intros and other “front matter”; a novel that unfolds…
The State of the Union is… Overrated
Feb 6 • 29 min
On The Gist, who oh who will govern the state of Virginia? In the interview, when Roger McNamee jumped in as an early investor in Facebook, he might not have figured he’d end up testifying about the company in front of Congress. McNamee charts Facebook’s…
The Culture of Wealth
Feb 5 • 26 min
On The Gist, Gov. Andrew Cuomo still doesn’t understand puns. In the interview, Lauren Greenfield has been documenting the wealthy for the past 25 years and has finally turned that into her new film Generation Wealth, an exploration of the rise of wealth…
To Russia With Love
Feb 4 • 34 min
On The Gist, parsing president Trump’s one-on-one press interviews may be a fool’s errand, but at least it’s a fun one.In the interview, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller has reported from the murkiest depths of the Trump swamp. He’s on The Gist to talk…
This Festival Was Fyre
Feb 1 • 30 min
On The Gist, throwback to Mike Pesca’s unnecessarily censored yearbook quote. In the interview, Seth Crossno, also known by his online persona William Needham Finley IV, thought it would be fun to go to the Fyre Festival with his buddies. And while the…
Kids Are Weird. You Can Be Weird Too.
Jan 31 • 28 min
On The Gist, get off of your phone and out of my way when it’s snowing. In the interview, there’s no one right way to raise a child, but a few hacks sure help. Podcaster, author, and mother Hillary Frank gives you permission to do what it takes to make…
Medicare for All, Dissent From None
Jan 30 • 29 min
On The Gist, this one is brought to you by the letter T. In the interview, does using a stool really help your stool? Can the Squatty Potty offer any actual health benefits or is that smooth dookie all in your mind? Maybe the contraption’s popular just…
E Pluribus Unum, Still?
Jan 29 • 33 min
On The Gist, “the big game” is a dumb way to refer to the Super Bowl.If you were to pick a moment in U.S. history that put it on the path to polarization, you could do worse than Watergate. What followed were the blue and red bubbles staked out by CNN in…
Stone Cold Weirdos
Jan 28 • 32 min
On The Gist, Nancy Pelosi is a skilled politician, sure… but she’s scoring her wins against an incompetent one in president Trump. In the interview, we obsess about the lives of stars, but what about their not-so-famous siblings? Comedy Central’s The…
Big Tent Primaries
Jan 25 • 33 min
On The Gist, pairing 2020 candidates with this or that Oscar-nominated film.In the interview, don’t take a shot every time Donna Brazile calls herself one of the Democratic Party’s “original gangsters.” But it’s true: she’s been at the heart of its…
Digital Journalism, a Market Failure
Jan 24 • 31 min
On The Gist, Necco Wafers are out this Valentine’s Day, but don’t shed a tear. In the interview, some movies live for the twist. Steven Knight’s latest film, Serenity, is ostensibly about a sea captain’s Melvillian obsessions. Knight joins us to talk…
The Dismissal of Kamala Harris
Jan 23 • 25 min
On The Gist, you can’t give Ann Coulter a win. Rick Pitino is a former American basketball coach who experienced a number of scandals in the past few years, leading him to leave America for the Greek Basket League. But how did a renowned basketball coach…
Will #MeToo Face the Music?
Jan 22 • 28 min
On The Gist, Joni Ernst’s divorce filing. When Jessica Hopper started out writing about music, trolls and affronted fans didn’t tweet at you; they wrote you a letter. The world’s move to digital has changed that, and helped bring about the #MeToo movement…
For 2020, Steve King Is Dead Weight
Jan 18 • 33 min
On The Gist, BuzzFeed’s new report on Trump. Earlier this week Rep. Steve King was denounced by much of his party because of remarks he gave to the New York Times about white supremacy. He may have misspoken or chosen to change his wording if given the…
Know Your Memes, or Be Fooled by Them
Jan 17 • 30 min
On the Gist, the knife-wielding skills of Nancy Pelosi. In the interview, An Xiao Mina has tracked the meme from its goofy origins to its use in anti-authoritarian protest and (more recently) disinformation. What’s next, and how can we minimize the harm…
Tax Their Stuff, Not Their Money
Jan 16 • 30 min
On The Gist, Kirsten Gillibrand running for president. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently floated the idea of a 70 percent marginal tax rate on America’s highest earners. That’s bad for millionaires, but is it even that good for everyone else? The New…
Stop Going Nuclear
Jan 15 • 34 min
On The Gist, ’twas an eventful news day (William Barr, opioid fatality statistics, Brexit … ), but Mike’s got a big Spiel to fry.In the interview, Greg Jaczko served as chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission under Obama—and soon grew…
Against Steve King, Words Aren’t Enough
Jan 14 • 29 min
On The Gist, president Trump is far from tough on Russia, and too many news talk shows let his allies make that claim.In the interview, Jennifer Traig thought she knew what she was getting into when she became a parent, until “washing diarrhea out of…
The Future (of A.I.) Is Chinese
Jan 11 • 33 min
On The Gist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s star power isn’t something to fear. Especially if you’re a Democrat. “The world is a very dangerous place!” as a statement from President Donald Trump’s desk once put it. Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer gets…
When Fact Meets Fiction
Jan 10 • 28 min
On The Gist, costs and benefits in the government. In the interview, Matthew Heineman is here to discuss his new film A Private War. Though usually a documentary filmmaker, this time around he tried his hand at a feature. Focused on the life of journalist…
The Kids Are Not All Right
Jan 9 • 31 min
On The Gist, the days are getting longer, the brand names shorter.In the interview, millennial whisperer (or, you know, just plain millennial) Anne Helen Petersen recently diagnosed “the burnout generation” in a viral feature for BuzzFeed. Student debt,…
Addressing the Facts
Jan 8 • 32 min
On The Gist, do presidential addresses change anything? In the interview, NPR’s David Folkenflik joins us to talk about Donald Trump’s Oval Office address. Should the networks give airtime to someone so averse to facts, even if he is the president? Is…
The Likeability Illusion
Jan 7 • 33 min
On The Gist, news networks should do us a favor and not air Trump’s prime-time speech on Tuesday night.In the interview, Greg Sargent is an indispensable voice for anyone looking to grasp the inner workings of American democracy. In his new book, he…
What’s Wrong With Motherf—-er?
Jan 4 • 27 min
On The Gist, works produced 75 years ago are now entering the public domain. And some are what 2019 would call “problematic.”David Bowie once sang that we can all be heroes … but villainy is where it’s really at. In the Ringer podcast Villains, host Shea…
There’s Something in the Water
Jan 3 • 31 min
On The Gist, what do Kim Jong-un’s letters and Shaquille O’Neal sneakers have in common? In the interview, you’ve likely heard of microplastics, but are they something to worry about? Maria Konnikova is here with answers in another round of “Is That…
Impeachment Is a Real Crapshoot
Jan 2 • 34 min
On The Gist, the government shutdown continues. In the interview, impeachment proceedings have never removed a president from office (in Bill Clinton’s case, they even offered a bump in approval ratings). So is it really the best route for those who see…
Andy Serkis, Motion Capture Master
Dec 28, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, Mike Pesca is leaving Facebook, mostly. In the interview, Andy Serkis is here to discuss his newest movie, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, along with the film’s star Rohan Chand. They talk about the magic of working in motion capture, how it…
The Babies Are Not All Right
Dec 27, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, why do daily news podcasts think they can take off for the holidays? In the interview, journalist Priska Neely has been writing about the rates of black infant mortality and why they’re so much higher than American infant mortality rates…
The Same Old Mike, Plus The New One
Dec 21, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, Donald Trump is to “wall” as zombies are to “braaaains.”In his Broadway show (The New One) Mike Birbiglia tells you why procreation is a terrible idea, before waxing lyrical on the joys of raising a daughter—it’s complicated; he’s…
Free Money for Everyone?
Dec 20, 2018 • 34 min
On The Gist, Amazon or marijuana? In the interview, Andrew Yang has declared his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election, and his platform is universal basic income. But how does that work? Is there room for that and other progressive platforms like…
Adam Keeps Ruining Everything
Dec 19, 2018 • 34 min
On The Gist, the government shutdown and Santa. In the interview, Adam Conover joins us to discuss the latest season of Adam Ruins Everything, how they ruin things like guns and mattresses, the mistakes they’ve made along the way, and if there are any…
The Alt-Right Downturn
Dec 18, 2018 • 36 min
On The Gist, why Mick Mulvaney’s trash talk didn’t cost him a job under Trump.In the interview, is the alt-right waning? An expert on the movement, George Hawley, says that de-platforming worked to counter hateful figures like Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex…
Don’t Trust the Stars
Dec 17, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, maybe Rudy Giuliani isn’t deteriorating. Rather, his job now (defending Trump’s shenanigans) is tougher than any he’s had.Maria Konnikova is back to call bullshit on astrology. She walks us through its origins in ancient Chaldea, its…
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Dec 14, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, the demise of the Weekly Standard. Then, going with your gut isn’t always best (despite what President Donald Trump may tell you). Writer Steven Johnson says making better decisions can be as simple as considering multiple options instead of…
One Quiet Leap for Mankind
Dec 13, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, Jeff Bezos is one rich man. That doesn’t make him (and Amazon) bad for New York City.In the interview, First Man is as much about Neil Armstrong the man as it is about Neil Armstrong the astronaut. Instead of depicting him planting a U.S.…
When the President Speaks …
Dec 12, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, President Trump interrupted Nancy Pelosi because he interrupts everyone.In the interview, the deputy executive director of U.N. Women, Åsa Regnér, knows how to bring more women into politics. Countries like Bolivia, Rwanda, and those in…
Halls of Fame Need Diversity, Too
Dec 11, 2018 • 39 min
On The Gist, it’s tough to find a host for the Oscars.In the interview, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame can quickly become incestuous, since past winners get to vote on future inductees. But this year’s 15 nominees break the mold of guitar-slinging dudes…
They Can’t Hear You, Theresa
Dec 10, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, the bottomless Pinocchio. Americans are filled with anxiety in the pursuit of happiness, and social media isn’t making it any better. But how do we even define happy, and will changing our online habits actually change anything? Author Ruth…
High Time for Impeachment?
Dec 7, 2018 • 36 min
On The Gist, the GOP isn’t overtly racist. But it once was.In the interview, Liz Holtzman was the youngest woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, and she did it in 1973. She also served as a member of the House Judiciary Committee as they…
The Walk of the Town
Dec 6, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, is Sherrod Brown annoying? In the interview, Matt Green is on a yearslong mission to walk all the streets of New York City—and Jeremy Workman filmed him doing many of them for a documentary, The World Before Your Feet. Alongside Workman and…
The Eulogy Myth
Dec 5, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, stop wishing Jews happy holidays if Hanukkah has already passed. How do you explain wit? James Geary attempted to answer that question with his new book, Wit’s End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It, but quickly found that the…
Sullying a Pup’s Good Name
Dec 4, 2018 • 24 min
On The Gist, a “tariff man” sing-along! Then, Maria Konnikova is back for another round of “Is That Bullshit?” She and Mike discuss the cigar-shaped space object (known as ‘Oumuamua) picked up by astronomers last year. Was it an alien vehicle, or just…
Wild Wild Story
Dec 3, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, in doing less than his son did in the Middle East, George H.W. Bush did better.In the interview, Wild Wild Country was one of the year’s most riveting documentaries. But one of its sources, journalist Les Zaitz, argues that it pulls punches…
Very Legal, Very Cool
Nov 30, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, should people be let go for one bad idea? 30 for 30 has been a hugely successful documentary series in both video and audio form for ESPN. Jody Avirgan sits at its podcast helm with a new season covering stories like Jose Canseco’s steroid…
How to Shoot a Fight
Nov 29, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, cows are beef, even if they’ve reached internet fame.In the interview, Steven Caple Jr. watched everything from Jean-Claude Van Damme movies to street-fight videos before directing Creed II, the latest film in the Rocky franchise. He joins…
The Parent Police
Nov 28, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, the Nancy Pelosi nonstory (spoiler alert: she’s going to win the speakership) is distracting us from the Trump administration’s latest misdeeds.In the interview, Kim Brooks received 100 hours of community service in 2011 for leaving her son…
Would the U.S. Win World War III?
Nov 27, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, Cindy Hyde-Smith is on the MAGA wagon. In the interview, the U.S. has long been the global leader in military spending. But is that enough to guarantee victory in a war against Russia, China, or both? Aaron Mehta covers the Pentagon for…
Make Voting Rights Sexy Again
Nov 26, 2018 • 36 min
On The Gist, Danielle Pletka’s thoughts on climate change and Saudi Arabia.In the interview, the Republican Party’s voter suppression isn’t the result of philosophy or values—it just helps them win. In making the fight over voting rights public, Democrats…
Obesity, and You, and Me!
Nov 21, 2018 • 35 min
On The Gist, the state of the runoff Senate election down in Mississippi.Fat shaming is inexcusable. But so is denying some of the health problems that come with being obese. Maria Konnikova gives us a pre-Thanksgiving report on the latest science and…
The Many, Many Ways to Think About Running
Nov 20, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, a historian at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner? Why not?When a young Peter Sagal was labeled “not great at sports,” it didn’t sit well with him. But if that drove him to running in the first place, he now has plenty of reasons to keep…
Uncle Verne Pulls Up a Chair
Nov 19, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, violent, vicious, and terrible. These are a few of Trump’s favorite words.In the interview: Verne Lundquist announced sports games for decades. But in retirement, he has more time for classical music than whatever game is on TV. “I’m not a…
Ben Stiller’s Big Prison Break
Nov 16, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, President Donald Trump has finally made a nomination for ambassador to South Africa. And it is a terrible one.It’s hard to make comedy when your story, like Ben Stiller’s latest direction, is based on a state inspector general’s report.…
Cult Classic
Nov 15, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, Nancy Pelosi and new House leadership.Then, the self-help organization known as NXIVM had thousands of paying customers, but only some were involved in the cultish operations that, once exposed, brought it crashing down. In Uncover: Escaping…
Priming New York for Amazon
Nov 14, 2018 • 35 min
On The Gist, who’s running in 2020? Should we even speculate yet? Time for another segment of Mike debates Slate. Staff writer Henry Grabar is here to discuss Amazon’s choice of New York City, why people seem to keep misunderstanding what subsidies are,…
More Show Than Showdown
Nov 13, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, when will everyone stop walking and chewing gum at the same time? In the interview, it may have been a political stunt ahead of the midterms, but president Trump’s deployment of U.S. service members to the border continues. What are they even…
The Love of the (Basketball) Game
Nov 12, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, what kind of sped-up sports replays is Kellyanne Conway watching?The simplicity of basketball is also its genius, allowing players to exercise skill, heart, genius and passion in endlessly creative ways. Dan Klores embraces just that in his…
Two Countries, at the Cost of One
Nov 9, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, by any previous standard, we’d be saying that President Donald Trump lost the midterms, plain and simple.In the interview, Tuesday’s midterms saw red states get redder and blue ones bluer. If results like those keep repeating themselves,…
In a Political Bind? Call Bradley Tusk
Nov 8, 2018 • 36 min
On The Gist, the Democrats’ big win.Bradley Tusk has been in the background everywhere. His hand guided the rise of big political and tech brands, from advising Rod Blagojevich not to extort Rahm Emanuel to facilitating Uber’s explosive growth. He joins…
A Congresswoman Speaks
Nov 7, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, was last night a wave or not? If congresswoman Jackie Speier still kept a gratitude journal (“I don’t have time to do it!”), it would include an entry about the Democratic Party reclaiming the House in Tuesday’s midterms. Instead she’s out…
Just Ask Mimi
Nov 6, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, who gets to vote? Mimi Sheraton, the first female food critic at the New York Times, has had a prolific career sharing her opinion on everything like ladyfinger sellers, hope chests and china patterns, and why we’re all eating kale wrong. She…
What Newt Gingrich Wrought
Nov 5, 2018 • 35 min
On The Gist, live, from Slate, it’s a post-apocalyptic skit that just might come to pass if you don’t vote on Tuesday.In the interview, for decades, there was no need to hope for (or fear) a blue wave; until 1994, the Democratic Party enjoyed a 40-year…
Root for the Dummy
Nov 2, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, the Republican tax bill and insurance premiums.In the interview: a third-century monk, Paul Revere’s horse, and Death himself … all are characters in humorist Simon Rich’s latest book, Hits and Misses: Stories—and none are in on the joke. “I…
American Tribes
Nov 1, 2018 • 36 min
On The Gist, Pew’s analysis of European opinion surveys is out. Let’s look at Greece!In the interview, the American electorate has come to sort itself not just on political issues, but by worldview. Life is either a gauntlet of hazards (say Republicans)…
Hate Counts
Oct 31, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, Trump’s xenophobic campaign, with a Spooktacular twist!In the interview, hate is hard to measure, but the Southern Poverty Law Center paints a picture of growing prejudice in America. Heidi Beirich and the organization’s Intelligence Project…
Signed, Sealed, Forgotten
Oct 30, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, Mike’s bottom five causes. In the interview, we rewind to the story of the mail bomber, which was quickly eclipsed by a massacre in Pittsburgh and one loud president. Steve Johnson, who directs Cranfield University’s Forensic Explosive and…
For Every Brand, a Backstory
Oct 29, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, surprise surprise, right-wing commentators aren’t apologizing for getting the mail bomber story totally wrong.In the interview, brands don’t make it big by mistake. Behind the success of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte and Jell-O are stories…
The Blue Blizzard
Oct 26, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, the man in the van is a sad man indeed. Harry Enten is a senior writer and analyst for CNN Politics and steeped in the polling data for the election. Will Beto O’Rourke beat Ted Cruz? Is the blue wave cresting early? And why do Democrats care…
Et Tu, NBC?
Oct 25, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, Georgia’s exact match law is an extra hurdle for those with hyphenated last names, which, let us speculate, may be more common among black Americans.In the interview, CNBC contributor Ron Insana on Dow drops, market swings, and the uncertain…
Blame It on the Mailer
Oct 24, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, Megyn Kelly’s take on blackface was obviously wrong … and wrong for NBC’s messaging.Sleep isn’t for the weak; it’s for those who want their brains flushed of misfolded proteins and fatigue-inducing adenosine. If that sounds like mumbo-jumbo,…
Something in the Water
Oct 23, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, first we’ve got misleading statistics. In 2016, Art Cullen wrote a series of editorials for the Storm Lake Times, a small newspaper in Iowa, uncovering the murky depths of a fight between local and state governments about water pollution.…
The NFL Mafia
Oct 22, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, ’tis the season (elections!) for baseless political analysis, courtesy of big network news.Americans spend countless hours watching football, but what do they know about the owners of their favorite teams? In Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous…
Prison Guard Confidential
Oct 19, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, Europeans are fighting over daylight saving time, which is way better than having a World War.Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer has been on both sides of a prison’s bars. After spending two years as a political prisoner in Iran, he returned…
Land of (Only Some) Opportunity
Oct 18, 2018 • 35 min
On The Gist, Democrats might actually be winning. Supporters of open immigration policy—and immigrants themselves—often have a rosy view of what awaits them in the United States. National Review executive editor (and Slate alumnus) Reihan Salam says high…
Myth Management
Oct 17, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, bone saws and Jamal Khashoggi. When Joe Hagan began working on the story of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone, Wenner was on board. But as Wenner slowly realized Hagan was writing the true story rather than Wenner’s story, things got a bit rough.…
Between a Rock and a Funny Place
Oct 16, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, Saudi Arabia, Trump, and Jamal Khashoggi. Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman has had a post-scandal Louis C.K. take to his stage six times now. Why does he welcome him, and if he doesn’t draw the line at Louis, is it somewhere else? In the…
Bare Necessities? Not in Alaska.
Oct 15, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, unpacking CNN’s list of top Democratic challengers ahead of 2020.Katmai National Park and Preserve’s publicity stunt worked: For one week (that’s Fat Bear Week), the internet delighted in the tournament bracket that would crown the plumpest…
Olive Branch, Turkey Leg
Oct 12, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, how coverage of bisexuality has changed (for the better).Thanksgiving approaches, and with it all the tension that comes with mixing family and politics in the age of Trump. In that setting, Ike Barinholtz saw grist for a political comedy. He…
Going to The Good Place
Oct 11, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz. At first The Good Place on NBC appears to be a light and easy sitcom about a bad apple accidentally dropped into heaven, but look at little deeper and you’ll find a smart and dense comedy about moral philosophy.…
And What About Yemen?
Oct 10, 2018 • 36 min
On The Gist, should we continue to trust Facebook with our data? Saudi Arabia’s disastrous war with rebel tribes in Yemen is 3½ years deep, as is America’s support for it. Michael Knights, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy,…
Guarding the Court
Oct 9, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, it would be cynical to view the Supreme Court as illegitimate.Brett Kavanaugh has done it. But how will the other members of the Supreme Court treat him? And does his promotion affect the American people’s faith in the nation’s highest court?…
Take Down the Poll
Oct 5, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, after all of that, not a single senator changed his or her vote to back (or stop) Kavanaugh.In the interview, Jill Lepore’s new book focuses in part on the marginalized groups forgotten by other American histories. It also denounces the…
Sitting President, Standing Anger
Oct 4, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, the hippocampus has its moment.Tom Arnold believes incriminating tapes of Donald Trump are out there, and he wants to find them. In his new series for Viceland, The Hunt for the Trump Tapes, he’s looking for anything from more Access…
Reignited (and It Feels So Good)
Oct 3, 2018 • 36 min
On The Gist, Brett Kavanaugh’s high school and college buddies had some weird nicknames, and it’s not helping his case.Rebecca Traister is angry, and she knows other women are too. Events from Trump’s election through the #MeToo movement inspired her new…
Mueller on the Mind
Oct 2, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, Beto O’Rourke has the momentum but also a mountain to climb. In the interview, Neal Katyal has argued 37 cases before the Supreme Court, and (better yet!) joined Mike Pesca on stage at Slate Day in Austin, Texas. Our condensed version of the…
College-Aged Coddling
Oct 1, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, guest host John McWhorter considers campus safe spaces. In the past few years, college campuses have been shifting away from havens for free speech to safe spaces that bar divisive speakers from campus. But is this the right move, or are we…
The Kavanaugh Conspiracy
Sep 28, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, guest host Isaac Butler talks about all the news we forgot about thanks to the Kavanaugh hearing. The Constitution is a sacred text in America, but should it be? Heidi Schreck’s play What the Constitution Means to Me tackles that question…
Losing Hate
Sep 27, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, the Kavanaugh hearing. By all accounts, Derek Black was supposed to become the next David Duke. He was the man’s godson, after all, and his father, Don Black, had founded Stormfront, the world’s first and biggest white nationalist website.…
The Land of Steady Filmmaking
Sep 26, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, the GOP hired a woman!Nicole Holofcener’s films have centered women for more than two decades, but her latest one, The Land of Steady Habits,focuses on a man’s tumultuous story arc. She joins us to talk about adaptations (it was a novel…
Generation Anxiety
Sep 25, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, Trump gets laughs at the United Nations. After a few eccentric comedy specials, Bo Burnham next turned to his sympathy for the anxieties of middle school girls, and made a movie. If Eighth Grade (starring Elsie Fisher) seems to imitate life…
That’s the First Straw
Sep 24, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, how the breaking news machine bungled the Rod Rosenstein story.In the interview, California is set to ban certain restaurants from serving straws unless customers ask for one. But given that straws represent a tiny fraction of the plastics…
Tight Countries, Loose Countries
Sep 21, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, National Review has one good take on the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation story … and a lot of bad ones.In the interview, we’re used to thinking of societies along the “liberal/conservative” spectrum, but cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand has…
What Is … a Podcast, Alex?
Sep 20, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, Christine Blasey Ford deserves a hearing on her own terms, and that’s all we can say for now. Bert Kreischer is a comic who started out as just the biggest college partier in America according to Rolling Stone magazine in 1997. Since then…
Coal Over Climate
Sep 19, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, the latest in inane Trump statements.Climate change is bigger than any one of us, including the president of the United States. Given his backward policies and denials of scientific fact, he deserves his share of criticism in the aftermath of…
Owe Me the Money
Sep 18, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, taking issue with the sloppy headlines about the support (or lack thereof) for Brett Kavanaugh.In the interview, Stacey Abrams’ run for governor in Georgia has been criticized because of her huge outstanding debt. That got Ozy.com reporter…
Ethan Hawke’s Earnest Art
Sep 17, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, Hurricane Florence. Ethan Hawke has stunned us with his earnest, moving performances on-screen, but he’s also a talent behind the camera. His new directorial feature Blaze explores the life and love of the largely forgotten musician Blaze…
Democratic Socialists of America, for the Win?
Sep 14, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, Vladimir Putin, RT, and the Salisbury poisoning. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might have scary values to conservatives. But to the national director of the Democratic Socialists of America, she’s a moderate. Maria Svart calls the DSA a “big tent…
After Family Separations, a Settlement
Sep 13, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, John Hockenberry’s piece in Harper’s. Donald Trump is no stranger to settlements, and the latest of these come between his administration and hundreds of asylum-seekers. They were rejected after making their cases under the duress of being…
Billionaires Don’t Know Best
Sep 12, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, Vladimir Putin’s “private citizen” excuse doesn’t hold water.In the interview, philanthropic billionaires are better than villainous ones, but Anand Giridharadas argues they could do better. Instead of insisting on the superiority of private…
DeRay Mckesson Makes the Case for Hope
Sep 11, 2018 • 35 min
On The Gist, Mike is thinking he’ll vote Andrew Cuomo—but he’s open to you changing his mind.The 2014 shooting of Michael Brown upheaved many things in the U.S., including the career of DeRay Mckesson, who quit his job as an educator to become a full-time…
Stylometry for Dummies
Sep 10, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, are we having a national crisis?The New York Times’ publication of an anonymous op-ed has sparked rounds of speculation as to who’s behind it—and the deep-state trappings it describes. Some see the word “lodestar” as signature Mike Pence, but…
If You Want Power, Sell It
Sep 7, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, Lincoln, Kennedy, and Lincoln Kennedy could all speak better than President Trump.If you’re old enough to remember November 2016, you know that telling a good story—even an untrue one—wins elections. Author Yuval Noah Harari worries that…
The DoD Payroll Just Got Smaller
Sep 6, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. The Pentagon’s third-in-command is reportedly losing his job, and it’s hardly making news. As the Defense Department’s first-ever chief management officer, John Gibson is in charge of saving billions of…
Hedging Your Bets With Lake Success
Sep 5, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, Bob Woodward’s good intentions.Wealth and road trips are two of America’s favorite obsessions. In his new novel, Lake Success, Gary Shteyngart explores these themes through the story of a hedge fund manager who, after a crisis, takes a trip…
Farming for Red Herring
Sep 4, 2018 • 23 min
On The Gist, Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation is all but certain.A recent Donald Trump tweet gave credence to a bogus (and dangerous) claim: that South Africa’s white farmers are the first targets in a looming genocide. Quartz reporter Lynsey…
Bright Gays, Big City
Aug 31, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, Democrats, Republicans, and the N-word.Facebook now has television shows. While it might be surprising for viewers, for creators it’s an exciting new avenue to find an audience for shows not necessarily meant for the mainstream. Strangers is…
The OG GOP
Aug 30, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, there’s no use sugarcoating Starbucks’ Frappuccino.And in the interview… unprecedented! Preposterous! Unimaginable! Trump’s presidency and the GOP’s machinations actually do have antecedents, says historian Heather Cox Richardson. They’re in…
Fake News Is Nothing New
Aug 29, 2018 • 24 min
On The Gist, war games are back.Hoaxes have fooled us at least since the era of P.T. Barnum, but they’re especially prevalent in our era of political disinformation. Kevin Young is the author of Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies,…
Gerrymandering and You
Aug 28, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, Louis C.K. isn’t as despised as Twitter makes it seem, which is why an eventual comeback is likely.In the interview, Maria Konnikova breaks down the science of fasting, and why it’s currently associated with cancer treatments. Can it really…
#AbolishICE … and Then What?
Aug 28, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, the news media reveres John McCain because he failed with grace—and wasn’t too conservative.Chances are you’ve heard #AbolishICE before. Journalist and activist Sean McElwee kick-started it and argues it’s not just the agency that needs to go…
Crazy Rich Asians Is Important
Aug 24, 2018 • 21 min
On The Gist, guest host Stephanie Foo dives into Crazy Rich Asians, speaking with friend and fellow producer Kat Chow about Asian representation in media, the inspiration to create, and a hope that this film will lead to more Asian-centered media. Then…
Sweep the Left
Aug 23, 2018 • 24 min
On The Gist, nobody move or the economy gets it, Trump says. The guys behind the left’s most irreverent podcast (Chapo Trap House) want the Democratic Party to forget about Robert Mueller and set their sights on 2020. But in the short term? They’re…
Don’t Touch The “I” Word
Aug 22, 2018 • 25 min
On The Gist, guest host Alex Roarty thinks Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a way better message than simply “impeach Trump.” #NeverTrump Republicans are a vanishing breed. Crooked Media’s Tim Miller is one of them, and he tells Alex that the news media’s biases…
Trolls and Trump’s Lies
Aug 21, 2018 • 21 min
On The Gist, guest host Max Kerman considers why politicians are getting duped by Sacha Baron Cohen.Trump has lied so many times since he took office that it’s difficult for the normal person to focus on them. Luckily we’ve got Daniel Dale at the Toronto…
What Happened to “America’s Mayor”?
Aug 20, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, how will Rudy Giuliani go down in history, and in public memory?The midterm elections are looming, and the big question is how far the Democrats will go. Are they really likely to retake the House of Representatives? And how would that affect…
Listening to Inanimate Objects
Aug 17, 2018 • 34 min
On The Gist, if Trump weren’t so repulsive, would we judge his murky dealings a little more kindly?And we don’t much think about the inanimate objects in our lives, never considering the rich inner life of the lamppost, the can of Coke, or the humble…
Goodbye to the Queen of Soul
Aug 16, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, the free press.Aretha Franklin has died at 76, and she was much more than a golden voice. Slate’s Chris Molanphy recalls her talents at the piano and in the composition room, where she wrote timeless music and, with her covers, transformed…
The Heart of Reality Television
Aug 15, 2018 • 24 min
On The Gist, autocracy isn’t always bad for an economy. But as Turkey shows, idiocy definitely is.Reality television has a reputation for uninhibited narcissism, ruthless competition, and terrible business pitches. But when Jon Murray created The Real…
Democracy Needs a Reboot
Aug 14, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, should news outlets halt election coverage on Election Day?“Usually, if you look at American history, we’ve kind of taken a relook at our democracy every 50 years.” And now we’re overdue, according to Jason Kander, an Army veteran and…
Trump’s Pyrite Touch
Aug 13, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, Trump is a racist? That’s not much of a scoop, Omarosa.There were plenty of Republicans standing against Donald Trump—before he won the White House. After the 2016 election, many of them traded in their values for a seat on the bandwagon.…
Gist Presents: Slow Burn
Aug 11, 2018 • 46 min
Mike Pesca talks with Leon Neyfakh, host of the Slate podcast Slow Burn, about season two of the hit show. Subscribe to Slow Burn here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Venturing Into Obscurity
Aug 10, 2018 • 25 min
On The Gist, “the so-called chairman of the Intelligence Committee,” Devin Nunes. Superheroes and comic books may seem ripe for parody nowadays with the constant onslaught of nerd media, but The Venture Bros. has been doing it for years. Part Jonny Quest…
On Bended Knee
Aug 9, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, Trump’s lack of income disclosures. Colin Kaepernick took a stand in 2016 by taking a knee during the national anthem at a football game, sparking a debate about racial injustice that continues to roil. But he’s just the latest in a long line…
Regulate Me
Aug 8, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani. The financial crisis of 2008 wasn’t just an American phenomenon. It was felt all across the globe, with other Western countries suffering the same pain, but enough hasn’t been done about our banks to ensure…
The Egyptian Seesaw
Aug 7, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, Trump’s lies and steel mills.The Arab Spring caused a major shift in Egypt in 2011, and the politics only got murkier during the military coup in 2013. But are autocrats really the best allies for the United States, or just for our current…
The Smart Drug
Aug 6, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, Turkey and Trump.We’ve got another round of Is That Bullshit? Drugs treating cognitive malfunctions like narcolepsy, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s disease, are useful for people with those conditions—but what about the rest of us? Can ADHD medication…
Where Is Space?
Aug 3, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, guest host Jeffrey Lewis fills in for Mike and talks about trying to solve big problems.Regulating space is tough because it surrounds the whole world, and people can’t even agree where the Earth’s atmosphere stops and space begins. Jonathan…
My Life as a Sitcom
Aug 2, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, QAnon and sound design.Comedian Guy Branum is a hilarious intellect with an intimidating amount of pop culture knowledge. In his new book, My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir Through (Un)Popular Culture, Branum explores things like his love of…
Quarter for Carter
Aug 1, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, who makes the CNN Sucks onesie?Jimmy Carter’s reputation is that of an ineffective president. But his chief domestic policy adviser, Stuart Eizenstat, argues that Carter fought for America’s energy independence, doubled the size of the…
Courting Politics
Jul 31, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, let’s face it: A.I. and robots are going to take jobs from us humans.Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination has restarted the debate on how we vet candidates and whether the Supreme Court is too easy to game. Lori Ringhand, a professor of…
They’re More Bad Than We Are Good
Jul 30, 2018 • 36 min
On The Gist, sorry, not every product gets to be a lifestyle brand.A few decades ago, it wasn’t uncommon for voters to support the presidential candidate from one party and the senator from another. “Ticket-splitting” is pretty rare now, and as Alan…
The Pushback Artist
Jul 27, 2018 • 42 min
On The Gist, do we really have to give up plastic straws?Then, and more seriously: a look back on a recent episode.On Wednesday, The Gist ran an interview with Allison Yarrow about 90s Bitch, her book about sexism in the age of 24-7 news coverage. And in…
The Real Deep State
Jul 26, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, the glee of seeing Facebook stock take a dive. Imran Khan is poised to lead Pakistan as its next prime minister. The former cricket star campaigned on a promise of transparency, but his focus “is only on anti-corruption when it comes to…
Lights, Camera, Sexism
Jul 25, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, let’s imagine what’s in that “enhanced” Michael Cohen tape.Born in the 1990s, the 24-hour news cycle was especially unkind to women. The media of the age consistently bashed women’s sexuality, ambition, and presentation of women such as…
The BS! It’s Everywhere!
Jul 24, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, President Trump’s high approval ratings aren’t as significant as they seem.America is a playground for the rich, and that’s in good part because of the expansion of lobbying that started in the 1970s. Steven Brill lays out the many ways in…
When Death Row Stalls
Jul 23, 2018 • 25 min
On The Gist, we’re proposing a 2018 Housing and Urban Development festival in Sonoma, California.Convicted killer Scott Dozier was scheduled to become Nevada’s first executed inmate since 2006, until the procedure was canceled with just hours to go. That…
Bobcat Revival
Jul 20, 2018 • 22 min
On The Gist, ideals are better when kept as general as possible because the more specific the get, the more exclusive they become.Bobcat Goldthwait made a name for himself with an oddball stand-up act complete with shrieks, grunts, and experimental jokes.…
Democracy Dies in Dark Money
Jul 19, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, about those outlandish celebrity baby names.When the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision made unlimited campaign contributions legal, one state put up a fight. In Dark Money, documentary filmmaker Kim Reed and journalist John Adams…
A Piece of Pai
Jul 18, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, Girl Scouts are earning cybersecurity merit badges.Sinclair Broadcast Group is trying to acquire Tribune Media so it can extend its television reach, but Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is throwing up roadblocks, which is…
The Schoolyard President
Jul 17, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, the crocodile massacre in Indonesia that got no attention.Work-life balance gets a lot of lip service, but we rarely pull it off. Brigid Schulte, host of the Better Life Lab podcast, is looking for solutions in a world of late-night work…
Are You Being Servered?
Jul 16, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, Trump’s press conference with Putin and the red herrings involved.Silicon Valley is steeped in self-made mythology, with stories about giants like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Marissa Mayer. But how did Silicon Valley really come into…
Pardon the Arson
Jul 13, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, it turns out your ethnicity is really easy to guess.AnneMarie Sgarlata got rid of her TV months ago, but she still heard about President Trump’s pardon of Dwight and Steven Hammond this week—and she wasn’t happy. Sgarlata was among the…
A Cancer on the Court
Jul 12, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, the biases of Peter Strzok and the need to connect accusations with actual evidence.President Trump’s first appointment to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, benefited from anonymous donations worth millions. To Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon…
Gridiron Man
Jul 11, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, “Brett” has got to be the lamest name among Supreme Court justices (or nominees).“If Jim Brown’s the past, Michael Bennett’s the future.” So says sports writer Dave Zirin, who recently published both a biography of Brown and co-authored…
Don’t Forget About Sex
Jul 10, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, Trump isn’t strategic or defiant, he’s just rapacious. When discussing #MeToo, the focus is often on the power that men exerted when sexually harassing women, but are their sexual motivations getting left out of the conversation? Emily Yoffe…
The Hole Picture
Jul 9, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, comparing Trump’s antics to a reality show is no longer a scarlet letter.Yes, there are storytelling competitions, and Matthew Dicks wins a lot of them. His secret? Keep it visual, and forget about the tangents. Dicks’ new book is…
Just Use My Data, People
Jul 6, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, the shamelessness of the Wall Street Journal editorial board on Scott Pruitt leaving the Environmental Protection Agency.Advertisements are a pain, interrupting our television programs and distracting us while we play games on our phones.…
How Quickly We Forget
Jul 5, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, Scott Pruitt is out as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency because it turns out someone really can be too corrupt for Trump.Let us next turn to the Supreme Court—not in America, but Poland, where the rightwing government is…
Song, Dance, and Confirmation
Jul 3, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, let’s watch the latest viral video from the conservative right.A certain group of Sherlock fans were convinced that John Watson and Sherlock would fall in love. When they didn’t, those fans turned on the showrunners. But what responsibility…
Shameless Mitch
Jul 2, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, Mitch McConnell’s values have changed—again!Lounging around in the heat of a sauna might feel nice, but is it good for you, too? Maria Konnikova has gone through the studies (most of them from Finland, where you can’t throw a hot rock without…
In 12,000 Words
Jun 29, 2018 • 34 min
On The Gist, President Trump’s demonization of journalists is awful, but it’s not the first thing to blame for the Capital Gazette shooting.The Atlantic recently ran a lengthy article about kids who consider the process of gender transition. Many critics…
Does Authenticity Matter?
