29 episodes

Everything is broken. Adaam James Levin-Areddy and Vanessa M. Quirk, two jaded journos, interview people far wiser than themselves and ask: "now what?"

uncertain.substack.com

Uncertain Things Uncertain Things

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.4 • 129 Ratings

Everything is broken. Adaam James Levin-Areddy and Vanessa M. Quirk, two jaded journos, interview people far wiser than themselves and ask: "now what?"

uncertain.substack.com

    Our Temples of Tragedy (w/ Justin Davidson)

    Our Temples of Tragedy (w/ Justin Davidson)

    One of Justin Davidson's first gigs as New York Magazine's architecture critic was covering the development of the 9/11 memorial — an incredibly complex and controversial project that shaped the city's future. The experience influenced the way he thinks about the role of architecture and urbanism in the ways we process our societal traumas. We talk to Justin about the role of the architecture critics, the 21st century task of creating memorials to shame, and why it's too soon to truly memorialize Covid. And then, for fun, we put him in the urbanist hot seat for questions ranging from: "how do we fix housing" to "who should we vote for mayor of New York?"

    Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, and Stitcher. Follow @UncertainPod on your social media of choice.

    On the agenda:

    -Cities, journalisming, and national tragedies

    -What do critics critique? (And why scale matters!)

    -9/11 and the premature monument

    -How will we remember COVID19?

    -Who do monuments serve?

    -Why NY sucks (aka Adaam’s favorite diatribe)

    -Is there anybody out there (among NYC mayoral candidates)?

    Uncertain Things is hosted and produced by Adaam James Levin-Areddy and Vanessa M. Quirk. For more doomsday ruminations, subscribe to: uncertain.substack.com.

    Get on the email list at uncertain.substack.com

    • 1 hr 38 min
    Blackness and the Other Side of Trauma (w/ Misha Thomas)

    Blackness and the Other Side of Trauma (w/ Misha Thomas)

    Our friend Misha Thomas, ex-evangelical and psychologist, returns to the show to discuss his recent revelation around race, spurred on by the PBS documentary, The Black Church. Along the way, we discuss a bevy of unanswerable questions surrounding this idea of racial trauma: Is it good for us keep to re-visiting, even valorizing, our past traumas? Are trauma narratives too reductionist for our own good? What good can acknowledging and discussing trauma bring? And is there really an "other side" we'll ever reach?

    Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, and Stitcher. Follow @UncertainPod on your social media of choice.

    On the agenda:

    -Trigger warnings on both sides [1:11]

    -Reflecting on voting for Trump [14:21]

    -The Black Church & a new revelation on race [19:54]

    -Racism and classism within the Black community [35:00]

    -Busting out of neat, reductionist narratives [44:40]

    -Cringing at self-love and self-hate [54:40]

    -What's so tricky about trauma [1:01:50]

    -The meaning of "moving forward" [1:19:04]

    -"The trauma I've never talked about" [1:31:05]

    Uncertain Things is hosted and produced by Adaam James Levin-Areddy and Vanessa M. Quirk. For more doomsday ruminations, subscribe to: uncertain.substack.com.

    Get on the email list at uncertain.substack.com

    • 1 hr 45 min
    Welcome to Cold War II (w/ Eyck Freymann)

    Welcome to Cold War II (w/ Eyck Freymann)

    Back in 2015, when Eyck Freymann began studying China, he kept coming across this phrase in Chinese media: “One Belt, One Road.” No one in the West was talking about it, but, for anyone paying attention, it was the initiative that would define Xi Jinping’s reign. Eyck joins us to explain the significance of these four words, the imperial mantle Xi Jinping has donned (and why many countries are loving it), and the tricky geo-political landscape the U.S. must navigate if we’re to avoid another Cold War. 

    Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, and Stitcher. Follow @UncertainPod on your social media of choice.

    On the agenda:

    -Intro to Eyck & China [2:49]

    -A Coda to our Conversation with Batya Ungar-Sargon [7:47]

    -The story of the decade is not a story about debt traps [17:07]

    -One Belt, One Road: How it began [25:11]

    -The Empire Strikes Back (What Chinese propaganda teaches us) [38:25]

    -Why the West needs to be on alert [51:37]

    -Violations & Hypocrisies [1:02:08]

    -What the Biden Administration Should Do [1:11:55]

    -Eyck's take on current events [1:19:18]

    Uncertain Things is hosted and produced by Adaam James Levin-Areddy and Vanessa M. Quirk. For more doomsday ruminations, subscribe to: uncertain.substack.com.

    Get on the email list at uncertain.substack.com

    • 1 hr 32 min
    Marxism vs. The Media (w/ Batya Ungar-Sargon)

    Marxism vs. The Media (w/ Batya Ungar-Sargon)

    Batya Ungar-Sargon, deputy opinion editor for Newsweek and self-proclaimed "vulgar Marxist," is still a lefty — even if the left no longer wants her. We talk to Batya about her upcoming book (Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy), debate the liberal media's criminal avoidance of class inequality (which, to her, explains the underpinnings of its current obsession with race), and even get into the differences between Israeli and diaspora Jews.

    Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, and Stitcher. Follow @UncertainPod on your social media of choice.

    On the agenda:

    -Into the ickiness (why we started uncertain things) [6:09]

    -Intro to Batya [10:10]

    -Getting called out for calling out Anti-semitism [14:05]

    -What happened at the New York Times [23:05]

    -Misdirection, race, and moral panic [37:20]

    -Class and its dubious champions [47:35]

    -The betrayal of the left (on welfare and UBI) [58:43]

    -Trump's working class wins [1:09:05]

    -A perfect defense of the status quo [1:13:30]

    -The woke theology and bowling alone [1:19:00]

    -Israeli Jews, diaspora Jews, and anti-zionism [1:29:20]

    Uncertain Things is hosted and produced by Adaam James Levin-Areddy and Vanessa M. Quirk. For more doomsday ruminations, subscribe to: uncertain.substack.com.

    Get on the email list at uncertain.substack.com

    • 1 hr 40 min
    What We Lose When We Break Free (w/ Yuval Levin)

    What We Lose When We Break Free (w/ Yuval Levin)

    Yuval Levin is a leading conservative thinker and political scientist who has, for quite some time, been contemplating the question: what’s gone wrong in America? We dive into his most recent book, A Time to Build, where he traces the long-term shriveling of our social institutions — from political parties to journalism to the academy — a process which, according to Yuval, supercharged the current trends of inequality, division, and political opportunism. Later on, we dare to get even nerdier than that and revisit Yuval’s historical study of Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine, and the lessons they still teach us.

    Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, and Stitcher. Follow @UncertainPod on your social media of choice.

    On the agenda:

    -The Hitler question [4:26]

    -Yuval, introduced [9:29]

    -The difference between the left and right [13:28]

    -Seeing things in institutional terms [16:36]

    -Conformity, cohesion, and resistance [21:20]

    -The strangeness of mid-century America [33:31]

    -The social infrastructure that shapes us [38:39]

    -The resilience of libraries and schools [42:30]

    -Journalism as an institution [45:00]

    -America's overly high expectations of the Academy [52:15]

    -From the political to the performative (or how to fix Congress) [57:16]

    -Being a conservative in the Trump era [1:12:14]

    -On Burke, Paine, beauty, and truth [1:20:03]

    -Space vs. Motion [1:27:28]

    Uncertain Things is hosted and produced by Adaam James Levin-Areddy and Vanessa M. Quirk. For more doomsday thoughts, subscribe to: uncertain.substack.com.

    Get on the email list at uncertain.substack.com

    • 1 hr 36 min
    Sex, Feminism, and the Madding Crowd (w/ Caitlin Flanagan)

    Sex, Feminism, and the Madding Crowd (w/ Caitlin Flanagan)

    Caitlin Flanagan has a taste for controversy. Over her decades writing for The Atlantic, she's covered everything from feminism (and the ways it lets women down) to porn to self-censoring in comedy to her own struggle with cancer to the darkest depths of the culture war. But are there any subjects she wouldn’t write about?

    Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, and Stitcher. Follow @UncertainPod on your social media of choice.

    On the agenda:

    -Introducing Caitlin [3:53]

    -On writing and being dour [11:00]

    -The censorship and self-censorship of the young [20:46]

    -Touching touchy subjects [25:44]

    -On feminism, cruelty, and the culture war [31:47]

    -The left, the right, and the French [42:15]

    -Patriotism & the Patriot Act [47:32]

    -Our disembodied lives [49:53]

    -On porn, sex work, and loneliness [58:13]

    -Trauma and its new narratives [1:10:24]

    Uncertain Things is hosted and produced by Adaam James Levin-Areddy and Vanessa M. Quirk. For more doomsday thoughts, subscribe to: uncertain.substack.com.

    Get on the email list at uncertain.substack.com

    • 1 hr 17 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
129 Ratings

129 Ratings

anar49 ,

Great podcast

Love the sophistication and intelligence of the hosts! Currently my favorite podcast.

B.A.1186 ,

Yo super good

Where’s the 3 hr version of the theme song?

This is super chill; current favorite podcast.

Asher Reich ,

I Like It

As a person who seldom listens to podcasts, I’m really happy to make an exception for Uncertain Things.

Adaam and Vanessa’s energy is infectious. The hosts take on various topics of current and enduring interest, and explore the issues deeply and widely. Topics range from the dynamics of religious ideology to the subtleties of YouTube’s “Up Next” algorithm. Overall, the podcast achieves a desirable balance between candor and curiosity, on the one hand, and academic integrity on the other.

If you’re down for a different approach to conversational journalism, this podcast may just be for you.

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