172 episodes

Every week Chris Hayes asks the big questions that keep him up at night. How do we make sense of this unprecedented moment in world history? Why is this (all) happening?

This podcast starts to answer these questions. Writers, experts, and thinkers who are also trying to get to the bottom of them join Chris to break it all down and help him get a better night’s rest. “Why is this Happening?” is presented by MSNBC and NBCNews Think.

Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes NBC News

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Every week Chris Hayes asks the big questions that keep him up at night. How do we make sense of this unprecedented moment in world history? Why is this (all) happening?

This podcast starts to answer these questions. Writers, experts, and thinkers who are also trying to get to the bottom of them join Chris to break it all down and help him get a better night’s rest. “Why is this Happening?” is presented by MSNBC and NBCNews Think.

    Fighting Back the Virus with Andy Slavitt

    Fighting Back the Virus with Andy Slavitt

    Here in the United States, things are closer to normal than they have been in a long time. Businesses have reopened, gatherings have started to resume, and COVID cases and deaths continue to fall to levels that we have not seen since the very beginning of the pandemic. But even three months ago, it was not clear that this would be the point we are at. So how did the government ramp up its vaccine campaign to get us to a closer normal?

    • 48 min
    Energy and Evolution with Herman Pontzer

    Energy and Evolution with Herman Pontzer

    How does the human body take in and use energy? It is a simple question, but one that we still do not have a definitive answer to. This week Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, Herman Pontzer, joins to shed light on these evolutionary mysteries.

    • 46 min
    How the Word is Passed with Clint Smith

    How the Word is Passed with Clint Smith

    What we call history isn't a fixed thing; it's a narrative, contested and fought over, changing over time. Right now, the United States is in the midst of a massive historical battle over its own narrative, specifically the legacy of slavery and race in America. The backlash to that fight is spilling into public policy as Republican state legislatures push to regulate the way students are taught about the founding of our country. In Clint Smith's new book "How The Word is Passed", Smith studies our understanding of slavery through the stories we tell of it. He travelled to the cemeteries and plantations and prisons home to these stories to see up close how they reckon with - or fail to reckon with - their own relationship to our country's legacy.

    • 52 min
    Treating Trans Youth with Dr. Izzy Lowell

    Treating Trans Youth with Dr. Izzy Lowell

    What is gender-affirming health care? Around the country, there’s a Republican campaign to legislate and regulate the lives of trans youth. The most destructive of these efforts would bar trans youth in certain states from accessing gender-affirming treatment. Dr. Izzy Lowell runs Queer Med, a private clinic that specializes in providing accessible health care to trans patients ranging from kids to adults. Her practice covers 10 states across the South – and half of those have anti-trans health care bills on the docket. If they pass, it would become criminal for her to provide this care to many of her patients. Dr. Lowell joins this week to break down what exactly we mean when we talk about gender-affirming care, how the decision is made for kids and teens ready to transition, and the potentially devastating impact this legislation would have on their lives.

    • 49 min
    A More Violent America with Patrick Sharkey

    A More Violent America with Patrick Sharkey

    What causes violent crime rates to rise? It probably won’t surprise you to learn that 2020 was the deadliest year in American history but what you may not know is that 2020 also saw a staggering rise in homicides and violent crime. It’s impossible to separate the two – the indefinite closure of crucial community spaces and abrupt economic upheaval were felt nationwide but hit hardest in areas most vulnerable to increased interpersonal violence. To understand what happened last year, it’s worth looking back at the last major wave of violence in the United States – what caused the spike then and what caused it to go down? Sociologist Patrick Sharkey’s book, “Uneasy Peace”, lays out the most successful strategies cities used to decrease violent crime and joins to lend his expertise on what we got right – and what we’re getting wrong.

    • 53 min
    A Life in China with Te-Ping Chen

    A Life in China with Te-Ping Chen

    We largely hear about China in the news through the lens of what the Chinese government is doing, but it is a country with over a billion people and a history thousands of years old. For as large and influential as it is, Americans do not consume Chinese cultural exports in the same way that China does in the reverse. Chinese made movies are not screened in most theaters across the United States. We do not watch Chinese sitcoms dubbed. While China and other countries regularly consume American culture that show peeks of what life is like in United States, we don’t have the same regular access to those windows of everyday China. So, what is life like in China? This week journalist and author Te-Ping Chen joins to talk about her time as a student and journalist in China and her new book of short stories In the “Land of Big Numbers”.

    • 49 min

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