Jun 28, 2018 • 24 min
On The Gist, the return of In Search Of hosted by Zachary Quinto, which used to be hosted by Leonard Nimoy, made us notice all the times actors have filled the shoes of others through multiple different reboots. The FIFA World Cup is great, but only the…
The Self-Sufficiency Court
Jun 27, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory was thanks to low voter turnout. She still deserves it!Lawfare’s executive editor Susan Hennessey says Trump’s SCOTUS-approved travel ban is more dangerous in how it changes norms than how it changes…
The Unpopular Vote and a Few Justices
Jun 26, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, what a Trump tweet can teach us about wine.The latest school shootings have galvanized an already politically minded generation. Harvard’s John Della Volpe studies the voting habits of millennials, and how they could swing election results in…
The New Rules of Civility
Jun 25, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, why is the Democratic National Committee being held responsible for Hollywood and the media?Calvin Buari dealt crack in the Bronx, but that doesn’t make him a killer. Buari was convicted of a double murder in 1995 and started a campaign to…
Who Needs Subtext, Anway
Jun 22, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, Rep. Jim Jordan’s underwhelming attention to detail. Franchesca Ramsey burst onto the YouTube scene with her viral video, “Shit White Girls Say… to Black Girls.” Ramsey’s latest video project, MTV News’ Decoded, is similar: fun, earnest, and…
A Song You Can Graduate To
Jun 21, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, those beacons of honesty—retiring Republican members of the Congress. Cremation has the carbon footprint of a 1,000-mile road trip, your average bee has nearly 1 million brain cells, and only 3 to 4 percent of gossip is actually “malicious.”…
Quitters Can’t Be Leaders
Jun 20, 2018 • 22 min
On The Gist, how President Trump made not breaking up families look like his idea. Why are the U.S.’s political parties weak? Is the “job guarantee” policy smart? Do voters perceive the economy accurately? Dan Pfeiffer has all the answers. He’s a former…
Polarization Nation
Jun 19, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, the inaugural edition of “whoah there, girl!”Political parties are like people: They grow and change, their values shift, and sometimes they become downright belligerent. Lilliana Mason says America’s two political parties are in the middle…
Oh, Stephen
Jun 18, 2018 • 25 min
On The Gist, if we can’t pronounce Peter Strzok’s name right, how will we remember his newfound infamy?If you consider yourself progressive, chances are Trump’s presidency feels like a nightmare. But Politico’s Michael Grunwald returns to the Gist with…
The Heisenberg Presidency
Jun 15, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, why he lies: a new theory. “I’ve hit rock bottom. I’m writing for a cartoon.” Such were the thoughts of Mike Reiss when he joined the writers’ room for The Simpsons in 1989. Thirty years later, he’s worked on all but two seasons of the show,…
When Border Policy Crosses the Line
Jun 14, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, McClatchy White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez explains the ramifications of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy to prosecute migrants who cross the border illegally. One early consequence: The U.S. government needs more…
Cup of Corruption
Jun 13, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, some fun facts about U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart.In 2010, a certain Christopher Steele was hired to look into Russia’s bid to host the World Cup in 2018. What he found ultimately led to a U.S. investigation into FIFA’s thoroughgoing…
Summit Skeptical
Jun 12, 2018 • 35 min
On The Gist, a brief review of President Trump’s roster of losers (and winners). Clint Watts is a man of many strengths. He’s a former FBI agent and a cybersecurity expert. He can break down information warfare to bleary-eyed U.S. senators. He’s been…
G-7 Hangover
Jun 11, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, if the Trump-Kim summit goes as poorly as the president’s business ventures, we’re doomed.Maria Konnikova is here to smoke out false claims about cannabidiol, or the CBD oil extracted from cannabis. Can it help with insomnia, depression, and…
Comedians Can Be Well-Adjusted, Too
Jun 8, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, president Trump raised the bar on what’s considered a gaffe, and EPA head Scott Pruitt is taking advantage of that.Very few comedians have never been to therapy. Jerry Seinfeld is one. Tom Papa is another. Papa tells us about cracking jokes…
#MeToo and McYoga
Jun 7, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, comparing Bill Clinton to basketball great Michael Jordan.Bikram Choudhury’s status as a star yoga guru gave him license to be odd (spiritual but with a soft spot for luxury cars, and always wearing a Speedo). But there was more to it than…
James Clapper: Yeah, Russia Swung the Election
Jun 6, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, IHOP is changing its name to IHOb. And Mike is here to make fun of that.James Clapper was a senior intelligence adviser for both Republican and Democratic administrations. He was also part of the team that informed President-elect Donald…
So You Think You Know About Race
Jun 5, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, at this point, whatever the Trump administration doesn’t say under oath is very possibly untrue.In 1963, Robert F. Kennedy met with black America’s greatest artists and intellectuals to talk about race. “And they lit his ass up,” according to…
Shots Fired, but Not Really
Jun 4, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, no matter how well the economy goes, pundits can always tell a scary story.What do we get wrong about Darwinism? Evolutionary ornithologist Richard O. Prum says the theory was distorted by Victorian prudes. He explains why a closer look at…
It’s Not Just You
Jun 1, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, an appreciation of the man who invented Pong. Barbara Lipska’s career as a neuroscientist did not prepare her to identify the dark effects of her own brain tumors diagnosed in 2015. There’s studying a damaged brain, and then there’s having…
Folks, We’re Talking About the C-Word
May 31, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, Samantha Bee said it first, so let us meditate on the C-word.In defense of Googling your own name: Kirsten Pflomm is a white woman from Connecticut who did an online search 15 years ago and discovered she was the descendant of Iceland’s…
Our Trade Snore With China
May 30, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, have you heard the one about the journalist who faked his own death to dodge Russian assassins?It’s boom times for female buddy comedies. Mike talks to director Alex Richanbach and screenwriter Lauryn Kahn about their new Netflix comedy,…
Chris Gethard Can’t Fake It
May 29, 2018 • 33 min
On Tuesday’s Gist, Roseanne gets run out on a rail.Comedian Chris Gethard reflects on how things have changed for his madcap live show, starting from its days on a public access channel to its current home on TruTV. “It’s more a TV show than it’s ever…
Ratatouille Got It Wrong
May 25, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, we here at Slate take GDPR compliance very seriously … just not in this monologue.Before SNL, David Wain says, the countercultural comedy torch belonged to National Lampoon. The laugh magazine was created by Harvard graduates and became a…
Deal With Fake News Yourself, Facebook
May 24, 2018 • 30 min
On Thursday’s Gist, tips for avoiding fake news? Thanks but no thanks, Facebook.There’s a new documentary out about the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case, and it got us thinking about the flaws in the public’s perception of that saga. Reporter Derek John…
Thanks for Protesting … Now Stop
May 23, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, the NFL can’t give a decent explanation for its kneeling ban.Philip Roth’s novels about Jewish life earned him every accolade short of, famously, the Nobel Prize. Mark Oppenheimer, the host of the podcast on all things Jewish (Unorthodox),…
Girls Rule, and Boys Think They Rule More
May 22, 2018 • 31 min
On today’s Gist, whatever happens in the governor’s primary in Georgia Tuesday night, it will be a big step forward for women named Stacey.Neuroscientist and education researcher Sara Brownell explains what she found studying how gender affects students’…
Two-Party Problems
May 21, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, Hawaii’s “laze” is some seriously bad branding.In the interview, our two-party system may seem inevitable, but political scientist Sam Rosenfeld digs into its engineered history, including the 1950 government report that pushed the country…
Breaking Up Comedy’s Boys Club
May 18, 2018 • 46 min
On The Gist, our attempt to track the new scoops that affected the Mueller investigation. We’re not playing “Is That Bulls—t” on the show today, but if we were, comedy writer Nell Scovell would probably say, “Yes.” Yes, the dearth of women in late-night…
Becky Hammon’s Next Big Shot
May 17, 2018 • 30 min
On today’s Gist, the Alex, Inc. drinking game you can play with the whole family.Becky Hammon is an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs and is a leading candidate to become the first female head coach in the NBA. Hammon got passed over this week by…
Disconnecting the Dots in Israel
May 16, 2018 • 34 min
On today’s Gist: laurel or yanny? We have questions about the protests in Israel. Daniel Shapiro is here to answer them. Shapiro was the U.S. ambassador to Israel for most of the Obama administration. He is now a visiting fellow at the Institute for…
Introducing Upon Further Review
May 15, 2018 • 28 min
On today’s Gist, we’re tearing up the playbook. We’re playing the first episode of our new limited-run podcast, Upon Further Review, based on the book of the same name. In this episode, Slow Burn host Leon Neyfakh imagines how American history might have…
Does Your Face Need a Workout?
May 14, 2018 • 32 min
On today’s Gist, is Sen. John McCain really the greatest political leader of all time?Have you heard of face gyms? Beauty gurus are rushing to recommend exercises for the forehead, chin, and cheeks to look younger and healthier. Our expert bullshitologist…
Why Putin Matters
May 11, 2018 • 34 min
On The Gist, the mainstream media is too buttoned-up when describing the Trump administration’s shenanigans.There is no Russian Federation as we know it without Vladimir Putin. Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul explains how parts of Russian…
The Long, Long Road of Tiger Woods
May 10, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, torture is torture, and the news media should call it that.Tiger Woods dominated his sport like perhaps no other athlete. But that success came at a price. Woods’ almost military upbringing as a golfing machine lead to a lack of interpersonal…
Some Interrogation
May 9, 2018 • 31 min
On today’s Gist, Michael Cohen has weaved a tangled web, but the mere fact that it’s confusing doesn’t mean we can assume he’s a criminal. Tim Weiner wrote the definitive book on the CIA in 2008 with his Legacy of Ashes. Today, he helps decipher the…
Donald and the Don
May 8, 2018 • 36 min
On Tuesday’s Gist, the undoing of the Iran deal. Democrats are tense. 2018 is supposed to be a banner year for the left, but the party is struggling to balance an energized base and an unpredictable general electorate. As a result, there have been a lot…
Jake Tapper’s Very Particular Kind of Escapism
May 7, 2018 • 34 min
On today’s Gist, there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t want Gina Haspel to run the CIA. Jake Tapper’s latest book is The Hellfire Club. It’s a work of historical fiction; a political thriller set in the 1950s, when Washington was gripped by…
The Dangerous Hits of 1991
May 4, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, a movie pitch: Kushner family racket. Returning champion Chris Molanphy takes us back to 1991 and its chart toppers: Mariah Carey’s explosive debut, the Swedish group that topped the charts for a fourth time (it wasn’t ABBA!), and the Michael…
Call of Rudy 2
May 4, 2018 • 25 min
On today’s Gist, what’s this about a Tony Award–winning dry cleaner?Presidential inexperience does not always lead to failed presidencies. Some traits can temper inexperience—like the depressive realism of Abraham Lincoln or Lyndon B. Johnson. Other…
Gen. Michael Hayden
May 2, 2018 • 32 min
On today’s Gist, a fond farewell to Ty Cobb. Gen. Michael Hayden was running the National Security Agency and then the CIA, he couldn’t talk about our national security risks. If he could have, most people would have listened to him. But things are…
How We Screwed Over Puerto Rico
May 1, 2018 • 31 min
On today’s Gist, thick-as-bricks Lego thieves come a-tumbling down.Hurricane recovery has been a disaster in Puerto Rico. NPR’s Laura Sullivan wanted to know why. So she found documents revealing a FEMA in shambles. She traced Puerto Rico’s economic…
A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing
Apr 30, 2018 • 28 min
On today’s Gist, President Trump’s Nobel in the making. There is no market quite like the boomers—that was true when they were young, and it remains true as they enter their 60s and 70s. So how do you market to the olds? The answer lies in a few busted…
ISIS Isn’t Done With
Apr 27, 2018 • 23 min
On The Gist, when your sympathy for the poor goes beyond platitudes, Paul Ryan fires you.In the interview, the New York Times’ Rukmini Callimachi has a new podcast. Caliphate lays out how she knows what she knows about ISIS. Through her reporting in Iraq,…
Old Man Donald
Apr 26, 2018 • 31 min
On Thursday’s Gist, EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s behavior is too plainly unethical to sweep under the rug.What does a Malaysian party boy have to do with President Trump’s potential breach of the Emoluments Clause? Reveal’s Amy Walters and WAMU’s Patrick…
Korematsu, Revisited?
Apr 25, 2018 • 27 min
On Wednesday’s Gist, you didn’t think Trump’s latest political nominee was scandal-free, did you?And as the Supreme Court weighs Trump’s travel ban on Muslim-majority countries, one of its most notorious decisions still stands. Korematsu v. United States…
The Plain Prince
Apr 24, 2018 • 36 min
On Tuesday’s Gist, Donald Trump’s win has inspired a whole bunch of down-ballot Republicans, and boy, are they lame.What is retroactive classification, and is it going to get former FBI Director James Comey in trouble? Bradley P. Moss specializes in…
The State of State
Apr 23, 2018 • 34 min
On The Gist, Sen. Bob Corker’s definition of a “gotcha question” is a bad sign for public discourse these days.Before his Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the rampant sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Ronan Farrow worked in the…
The Zen of Cohen
Apr 20, 2018 • 34 min
On today’s Gist, the retroactively classified memos of James Comey. New Yorker writer Adam Davidson says the raids on Michael Cohen’s offices signal the beginning of the end for the Trump presidency. Here’s why: Cohen is the key to learning about Trump’s…
Comey Can’t Confess
Apr 19, 2018 • 21 min
On The Gist, if Chuck Schumer gets his way with decriminalizing marijuana, we can finally say goodbye to the lowest-hanging fruit: pot jokes.Crooked Media founder Jon Lovett finds the James Comey book deeply frustrating—to read, to hear about, to…
A Fuller Obituary for Barbara Bush
Apr 18, 2018 • 30 min
On today’s Gist, don’t all these senators know the depths of CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s patriotism?Plus, why are chemical weapons useful to Bashar al-Assad? “They’re really weapons of terror,” explains Aaron Stein, co-host of the Arms Control Wonk…
The Taint Team Cometh
Apr 17, 2018 • 27 min
On Tuesday’s Gist, that old Watergate maxim, “the cover-up is worse than the crime,” should be revised to recognize the Michael Cohen effect. Plus, we take a closer look at the vertical merger of AT&T and Time Warner, and why the Justice Department has…
James Comey’s Ego Trip
Apr 16, 2018 • 31 min
On Monday’s Gist, we’re counting Pulitzers and powering up. Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms sort power into two categories: old and new. Old power is like Congress: top-down, official. New power is like Facebook: decentralized, crowd-sourced. What is the…
Chemistry No More
Apr 13, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, have you heard? Chemistry has been debunked. Thank Russia.Ed Helms is best known for comedic roles—see Andy Bernard on The Office. But in the drama Chappaquiddick, Helms plays Joseph Gargan, the cousin and lawyer of Sen. Ted Kennedy. Gargan…
“I Never Said That”
Apr 12, 2018 • 25 min
On The Gist, Zuckerberg’s hearings got crowded out by bigger news. Too bad.Facts are facts, even in the greatly polarized year that is 2018. Holmes Lybrand writes the Weekly Standard’s “Fact Check” series, and even though it isn’t all about Trump’s latest…
Tax Cut Conundrum
Apr 11, 2018 • 25 min
On The Gist, Paul Ryan cared about just one thing: cutting taxes.Word choice is not always the most stimulating place to start an interview with an author, but it works when you’re talking to Sloane Crosley. The essayist defends metaphors like “Holocaust…
It’s Regulation Time
Apr 10, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, beware the rise of the despot’s son-in-law.In the interview, media scrutinizer Brooke Gladstone wrote a graphic novel about the “Influencing Machines” that we often blame modernity’s problems on. Facebook is the latest of these, but this…
Zuck Everlasting
Apr 9, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, president Trump just doesn’t have the ambition to tackle a problem like Syria.It’s a critical week for Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg has two dates with Congress, where he’ll be answering questions on the company’s loss of millions of its users’…
Andrew Cuomo’s Pun Problem
Apr 6, 2018 • 30 min
On today’s show, we don’t need a whole shadow Cabinet—we just need a shadow Trump. Comedian Hari Kondabolu is back—and this time, he brought his brother. Hari came to comedy after working as a community activist, but his younger brother, Ashok, was a bit…
Kevin Williamson Dies by the Sword
Apr 5, 2018 • 36 min
On today’s Gist, London’s enviable crime wave. Plus, what will we think of the Obama presidency in 50 years? Julian Zelizer set out to get really smart people to “take a first cut” at the Obama legacy on an array of issues. One person from his brain trust…
Oh Good, It Was Just a Handgun
Apr 4, 2018 • 28 min
On today’s Gist, why the YouTube shooter’s use of a handgun doesn’t take anything away from arguments to outlaw the AR-15.Plus, Radley Balko tells the story of two men who put innocent Mississippians behind bars using junk science and pseudo-expert…
Shulkin Be Sulkin’
Apr 3, 2018 • 22 min
On Tuesday’s Gist, an ode to the end of March Madness. Plus, Maria Konnikova returns to play our favorite game. Are parabens really bad for you? Konnikova is a contributing writer to the New Yorker and author of The Confidence Game. In the Spiel, why…
Clinging to Guns Is Our Religion
Apr 2, 2018 • 33 min
On Monday’s Gist, the White House press corps needs a break. And guest host Mary Wilson knows who should take their place in the interim.Plus, NationalReview.com editor Charles C. W. Cooke explains why he thinks repealing the Second Amendment would be…
In Defense of the Pun
Mar 30, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, Good Friday is actually pretty great, from a cosmic perspective.In the interview, Aparna Nancherla tells us how to go from introverted kid (“my mom was very afraid of how unassertive I was”) to making it in comedy.In the Spiel, a deep dive…
On Conservative Voices
Mar 29, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, the Department of Energy has a chief creative officer? Let’s roll with it.In the interview, upstanding Pennsylvanian Amanda Holt updates us on the state’s new congressional district lines.In the Spiel, some hyperlinks are all hype, especially…
Know Thy Enemy
Mar 28, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, Sean Hannity doesn’t like this podcast.In the interview, Korea expert Bruce Bechtol tells us what might be going on in Kim Jong-un’s mind and how to set it on denuclearization.In the Spiel, president Trump might be acting tough on Russia, but…
Corruption Just Isn’t Telegenic
Mar 27, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, forget Stormy Daniels. The Kushners’ massive loan deals are where the real dirt is at.In the interview, the world’s growing complexity can be measured in dusty cables, useless features, and lines of code. Chris Clearfield and András Tilcsik…
Hitler’s Art Dealer
Mar 26, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, “affair” is too rich a word to describe anything Donald Trump is emotionally capable of.In the interview, arts reporter Mary M. Lane tells us about the art collection looted by Hitler’s art dealer, inherited by that dealer’s son, and finally…
Spies Are People Too
Mar 23, 2018 • 35 min
On The Gist, Donald Trump’s presidency brings race relations, at best, to a standstill. Case in point: the police shooting in Sacramento, California. The Americans is back for its final season next week. Showrunners Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg talk about…
As Statues Fall, Racism Stays
Mar 22, 2018 • 22 min
On The Gist, what to make of yet another round of White House reshuffling. As mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu has used his office to take down four of the city’s Confederate monuments. His new book reckons with race relations in his city, the South,…
This Storm Ain’t Brewing
Mar 21, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, even if we get a law to make Robert Mueller unfireable, President Trump could trample all over it. In the interview, sports journalist Mary Pilon tells the story of Olympic sailor Kevin Hall’s struggle with the Truman Show delusion (where…
Will Democracy Survive Trump?
Mar 20, 2018 • 25 min
On The Gist, before Donald Trump’s headline-hogging presidency, things like bridge collapses made news for more than a few days. In the interview, Cass Sunstein’s new book asks if the U.S. is fundamentally immune to authoritarianism, or whether president…
Are Receipts Toxic?
Mar 19, 2018 • 19 min
On today’s Gist, we’re nixing the Spiel to go on a Slate Podcasts retreat! Shouldn’t the White House staff have their own officewide retreat day? Plus, Maria Konnikova considers receipt paper toxicity: Is it BS? Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is…
The Year Groove Went Mainstream
Mar 16, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, “meddling” is too weak a word to describe what Russia did during in the U.S. election. In the interview, Chris Molanphy walks us through the No. 1 hits of 1969, the year flower power and psychedelic pop went fully mainstream. Chris is the…
Hot or Not: Presidents’ Edition
Mar 15, 2018 • 25 min
On The Gist, the Trump administration walks back a line about U.S. trade with Canada. And which American president was the studliest? Kate and J.D. Dobson are out with a book that considers Ulysses S. Grant’s quiet charisma, Franklin Pierce’s youthful…
The Rogue at State
Mar 14, 2018 • 29 min
Well, it’s a tough day to be Fox News. On today’s Gist, a closer look at the Department of State. It’s not that Rex Tillerson was wrong to want to reform how we do diplomacy—it’s that he utterly failed to deliver. Tom Hill, a visiting fellow at the…
The Heroes of Colombia
Mar 13, 2018 • 33 min
On today’s Gist, the lesser-known story of Colombia: Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno has written a moving account of Colombia’s post–Pablo Escobar years, when the illegal drug trade was taken up by one of the factions in the country’s long-running civil…
Russian Doping, Revisited
Mar 12, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, is it OK to ape a Russian accent when saying Russian names?And we revisit an interview with filmmaker Bryan Fogel, whose documentary, Icarus, recently won an Academy Award.In the Spiel, a short conversation with author Steven Pinker about the…
North Korea Is Setting the Table
Mar 9, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, if sitting down with North Korea wasn’t a good idea for past U.S. presidents, how is it a good idea for our current one? In the interview, Slate’s Fred Kaplan and former Ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson are both cautiously optimistic…
No Rules for the Wicked
Mar 8, 2018 • 22 min
On The Gist, it’s a Jon Favreau–flavored mash-up: Swing Wars. In the interview, the walls cave in, the props catch fire, the actors stammer and forget … and it’s all part of the plan. Kevin McCollum, one of the producers of Broadway’s longest-running…
Guns, Controlled
Mar 7, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, who’s left to work for Trump when even the nincompoops are quitting? In the interview, Richard Aborn has helped get gun control laws on the books. As president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, he has the data on what works,…
The Scapegoat in Chinatown
Mar 6, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, Lego business is hurting. In Steve James’ latest documentary, the bank is the good guy. New York’s district attorney brought charges against a Chinatown-based bank after the 2008 financial crisis, even though the bank had little to do with…
Ben Carson’s Not Worth the Outrage
Mar 5, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, if iHeart Media wants to do better, they really ought to change their name. Did you watch the Oscars? Did you think they were a little lame? Writer Catie Lazarus provides a safe space for your Academy Awards–related shade. Lazarus is host of…
Rejecting Jared
Mar 2, 2018 • 28 min
Well, what do you know? In 2016, Trump tweeted that he wasn’t trying to get a top security clearance for his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. A year later, he’s finally right. On The Gist, what’s so special about an octopus? Slate’s Daniel Engber has a takedown…
Watching for a Backtrack
Mar 1, 2018 • 27 min
Today on The Gist, a unified theory of Donald Trump. Plus, Trump dragged his fellow Republicans and made his Democrats grin like Cheshire cats at the televised meeting on gun control. What are the chances that the White House lets Trump’s comments stand?…
Heal Thyself, Dana Loesch
Feb 28, 2018 • 35 min
Quick, who’s the Federal Reserve chairman? If you can’t remember, take heart: Our minds are filled to capacity with the flotsam and jetsam of the Trump White House.On The Gist, are you as virtuous as you think? Likely not. Christian Miller delved into…
The Abbreviated Highlight Reel of Stacey Dash
Feb 27, 2018 • 34 min
Hang onto your skirts: Clueless co-star Stacey Dash is running for Congress. On The Gist, returning champion Maria Konnikova is back to sum up the social science on poker tells: Are they BS? Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The…
Dissing Dianne Feinstein
Feb 26, 2018 • 32 min
On The Gist, President Trump’s latest poetry reading. Last week on the show, we talked about the manifold reasons for optimism in the world. This week, Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker builds on that argument, adding that we’ve had a roughly…
Don’t Fall for It
Feb 23, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, Trump boosted an empty idea at CPAC: arming teachers to stop mass shooters. In the interview, Derek DelGaudio is the magician of our time. His one-man show, In & of Itself, questions identity in a political atmosphere that’s consumed by it.…
Who Can Check Big Tech?
Feb 22, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, NBC’s coverage of Olympic athletes’ backstories is a little too obvious. Slate tech writers April Glaser and Will Oremus examine the most plausible methods for reining in our tech overlords. Glaser and Oremus are the hosts of Slate’s If Then.…
The World Is Coming Up Roses
Feb 21, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek will be moderating a gubernatorial debate in Pennsylvania. Mike says no thanks. In the interview, Gregg Easterbrook is ever the optimist. Despite what your push alerts and Facebook news feed are telling you, the…
Free Money City
Feb 20, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, Team USA’s low medal count would be a bummer if these Winter Olympics weren’t so goofy. In the interview, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs didn’t campaign on universal basic income, but he’s bringing it to his city. Later this year, some…
Ban the AR-15
Feb 16, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, the market for “how to survive a shooting spree” videos shows how far we’ve strayed in dealing with gun violence. Interracial marriage on a national level has only been legal for 50 years, after the landmark Supreme Court decision Loving v.…
Which Side Are You On?
Feb 15, 2018 • 31 min
Filling in for Mike Pesca today is Leon Neyfakh, still smoldering after his first season as host of Slate’s hit podcast, Slow Burn. Leon is indulging in a new fascination lately: the latest “left Twix vs. right Twix” ad campaign and its insistence that we…
Runaway Military Spending
Feb 14, 2018 • 24 min
On The Gist, names are stupidly important when it comes to getting elected. The Trump administration is proposing a boost in military spending, but the country’s defense budget actually peaked under President Obama during the troop surge for the war in…
Spoon-Fed by the Feds
Feb 13, 2018 • 26 min
On The Gist, on the White House budget’s effort to replace half of food-stamp funding with crappy meal boxes. How do you fix one of the most gerrymandered states in the country? It helps to have a tireless amateur mapmaker in your ranks. Mike talks to…
Don’t Call It a White House Shake-Up
Feb 12, 2018 • 26 min
On today’s Gist, we get metaphysical. The White House is always in chaos. But can chaos be a permanent condition? Maria Konnikova returns to play our favorite game and answer the question: Does an athletic uniform’s color affect the athlete’s performance?…
Dumb About Deficits
Feb 9, 2018 • 27 min
On The Gist, it’s The $10,000 Pyramid with a budget deal twist. Is it possible we don’t know enough about national debt to call our politicians when they’re peddling nonsense? New Yorker staff writer Adam Davidson addresses some common misconceptions and…
Is the Iran Deal a Dud?
Feb 8, 2018 • 25 min
On The Gist, the “When did you stop beating your wife?” question in the White House press briefing. In the interview, Iran may have shelved its nuclear ambitions, but the Middle East is still in trouble. Slate’s Joshua Keating wonders if the Iran deal was…
The Longest War Is Lost
Feb 7, 2018 • 29 min
Trump wants a parade. On The Gist, America’s longest war, in Afghanistan, rumbles on under a third U.S. president. There is still no exit plan. Steve Coll’s new book explores the covert side of America’s campaign in Afghanistan and the secretive Pakistani…
America Adrift
Feb 6, 2018 • 31 min
Listen, chattering classes: Let’s at least chatter correctly. We take a minute on the proper name pronunciation for the scandals of the day. Today on The Gist, U.S. foreign policy is a mess. But U.S. foreign policy has been a mess for decades. Ian…
Phil Rosenthal Eats the World
Feb 6, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist: Dow goes down, Trump gets mad. In the interview, comedian Phil Rosenthal went to six cities across the globe to eat everything they had to offer and put it on Netflix. He tells Mike about his new show, Somebody Feed Phil, and the creative…
Philly vs. Boston
Feb 2, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, Super Bowl LII is an occasion to ask the age-old question: Who’s more obnoxious, people from Philadelphia or Boston? Plus, Another Period takes the Gilded Age as its setting to satirize the worst of reality TV: extravagant wealth, petty…
LBJ, Reconsidered
Feb 1, 2018 • 27 min
Lyndon B. Johnson doesn’t always get the consideration he deserves as one of America’s great presidents. On today’s Gist, historian Joshua Zeitz says LBJ’s fight for welfare reform and civil rights redefined the country, even as those legal achievements…
We Still Have No U.S. Ambassador to South Korea
Jan 31, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, Trey Gowdy bows out. Fred Kaplan explains why foreign policy experts are concerned by the Trump administration’s move to renege on its choice of ambassador to South Korea at the last minute. Kaplan writes the War Stories column for Slate. He…
When All the Jobs Are Gone
Jan 30, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, the pomposity and circumstantial evidence of the State of the Union. Janesville, Wisconsin, had the oldest operating GM assembly plant in the country until 2008. The factory’s closure left thousands of employees in the lurch. Amy Goldstein’s…
The Scholarly Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Jan 29, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, get your clutching pearls ready. Russia alleges that the U.S. is trying to interfere in its election. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been politically precocious since well before his own sports scholarship at UCLA. His latest column for the Guardian…
Good Night, Portlandia
Jan 26, 2018 • 34 min
On The Gist, the Doomsday Clock would be scary if it weren’t so bogus.In the interview, after years of gently poking fun at Portland, Oregon’s chill-but-not vibe, Portlandia is on its final season. Series co-star Carrie Brownstein unpacks the show’s humor…
He Got Trump’s Taxes
Jan 25, 2018 • 31 min
From the annals of monkey research, how 10 primates were gassed in the service of a bad study.Today on The Gist, investigative reporter David Cay Johnston, who has been reporting on President Trump long enough to simply call him Donald. Johnston has an…
Odds, Ends, and Senators
Jan 24, 2018 • 34 min
On The Gist, Devin Nunes probably doesn’t know squat. In the interview, Democrats hold most of the Senate seats up for grabs in this year’s midterms, which means they have a lot to lose. But importantly, mathematician Jordan Ellenberg says election…
MSG Is A-OK
Jan 23, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, more details come out about Garrison Keillor.In the interview, it turns out something can be good for your taste buds without being bad for your health. Monosodium glutamate has gotten a bad rap since 1968, when a medical journal suggested it…
The Dems Have a Bad Hand
Jan 22, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, what just happened? And are Democrats sniveling losers or Machiavellian savants? McClatchy reporter Alex Roarty explains why the animating force driving both Democrats and Republicans right now is a loud conservative minority. In the Spiel,…
One Year Down
Jan 19, 2018 • 33 min
Up first on The Gist: It appears the Stormy Daniels story checks out. Plus, Saturday marks the first anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration. The hosts of Slate’s Trumpcast join Mike to revise old predictions, make new ones, and consider whether…
Busted: A Gist Productions Parody
Jan 18, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, how about those Fake News Awards, huh? Alan Jacobs questions your ability to think for yourself. Can you really rid yourself of your biases, or do you just develop better biases? Are you really any better than your estranged friends at…
Wait and CR
Jan 17, 2018 • 28 min
On The Gist, the bad news from Freedom House. U.S. Air Force officer Edward Lansdale promoted a “hearts and minds” approach to diplomacy in the Philippines and Vietnam, only to be steamrolled by America’s elite class of policymakers. Max Boot tells us…
Nukes and Crannies
Jan 16, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, the press is too squeamish to clarify that “shithouse” isn’t much better than “shithole.” In the interview, more on fire and fury—nuclear fire, rhetorical fury, and the consequences of both. Jeffrey Lewis and Aaron Stein, hosts of Arms…
Teenage Brains Are Just Different
Jan 12, 2018 • 25 min
On The Gist, Mike examines Trump’s bottom-of-the-barrel statements on immigration. In the interview, Dina Temple-Raston explains how she became fascinated by the teenage brain. After years of covering terrorism for NPR, she was stunned to see so many…
Is Trump Insane? Does It Matter?
Jan 12, 2018 • 31 min
On The Gist, Mike skewers a columnist for concluding that President Trump is sane.In the interview, comedian Judah Friedlander wants to let you know that his new comedy special is all him, even though it’s got Netflix’s name on it. The 30 Rock alum talks…
A Cry for Self-Help
Jan 10, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, a brief look at what Norway is doing right. In the interview, we turn to self-help experts Kristen Meinzer and Jolenta Greenberg about the “new you” books that are good, bad, and absolute nonsense. Meinzer and Greenberg are hosts of the…
Radio Reconciliation
Jan 9, 2018 • 33 min
On The Gist, Joe Arpaio’s life after pardon. In the interview, MacArthur “genius” award winner Betsy Levy Paluck tells us about her research into mass media and public opinion. We might have the impression that our beliefs are based on reason. But what…
What to Make of Fire and Fury
Jan 8, 2018 • 29 min
On The Gist, Sen. Lindsey Graham is defending the president extra hard on television … because he knows Trump’s watching. In the interview, NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik tells us what to make of Fire and Fury, the book that claims to reveal…
Going for Gridiron
Jan 5, 2018 • 37 min
On The Gist, third-party voters should answer for Donald Trump’s terrible policies at home and warmongering around the world. In the interview, fields don’t get much more male-dominated than those of the NFL. Our guest Jen Welter made history as the first…
Move to the Center or Keep on Losing
Jan 4, 2018 • 34 min
On The Gist, Mike wonders whether the “winner picked out of a bowl” antics in Virginia’s House of Delegates will really matter much. In the interview, former Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire has straightforward advice for candidates in blue-collar America:…
Killed, Then Counted
Jan 3, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, Mike calls foul on the mashup terms used to describe big weather events, such as the latest: bombogenesis. In the interview, police shootings regularly make headlines, but what does the big picture look like? Sam Sinyangwe is a data analyst…
Behind the Scenes of Slow Burn
Jan 2, 2018 • 30 min
On The Gist, Mike tips his hat to the musical talents of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who announced his retirement Tuesday. In the interview, it took a perfect storm to bring down Richard Nixon’s presidency, and it’s not guaranteed that another will come for…
It’s Fan Service or Bust
Dec 29, 2017 • 31 min
On The Gist, Mike is down with feminism but argues that woke should be Merriam-Webster’s word of the year instead. In the interview, Anjelah Johnson was living off grocery store gift cards in L.A. before a new thing called YouTube launched her comedy…
Your Brain Is Bad With Money
Dec 28, 2017 • 37 min
On The Gist, Mike says goodbye to Roy Moore yet again, after an Alabama judge rejected Moore’s lawsuit to contest his opponent’s Senate win. In the interview, Dan Ariely tells us “how we misthink money and how to spend smarter.” That’s the subtitle of his…
Hobby Lobby Is Just Getting Started
Dec 27, 2017 • 34 min
On The Gist, Mike runs through the major news of the past few days, while much of the news media is on vacation. In the interview, Hobby Lobby scored a famous Supreme Court win for evangelicals in 2014, allowing certain corporations to deny covering their…
Deplorables and Snowflakes
Dec 22, 2017 • 35 min
On The Gist, Ken Stern explains why the deplorable label doesn’t sit well with him, even if it’s defensible. Stern is the author of Republican Like Me: How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right. In the Spiel, is life better in the U.S.…
Tax Bill Ballyhoo
Dec 21, 2017 • 29 min
On The Gist, why the Republican tax overhaul is unlikely to spur hiring. Michael Carpenter explains what we lose when the Trump administration doesn’t try to put the heat on Russia. Carpenter is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and foreign…
Trickle Down Now
Dec 20, 2017 • 31 min
On The Gist, it seems that congressional investigators have nabbed a big fish: Jill Stein.Plus, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt explains why the Republicans absolutely had to pass the tax bill, even if polls suggest it could be an albatross…
Behind the Scenes at The Daily
Dec 19, 2017 • 35 min
On The Gist, Mike talks about the consequences of fast-tracking a major tax overhaul. In the interview, how did the team behind The Daily manage to create a show that’s unlike anything we’ve heard before and also oddly perfect for this moment in news?…
Don’t Worry if Baby Turns Orange
Dec 18, 2017 • 29 min
On the Gist, why we shouldn’t fret every time companies like Netflix show how they’re using our personal data. In the interview, Maria Konnikova runs us through the foods that can turn your skin orange, blue, and red, and whether that’s even a bad thing.…
Jeff Ross Got Bored, So He Got Political
Dec 15, 2017 • 36 min
On The Gist, President Trump’s judicial nominations are starting to look ridiculous. In the interview, comedian Jeff Ross got a little tired of his shtick as a go-to roast guy for Comedy Central’s famous Friars Club sendups. So he started skewering not…
Revisiting Another Democratic Wave
Dec 14, 2017 • 21 min
Chris Hurst doesn’t want you to know him as the guy whose girlfriend was fatally shot during a live broadcast. But it is a huge part of what compelled him to pursue elected office: “Part of what I want to do is … take this spotlight, that I wish I had a…
The Underdog and the Bully
Dec 13, 2017 • 28 min
On The Gist, Omarosa makes for the exits. In honor of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees announced today, we’re playing an excerpt from our live show last month, when we went over the ballot with Hit Parade host Chris Molanphy and Washington Post…
It’s Partisanship, Stupid
Dec 12, 2017 • 31 min
On The Gist, the #MeToo movement is only influential insofar as its targets can feel shame and enact accountability. In the interview, biographer Robert Dallek accounts for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ruthless pragmatism. As president, FDR made the decision…
The Abortion Fight Led Us Here
Dec 11, 2017 • 28 min
On The Gist, we can have sympathy for all kinds of people—just not the guy who loses all his money on bitcoin. In the interview, Lenora Chu tells the story of her American family’s rude awakening to Chinese education practices. When Chu moved her family…
Drama in Alabama
Dec 8, 2017 • 31 min
On The Gist, is President Trump to blame for today’s violence in Gaza? In the interview, columnist John Archibald surveys the Senate race in Alabama, where Doug Jones has become the abortion candidate and Roy Moore has become the Trumpism candidate. In…
Can You Win as the Party of Purity?
Dec 7, 2017 • 27 min
On The Gist, Walmart gets a new name. In the interview, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick thought about one thing when Senate Democrats started calling for Al Franken’s resignation: Merrick Garland, which she points to as the beginning in a trend of Democrats…
Next Falls Franken?
Dec 6, 2017 • 30 min
On The Gist, Slate’s Jim Newell explains the moral and political case for forcing out Sen. Al Franken. Dozens of Senate Democrats called on Franken to resign after a seventh woman accused him of sexual misconduct on Tuesday. Bob Garfield has spent much of…
The Boys Club on the Bus
Dec 5, 2017 • 33 min
On The Gist, why Alabama’s decrepitude is not incidental to Roy Moore’s competitive bid for Senate. In the interview, Russell Shorto tells the stories of six people living through the Revolutionary War—one is George Washington; the other five, you’ve…
Pete Souza’s Photo Synthesis
Dec 4, 2017 • 30 min
Before Pete Souza became the most famous troll on Instagram, he was the White House photographer for the duration of the Obama administration. Souza explains his approach to capturing moments and shares why he doesn’t consider his work to be propaganda.…
Bob Saget Doesn’t Think He’s That Raunchy
Dec 1, 2017 • 29 min
Bob Saget has long been known as the cuddly, sitcom dad with a surprisingly raunchy side. The comedian talks about the two shows that launched his career and the very first jokes he wrote as a teenager. Bob Saget’s comedy special is Zero to Sixty.In the…
Life Is Like Pachinko
Nov 30, 2017 • 30 min
There hadn’t been an English-language novel about ethnic Koreans living in Japan until this year’s Pachinko. Author Min Jin Lee chalks it up to the complicated history of the Korean Japanese. They were colonized by Japan, they were forced or compelled to…
A Founding Fathers Bromance
Nov 29, 2017 • 39 min
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were very different guys representing opposing political parties. Jefferson was a wildly popular aristocrat from Virginia; Adams was a middling, dyspeptic lawyer from Massachusetts. But they were fast friends, and their…
The Problem With America’s Rich
Nov 28, 2017 • 36 min
Can you move toward greater income equality without asking America’s richest to give something up? In a word, no. On The Gist, Richard Reeves argues that the upper echelons of the U.S. are bogarting wealth that would otherwise go to the middle class. His…
Is Neocon Nation-Building Done For?
Nov 27, 2017 • 33 min
Elliott Abrams narrowly missed out on the State Department’s No. 2 job under President Trump, and it wasn’t just because of his sharp criticism of Trump, the candidate. In his book, Realism and Democracy, he argues that the U.S. should stay involved ­in…
Dana Gould’s Take on Horror
Nov 22, 2017 • 27 min
Standup comic and writer Dana Gould talks to Mike about growing up in a family of manly hunters and writing a character inspired by his dad. Gould is the creator of IFC’s Stan Against Evil, a show about a small-town New Hampshire sheriff who fights…
The Anti-War Candidate Was Invented in 1968
Nov 21, 2017 • 30 min
The anti-war movement of 1968 looks inevitable today, but at the time, it felt “freaking bananas.” MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell explains the charisma of Bobby Kennedy, the fervor of Eugene McCarthy, and the crushing blow they dealt to sitting President…
What’s Next for Zimbabwe?
Nov 20, 2017 • 24 min
In his 37 years as president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe has learned how to play hardball. While his past methods have invited sanctions for human rights violations, the 93-year-old is staying within the confines of the law to fend off the coup at his…
At Home With Gilbert Gottfried
Nov 17, 2017 • 34 min
Comedian Gilbert Gottfried is known for his notorious voice and jokes that toe the borderline between daring and tasteless. In the documentary Gilbert, we see his softer side: his wife, Dara, rubs schmutz off his robe, his kids hug him goodbye before…
The Nazi-Busting Woman Erased by History
Nov 16, 2017 • 36 min
Elizebeth Smith got her start poring over Shakespearean verse for secret messages that were not there. But she soon used those skills to break codes used by America’s enemies in both world wars. The FBI took credit for her decryptions of Nazi messages,…
People Power Beats the Courts
Nov 15, 2017 • 26 min
How can savvy activism topple decades of legal precedent? The ACLU’s David Cole tells us about three issues in which like-minded citizens advanced their agenda: marriage equality, gun ownership, and checking George W. Bush’s war on terror. Cole’s book is…
Putting the Con in Economics
Nov 14, 2017 • 39 min
President Trump’s top economics adviser is Kevin Hassett, a guy who has made some very bad calls—most notably, his assertion that the Bush tax cuts would make the U.S. economy recession-proof. New Yorker writer Adam Davidson takes us to economics school…
Prisons of Profit
Nov 13, 2017 • 28 min
As America’s prison population surged in the ’80s and ’90s, private prisons were billed as the solution. They were supposed to bring innovations to incarceration and save tax dollars. But as criminal justice expert Lauren-Brooke Eisen tells us, private…
The Family Man
Nov 10, 2017 • 31 min
Loudon Wainwright III has been plumbing his personal relationships and dysfunctions for decades in his music. His latest book continues on that theme as he examines the influence of his father. The book is Liner Notes: On Parents & Children, Exes &…
Why Bush 41 Was the Anti-Trump
Nov 9, 2017 • 28 min
As the Soviet Union crumbled, George H.W. Bush’s strategy was simple: say nothing. Historian Jeffrey Engel tells us about Bush’s plain oratory and his relationship with the USSR’s last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. Engel says Bush Sr. and Trump scarcely look…
About Last Night
Nov 8, 2017 • 28 min
Democrats are feeling triumphant after Tuesday’s state and local elections. But it’s not a referendum on the president until his name is on the ballot, so E.J. Dionne and Thomas Mann are here to explain remains unique about this moment in American…
The Paradox of Black Patriotism
Nov 7, 2017 • 28 min
Theodore Johnson caught our attention for his tweets about how the White House reacts to protest from black Americans. He brings an interesting perspective as a black man in the U.S. with two decades of military service under his belt—identities, he…
Lynn Novick on Making The Vietnam War
Nov 6, 2017 • 33 min
How do you attempt to document an event as complex and inexplicable as the Vietnam War? Filmmaker Lynn Novick says it helped to prioritize Vietnamese voices as well as people with a flair for speaking. “There’s a poetry in just how people express…
Free to Be You and #MeToo
Nov 3, 2017 • 28 min
The #MeToo movement is flushing out clear-cut cases of sexual harassment and assault, but is it helping us judge cases that are far murkier? Erin Gloria Ryan, senior editor for the Daily Beast, wonders whether people will separate into two camps: those…
Get Inside the Brain of Michael Rapaport
Nov 2, 2017 • 27 min
The tax plan is out, and New Yorker writer Adam Davidson joins us to play One Question, One Question Only: Is this tax reform? And the voluble Michael Rapaport unleashes his opinions about various “stickmen” (read: athletic Casanovas) and why he’s…
Talk Like a Pirate (Party) Day
Nov 1, 2017 • 30 min
Birgitta Jónsdóttir has an unusual background for a politician: she’s a poet and a free speech activist. Since 2013, she’s been a member of the Icelandic parliament representing the anti-establishment Pirate Party. Jónsdóttir talks to Mike about what it’s…
Putting Dr. Seuss on the Couch
Oct 31, 2017 • 26 min
Was Dr. Seuss racist? Or did his books just not age well? And what is the appropriate response to a canonical work that seems to be littered with racially charged depictions? Philip Nel takes on all these questions and poses some more of his own in his…
Scared to Death?
