18 episodes

It’s easy to forget that the United States started as an experiment: a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, with liberty and justice for all. That was the idea. On this weekly show, we check in on how that experiment is going. The Experiment: stories from an unfinished country. From The Atlantic and WNYC Studios. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts, including Radiolab, On the Media, and Death, Sex & Money. Since 1857, The Atlantic has been a magazine of ideas—a home to the best writers and boldest minds, who bring clarity and original thinking to the most important issues of our time.

The Experiment WNYC

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 16 Ratings

It’s easy to forget that the United States started as an experiment: a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, with liberty and justice for all. That was the idea. On this weekly show, we check in on how that experiment is going. The Experiment: stories from an unfinished country. From The Atlantic and WNYC Studios. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts, including Radiolab, On the Media, and Death, Sex & Money. Since 1857, The Atlantic has been a magazine of ideas—a home to the best writers and boldest minds, who bring clarity and original thinking to the most important issues of our time.

    Life, Liberty, and Drugs

    Life, Liberty, and Drugs

    The Columbia professor Carl Hart spent his career studying the effects of drugs, and uses heroin himself. In his book Drug Use for Grown-Ups, he argues that not only can drug use be safer, but that it’s our right. 

    This week on The Experiment: how villainizing drug use interferes with our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


    Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com.

    This episode was produced by Alvin Melathe and Katherine Wells, with help from Gabrielle Berbey. Special thanks to Michelle Ciarrocca. Fact-check by William Brennan. Sound design by David Herman. Engineering by Alexander Overington.

    Music by r mccarthy (“Fine”), infinite bisous (“Touch 2 Much (Morsel)”), Ob (“Mog”), Parish Council (“Marmalade Day,” “Museum Weather,” “Heatherside Stores,” and “Mopping”), and Column (“「The Art of Fun」 (Raj),” “Quiet Song,” and “Morsel Code”), provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional audio from CNN, FOX News, The Breakfast Club, and Pee-Wee Herman.

    • 28 min
    The Ashes on the Lawn

    The Ashes on the Lawn

     

    In the face of death, grief, and indifference, what can people do to make a change? In trying to understand a year of tragedy and conflict, correspondent Tracie Hunte looks back 30 years to explore the U.S. AIDS epidemic and how protesters balanced rage and anguish with pointed and often painstaking political action. 

    This week on The Experiment, we hear from AIDS activists who put their bodies on the line and from the man they burned in effigy, Anthony Fauci. 

    This story originally ran on Radiolab.


    Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com.

    This episode was reported by Tracie Hunte and produced by Annie McEwen and Tobin Low. Fact-checking by Diane Kelly.

    • 49 min
    One Woman’s Quest for an Orgasm

    One Woman’s Quest for an Orgasm

     

    Katharine Smyth is 39 years old and has never, to her knowledge, had an orgasm. This fact didn’t worry her very much until her 30s, when a divorce and a series of dates with frustrated men made her think she might never find love again. So she embarked on a quest—diving deep into an industry designed to solve her problem, searching for a feeling that’s been a fixation of science, pseudoscience, politics, and philosophy for centuries.

    “The metaphor that came to me is that it’s kind of like a Rorschach test, where it’s this abstraction that all of these doctors and scientists are projecting their own worldview upon. And it’s almost always to the benefit of men.”

    This week on The Experiment: A personal quest for sexual fulfillment reveals centuries of mythmaking about female pleasure. 

    Further reading: The Tyranny of the Female-Orgasm Industrial Complex


    Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com.

    This episode was produced by Julia Longoria and Gabrielle Berbey, with editing by Katherine Wells. Fact-check by Stef Hayes. Sound design by David Herman.

    Music by infinite bisous (“Lost in Translation /2,” “Why Should I?”), r mccarthy (“Fine,” “Jyoti,” “She's a Gift Giver, She's a Giver of Gifts”), Parish Council (“Same Cake”), Safa Park (“Loose Yams”), Laundry (“Lawn Feeling”), Keyboard (“Staying In”), water feature (“a paradise”), and Nelson Bandela (“No Dummms 6860,” “Hoop Dreams”), provided by Tasty Morsels and Nelson Nance. Additional music by Brian C. Chapman (“Casual Sex”) and Claude Debussy (“Prélude à l'Après-Midi d'un Faune”). Additional audio from MGM Studios, Sweet Alice, Film&Clips, Fox News, Miramax, and VCX Classics.

