A discussion-based podcast on politics, ethics, and current affairs, featuring in-depth conversations with (extra)ordinary individuals.
This Will Be Your Legacy
My guest for today’s season finale is Bob Karp (@BobKarpDR). Bob is a photographer whom I first learned about through his amazing photos of endangered lemurs at the Duke Lemur Center. I assumed Bob had always been a wildlife photographer, but in fact, he has over three decades of photojournalism experience, covering everything from Michael Jordan to 9/11, from Hurricane Sandy to Trump rallies and Black Lives Matter marches. Looking through his photos is like looking through a photo album of America. Bob Karp has been up close and personal with a number of famous faces: Joe Biden, Taylor Swift, Mike Tyson, Bruce Springsteen… but the photos of his that interested me the most (beside the lemurs of course) were the pictures of everyday people in their everyday lives, sometimes in moments of unbridled joy, others in moments of unspeakable sorrow. I wanted to have Bob on the show to talk about the stories behind these photos, about what photography captures but also what it leaves out, and how Bob has seen America unfold and change over the past years. And of course, we talk about the lemurs. Bob Karp’s photography:https://www.bobkarpphotography.com https://www.dailyrecord.com/picture-gallery/life/2018/12/21/three-decades-images-daily-record-photojournalist-bob-karp/2391073002/ Book recommendation:Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, by James Agee & Walker Evans
Quality of Life
Kate Tomlinson is a nurse who specialises in palliative care. I wanted to talk with her more about why it’s so hard to talk about death, what it’s like being with people and their families in their last few months, and how society balances extending life vs. quality of life. We also talk about Kate’s work with Doctors Without Borders in central Africa, and how Covid has (or hasn’t) changed the way we think about both global health and mortality. Recommendations:The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara KingsolverBeing Mortal, by Atul Gawande
Eric Reidy (@Eric_Reidy) is a journalist and the migration editor-at-large for The New Humanitarian. He has reported extensively on migration in the Mediterranean as well as on humanitarian aid work and vigilante groups at the US-Mexico border.In addition to the New Humanitarian, he has written for Wired Magazine, the New Republic, the Nation, Mother Jones, and the MIT Technology Review, among other outlets. He is the author of the award winning Ghost Boat – an investigative series about the disappearance of 243 refugees in the Mediterranean Sea.I’ve wanted to have Eric on the podcast for a while to talk about both the issues he covers, and also how he covers them. His style of journalism is one you don’t see very often – long-form, character-driven, and usually based on weeks or even months of investigative field work in tough places.In this episode, we talk about the worsening humanitarian situation at the US-Mexico border, Eric’s previous work on migration to the EU, what people get wrong about refugees, and why there are no easy answers to policy questions about migration.Recommendations:Beyond the Sand and Sea by Ty McCormickThe Ungrateful Refugee, by Dina Nayeri
"I Am Not Okay." Revisting Anti-Asian Hate Crimes
Jennifer Chen (@jchenwriter) is a freelance journalist who has written for print and online media, including pieces in the New York Times, Oprah Magazine, and many other publications. Over the past year, she has written four articles on the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes in America since the start of the pandemic.Jenn came on the JNS last summer to discuss attacks against the Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, and I wanted to have her back on the show to discuss what’s changed (and what hasn’t) over the past year, and how people are coping and responding to the violence. We also discuss the impact of the Atlanta shootings, why hate crimes are hard to prosecute, and the complexities of race and racism in America.Jenn’s Articles:Georgia Senator Michelle Au Shares What You Can Do to Help the Asian American CommunityHow You Can Join the Stop Asian Hate MovementRacist Attacks Against Asian Americans Are Still on The Rise During COVID-19Yes, Calling Coronavirus “the Chinese Virus” or Kung-Flu Is RacistResources:Stop AAPI HateHate is a VirusRecommendations:Interior Chinatown, by Charles YuMinari, directed by Lee Isaac ChungJoy Ride Newsletter
Church and State
My guest today is Patrick Cacchione. He’s been working at the intersection of politics, religion, and health policy for the past three decades, and he’s one of my favorite people to speak with on these topics. Patrick has been a teacher, a writer, and has worked on Capitol Hill, but his main role for the past 30 years has been with the Catholic Health Association, an organisation that advocates and educates for health policy rooted in Catholic ethics and teaching. I wanted to have this conversation for several reasons. First, I’m interested in what happens when religious freedoms and other civil liberties come into tension, and how we deal with that as a state and as a society. I'm also attracted to concepts and ideas that scramble our usual assumptions of polarisation, and Catholic health is one area that does that, with policy positions that don’t fall neatly along party lines. Finally, I’m fascinated by the moral foundations and ethical frameworks that orient people towards different policy positions, and how, even when we disagree, trying to drill down to those moral motivations might help us understand others’ positions a little bit better.Book recommendation:Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
What are some of the competing ethical considerations that have defined how we respond to the pandemic?Dr. Gry Wester is a Lecturer in Bioethics and Global Health Ethics at Kings College London. This year she was also a member of the Expert Group in Ethics and Priority Setting for Coronavirus Vaccination in Norway, essentially deciding the order in which people should get vaccinated.Gry’s training is in political philosophy, and her work focuses on using philosophy and ethics to address real-world policy challenges, especially on questions related to justice, equality, and public health.In this conversation, we talk about the different moral considerations that have defined both personal and policy choices during the pandemic, as well as broader questions about public health and social inequalities.Recommendations:Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor FranklDisadvantage, by Jonathan Wolff
In a time where news feels galvanized by zero-sum politics, it is refreshing to hear a podcast strive for the middle ground
Good perspective that should be heard in the United States.
Thanks for this conversation about good work done with sensitivity and joy. Great episode!