Oct 30, 2017 • 26 min
Can you be scared to death? Can your hair go white from fear? This sounds like a job for “Is That Bullshit?” with Maria Konnikova, our favorite BS detector. Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game. In the Spiel, the…
Sen. Cory Booker Has a Message for Pot Smokers
Oct 27, 2017 • 31 min
Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has rolled out the kind of marijuana legalization bill progressives love to fawn over and libertarians love to ridicule. The plan would pressure states to legalize marijuana by withholding federal money. Booker cedes…
Fellas We Frolicked With
Oct 26, 2017 • 28 min
Talking about sex makes some people squirm. For everyone else there’s Guys We Fucked, a podcast hosted by Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson that started off as a series of interviews with their old partners. Now it’s more of a coffee klatsch between…
Jacob Weisberg on the Steele Dossier
Oct 25, 2017 • 27 min
Jacob Weisberg says the Clinton campaign’s links to the Steele dossier matters, but not as much as the veracity of the oppo research itself. Weisberg is host of Trumpcast and editor in chief of the Slate Group.In the Spiel, the death of Fats Domino.Learn…
Jeff Bezos Isn’t King
Oct 24, 2017 • 30 min
Shareholder returns aren’t the only barometer of CEO success anymore, or else Jeff Bezos would be on top. In recent years, sustainability and diversity have gained importance—and in those areas, European CEOs are lapping their American competitors. Adi…
A Show for Mere Mortals
Oct 23, 2017 • 33 min
Kathleen Horan writes obituaries for the living. Her Audible original series, Mortal City, is an anthology of lesser-known New York characters: Douglas the sanitation worker, Serge the barman, Rocky the ambulance commandant. “I just kept feeling like…
Marc Maron and Brendan McDonald
Oct 20, 2017 • 36 min
Marc Maron says he “didn’t know anything about anything” when he began working in radio. But producer Brendan McDonald can tell you the moment he knew Maron could be a radio star. It was during a morning show on the ill-fated Air America network, and…
Flags Tell Fibs
Oct 19, 2017 • 31 min
Some national flags are created to unify nations, but others are simply based on myths. The Danes believe God threw theirs from heaven, and the Catalonians tell the story of a severed arm dragged across a shield. Vexilloligist and author Tim Marshall…
Falling for the Gambler’s Fallacy
Oct 18, 2017 • 28 min
If the roulette wheel keeps stopping on green, it’s bound to stop on red soon, right? It must be time for another round of “Is That Bullshit?” Maria Konnikova returns to debunk our ideas about probability and gambling. Konnikova writes for the New Yorker…
The Stupid Genius of Dexter Guff
Oct 17, 2017 • 35 min
Thought-leaders build careers out of TED talks, inspirational quotes, and branded products. Dexter Guff is a big player in that space, teaching his listeners how to crush it every day. But Dexter Guff is not a real guy. His podcast, Dexter Guff Is Smarter…
Sarah Kliff on the Big Questions
Oct 16, 2017 • 36 min
You can’t get away from Obamacare news, and with each repeal effort there are familiar, wild-eyed claims from the law’s supporters and detractors. Will chipping away at the Affordable Care Act cause people to die? Did the health care law “bend” the cost…
Why Now With the Weinstein Stories?
Oct 13, 2017 • 33 min
Why did it take years of reporting before any news organizations could nail down the Harvey Weinstein story? NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik says previously, the allegations received only “twilight” coverage. He considers why NBC might have…
The Shia LaBeouf of Islam
Oct 12, 2017 • 32 min
What does it mean to be Muslim in the U.S. right now? Slate’s Aymann Ismail set out to understand, interviewing the founder of right-wing website Gateway Pundit, a former Muslim extremist, and his own family members, among others. What Aymann has learned…
Oklahoma Is Not OK
Oct 11, 2017 • 28 min
Things are looking bleak in Oklahoma. Low taxes and slashed state spending mean schools, prisons, and even the state capitol building itself are failing. Russell Cobb, a native Okie, explains how his home state came to be so screwed up. In the Spiel,…
Made-Up Cabaret
Oct 10, 2017 • 28 min
Comedian Jason Kravits can write a Broadway hit, on the spot. That’s the premise of his improv cabaret show, where he invents tunes based on audience suggestions, such as “Yom Kippur” or “a Victorian sewer.” The show, Off the Top, is on the second…
Masha Gessen, Putin Whisperer
Oct 6, 2017 • 31 min
Masha Gessen returns to The Gist, this time to talk about her latest work, The Future Is History. Gessen uses the book to examine the ways in which post-Soviet Russia failed to process the traumas of totalitarianism. In failing to reckon with its past,…
Facebook’s Data Monopoly
Oct 5, 2017 • 29 min
This week, we learned that Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted swing states during the 2016 election. Initially hesitant about sharing information with the government, Facebook finally gave in to avoid a deeper discussion on regulation, but tech…
You Poor Seoul
Oct 4, 2017 • 29 min
Has the military become more tolerant of collateral damage under President Trump? Why are there no good military options in North Korea? And who does it hurt when the president goes off-script about Kim Jong-un? Retired Maj. Gen. James “Spider” Marks has…
The Presidency is Impossible
Oct 3, 2017 • 28 min
Before the Cold War, the president spent most of his time focusing on long-term problems facing the nation. But ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt, the president has had to devote more time to immediate crises than overarching strategy. Author Jeremi Suri…
The Rage Was Already There
Oct 2, 2017 • 31 min
On The Gist, we’re thinking about the mass shooting in Las Vegas and the errors we make when we attempt to explain the motives of an attacker. Author Masha Gessen says it’s all part of our desire to reassure ourselves that we won’t fall victim to a bomb…
Kurt Andersen’s History of American Wackadoodles
Sep 29, 2017 • 37 min
Charlatans and magical thinkers aren’t new to this country; they helped shape it. So goes the thesis of Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire. Author Kurt Andersen joins Mike to consider religious quacks, the wackadoodles of the left and right, and the…
Recentering American Politics
Sep 28, 2017 • 31 min
For the past 25 years, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard and Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution have been debating the meaning of presidential elections. But in 2016, they found themselves agreeing much more frequently on issues such as…
It’s Time to Rethink Puerto Rico
Sep 27, 2017 • 27 min
It’s time for Vexillology Corner: Last month, the city of Pocatello, Idaho, presented a new city flag to replace their previous one, known for being one of the ugliest flags in the United States. But what makes a flag ugly? Vexillologist Ted Kaye…
Mark Lilla’s Advice for Liberals
Sep 26, 2017 • 31 min
Mark Lilla made a lot of liberals bristle with his New York Times op-ed, “The End of Identity Liberalism.” But Lilla insists that what he’s suggesting should not make the bleeding hearts clutch their hemp necklaces in horror. His premise is simple: To…
David Litt is D.C. Funny
Sep 25, 2017 • 31 min
Working in the White House sounds impressive, but speechwriter David Litt says it’s not like The West Wing. Some days you just find salmon in a toilet, or have to tell the president that he looks like Hitler. Litt shares his experience as a self-described…
2007 Defined the Next Decade In Pop
Sep 22, 2017 • 29 min
The chart-topping hits of 2007 featured Beyoncé at peak pop and Kanye West ahead of the curve with electronic dance music. Why do the hits of 2007 have such impressive staying power? Chris Molanphy says it might be because the 2007 Billboard charts were…
Dylan Moran Will Say It to Your Face
Sep 21, 2017 • 31 min
Dylan Moran is a comedian from Ireland, a resident of Scotland, and a worried observer of politics in America. He talks to Mike about his way with words and why he thinks satire might bring down the 45th president. Moran is touring the U.S. now with his…
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Sep 20, 2017 • 25 min
This much we know: The Equifax data breach is bad. How can the credit bureaus, who have been described as the “plumbing” of our financial system, show so little regard for the people whose data they collect? New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson…
The Frat Doesn’t Have Your Back
Sep 19, 2017 • 29 min
Sigma Alpha Epsilon was already the country’s deadliest fraternity when it became famous in 2015 for its racist chants. But Bloomberg News senior editor John Hechinger says SAE’s response to its scandal was unusual, as leaders used his reporting to try to…
Was Booger Really A Nerd?
Sep 18, 2017 • 33 min
Why does the movie Revenge of the Nerds continue to resonate today? Because, aside from how funny it is, it stands up for outcasts. Actor Curtis Armstrong explains what he took away from the film playing Booger, who was accepted by the nerds despite not…
Ted Leo’s Hanged-Man Wisdom
Sep 15, 2017 • 29 min
On The Gist, Mike talks to one of his favorites: Musician Ted Leo discusses letting his political frustrations fuel his songwriting (see his song, “William Weld in the 21st Century”) and explains how he finds solace in the tarot card image of the hanged…
Which Type Are You?
Sep 14, 2017 • 33 min
On The Gist, Gretchen Rubin explains why her system of sorting people into four personality types (Rebel, Obliger, Questioner, and Upholder) will make your life easier. Rubin is the author of The Four Tendencies and host of the podcast Happier. In the…
Chris Gethard Wrestles With Comedy
Sep 13, 2017 • 30 min
Late-night talk shows adhere to a form: a host behind a desk, pre-produced interviews, and tightly choreographed bits. Chris Gethard wants to break that form apart. With absurd gags like getting dunked in ice water or staying awake for 36 hours, Gethard…
The Hygiene Hypothesis
Sep 12, 2017 • 32 min
Do germaphobic parents doom their kids to a lifetime of allergies and irritable bowels? This sounds like a question for our favorite game, “Is That Bullshit?” Returning champion Maria Konnikova helps us sort good bacteria from bad. Konnikova writes for…
Nnamdi Asomugha’s Drama School
Sep 11, 2017 • 31 min
Former NFL cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha sees his time in football as a prep course for acting. On The Gist, he explains how he learned to study other people while developing his own style. Asomugha stars in Crown Heights, a film based on the true story of a…
Patricia Williams Isn’t Joking
Sep 8, 2017 • 30 min
Standup comic Ms. Pat is used to getting follow-up questions about her jokes. Did your mom really shoot a gun in the house? Did you really get pregnant when you were 13? Did you really have fleas? It’s all true, and now it’s even been fact-checked.…
Three Cheers for Houston
Sep 7, 2017 • 29 min
Hurricane Harvey has caused a huge amount of property damage, but so far the death toll remains remarkably low. Why? Mike talks to John Mutter, a Columbia University professor who studies how natural disasters affect the poor. Mutter is the author of The…
Music Is Sex
Sep 6, 2017 • 31 min
Did the sexual revolution inspire rock ’n’ roll or vice versa? Was Elvis Presley a knowing sex symbol or a total innocent? Is it true that there are still blue laws on the books against playing “Tutti Frutti” after dark? NPR’s music critic Ann Powers…
Choosing Who Gets Flooded
Sep 5, 2017 • 29 min
The nation has weathered another major natural disaster, and the Army Corps of Engineers once again finds itself under scrutiny. NPR’s national desk correspondent Wade Goodwyn says the corps made a choice to open the floodgates of two major reservoirs in…
Is Amazon a Monopoly?
Sep 1, 2017 • 33 min
Hosting today’s Gist is Robert Smith from NPR’s Planet Money. On the show, he’ll talk to Lina Khan, whose research encouraging tighter regulations on Amazon caught some heat from the company’s general counsel. Khan works at the Open Markets Program,…
Dan Savage on the Nashville Statement
Aug 31, 2017 • 30 min
Today’s guest host is Dan Savage, from the Savage Lovecast. Dan is the internationally syndicated columnist of “Savage Love” and the author of several books. With his husband Terry Miller, he cofounded the It Gets Better project and edited the It Gets…
Shake It Off, Taylor
Aug 30, 2017 • 27 min
Question: What’s the best way to take a vacation in a Communist society? Answer: With utmost utilitarian seriousness, and possibly without your family. On this last week before Labor Day, guest host and Slate writer Leon Neyfakh talks to historian Diane…
The Flood Trap That Houston Built
Aug 29, 2017 • 24 min
Slate’s Henry Grabar explains how rampant building in the Houston suburbs have made the area worse for wear during Tropical Storm Harvey. And in the Spiel, guest-host Osita Nwanevu breaks his self-imposed moratorium against criticizing columnist David…
Al Letson Became A Human Shield
Aug 28, 2017 • 29 min
Al Letson was just trying to cover a demonstration – an anti-hate rally in Berkeley. When he saw a group of balaclava-clad men descend on an apparent right-wing agitator, he jumped into the fray, using his body to defend the man from kicks and punches.…
Mismatch
Aug 25, 2017 • 40 min
The hype surrounding the Saturday night fight between boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and MMA fighter Conor McGregor is overtly racially charged. Why? Because people are eating it up, says Wesley Morris, critic-at-large for the New York Times. Morris and Mike…
America Is Weird About Sex
Aug 24, 2017 • 28 min
Understanding sexual consent is complicated. Colleges are working to clarify this issue while also policing sexual assault. But when does this cross over into legislating feelings versus facts? Vanessa Grigoriadis helps us understand the current iteration…
Sure, Punching Nazis Feels Good…
Aug 23, 2017 • 33 min
The antifa movement is resurging. It started in 1920s Europe to fight Hitler and Mussolini and has returned to oppose the current wave of xenophobia in the United States. Author Mark Bray walks us through the history of the antifa movement. Bray is the…
Russia’s Lab Rat
Aug 22, 2017 • 31 min
Filmmaker Bryan Fogel had a simple hypothesis: The worldwide anti-doping system is a joke. To test his theory, Fogel wanted to dope himself and evade detection. A Russian anti-doping lab director agreed to help. Months later, Fogel’s personal doping coach…
The Many Theories of Malcolm Gladwell
Aug 21, 2017 • 36 min
Malcolm Gladwell’s hit podcast Revisionist History spits out neat, distilled theories in every episode. Some of them are careful, others are reductive. But Gladwell says his theories aren’t all meant to be airtight: They just help him organize his…
The Year MTV Took Over the Charts
Aug 18, 2017 • 32 min
In 1982, MTV started guiding Billboard’s taste in music. The year was filled with elaborate videos and cheesy ballads. Chris Molanphy takes us through all the hand claps and synth vibes of that year’s Billboard hits. Molanphy writes Slate’s Why Is This…
Is This the End of Steve Bannon?
Aug 17, 2017 • 35 min
Did Steve Bannon really misunderstand the meaning of off the record during his now-infamous “interview” with the American Prospect? “Yup,” says Joshua Green, author of Devil’s Bargain, a book about Bannon’s influence on the Trump presidency. Green…
The Overreaction Doctrine
Aug 16, 2017 • 25 min
Political scientist Moshe Maor says Donald Trump’s policy ideas are very, very over-the-top. But that’s exactly the point. On issues like immigration and transgender service members, bold overreactions are the only kind of policies that speak to cynical…
Why Are Police Unions So Aggressive?
Aug 15, 2017 • 27 min
Guest host Leon Neyfakh speaks with retired Boston cop Tom Nolan about the politics of police unions. While unions in other industries put on a progressive face to the world, police unions tend to be defensive of everything from disrespecting the mayor of…
There Is No Order in Congress
Aug 14, 2017 • 26 min
Typically Congress has an order to follow when creating bills and passing them into law. There’s committee writing, revisions, and a bipartisan back-and-forth. In recent years that order has broken down and caused major divides inside both parties.…
Brandt Tobler Has a Problem With Authority
Aug 11, 2017 • 31 min
Brandt Tobler has had a crazy life. His stand-up comedy is the sum of his stories as a small-town wayward kid busting out of Wyoming. He was the don of a criminal syndicate he called the “mallfia,” he ran the Las Vegas strip placing bets for gambling…
About the Google Memo
Aug 11, 2017 • 35 min
Google’s reputation for openness took a tumble when its CEO fired James Damore, the author of a memo questioning the company’s efforts to achieve gender parity. Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute, blames the internet. She says easy access to…
Muhammad Ali’s Biggest Fight
Aug 9, 2017 • 29 min
Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century, but he didn’t spend his entire life in the ring. During the Vietnam War, he spent his time trying to avoid the draft as a conscientious objector. Journalist Leigh Montville says the…
Somewheres vs. Anywheres
Aug 8, 2017 • 30 min
Over the last few years, the meaningful fault line between political camps has separated people rooted to certain places and people rooted to certain ideas. David Goodhart says the anywheres have become too dominant, and the somewhere have rightly felt…
The Social Experiment on TV
Aug 7, 2017 • 31 min
Be bold, but not arrogant. Apologize when wrong, but don’t accept blame. Stay calm in a crisis. These are some of the lessons Mike Richards has learned hosting GSN’s Divided, the social experiment masquerading as a game show. In the Spiel, why the Dow is…
Maria Bamford Wants to See Emotion
Aug 4, 2017 • 34 min
Maria Bamford has been making top comedian lists for years, but she knows her stand-up isn’t for everyone: “I can bomb any moment of the week, any day.” On The Gist, she rebuts Mike’s assertion that comics are more likely to struggle with depression.…
The Scaramucci Tapes
Aug 3, 2017 • 30 min
It’s a special combo Gist, with an interview and Spiel rolled into one segment: Zoe Chace, producer for This American Life, digs up some old audio from one of her conversations with Anthony Scaramucci. The tape is from 2016, when the Mooch was pondering…
A Video Game Thoreau Might Play
Aug 2, 2017 • 30 min
What would you expect from a video game inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s sojourn in the woods? In Walden, a game, players can contemplate the forest, go boating with Ralph Waldo Emerson, and practice civil disobedience. The game was developed by the Game…
No Hard Feelings
Aug 1, 2017 • 35 min
Psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett is the grand inquisitor of human emotions. Her book, How Emotions Are Made, inspired a big chunk of the latest season of NPR’s Invisibilia. Barrett says scientific research shows that emotions are…
How to Beat a Casino
Jul 31, 2017 • 32 min
A few years ago, an unassuming young woman named Kelly Sun teamed up with Phil Ivey, the world’s most famous poker player. Using some questionable strategies, the two managed to win millions of dollars from casinos across the world. Now the casinos are…
Alan Alda Seeks Clarity
Jul 28, 2017 • 29 min
Alan Alda’s new book is called If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? The title comes from his own bad experiences talking to doctors and other science professionals, including one that screwed up his smile for years. “We need to get…
They Called Him Son of Sam
Jul 27, 2017 • 29 min
Tom Jennings dug through hours of archival media footage to tell the story of Son of Sam, the serial killer who terrorized New York City in 1976 and 1977. The resulting documentary is part of the Smithsonian Channel’s Lost Tapes series. The Lost Tapes:…
How Democrats Condescend to the White Working Class
Jul 26, 2017 • 35 min
According to Joan C. Williams, about a third of the country feels talked down to. These are the white working class folks, the people who went for Trump, the people who feel that terms like disruption just mean more hassle and pain. “We can’t expect…
Why Did Trump and Putin Meet in Secret?
Jul 25, 2017 • 30 min
After the G-20 Summit, Ian Bremmer broke the news to Americans about Trump’s secret second meeting with Vladimir Putin. He says he did it because so many American allies were commenting on the rendezvous in private. “The people in the room, they found it…
A Kid in the Hall Tells All
Jul 24, 2017 • 28 min
When Kevin McDonald moved to New York, his sketch troupe, Kids in the Hall, had a deal with Lorne Michaels to make a new comedy show. But these were during some lean years for Michaels. “We were in a closet,” says McDonald, “and he was being audited, so…
Al Gore, Ever Hopeful
Jul 21, 2017 • 34 min
If things had gone well, America would still be in the Paris Agreement on climate change, green energy would be spreading across the country and Al Gore wouldn’t have needed to make a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth. But it didn’t work out that way. With…
Unearthing a Cult Classic
Jul 20, 2017 • 29 min
Mike Sacks is not just a comedian; he’s also a comedy historian. This summer, he’s unearthed a rare artifact, the cult classic, Dixie-fried action movie Stinker Lets Loose. “Some famous people have cited this movie as a big influence on them,” says Sacks,…
The Garbage Art of Handwriting Analysis
Jul 19, 2017 • 30 min
Maria Konnikova returns to look at a tool prosecutors have used for decades: handwriting analysis, or graphology. Older versions of the practice have used handwriting to predict everything from a person’s mental state to their capacity for murder. “People…
Tyler Cowen Fears for Our Future
Jul 18, 2017 • 30 min
Economist Tyler Cowen is disdainful of social media, heartened by recent immigrants, and wary of pot. He thinks that, in our collective desire for comfort, we are postponing big and necessary changes that will sow instability in the years ahead. “Right…
Dan Pashman on the Psychology of Taste
Jul 17, 2017 • 26 min
Our friend Dan Pashman from the Sporkful podcast returns to explain the new field of study known as gastrophysics and why our brains have a big influence over how we taste food. For example, research shows we like the taste of food served with heavy…
Haunted By “A Ghost Story”
Jul 14, 2017 • 25 min
Director David Lowery has made one of the most remarkable films of 2017 so far, and he’s built it around a ridiculous image: a white sheet with two eye-holes cut out. So what makes “A Ghost Story” feel so epic? And what’s with that 10-minute pie scene?…
At Sea With James Stavridis
Jul 13, 2017 • 28 min
Retired Admiral James Stavridis wants to remind us: Despite headlines about the rise of ISIS, there are bigger existential threats to America. “Terrorism is not apocalyptic, it’s a tool,” says Stavridis. He warns that conflicts with Russia and China are…
Look at All the Struggling Democracies
Jul 12, 2017 • 29 min
It’s not that things are so terribly bad right now, it’s that circumstances have failed to keep up with expectations. So says Edward Luce, chief U.S. columnist for the Financial Times, whose new book surveys the ensuing crisis of confidence in liberal…
Ben Wittes on the Latest News Bomb
Jul 11, 2017 • 29 min
Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes on the latest #ENSH (errant national security horses—-) and the brewing scandal surrounding Donald Trump Jr.’s emails. In the Spiel, we’re going back to the event that set all this in motion: the Miss Universe pageant of 2013.…
Twitter Should Drop Trump Already
Jul 10, 2017 • 25 min
The jobs report has been good, the U.S. isn’t in a shooting war, and the economy is booming. So why is Trump still in the high 30s in terms of popularity? Political scientist Seth Masket says it’s because of Trump’s abrasive presence on Twitter. Masket…
In Defense of Ombudsmen
Jul 7, 2017 • 25 min
Daniel Okrent did not have a lot of fun as the first public editor for the New York Times. “I was like internal affairs in a police department,” said Okrent. “Nobody liked to see me coming.” That said, Okrent defends the role ombudsmen play at news…
Centrists Won’t Save Health Care
Jul 6, 2017 • 29 min
Conservative Philip Klein doesn’t think the presence of moderate senators means we’ll get better health care policy. “Centrists always get credit and adoration by many elements of the media for talking to the other side and not being ideologically rigid,”…
Chris Christie’s Biggest Mistake
Jul 5, 2017 • 27 min
Gov. Chris Christie’s time in the national spotlight has been full of bloopers. But no goof appears as consequential as his call to cancel the ARC project, halting construction of an additional train tunnel between New Jersey and New York City. WNYC’s…
The Incredible Eddie Izzard
Jul 3, 2017 • 34 min
Eddie Izzard once thought about playing piano for a living. He’s done one professional show. It was in front of tens of thousands of people. That’s because fans will watch the comedian do pretty much anything, from running marathons, to telling jokes in…
Invisibilia Questions Your Emotions
Jun 30, 2017 • 31 min
NPR’s Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel explain what they learned about feelings from their third season of Invisibilia. Society has come around to the idea that emotions are a force to be reckoned with – is that a good thing?In the Spiel, it’s time to name…
Writing Cop Fiction in the Age of Black Lives Matter
Jun 29, 2017 • 23 min
Crime writer Don Winslow says writing a novel about cops and cartels involves some pretty serious research. “In researching these books,” says Winslow, “I meet people. I’ve been to the funerals, talked to the cops. I’ve made the sympathy calls!” His…
I Hate This, Don’t Quote Me
Jun 28, 2017 • 31 min
Reporter Marc Fisher explains why he called out a classic game of D.C. deceit in the pages of the Washington Post. And Michelle LaRue, the official Gist penguin expert, returns to explain some news about those troublesome birds. In the Spiel, how would a…
Big Turmoil in Big Sky Country
Jun 27, 2017 • 30 min
Anne Helen Petersen returns to discuss her new posting—as the Western correspondent for BuzzFeed. Petersen will be reporting on U.S. political culture from her new home, Missoula, Montana. “There’s a reason every newspaper used to have bureaus in every…
The Rise and Reign of Unruly Women
Jun 26, 2017 • 26 min
Anne Helen Petersen has made a career on the rigorous, deep, academic study of celebrity culture. In her new book Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, Petersen explores the rise of norm-breaking women such as Lena Dunham and Serena Williams and what their…
Do Radicals Change the World?
Jun 23, 2017 • 34 min
Author Jeremy McCarter (co-writer of Hamilton: The Revolution with Lin-Manuel Miranda) has written a new book tracing five American radicals from the 1910s and ’20s. “I had thought this was going to be a book about a chapter of progress in history we…
Scaachi Koul on Surviving the Trolls
Jun 22, 2017 • 29 min
Scaachi Koul, a writer for BuzzFeed, talks about growing up as a brown girl in Canada’s “Cowtown,” and how she set off a tweetstorm by soliciting job applications from writers who are “not white and not male.” Koul’s book of essays is One Day We’ll All Be…
The Musings of Wallace Shawn
Jun 21, 2017 • 31 min
There are two Wallace Shawns. There’s the character actor, known for playing eccentrics in The Princess Bride and The Good Wife and voicing cartoon dinosaurs. (“I don’t get cast as a lot of real people,” he notes.) Then there’s the acclaimed playwright,…
Is Terrorism Coverage Racist?
Jun 20, 2017 • 32 min
Tom Shapiro is back to explain the thinking behind the title of his book, Toxic Inequality. What’s so toxic about it? Shapiro is a professor at Brandeis University, where he directs the Institute on Assets and Social Policy. In the Spiel: Based on the…
Lies vs. BS
Jun 19, 2017 • 28 min
The U.S. has a racial wealth gap problem. By one estimate, at current levels of wealth growth it would take 228 years for the average black family to catch up with levels of wealth among white families. Thomas Shapiro explains some of the surprising…
Jon Ronson on Writing the Year’s Wildest Movie
Jun 16, 2017 • 29 min
The new movie Okja has pretty much everything. Car chases. Giant mutant pigs. A dystopian future. Jake Gyllenhaal with an outlandish moustache. A subtle social message. Tilda Swinton pretending to be Tony Blair. The movie is written by Korean director…
The Delicate Art of Political Persuasion
Jun 15, 2017 • 28 min
A big problem with political arguments, says Robb Willer, is that everyone sees himself or herself as the hero in a zombie movie. “American liberals see themselves as Brad Pitt warding off a zombie horde,” says Willer. “But the problem is conservatives…
He Ate Human Flesh for Science
Jun 14, 2017 • 31 min
Bill Schutt says no one from his childhood is surprised to find out he’s been studying cannibalism—after all, he was into vampire bats as a kid. For his new book, he’s investigated the (natural) history of people eating one another and why it’s only been…
Awk-ward!
Jun 13, 2017 • 32 min
You’re awkward, but maybe not in the way you think. Psychologist Ty Tashiro explains the hallmarks of social awkwardness, why we’re sensitive to it, and why it’s not such a bad thing. Tashiro is the author of Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially…
Autocrats Can’t Take a Joke
Jun 12, 2017 • 26 min
Bassem Youssef hasn’t cut open a chest in six years. And he doesn’t miss it. “Being into medicine for 19 years, it’s a character builder,” says the Egyptian comedian, who says his old job prepped him well for his new one. Youssef went from being a surgeon…
Larry Wilmore is Black on the Air
Jun 9, 2017 • 36 min
Last August, Larry Wilmore’s talk show was canceled. The Nightly Show focused on issues like equality, activism, and how racism subtly wormed its way into American life. In hindsight, it feels ahead of its time. Wilmore is out with a new podcast, Black on…
What We Get Wrong About Mass Incarceration, Pt. II
Jun 8, 2017 • 25 min
Wednesday on The Gist, John Pfaff refuted the conventional wisdom about mass incarceration. Thursday, Pfaff explains some of the obstacles to reform. Pfaff’s book is Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration—and How to Achieve Real Reform. In the…
What We Get Wrong About Mass Incarceration, Pt. I
Jun 7, 2017 • 28 min
John Pfaff is on a mission to topple the well-worn myths of the U.S. prison population boom. He says the data tells us to focus on the district attorneys, not the Department of Justice. Pfaff teaches at Fordham University School of Law and is the author…
Why So Morose About Lactose?
Jun 6, 2017 • 29 min
There’s almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, soy milk, hazelnut milk, oat milk, and milk made from anything that grows, pretty much. But is any of it actually milk? And is it actually healthier than dairy? Our debunker-in-chief, Maria Konnikova,…
O Great Confessor Google
Jun 5, 2017 • 32 min
People tell Google things they wouldn’t say to anyone else. That’s the big insight that motivated the research of Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. His book, Everybody Lies, is about the stories and secrets he uncovered by digging into internet search data.In the…
You Can’t Say That, Mr. Senator
Jun 2, 2017 • 38 min
In 2008, Al Franken was elected to the United States Senate. Since then, he’s become a well-respected member of the upper chamber. But he hasn’t lost his keen eye for satire. After the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, “I wanted to release a…
The Path of Most Resistance
Jun 1, 2017 • 30 min
In April, Donald Trump authorized rocket strikes on a military target in Syria. Most Democrats agreed with it. But when Trump makes a decision, does that make it inherently wrong? New Republic editor and Twitter star Jeet Heer offers a critique of the…
A Playwright in the Rust Belt
May 31, 2017 • 27 min
Reading, Pennsylvania is the poorest city of its size in the United States. It’s also where Lynn Nottage did most of her research for the Pulitzer-winning Broadway show, Sweat. Nottage talks with guest host Aisha Harris about the different kinds of…
Donald Trump, Body Snatcher
May 30, 2017 • 26 min
When can we expect the first tell-all book by a former Trump administration official? David Rosenthal explains the physics of personal memoirs and dishes about what he’s heard around the industry rumor mill. Rosenthal runs the Blue Rider Press imprint at…
The Colony and the Nation
May 27, 2017 • 36 min
Richard Nixon once warned of an America cut in two, a colony of poor, disenfranchised people within a nation of wealth. His law-and-order policies went a long way to making that a reality. In his new book, A Colony in a Nation, Chris Hayes looks at how…
Ben Wittes Digs Out
May 25, 2017 • 31 min
Ben Wittes has a term for the nonsense justifications he observes coming from the Trump administration. He calls it ENSH: errant national security horseshit. On Thursday’s show, Wittes shovels up some of the larger ENSH dumps of the past two weeks. Wittes…
Everyone Looks Presidential on Air Force One
May 24, 2017 • 29 min
Donald Trump looks a lot more comfortable traveling abroad than he ever has in the White House. Josh King says there’s a good explanation for this. “Two Air Force Ones, a beast limousine, all the trappings of the United States government … it’s hard to…
Tom Ricks: “It’s Shakespearean”
May 23, 2017 • 33 min
For Tom Ricks, the whiplash-inducing news of the past two weeks has been especially surreal. Ricks explains why he was stunned to see the National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster defend President Trump. Ricks is out with a new book about two of his heroes,…
Jon Glaser Is Conflicted
May 22, 2017 • 28 min
Jon Glaser makes his triumphant return to The Gist to talk about season two of the Adult Swim series Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter. Glaser has been a part of some of the most acclaimed shows on TV. He’s written for Inside Amy Schumer and Late Night With Conan…
Can We Really Fix College Sports?
May 19, 2017 • 23 min
For college athletes, performance bonuses outweigh academic bonuses 15 to 1. That’s not acceptable, says Arne Duncan. Duncan served as Barack Obama’s education secretary. Now, he’s on the Knight Commission, which is trying to lead reforms in college…
Roger Ailes Created This Mess
May 18, 2017 • 33 min
Thursday morning, Roger Ailes died. The Fox News impresario changed the conversation in America and created a base of support for the current pPresident, Donald Trump. Isaac Chotiner has reported extensively on Fox News for Slate. His new interview…
Why Things Went South in Alabama
May 17, 2017 • 27 min
What’s the matter with Alabama? (You could ask the same thing of tens of other states with sleazy political histories, but we’re going in alphabetical order.) Today, Alabama reporter John Archibald delves into the concentric scandals rocking the…
Encounters With the Very, Very Famous
May 16, 2017 • 29 min
One piece of interview advice from Chuck Klosterman: You can’t make a celebrity interview feel like a real conversation. “They know it’s not real. They wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t be asking these questions, if it wasn’t for the tape recorder,” says…
Chasing the Bauble With Brooke Gladstone
May 15, 2017 • 33 min
Lists of inaccurate statements by Donald Trump are good and satisfying and a little funny. But they aren’t what we need. We need reporting on the issues behind the lies, says Brooke Gladstone. She’s co-host of On The Media and author of a new book, The…
Are Bilinguals Really Smarter?
May 12, 2017 • 29 min
A century ago, bilingual children were seen as disadvantaged—a kid speaking English and Spanish was liable to become confused and might not learn properly. Now? Bilinguals are seen as better than the rest of us. They get dementia later. They have bigger…
Clint Watts, Testifier Extraordinaire
May 11, 2017 • 33 min
We’re zooming out on Russia’s influencing machine with the help of Clint Watts, the national security expert who had a star turn in March with his soundbite-ready testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Watts explains why the partisan skew on…
The Man Who Wrote the Comey Memo
May 10, 2017 • 27 min
Former FBI Director James Comey has been called “rapturous of his own righteousness,” but by most accounts the man who assisted in Comey’s ouster could be described the same way. Rod Rosenstein, No. 2 at the Department of Justice, wrote the memo…
Are We Smart Enough to Be a Direct Democracy?
May 9, 2017 • 28 min
Soon, every person on Earth will be connected, via social media, to every other person. So why do we approach policy like it’s the ’70s? In his book The Great Questions of Tomorrow, David Rothkopf asks how we can change our policy outlook to reflect how…
The Formation of Stephen Miller
May 8, 2017 • 30 min
Trump adviser Stephen Miller seemed to burst onto the national scene this past February, with his memorable defense of the White House’s travel ban and claims of voter fraud. But New York magazine’s Reeves Wiedeman says Miller’s education in punditry came…
What’s in the Bill? With Sarah Kliff
May 5, 2017 • 27 min
Vox health care writer Sarah Kliff returns to discuss the return of the health care reform bill that just won’t die. In Kliff’s estimation, the new bill, if passed in the Senate, would be great for the rich and terrible for the sick. Kliff is a columnist…
Observing Obscura Day
May 4, 2017 • 25 min
A hallowed day is nearly upon us: Obscura Day on Saturday, May 6. Think of it like a worldwide quest to discover all things odd and remarkable. The whole thing was dreamed up by the surveyors and spelunkers at Atlas Obscura. Today, Mike steps in as your…
Sarah Manguso’s Words to Live By
May 3, 2017 • 28 min
Only a fire can prove what survives a fire. Well, no, says Sarah Manguso. It only proves what would survive that fire. Manguso, an essayist and poet, offers modern wisdom and witticisms in her new book 300 Arguments. Plus, Donald Trump gets the Ken Burns…
Red Feed, Blue Feed With Cass Sunstein
May 3, 2017 • 23 min
Harvard professor Cass Sunstein returns to discuss his new book #Republic, which looks at polarization in the digital age. While America isn’t more polarized than ever, Sunstein says it’s important to focus on how today’s problems are different and new.…
Facing Your Genetic Destiny
May 1, 2017 • 29 min
The Baxley family was cursed with a horrible disease—something like mad cow, but for human beings. The younger members of the family might have the disease, and there’s a test that would tell them definitively. But knowing for sure could screw up their…
The Incredible Lucas Brothers
Apr 28, 2017 • 31 min
Weeks before the end of their third-year final exams, twins Keith and Kenny Lucas became law school dropouts to pursue careers in comedy. But their whole lives had been about going the other way: Growing up in drug war–ravaged Newark, New Jersey, they…
When Did Late Night Stop Being Fun?
Apr 27, 2017 • 30 min
Once upon a time, late-night talk shows were like boozy dinner parties, fun chat-fests where movie stars would reveal a little too much about themselves. Now, they’re marked by anti-septic games of charades and sing-alongs. Comedian Guy Branum wants to…
The Populists Cannot Win
Apr 26, 2017 • 30 min
Slate columnist and Harvard University lecturer Yascha Mounk is worried about liberal democracy. He says Marine Le Pen’s second-place finish in France isn’t a cause for relief—it’s a sign she’s closer to power than ever. “It’s easy to be right about the…
The Clinton Campaign Tell-All
Apr 25, 2017 • 30 min
Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes set out to write a book about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid long before the home stretch of the campaign. In October, Allen got a note from their editor, who was having trouble reconciling his expectation of a…
Moshe Kasher Is Not an Activist
Apr 24, 2017 • 32 min
Comedian Moshe Kasher is a self-professed lefty and a general fan of cultural sensitivity, but he has a big problem with outrage culture. His new talk show, Problematic, takes aim at any unabashed troglodytes, as well as their supposedly enlightened…
When the ’80s Went Pro
Apr 21, 2017 • 31 min
It’s 1987, and the breakthrough creativity of the early ’80s is beginning to sour. Also, everyone’s hair is ridiculous, but that’s beside the point. Chris Molanphy is our guide to the year’s Billboard’s hits, which taught us, as he says, that “fairly…
The Secrets of S-Town
Apr 20, 2017 • 35 min
In 2012, a man named John B. McLemore wrote an email to This American Life asking the radio show to investigate a murder in his hometown. What resulted is S-Town, a podcast that explores McLemore and the people around him. Producer and host Brian Reed…
Up With Eggheads
Apr 19, 2017 • 28 min
Experts have had a rough year. Tom Nichols sees a new fervor in the country’s anti-intellectualism, and he thinks it stems from frustration with elites. Turns out, there’s a difference between the people with expertise and the people with power. Nichols…
What Happened to the Crack Epidemic?
Apr 18, 2017 • 25 min
Why are crack users given such long, punishing sentences? It’s because of political gamesmanship around crime in the ’80s. In the new Audible series 100:1 The Crack Legacy, journalist Christopher Johnson looks at how inner-city drug panics led to today’s…
Ariel Levy Was Here
Apr 17, 2017 • 34 min
Ariel Levy’s 2013 New Yorker essay about losing her son, “Thanksgiving in Mongolia,” was among the most recommended pieces of writing in recent memory. Levy expands on the essay in her memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply. In the book, Levy wonders if, in…
The Gist Presents the Grift
Apr 14, 2017 • 26 min
Maria Konnikova has been a special correspondent on The Gist since it began, debunking common myths and pseudoscience. Now, she’s starting her own show, a narrative podcast about cons called the Grift. The first two episodes are available for download on…
The Handmaid’s Fail
Apr 13, 2017 • 22 min
If aliens came to Earth looking for a dystopian novel that reflected the current political reality, would you recommend that they read The Handmaid’s Tale? Guest host Alexandra Petri considers this quandary with Mallory Ortberg, Slate’s Dear Prudence…
Improv is Hard, Writing is Harder
Apr 12, 2017 • 32 min
Joe Swanberg and Jake Johnson have made a couple of can’t-miss indie films in the last few years, including Drinking Buddies, Digging for Fire, and the new poker comedy Win It All. The collaborators talk about improv, making a believable world on-screen,…
Why David Letterman Still Matters
Apr 11, 2017 • 28 min
David Letterman was full of contradictions. He hated celebrity, but he hosted a talk show. He was playful, but he never seemed to be enjoying himself. In The Last Giant of Late Night, reporter Jason Zinoman explores the many facets of Letterman’s art, and…
When Protesters Pull the Fire Alarm
Apr 10, 2017 • 29 min
Slate’s Osita Nwanevu defended the actions of Middlebury College students to silence visiting speaker Charles Murray last month. If we consider some opinions to be beyond the pale of acceptability, who’s to say that the students were wrong in putting…
Shots Fired. What Now?