    • 28 min
    How the Evangelical World Turned on Itself

    How the Evangelical World Turned on Itself

    Lecrae Moore came up in a Christian culture deeply entwined with politics: Evangelicals were Republicans, and Republicans were evangelicals. As a Black college student, he found a sense of belonging in Bible study. His mentors and community were predominantly white and very conservative, but that didn’t really bother him. He found success as an artist and built a career in the white evangelical world.

    Over time, though, he began to notice how much politics influenced his church culture. He was inspired by Barack Obama’s election, but felt unable to share that with his evangelical audiences. He was disturbed by the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, but faced backlash on social media for saying so. He started writing lyrics about race and the hypocrisy he saw among Christians, who he felt paid lip service to diversity but didn’t form substantive relationships with other communities. When he saw how strongly the evangelical world was going to champion Donald Trump, he decided to speak out. He lost money and fans, friends and mentors. And he almost lost his faith.

    White evangelicals have arguably never been more powerful as a political force in America than they are now, but political victory has a human cost. People of all kinds of backgrounds have felt gutted by Christian support for Trump. Among Christians, the Trump era’s legacy might be fracture, not unity.

    This week on The Experiment: the story of an evangelical artist who found his voice and lost his church.

    Further reading: The Unofficial Racism Consultants to the White Evangelical World, How Trump Lost an Evangelical Stalwart, The Tiny Blond Bible Teacher Taking On the Evangelical Political Machine


    Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com.

    This episode was produced by Katherine Wells and Alvin Melathe, with reporting by Emma Green. Editing by Julia Longoria, and Emily Botein. Fact-check by William Brennan. Sound design by David Herman. Transcription by Caleb Codding.

    Music by Ob (“Mog” and “Wold”), water feature (“richard iii (duke of gloucester)”), Keyboard (“My Atelier”), Laundry (“Lawn Feeling”), Norvis Junior (“Overworld 7636” and (“Grim Reapers Groove 94”), and Nelson Bandela (“311 Howard Ave 25 5740” and “Auddi Sun 09 Lop Lop 722”), provided by Tasty Morsels and Nelson Nance. Additional music performed by Lecrae, courtesy of Reach Records, arranged by The Orchard (“Dirty Water” and “Take Me as I Am”). Additional audio from Real Life With Jack Hibbs, Matthew Phan, C-SPAN, ABC News, and Roland S. Martin.

    • 38 min
    How The Evangelical Machine Got Made

    How The Evangelical Machine Got Made

    These days, everyone assumes that this is just a fact of life: Evangelicals are Republicans, and Republicans are evangelicals. The powerful alliance culminated in the 2016 election of Donald Trump, tying the reputation of Christianity in America to the Trump brand—maybe permanently.

    It wasn’t always like this. One man—a political operative from Georgia named Ralph Reed—devised a plan to harness the energy of young Christians and turn them into America’s most powerful voting bloc, one church mailing list at a time. Decades later, when Donald Trump came on the political scene, Reed knew he would be big—and convinced his fellow evangelicals that they should give him a shot.

    Trump’s election was everything Reed spent his entire career fighting for: a president who was anti–abortion rights, listened to evangelical leaders, and advocated for Christians who felt pushed out of the public square. But Reed’s victory had a cost. Many, many Christians have come to feel that their church cares more about politics than Jesus. They have spoken out. They have grieved. And some of them have left.

    This week on The Experiment, we have the first episode in a two-part series: Meet the man who turned a disparate group of evangelicals into America’s most powerful voting bloc and invented the evangelical political brand. Then join us next week for Part 2, when we’ll look at the human cost of political victory—a cost that might ultimately be very high.

    Further reading: “A Christian Insurrection”


    Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com.

    This episode was produced by Katherine Wells and Alvin Melathe, with reporting by Emma Green. Editing by Julia Longoria, Tracie Hunte, and Emily Botein. Fact-check by William Brennan. Sound design by David Herman.

    Music by Parish Council (“Looking for Tom Putt,” “Leaving the TV on at Night,” “Mopping”), Ob (“Ere”), Keyboard (“Staying In”), R McCarthy (“Big Game”), H Hunt (“Journeys”), and Infinite Bisous (“Brain”); provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by Lorne David Roderick Balfe (“Petrify (b)”). Additional audio from Warner Bros. Pictures, Access Hollywood, C-SPAN, UCLA’s communications-studies department, and The 700 Club.

