Produced by The New Republic and hosted by literary editor Laura Marsh and staff writer Alex Pareene, The Politics of Everything is a podcast about the intersection of culture, politics, and media.
Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Us
What’s it like to be wrong? We have no idea. On Episode 25 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene discuss being right all the time. TNR staff writers Walter Shapiro and Matt Ford review their spot-on analyses of Trump and the Republican Party; Wired columnist Paul Ford talks about how the internet today looks exactly as he would have predicted in 2000; and the social psychologist Carol Tavris explains cognitive dissonance, the mechanism that protects people who do get things wrong—unlike the hosts, producers, editors, and guests of this podcast—from ever realizing it.
The Case of the Sick Spies
In late 2016, staff at the American embassy in Havana began hearing strange noises and experiencing a range of odd symptoms: headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears. Suspicion arose that they had been targets of a secret weapon. In the years since, doctors, scientists, journalists, and government officials have tried—with limited success—to get to the bottom of the illness that came to be known as Havana Syndrome. On Episode 24 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk to four people who have followed the story closely: Jack Hitt, who covered it for Vanity Fair; Tim Weiner, the author of The Folly and the Glory: America, Russia, and Political Warfare 1945-2020; Adam Gaffney, a physician; and the journalist Natalie Shure. What was the diplomatic context in which Havana Syndrome appeared? How have Republicans, Democrats, and the foreign policy establishment exploited the secret weapon theory? And is there a likelier explanation for the mysterious syndrome?
Against Remote Work
As its boosters have long argued, remote work offers any number of obvious benefits. Companies save money on rent; employees don’t have to waste time commuting; and everyone, without the distractions of the office, can be more efficient. But for decades, telecommuting simply failed to take hold. On Episode 23 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk with the writer Richard Cooke about why, and what our historical reluctance to work from home augurs for the future.
Later in the show, Katie McDonough, a deputy editor at The New Republic, investigates the fantasy of escaping from work altogether, with a look at the politics of early-retirement advice.
How Pandemics End
On December 11, the Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer to begin distributing its vaccine for Covid-19. The triumphant moment comes on the brink of a grim winter, amid record case levels across the United States, and it is accompanied by countless unknowns. For Episode 22 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk to Nicholas Christakis, a physician and sociologist at Yale University and the author of Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live, about what to expect in the coming year and beyond—what it will take to recover from the pandemic’s devastation, and how our lives may be permanently changed. Later in the show, Melody Schreiber, a frequent contributor to The New Republic, and Rebecca Coyle, the executive director of the American Immunization Registry Association, join to discuss the challenges of the vaccine rollout. When will vaccines be available to ordinary people? What kinds of problems may arise as they’re distributed and tracked? How long, in other words, will all this last?
American Military Supremacy is Not Inevitable
The country with the most powerful military in the world likes to pretend it has no choice in the matter. If the United States didn’t maintain order, the story goes, disorder would prevail. But as decades of messy wars drag on, this justification grows less and less plausible. On Episode 21 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk to the historian Stephen Wertheim about how the U.S. took on its role as a military superpower, and what might happen if we relinquished it.
Later in the episode, TNR staff writer Alex Shepherd analyzes the runoff elections in Georgia that will determine which party controls the Senate. Republican Kelly Loeffler, who’s favored to win, is a political newbie with an insider trading scandal in her past. Why don’t voters care?
Fantasizing About Joe Biden’s Cabinet
Who should President-elect Biden ask to join his cabinet? Everyone has an opinion, and most of the opinions are terrible. On Episode 20 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene interpret our cabinet dreams. What do they say about us, and what do they say about Joe Biden? Jason Linkins, a deputy editor at The New Republic, and Osita Nwanevu, a staff writer at the magazine, bravely join to help Alex and Laura appoint their own fantasy cabinet.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Almost as good as The TARFU Report was!
It’s solid. At least one episode in. Still sad that Taibbi and Parenee don’t do this stuff together though.