Apr 7, 2017 • 27 min
What does President Trump want to achieve with Thursday’s escalation of force against Syria? Fred Kaplan considers all the angles, including this one: Ordering a strike against a single Syrian air base was one of the lesser military actions President…
Lovable Losers With Scott Simon
Apr 6, 2017 • 28 min
The Chicago Cubs used to be the Susan Lucci of baseball. Now they’re looking more like Meryl Streep. As a fan, how do you become accustomed to winning? Scott Simon has written a memoir about his life as a too-devoted Cubs fan and how he’s adjusting to…
A More Human Kind of Sci-Fi
Apr 5, 2017 • 31 min
In The Discovery, director Charlie McDowell imagines a world where the afterlife has been proven, and a man played by Jason Segel is trying to negotiate the emotional consequences. McDowell says he was out to make a kind of “grounded sci-fi,” in the vein…
An Outsider’s Take on America’s Game
Apr 4, 2017 • 26 min
Tabitha Soren is not a natural baseball fan. She got interested when her husband, Michael Lewis, was working on his book Moneyball. As Lewis became obsessed with teaching his readers another way to watch the game, Soren focused on showing people how to…
Where Is the Republican Resistance?
Apr 3, 2017 • 29 min
Trump was the chaos candidate, but he’s finding little success as the chaos president. He’s turned off Democrats and the Freedom Caucus, failed to pass a new health care law, and faced blockades in the courts against his travel ban. We call up veteran GOP…
The Return of Mystery Science Theater 3000
Mar 31, 2017 • 27 min
After a long hiatus, the groundbreaking comedy show Mystery Science Theatre 3000 returns to piteously mock the worst movies ever made. Show creator Joel Hodgson and new head writer Elliott Kalan (The Daily Show) explain how to get some tiny pleasure out…
Russia Doesn’t Have Any Friends
Mar 30, 2017 • 27 min
Why does Russia find NATO so deeply offensive? Tom Nichols says it comes down to something quite human. NATO represents all of the successes that Russia couldn’t quite manage to achieve: “Part of the reason Russians hate NATO is because Russia just…
What is Homeopathy, Exactly?
Mar 29, 2017 • 31 min
Our resident debunker of nonsense, Maria Konnikova, returns to take on the billion-dollar homeopathy industry. Why aren’t homeopathic remedies regulated in the United States? And what can their dubious history tell us about their effectiveness? Maria…
How Political Parties Collapse
Mar 28, 2017 • 29 min
Two Whig presidents were elected by the American people—Zachary Taylor and William Henry Harrison. They lasted a grand total of one year and five months. The Whigs cracked up in the 1850s over intense policy divisions. Now, many historians are drawing…
Step Away From the Screen
Mar 27, 2017 • 33 min
How much time did you spend on an anti-boredom gadget today? We watch entire seasons of television in a day, we scroll through infinite streams of social media, and we are transfixed by games designed as deftly as slot machines. Adam Alter says it’s time…
Feet off the Couch, Please
Mar 24, 2017 • 27 min
Alyssa Mastromonaco served as White House deputy chief of staff under Barack Obama. Her job was expansive—covering everything from interviewing James Comey to making sure the White House driveway was re-paved[AM1] . Now, she’s written a memoir, Who…
Slobs vs. Snobs
Mar 23, 2017 • 26 min
Why does it feel like our political debate was brought to us by the National Lampoon? Sonny Bunch applies his powers of cultural analysis to the changing face of political conservativism. Bunch is executive editor of the Washington Free Beacon, where he…
Health Care! It’s Trump’s Problem Now
Mar 22, 2017 • 32 min
With hours to go before the official vote on Trumpcare, the bill is being altered to make sure moderates in Buffalo and Freedom Caucus members in South Carolina stay onboard. [MW1] Any chance this Frankenstein bill will fail? Slate columnists Jim Newell…
James Comey’s Slow Drip
Mar 21, 2017 • 31 min
What did we learn from Monday’s public testimony of FBI Director James Comey? National security ace Ben Wittes says Comey’s statements were intriguingly “gentle,” though they should still distress the president. Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a…
Cold, Hard Facts with Wendy Zukerman
Mar 20, 2017 • 29 min
Wendy Zukerman isn’t like some other science reporters in that she doesn’t traffic in false equivalencies. “If there’s a 95 percent consensus among scientists, you report the consensus,” says Zukerman. Her podcast, Science Vs., is on its second season.…
What’s Next for Travel Ban 2.0
Mar 17, 2017 • 30 min
Slate senior legal correspondent Dahlia Lithwick walks us through the next steps for Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. Some judges may not use Trump’s campaign rhetoric in their rulings; however, “Every time Trump opens his mouth, he makes it harder,”…
Dangerous Times With Kelly McEvers
Mar 16, 2017 • 35 min
Before Kelly McEvers landed in her current role as host of NPR’s All Things Considered, she was a world-weary conflict-zone reporter. But McEvers says she wasn’t bored upon returning to the states: “I came back to America, and I was like, Whoa, America,…
Stretching the Truth With Maria Konnikova
Mar 15, 2017 • 27 min
Like so many dubious health claims, stretching before exercise has its roots in yoga culture. Maria Konnikova explains that stretching is exercise in-and-of itself and shouldn’t be treated like a warm-up. Then why do so many trainers and health nuts…
Todd Barry Would Rather Be Drumming
Mar 14, 2017 • 27 min
Todd Barry’s stand-up comedy falls along the lower end of the register: in volume, in speed, in tone. So maybe it makes sense that he’s happiest onstage when he doesn’t have to talk at all. Fans may wonder how Barry translates his dry delivery to the…
See You in Court!
Mar 13, 2017 • 28 min
President Donald Trump’s management style has created lots of big, messy legal questions. With his new executive order on immigration, and his calls for a congressional investigation into wiretapping, Trump is plunging the government into uncharted…
Survey Says …
Mar 10, 2017 • 29 min
Anthony Salvanto, CBS News’ elections director, explains the CBS Nation Tracker poll and why it’s different from the surveys that tell you if you’re a Jessa. In the Spiel, can you trust the job numbers? Today’s sponsors:Wunder Capital, allowing…
Trump’s Azerbaijan Problem
Mar 9, 2017 • 35 min
President Donald Trump has overseen many shady deals, but New Yorker staff writer Adam Davidson thinks he may have found the most questionable one. Davidson says a Trump Organization hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan, links the president to some shady oligarchs…
A Beautiful Health Care Plan, Just Terrific
Mar 8, 2017 • 28 min
Donald Trump has promised lower costs, broader coverage, and better premiums in his health care plan. Well, the new bill is out, and it’s uniting liberals and conservatives in outright disdain. “I’ve only heard from two outside groups who like this bill,”…
Moneyball for the Israeli Military
Mar 7, 2017 • 25 min
In books like Moneyball and The Big Short, Michael Lewis has written about people who think in a completely different way from their colleagues. For his latest, The Undoing Project, Lewis profiles the patron saints of different thinking, Israeli…
The Fonz Talks About Fonts
Mar 6, 2017 • 31 min
Henry Winkler is an icon of American comedy. Between roles in Happy Days, Arrested Development, and Parks and Recreation, Winkler has been writing children’s books starring the character Hank Zipzer. Winkler says the stories have helped him come to terms…
The Year “Gangnam” Was Robbed
Mar 3, 2017 • 35 min
The Gist’s Billboard charts Sherpa Chris Molanphy returns to hearken back to more recent musical history: the hits of 2012. We learn why Psy’s ubiquitous “Gangnam Style” isn’t technically on the list and how a Swedish stable of songwriters dominated the…
The Bard of Florida
Mar 2, 2017 • 28 min
The inexplicable oddness of Florida takes on a sort of logic after you listen long enough to Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize–winning humorist and longtime denizen of the state. On The Gist, Barry provides a mental atlas for the various regions of weird within…
Coming to America With Maeve Higgins
Mar 1, 2017 • 31 min
Three years ago, Maeve Higgins left a successful career as an author comedian in Ireland to try her hand at New York City. Since then, she’s been obsessed with fellow immigrants, people who have chosen to make their life in the USA, often against…
A World Disorder Doctrine
Feb 28, 2017 • 29 min
China isn’t a boogeyman, North Korea is genuinely frightening, and we could stand to be more diplomatic with Russia. Those ideas come from Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, who says the U.S. can be a stabilizing force in the…
Gonzo Journalism
Feb 27, 2017 • 30 min
Who was Jim Henson, and why did he see something special in a couple googly eyes glued on felt? Best-selling history writer Brad Meltzer says he was inspired to tell Henson’s story not because of The Muppets or Sesame Street, but because of Henson’s…
George Saunders’ American Ghosts
Feb 24, 2017 • 31 min
George Saunders’ first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, is a bit of a head trip. Half of it takes place in the liminal phase between life and death. It’s about Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie, who died at the age of 11, but we almost never hear from him. And it…
An Experiment to Save Local News in Nevada
Feb 23, 2017 • 24 min
Jon Ralston has decades of experience covering politics in Nevada, as a columnist for both major Las Vegas newspapers and a host on local TV. But as the major news outlets have cut their politics coverage, Ralston has launched an experiment to save local…
On Saddam Hussein’s Case
Feb 22, 2017 • 31 min
John Nixon was the lead CIA analyst tasked with studying Saddam Hussein during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. It fell to Nixon to identify Hussein when he was captured, interrogate him while in U.S. custody, and present what he learned to the Bush White…
Facing the News Like a Poker Champ
Feb 21, 2017 • 32 min
There’s a term in poker called tilt—when players become overwhelmed by bad news and it starts clouding their decision-making. Poker star Annie Duke talks to guest host Maria Konnikova about the psychological tricks that pro card players use to get through…
Andy Zaltzman Is Back at Exactly the Right Time
Feb 17, 2017 • 33 min
For years, Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver took on the powers that be in their influential podcast The Bugle. But the show went on hiatus in 2014 when Oliver became the host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight. Now, Zaltzman is rebooting the show at a most opportune…
Would a Narcissist Do This?
Feb 16, 2017 • 29 min
Jedediah Purdy understands President Trump’s supporters better than most champions of the left, having grown up in rural West Virginia (he has the greased-pig award to prove it). But he’s still befuddled by the prospect of peeling away voters from the…
A Late Show for Grown-Ups
Feb 15, 2017 • 29 min
Chris Licht is the executive producer for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, which has surpassed its late-night competition since the inauguration of President Donald Trump. On The Gist, Licht explains why he’s not worried about going viral or catering…
John Darnielle Talks About Words and Snakes
Feb 14, 2017 • 29 min
John Darnielle has always had a facility with words. As singer and songwriter behind the Mountain Goats, Darnielle has made pop poetry about lonely outsiders and cultural marginalia. Now, in his second novel, Universal Harvester, he explores the lives of…
David Frum Beseeches You to Focus
Feb 13, 2017 • 30 min
David Frum has emerged as a leader of the Republican resistance in the months since President Donald Trump’s election. On The Gist, he shares his dismay that the disparate forces opposing the Trump administration can’t seem to get over old squabbles. He…
Oh, How This Feels Like Moscow
Feb 10, 2017 • 33 min
On The Gist, guest host Julia Ioffe of the Atlantic talks about the similarities and surprising differences between President Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin with Miriam Elder, world editor at BuzzFeed. Elder shares her idea of how the two leaders fit…
Elvis Costello’s High-Fidelity Life
Feb 9, 2017 • 29 min
Elvis Costello is one of the most accomplished songwriters of his generation. In his memoir, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, he details his songwriting process, his encounters with everyone from Paul McCartney to Joe Strummer, and his place in a…
Plus Jamais Le Fake News
Feb 8, 2017 • 31 min
With elections coming up in France and Germany, Facebook is working with media organizations across Europe to avoid the fake news pox that struck the United States last year. Slate’s senior technology writer Will Ormeus joins us to discuss the strides…
An Obamacare Architect Speaks Out
Feb 7, 2017 • 27 min
Before she was the governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius ran the state’s high-risk health care pool, where citizens with serious health problems could get coverage despite their pre-existing conditions. High-risk pools are a favorite idea of the GOP,…
The Business of Corporate Protest
Feb 6, 2017 • 25 min
After intense protest toward companies such as Uber, CEOs across America are finding it more and more difficult to stay neutral when it comes to the Trump administration. Adi Ignatius is the editor of the Harvard Business Review, whose most recent issue…
He Left the Hold Steady for Mongolia
Feb 3, 2017 • 31 min
Franz Nicolay made his bones playing with big bands, in size and in popularity (The Dresden Dolls, Against Me, the Hold Steady). But Nicolay longed to strike out on his own and master the “practical craft of the old vaudevillian.” So he packed his banjo…
The Case of the Frozen Trucker
Feb 2, 2017 • 29 min
This week, Democrats are agonizing over how or whether to oppose Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Emily Bazelon notes that Gorsuch has been very clear in his opposition to doctor-assisted suicide, but his position on abortion…
Inside the Biggest Pyramid Scheme Ever
Feb 1, 2017 • 29 min
Steve Fishman is one of the few journalists to received access to notorious scam artist Bernie Madoff. His interviews form the backbone of the new Audible series Ponzi Supernova, which goes deep inside the biggest pyramid scheme in American history.…
The New Queens of Satire
Jan 31, 2017 • 27 min
Beth Newell and Sarah Pappalardo are founding editors of the satirical online women’s magazine Reductress, publisher of such headlines as “8 Sex Positions That Will Blow His Mind and Destroy His Penis.” On The Gist, Newell and Pappalardo discuss their…
Up in the Air
Jan 30, 2017 • 29 min
The Trump administration’s executive order restricting travel to the U.S. set off at least four legal challenges, an international contagion of protests, and the harshest Republican rebukes yet to a Trump White House action. But it’s not yet clear how…
Yeah, We’re Scared Too
Jan 27, 2017 • 27 min
In one tweet, George W. Bush appointee Eliot Cohen became the face for anti-Trump conservatives: “After exchange with Trump transition team, changed my recommendation: stay away. They’re angry, arrogant, screaming ‘you LOST!’ Will be ugly.” With the news…
Deregulation Nation
Jan 26, 2017 • 25 min
Americans are skeptical of regulation, no matter how much they hate hair in their hot dogs. Why are Republicans winning this argument? Jacob Hacker is director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University and author of the new book…
Don’t Mind Us, We’re Just Collapsing
Jan 25, 2017 • 25 min
The Dow hitting 20,000 might sounds like great news to you, but to anthropologist Arthur Demarest, it’s an ominous echo of what he’s seen befall the Maya, the Aztecs, and the Inca: a spectacular apogee followed by collapse. Demarest studies the decline of…
The Problem With Tracking Hate
Jan 24, 2017 • 31 min
The Southern Poverty Law Center rushed to track the surge in reported hate incidents after the election—a surge that appears to have died down. Heidi Beirich explains the SPLC’s plans to weed any hoaxes out of its data and why it’s a bad idea to minimize…
The Truth About Vitamin C
Jan 23, 2017 • 25 min
New Yorker staff writer Maria Konnikova returns to play “Is That Bullshit?” This week, the persistent nutritional myth about vitamin C. The actual vitamin, not the singer. Maria’s most recent book is The Confidence Game. Plus, one of Barack Obama’s dreams…
A Bet Against Reality
Jan 20, 2017 • 42 min
President Donald J. Trump was voted into office by an impatient electorate that had no ability to measure his rhetoric against a political record. Slate political writer Will Saletan predicts that national impatience will not be kind to Mr. Trump. Saletan…
The 12-Step Program of Highly Effective People
Jan 19, 2017 • 29 min
Nick Thune took the long way to stand-up comedy, performing Enrique Iglesias cover songs and making a stop in rehab before graduating from high school. On The Gist, he explains why he’s not scared of silence on stage and what made him ditch his guitar.…
Trial by Firing Line
Jan 18, 2017 • 30 min
You didn’t have to agree with William F. Buckley to marvel at his intellect, his swiftness, and his wit. Starting in 1966, Buckley got to show off his skills every week on Firing Line, his pioneering television show devoted to debate. Heather Hendershot…
Can The Democrats Obstruct Everything for Four Years?
Jan 17, 2017 • 29 min
On every major piece of legislation in the Obama era, congressional Republicans have thrown up roadblocks and been reluctant to compromise. Can Democrats do the same in the age of Trump? Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and The Atlantic…
Jamelle Bouie on the Trump Cabinet
Jan 13, 2017 • 27 min
So, who is Donald Trump’s most troubling Cabinet pick? Is it Jeff Sessions, who received an 11 percent score on civil rights issues from the NAACP? Or Rex Tillerson, who was unprepared for questions about Vladimir Putin’s regime? Or Ben Carson, who didn’t…
How Should We Talk About Whiteness?
Jan 12, 2017 • 31 min
This week, race was front and center at the confirmation hearing for Trump’s attorney general nominee, Jeff Sessions. Cory Booker and the head of the NAACP testified that Sessions’ history of alleged racist comments and his voting record suggested he…
Twenty-Four Grueling Hours in Trumpland
Jan 11, 2017 • 29 min
Between the shady unverified intelligence dossier, Trump’s strange press conference, and the Rex Tillerson hearings, this has been a head-spinning 24 hours. We called up Slate’s War Stories correspondent Fred Kaplan to make sense of it all. Kaplan is most…
How the Onion Remade Joe Biden
Jan 10, 2017 • 24 min
If you’ve been reading the Onion the past eight years, you know that Vice President Joe Biden is a hair metal–loving party machine. He’s set up a fog machine at the State of the Union address. He’s regaled crowds with stories from his historic summer of…
The Secret to Meaningful Work
Jan 9, 2017 • 29 min
Are millennials really less money-focused than their forebears were? Do the kings of finance obsess over money because society doesn’t give them another way to measure their success? How can we make ditch-digging meaningful work? On The Gist, behavioral…
Unpacking Peanuts
Jan 6, 2017 • 26 min
The National Institutes of Health used to have blanket advice for parents: Don’t give peanuts or peanut products to children under the age of 4. The result? Between 2003 and 2014, it seems likely more Americas were killed by bad advice about peanuts than…
The Paradox of Shaving
Jan 5, 2017 • 28 min
New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova returns for another round of everyone’s favorite game, “Is That Bulls—t?” Konnikova takes on a long-held theory about hair growth: The more often you shave, the faster it grows back. Konnikova’s most recent book is The…
Mara Wilson’s Post–Child Star Life
Jan 4, 2017 • 23 min
Mara Wilson became iconic in the 1990s, but she hasn’t appeared in a film since the year 2000. In her memoir Where Am I Now? Wilson explores the joys and difficulties of her life after child stardom. Mara’s book was recently named one of the best of 2016…
Ralph Nader’s Animal Instincts
Jan 3, 2017 • 30 min
Ralph Nader’s second work of fiction, Animal Envy, imagines a world where animals can talk to people and start demanding rights. Nader says the fable is meant to prompt deeper thinking about our relationship with nature. “We need to talk about what-if,…
Bob Boilen: Tiny Desk, Big Effect
Dec 30, 2016 • 31 min
Bob Boilen, creator and host of NPR’s All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts, built his book around something he learned in his nearly 30 years of covering music: Artists are tired of talking about their own work, but ask them about what inspires…
Good Grief
Dec 29, 2016 • 30 min
When comedian Laurie Kilmartin found out her father had advanced lung cancer, she processed it the best way she could: by tweeting jokes about her father’s decline. The real-time mourning gave rise to Kilmartin’s stand-up special, “45 Jokes About My Dead…
The Home Movie That Changed America
Dec 28, 2016 • 30 min
When the Russian ambassador to Turkey was killed in front of cameras by an assassin, Alexandra Zapruder had one thought: “There’s another Zapruder film.” Her new book, Twenty-Six Seconds, looks at how her grandfather’s film of the John F. Kennedy…
LifeAfter’s Mac Rogers
Dec 23, 2016 • 25 min
Movies are out, TV is in, and radio theater is on the rise. Playwright Mac Rogers explains the challenges of creating theater of the mind. Rogers is the writer behind hit podcast dramas LifeAfter and The Message. For the Spiel, The 12 Days of Trumpmas,…
When There Was No Ducking Disco
Dec 22, 2016 • 31 min
On the Gist, Chris Molanphy takes us back to 1976, the year we learned the true meaning of “booty” and the inherent value of shake-shake-shaking it. Molanphy writes the “Why Is This Song No. 1?” column for Slate. For the Spiel, are Christmas songs good or…
The Year of Bill Camp
Dec 21, 2016 • 31 min
Actor Bill Camp specializes in subtlety—whether as an earnest Puritan pastor in the 2016 Broadway revival of The Crucible or a veteran homicide detective in HBO’s The Night Of. On The Gist, Camp talks about preparing for roles, getting hot after age 50,…
We’re Going Into Labor
Dec 20, 2016 • 27 min
Have blue-collar workers fallen for a Republican bait-and-switch? On The Gist, journalist Steven Greenhouse sets aside globalization and turns to the domestic forces suppressing wages and hammering workers: Republican-backed anti-union laws, a feeble…
Thank God for Hedonists
Dec 19, 2016 • 28 min
There is virtue in delight! We chanced upon new building materials, better computer software, and a global economy by frittering away our time. On The Gist, author Steven Johnson says our flights of fancy may have driven most of human progress. Johnson’s…
Our Inflamer-In-Chief
Dec 16, 2016 • 25 min
The current world order is fragile, and President-elect Donald Trump has shown himself to be sensitive, antagonistic, and gleeful about turning existing dynamics upside-down. How could this affect the United States’ role in defusing international…
Do Strict Voter Laws Make a Difference?
Dec 15, 2016 • 27 min
Last summer, the Supreme Court stopped North Carolina from using a strict voter ID law that would likely disadvantage Democrats and “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”Now, the court is facing two more restrictive voter laws that…
We Could Use Jon Stewart Right Now
Dec 14, 2016 • 30 min
Jon Stewart had a rough time hosting The Daily Show. By 2015, he hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in years. Exposure to Fox News had taken a toll. Writer Chris Smith chronicles Stewart’s reign in a new oral history, which looks at the comedian’s broader…
Putin Plays the Long Game
Dec 13, 2016 • 26 min
As Michael McFaul knows well, sometimes the interests of the United States and the interests of Exxon Mobil don’t line up. “You have to find oil where it is … and that tends to be controlled by autocrats around the world, and you have to do deals with…
Let’s Talk About Rex
Dec 12, 2016 • 26 min
James Osborne writes about energy and politics for the Houston Chronicle. He’s covered Rex Tillerson for years, yet they’ve never spoken directly. During his time as CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson has rarely granted interviews and only gives one press…
Don’t Tell Kyle Kinane What To Do
Dec 9, 2016 • 30 min
Kyle Kinane doesn’t want your agreement applause. Or your voting boosterism. In fact, Kinane is quite prepared to disappoint you—he’s kind of built a brand on it. On The Gist, Kinane raises a hand in support of jokes about rich people and racists—just let…
Getting Held Back in Racial Justice Class
Dec 8, 2016 • 28 min
Writer Jeff Chang went to Ferguson, Missouri, on the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown. What he saw there helped inspire his latest collection of essays, We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation (a book the Washington Post’s…
Boeing, Get Off My Plane!
Dec 7, 2016 • 25 min
On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump decried the cost of a very important plane, tweeting, “Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!” Boeing then disputed…
It’s Much Bigger Than O.J.
Dec 6, 2016 • 29 min
Ezra Edelman wasn’t planning to make a documentary about O.J. Simpson. But then ESPN offered him five hours of airtime. Edelman’s movie (which eventually grew to nearly eight hours) explores a variety of themes through the lens of Simpson’s life and…
The Blueprint for Trumpcare
Dec 5, 2016 • 31 min
With the nomination of Tom Price for health and human services secretary, it’s clear that Donald Trump wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a more conservative plan. Sarah Kliff has spent weeks looking through the health care plans put forward by…
The Chaos Doctrine
Dec 2, 2016 • 31 min
Tidiness is tyranny, and Tim Harford is here to set you free. The author of Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives makes the case for routine-busting labor strikes, cluttered desks, and leaving your emails unsorted. He also explains why we’re…
Dissecting the Carrier Deal
Dec 1, 2016 • 28 min
Aaron Renn says the PEOTUS made a smart move by keeping Carrier in the United States. But saving one company is not an economic policy. Renn is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He recently argued Trump could fall into a “mayor trap” if he…
What’s Bunk About Brainstorming
Nov 30, 2016 • 26 min
Does brainstorming light a creative fire or smother the sparks of invention? Our regular guest Maria Konnikova looks at the merits of spitballing. Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, Donald Trump…
Why Working People Left the Democrats
Nov 29, 2016 • 30 min
For years, Thomas Frank has been the Cassandra of the Democratic Party, arguing that it had long since sold out working Americans and was using a socially liberal agenda to paper over its new corporate allegiances. Like Cassandra, he was largely…
Stephen Dubner’s Genre-Busting Game Show
Nov 28, 2016 • 27 min
Tell Me Something I Don’t Know is a new podcast game show from Stephen Dubner, the journalist behind Freakonomics. While radio quiz games are nothing new (in fact, Mike has hosted one himself), Dubner wants to do something different with this program,…
Revenge of the Music Nerds
Nov 23, 2016 • 31 min
Our favorite cultural cabal in Cleveland has spoken. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its nominees for induction in 2017—and the picks are incomparable as always, with Chic, Pearl Jam, and Kraftwerk in the running. Chris Molanphy discusses…
A Former Breitbart Star Takes On Steve Bannon
Nov 22, 2016 • 32 min
Ben Shapiro is a pretty conservative guy. He’s written books like Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americansand The People vs. Barack Obama, and he’s a former contributor to Breitbart. But earlier this year, Shapiro quit…
Learning From the Fallout of Brexit
Nov 21, 2016 • 31 min
As Nigel Farage described it, the election of Donald Trump was “Brexit times three.” Comedian Josie Long knows this all too well. The comedian and radio host has a new stage show, Something Better, where she takes on the gloomy nationalist politics of her…
The Incredible Failure of Get-Out-the-Vote
Nov 18, 2016 • 25 min
Hillary Clinton was supposed to have the most sophisticated digital ground game ever, while all Trump had was a ramshackle data bunker in San Antonio. We all know how that turned out. Sasha Issenberg is a Bloomberg contributor and author of The Victory…
Can Jared Kushner Really Get Top-Secret Intel?
Nov 17, 2016 • 28 min
Wait, can Donald Trump really give his entire family national security clearance? It’s complicated, says Fred Kaplan, the author of Slate’s War Stories column. Kaplan also discusses the reasons to be wary of putting your family members in the White House.…
A Show That Watches the Cops
Nov 16, 2016 • 26 min
Dan Abrams is the host of Live PD, a new A&E show that follows police officers, in real time, as they interact with people in cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma and Bridgeport, Connecticut. Abrams says the show is different from Cops—it captures all of the…
The Liberal Hegemony of Pop Culture
Nov 15, 2016 • 24 min
New York Times columnist Ross Douthat says the culture has changed drastically in America over the past five years. Daily Show alumni have taken over late night, late night comedy has taken a strongly liberal tinge, and companies like Apple have taken a…
This Is Your Brain on Political Correctness
Nov 14, 2016 • 28 min
Trigger warning: Scrutiny of safe spaces ahead. Jonathan Zimmerman discusses the political-correctness fever sweeping the nation’s elite college campuses. Zimmerman is the author of Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know. In the Spiel, blinded by a…
The Fault in Our Polls
Nov 13, 2016 • 29 min
Did the polls lead us astray in this election, or did we simply fail to heed everything they were telling us? FiveThirtyEight senior political writer Harry Enten says the lesson of 2016 is familiar to any close observer of politics: “There are no…
Solidarity, Sister?
Nov 12, 2016 • 31 min
It’s a rare Saturday Gist, as the show’s post-election interview blitz continues:New York Times columnist Gail Collins explains what we tend to forget about the way women vote, and NPR’s David Folkenflik ponders the media problems exposed by the…
The Autopsy
Nov 11, 2016 • 46 min
On The Gist, another double feature.Evan Osnos explains what Trump’s first term might look like, based on reporting he did before the election for the New Yorker.Reid Wilson, who covers down-ballot politics for the Hill, surveys the Republican gains in…
More Rock, Less Talk
Nov 10, 2016 • 33 min
The Gist isn’t serving up a Spiel today—too many questions, too few answers. Instead, Mike puzzles through the day with a few friends of the show:Jacob Weisberg reacts to the chants of “not my president.” Weisberg is the chairman and editor-in-chief of…
It’s Morning in Trump’s America
Nov 9, 2016 • 31 min
On The Gist, things are getting dark, but at least the show isn’t going dark, which is more than we can say for our friends at the Radio Free GOP podcast. Host Mike Murphy, a longtime GOP strategist and Trump critic, says the show will go on hiatus in…
Jamelle Bouie Sums It Up
Nov 8, 2016 • 21 min
Jamelle Bouie has written about the deep, ugly divides in America that have surfaced during this presidential campaign. In the final hours of election day, Slate’s chief political correspondent approaches the idea of national unity after the most unruly…
The Myth of the Hard-Luck Trump Voter
Nov 7, 2016 • 32 min
Much of the 2016 presidential campaign media coverage has cast Trump fans not as bigoted, but “economically disaffected.” As Slate’s Michelle Goldberg reports, for many supporters, that’s far too charitable. Goldberg has been reporting on issues like…
Harry Enten Explains the FiveThirtyEight Numbers
Nov 4, 2016 • 26 min
If you’re like us, you’ve been checking the FiveThirtyEight election forecast like it’s a weather report before a hurricane. This week, Donald Trump’s chance of victory in the presidential race went from 15 percent to over 30 percent, causing much anxiety…
A Tax on Both Their Houses
Nov 3, 2016 • 24 min
We have (almost) survived a presidential campaign. Are we any smarter about taxes? On The Gist, Adam Davidson considers Donald Trump’s apparent tax practices and explains the biggest barrier to bipartisan compromise on tax policy. Davidson covers business…
Dominate the News, You Lose
Nov 2, 2016 • 34 min
On The Gist, a pair of political heavyweights. Obama administration alumnus Tommy Vietor wonders how the interregnum following this election will be different for Hillary Clinton than it was for President Obama. Vietor co-hosts the Ringer podcast Keepin’…
Spotlight on a (Very) Close Race
Nov 1, 2016 • 31 min
A look inside one of the closest congressional races this year, New York’s 19th. Former Gist guest and Bernie Sanders–favorite Zephyr Teachout takes on Republican state Assemblyman John Faso for an open seat. The race is one of the few that the Cook…
The Problem With Mark Kirk
Oct 31, 2016 • 31 min
Eric Zorn from the Chicago Tribune joins Mike to discuss two contentious races happening in Illinois this year that could swing the balance of power in Congress. Incumbent Republican Sen. Mark Kirk is trailing badly to his Democratic opponent, Tammy…
A Governor You Can Make a Beer With
Oct 28, 2016 • 27 min
Today we’re reaching into The Gist’s vault to bring you two favorite segments from the past year. First, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper explains why he saw the movie Deep Throat with his mother and reflects on his state’s move to legalize marijuana.…
Mike Debates His Former Producer About Dating
Oct 26, 2016 • 36 min
We are dating longer. We are dating differently. Is it making us happier? Mike’s not buying it. Former Gist producer Andrea Silenzi wades into an impromptu debate about dating today. Check out Andrea’s new show, Why Oh Why, a Panoply podcast about dating…
Dan Savage Diagnoses Donald Trump
Oct 25, 2016 • 30 min
Does Trump so need women that he despises them? On The Gist, love and sex advice columnist Dan Savage considers Trump’s misogyny. Savage also clears the air about his withering criticism of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and gives…
Adam Tries to Ruin a Horrible Election
Oct 24, 2016 • 30 min
America’s favorite debunker, Adam Conover, takes on the election in his TruTV special. Conover, famous for “Adam Ruins Everything,” talks to Mike about how comedians can change society, and the limits of satire as an art form. Conover’s special airs…
The Case Against Dropping College Debt
Oct 21, 2016 • 30 min
No to a student loan bailout. No to debt-free state schools. Prepare to be enlightened, if a bit disheartened, as our friend Adam Davidson explains why eliminating college debt falls short of solving the country’s inequality crisis. Davidson is a…
Do the Best and Brightest Ever Become President?
Oct 20, 2016 • 26 min
On The Gist, former Daily Show head writer Elliott Kalan talks about his new Audible series Presidents are People Too! Kalan looks at the reasons so many mediocre candidates make it the White House, and tries to find something to admire in our crappiest…
Rapid Response: Cirque du Debate
Oct 20, 2016 • 11 min
The first fifty minutes felt…strange. Calm. Like a real debate. Then Chris Wallace asked if Trump would recognize the election as legitimate. Mike Pesca was in the spin room after the third and final presidential showdown. Learn more about your ad…
Jill Stein Pitches a Green Foreign Policy
Oct 19, 2016 • 34 min
On The Gist, Green Party candidate Jill Stein lays out her foreign policy. She debates Mike Pesca about Hillary Clinton, Yemen, and America’s use of force. Stein believes the United States is closer to nuclear war than ever, including the Cold War. She…
How Do You Prep to Debate a Dumpster Fire?
Oct 18, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist, Jonathan Prince has helped candidates such as Bill Clinton and John Edwards prep for high-stakes debates. Now, he’s got some advice for Hillary Clinton as she faces round No. 3 with the most unpredictable candidate of the modern era. Prince…
The Secret Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump
Oct 17, 2016 • 26 min
On The Gist, rhetoric scholar Jennifer Mercieca says that when you dig into his speeches, Donald Trump’s kind of an evil genius when it comes to rhetoric. Whether it’s his use of paralipsis (“I’m not saying, but I’m saying”) or reification (treating…
Inside “Late Night” With Amber Ruffin
Oct 14, 2016 • 30 min
In 2014, Amber Ruffin became the first black woman to write for a late-night network comedy when she joined NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers. On The Gist, Ruffin explains the banality of being a trailblazer: “We’re just dicking around in a different…
Why Don’t More Women Run for Congress?
Oct 13, 2016 • 31 min
On The Gist, Jennifer Lawless details the reasons more women don’t run for elected office in the United States. Her research documents a decline in media bias against women running for House seats. Despite that, Congress is still overwhelmingly male.…
Your Food Will Be Ready When You Look Hungry Enough
Oct 12, 2016 • 29 min
If you had to engineer the perfect wait time for a meal, how would you do it? On The Gist, Dan Pashman explains the art of anticipation as applied to food. Pashman is the host of WNYC’s The Sporkful. Check out his show’s new series on food, race, and…
Where Do Republicans Go From Here?
Oct 11, 2016 • 30 min
The implosion of Donald Trump’s campaign shows a party that’s divided on everything from criminal justice reform to immigration. On The Gist, National Review executive editor and Slate columnist Reihan Salam considers the future of the GOP and…
Rapid Response: The Town Hall Debate
Oct 10, 2016 • 8 min
We have seen the limits of debate prep. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rapid Response: Trump’s Comeuppance?
Oct 8, 2016 • 5 min
Just one question on the leaked “Access Hollywood” tape of Donald Trump with Billy Bush: Are we watching a Greek tragedy or a Saturday morning cartoon?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Phoebe Robinson Will Teach You How to Bae
Oct 7, 2016 • 29 min
Phoebe Robinson recounts the tributes and trolling her book has prompted with its title, You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain.On The Gist, Robinson wonders whether dreadlocks have really entered the mainstream (and are they…
Fact-Checking Won’t Stop Trump
Oct 6, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, we look at the proliferation of fact-checking in the 2016 campaign. One empirical analysis found that Donald Trump is telling a falsehood every five minutes during his speeches. But why isn’t the aggressive fact-checking of the Republican…
Why Do We Use BMI to Measure Health?
Oct 5, 2016 • 23 min
On The Gist, dig into body mass index with our resident bulls—t debunker Maria Konnikova. Does a healthy BMI actually mean anything? The question came up after Donald Trump’s recent appearance on The Dr. Oz Show, in which his weight and height were…
Rapid Response - The VP Debate
Oct 5, 2016 • 8 min
Mike weighs in on the one and only debate between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Investigating Long Island’s Not-Deplorables
Oct 4, 2016 • 32 min
In The Gist, Arun Venugopal looks at a place that could stand in for America as a whole during this election: Long Island, New York, home to high levels of taxation, opioid addiction, and support for Donald Trump. Venugopal walks us through some of the…
How Bad Is the Trump Tax Leak?
Oct 3, 2016 • 23 min
In The Gist, what can we really find out from the Donald Trump tax leak? As Philip Hackney argues, not a lot. Hackney is a professor of tax law at Louisiana State University and formerly worked as counsel at the Internal Revenue Service. He says that…
Who Called Off the Pretension Police?
Sep 30, 2016 • 34 min
On The Gist, Simon Doonan ponders the rise and fall of pretentiousness in the past 20 years. Doonan writes for Slate and is creative ambassador for Barneys New York. For the Spiel, it’s the Lobstar of the Antentwig. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit…
The Rules According to Malcolm Gladwell
Sep 29, 2016 • 38 min
Malcolm Gladwell’s career has been all about ideas—but what he really specializes in is their packaging and delivery. On The Gist, Gladwell tells the story behind his earliest obsessions and explains what he’s learned trafficking in unconventional…
A Budding Storyteller Turns In His “Homework for Life”
Sep 28, 2016 • 30 min
Storyteller Matthew Dicks has one rule for getting better at telling stories: At the end of every day, scribble down the moment that makes the most promising tale. Today on The Gist, we hear from a listener who followed that advice. For the Spiel, a…
Where’s the Beef in Trump’s Ground Game?
Sep 27, 2016 • 27 min
In The Gist, PBS NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins surveys the presidential campaigns’ get-out-the-vote efforts: “The first caveat is a lot of the rules don’t apply to this campaign.” In the Spiel, are presidential debates like the NFL Scouting…
Rapid Response: The First Presidential Debate
Sep 27, 2016 • 12 min
Hillary shimmied, Donald interrupted and Lester Holt tried to keep it all together. The Gist team was at Hofstra University for the first presidential debate, and spoke to everyone from campaign managers to senators to a ribald former general. Learn more…
This Debate Is Not the Super Bowl
Sep 26, 2016 • 18 min
The Gist is awaiting the first presidential debate and preparing a rapid response for early Tuesday morning. In the meantime, we hear from Jeremy Epstein: Four years ago, he was a 20-year-old Hofstra University student facing uncertain job prospects. But…
Is Your Favorite World Oddity Wondrous Enough for Atlas Obscura?
Sep 23, 2016 • 33 min
The world is not flat, Google hasn’t yet mapped everything, and there are yet places in the world that don’t take your AmEx card. Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders is the immense catalog of the world’s curiosities, from the…
A How-Not-To Manual for Presidents
Sep 22, 2016 • 32 min
Do you have great aspirations of being the best president the United States has ever known? On The Gist, journalist Robert Strauss says you’d be better off trying to learn from the mistakes of America’s duds. That’s why Strauss wrote Worst. President.…
How Filmmakers Faked the Moon Landing Inside Real NASA
Sep 21, 2016 • 27 min
For their second movie, Matt Johnson and Matthew Miller gave themselves a challenge: Make a period mockumentary about the faking of the moon landing, on a total shoestring budget. Johnson says the finished product, Operation Avalanche, wouldn’t have been…
Maureen Dowd Wants a Candidate Like H.W. Again
Sep 20, 2016 • 32 min
Maureen Dowd has covered every president since the early ’90s. The second President Bush even gave her a nickname: “The Cobra.” In her new book, Dowd examines what it takes to lead the country and what the press is missing about the current Republican…
How Do We Fix Down-Ballot Elections?
Sep 19, 2016 • 33 min
In 2012, Republicans won a solid majority in the House of Representatives, but only 48 percent of the vote. How did it happen? The Hill’s national correspondent, Reid Wilson, talks about the unusual forces influencing down-ballot races this year. There’s…
“Mrs. Robinson,” “Hey Jude,” and Some Utter Schlock
Sep 16, 2016 • 31 min
The political upheaval of 1968 was ferocious, but the Billboard charts still reflected a calm, placid sensibility. Our guest Chris Molanphy looks at the year in radio hits, from Herb Alpert’s debut as a singer to the novelty tracks competing for air time…
The Great Tightening, Explained
Sep 15, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist, FiveThirtyEight senior political writer and analyst Harry Enten says an averaging of the polls still shows Hillary Clinton has a hefty lead over Donald Trump. Enten also explains the difference between election forecasting and weather…
Are Southpaws Really Criminals?
Sep 14, 2016 • 30 min
Does being left-handed make you a threat to civilized society? On The Gist, Maria Konnikova tells the story of the mustachioed Italian criminologist who gave southpaws a bad reputation. But what does handedness really tell us about the brain? Konnikova…
Hillary’s Campaign Manager on Pneumonia, Swing Voters, and Strategy
Sep 13, 2016 • 41 min
Robby Mook has a tricky job. As Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, he has to find a way to pin down Donald Trump, whose gaffes are constantly overtaking each other. Mook talks to Mike Pesca about the challenge of crafting a single message to combat Trump…
What Does the Charity World Think of the Clinton Foundation?