    • 38 min
    Here for the Right Reasons? Lessons From '90 Day Fiancé'

    Here for the Right Reasons? Lessons From '90 Day Fiancé'

    Dating shows often push contestants to extreme measures in pursuit of love. Reality-show producers will impose fake deadlines, physical obstacles, and manufactured drama to create the juiciest spectacle. But on TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé, a high-stakes and wildly popular reality show, the producers didn’t need to dream up a deadline: It’s a requirement of the rigorous U.S. visa-application process. 

    The show follows real-life couples pursuing a K-1 visa—the “fiancé visa”—which allows a U.S. citizen’s foreign partner to enter the U.S. legally, but only for 90 days, the deadline by which they must get married. The show documents the complications of those emotionally charged 90 days, when two people from different countries, cultures, and sometimes races have to decide whether their relationship is real.

    “From the very moment that the federal government became involved in immigration, you see the influence of biases of race as it’s intersecting with class and sexuality,” says Felicity Amaya Schaeffer, a professor of feminist studies and critical race studies at UC Santa Cruz.


    Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com.

    This episode was produced by Tracie Hunte and Gabrielle Berbey, with editing by Katherine Wells, Julia Longoria, and Emily Botein. Fact-check by William Brennan. Sound design by David Herman.

    Music by Column (“Quiet Song,” “「The Art of Fun」 (Raj),” and “Sensuela”), water feature (“a horse”), Laundry (“Films”), r mccarthy (“Contemplation at Lon Lon”), Parish Council (“Walled Garden 1”), and infinite bisous (“(Terminally) Lovesick”), provided by Tasty Morsels and Nelson Nance. Additional music from APM (“Ordinary Fantasy,” “Yaas Queen,” “Your Fault,” “Ballroom Big Band,” “Brasillia,” “Sinking Feeling,” “Boogie Woogie,” “Duplicity (a),” “Oh My,” “You Got It Baby,” “Getaway,” “Into the Mist,” and “Freewheeling”). Additional audio from TLC, TLC U.K., and C-SPAN.


    A transcript of this episode is presented below:

    (Playfully plucky marimba-and-horn music plays.)

    Tracie Hunte: So, to begin, I am going to send you a link. It’s a little bit long—it’s like seven minutes or so—’cause this is your first time watching 90 Day Fiancé, anything having to do with 90 Day Fiancé, right?

    Julia Longoria: That’s correct.

    Hunte: Okay, okay.

    Longoria: I’m just curious, like, why are you interested in this? Like, why should someone care?

    Hunte: (Insistently.) Watch the clip, Julia! (Laughs, and Longoria joins in.)

    (Music shifts into long, sustained notes to build drama.)

    Longoria: We start today with correspondent Tracie Hunte guiding me into the unknown: the world of reality TV.

    (A dramatic but upbeat musical flourish plays, like the intro to a theme song, before moving back to the plucky, quirky music.)

    Hunte: Okay. So, Julia, 90 Day Fiancé is a wildly popular show on TLC. It’s about couples who are international—like, it’s usually one person lives in America, and the other person lives somewhere overseas—and I want to begin your 90 Day Fiancé journey with one couple in particular: Colt and Larissa.

    Longoria: Okay. I’m gonna—do I hit play?

    Hunte: Yes. Hit play!

    Colt: My name is Colt. I’m 33 years old. I live in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Hunte: We are in Las Vegas, Nevada, and we’re at the airport, and we’re meeting Colt and Larissa. Colt is a white guy in his 30s. He lives in Las Vegas. 

    Larissa: I am Larissa, 31 years old, from Minas Gerais, Brazil.

    Hunte: And Larissa is from Brazil. She is also in her 30s. And they met online. They went on vacation together—to Cancun, I think—and after five days of this vacation together, Colt asked Larissa to marry him. And so she said yes.

    Longoria: After one date they

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

SammieH041 ,

Amazing!

I listen to this podcast every single week and it never disappoints! Always fascinating topics with amazing guests :)

vittolenu ,

Absolutely fascinating

Listening all the way from London, and finding this so interesting and informative. :)

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