Sep 12, 2016 • 36 min
The Clinton Foundation is a superstar in the world of philanthropy—is it OK that it leverages power and celebrity to achieve its mission? On The Gist, two experts disagree. Kenneth Stern, former CEO of NPR, sheds no tears for the Clinton Foundation. He…
Tony Kornheiser Will Make Fun of Your Pants
Sep 9, 2016 • 31 min
Tony Kornheiser is joining the pod people. On The Gist, the man behind the Tony Kornheiser Show explains his dive into podcasting: “I watched newspapers die under me…. I began to get the sense that radio was going to die under me too. And so I jumped.”…
Courting Controversy With Drew Magary
Sep 8, 2016 • 29 min
Drew Magary is down to hang. His past story assignments for GQ include a day with Duck Dynasty and a trip with the Kid Rock cruise. But Magary, author of the “Why Your Team Sucks” series­­ on Deadspin, is not one to equivocate. On The Gist, he shares his…
Telling Jokes in the Age of Trigger Warnings
Sep 7, 2016 • 31 min
College campuses have become hostile territory for some comedians. A wrong-headed joke can provoke everything from walkouts to protests to death threats. But how should students push back against material they find offensive? Director Ted Balaker and…
A GOP Apostate Explains Her Vote for Hillary
Sep 6, 2016 • 34 min
Kori Schake, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, blanches at the idea of a Donald Trump presidency. But she still has reservations about Hillary Clinton. On The Gist, Schake says Clinton’s poor follow-through at the Department of State gives her…
The Year Nirvana Lost Out to Bryan Adams
Aug 26, 2016 • 31 min
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: Our guest Chris Molanphy says 1991 was a tale of multiple cities, as radio stations began to tailor their playlists to narrower audiences. The result? Little crossover among the Billboard pop, rock, and…
Do You Rely on GPS? Thank Chuck E. Cheese and William F. Buckley
Aug 25, 2016 • 25 min
Most of us would be lost without GPS. So why do we think it’s hilarious when people drive into the ocean or walk to the Arctic Circle because phone maps told them to? In Pinpoint, author Greg Milner looks at our uneasy relationship with the technology and…
A Sympathetic Serial Imposter
Aug 24, 2016 • 28 min
Director Joshua Marston has done his share of shape-shifting. He’s spent time as a teacher abroad. He’s learned Albanian and made some stories for NPR. And he’s directed critically acclaimed movies like Maria Full of Grace. His newest, Complete Unknown,…
There’s a Viking on the Delta
Aug 23, 2016 • 33 min
Why so many music phenoms from Iceland? On The Gist, Kaleo frontman JJ Julius Son says he comes from a “fearless” people. About that: Kaleo recently recorded in a volcano. Their latest album is called A/B. Plus, Slate’s very own Mallory Ortberg, writer of…
The ’80s Really Were the Best
Aug 22, 2016 • 30 min
What made the movies of the 1980s so special, especially as compared to movies being made now? On The Gist, the Guardian’s Hadley Freeman explains. She’s the author of Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned From Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t…
W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu Want Equal Time
Aug 19, 2016 • 32 min
On The Gist, the hosts of the podcast that has made the best use yet of the jazz drummer’s brush technique: Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu. The show picks up where the comedians left off when they stopped working in the same…
Why We’ve Never Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Aug 18, 2016 • 28 min
Are the nation’s most dangerous warheads secure if a rag-tag troika of peaceniks can break through the storage facility’s back door? On The Gist, Washington Post reporterDan Zak considers the good and not-so-good arguments for nuclear weapons. His book is…
Women’s Gymnastics Gets the Hard-Boiled Treatment
Aug 17, 2016 • 25 min
On The Gist, Megan Abbott discusses her latest book, You Will Know Me, a psychological thriller set in the high-pressure world of elite women’s gymnastics.In the Spiel, a send-off for John McLaughlin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit…
Brazil’s Redeemer Has Subpoena Power
Aug 16, 2016 • 32 min
Things are bleak in Brazil. Prices are high, governments are broke, and gangs are tightening their control over the country’s slums. But on The Gist, Slate contributing editor Franklin Foer has hope for a national renewal. The reason? A prominent federal…
The Résumé Says “Loafer,” but the Loafers Scream “Executive”
Aug 15, 2016 • 35 min
The Gist has been bedeviled by one question: Do the clothes really make the man? On today’s show, regular guest Maria Konnikova joins us to investigate the link between clothing and performance. Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The…
Mike Birbiglia and Ira Glass Followed the Fear Here
Aug 12, 2016 • 31 min
On every great improv team there’s an undertow of angst. Who will get snatched up by a TV show? Who will toil in relative obscurity? Who will quit after the big break doesn’t come? On Ep. 560, comedian Mike Birbiglia and This American Life creator Ira…
Should You Have Your Silver Medal Bronzed?
Aug 11, 2016 • 31 min
On The Gist, Republican “merchant of mud” Mike Murphy ponders Donald Trump’s effect on down-ballot GOP candidates. Murphy is known for putting the “!” in “Jeb!” as an adviser to Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. His podcast is called Radio Free GOP.For…
John Dickerson Has a Follow-Up. He’s Willing to Ask It Seven Times.
Aug 10, 2016 • 32 min
Are voters in 2016 better compared to an angry customer at a drive-thru window? Or are the two major parties on completely different planets, unable to agree on a shared reality? On The Gist, Slate columnist and Face the Nation moderator John Dickerson…
Republicans Are Using Leeches to Cure Cancer
Aug 9, 2016 • 23 min
On The Gist, Trump critic and longtime Republican consultant Stuart Stevens shares his bleak take on his party’s chances at winning the White House anytime soon. Stevens was a top strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and is the author…
Playing the Spanish Card
Aug 8, 2016 • 33 min
On The Gist, who cares that Tim Kaine speaks Spanish? Nelson Flores says white liberals might be more excited about it than Latino voters are. Flores is an assistant professor in educational linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. Plus, Foreign…
History’s First Benedict Arnold
Aug 5, 2016 • 26 min
On The Gist, Brad Meltzer from Lost History explains why he thinks of himself as one part of a “literary peanut butter cup.” Meltzer teamed up with Tod Goldberg to write The House of Secrets, a spy novel that imagines the final moments between Benedict…
If It Feeds, It Leads
Aug 4, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist, Facebook has become one of the world’s biggest disseminators of journalism, but it doesn’t care about journalism. Is that a problem? Farhad Manjoo ticks off a few reasons to be wary. Manjoo writes the State of the Art technology column in the…
Is Your Grill Killing You?
Aug 3, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, should you swear off summer cookouts? Our regular guest Maria Konnikova joins us for a round of “Is That Bulls—-?” Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game.For the Spiel, the parade of worries ahead of the…
Jessi Klein Says Women Are Dogs
Aug 2, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist, Jessi Klein explains her theory that women can be sorted into two categories: poodles and wolves. It’s an idea she explores in her new book, You’ll Grow Out of It. Klein is the head writer on the Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer. For…
Diary of a Soon-to-Be-Freed Detainee
Aug 1, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, we bring you this never-before-aired interview with writer and human rights advocate Larry Siems, who edited the writings of Guantánamo Bay detainee Mohamedou Slahi for the 2015 book Guantánamo Diary. Slahi has been approved for release.For…
The Little-Known Story of Sabotage in the New York Harbor
Jul 29, 2016 • 24 min
100 years ago, a man named Michael Kristoff strolled onto an island in the New York harbor armed with explosives cooked by German chemists. He was there to blow up a stockpile of munitions pledged to the Allied Powers. On The Gist, Chad Millman tells the…
AM Spiel: Hillary Takes the Mic
Jul 29, 2016 • 12 min
Hillary Clinton’s remarks to the Democratic National Convention didn’t match those of the exceptional orators who preceded her, but she’ll have significant advantages in the presidential debates this fall. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit…
Celebrating the Nerd Mentality
Jul 28, 2016 • 26 min
On The Gist, Mike confesses his nerdy fascinations to Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen, hosts of WBEZ’s Nerdette podcast. Check back Friday for another a.m. Spiel, complete with a Quick and Dirty Dissection of the fourth and final day of the Democratic…
AM Spiel: No Room for Gloom
Jul 28, 2016 • 7 min
A Quick & Dirty Dissection of Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention, where heavy hitters lined up to vaunt the nominee President Obama called “the woman in the arena.”Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Finally, a Pro-Kidnapping Film
Jul 27, 2016 • 25 min
On The Gist, Mike realizes he’s not the liberal he thought he was, and the film Tallulah shows you what a sympathetic child-snatcher looks like. The movie’s writer and director, Sian Heder, (who also writes for Orange Is The New Black) and starring…
AM Spiel: Hillary, Humanized
Jul 27, 2016 • 10 min
On Day 1, the speakers galvanized. On Day 2, they humanized. A Quick & Dirty Dissection on the latest from the Democratic National Convention.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Optimum Optics
Jul 26, 2016 • 24 min
On The Gist, should Sandra Bland’s mother be part of the DNC’s Day 2 lineup? Then, former political advance man Josh King shows us how to spot the subtle stage-managing of the nominating conventions. His book is Off Script: An Advance Man’s Guide to White…
AM Spiel: DNC Quick & Dirty Dissection, Day 1
Jul 26, 2016 • 7 min
Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention brought dissension, a speech for the ages, and one good zinger. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Pity the Peckish Politician
Jul 25, 2016 • 31 min
On The Gist, the problem with corn dogs. Dan Pashman from the Sporkful podcast explains why Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don’t eat in public. In the Spiel, it’s the return of the Trump Anxiety Hotline. And check back for an a.m. Spiel about the…
P.C. Policing the Border
Jul 22, 2016 • 23 min
On The Gist, comedian Hari Kondabolu says he doesn’t mind updating his jokes to heed the sensitivities of his fans. His new stand-up comedy album is Mainstream American Comic. He hosts the Politically Re-Active podcast with comedian W. Kamau Bell.For your…
AM Spiel: Points For Averting Disaster
Jul 22, 2016 • 11 min
Donald Trump’s laundry-list speech on Day 4 of the Republican National Convention was full of falsehoods and gloom. Will it have any sway over voters who don’t already support the official GOP presidential candidate?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit…
“Your Dog Smells My Dog”
Jul 21, 2016 • 19 min
On The Gist, regular guest Maria Konnikova returns to play “Is That Bulls—t?” The assertion: “Your dog is going crazy because he smells my dog on me.” Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game.Wherefore art the Spiel?…
AM Spiel: Cruz Control
Jul 21, 2016 • 9 min
Day 3 of the Republican National Convention brought a Ted Cruz crescendo, a little Cruz-splaining. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Cutting Class
Jul 20, 2016 • 24 min
On The Gist, crackers, rednecks, hillbillies—Nancy Isenberg explains the persistence of these terms and why they can’t be called ethnic identities. Her book is called White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America.Where’s the Spiel? Check…
AM Spiel: RNC Rapid Response
Jul 20, 2016 • 10 min
A special morning Spiel on Day 2 of the Republican National Convention.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
To Catch a Cartel
Jul 19, 2016 • 28 min
On The Gist, how not to blow your cover while laundering money for drug cartels. Robert Mazur was an undercover government agent who got an inside look at the Medellín Cartel. Bryan Cranston plays him in the film The Infiltrator, based on Mazur’s book.For…
O Captain Fantastic!
Jul 18, 2016 • 32 min
On The Gist, actor and director Matt Ross (who plays Gavin in HBO’s Silicon Valley) talks about parenting and a man’s place in the world. Ross directed the film Captain Fantastic, a story about an extreme father who is compelled to bring his kids out of…
And We Never Looked at Music the Same Way Again
Jul 15, 2016 • 25 min
On The Gist, disco is out, MTV is in, and we’re getting buns of steel with Olivia Newton-John. We harken back to the Billboard hits of 1981 with our regular guest Chris Molanphy. He writes Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” column. For the Spiel, how does…
The Ungeheuerlich Mr. Johnson
Jul 14, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Deborah Birx describes the challenges in fighting the AIDS/HIV epidemic. She oversees the nation’s plan for AIDS relief. For the Spiel, a brief meditation on renowned charmer Boris Johnson, now the United Kingdom’s…
Type A Anonymous
Jul 13, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, we take a closer look at Type A. Is it real? How is it measured? Can it get you out of a ticket for aggressive driving? We get answers from Maria Konnikova, writer for the New Yorker and author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, Rudy…
Art That Makes You Angry
Jul 12, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, what political ad men might have picked up from Caravaggio. Adam Levine, associate director of the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, explains the thinking behind the upcoming exhibition, “I Approve This Message: Decoding Political Ads.” For the…
A Kamikaze Mission to Jupiter
Jul 11, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, why it’s better to crash our spacecrafts than to litter the solar system with our earthly microbes. Summer Ash explains everything you didn’t know you wanted to know about the Juno space probe orbiting Jupiter. Ash is the Director of Outreach…
The Life and Death of Aaron Swartz
Jul 8, 2016 • 31 min
On The Gist, Slate correspondentJustin Peters on the life and death of free-culture crusader Aaron Swartz and the history of copyright in the United States. Peters wrote The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet. In the…
It Was the Best of Timesheets, It Was the Worst of Timesheets
Jul 7, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, a case for the modern office as a subject of high literature. J. Bradford Hipps discusses finding more than mockery in the anonymous office park where he set his novel, The Adventurist. For the Spiel, an economical five minutes on the five…
Mister Postman, Lower Your Price Points for Me
Jul 6, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, Devin Leonard returns with the last installment of our postcard series to discuss the evolving economics of the U.S. Postal Service. Leonard’s book is Neither Snow nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service. Plus, Bruce Shapiro…
Reduce, Reuse, and Re-Evaluate
Jul 5, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, are you really saving the planet with your recycling? New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova, takes on what may be our most controversial round of “Is That Bulls—t?” Konnikova is the author of The Confidence Game. On the Spiel, porn on the Juno…
Fantastic Negrito Returns
Jul 1, 2016 • 32 min
On The Gist, Xavier Dphrepaulezz, aka the Fantastic Negrito, returns to reflect on his second career in music, Prince’s influence, and the gentrification of America’s greatest cities. His new album is The Last Days of Oakland. For the Spiel, it’s time for…
Wyatt Cenac Wants Kermit the Frog’s Job
Jun 30, 2016 • 26 min
On The Gist, Wyatt Cenac explains the thinking behind his comedy showcase series Night Train With Wyatt Cenac,premiering on NBC’s comedy streaming service Seeso on Thursday. For the Spiel, Borisexit: the fanfare and drama of Boris Johnson’s…
Poll Analysis From a Spiritual 60-Year-Old
Jun 29, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, senior political writer and analyst Harry Enten explains FiveThirtyEight’s 2016 Election Forecast. For the Spiel, a forewarning about forearms: Are we ready for our Army men and women to roll up their sleeves? Learn more about your ad…
Do the Dead-Cat Bounce
Jun 28, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist, author Sloane Crosley on writing characters who are smarter than you, literary witch hunts, and borrowing Spider-Man’s ethos when writing. Her novel, The Clasp, is now out in paperback. For the Spiel, will we remember the Brexit as an…
Brittle England
Jun 27, 2016 • 28 min
On The Gist, Financial Times journalist Edward Luce returns to discuss the Brexit vote and its imminent consequences. Luce’s latest book is Time to Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline (though the American title is the more pointed Time to…
Billboard Hits From 1964
Jun 24, 2016 • 31 min
Seems as good a day as any to talk about the British Invasion. On The Gist, we listen back to the Billboard hits of 1964, the beginning of Beatlemania in the states. Regular guest Chris Molanphy explains how other groups rode the Beatles’ coattails to the…
The Character Actor’s Studio
Jun 23, 2016 • 33 min
On The Gist, René Auberjonois shares his tips for defying typecasters and enjoying a varied acting career. He plays a minister in Blood Stripe, the psychological thriller about a female Marine adjusting to life after the military. In the Spiel, one…
If You Build It, Alonzo and Alie Will Come
Jun 22, 2016 • 29 min
Why don’t we all have jetpacks? Who’s the weirdest docent at your local natural history museum? On The Gist, comedian (and former airplane mechanic) Alonzo Bodden and science communicator Alie Ward explain. Their new show, How to Build … Everything, airs…
Can Boris Fool Britannia?
Jun 21, 2016 • 31 min
Would Donald Trump by any other name be Boris Johnson? On The Gist, Financial Timescolumnist Ed Luce, author of Time to Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline, traces the parallels between Brexit supporters and Trump fans. For the Spiel, how…
Brexit Stage Right
Jun 20, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, teetering on the brink of a Brexit, a scrutiny of Team Leave’s propaganda. And a futile attempt to find out if Big Freedia goes through with her wedding. The answer lies in Season 5 of her Fuse TV show, Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce. For the…
Charmed and Disgusted With Dave Hill
Jun 17, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, performer, musician, and comedian Dave Hill reflects on his contribution to the Donald Trump empire: ringtones. His new book is Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. For the Spiel, all dogs go to heaven—copycats, however, take the “Stairway to…
We Are Never Ever Joining Quail Forever
Jun 16, 2016 • 32 min
On The Gist, Black Flag vocalist Henry Rollins talks about being more than the guy from the band. His latest movie is The Last Heist. Jesse Armstrong explains satirical string-pulling in his book, Love, Sex, and Other Foreign Policy Goals. For the Spiel,…
Against All Owls
Jun 15, 2016 • 26 min
On The Gist, New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova takes a gimlet eye to explanations for sleepy eyes: Are owls and larks bulls—t? Konnikova is the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, Donald Trump’s sanest line is crazier than Mitt Romney’s biggest…
You’re Not the Real Trump
Jun 14, 2016 • 28 min
On The Gist, impressionist John Di Domenico discusses embodying The Donald. Plus, another installment of our “postcard” series: Devin Leonard talks about the U.S. postal service and how early visionaries thought it might topple slavery. Leonard is the…
Shut Your Lie Hole
Jun 13, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist, former military interrogator Lena Sisco on deception detection. Her book is called You’re Lying: Secrets From an Expert Military Interrogator to Spot the Lies and Get to the Truth.For the Spiel, a few thoughts on the shooting in Orlando.…
The Good, the Bad, and the Ali
Jun 10, 2016 • 32 min
On The Gist, Dave Zirin calls in from Muhammad Ali’s funeral procession in Louisville. Zirin is sports editor at The Nation, host of the Edge of Sports podcast, and author of the Muhammad Ali Handbook. For the Spiel, questioning the assumptions in the…
Hoping Tevye Gets a Cold
Jun 9, 2016 • 28 min
On The Gist, actor Michael C. Bernardi is Mordcha the Innkeeper in Fiddler On The Roof, now on Broadway. His father, Herschel Bernardi, was the third man to play Tevye in the musical. For the Spiel, who will be remembered with as much veneration as…
The Gangbanger Who Switched Sides
Jun 8, 2016 • 31 min
On The Gist, former Corey Pegues wanted to stop being a drug runner in his Queens neighborhood. So he enlisted in the military and joined the top brass of the NYPD. His new book is Once a Cop: The Street, the Law, Two Worlds, One Man. For the Spiel,…
How the Post Office Cured “Going Postal”
Jun 7, 2016 • 34 min
On The Gist, a postcard with Devin Leonard on the origins of the phrase “going postal.” Leonard’s new book is Neither Snow Nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service. Plus, Stephen Teret on smart guns. For the Spiel, Hillary Clinton’s cinch…
Chuck Klosterman Is Wrong! (He Says.)
Jun 6, 2016 • 32 min
On The Gist, Chuck Klosterman imagines how time erodes common ideas, like what counts as a great American novel and how we decide who’s smart. His new book is But What If We’re Wrong? For the Spiel, tyrants and their cats. Learn more about your ad…
Tim Heidecker Is Tired of Being Meta
Jun 3, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, comedian and musician Tim Heidecker. He attracted a cult following with Adult Swim television hits such as Decker and Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Some of the same deadpan observations can be heard in his music. Heidecker’s first solo…
The Myth of Kitty Genovese’s Murder
Jun 2, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, filmmaker James Solomon discusses his documentary The Witness, which reinvestigates the death of Kitty Genovese—whose reported murder became emblematic of New York City indifference. In the film, Kitty’s brother Bill goes on a quest to figure…
Ghost Bluster
Jun 1, 2016 • 33 min
On The Gist, 2015 MacArthur fellow Matthew Desmond talks about moving into a trailer park to document life in poverty and what he calls an eviction epidemic. Desmond is the author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. For the Spiel,…
Are Skim Drinkers Milking It?
May 31, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, for our game “Is That Bulls—t?” we ask Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker if we’re any better off drinking skim milk. Konnikova is the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, do we really have to talk about the gorilla? Learn more about…
You Can’t Handle the Spoof
May 27, 2016 • 31 min
On The Gist, comedy writer Paul Scheer explains the thinking behind his new series, Filthy Preppy Teen$, available on Fullscreen. For the Spiel, the lobstar of the antentwig.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Suing the Saudis
May 26, 2016 • 32 min
On The Gist, New Yorker writer James Surowiecki on breaking up the banks, and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer discusses his bill to open up the Saudi Arabian government to lawsuits from victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. For the Spiel, taking the romance…
Trump Anxiety Hotline Reconvenes
May 25, 2016 • 33 min
On The Gist, Moby talks about growing up poor in Connecticut and his family ties to Herman Melville. He has just published Porcelain: A Memoir. For the Spiel, we return to the Trump Anxiety Hotline. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit…
Gov. John Hickenlooper Gets His Ass in Gear
May 24, 2016 • 33 min
On The Gist, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper reflects on his state’s social experiment legalizing marijuana. He is the author of the book The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics. For the Spiel, a closer look at what policy experts think of…
Kevin Spacey Is a Cat
May 23, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist, Ivan Oransky argues that when it comes to faulty claims, peer-review is a first defense, not an airtight one. He’s the vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today. For the Spiel, a breakdown of that movie cliché of the…
If the Dog Turns Left, Think Novel
May 20, 2016 • 32 min
On The Gist, storyteller Matthew Dicks spills his secret for juggling six different jobs—purposeful showers, lots of oatmeal, and no mental idling. For the Spiel, Bernie Sanders supporters are sore losers, but who can blame them?Learn more about your ad…
The Whigs Were Right
May 19, 2016 • 32 min
On The Gist, a refresher course on the Whig Party with the American History Guys: professors Peter Onuf, Ed Ayers, and Brian Balogh. They host the BackStory podcast. For the Spiel, tuning in to ISIS news without freaking out. Learn more about your ad…
When a Joke Almost Works Too Well
May 18, 2016 • 32 min
On The Gist, comic Dan Soder of Showtime television drama Billions on finding his killer closing joke—and letting it go. His new hourlong standup special premieres May 21 on Comedy Central. For the Spiel, a new soundtrack for the primary election. Today’s…
Enlightened Titans of Industry
May 17, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist, the New Yorker’s James Surowiecki on businesses taking up the vanguard of LGBTQ rights—and why it might be problematic for conservatives and liberals alike. For the Spiel, a theory: We live in overcontextualized times. Today’s sponsor:Hiscox…
Saving Paul Ryan
May 16, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, Tianna Gaines-Turner recounts her experience testifying before Congress on life for the working poor. She’s featured in the short film, A Hug From Paul Ryan, part of a new series from AMC Networks’ SundanceNow Doc Club. For the Spiel, the…
Vote Jabba
May 13, 2016 • 24 min
On The Gist, comedy writer and radio personality Andy Breckman tells Mike about the dog-eat-dog world of the game industry and shows us his latest card-game creation: Shit Happens. For the Spiel, a focus group with voters in a galaxy far, far away… why do…
Did the Media Create Trump?
May 12, 2016 • 27 min
Happy National Limerick Day! (We’re sorry.) On The Gist, NPR’s David Folkenflik joins us to explain why he thinks the media failed the general public this year. He’s the author of Murdoch’s World: The Last of the Old Media Empires. For the Spiel, will…
I’ll Know Porn Addiction When I See It
May 11, 2016 • 35 min
Is watching too much porno addictive? And why don’t we say “porno” anymore? On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker explains what evidence we have about the validity of pornography addiction. She’s the author of The Confidence Game, and you can…
Neither Frightened Nor Rabbit
May 10, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, an elephant news roundup. Then, Scott Hutchison from the indie rock band Frightened Rabbit joins us to discuss their new album Painting of a Panic Attack. The band is currently on tour, and you can visit their website for tour dates. For the…
He’s Not Pivoting
May 9, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist, has conventional become synonymous with lame? Mike’s advice for Hillary Clinton. Then, Kembrew McLeod discusses the musical legacy of the Blondie album Parallel Lines, and offers connection between teen pop and punk in the 1970’s. He’s the…
A Rob Reiner-mentary if You Will
May 6, 2016 • 32 min
On The Gist, director Rob Reiner join us to discuss his latest film Being Charlie, which indirectly tells the story of his son’s battle with drug addiction. It was written by Reiner’s son, Nick Reiner, with co-writer Matt Elisofon. For the Spiel, it’s…
Trump as Napalm
May 5, 2016 • 24 min
When it comes to Donald Trump, our guest says we need to set up FEMA tents to distribute all the blame that deserves to go around. On The Gist, Jonah Goldberg from the National Review joins us to discuss why many conservative pundits and thinkers have…
Welcome to the Abyss
May 4, 2016 • 34 min
On The Gist, it’s May 4th so… may the fourth be with you. Yes, that’s a Star Wars pun to help introduce you to our guest legal scholar Cass Sunstein. He’s the author of The World According to Star Wars, now available for preorder. For the Spiel, the…
Trumpeting Mike Tyson’s Endorsement
May 3, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, on the wake of the sentencing of Sheldon Silver, we explore the connection between corrupt politicians and bodily corruption. Then, Mike interviews Robert Mrazek, a former Democratic member of the House of Representatives who represented New…
The End of Conventional Wisdom in Politics
May 2, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, Chuck Todd has HAD IT with Ted Cruz. We’ll hear what that sounds like. Then, a look at some lasting lessons from the Bernie Sanders campaign with BuzzFeed’s White House correspondent Evan McMorris-Santoro. He’s the host of the new podcast No…
Buzz Aldrin! He Walked on the Moon!
Apr 29, 2016 • 21 min
They say no one ever remembers the second man who walked on the moon. That’s so not true! On The Gist, octogenarian Buzz Aldrin steps into our studios to discuss his unique life story and the future of international space travel. His new book is called No…
Behind the Scenes at Wait Wait
Apr 28, 2016 • 31 min
On The Gist, comedian and journalist Faith Salie shares her journey to becoming a recovering approval addict. Her new memoir is Approval Junkie: Adventures in Caring Too Much. For the Spiel, what dirty politicians have in common with a woman on the beach…
The National Emergency We Call Donald Trump
Apr 27, 2016 • 37 min
On The Gist, Jacob Weisberg helps present favorite moments from the first month of Slate’s Trumpcast. First, he talks to journalist Mark Leibovich about Donald Trump’s transition into a more tolerable candidate. Then, we ask clinical psychologist Ben…
The So-Called “So-Called Acela” Primary
Apr 26, 2016 • 33 min
On The Gist, we discuss the connection between infrastructure and money with Justin Fox from Bloomberg View. Then, Noah Charney explains why the art of Hieronymus Bosch is so hauntingly freaky. He’s the author of The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and…
Bathroom President Ted Cruz
Apr 25, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, we make a deal with Ted Cruz. Then, futurist Brian David Johnson joins us from the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University. He’s currently on tour asking about the future of the American Dream. For the Spiel, is Bernie…
Purpleness
Apr 22, 2016 • 35 min
On The Gist, music writer Chris Molanphy guides us through the purple rain. We’ll remember Prince’s impact on the Billboard chats over the course of his career. Chris writes Slate’s Why Is That Song No. 1 column. He recently wrote about Prince for Slate:…
The Energy Crisis and the End of American Liberalism
Apr 21, 2016 • 35 min
On The Gist, Josh King answers our question about President Obama’s visit with King Salman of Saudi Arabia. He was our guest earlier this week, and he’s the author of Off Script: An Advance Man’s Guide to White House Stagecraft, Campaign Spectacle, and…
Did Bernie Pull Hillary to the Left?
Apr 20, 2016 • 27 min
Is Bernie Sanders part of a long Democratic tradition of progressive insurgency? On The Gist, Slate’s Jamelle Bouie explains the shifting politics of the Democratic party. Read his front-page story, “There Is No Bernie Sanders Movement.” For the Spiel,…
Get a Life … Coach
Apr 19, 2016 • 34 min
On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker explains why our growing motivational industry needs some oversight. She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, the lasting impact of the 1994 crime bill on today’s candidates and voters.Learn…
Bill Clinton’s Advance Man Tells All
Apr 18, 2016 • 32 min
On The Gist, Mike offers keen insight into Sheldon Silver. Then, which Republican presidential nominee is nailing visual optics? Josh King joins us to explain why the visuals and headlines are becoming increasingly important for political campaigns. He’s…
Billboard Hits From 1986
Apr 15, 2016 • 28 min
On The Gist, we travel back to the year our host and music writer Chris Molanphy were in their music-listening prime. We’ll count down the Billboard hits from 1986 that marked a significant pivot in music history. Chris writes Slate’s Why Is That Song No.…
Hurry Up and Fast
Apr 14, 2016 • 26 min
On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker explains what researchers have found when they looked into the health benefits of fasting. She’s the author of The Confidence Game. If you enjoyed this interview, you should also check out our past segment…
An Interesting and Beautiful Day
Apr 13, 2016 • 25 min
On The Gist, itching to visit the president of the Republic of Molossia? Or hear the dark histories of Patarei Prison in Tallinn, Estonia? David Plotz from Atlas Obscura offers advice for creating your own adventures on Saturday, April 16 for this…
Pinocchio’s Got a Gun
Apr 12, 2016 • 28 min
On The Gist, we use Yodely Guy to discuss the latest news from Goldman Sachs. Then, let’s dive deep into Wyoming delegate math with Aimee Van Cleave from the Wyoming Democratic Party. For the Spiel, does Hillary have too many Pinocchios but not enough…
It’s Time We Talk About Wolverines
Apr 11, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, we again compare the value of winning states vs. winning delegates in Democratic primaries. Which could be more valuable? Then learn the definition of an “S.O.B. flag” when we visit Vexillology Corner with our favorite vexillologist Ted Kaye.…
Twisted F—king Sister
Apr 8, 2016 • 30 min
“Hair too long,” “pants too tight,” “sounds like Kiss,” “Alice Cooper’s dead,” and other reasons Twister Sister spent a decade trying to get a record deal. On The Gist, John French Segall (you know him as Jay Jay French) and director Andrew Horn join us…
If I Were Hillary
Apr 7, 2016 • 20 min
On The Gist, a case for playing politics in Myanmar. Then, a clever strategy for preventing a full Zika virus epidemic—genetically modified mosquitos. We’ll speak with Nina Fedoroff about her recent op-ed in the New York Times. For the Spiel, Mike…
Burning Down Bernie’s Momentum
Apr 6, 2016 • 24 min
On The Gist, arts reporter Mary Lane shares insights from the exhibit “Art From the Holocaust” at the German Historical Museum in Berlin. She wrote “ ‘Art From the Holocaust’: The Beauty and Brutality in Forbidden Works” for the New York Times. For the…
You’re Getting Very Sleepy
Apr 5, 2016 • 31 min
On The Gist, a top Armenian comic joins us to discuss if Azubaijan is even a country. Then, Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker about the health benefits of hypnosis for a game we call “Is That Bulls—t?” She’s the author of The Confidence Game:…
Jon Ronson, Imam of Shame
Apr 4, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, we explore an abuse of power taking place on social media. Journalist Jon Ronson shares whyhe was compelled to tell the stories behind the public shaming of Jonah Lehrer and Justine Sacco. He’s the author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed,…
The Hamilton Rule
Apr 1, 2016 • 35 min
On The Gist, actress Erinn Hayes joins us to share her experiences performing as Dr. Lola Spratt on Childrens Hospital from Adult Swim. The show will be ending this year after seven seasons. For the Spiel, Zoe Chacefrom This American Life takes over.…
Abolitionist Heroes Lost to History
Mar 31, 2016 • 32 min
On The Gist, Manisha Sinha joins us to discuss the long roots of the abolitionist movement in American history.She’s the author of The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition. For the Spiel, there’s no backsies or whoopsies for presidents. Today’s sponsor:…
Are The Winter Blues BS?
Mar 30, 2016 • 26 min
On The Gist, Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker to explain the link between seasonal affective disorder and winter blues. Is it a real condition, or an overly convenient acronym? For the Spiel, why arguing aboutinstant replays is a beloved…
The Huge Lingering Why
Mar 29, 2016 • 24 min
On The Gist, we ask Los Angeles Times reporter Joel Rubin what the San Bernardino investigators are hoping to learn from the decrypted iPhone. For the Spiel, hijacker hijinks! Today’s sponsors: Slack. Slack brings all of your communication at work into…
40 Years for Genocide
Mar 28, 2016 • 28 min
On The Gist, the Guardian’s Julian Borger joins us to discuss the International Criminal Court trial of one of the Bosnian War’s main malefactors, Radovan Karadzic. Julian is the author of The Butcher’s Trail: How the Search for Balkan War Criminals…
The Height of Clinton-Era Pop Music
Mar 25, 2016 • 26 min
On The Gist, we travel backto the year 14-year-olds shouted their favorite hits from Times Square toCarson Daly. Music writer Chris Molanphy shares Billboardhits from 1999 that shaped the future of today’s pop charts. Chris writes Slate’s Why Is That Song…
Crazy Funny with Sara Benincasa, Chris Gethard, and Gary Gulman
Mar 24, 2016 • 20 min
On The Gist, a classic episode from August 2014. When Amy Solomon was growing up in Chicago, she was obsessed with Gilda Radner. She wanted to be a comedian but worried she didn’t have enough problems to talk about. For her Princeton senior thesis,…
1,145 Police Killings
Mar 22, 2016 • 25 min
On The Gist, Guardian US editor Lee Glendinning joins us to share findings from their award-winning data initiative the Counted. For the Spiel, Mike offers a textural analysis of the president’s visit to Cuba. Today’s sponsors: Goldman Sachs. Information…
When Words Change World Events
Mar 21, 2016 • 25 min
On The Gist, Mike predicts what Donald Trump will say at Aipac. Then, the latest bear news headlinesreviewed with our regular expert Rae Wynn-Grant from the American Museum of Natural History. For the Spiel, three recent world events where language…
The Secret Genius of the T-Shirt Cannon
Mar 18, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, L. Jon Wertheim from Sports Illustrated explains the effects of sports on the brain. With Sam Sommers, he’s the author of This Is Your Brain on Sports. For the Spiel, Mike addresses his white male brethren. Today’s sponsors: Texture, the…
A Triumph of Small Talk
Mar 17, 2016 • 24 min
On The Gist, Slate’s Ruth Graham demonstrates her total mastery of small talk from her piece, “In Defense of Small Talk.” For the Spiel, are GMO labels informative ormisleading? Today’s sponsors: Monster. Find employees who work as hard as you at…
Are The Dangers of GMOs BS?
Mar 16, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, we ask Slate’s chief political correspondent Jamelle Bouie if Donald Trump is a viable candidate in a general election. Then, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker ends the debate over the dangers of GMOs. She’s the author of The Confidence Game.…
All Things Horse Race
Mar 15, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist, Mike answers the question, “Why all the horse race?” by offering a close look at the issue of magic from House Resolution 642. Then, Harry Enten from FiveThirtyEight uses his polling expertise to explain what today’s many caucus results will…
The Duke Lacrosse Case, 10 Years Later
Mar 14, 2016 • 26 min
Last night ESPN’s 30 for 30 series aired the documentary about the Duke Lacrosse case called Fantastic Lies. Back when the Gist was being piloted in April 2014, we spoke with author William D. Cohan about the case following his book The Price of Silence:…
The Year of Travolta
Mar 11, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, our regular guest Chris Molanphy tells us how disco music swallowed up rock in 1978. We’ll discuss Billboard chart hits from 1978, and just about all of them have a disco beat. He writes Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” column. For the…
Ctrl-Alt-DESTROY
Mar 10, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist,Slate’sFred Kaplan shares the history and stories behind our ongoing cyberwar.He’s the author of Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War. For the Spiel, a collection of newsfrom the states. Today’s sponsor: Harry’s, the shaving company…
The Things That Dreams Are Made Of
Mar 9, 2016 • 22 min
On The Gist, the only conversation about dreams that promises not to bore you to death. Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker joins us for a game we call “Is That Bulls—-?” She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, the Clinton campaign bravely…
What Detroit Gave America
Mar 8, 2016 • 20 min
On The Gist, a new SAT is here, and the Today show has already failed the test. Author David Maraniss tells the story of aninflection point for Detroit from his book Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story. For the Spiel, no one is being offered 55 million…
Is Torture Ever Worthwhile?
Mar 7, 2016 • 32 min
On The Gist, can we use game theory to make the case for or against the use of torture during an investigation? We explore various models compiled in Does Torture Work? with our guest John Schiemann from Fairleigh Dickinson University. For the Spiel, how…
Adam Davidson Makes Negative Interest Rates Positively Interesting
Mar 4, 2016 • 25 min
On The Gist, Adam Davidson explains the latest experimental development of a desperate economy—negative interest rates. Davidson is columnist for the New York Times Magazine and host of a new podcast with Adam McKay called Surprisingly Awesome. For the…
Would I Be Happier in an Arranged Marriage?
Mar 3, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist, the story behind the so-called Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times.” Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker tells us about international efforts to find the recipe for a happy, lasting marriage. She’s the author of The Confidence…
Trump’s Tiny Little Lead
Mar 2, 2016 • 25 min
On The Gist, Josh Putnam from Frontloading HQ explains what last night’s Super Tuesday results mean when you do the delegate math. He’s a lecturer at the University of Georgia, where he specializes in campaigns and elections. For the Spiel, common…
This Podcast Is for Losers
Mar 1, 2016 • 26 min
On The Gist, do we have more to learn from losers than winners? Huffington Post senior politics editor Sam Stein joins us to share the stories behind his podcast Candidate Confessional. For the Spiel, Mike reveals his workout secrets. Join Slate Plus!…
Bernie Down the House
Feb 29, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, writer Matt Bruenig makes the case for electing Bernie Sanders and explains why the candidate’s top economic advisors say his policies could bring 5.3 percent gross national product growth. For the Spiel, a post-Oscars joke recap. Join Slate…
Chappelle’s Show Co-Creator Neal Brennan
Feb 26, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, we speak with the brilliant comic mind Neal Brennan about his new one-man comedy show 3 Mics. It’s showing at the Lynn Redgrave Theater in New York City through mid-March. For the Spiel, a crazy 24 hours in presidential politics. What a…
What’s Next for #OscarsSoWhite?
Feb 25, 2016 • 35 min
On The Gist, why the Oscars matter to the future of Hollywood. We discuss the ideas behind #OscarsSoWhite with Slate’s Aisha Harris and NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. Aisha recently wrote “Why Creed’s Best Picture Snub Matters” and Eric Deggans is the author…
Whale News!
Feb 24, 2016 • 25 min
On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker explains Sigmund Freud’s lasting contributions to psychiatry and castration anxiety everywhere. She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, we dive into whale news from around the globe. Join…
Yuge Tariffs
Feb 23, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, Adam Davidson explains why he’s rarely enthusiastic about any politicians. How does he feel about experimentations with the American economy proposed by Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders? He’s a columnist for the New York Times Magazine and…
Is Bernie’s Agenda More Than Imaginary?
Feb 22, 2016 • 25 min
On The Gist, an important update on the Brexit. Then, William Galston joins us to discuss the practical considerations for executing a Bernie Sanders agenda. Can it be done from the executive branch alone? Galston is a senior fellow in Governance Studies…
Hillary’s Chances in Nevada
Feb 19, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist, Slate’s Will Oremus joins us for a round of “One Question, One Question Only” about Apple’s battle with the U.S. government. Harry Enten from FiveThirtyEight uses his polling expertise to explain what’s ahead for caucus results this weekend…
We Knew You’d Listen
Feb 18, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, we knew you were going to listen to this episode about ESP. Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker joins us for a game we call, “Is That Bulls—-?” She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, Donald Trump for pope! Today’s sponsors:…
Are You a Super-Encounterer?
Feb 17, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, Pagan Kennedy explains how writing the New York Times Magazine column “Who Made That?” led her to discover interesting similarities among many inventors. She’s the author of Inventology: How We Dream Up Things That Change the World. For the…
Glory Be to Kanye
Feb 16, 2016 • 21 min
On The Gist, a special guest host with some words of wisdom for job applicants. Slate’s Forrest Wickman explains the complexity of Kanye West as an artist and helps dissect the track “Ultralight Beam” from his new album The Life of Pablo. For the Spiel,…
Acclaimed Actor David Morse
Feb 12, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist, actor David Morse tells us about his role as Big Foster in Outsiders, a new TV series from WGN America. For the Spiel, Mike finds a new appreciation for the furry-hooded coat. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only…
Mike and Frank Take the Stage
Feb 11, 2016 • 40 min
On The Gist, Matthew Dicks and your host record the show in the wee hours of the night, after seeing a Bruce Springsteen concert. They’ll present two stories from the Story Collider storytelling night at the Kraine Theater in New York. The first features…
Should We Fear Domestic Terrorism?
Feb 10, 2016 • 37 min
On The Gist, the daughter of a Fort Hood victim explains how she became friends with the shooter’s cousin. We’ll speak with the HBO documentary Homegrown’s filmmaker Greg Barker and subjects Kerry Cahill (the daughter), Nader Hasan (the cousin), and…
Is Marijuana Making You Stupid?
Feb 9, 2016 • 26 min
On The Gist, Mike’s thoughts on the P-word. Then, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker tells us about the challenge of doing a controlled trial on a controlled substance. She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, Mike fact-checks a widely…
Why We Still Care About O.J.
Feb 8, 2016 • 30 min
Murder is one of the most venerable subjects of journalism and drama. What was it about the O.J. trail that still entertains? On The Gist. reporter Jeffrey Toobin explains the case’s lasting significance. He’s the author of The Run of His Life: The People…
What Time Does the Super Bowl Start?
Feb 5, 2016 • 29 min
On The Gist, Slate’s Justin Peters shares his observations from watching every Super Bowl in history over the course of two months. He’s the author of The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet. For the Spiel, another Lobstar…
What’s a Vote Worth?
Feb 4, 2016 • 26 min
On The Gist, Mike identifies the greatest depiction of a zebra in mass media. Here’s the video. The, Dan Pashman from The Sporkful podcast explains how sound influences taste. For the Spiel, if a candidate offered to pay you 2,800 for your vote, would you…
Are Lots of Little Babies Synesthetes?
Feb 3, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, we don’t mention Iowa once! First, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker separates the gold-tinted truth from the rubber-scented fiction when it comes to synesthesia. She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, what if your host was…
Toodle-oo Iowa
Feb 2, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, listener C. Andrew Frank shares his experience caucusing in Iowa last night. Plus, Slate’s Jamelle Bouie explains what the Iowa results tell us, if anything. For the Spiel, how to discuss Iowa better in the media. Join Slate Plus! Members get…
Finally Forgetting Iowa
Feb 1, 2016 • 25 min
On The Gist, Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Gay shares a landmark moment from his cancer recovery—getting annoyed in line at Starbucks. He’s the author of Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living. For the Spiel, the one thing we should…
Seeing Yourself in “Spotlight”
Jan 29, 2016 • 31 min
On The Gist, a best-of episode to welcome new listeners who heard our host on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me this weekend. First, the film Spotlight depicts serious investigative journalism without the usual guns, car chases, and explosions. We speak with…
Obama Did What?
Jan 27, 2016 • 24 min
On The Gist, has the bully pulpit been in the hands of a poor communicator? Michael Grunwald from Politico joins us to discuss Obama’s lesser-known accomplishments as discussed in his article “The Nation He Built.” He’s the author of The New New Deal. For…
Jesse Eisenberg, Part 2
Jan 26, 2016 • 32 min
Yesterday on The Gist, Jesse Eisenberg performed his story “Marv Albert is My Therapist” alongside your host. Today, they’ll discuss his story collection Bream Gives Me Hiccups and why Eisenberg is drawn to writing dialogue. For the Spiel, don’t forget…
Jesse Eisenberg, Part 1
Jan 25, 2016 • 25 min
While researching Ronald Reagan for his new biography, Slate’s Jacob Weisberg grew to appreciate the 40th president’s original mind and dedication to writing every day. As he explains on today’s Gist, “We’d give that guy a column in Slate.” Jacob Weisberg…
Did Track Palin Get Off Easy?
Jan 22, 2016 • 22 min
On The Gist, what factors determine how a domestic abuser is charged? We ask attorney adviser Jane Anderson from AEquitas: The Prosecutors’ Resource on Violence Against Women. For the Spiel, much more ridiculousness in politics from Donald Trump to…
The Creative Duo Behind “Billions”
Jan 21, 2016 • 31 min
On The Gist, guests Brian Koppelman and David Levien explain why they stopped making easy TV-show deals with networks. For Billions, the longtime creative duo decided to take the time to write the show they wanted to make on spec. Their series premiere…
Paleo and Palin
Jan 20, 2016 • 27 min
On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker examines the benefits of eating the “Paleo” diet for a game we call “Is That Bulls—t?” She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, can Sarah Palin see syntax from her speech? Today’s sponsor:…
Changing More Than a Mayor
Jan 19, 2016 • 30 min
On The Gist, Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn explains the likelihood that Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel will resign, and suggests a possible plan B for protestors. For the Spiel, what we do and don’t need to know about presidential candidates and their…
The Former Poet Laureate to Kim Jong-il
Jan 15, 2016 • 24 min
On The Gist, we bring you two favorite segments from the past year. First, a look at how propaganda thrives in North Korea from the perspective of Kim Jong-il’s former poet laureate, Jang Jin-sung. He’s the author of Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee—A Look…
How to Spot a Con Artist
Jan 13, 2016 • 25 min
On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker explains how the best con artists make their victims emotionally invested. She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, all the self-flagellation Ted Cruz thinks was missing from Obama’s State of…
Winning Powerball Numbers
Jan 12, 2016 • 24 min
On The Gist, the phrase you should listen for during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. Then, researcher Gordon Pennycook explains lessons from his study “On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit.” For the Spiel, please remember…
Sea Lion, Smell Lion
Jan 11, 2016 • 28 min
Disruption eruption, what’s your function? On The Gist, Harvard Business Review editor Adi Ignatius explains what actually makes a business a disruptor. For the Spiel, San Diego sea lion crap, The Gist annotated edition. Today’s sponsors: Credit Karma. Do…
Where Genius Is Born
Jan 8, 2016 • 35 min
On The Gist, traveler Eric Weiner joins us to discuss why certain cities throughout history have been ripe for cultivating our most creative thinkers. He’s the author of The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places From Ancient…
The Heavily Guarded Facebook Algorithm
Jan 7, 2016 • 26 min
On The Gist, Slate’s Will Oremus explains who’s really controlling your Facebook feed. He recently wrote a cover story based on a visit to Menlo Park, California, where even his trips to the bathroom were supervised. For the Spiel, Mike gives Donald Trump…
Exercise Fad B.S.
Jan 6, 2016 • 25 min
On The Gist, a gift for your New Year’s resolutions. Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker tells us what research has been done into various popular exercise methods. She’s the author of The Confidence Game, now available for preorder. For the Spiel, the…
Near-Death Winter Tales with Matthew Dicks
Jan 5, 2016 • 31 min
On The Gist, professional storyteller Matthew Dicks tells a story to demonstrate how to tell better stories. We’ll learn why it’s important to give your story a setting in the physical world. He’s the author of The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs. You…
Terrorists or Nudniks?
Jan 4, 2016 • 22 min
On The Gist, how significant is the impact of the shale revolution on the international oil markets? We ask Robert Weiner, professor of international business at George Washington University. For the Spiel, Mike wonders what we should call the armed…
The 8 New Billboard Hits of 2015
Dec 30, 2015 • 27 min
This year, many of us were consuming the same big songs at the same time. On The Gist, music writer Chris Molanphy explains how 2015 continues a modern trend toward a shared pop music monoculture. Chris writes Slate’s Why Is This Song No. 1 column, and…
The Questioner
Dec 29, 2015 • 31 min
On The Gist, Gretchen Rubin explains what self-knowledge has to do with forming lasting habits. To identify your core tendency, try filling out her quiz here. She’s the author of Better Than Before and hosts the Happier Podcast, a fellow member of the…
Bloody Merry
Dec 28, 2015 • 24 min
On The Gist, Dan Pashman from The Sporkful podcast explains the food science behind why we’re more in the mood for a lemony Blood Mary this week instead of a creamy glass of eggnog. If you’re going to serve eggnog anyway, there’s a great recipe for Puerto…
The 12 Days of Trumpmas
Dec 23, 2015 • 23 min
On The Gist, the big news from Zimbabwe. Then, Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker what can be done to fight off a common cold. Maria’s new book The Confidence Game is now available for preorder. For the Spiel, we welcome friendly carolers into…
Presidential Candidates on Half-Speed
Dec 22, 2015 • 29 min
On The Gist, a look back at major news stories made possible by data leaks and analysis. Too bad there’s no award for data … or is there? Jody Avirgan from the FiveThirtyEight podcast What’s the Point joins us to share the winners and losers of various…
The Ultimate Star Wars Spoiler Is Star Wars
Dec 21, 2015 • 33 min
On The Gist, Mike has a song in his heart about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Listeners sensitive to Mike’s singing should tune out around 25:40. But first, has conceal-and-carry helped armed civilians defend themselves against criminals with guns? It…
What Is It About Adele’s Voice?
Dec 18, 2015 • 22 min
On The Gist, music writer Chris Molanphy explains what’s made Adele’s new album 25 an epic success. It is her voice or the cult of Adele? Chris writes Slate’s Why Is This Song No. 1 column. For the Spiel, a Bruce Springsteen bootleg features a very…
Fusilli, You Crazy Bastard!
Dec 17, 2015 • 26 min
On The Gist, a few glib chortles are exchanged about the venerable institution of New Yorker cartoons. Director Leah Wolchok joins us to discuss her film Very Semi-Serious. For the Spiel, wouldn’t it be great to live in the world that the Republican…
Gihad for the Calif8
Dec 16, 2015 • 28 min
On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker explains how our birth order influences personality and intelligence for a game we call “Is That Bulls—t?” Does IQ go down after the firstborn? Her new book, The Confidence Game, is now available for…
May the Pastiche Be With You
Dec 15, 2015 • 28 min
On The Gist, Slate’s Forrest Wickman explains the many layers that a casual visitor to the Star Wars universe might miss. He recently wrote the cover story “Star Wars Is a Postmodern Masterpiece” for Slate. For the Spiel, do the Iowa caucuses really…
Do We Get the Government We Deserve?
Dec 14, 2015 • 35 min
On The Gist, we talk about the weather. Then, Mary Lane from the Wall Street Journal will discuss the new show at the Detroit Institute of Arts called “30 Americans” on display through Jan. 18. Plus, author Amy Koppelman joins us to discuss her novels…
Dollar Strong, Euro Weak
Dec 11, 2015 • 38 min
On The Gist, we call in Adam Davidson to explain the frustratingly tepid action of the European Central Bank amid Europe’s economic crises. Davidson is a contributor to the New York Times Magazine and host of a new podcast with Adam McKay called…
How Stand-Up Got Its Name
Dec 10, 2015 • 32 min
On The Gist, historian Kliph Nesteroff shares a few favorite tales from comedy’s mobster past. He’s the author of The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy. For the Spiel, the ordinary American focus group participant.…
Is Cryotherapy BS?
Dec 9, 2015 • 26 min
On The Gist, the incredibly cool Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker looks into the dearth of research into cryotherapy for a game we call “Is That Bulls—t?” Her new book, The Confidence Game, is now available for preorder. For the Spiel, we travel to the…
Woodrow Wilson’s Racist Legacy
Dec 8, 2015 • 28 min
On The Gist, professor Julian Zelizer joins us to discuss how to understand Woodrow Wilson in the context of his time, and how Princeton is grappling with that legacy today. He’s the author of The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the…
Jon Glaser as Neon Joe
Dec 7, 2015 • 27 min
On The Gist, actor Jon Glaser explains how a one-off joke on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon led to his new miniseries Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter. The new show premiers Monday, Dec. 7 at midnight on Adult Swim. For the Spiel, a look into the psychology…
The Amazing Self-Restraint of the Pro-Life Movement
Dec 4, 2015 • 31 min
On The Gist, we welcome back past guest and Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer to discuss the likelihood of new gun control legislation. Then, Slate’s Will Saletan joins us to assess the current state of the abortion debate, a decade after…
“If Syed Leaves the Party, Call the Cops”
Dec 3, 2015 • 31 min
On The Gist, Mike discusses the fast-moving field of cancer research with doctor Vincent T. DeVita, and his daughter, science writer Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn. Together they wrote The Death of Cancer. For the Spiel, a rhyming response to Keith Ablow’s…
Unwrapping Holiday BS
Dec 2, 2015 • 22 min
On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker rounds up the holiday season’s most tedious myths for a game we call “Is That Bulls—t?” Her new book, The Confidence Game, is now available for preorder. For the Spiel, all the things we don’t know but tend…
Thank God This Guy’s President
Dec 1, 2015 • 26 min
On The Gist, Slate’s Fred Kaplan explains how recent GOP rhetoric plays perfectly into the bad guys’ plans. He’s the author of The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War and 1959: The Year Everything Changed. For the…
Is Income Inequality Our Biggest Problem?
Nov 30, 2015 • 27 min
On The Gist, the real reason why government programs like Medicaid and food stamps show little to no impact on the poverty rate. We get into the specifics with Vox editor Ezra Klein. Check out his new podcast The Weeds, from Panoply. For the Spiel, put…
The Parents of Jordan Davis
Nov 25, 2015 • 32 min
On The Gist, a parent’s worst nightmare. Three years ago this week, Ron Davis and Lucia McBath’s 17-year-old son was shot while Black Friday shopping with his friends. The HBO documentary 3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets tells the story of how they pursued justice…
The Current Standing of Standing Desks
Nov 24, 2015 • 30 min
On The Gist, Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker to stand up to tell us about dangers of sitting. She’s the author of The Confidence Game, now available for preorder. For the Spiel, Mike examines the spooky, spooky specter of a Trump presidency.…
From Carson’s Couch to Nixon’s Enemies List
Nov 23, 2015 • 27 min
On The Gist, comedian David Steinberg joins us to share favorite tales from his life making comedy history. His new show is called The David Steinberg Podcast. For the Spiel, Mike takes on the manhunt for Saleh Abdeslam in Brussels. Today’s sponsor: The…
Playwright David Hare
Nov 20, 2015 • 32 min
Screenwriter and dramatist David Hare has written about the Chinese revolution, the U.S. financial crisis, privatization of the railways, and now, finally, his own story. On The Gist, the award-winning playwright will discuss on his new memoir The Blue…
Psychic Spies and the CIA
Nov 19, 2015 • 26 min
On The Gist, reporter Jim Popkin tells us about his Newsweek cover story, “Meet the Former Pentagon Scientist Who Says Psychics Can Help American Spies.” For the Spiel, advice for the 31 state governors who say they’ll not be taking in Syrian refugees.…
Only 10% of Our Brains?
Nov 18, 2015 • 16 min
On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker examines how we utilize our grey matter for a segment we call “Is That Bulls—t?” Her new book, The Confidence Game, is now available for preorder. For the Spiel, why Fox News never plays the full quote.…
150 Foiled Terrorism Plots
Nov 17, 2015 • 18 min
On The Gist, a look at what technologies have been the most helpful in deterring another major terrorist attack. Our guest Dr. Gary LaFree is the director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, a Department of…
Was Paris a Tactical Mistake?
Nov 16, 2015 • 28 min
Immediately after the Paris attacks, French President François Hollande called the terrorism “an act of war.” Then on Meet the Press, White House staffer Ben Rhodes went further, saying, “We’ve been at war with ISIS for quite some time.” How does ISIS…
A Devastating Film About Facing Adulthood
Nov 13, 2015 • 31 min
On The Gist, director Josh Mond and actor Christopher Abbott join us in studio to discuss their film James White. During our chat, we’ll learn that Mond’s influences include González Iñárritu, Joachim Trier and the third season of Law and Order. It opens…
Subtlety Sucks!
Nov 12, 2015 • 26 min
Have we failed to critically celebrate heavy-handedness? On The Gist, Slate’s Forrest Wickman explains when subtlety works to the detriment of a work of art. He recently wrote the cover story “Against Subtlety” for Slate. For the Spiel, a love note to…
Is 35 the Ovum/under?
Nov 11, 2015 • 32 min
On The Gist, Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker to examine the research into the link between age and fertility for men and women. She’s the author of The Confidence Game, now available for preorder. For the Spiel, Mike’s true psychic abilities…
The Great Compromiser
Nov 10, 2015 • 32 min
On The Gist, author Harlow Giles Unger tells us about the great compromiser of America’s formative years, former Speaker of the House Henry Clay. Read more in Unger’s book Henry Clay: America’s Greatest Statesman. For the Spiel, a look at the protests at…
Why Trump Wasn’t Funny on SNL
Nov 9, 2015 • 31 min
On The Gist, a show about art and prostitutes up now at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The Wall Street Journal’s Mary M. Lane will share her highlights from “New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic, 1919–1933” on display through…
Chaka Khan vs. Deep Purple vs. The Smiths
Nov 6, 2015 • 27 min
On The Gist, music writer Chris Molanphy explains why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is often frustratingly arbitrary. For example, the millions of fan votes from their website count as much toward the impact on the final selection process as the vote of…
Ben Carson: The Doctor Is In Tune
Nov 5, 2015 • 29 min
On The Gist, a new show at Musée d’Orsay in Paris is the first to tell the story of prostitution in art, 1850–1910. Our guest Mary Lane from the Wall Street Journal will share the highlights. Then, we check back in with vexillologist Ted Kaye about the…
Bacon Makes Everything Better, Except Your Colon
Nov 4, 2015 • 27 min
On The Gist, Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker about her beef with the World Health Organization. Their recent headlines draw attention to a link between processed meats and cancer risk. Is that bulls—t? Maria’s new book The Confidence Game is…
Prisoner Rehabilitation Is Not That Easy
Nov 3, 2015 • 29 min
When thinking about America’s prison problem, at some point we’re going to have to begin asking how we’re going to treat violent offenders differently. On The Gist, Fordham law professor John Pfaff joins us for the rest of our extended interview. Listen…
Ending Mass Incarceration Is Not That Easy
Nov 2, 2015 • 36 min
If you’re 42 or younger, you’ve never lived in a safer America than today. But if you were alive in 1960, today’s crime rates are twice as high as they were then. Could that be why older politicians are resisting prison reform? On The Gist, Fordham law…
Played by Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Mark Ruffalo
Oct 30, 2015 • 34 min
On The Gist, the film Spotlight depicts serious investigative journalism without the usual guns, car cases, and explosions. We speak with subjects from the film including journalists Walter “Robby” Robinson (played by Michael Keaton), Sacha Pfeiffer…
An Unforgettable Technique for Telling Riveting Stories
Oct 29, 2015 • 28 min
On The Gist, professional storyteller Matthew Dicks tells a story about how to tell better stories. It all comes down to the stakes. For the Spiel, a moment in the CNBC GOP debates draws attention to the use of “that” and “who” in public speaking. Today’s…
Is Salt Still Bad for You?
Oct 28, 2015 • 26 min
For many Americans, the salt you sprinkle on your steak has less of an impact on daily sodium intake than what you pour into your … cereal bowl? On The Gist, Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker to examine the research into the impact of salt on…
Unnatural … Pauses in “NPR Voice”
Oct 27, 2015 • 27 min
On The Gist, should we fear a league of robots taking away our teaching jobs? Slate’s Will Oremus explains why even the smartest teaching tools still need a teacher’s guiding hand. He recently wrote the feature “No More Pencils, No More Books.” For the…
Why Jeff Bezos Went From No. 1 to No. 87
Oct 26, 2015 • 26 min
On The Gist, why the Harvard Business Review’s list of top-performing CEOs has adopted a new formula. The magazine’s editor Adi Ignatius explains why this year’s rankings decided to factor in ESG, the catchall term used to discuss a company’s…
Sarah Vowell on Marquis de Lafayette
Oct 23, 2015 • 28 min
On The Gist, Sarah Vowell tells us about Gen. Lafayette, the French teen who befriended George Washington and became a symbol for the French alliance during the American Revolution. Her new book is called Lafayette in the Somewhat United States. In The…
Less of a Hearing, More of a Talking
Oct 22, 2015 • 27 min
On The Gist, Jill Duffy from the Productivity Report joins us to share a few tricks for gaming your inbox. Then, Jen Rustemeyer from Peg Leg Films shares what she learned from eating garbage in her documentary Just Eat It. For the Spiel, Mike dives deep…
Padding Your Résumé for President
Oct 21, 2015 • 27 min
What part of a governor’s economic impact scales at a national level? On The Gist, Ben Casselman from FiveThirtyEight offers a new criterion from his article, “How To Evaluate The Economic Records of Governors Who Want to Be President.” For the Spiel, the…
They Finally Won
Oct 20, 2015 • 27 min
On The Gist, learn why WNYC’s Ilya Marritz decided to profile the Columbia University Lions for a new show called The Season. Plus, we’ll hear from the team’s co-captain and star running back Cameron Molina about how a new coach is helping him and his…
Giving the Freedom Caucus Its Due
Oct 19, 2015 • 31 min
Are conservatives making a horrible mistake … in branding? On The Gist, Slate’s Reihan Salam shares his ideas for how the Republican Party could change the conversation to better match its supporters’ priorities. For the Spiel, nurture your pet cause on…
1971: When the ’70s Started Sounding Like the ’70s
Oct 16, 2015 • 27 min
On The Gist, we travel back to the year Mike Pesca and music writer Chris Molanphy were born. Learn why the Billboard Hits from 1971 stand the test of time, winter, spring, summer, or fall. Chris writes Slate’s Why Is That Song No. 1 column. Listen back…
Munitions and Menstruation
Oct 15, 2015 • 32 min
Immediately upon learning that there’s such a thing as a menstrual cup, Mike Pesca had to ask Slate’s L.V. Anderson to explain. Learn why the DivaCup and Keeper Cup are growing in popularity, and why a new Kickstarter campaign for the Looncup might not…
The Clinton Cadence
Oct 14, 2015 • 29 min
On The Gist, did you see the post-debate footage where Bernie Sanders threw his body in front of a surging horde of reporters and saved NBC’s Andrea Mitchell from being flattened, if not scooped? This and other favorite moments from last night’s CNN…
All the President’s Body Men
Oct 13, 2015 • 39 min
On The Gist, we bring you a Pesca-moderated panel recorded live from Politicon in Los Angeles. Panelists include actor Tony Hale, who plays a body man on TV, and Reggie Love, a real-life body man for six years. We’ll learn what goes into their respective…
Our First Latino Poet Laureate
Oct 9, 2015 • 26 min
On The Gist, some truths and lies about the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Then, we’re honored to welcome the United State’s new national Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera. As a bilingual, first-generation immigrant, Herrera explains that writing in…
The Gist Live: Craig Finn from the Hold Steady
Oct 8, 2015 • 31 min
On The Gist, the last of three episodes recorded at our live show in Brooklyn, New York. From the stage of the Bell House, Mike asks Craig Finn from the Hold Steady about a literary device his songs share with the Bible, Milton, and…
The Gist Live: Making Interest Rates Interesting
Oct 7, 2015 • 36 min
On The Gist, the second of three episodes recorded at our live show in Brooklyn, New York. From the stage of the Bell House, Harry Enten from FiveThirtyEight uses his poling expertise to explain Trump’s real chances at the presidency. Then, Adam Davidson…
The Gist Live: Samantha Bee
Oct 6, 2015 • 39 min
On The Gist, the first of three episodes recorded at our live show in Brooklyn, New York. From the stage of the Bell House, Mike Pesca accepts an award from Slate’s Julia Turner and a drink from bartender Chris Wertz, author of Brooklyn Cocktails. Then,…
O Say Can You Shut The Hell Up
Oct 5, 2015 • 37 min
On The Gist, Mike explains why a Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Breakfast Sandwich won’t be bringing him back to Starbucks for a while. Then Alex Marshall responds to The Gist calling him “Sir Twiddle Twaddle” in a previous episode and explains why he thinks…
Campus Assault Surveys Say Too Little
Oct 2, 2015 • 23 min
If women going to a certain foreign country had a 30 percent chance of sexual assault, would we send our daughters there? How is college any different? On The Gist, Slate’s Emily Yoffe explains why the grim portrait painted by the new Association of…
Field of Screens
Oct 1, 2015 • 26 min
On The Gist, Mike reviews how Lena Dunham and Hillary Clinton conspired to make him look at something he can never un-see. Then, Mike O’Malley joins us to discuss the new season of Survivor’s Remorse on Starz. For the Spiel, the most viewed Arizona…
Cred And Ginger
Sep 30, 2015 • 29 min
On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker shares what’s she’s learned from research into ginger’s super food status. For the Spiel, hear a performance from last night’s live Gist from Moth champ and professional storyteller Matthew Dicks. He’s the…
Pencil Shavings for Mr. Pesca
Sep 29, 2015 • 8 min
On The Gist, a shaved-down tale from an elder Pesca. Mike and The Gist staff are busy preparing for our first live show, so on Tuesday we present a favorite from the Pesca family dinner table. Joe Pesca tells it best. We’ll be back on Wednesday with a…
Everybody Loves Eating
Sep 28, 2015 • 29 min
On The Gist, TV writer Phil Rosenthal explains how he came to host his own PBS show about food and travel. His new show, I’ll Have What Phil’s Having, premieres Monday on PBS. For the Spiel, Mike poops on the pope’s media coverage. Can you gush your way…
Alison Brie Sex Scene Therapy
Sep 25, 2015 • 30 min
On The Gist, remembering Phil Patton. Then, writer and filmmaker Leslye Headland explains how she brought lessons from theater and heartbreak into the making of the indie comedy Sleeping With Other People. For the Spiel, highlights from the Values Voter…
Are There Any Real Catholics in Congress?
Sep 24, 2015 • 28 min
On The Gist, we take the vitals on the current state of health care in America. The number of uninsured has dropped dramatically, but are the struggling state exchanges and co-ops a cause for concern? Phil Galewitz from Kaiser Health News joins us for an…
Excluding Black Jurors
Sep 23, 2015 • 36 min
On The Gist, how filmmaker Jennifer Nelson helped bring the birthday song back into the public domain. Plus, we welcome back Dax-Devlon Ross to discuss his research into black juror exclusion, one of the facets of the upcoming Supreme Court case Foster v.…
It’s a Copper Sock Miracle
Sep 22, 2015 • 30 min
On The Gist, Emily Bazelon from the New York Times Magazine joins us to answer one question, one question only. This is it: “If Congress defunds Planned Parenthood, is it possible that, even though no government funding funds abortions, they will still…
Graduate, Work, Marry, Procreate
Sep 21, 2015 • 28 min
How essential is marriage for aspiring middle-class families? On The Gist, economist and Brookings fellow Isabel Sawhill explains her often-cited “success sequence” and declining marriage rates in the developed world. She’s the author of Generation…
That Groovy Summer of Love
Sep 18, 2015 • 27 min
On The Gist, our regular guest Chris Molanphy returns to explore the “psychedelic-lite” and “semi-baroque” Billboard chart hits from 1967. He’ll explain how the music industry took a druggy cultural movement like the “summer of love” and made it palatable…
Is Anger Curable?
Sep 17, 2015 • 23 min
On The Gist, Mike’s personal highlight reel from Wednesday night’s CNN GOP debates. Then, how does the medical community distinguish anger issues from psychopath issues or substance abuse issues? Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker examines the efficacy of…
The Canadian Accent Is Changing, Eh?
Sep 16, 2015 • 31 min
On The Gist, what’s all this a’boot the shifting Canadian accent? We speak with sociolinguist Paul De Decker. Plus, Douglas Birch from the Center for Public Integrity explains why South Africa still has highly enriched uranium. For the Spiel, should…
What Michael Did on His Summer Vacation
Sep 15, 2015 • 34 min
On The Gist, Mike chats with the interesting attendees at his friend’s destination wedding in Montenegro. Our audio version of a wedding guestbook includes: John W. Frehse from Core Practice explains what millennials really want; Phil Hochberg remembers…
Serial for the Truly Obsessed
Sep 14, 2015 • 31 min
On The Gist, a new podcast unravels the case against Adnan Syed one complex detail at a time. We’ll speak with the podcast’s three hosts, Rabia Chaudry from Split the Moon; Colin Miller of EvidenceProf; and Susan Simpson, who writes for View From LL2. For…
Dog Show
Sep 11, 2015 • 25 min
Notice anything different about your street today? Just ask a dog. On The Gist, Alexandra Horowitz from the dog cognition lab at Barnard talks us through a dog walk. She’s the author of Inside of a Dog and On Looking: Eleven Walks With Expert Eyes. For…
Yes! Oh God!! Yesss!!!
Sep 9, 2015 • 27 min
Why is the female orgasm notoriously difficult to study? On The Gist, guest host Andrea Silenzi avoids tarnishing her browser history by asking Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker about new research into the effects of la petite mort on the brain. For the…
Bobcat Goldthwait Stands Up for a Fellow Comic
Sep 1, 2015 • 28 min
On The Gist, comedian Bobcat Goldthwait reflects on how his career in comedy led him to chose the path of a filmmaker. His new documentary tells the story of fellow comic Barry Crimmins and explores the role of politics, anger, and activism in his comedy.…
Don’t Say Cheese
Aug 31, 2015 • 38 min
On The Gist, Colin Atrophy Hagendorf tells us why he decided to eat a slice from every pizzeria in Manhattan. Unlike Super Size Me or Julie & Julia, sometimes ambitious food-related projects aren’t life-changing experiences. But they can produce singular…
The Year Disco Became a Dirty Word
Aug 28, 2015 • 32 min
On The Gist, our regular guest Chris Molanphy returns to explore Billboard chart hits from 1980, including rock songs, adult contemporary tracks, and lots of elements stolen from disco. It was a great year for dentists’ offices. For the Spiel, we name our…
The “March to Zero” Veers Off Course in Kansas
Aug 27, 2015 • 26 min
On The Gist, a look at how Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and fellow Republicans are scrambling to preserve the state’s troubled zero-tax policy. Our guest Chris Suellentrop made politics personal in his New York Times Magazine feature “The Kansas Experiment.”…
Raising a Trans Kid
Aug 26, 2015 • 32 min
On The Gist, Mike responds to the tragic news of the WDBJ7 shooting. Then, we debut a new segment we call Analogy Emergency. Can you help? Join the conversation on our Facebook page. Plus, Dr. Robert Garofalo joins us to discuss the difficult decisions…
Garlic: The Secret to a Long Life With No Friends
Aug 25, 2015 • 26 min
On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker presses her knife down on a clove of wisdom and minces apart the research. Should we believe the hype about garlic, the miracle food? For the Spiel, a story of slobs vs. snobs as told through the Karate Kid.…
My Disease Became Your Fad Diet
Aug 24, 2015 • 32 min
On The Gist, Slate’s Laura Bennett explains what it’s like to be gluten-free since the ’90s. She recently wrote “I Was Gluten-Free Before It Was Cool.” Plus, what should we do with all our RadioShack gift cards? We speak with our “gift card girlfriend,”…
Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer Ride the Glass Bus
Aug 21, 2015 • 33 min
On The Gist, we debut a new financial news segment called MarketScope with correspondent Sebastian Sinclair. Plus, comedians Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer explain why they paid $400 million to bring a bus from New York City’s Times Square to Los Angeles for…
A Horse Is a Horse, Unless It’s a Nazi
Aug 20, 2015 • 31 min
On The Gist, the latest chapter in Germany’s ongoing struggle with the legacy of the Third Reich. The Wall Street Journal’s Mary M. Lane tells us about the outcry over a Nazi-era bronze horse that stands outside a boarding school in Bavaria. Then, on the…
When Comedy Podcasts Were Still in Beta
Aug 19, 2015 • 29 min
On The Gist, comedian Jimmy Pardo recalls lessons learned from the dawn of podcasting and alt-comedy, and takes pride in the complexity of his new game show inspired by the room-escape zeitgeist. He hosts the podcast Never Not Funny and the new Science…
The Sons and Daughters Lost to ISIS
Aug 18, 2015 • 29 min
We’re all familiar with news stories about radicalized Western kids who join the terrorist group ISIS. Today on The Gist, Julia Ioffe tells the story of the mothers those kids leave behind, and how many turn to activism in their grief. She wrote the…
Simon Rich, the Premise Keeper
Aug 17, 2015 • 36 min
An article in the Guardian once asked, “Is Simon Rich the funniest man in America.” We ask him, “Are you?” His new book Spoiled Brats explores why the so-called millennial culture is easy to mock, especially by baby boomers. Plus, we ask linguist Michael…
Warning: This Episode Contains Singing
Aug 14, 2015 • 24 min
Mike Pesca has no plans to stop singing on the podcast. For this special episode of The Gist, we bring in vocal coach Dr. Jan Douglas to help him find the key. Will he declare our host a lost cause? For the Spiel, the tart-tongued Buckeye John Kasich.…
How Economists Define Poverty
Aug 13, 2015 • 30 min
On The Gist, we examine a historically very loose measure—the poverty line. When we hear about the “supplemental poverty measure” in the news, is that a more valuable number? We ask our regular guest Adam Davidson to explain. He’s a contributor to the New…
Where to Find the Best Stories
Aug 12, 2015 • 28 min
Today on The Gist, professional storyteller Matthew Dicks returns to share a daily exercise for every aspiring storyteller. He’s the author of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend. For the Spiel: Mike Pesca may not vocal-fry, but he sure hears complaints about…
Mike Pesca’s Origin Story, as Told by His Parents
Aug 11, 2015 • 32 min
On The Gist, an unusual episode about an unusual coincidence among our staff. Both Mike Pesca and managing producer Joel Meyer were born in cars in the 1970s. First up, Neila Pesca and Joe Pesca tell the story of the ultimate driveway moment, when our…
Summer BS Edition
Aug 10, 2015 • 32 min
On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker addresses the burning questions of the summer season, including the truth about SPF and the weirdness of ice cream headaches. Plus, filmmaker Jennifer Nelson explains how new research may finally restore…
That’s Just Sand In My Eye!
Aug 7, 2015 • 29 min
In 1997, the deaths of Notorious B.I.G. and Princess Diana left America looking for musical catharsis. The Gist, our regular guest Chris Molanphy explores how tribute songs came to dominate the Billboard chart from 1997, with a sprinkling of a few…
How to Survive Mark Sanford
Aug 6, 2015 • 33 min
Today on The Gist, Barton Swaim gives us a glimpse inside the world of a certain former governor of South Carolina. Swain’s new book is called The Speechwriter. Plus, Dr. Jeffrey Lewis responds to lingering criticisms of the Iran nuclear deal. Lewis hosts…
Debt Ratings Are Like The Emmys
Aug 5, 2015 • 30 min
Four years ago today, the U.S. debt rating by Standard & Poor’s was downgraded from AAA to AA+. An assortment of politicians and rich people warned us this would be a day we’d never forget. We forgot. On The Gist, Adam Davidson explains the surprising…
BPA! BPS! Are They BS?
Aug 4, 2015 • 21 min
When you drink from a BPA-free water bottle, is it still safe from “leeching” plastics? On The Gist, Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker to examine the research into BPA plastics for a game we call “Is That Bulls—t?” For the Spiel, the oh so…
Trump’s Star Begins to Dim
Aug 3, 2015 • 27 min
Donald Trump is a clear leader in national polls, but for how long? If it was anyone else, would we be more impressed? On The Gist, Harry Enten from FiveThirtyEight explains how Trump’s inevitable fall from the top of GOP candidate polls could happen, and…
The Man Behind “Cabin Boy” Sails On
Jul 31, 2015 • 30 min
On the day Adam Resnick learned what an internship was, he called up Late Night With David Letterman. From there, his career would be marked by cult classics he’d rather not revisit. We’ll revisit. Hear the story of Resnick’s first big break, and…
Ted Cruz Hits the Road
Jul 30, 2015 • 28 min
On The Gist, Politico’s Manu Raju joins us from the Senate Periodical Press Gallery to discuss the recent Ted Cruz blowup in the Senate, and its lasting impact on his relationship with the GOP. How might his disregard for traditional procedure and the GOP…
Bed Bugs Are Unvanquishable and It’s Our Fault
Jul 29, 2015 • 29 min
On The Gist, science writer Brooke Borel explains how a bed bug infestation in 2004 landed her in the ER and later became a consuming area of research. She’s the author of Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over the World. For…
Yes MSG
Jul 28, 2015 • 24 min
On The Gist, a clear explanation of the many dangers of monosodium glutamate, or MSG. Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker to examine the research for a game we call “Is That Bulls—t?” She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, how…
Work Harder, America
Jul 27, 2015 • 25 min
Are Americans not working hard enough? Jeb Bush told the New Hampshire Union Leader, “Workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and through their productivity gain more income for…
Overcoming the Intraoffice Cold Shoulder
Jul 24, 2015 • 28 min
When a colleague in your office suddenly freezes you out without explanation, what’s the best course of action? On The Gist, Emily Yoffe of Slate’s Dear Prudence column advises a woman on how to deal with tension created by a passive-aggressive colleague.…
Step Inside the Juiceboxxx
Jul 23, 2015 • 27 min
On the heels of our conversation with Slate’s Leon Neyfakh about his book The Next Next Level, The Gist talks with the book’s subject, the rap artist Juiceboxxx. Today Juice tells his own story, and explains what it’s like to have your life story told in…
First Taste of the Juiceboxxx
Jul 22, 2015 • 29 min
On The Gist, Mike shares an important lesson about Connecticut he discovered as a guest on the Colin McEnroe Show today. Then, Slate’s Leon Neyfakh tells the story of how his early friendship with the rapper Juiceboxxx led to a new book about the life of…
Comedy Isn’t Pretty
Jul 21, 2015 • 31 min
Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner recently said that beautiful women are “usually not funny.” Is there anything to that? On The Gist, TV producer Mike Schur reacts to that statement and discusses the role of funny but attractive unicorns on hit comedies…
American Exceptionalism Rah-Rah
Jul 20, 2015 • 30 min
On The Gist, Ian Bremmer from the Eurasia Group has explored three options for what kind of country America should be: independent, moneyball, or indispensable. He defines these terms on the show, and in his book Superpower: Three Choices for America’s…
A Different Stroke
Jul 17, 2015 • 35 min
On The Gist, Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. shares his journey from a 19-year-old rock star with massive hair, to a sober 35-year-old with a solo side project (and less hair). His new album, Momentary Masters, is available for preorder, and out…
To Strangle a Flamingo
Jul 16, 2015 • 29 min
On The Gist, one question with Frank Deford. Then, are the core issues of traditional social conservatism on the wane? Slate’s Reihan Salam explains why some Republicans may change their focus from gay marriage to the economy, and some won’t. Plus, is…
Let’s Grade a Deal (Iran Edition)
Jul 15, 2015 • 27 min
Even the most qualified arms control experts had little confidence that the Iran deal would even happen, much less be good. On The Gist, Dr. Jeffrey Lewis explains why you have to hate deals in order to dislike the Iran deal. Lewis hosts Mike’s favorite…
Smile If You’re a Democrat
Jul 14, 2015 • 20 min
On The Gist, a wave of Trump talk crashed down on the weekend news shows. We have the highlights. Plus, Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker to examine the scientific merits of political personality studies in a series we call “Is That Bulls—t?”…
Keep News Weird
Jul 13, 2015 • 30 min
In the age of the vast and insatiable Internet, where zany headlines are compiled by the hive-mind, is it possible that the very notion of weird has been diluted? On The Gist, Slate contributing editor Dan Engber explores changing standards for the…
The Art of Porn
Jul 10, 2015 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, something none of us know anything about—porn. Pesca is away, but Felix Salmon from Fusion, Piper Text (and, of course, Slate Money) will be your guide. First up, we explore the difference between art and pornography with Amy Adler from…
Easy Listening Wasn’t Easy in 1975
Jul 9, 2015 • 28 min
On The Gist, Mike is joined by Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer for a game we call “One Question, One Question Only.” What are the best, worst, and most likely scenarios for the Greek economy? Plus, our regular guest Chris Molanphy explores the…
Fear Your Shower, Not ISIS
Jul 8, 2015 • 29 min
On The Gist, NPR’s Frannie Kelley explains why Tuesday has lost its significance for the music industry. That will all change this Friday. She hosts the Microphone Check podcast on NPR and edits Yours Truly. Plus, Stephen Walt from the Harvard Kennedy…
Nerds in the Hood
Jul 7, 2015 • 27 min
On The Gist, Mimi Valdés explains her work as chief creative officer for Pharrell Williams’ collective I Am Other. She’s a co-producer of the film Dope, the new drama-comedy from writer and director Rick Famuyiwa. For the Spiel, it didn’t take long for…
Telling Stories: Do It Better
Jul 6, 2015 • 31 min
On The Gist, Matthew Dicks offers more tricks for helping Gist listeners tell better stories. You’re welcome. This class focuses on how to bring the emotions behind our experiences into how we tell our stories. Dicks is the author of Memoirs of an…
Awkward Silence Is Our Polio
Jul 2, 2015 • 22 min
Kristin Gore, Tallulah Bankhead, and Alice Roosevelt Longworth are all known for their comedic writings and the daughters of elected officials. Add to that list the Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri. She’s the daughter of retired Wisconsin…
Poking Holes in Acupuncture
Jul 1, 2015 • 28 min
Today on The Gist, Jeff Ross’ harsh comedic roasts have finally landed him in prison. We’ll speak to the roastmaster general about his new special Jeff Ross Roasts Criminals: Live At Brazos County Jail. Then, Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker to…
Will Gay Marriage Upend Gay Culture?
Jun 30, 2015 • 30 min
The Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage will welcome a new era in equality, acceptance, and fretting. A recent headline even predicted a “twinge of loss” for modern gay culture. On The Gist, Slate’s J. Bryan Lowder explains what the ruling means for gay…
The Following Story Is Based on Real Presidents
Jun 29, 2015 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, the return of “Names in the News!” Plus, Brad Melzer from the Lost History TV series explains how real presidential lore and relationships influenced his new novel The President’s Shadow. You can hear Brad’s previous appearance on The…
1990: The Year Before Music Changed Forever
Jun 26, 2015 • 36 min
Today on The Gist, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick explains the vulnerability of Friday’s SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage, and a favorite Scalia moment from the arguments. She’s the host of the Slate podcast Amicus. Plus, our regular guest Chris Molanphy suffers…
Is the “Five-Second Rule” Baloney?
Jun 25, 2015 • 27 min
Today on The Gist, you will either be happily relieved or totally devastated by what we’ve learned about the “five-second rule.” Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker if she’d eat what we’ve dropped in a series we call “Is That Bulls—t?” For the…
Why Humankind Needs Kardashians
Jun 24, 2015 • 31 min
Is there a relationship between celebrity worship and a lack of social mobility? Today on The Gist, we explore the allure of celebrity with professor Timothy Caulfield. He’s the author of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: How the Famous Sell Us…
What’s Fair for Fatherhood
Jun 23, 2015 • 25 min
Mike took three months off after each of his sons were born. He considers that time to be the most important bonding he’s ever done, but when it comes to family leave, some new dads aren’t so lucky. CNN’s Josh Levs makes a case for paid paternity leave as…
Four Essential Lies
Jun 22, 2015 • 32 min
On this weekend’s Meet the Press, Mike Huckabee asked, “Is South Carolina a racist state because of the flag that flies on their Capitol grounds?” On The Gist, Mike Pesca answers, “No, the flag flies over the Capitol because it’s a racist state.” Also on…
The Creator of Doc McStuffins
Jun 19, 2015 • 29 min
What kind of person is drawn to write for children’s television? And why does that person always seem to sneak in adult jokes and pop culture references? The creator and executive producer of Doc McStuffins, Chris Nee, shares the wide variety of…
Why Dylann Roof Picked Those Two Flags
Jun 18, 2015 • 30 min
Today on The Gist, a closer look at the apartheid-era South African and Rhodesian flags worn by the Charleston suspect, Dylann Roof, with vexillologist Ted Kaye. Plus, Richard Thaler offers common-sense ideas found in behavioral economics. He’s the author…
Go-Go Wearable Gadgets
Jun 17, 2015 • 34 min
Does Congress care about the political interests of regular American citizens as much as those of their affluent donors? Today on The Gist, we speak with Princeton politics professor Martin Gilens about a study in Perspectives on Politics that makes…
Deep Dive Into a Defining Institution
Jun 16, 2015 • 23 min
Was racism the progeny of the decision to enslave black people? Today on The Gist, the duo behind a new Slate Academy tell us what they’ve learned so far in a summerlong inquiry into a vast and complex aspect of American history. Mike speaks with Slate’s…
Google’s Loony Balloons
Jun 15, 2015 • 22 min
Today on The Gist, an improbable Google experiment is still afloat. Will this “loony” idea help expand Internet access around the world, or just be a boon to fuzzy sock manufacturers? Slate’s Will Oremus explains. For The Spiel, we track the use of “the”…
My Friend Became a Staunch Anti-Vaxxer. Now What?
Jun 12, 2015 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, we dig some of our favorite segments out of the vault. Mike Pesca is still away taping Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me, which you can hear this coming weekend online or on NPR stations across the country. First up, Mary Pilon shares the real…
Tour Guide for The Memory Palace
Jun 10, 2015 • 32 min
James Holmes is mounting an insanity defense for his trial in the 2012 movie-theater killings in Aurora, Colorado. But what connection does that tactic have with the actual medical understanding of mental illness? Today on The Gist, Fordham’s Barry…
Sleeping: You’re Doing It Wrong
Jun 9, 2015 • 25 min
Today on The Gist, how common is the phenomenon of the historic genius or eccentric CEO who needs less sleep than the rest of us? Could more of us benefit from less sleep? Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker to open our eyes about sleep…
Grasping for the Ferguson Effect
Jun 8, 2015 • 29 min
In the Wall Street Journal editorial “The New Nationwide Crime Wave,” Heather Mac Donald argues that spikes in inner city crime are the consequence of “The Ferguson Effect” on police. Today on The Gist, Mike Pesca disagrees. Mac Donald is the author of…
Sharon Van Etten, Banter Mentor
Jun 5, 2015 • 34 min
Today on The Gist, listener Dillon Kondor explains why he finds himself consistently embarrassed by his own stage banter. Can indie rock singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten save the day? They’ll join us in studio for a thoughtful conversation about what’s…
His Dunkological Clock Was Ticking
Jun 4, 2015 • 30 min
When Asher Price reached his mid-30s, he realized it was his last chance to learn how to dunk a basketball. Today on The Gist, we’ll visit the West 4th Street Courts to learn about his training regimen and the symbolism behind a slam dunk. He’s the author…
Mac McCaughan: Solochunk
Jun 3, 2015 • 36 min
Today on The Gist, a new album from Mac McCaughan captures the feeling of being fifteen in 1982. His new album Non-Believers is available from the label he co-founded, Merge Records. In our segment, you’ll hear the tracks “Box Batteries” from the new…
Nothing Up Their Sleeves?
Jun 2, 2015 • 36 min
Today on The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker returns for another installment of “Is That Bullshit?” Maria and Mike take a closer look at compression sleeves used by elite athletes, senior citizens, and injured folks alike. Plus, we talk about the…
What a Cherokee Chief Can Tell Us About Andrew Jackson
Jun 1, 2015 • 32 min
Today on The Gist, Steve Inskeep of NPR’s Morning Edition talks about the story of two complicated political leaders he chronicles in a new book, Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab. In the…
Ross Ulbricht and the Silk Road Story
May 29, 2015 • 32 min
Alex Winter went from co-starring with Keanu Reeves in the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure franchise to creating tech-centric documentaries. Today, Winter talks about directing Deep Web, about the online black market Silk Road and its founder Ross…
Talking About Talking About Race
May 28, 2015 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, a brief history of beer with William Glenn and Trish Parry. Their show A Brief History of Beer is at the Under St. Marks Theater in New York the last Sunday of every month. Plus, author Baratunde Thurston joins us from the new Panoply…
Living in the Post-Material World
May 27, 2015 • 26 min
The other day in the Wall Street Journal, Mike Pesca saw a headline that he adored: World Awash in Too Much of Almost Everything. It wasn’t a pun, just that stark truth, and it reminded Pesca of a book he read years ago called The Progress Paradox by…
Hoist Up the Liberland Flag
May 26, 2015 • 31 min
Today on The Gist, our resident vexillologist Ted Kaye explains why it’s so much fun to visit micronation.org and size up the baby flags. For more flag news, we strongly recommend subscribing to the Vexilloid Tabloid, the bimonthly newsletter of the…
Why Karaoke Carries a Torch for 1984
May 22, 2015 • 33 min
Today on The Gist, we listen back to Billboard hits from 1984. Our regular guest Chris Molanphy explains why the year inspired so many go-to karaoke jams. He writes Slate’s Why Is That Song No. 1 column. For the Spiel, it’s time to name our lobstar of the…
The Present Tense (and Other Storytelling Secrets)
May 21, 2015 • 25 min
Today on The Gist, professional storyteller Matthew Dicks is here to coach our winning listener Frank Kennedy. We’ll hear stories from Frank’s life raising an autistic son, and hear ideas for how to better integrate them into a larger story. For the…
Dylan’s 14-Month Miracle
May 20, 2015 • 27 min
In a span of just 14 months, Bob Dylan wrote, recorded, and released three of the greatest albums of all time. Today on The Gist, David Kinney explains how it happened. He’s the author of The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob. For the Spiel,…
Nine out of 10 Germs Agree
May 19, 2015 • 30 min
Today on The Gist, what does the looong campaign mean for 2016’s candidates? Annie Lowrey from New York magazine joins us for a reasonable amount of time. She’s part of a new Panoply podcast called Podcast for America, which debuts Tuesday on Soundcloud…
Why We Lost It Over Beanie Babies
May 18, 2015 • 37 min
Today on The Gist, we remind you of what’s in that crate in the back corner of your basement. Author Zac Bissonnette tells the tale of Ty Warner and the craze that launched e-commerce. He’s the author of The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the…
It’s Letterman’s World, We Just Critique It
May 15, 2015 • 25 min
Today on The Gist, Mike Pesca and Slate senior editor Laura Bennett reflect on the unique career of David Letterman, and the new breed of late-night hosts. His last show will be on May 20th, and Slate’s Last Laugh features include many looks at the end of…
Eating Chinese Food Out of the Carton
May 14, 2015 • 31 min
Today on The Gist, Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg are called out for making a notorious cliché on their hit FX spy drama, The Americans. They recently hosted a Slate podcast following Season 3 of their show, available in iTunes, or as an RSS feed. Plus, we…
Another Blow to Bipartisan Spirit
May 13, 2015 • 27 min
A new trade bill has split Senate Democrats and united Obama with Republicans. Today on The Gist, we speak with BuzzFeed’s congressional reporter Kate Nocera from the Senate press gallery. For the Spiel, a simple solution to the Amtrak crash. Join Slate…
On Twitter, TV Follows You
May 12, 2015 • 28 min
Today on The Gist, Jared Feldman from Canvs explains how social media is supplanting the old-fashioned focus group for media buyers and TV shows. For the Spiel, how American elections could benefit from candidates with less information. Today’s sponsor:…
Are Artificial Sweeteners Bullshit?
May 11, 2015 • 32 min
Today on The Gist, does the Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev feel remorse? Seth Stevenson has been reporting for Slate on the trial and shares the latest insight into how the defense is attempting to humanize. Plus, are there adverse health…
Restaurants These Days!
May 8, 2015 • 24 min
On Day Three of Mike’s vacation, guest host David Plotz of Atlas Obscura and Slate’s Political Gabfest welcomes Wesley Morris to air a few grievances about the state of American fine dining, including his dislike of pre-clearing, gratuitous cluster…
He’s Not God, but He Plays Him on Twitter
May 7, 2015 • 28 min
On Day Two of Mike’s vacation, Sean Rameswaram guest hosts the show. He’s the host of Sideshow, a podcast from Studio 360 about pop culture and the Internet. Today Sean sets out to prove his theory that creative ideas, no matter how bonkers or…
The Podcast Fight Takes Its Troll
May 6, 2015 • 30 min
With Mike spending his first vacation day on TV talking about the Deflategate report, his friend Zoe Chace of This American Life steps up to guest-host the show. Today on The Gist, she looks at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s recent ruling on an…
100 Jokes a Day
May 5, 2015 • 26 min
Today on The Gist, we celebrate our first year as a show! Will you tell a friend about us? Plus, Jon Macks joins us to explain which celebrities have provided the most fodder during the 22 years of jokes he’s written for late night television. He’s the…
The Bottom Line on Carly Fiorina
May 4, 2015 • 28 min
Today on The Gist, James Ledbetter from Inc. and Panoply’s new Inc. Uncensored podcast sizes up presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. What was her impact on Hewlett-Packard, and does business experience translate to success in politics? For the Spiel,…
Artie Lange Is a Stand Up Guy
May 1, 2015 • 28 min
Today on The Gist, Artie Lange shares how he’s developed his comedy around personal stories and failures. He’s in the new film Laugh Killer Laugh, directed by Kamal Ahmed. For the Spiel, it’s time to name our Lobstar of the Antentwig. Today’s sponsor:…
Being Barney Frank
Apr 30, 2015 • 24 min
Today on The Gist, former Rep. Barney Frank explains how he was able to be so frank and still survive in Congress. His new autobiography is Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage. For the Spiel, Mike points out the only time…
The Bald Truth About Presidential Candidates
Apr 29, 2015 • 31 min
Today on The Gist, Mark Leibovich from the New York Times discusses why Americans seem to dislike bald presidential candidates, yet love bald eagles. He’s the author of Citizens of the Green Room, and a new host of the Panoply program Podcast for America.…
Let’s Talk About Duck Vaginas
Apr 28, 2015 • 31 min
Today on The Gist, author Zoe Cormier explores the science behind the trinity of human pleasures. She’s the author of Sex, Drugs, and Rock ’n’ Roll: The Science of Hedonism and the Hedonism of Science. For the Spiel, Mike discusses how we discuss the…
Spooning With Dan Pashman
Apr 27, 2015 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, John Curtice from the What Scotland Thinks blog explains why Scottish nationalist politics are generally trending left, while much of Europe’s nationalist movements shift right. Plus, Dan Pashman from The Sporkful vets Mike’s soupspoon…
Your Grandpa Is a Little Sketchy
Apr 24, 2015 • 35 min
Today on The Gist, professional storyteller Matt Dicks speaks with the winner of our storytelling challenge. Did we make the right pick? Hear our entries from yesterday’s Gist here. Plus, Emily Yoffe of Slate’s Dear Prudence column advises a dad whose…
What Makes a Story Unforgettable
Apr 23, 2015 • 27 min
Today on The Gist, professional storyteller Matt Dicks is here to coach one lucky Gist listener. We’ll review some favorite entries and discuss what kind of action and resolution help a story stand out. Tune in tomorrow to hear whom we’ve selected as our…
Are Probiotics Bulls—t?
Apr 22, 2015 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, it’s an episode that comes from the gut. First, reporters Erin Quinn and Chris Young of the Center for Public Integrity explain how companies have exploited a decades-old loophole in FDA approval of new food additives. Their article is…
We Dish on the Knish
Apr 21, 2015 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, Marc Caputo from Politico’s Florida Playbook discusses Jeb Bush, who might be challenging the belief that candidates have to swing to the right to appeal to primary votecrs. Then, author Laura Silver traces her family history through…
Before Bombs Fell Out of Favor
Apr 20, 2015 • 28 min
Today on The Gist, Bryan Burrough explains what America’s radical underground revolutionaries from the 1970s are up to now. He’s the author of Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence. For the…
From ‘The Daily Show’ to the Past
Apr 17, 2015 • 26 min
On Ep. 238, Brian Unger joins us in studio. He’s the host of a new Travel Channel show Time Traveling with Brian Unger. For the Spiel, the lost tape from Vladimir Putin’s call-in radio show. Today’s sponsor: the Great Courses, offering engaging audio and…
50-Year-Old Hits
Apr 16, 2015 • 25 min
Today on The Gist, we listen back to Billboard hits from 1965. Our regular guest Chris Molanphy explains why many of these songs remain utterly immortal. He writes Slate’s Why Is That Song No. 1 column. For the Spiel, more about the sexagenarian gyronaut…
Putin Programs, You Decide
Apr 15, 2015 • 28 min
Today on The Gist, Phil Galewitz from Kaiser Health News explains an aspect of the new health care law that new Medicaid recipients should know about. Unlike other Obamacare scares, this one is nonfiction. Plus, reporter Lukas Alpert explains that the…
Ar U for Spelling Reform?
Apr 14, 2015 • 26 min
Today on The Gist, an update from Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick on the abortion bans in Kansas and Oklahoma. She’s the host of the Slate podcast Amicus. Plus, Masha Bell joins us to discuss the effects of irregular English spellings on educational achievement…
Thomas Jefferson as Touchstone
Apr 13, 2015 • 31 min
Do women make better presidents? Today on The Gist, we talk with Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Plus, we wish Thomas Jefferson a happy 272nd birthday by discussing how his name is evoked today.…
Vincent D’Onofrio on Introversion and Acting
Apr 10, 2015 • 32 min
Today on The Gist, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick puts news of the abortion bans in Kansas and Oklahoma into a Supreme Court context. She’s the host of the Slate podcast Amicus. Plus, the accomplished actor Vincent D’Onofrio joins us to discuss his latest role…
Risk Lives Up to Its Name
Apr 9, 2015 • 26 min
Today on The Gist, Mike tests the assertion that tolerance is a two-way street. By consulting a map. Plus, Kevin Allison shares his journey from the legendary MTV sketch show The State to having his balls tied to his sneakers. He hosts the aptly named…
Expired Exschmired
Apr 8, 2015 • 32 min
For a tourist’s paradise, the Maldive Islands is wading into some deep political waters. Today on The Gist Jonah Blank from the RAND Corporation explains the outlook for democracy in the Maldives. Then, Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker about…
The Moment Has Arrived
Apr 7, 2015 • 26 min
Today on The Gist, Brian Koppelman, the accomplished screen and television writer, director, and—most importantly—podcaster. His show, The Moment, is the newest addition to the Slate and Panoply firmament, and you can subscribe to on iTunes. Plus, Mike…
TED Talks Shame the Devil
Apr 6, 2015 • 33 min
Today on The Gist, we explore a new form of dark tourism: ecotourism. Tom Zoellner’s Kindle single Come See the Mountain tells the story of his visit to the Potosi silver mine in Bolivia. Plus, Megan Hustad explains why TED talks remind her of the tent…
Targeted by Putin
Apr 3, 2015 • 27 min
While Mike Pesca’s off hosting Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, we bring you two of our favorite segments from the past few months. Bill Browder tells the story of how he went from investing in Russian markets to fleeing the wrath of Vladimir Putin. He’s the…
Shakespeare Without the Script
Apr 1, 2015 • 28 min
On a past Gist, we gave you drunk Shakespeare. Now, it’s time to see how the bard fares when subjected to sober improvisation. (We think it was sober.) Joey Bland, Blaine Swen, and Steve Waltien join us from Chicago’s Improvised Shakespeare Company. For…
What’s a Walking Bass Line?
Mar 31, 2015 • 27 min
Today on The Gist, Mike joins us from a Chicago Transit Authority station as he prepares to host Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me this weekend. First up, Chris Molanphy explains how the secret sauce in some of your favorite pop songs might just be the walking bass…
Gunfight at the Walmart Corral
Mar 30, 2015 • 31 min
Today on The Gist, James Ledbetter from Inc. explains why the influential NYC parish Trinity Wall Street is taking Walmart to court. You can subscribe to the new Inc. Uncensored podcast here. Plus, is there a secret cancer-spewing, nutrient-robbing killer…
The Pit Boss of House of Cards
Mar 27, 2015 • 30 min
Today on The Gist, we imagine the hearts and minds of the most powerful through the iconic character Frank Underwood. Beau Willimon, the showrunner and creator of Netflix’s House of Cards joins us in studio. For the Spiel, bring back Pat from In the…
Immigrants Don’t Steal Jobs
Mar 26, 2015 • 26 min
Today on The Gist, Adam Davidson of NPR’s Planet Money explains what economists really think of immigration laws. He recently wrote the feature Debunking the Myth of the Job-Stealing Immigrant for the New York Times Magazine. For the Spiel, what to do…
Practical Yolks
Mar 25, 2015 • 29 min
How should we understand the evolving nature of U.S. dietary guidelines? Today on The Gist, Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, explains how the committees modify nutritional guidelines. Plus,…
The Wizard of Ooze
Mar 24, 2015 • 27 min
Remember when Mike Pesca gargled Pond’s cold cream on The Gist? That gargle honored the master orator and Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen, who collaborated with a Democrat, Lyndon B. Johnson, to pass major civil rights legislation. Today, Todd Purdum…
The #NotAMovie Challenge Begins
Mar 23, 2015 • 33 min
Now that we’ve become indifferent to illegal and even legal forms of corruption, what will it take to improve the accountability of our public officials? Our guest Zephyr Teachout examines corruption’s past and present. She’s the author of Corruption in…
Scharpling and Wurster Do It Best
Mar 20, 2015 • 24 min
Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster rarely analyze why their brand of two-man radio comedy is so potent. Today on the Gist, they pause to consider 13 years of hilariously weird phone calls from Newbridge, NJ. Their box set The Best of The Best Show is…
Puppy Love
Mar 19, 2015 • 27 min
Today on The Gist, we ask Jonathan Rauch of the Brookings Institution about the landmark LGBT-Mormon compromise in Utah. Will this become a model for other states? Plus, does your girlfriend’s hairless cat love you? Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker…
Political Kryptonite
Mar 18, 2015 • 31 min
Today on The Gist, a look at ski racing’s uphill battle for relevancy and safety. We talk with Nathaniel Vinton, author of The Fall Line: How American Ski Racers Conquered a Sport on the Edge. Plus, political writer Harry Enten from FiveThirtyEight goes…
My Big Fat German Debt
Mar 17, 2015 • 31 min
Why would someone accused of multiple crimes engage in chronic high-risk behaviors? Today on The Gist, Fordham’s Barry Rosenfeld explains why Robert Durst would participate in HBO’s The Jinx. Plus, economist Adam Davidson explains the Greek financial…
A Matter of Chorus
Mar 16, 2015 • 29 min
Not every great pop song has a standard format or even a chorus. Today on The Gist, Chris Molanphy joins us to look at the changing placement of the chorus in popular music. He writes Slate’s Why Is That Song No. 1 column. For the Spiel, Mike eats at the…
Tips for Your Office Fridge
Mar 13, 2015 • 35 min
Last week the Supreme Court heard arguments in King v. Burwell, the case that could undo Obamacare. Now, as far as we can tell, lawyers who disagree with the Obamacare law always seem to find the policy unconstitutional. Today on The Gist, Harvard law…
High Maintenance Delivers
Mar 12, 2015 • 25 min
Today on The Gist, we celebrate the Web series High Maintenance for avoiding stoner comedy clichés, and creating stunning portraits of New Yorkers. Creators Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair explain how the series has worked as a calling card for their…
Bitter Delights
Mar 11, 2015 • 28 min
Will a recent Gallup poll be a wake-up call for states like Texas and South Carolina? Today on The Gist, Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport explains what political parties could learn from the underlying political leanings in each state. Plus, we visit…
Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect Patents
Mar 10, 2015 • 34 min
Today on The Gist, Mary Pilon shares the real history of the board game your family never finishes. She’s the author of The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game. Plus, Mike and his son Emmett explain what…
Songs That Almost Killed the American Songbook
Mar 9, 2015 • 27 min
Obama promised hope and change, but what about managing expectations for hope and change? Today on The Gist, former Obama strategist David Axelrod shares insights from his new book Believer: My Forty Years in Politics. Plus, we examine a strange…
Paid to Play
Mar 6, 2015 • 37 min
Dream job alert. Today on the Gist, Mike talks with KYRSP33DY, jahovaswitniss, and NobodyEpic, a trio of video gamers and video editors who turned their love of comedy and Grand Theft Auto into lucrative YouTube channels. Plus, Seth Stevenson has been…
Republicans: Report to Spring Training
Mar 5, 2015 • 28 min
For ages, athletes have been judged by their importance to their team’s bottom line, their popularity with fans, and their win-loss record against better opponents. Today on The Gist, we apply those same rubrics to the dozen or so politicians likely to…
He Stared Down the Soviets
Mar 4, 2015 • 29 min
Before he was a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Leslie H. Gelb negotiated with the Soviet Union as a senior official in the Pentagon and State Department. Today on The Gist, Mike asks Gelb about…
One Condiment to Rule Them All
Mar 3, 2015 • 44 min
The New York outpost of France’s famed Maille mustard empire features myriad varieties of the spicy condiment, including some on tap. Today on The Gist, mustard sommelier Pierette Huttner gives Mike a tour. Plus, the financial side of the mustard-yellow…
Smell The Roses
Mar 2, 2015 • 34 min
Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick discusses the issue of legal standing in the upcoming Obamacare case before the Supreme Court. Plus, is aromatherapy bulls—t? And Mike spiels about Bibi’s boo-boo, and we hear another new They Might Be Giants track, “I Can Help the…
World Saved by Jet-Skiing Comedian
Feb 27, 2015 • 24 min
Jet skis look like a horse running and defecating at the same time on the water. Today on The Gist, Kurt Braunohler battles Asian carp and electrified waters for his new Comedy Central Web series Roustabout. For the Spiel, we explain a ubiquitous…
The Quiet Dignity of Bears
Feb 26, 2015 • 27 min
On the day when the Internet turns to llamas, we keep our focus on the important thing, the dangerous thing: bears. Today on The Gist, the latest bear news with wildlife biologist Rae Wynn-Grant from Columbia University. Plus, Slate’s Will Oremus answers…
Get Happier
Feb 25, 2015 • 25 min
Today on The Gist, Gretchen Rubin explains what self-mastery has to do with happiness. She’s the author of The Happiness Project. Her new podcast, Happier, is part of Slate’s just-launched Panoply network. For the Spiel, Mike and Veterans Affairs…
Is “Illegal Immigrant” Offensive, Accurate or Both?
Feb 24, 2015 • 29 min
With 100 inches of snow landing on Boston this winter, the issue of cars and parking has inspired calumny and tire-slashing in the Boston area. On The Gist, Jennifer Peter, local editor for The Boston Globe, quietly admits that she’s a parking-space…
ISIS’s Self-Destruct Button
Feb 23, 2015 • 28 min
Today on The Gist, journalist Graeme Wood offers insight into the motivations of ISIS. He recently wrote “What ISIS Wants” for the Atlantic. For the Spiel, we name the lobstar of the antentwig for The Gist Episode 200. We end this show with the latest…
The Cuddle Cure
Feb 20, 2015 • 28 min
The Nasdaq Composite Index is closing in on an all-time high. Is the bubble back? Today on The Gist, CNBC markets reporter Dominic Chu explains how the tech sector has changed the index fundamentally. Plus, can snuggling make us healthier? Mike asks Maria…
Targeted by Putin
Feb 19, 2015 • 30 min
Today on The Gist, Bill Browder tells the story of how he went from investing in Russian markets to fleeing the wrath of Vladimir Putin. He’s the author of Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice. For the Spiel,…
Selma’s Fictional LBJ
Feb 18, 2015 • 22 min
Today on The Gist, ponds face cream, plus water, gurgle and swallow. (Vine here.) Plus, associate professor of political science at Northwestern University Alvin B. Tillery, Jr., explains how the movie Selma got LBJ wrong (among other things). For the…
What Cubans and Mormons Have in Common
Feb 17, 2015 • 28 min
Lance Armstrong has been ordered to pay $10 million dollars for lying under oath about doping. If he complies, he’ll send his checks to an outfit called SCA Promotions. Today on The Gist, the Dallas-based company’s general counsel, Jeff Dorough, explains…
The Read Meets the Spiel
Feb 13, 2015 • 30 min
Today on The Gist, Mike Pesca is joined by Kid Fury and Crissle, the hosts of The Read podcast. They are best known for their “reads,” a term with roots in the 1980s black gay community. A read is an honest, Spiel-like venting with a purpose, and makes…
Beyond Death Cults and Nihilism
Feb 12, 2015 • 25 min
Today on The Gist, Max Abrahms from Northeastern University examines the motives of terror groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. Plus, we speak to Mario Schlosser, CEO of health firm Oscar, about how the Affordable Care Act has birthed a new kind of health…
Extra: Xavier Dphrepaulezz, aka Fantastic Negrito
Feb 12, 2015 • 16 min
A past Gist guest was recently named the winner of the NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest. We spoke with Xavier Dphrepaulezz, aka Fantastic Negrito last September, and heard his journey from 1980s Oakland gutters to black roots music. In our interview, hear…
He Wanted to Be a Millionaire
Feb 11, 2015 • 27 min
How do you own your failures? Today on The Gist, Slate’s Justin Peters finds meaning in his televised humiliation he experienced on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. He recently wrote about the experience of losing $225,000 on in his story I Wanted to Be a…
Kick-Ass Commando Weathermen
Feb 10, 2015 • 32 min
Is the White House’s new National Security Strategy just a procedural brief, or does it tell us a larger story about U.S. foreign policy? Today on The Gist, Slate’s Fred Kaplan explains why security strategies are now exponentially more complicated than…
Hit the Road, Union Jack
Feb 9, 2015 • 32 min
Why is international justice so slow and sclerotic? Today on The Gist. David Kaye, law professor and director of the International Justice Clinic, explains why verdicts are hard to come by in the International Criminal Court. Then, in-house vexillologist…
Letter-Perfect Solution
Feb 6, 2015 • 38 min
Today on The Gist, a conversation about fetal homicide laws with Emily Bazelon from New York Times Magazine. Plus, Emily Yoffe of Slate’s Dear Prudence column joins us for a Post-Prudie impact statement with past letter-writer “Little Girl Lost.” For the…
The Most Interesting Man We Know
Feb 5, 2015 • 38 min
Today on The Gist, we might have audio from Brian Williams’ helicopter being shot down. Plus, storyteller Matt Dicks tells us about how he pares down memorable moments from his life into the five seconds that are worth telling. He’s helping us train a…
Melody As Smoking Gun
Feb 4, 2015 • 38 min
Are headlines about “three-parent babies” far-fetched, or spot-on? Today on The Gist, BuzzFeed science editor Virginia Hughes reminds us what we wish we remembered about mitochondrial DNA from ninth-grade biology. Plus, music writer Chris Molanphy…
North Korea’s Former Poet Laureate
Feb 3, 2015 • 27 min
Today on The Gist, a look at how propaganda thrives in North Korea from the perspective of Kim Jong-il’s former poet laureate, Jang Jin-sung. He’s the author of Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee—A Look Inside North Korea. For the Spiel, a new way to…
The Detox Detox
Feb 2, 2015 • 31 min
Today on The Gist, political analyst Jonah Blank from the RAND Corporation explains the geopolitical impact of election results in Sri Lanka. Plus, are any of those detox diets worth your while? Mike asks Maria Konnikova of The New Yorker to explain the…
The One-Man Beautification Plan
Jan 30, 2015 • 30 min
Today on The Gist: a visual avenger for the beauty of Woodside, Queens. His canvas? FDNY fire call boxes, many dating back the 1920s. With a fresh coat of glossy paint (that’s also urine-proof and barf-resistant), they look beautiful. We speak with John…
Caffeine: Shot by Shot
Jan 29, 2015 • 34 min
Fellow dads Mike Pesca and Adam Davidson of NPR are saving up to send their kids to college and are taking advantage of so-called 529 plans. Today on The Gist, why they think these plans shouldn’t exist as a public policy. Plus, journalist Murray…
The Passion of the Christie
Jan 27, 2015 • 30 min
Do Chris Christie’s outbursts make him impossible to elect as president or beloved for candor? Today on The Gist, WNYC reporter Matt Katz explains his complicated relationship with the New Jersey governor. Katz is the host of the new podcast The Christie…
Microsoft’s Imperfect 10
Jan 26, 2015 • 31 min
Does the GOP’s 2016 candidate need to figuratively lose the primaries to win the general? On The Gist, Slate’s Reihan Salam shares which Republican candidates stood out at the Iowa Freedom Summit, and which ones decided not to show. Plus, Slate’s Lily Hay…
The Five-Second Story
Jan 23, 2015 • 33 min
How exactly should the United States go about countering the jihadi narrative? Today on The Gist, we’re joined by Farah Pandith, the first ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the United States. She says the solution needs to come from…
Fraunces Tavern Bombing
Jan 22, 2015 • 30 min
Before the Revolutionary War, the tavern founded by Samuel Fraunces in lower Manhattan was the meeting place for the Sons of Liberty. During the Revolutionary War, the tavern took a cannonball through the roof, and after the war’s end, it’s where George…
George Costanza vs. ISIS
Jan 21, 2015 • 30 min
Winning the public relations war against ISIS won’t be easy, but maybe we’re not using the right weapons. On The Gist, Ambassador Marc Ginsberg calls for SEAL Team Six–style social media barrage and an army of entertainer-diplomats, including Jason…
Learning Styles Over Substance
Jan 20, 2015 • 25 min
After elementary school, who will cater to your learning style? Today on The Gist, Mike asks Maria Konnikova of The New Yorker if learning styles are bulls—-. She’s the author of Mastermind, and her learning style is best described as “give me the…
Bull in a Vagina Shop
Jan 16, 2015 • 34 min
When it comes to international monetary shockers, you’d be remiss to dismiss the Swiss. Today on The Gist, Felix Salmon from Fusion explains the currency flux in Switzerland. You can hear more from Felix on the Slate Money podcast. Plus, University of…
Where Are America’s Terrorist Cells?
Jan 15, 2015 • 30 min
From a statistical standpoint, should we all be so concerned about Islamic terrorists? On The Gist, UNC professor Charles Kurzman makes a public health analogy for the terrorism threat. He’s the author of The Missing Martyrs: Why There Are So Few Muslim…
Should You Buy the Fitbit?
Jan 14, 2015 • 33 min
On The Gist, Slate’s Reihan Salam shares the Republicans he’d like to see consider a run for the presidency. Plus, efficiency expert Jill Duffy from PC magazine joins us armed with biometric tracking devices for your wrists. Did Mike write off the…
Is “Don’t Be Evil” More Than a Slogan?
Jan 13, 2015 • 31 min
Today on The Gist, Michael Levi from the Council on Foreign Relations helps us find the right analogy for describing the impact and scale of the Keystone XL pipeline. Plus, when Silicon Valley profits, who is losing? Internet entrepreneur Andrew Keen…
A Better Name for 11
Jan 12, 2015 • 35 min
How real is the possibility of a terrorist strike in America this week? Today on The Gist, RAND’s Colin Clarke explains were terror cells are grown. We also speak with Plus Magazine editor Rachel Thomas and Marianne Freiberger about their book Numericon:…
If LBJ Faced Today’s Congress
Jan 9, 2015 • 27 min
Did Lyndon B. Johnson really move Washington with his own chutzpah? On The Gist, Princeton professor Julian Zelizer offers a corrective for how we think of LBJ and all presidents. His new book is The Fierce Urgency of Now. Plus, starting next week Chicago…
Shh! ASMR Isn’t Real
Jan 8, 2015 • 28 min
Why do the American public and political leadership have a hard time taking the military seriously? On The Gist, we speak with James Fallows from the Atlantic about his recent feature “The Tragedy of the American Military.” Plus, what’s with all those…
A Poet Goes to MerCon
Jan 7, 2015 • 28 min
Can terrorism ever be defeated? As a tactic? As an ideology? On The Gist, Colin Clarke explains how we can best counter the terror trends. Plus, poet Matthea Harvey shares from her collection If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? For the Spiel, Mike’s…
The Right to Remain Uncivil
Jan 6, 2015 • 27 min
From campus codes to moderated online forums, fairness is the rule. On The Gist, Hua Hsu explains why top-down mandates for civility don’t work. Plus, Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson explains why a national conversation about race just isn’t…
Mario Cuomo’s Missed Career in Stand-Up
Jan 5, 2015 • 40 min
What did Mario Cuomo accomplish and set in motion during his three terms as New York governor? On The Gist, we examine a fascinating figure in American politics through the lens of a single Time Magazine luncheon from 1992. Slate’s Jacob Weisberg and…
Redial-a-Song
Dec 31, 2014 • 29 min
As a Long Island teenager in the 1980s, Mike Pesca called an answering machine every week to hear a new They Might Be Giants song. Every Monday in 2015, he’ll premiere a new TMBG song before it gets released on the band’s revived Dial-a-Song line. Members…
Give Me Liberty or Give Me … Liberté
Dec 30, 2014 • 29 min
A week ago, Obama told CNN he’s doing everything he can to shutter the Guantánamo Bay prison. On The Gist, we speak with Clifford Sloan about his work as the special envoy for Guantánamo closure at the U.S. State Department. His recent departure was…
Al Michaels Has the Call
Dec 29, 2014 • 32 min
Michael Daly of the Daily Beast on the challenges ahead for new NYPD academy graduates and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Plus, sportscasting legend Al Michaels on his infamous “Miracle on Ice” call. And in the Spiel, “Cos” and effect.Learn more about your ad…
Abraham Grinchstein
Dec 24, 2014 • 25 min
Thanksgiving cocktails are about a nice drink with your family, but for Christmas it’s fully medical. Today on The Gist, we return to Hudson Clearwater for a drink with Peter Thomas Fornatale and Chris Wertz. For the Spiel, Mike reveals the real reason…
Are You Sure He Had a Red Nose?
Dec 23, 2014 • 24 min
How open are Cubans to the idea of democracy? Today on The Gist, Emily Parker weighs the chances of a less repressive government in Cuba. She’s the author of Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices from the Internet Underground. Plus, Mike asks Maria…
Grin and Bear It
Dec 22, 2014 • 29 min
Are we experiencing a fundamental reshaping of the status quo in the oil market? Today on The Gist, Keith Johnson from Foreign Policy explains why America’s notion of energy independence through domestic oil production is a fallacy. Plus, wildlife…
Bad Movies, Good Podcast
Dec 19, 2014 • 23 min
All this week on The Gist, we’re down with O.P.P.: Other People’s Podcasts. In this episode, Elliott Kalan, Dan McCoy, and Stuart Wellington explain why their reviews of bad movies on The Flop House aren’t your typical Internet snark. Dan says, “We…
Too Beautiful to Stop
Dec 18, 2014 • 30 min
All this week on The Gist, we’re down with O.P.P.: Other People’s Podcasts. In this episode, Luke Burbank from the podcast Too Beautiful to Live explains how he’s built his devoted fans through openness and honesty: “When in doubt, I pretty much just get…
For Dana Gould, Editing Is No Laughing Matter
Dec 17, 2014 • 30 min
All this week on The Gist, we’re down with O.P.P.: Other People’s Podcasts. In this episode, Dana Gould explains why he’s decided to make a tightly edited comedy podcast: “I didn’t want to do my version of Marc Maron’s podcast. I thought: Marc’s doing his…
Ten Years To ‘StartUp’
Dec 16, 2014 • 25 min
All this week on the The Gist, we’re down with O.P.P.: Other People’s Podcasts. One of our favorites is Alex Blumberg’s StartUp, which tells the story of his startup, Gimlet Media. Blumberg explains the anxiety involved in pulling back the curtain each…
Marc Maron on the Best Podcast Episode Ever
Dec 15, 2014 • 35 min
All this week on the The Gist, we’re down with O.P.P.: Other People’s Podcasts. First up: Marc Maron explains the role of empathy in his interviews on WTF: “I don’t know what happens in here, man, but I’m very open in an emotional way, more so than I am…
Cut Off From a Sex Life Too Soon
Dec 12, 2014 • 35 min
When your husband dies, must your sex life die too? Today on The Gist, Emily Yoffe of Slate’s Dear Prudence column joins us for a post-Prudie impact statement with past letter writer “Cut Off From a Sex Life Too Soon.” But first, understanding the…
Shakesbeer
Dec 11, 2014 • 29 min
Should America be the world police? Today on The Gist, columnist Bret Stephens from the Wall Street Journal suggests applying a “broken windows” model to foreign policy. He’s the author of America in Retreat. Plus, Josh Hyman, Adam Thomas Smith, Scott…
Is “Mother’s Intuition” Real?
Dec 10, 2014 • 29 min
While campus sexual assault is a real and serious problem, on The Gist we’ll explore how studies, including one particular statistic, are being used to inflate the dimension of the problem and inform bad policy. We’re joined by Slate’s Emily Yoffe to…
Goodness Gracious: Great Bio of Fire
Dec 9, 2014 • 26 min
Today on The Gist, Mike comes out with his prediction for Time’s person of the year. Plus, Rick Bragg brings the greatest rock pianist of all time to life in his new biography Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story. As Bragg tells us, “When you talk about Jerry…
The Uruguayan in Chief
Dec 8, 2014 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, Slate’s Jacob Weisberg offers a brief eulogy to the New Republic. Plus, Michael Hobbes explains how his experiences with international development informed his feature in, oddly enough, the New Republic (RIP). Also: the legacy of…
Tap the Holiday Spirit
Dec 5, 2014 • 32 min
Clarence Page is knowledgeable, reasonable, and nice, which makes you wonder how does this guy have a job in opinion journalism? On The Gist, we’ll speak with Page about the current state of race relations and media today, explored in his essay collection…
Orchestral Snoring on the Trans-Siberian Railway
Dec 4, 2014 • 25 min
On The Gist, NPR’s David Greene joins us in studio to explain the many things Americans don’t understand about Russia. Greene traveled far from his cozy Moscow bureau to experience the vast country by train, an experience that is the subject of his book…
The Duck Face Facial Regime
Dec 3, 2014 • 34 min
Today on The Gist, a look at the issues surrounding police brutality, disengagement, and disarmament in cases like Eric Garner’s. Eugene O’Donnell from John Jay College of Criminal Justice explains why we need a holistic review of policing. Plus, Colin…
Learning Little From the Near-Death Experience
Dec 2, 2014 • 30 min
Pop-up ads keep telling Mike to test his food sensitivity. Is that bulls—t? Today on The Gist, we ask Maria Konnikova of The New Yorker about the differences between food allergies and intolerance. Plus, Meghan Daum discusses the craft of essay writing,…
The Mingus Method for Toilet Training Cats
Dec 1, 2014 • 32 min
Starting Wednesday, Billboard will change the way it measures success on the album chart. Today on The Gist, Chris Molanphy explains how the new system reflects our listening habits—and the evolution of the album inside the music business. Plus, reporter…
The Thunder-Throat Hope Behind Macy’s Floats
Nov 26, 2014 • 30 min
Thanksgiving is for eaters, so we’ve called in an expert. On The Gist, Dan Pashman from The Sporkful explains how to best prepare your belly for the meal ahead. (Hint: Skip the nuts!) He’s the author of Eat More Better. Plus, you know Les Marshak’s voice,…
Demons and Spirits
Nov 25, 2014 • 35 min
Today on The Gist, Mike begins the show with his Spiel about the Ferguson decision. We’ll discuss what’s unusual (and totally expected) about the grand jury proceedings with Jami Floyd from Al Jazeera America and David Feige, author of Indefensible. To…
The Moist Birdie Debate
Nov 24, 2014 • 29 min
How come Scandinavians are always the international good guys when it comes to diplomatic relations? Today on The Gist, RAND political scientist Jonah Blank explains the necessity of a Swedish go-between for U.S. relations. Plus, Dan Pashman from The…
The Buck Starts Here
Nov 21, 2014 • 25 min
Today on The Gist, Chuck Todd from NBC’s Meet the Press shares insight into the character of the president, as recounted in his new book The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House. For the Spiel, Mike concerns himself with easy questions like, “How…
The Kitsch of Death
Nov 20, 2014 • 33 min
If it bleed, it leads, but today on The Gist we discuss the bloodless. Our guest Caitlin Doughty is the author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From the Crematory and host of the popular series Ask a Mortician. Plus, Eric Fine from Van Eck…
Afghanistan: 13 Years and Counting
Nov 19, 2014 • 32 min
When our feelings about Hamid Karzai cooled, did we miss out on the Afghan president’s vision for his country? Today on The Gist, Middle East correspondent Jack Fairweather of Bloomberg News sketches a broad history of Afghanistan from his book The Good…
Don’t Call It a Comeback
Nov 18, 2014 • 24 min
Today on The Gist, Chicago’s Joshua Sebastian tells a story of parking ticket injustice. Then, in our regular segment “Is This Bulls—-?,” we ask Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker what to make of Jonah Lehrer’s new books, and the mark he left on popular…
Pumpkin Spice in July? That’s Too Soon
Nov 17, 2014 • 26 min
Today on The Gist, Philip Galewitz from Kaiser Health News explains how the health care shopping experience has improved since Obamacare. Plus, Dan Pashman from The Sporkful explains how artificial scarcity is the real selling point behind food fads like…
To Catch a Professor
Nov 14, 2014 • 27 min
Are the recent midterm voters reflective of the American public? Today on The Gist, history and public affairs professor Julian Zelizer explains what’s a lame-duck Congress to make of the midterm results. Then Slate’s Emily Yoffe joins us for a…
The Sweet Smell of Survival
Nov 13, 2014 • 34 min
Today on The Gist, RAND Corp. political scientist Jonah Blank puts Obama’s visit to Myanmar in context. Then, the harrowing prison story that inspired Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, Rosewater. The film is based on the memoir Then They Came for Me by our…
Did Smarf Have to Die?
Nov 12, 2014 • 34 min
Are we entering an era in which failure will dominate our lives? On The Gist, Adam Davidson from Planet Money discusses his New York Times Magazine feature “Welcome to the Failure Age!” and how purple chairs explain progress. Plus, Casper Kelly shares…
Heroes Need Not Apply
Nov 11, 2014 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, Margaret Aguirre from the International Medical Corps explains how Ebola quarantines are hurting her organization’s efforts to recruit health care professionals. Plus, Middle East analyst Robin Wright explains the historic implications…
Why WKRP Was Called WKRP
Nov 10, 2014 • 34 min
Today on The Gist, Slate’s Jamelle Bouie explains why our democracy may be hardwired to fail. Plus, WKRP in Cincinnati creator Hugh Wilson explains why it took so long to release the classic TV show with original music. For the Spiel, Mike solves the…
We Know Less Than We Think
Nov 6, 2014 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, our in-house vexilologist Ted Kaye explains what images of ISIS flags tell us about the Islamic State’s messaging. Plus, David Dunning of the Dunning-Kruger Effect explains why confident ignorance is incredibly common and increasingly…
Friends With (Slate Plus) Benefits
Nov 6, 2014 • 30 min
Today on The Gist, a collection of some of our favorite Slate Plus bonus segments. First, from the “Joe Biden’s White Teeth” edition of the Political Gabfest: David Plotz, John Dickerson, and Emily Bazelon have a conversation about law enforcement and…
Veteran SNL Writer Asks “Who Tooted?”
Nov 5, 2014 • 31 min
Today on The Gist, Slate’s Josh Voorhees joins us from Iowa to discuss what the pro-pipeline supermajority in the Senate means for environmental legislation. Plus, Monk creator Andy Breckman explains why he decided to pursue a new career as a toy mogul.…
JFK’s Brain Is Missing
Nov 4, 2014 • 27 min
Raise a toast: There are no more dry states left on Election Day. On The Gist, Mike Pesca’s wonderful parents share a lesson from voting-day drinking in 1970s Greenwich Village. Plus, Brad Meltzer from the Lost History TV series explains how missing…
Does When We Eat Matter?
Nov 3, 2014 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, political writer Harry Enten from FiveThirtyEight breaks down the latest polling data. Then, in our regular segment Is This Bulls—t?, we ask Maria Konnikova of The New Yorker if late-night dinners are really so horrible for our health.…
Two Families, One Mortgage
Oct 31, 2014 • 32 min
It looks likely that the Republicans will win the Senate. On The Gist, we ask Slate columnist Reihan Salam if a Republican majority means more will get done in Washington. Plus, Slate’s Emily Yoffe joins us for a Post-Prudence Impact Statement with past…
Starving Jake Gyllenhaal
Oct 30, 2014 • 28 min
Today on The Gist, it’s hard to look away from a crime scene—and from the film Nightcrawler. First-time director Dan Gilroy talks about star Jake Gyllenhaal’s grueling preparation for the role and the film’s co-star, Rene Russo (who also happens to be…
If Washington Hips to Indie Rock
Oct 29, 2014 • 33 min
Today on The Gist: Divided government is supposed to foster compromise. Instead, Washington is mired in the mud. Norm Ornstein of The Atlantic talks about the potential of independents to swing the balance of power in the Senate. Plus, New York’s Barrow…
Why Political Consultants Prescribe Bumpkin
Oct 28, 2014 • 29 min
Every so often there’s a politician who breaks through, or an idea that catches fire … just not this election year. Today on The Gist, Mark Leibovich from the New York Times counts the many ways this midterm election disappoints. Plus, using data to…
Don’t Get Ebola in Missouri
Oct 27, 2014 • 22 min
Today on The Gist, Stephen E. Flynn, political science professor at Northeastern University, explains that the Ebola story isn’t a story of federal government incompetence. It’s the story of a lack of investment and commitment to public health at a local,…
High Times Rolls On
Oct 24, 2014 • 32 min
Today on The Gist, political writer Harry Enten from FiveThirtyEight reviews upcoming races of note, and the overall reliability of polling data. Plus, High Times editor-in-chief Dan Skye discusses the history of the magazine, and why he’s decided to…
Tastes Like James Joyce
Oct 23, 2014 • 34 min
Today on The Gist, Paul Slovic from Decision Research offers insight into panic psychology. Plus, whiskey sommelier Heather Greene guides Mike through an in-studio tasting: Tullamore Dew, Angel’s Envy, and Brenne. She’s the author of Whiskey Distilled: a…
We Work Hard For Less Money
Oct 22, 2014 • 33 min
Today on The Gist, a question about opera that has (almost) nothing to do with the controversy over The Death of Klinghoffer at the Metropolitan Opera. Mike asks mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili, star of the Met’s new production of Carmen, what it’s…
Soup Was Once Hilarious
Oct 21, 2014 • 34 min
Today on The Gist, David Montgomery from the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Argus Leader explains how a close Senate race has snuck up on South Dakota voters. Plus, Christopher Miller tells us about things that used to be funny but have vanished from popular…
The Serial Podcast Ending Is TBD
Oct 20, 2014 • 31 min
Today on The Gist, an interview from the new podcast Amicus, hosted by Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick. In the excerpt, Dahlia talks with University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, who argued the case of Holt v. Hobbs. Plus, Sarah Koenig from the…
Norman Lear, Thanks for TV
Oct 17, 2014 • 35 min
Like TV? Then you owe a debt to our guest on The Gist, Norman Lear. He’s the author of Even This I Get to Experience, and responsible for TV shows including All in the Family, Maude, and Good Times. For the Spiel, a chance to issue corrections from the…
Thanks Bro, Now Get the Hell Out of Feminism
Oct 16, 2014 • 32 min
This election season has been full of court fights over voter access laws. Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center, explains why the problem has more to do with a partisan divide in the judiciary than voter fraud. Also on The…
The Eight-Glasses-of-Water-a-Day Myth
Oct 15, 2014 • 32 min
Today on The Gist, a new message of mercy emerges from the Vatican’s synod meetings this year. Joshua McElwee from the National Catholic Reporter joins us from Rome. Then, in our regular segment Is This Bulls—-?, we ask Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker…
Working On Our Night Moves
Oct 14, 2014 • 31 min
Are Apple and Google “beyond the law”? Today on The Gist, Hanni Fakhoury from the Electronic Frontier Foundation responds to the FBI director’s comments. Plus, artist Stephanie Barber explains the story told by YouTube comments on Bob Seger’s “Night…
George Carlin Gets His Way
Oct 13, 2014 • 31 min
Today on The Gist, why has Turkey seemed strangely ambivalent about beating back the forces of ISIS? We speak with Kemal KiriƟci, director of the Center on the United States and Europe’s Turkey Project at Brookings. Then, comedian Kevin Bartini describes…
My Friend Became a Staunch Anti-Vaxxer. Now What?
Oct 10, 2014 • 39 min
Should we be more concerned about black juror exclusion in capital trials? Today on The Gist, the Virginia Quarterly Review investigation “Bias in the Box,” by Dax-Devlon Ross. Then, should you ever attend a child’s birthday party in a hazmat suit?…
Rogue Taxidermy, Art for Awful Dreams
Oct 9, 2014 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, we explore the uncanny valley of rogue taxidermy. Robert Marbury, author of Taxidermy Art, explains why an American BioArt trend is taking hold. Plus, Mike Tipping, of The Tipping Point and Portland Press Harold, discusses what the…
Bedbugs: Disgusting Nuisance, Great Musical
Oct 8, 2014 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, is it too soon for Ebola jokes? Slate’s Josh Levin explains why the Jaguar mascot Jaxson De Ville’s joke didn’t land. Then, how the musical Bedbugs!!! earns its exclamation points. We’ll speak with creators Paul Leschen and Fred Sauter…
Math vs. Ebola
Oct 7, 2014 • 32 min
Today on The Gist, something we’re good at when it comes to fighting infectious disease. Mathematical modeler Nina Fefferman of Rutgers University explains how a mathematical model called R0 can predict the spread of Ebola. Then, in our regular segment Is…
Qatar: Friend or Frenemy?
Oct 6, 2014 • 32 min
Today on The Gist, the home of the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East is Qatar. Jeremy Shapiro from Brookings Institute explains if we should consider Qatar a friend or frenemy. Plus, Jeffrey Mervis from Science explains why house Republicans…
Stop Freaking Out About Your Kids
Oct 3, 2014 • 32 min
Today on The Gist, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick previews the Supreme Court cases worth watching closely this term, even if they don’t inspire Hobby Lobby–level outrage. Plus, Daisy Waugh explains how modern attitudes toward child-rearing are setting parents up…
The Cosby Showdown
Oct 2, 2014 • 30 min
Today on The Gist, we prepare for a verdict in the Blackwater trial you might not have known is underway. From the hallway of a D.C. federal courthouse, Matt Apuzzo of the New York Times reminds us why it’s taken us seven years to prosecute the State…
Can Peeps Be Sticky Year-Round?
Oct 1, 2014 • 33 min
Is the attorney general the lightening rod of the Cabinet? The Gist’s attorneys general theme week continues with Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler. Plus, candy blogger Cybele May explains what flavors are trending on candy aisles, and what candy can…
True Tales of Andy Warhol’s Sex Couch
Sep 30, 2014 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, we talk about Andy Warhol’s erotic films with McGill University professor Ara Osterweil, who explains how movies like Couch and Blow Job transformed American visual culture. Osterweil is the author of Flesh Cinema: The Corporeal Turn in…
Louisiana Isn’t Boot-Shaped Anymore
Sep 29, 2014 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, we discuss the legacy of Attorney General Eric Holder with former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Plus, Brett Anderson explains why Louisiana isn’t shaped like a boot anymore. In a recent feature for Matter, he collaborated on the…
His Friends Know He Cheated. Does She?
Sep 26, 2014 • 33 min
Today on The Gist, the science journalist’s version of “who wore it better.” We compare the Wall Street Journal’s report with the N.Y. Times’ report on the same research from the journal Nature. Ben Lillie from Story Collider explains who did the best job…
Where Did the Fade-Out Go?
Sep 25, 2014 • 24 min
Today on The Gist, what happened to the good old days of newsmen keeping quiet about their death threats? Danielle Citron, author of Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, explains why online threats are commonly discussed and more rarely policed. Plus, William Weir…
Why Economists Don’t Have Many Friends
Sep 24, 2014 • 32 min
Today on The Gist, we ask the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg whether ISIS is indeed an existential threat to the Middle East. Then, Adam Davidson of NPR’s Planet Money explains how economists talk about taxes when the rest of us aren’t around. Plus, a snappy…
The Analogy That Helped Sell Viagra
Sep 23, 2014 • 30 min
Exactly how many black men are killed each year by law enforcement? How many are unarmed? In the wake of Ferguson, it was difficult for journalists to get precise answers to these questions. On The Gist, Reno News & Review editor D. Brian Burghart talks…
Is “Tomato Ketchup” Redundant?
Sep 22, 2014 • 30 min
In a recent article for The New Republic, Tom A. Peter explains why he considers war reporting no longer worth the risk. On The Gist, we ask him and his war correspondent peer Carmen Gentile to discuss how they decide when it’s worth risking everything…
Xavier Dphrepaulezz, Musician Reborn
Sep 19, 2014 • 31 min
Today on The Gist, in anticipation of Sunday’s climate march, Bill McKibben joins us for a round of “One Question, One Question Only.” He’s the author of Oil and Honey and founder of 350.org. Then, musician Xavier Dphrepaulezz has finally found his voice…
The Police’s Stewart Copeland Scores a Silent Film
Sep 18, 2014 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, Police drummer Stewart Copeland talks about creating a new score for the 1925 silent film Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. Then, Slate’s Emily Bazelon sizes up children’s books about bullying written by professional athletes. The assigned…
Comedian Jen Kirkman Doesn’t Want Kids. Cue Outrage.
Sep 17, 2014 • 31 min
Today on The Gist, comedian Jen Kirkman explains what it’s like to defend her decision not to have kids. She’s the host of the I Seem Fun podcast and author of I Can Barely Take Care of Myself. Plus, Ted Kaye joins us for a vexillology corner about the…
Ken Follett’s Case for Long Novels
Sep 16, 2014 • 28 min
Today on The Gist, Riveted author Jim Davies explains the cognitive science behind what we find compelling. Plus, author Ken Follett explains his methods for holding interest through thousand-plus-page novels. His latest is Edge of Eternity. In both of…
Chanteuse Storm Large Subtly Accuses Miley Cyrus of Mass Murder
Sep 15, 2014 • 28 min
Today on The Gist, we call up Scottish schoolteacher and blogger Craig McAllister to discuss the big choice facing Scotland this week. Since we spoke with him on an earlier episode, he’s now a decided “yes” vote. Then, Storm Large from Pink Martini joins…
Why Do I Keep Accidentally Dating Swingers?
Sep 12, 2014 • 31 min
Today on The Gist, Adam Davidson from Planet Money explains why dollar stores are way less evil than Wal-Mart. Plus, Slate’s Emily Yoffe joins us for a Post-Prudence Impact Statement with past letter writer Swinger Ex-Boyfriend. And in the Spiel, Ira…
Did You See Obama Pull a John Wayne?
Sep 11, 2014 • 32 min
How did the office of the president work with TV networks to make Obama’s ISIS address visually stunning? Today on The Gist, Josh King from Polioptics explains how the White House can be used as a Hollywood soundstage. Plus, professional wrestler Shawn…
Tips for Prosecuting Ray Rice
Sep 10, 2014 • 30 min
How appropriate were the measures taken against Ray Rice? Today on The Gist, learn why lethality indicators are essential for prosecutors trying domestic abuse. Attorney adviser Christopher Mallios from AEquitas explains how prosecutors approach domestic…
Reductio Ad Hitlerum
Sep 9, 2014 • 28 min
Today on the first archive edition of The Gist, a collection of our favorite Hitler material. First, Mike asks Ron Rosenbaum about how a genocidal monster is formed and if the Holocaust would have happened without him. Ron’s the author of Explaining…
Dan Carlin on the Art of the Retreat
Sep 8, 2014 • 28 min
Taking a note from Mike’s hairline (zing!), Slate is on retreat today. On The Gist, popular podcast host and historian Dan Carlin tells us about greatest retreats in history from Genghis Khan to Napoleon. Then we revisit a segment with comedian Gary…
Stop Calling Teaching a Calling. It’s a Profession.
Sep 5, 2014 • 32 min
Former NFL player Nate Jackson’s league health insurance ran out a few days ago. Today on The Gist, we’ll review what health concerns many former players tackle after leaving the game. Plus, author Dana Goldstein explains what’s keeping the American…
A Brilliant Cellist Embraces the Devil’s Music
Sep 4, 2014 • 33 min
Today on The Gist, cellist Maya Beiser tells us how her rebellious streak led her out of the classical concert hall and into the arms of classic rock. Her new album is called Uncovered. Also, political scientist Jay Ulfelder explains his efforts to…
The Almost Mystical Yet Totally Routine Process of Reading
Sep 3, 2014 • 29 min
What does Anna Karenina look like when you read Tolstoy? Today on The Gist, book cover designer Peter Mendelsund explains how we turn what we read into sensory material. His new books are What We See When We Read and Cover. In the Spiel, how the U.S. is…
Can Naps Make You Feel Worse?
Sep 2, 2014 • 31 min
While the best chess players in the world face off at the Sinquefield Cup, what can be done to bring the sport back to the Fischer era? Today on The Gist, we speak with Ken Regan about how he’s working to keep the world’s greatest board game above board.…
The Thing I Need To Do Before “I Do”
Aug 29, 2014 • 31 min
On The Gist, Adam Davidson from Planet Money explains what tax inversions tell us about cooperate taxes. Plus, Slate’s Emily Yoffe joins us for a Post-Prudence Impact Statement with past letter writer Young and Restless. For Mike’s Speil, he looks at the…
Gilbert Gottfried Speaks for the Birds
Aug 28, 2014 • 27 min
Today on The Gist, a voice you couldn’t mistake for anyone else. Mike speaks with comedian Gilbert Gottfried about his attraction to old showbiz and his Amazing Colossal Podcast. For the Spiel, Mike’s jazzed for the ABC primetime special on Schoolhouse…
Happy People in Love … Boring
Aug 27, 2014 • 30 min
Republicans, like all marketers, want to reach Latinos. Or do they? On The Gist, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto from the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs explains how the GOP varies its approach for courting Latino votes during midterm…
Puppies Don’t Win Pulitzers
Aug 26, 2014 • 26 min
Today on The Gist, we say hello to Yo founder Or Arbel. He’ll explain why the app is no joke, especially if you find yourself in Israel. Then, Mike speaks with Gordon Witkin, the executive editor of the longform investigative journalism outlet Center for…
The Bomb Makers’ Bomb Maker
Aug 25, 2014 • 32 min
On The Gist, Mike plays the mad dog and our guests play the Englishmen. Journalist Adam Higginbotham shares the story of a huge, ingeniously sinister bomb found in a Nevada casino in August 1980. His Atavist single is called A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite.…
The Proud Mom of 23 Could-Be Kids
Aug 22, 2014 • 31 min
“In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?” On The Gist, an audible representation of how Americans have historically answered this Gallup poll question. We asked the Pew Research…
Is Infidelity Still a Third Rail for TV?
Aug 21, 2014 • 26 min
We bet you an Andrew Jackson that you’ll like our show on fractions and Faxon. First up, Nat Faxon, star of the FX show Married, explains why being leading man doesn’t have to mean being boring-man. Then, Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong,…
Dude, on the Set of the Big Lebowski
Aug 20, 2014 • 31 min
In preparation for Lebowski Fest, writer Alex Belth shares his story about working with the Coen brothers as a personal assistant. His Kindle single is The Dudes Abide. Then, Georgetown professor Bruce Hoffman explains how the beheading of James Foley…
Hillary’s Early Primary Polling
Aug 19, 2014 • 26 min
Today on the Gist, Rolfe Winkler from the Wall Street Journal explains how the Google IPO has changed the stock market. Then, political writer Harry Enten from FiveThirtyEight breaks down early polling data for contested Senate elections, and even…
Baby Panda vs. George Washington
Aug 18, 2014 • 32 min
On The Gist, Slate editors and special guest Brooke Gladstone from NPR’s On the Media debate American icons from the Smithsonian Summer Showdown contest. Slate’s Culture Editor Dan Kois speaks on behalf of Bao Bao, Slate’s Deputy Editor John Swansburg…
Is That Ferguson or Selma?
Aug 15, 2014 • 29 min
The visuals coming out of Ferguson, Missouri, evoke memories of a much uglier time in our history. On the Gist, Slate’s Jamelle Bouie shares observations from his recent visit to the protests. Plus, author Megan Abbot explains why high school mass…
In Ukraine, Even the Flags Are Clashing
Aug 14, 2014 • 27 min
President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can often be heard speaking proudly about diplomatic progress in Burma. Today on The Gist, RAND Corp. political scientist Jonah Blank puts the success story in context. Plus, Ted Kaye joins us…
Would You Report a Creepy Correspondence?
Aug 13, 2014 • 27 min
When a bored copy-shop employee spotted a chilling letter on the copy machine, he was left with an ethical dilemma. On The Gist, Emily Yoffe of Slate’s Dear Prudence column explains when it’s your duty to report discussions of sexual conduct with minors.…
The Pursuit of Happiness Studies
Aug 12, 2014 • 28 min
Can gathering happiness data help countries evaluate the success of public policies? For our regular segment “Is This Bulls—t,” we examine the value of happiness studies with Maria Konnikova of The New Yorker. Also, Arab studies professor Justin Stearns…
The Vin Scully of Horseracing Retires
Aug 11, 2014 • 28 min
Today on The Gist, Tamara Cofman Wittes of the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy offers insight into the threat of ISIS in Iraq and President Obama’s selective humanitarian efforts. Then, famed horserace announcer Tom Durkin takes a partial break…
Crazy Funny
Aug 8, 2014 • 26 min
When Amy Solomon was growing up in Chicago, she was obsessed with Gilda Radner. She wanted to be a comedian but worried she didn’t have enough problems to talk about. For her Princeton senior thesis, Solomon explored the link between confessional comedy…
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Secret to Never Being Boring
Aug 7, 2014 • 27 min
Today on The Gist, we speak with Elizabeth Gilbert about the phenomenon of Eat, Pray, Love tattoos. We learn how she’s moved on creatively after selling 10 million copies, but isn’t going to stop taking requests for her hit. Her newest book, The Signature…
Come Together
Aug 6, 2014 • 27 min
Today on The Gist, how the alchemy of two helps creativity thrive. Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of Powers of Two, explains how genius comes in pairs. For the Spiel, the problem with defending the indefensible use of a chokehold. Get The Gist by email as soon…
Chris Gethard Shows Off His Guns
Aug 5, 2014 • 29 min
Comedian Chris Gethard shows The Gist his guns. We’ll hear how his fans are demanding a new range of creative experimentation and interactivity on his public access program The Chris Gethard Show. His new album is called My Comedy Album. For the Spiel,…
What Made Hitler Hitler?
Aug 4, 2014 • 27 min
Today on The Gist, we observe the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I with a feature about the start of World War II. Mike asks Ron Rosenbaum, author of Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil, about how a genocidal monster is…
Sioux Falls Has a New Flag, and It’s Quite Fetching
Aug 1, 2014 • 30 min
The Committee to Establish a Suitable Flying Banner for the City of Sioux Falls has elected their first city flag. On The Gist, CESFBCSF President Hugh Weber and celebrity vexillologist Ted Kaye explains why Sioux Falls should raise the new banner high.…
What Poker Has to Teach Us About Missile Defense Systems
Jul 31, 2014 • 25 min
When is it best to know when our privacy has been violated? Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA passes around nude photographs. A doctor in Maryland may have photographed thousands of women during their gynecological exams. Aaron Zimmerman from UC–Santa…
Urban Biking: A Love Story
Jul 30, 2014 • 29 min
With only two days left before August recess, what’s left on Congress’ agenda? Slate’s senior political reporter David Weigel explains why Republicans are sitting on their hands. Plus, Wall Street Journal sports columnist Jason Gay talks about his…
We’re Terrible at Reading Online
Jul 29, 2014 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, Canadian human rights worker Diana Buttu joins us from Nazareth to share her perspective on the conflict in Gaza. Plus, Maria Konnikova from The New Yorker shares what the physiology of reading screens means for our brains. For the…
Why Does Tomato Juice Taste Better on an Airplane?
Jul 28, 2014 • 26 min
The world used to be full of empires. Is it time for an imperial resurgence? On today’s Gist, Robert D. Kaplan, national correspondent for the Atlantic, makes the argument for something that looks a lot like a modern empire, although with a less fraught…
Would You Let Your Husband Road Trip With an Ex?
Jul 25, 2014 • 30 min
Today on The Gist, where do you draw the line with your husband’s close female friends? Emily Yoffe of Slate’s Dear Prudence column joins us for a post-Prudie impact statement concerning a husband’s proposed road trip with an ex. Then, Susan Crawford,…
Who’s Better Off: A Roman Emperor, or You?
Jul 24, 2014 • 29 min
How good did the Roman emperors have it? The Gist asks UCLA history professor Ronald Mellor to compare a ruler’s bounty in the ancient world with life in modern America. Plus, Kashmir Hill from Forbes explains the latest tarnish on Facebook’s reputation…
Should Clothing Ever Be Optional?
Jul 23, 2014 • 25 min
Today on The Gist, writer Dave Hill tells us about what it’s like to go on a naked cruise. Then, Mike explains why investor Bill Ackman’s high-profile accusations against Herbalife failed to make the company go the way of Enron. Michael Regan, the editor…
When Does A Civilian Become A Combatant?
Jul 22, 2014 • 25 min
Are all civilians are automatically innocent? Today on The Gist, host Mike Pesca debates a Wall Street Journal op-ed from Thane Rosenbaum, Senior Fellow and Director of the NYU Forum on Law, Culture & Society. Plus, Dr. Dalia Gavriely-Nuri from The Hebrew…
NYPD Cold Case from 100 Years Ago, and the Victim Was a Cop
Jul 21, 2014 • 27 min
Today on The Gist, reporter Challen Stephens explains how an investigative journalism initiative has brought new attention to horrible prison conditions in Alabama. Then, we learn about the top-secret mission of one of NYC’s first Italian heroes, NYPD Lt.…
Does Putin Know When to Fold ’Em?
Jul 18, 2014 • 22 min
Today on The Gist, Slate’s Anne Applebaum shares insights into Vladimir Putin’s next move. How might the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 affect what Applebaum believes is Putin’s failing strategy in Ukraine? Then, count penguin poo with researcher…
Comic, Sans Its Hero
Jul 17, 2014 • 26 min
Today on The Gist, Ben Lillie from Story Collider explains how muon particles may help us see inside of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Plus, Archie Comics announced this week that its Life With Archie series would end with protagonist Archie Andrews…
Your Brain on Bandwidth Poverty
Jul 16, 2014 • 28 min
Today on The Gist, as rockets rain from Gaza, Israeli society is resigned to the fight. We speak with Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar and former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, who explain what makes the current military goal different from…
Why Is Mike Pesca So Happy?
Jul 15, 2014 • 23 min
Today on The Gist, political analyst Jonah Blank from RAND explains how young democracies navigate fair elections. Plus, Mike speaks with Sonja Lyubomirsky, the author of The Myths of Happiness, about how we can make ourselves into happier people by doing…
David Plotz Is Out, Panda Blogs Are In
Jul 14, 2014 • 25 min
Today at Slate, we announced a changing of the guard. Mike talks with David Plotz, who after 6 years as editor is stepping down, and Julia Turner, who just became Slate’s first female editor in chief. Plus, Mike gets help from memory champ Nelson Dellis…
Her Husband’s Stupid Record Collection
Jul 11, 2014 • 27 min
Is not visiting the U.S.-Mexico border President Obama’s Katrina? Josh King from Polioptics explains how he would best position Obama if (slash when) he does makes a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border. Then Sarah O’Holla tells us about her blog My Husband’s…
This Guy Killed Hitler. All He Wants Is a Thank-You.
Jul 10, 2014 • 26 min
Today on the show, writer Mike Sacks explains how it’s easier than ever to begin a career in comedy. In his book Poking a Dead Frog, Sacks asks comedians to explain their process without killing their humor. Plus, Dru Johnston reads his essay “I Think I…
Inside the Principal’s Office
Jul 9, 2014 • 27 min
For what was Mike’s most enjoyable visit to the principal’s office, today’s Gist assembled a panel of educators to discuss teacher tenure. We’re joined by Alisa Algava, former director of the Randolph School, Ada Rosario Dolch, retired high school…
Warren G. Harding in Love
Jul 8, 2014 • 26 min
Today on The Gist we discuss a new cache of steamy missives from Warren G. Harding to his mistress. The bootleg microfilms were first uncovered by James D. Robenalt, author of The Harding Affair: Love and Espionage During the Great War. But first, was…
Today, It’s a Pot-Cast
Jul 7, 2014 • 29 min
As Washington State’s recreational marijuana law goes into effect on Tuesday, Steve Elliot of Toke Signals explains the problems recreational and medical users should anticipate. Then, how do you set boundaries with a toxic family member when beginning…
Emotions Are Contagious, but Probably Not on Facebook
Jul 3, 2014 • 30 min
On the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s famous farewell to baseball, we talk to author Jonathan Eig about what Gehrig did with the rest of his short life. Also, Maria Konnikovia on Facebook’s emotions study, and no one’s going to breaka Mike’s stride.Get…
Philly, in Black and White
Jul 2, 2014 • 32 min
Today on The Gist, Mike talks with Alice Goffman, author of On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City. Goffman, who’s white, lived in a black Philadelphia neighborhood while attending the University of Pennsylvania and chronicled how differently her…
What Happens on Amish Spring Break Stays in Florida
Jul 1, 2014 • 24 min
As Alan Mulally packs up his desk, Bryce Hoffman explains how the outgoing Ford CEO harnessed talent and led a cultural change from within the company. Then, Jen Banbury explains what happens when the Amish start learning how to make and invest millions.…
Taking (a Fake) One for the Team
Jun 30, 2014 • 22 min
An obscure U.S. government agency called the Export-Import Bank is under fire from the GOP. Rana Foroohar of Time explains why politicians gunning for this credit agency could hurt the export market. Also, flop analyst Geoff Foster explains why so much of…
The Diplomat Who F—ked Up
Jun 27, 2014 • 28 min
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski was secretly recorded calling his country’s alliance with the U.S. “worthless,” and other choice insults. Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose explains why the concerns of our even our smallest allies should be…
I Believe That We Will Win
Jun 26, 2014 • 26 min
On today’s Gist, the stock market’s volatility, or fear, index called the VIX is about as low as it can get, but maybe that’s a bad thing? Broker David Siegel from MPS Global Securities explains why traders are freaking out over this lack of volatility.…
Scalia Just Wants to Have Fun
Jun 25, 2014 • 25 min
Today on The Gist, judicial biographer Bruce Allen Murphy explains how Anton Scalia became a lone wolf of the high court. Then Slate’s Emily Bazelon and Mike Pesca debate how sexual assault is being discussed and dealt with on campuses today. Is it…
Hey U.N. Secretary-General … You Got Served!
Jun 24, 2014 • 27 min
Can you sue the United Nations over a tragic cholera outbreak in Haiti? Well, first you have to figure out how to serve top diplomats with papers. Today on The Gist, lawyer Stanley Alpert says U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was served last week…
Is Dick Cheney the Least Qualified Iraq Expert Ever?
Jun 23, 2014 • 24 min
Today on The Gist, song lyrics made literal. Wits host John Moe has written a book of imagined pop culture correspondences called Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth. Plus, Mike speaks with RAND political scientist Jonah Blank for an anthropological look at…
The Sinister Business of Advertising to Kids
Jun 20, 2014 • 30 min
Today’s Gist is a special New Haven hotel room dispatch. Mike shares an excerpt from the New Haven ideas festival event “Thinking About Sports.” He was a panelist there alongside legendary sportswriter and NPR commentator Frank Deford, poet Elizabeth…
Does the Minimum Wage Create or Kill Jobs?
Jun 19, 2014 • 29 min
Today on the Gist, political writer Harry Enten from Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight handicaps Democratic and Republican chances in November’s key Senate races. Plus, Adam Davidson from Planet Money explains why economic theory says a higher minimum wage is…
Should We Ditch Internet Comments?
Jun 18, 2014 • 28 min
Do nasty comments affect how readers perceive an article? Maria Konnikova of The New Yorker discusses research on the psychology of negative Internet comments. Then, in light of GM CEO Mary Barra’s testimony before the House on Wednesday, law professor…
Dirty Laundry? There’s an App for That
Jun 17, 2014 • 29 min
On today’s The Gist, Mike and New York magazine’s Jessica Pressler head to a laundromat to discuss what the hot new laundry app Washio says about the worldview of the bros who make apps. Plus, law professor Dean Rivkin explains how truancy fines work…
Should Ruth Bader Ginsburg Just Quit Already?
Jun 16, 2014 • 29 min
With many well-respected liberal thinkers pressuring Ruth Bader Ginsburg to step down while a Democrat’s in the White House, what might be going through her mind? Today on The Gist, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick discusses the latest news from the high court.…
Blame Salt-n-Pepa for American Glottal Stop
Jun 13, 2014 • 29 min
Today on The Gist, why Chipotle has become an important battleground for open carry advocates in Texas. Then Mike and language maven Ben Yagoda discuss their pet peeves against words like “amongst,” and revel in the American glottal stop. Yagoda’s new…
Polls Say the Darndest Things
Jun 12, 2014 • 22 min
Forces for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, have taken control of significant parts of Iraq. Mike speaks with Slate’s Fred Kaplan about who’s to blame (hint: not Obama). We’ll explore how unlikely political coalitions could unite to avoid…
13 Days a Beatle
Jun 11, 2014 • 30 min
For the first two weeks of June 1964, Jimmy Nicol replaced Ringo Starr as the Beatles’ drummer. Allan Kozinn of the New York Times explains how you move on from an experience like that. Plus, Sanjay Basu explains the arguments for excluding soda and other…
A Mass of Mass Shootings
Jun 10, 2014 • 24 min
Today on The Gist, criminologist and homicide researcher Adam Lankford explains why some mass shooters seem so drawn to extreme ideologies. Then we speak with 11-year-old author Audrey Hinsdale about how her debut novel The Trigger is a metaphor for…
Zen and Beef Jerky at the World Series of Poker
Jun 9, 2014 • 24 min
Today on The Gist, reporter and former Afghan Taliban captive David Rohde shares his insights into the Bowe Bergdahl transfer. Then Mike and author Colson Whitehead discuss how to find Zen and excellent jerky at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. He…
Freakonomics Is Basically a Peanut Butter Cup
Jun 6, 2014 • 30 min
Today on the Gist, Politico magazine editor Susan Glasser talks with Mike about “politicization,” and why politicians, of all people, like to demonize it. Mike also asks Stephen Dubner about the secret sauce that helped the Freakonomics empire take hold…
Fancy Private College vs. Good-Enough U
Jun 5, 2014 • 27 min
May’s unemployment numbers aren’t out until Friday, but today’s Gist explores what these monthly numbers actually tell us with Adam Davidson of Planet Money. Then Emily Yoffe of Slate’s Dear Prudence column joins us for a post-Prudie impact statement with…
The Downside of Waiting for More Marshmallows
Jun 4, 2014 • 29 min
Today on the show, a look at a Tea Party resurgence in Mississippi’s GOP Senate primary with Slate’s David Weigel. Then, in our regular segment “Is This BS?,” Maria Konnikova explains why psychologist Walter Mischel’s famous marshmallow study has come to…
Does Obama Need More Drama?
Jun 3, 2014 • 29 min
President Obama’s speech to West Point graduates drew criticism for its restrained foreign policy prescriptions and less-than-lofty oratory. Today on the Gist, a look at Obama’s turn toward more restrained rhetoric with former Carter speechwriter and New…
Negotiating with Terrorists
Jun 2, 2014 • 26 min
Today on the Gist, a look at the release over the weekend of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. Jonah Blank of the RAND Corporation explains whether the circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture matter. Then…
How a Comedian Chooses Just the Right Words
May 30, 2014 • 30 min
Today on the show, Adam Davidson from NPR’s Planet Money discusses why income inequality matters to most Americans. Then comedian Gary Gulman drops in to discuss how even the smallest word choice matters when crafting jokes. And as New York considers…
Why Math Matters
May 29, 2014 • 24 min
Today on the Gist, the case for integrating math into everyday conversation. Mike talks with Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong. Then, a look at a hostile takeover attempt that harkens back to days of Barbarians at the Gate. Jeffrey McCracken…
Will Racism Die When Today’s Racists Die?
May 28, 2014 • 30 min
How much do Donald Sterling’s attitudes toward race have to do with being an octogenarian? Today on The Gist, we examine the correlation between racial attitudes and age with Paul Taylor from the Pew Research Center. Then, TV critics Willa Paskin and…
The Vicious Circle of Mass Shooting Media Coverage
May 27, 2014 • 28 min
On today’s episode of The Gist, Mike talks with Ari Schulman of the New Atlantis about how it may be even more dangerous than we think to give so much media coverage to mass killers like Elliot Rodger, perpetrator of Friday night’s shootings at UC–Santa…
Reinvigorating Reparations
May 23, 2014 • 27 min
A massive piece in the Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates takes on the issue of reparations, and expands the conversation beyond slavery to include the much more recent past, and the present. We follow up with Slate’s Jamelle Bouie about what reparations would…
The Role of Empathy in Israeli Peace Negotiations
May 22, 2014 • 27 min
Today on The Gist, a look at why peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians have broken down. Mike speaks with Ofir Akunis, a member of the Israeli Knesset, a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, and right-hand man to Israeli Prime…
Springtime for Hitler’s Stolen Art
May 21, 2014 • 26 min
Today on The Gist, the Wall Street Journal’s Mary Lane tells Mike about the trove of art stolen by the Nazis that’s been left to a Swiss museum. The art had been hidden for decades by Hitler’s art dealer’s son, who decided before his death to return the…
The Guy Who Started “Retweets Don’t Equal Endorsements”
May 20, 2014 • 23 min
Today on The Gist, we ask what it would be like to take the worst thing that has ever happened to you and see it displayed in a famous new building with a gift shop. We spoke with BuzzFeed’s Steve Kandell about his Sunday visit to the National September…
Weren’t You in That Movie …?
May 19, 2014 • 28 min
We hear that a common obstacle to prosecuting campus sexual assault cases is the so-called “he said, she said” problem. Veteran prosecutor Christopher Mallios the joins us to explain how district attorneys can use existing laws to crack down on rape much…
Inside the Jill Abramson Firing
May 16, 2014 • 28 min
On today’s episode, NPR’s David Folkenflik explains the frayed relationships that led to an embarrassing week for the New York Times. Then, Slate’s Julia Turner joins us for a look at the newspaper of record’s leaked innovation report. Plus, Mike’s Spiel…
Elections in India, Debates in Idaho
May 15, 2014 • 27 min
The Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi has been denied entry into the United States, but may very likely be the next Prime Minister of India. Shikha Dalmia, senior analyst at the Reason Foundation explains the diplomatic stakes on today’s Gist. Then, the…
Should The Wildlings Be on The Terrorism Watch List?
May 14, 2014 • 22 min
Today on the show, who belongs on the terrorism watch list? Georgetown University Professor Daniel Byman explains what’s involved in classifying guerrilla groups like Boko Haram as counter terrorist threats. Plus, Slate’s Willa Paskin on depictions of sex…
Smithies Dis Chris, Coaches Corner
May 13, 2014 • 29 min
On today’s episode, Mike Pesca talks with Cathy O’Neil about the protest at Smith College that resulted in the withdrawal of IMF head Christine Lagarde as graduation speaker. Then, a wide ranging conversation between Ed Dunn, the coach featured in the new…
Signifiers: Headphones, Beards & The Washington Monument
May 12, 2014 • 23 min
Today on The Gist, is buying Beats by Dre a good deal for Apple? NPR’s Frannie Kelley weighs in on the headphones, the streaming service, and Hip-Hop’s first billionaire. Then, Professor Rob Brooks from the University of New South Wales shares new…
Bankers and Internet Outrage and All These Ands
May 9, 2014 • 29 min
On this Friday’s Gist, Mike Pesca talks with Felix Salmon, senior editor at Fusion, about why it’s not popular to prosecute bankers. Professor Ben Yagoda teaches us the power of the literary technique polysyndeton as demonstrated everywhere from the King…
Has the U.S. Crowdsourced Foreign Policy?
May 8, 2014 • 28 min
Slate’s The Gist with Mike Pesca: The Telegraph’s Tom Rogan speaks with Mike about the wisdom of sending forces to rescue the Nigerian schoolgirls. Later in the show, Mike tries his hand at freestyle hip-hop, and he shares recent news items related to…
Slate’s The Gist with Mike Pesca: Why Are Online Quizzes All the Rage?
May 7, 2014 • 26 min
On today’s episode, Mike Pesca talks with Mark Leibovich about politicians leaving Congress for on-air punditry. He then talks with Maria Konnikova about what personality quizzes really tell us. And today’s Spiel centers on whether it’s time for Americans…
Slate’s The Gist with Mike Pesca: Russian Reality, Colonial Bestiality
May 6, 2014 • 23 min
May 6, 2014: Mike Pesca talks with Russia expert Strobe Talbott about Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on free speech in Russia. Then, a talk with the author of the book Taming Lust, about “crimes against nature” in colonial America. And why tiny Moldova should…
Slate’s The Gist With Mike Pesca: Episode the First
May 5, 2014 • 27 min
Mike talks with Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick about today’s Supreme Court decision allowing explicitly Christian prayers in public meetings. Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad then turns the tables and interviews Mike about how he came to host his own show. And finally, we…
Promo: The Gist of the Gist
May 3, 2014 • 4 min
Mike Pesca gives a little preview of his new daily show, debuting May 5, 2014 on Slate.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices