32 episodes

Each week, we tell the story of what happens when individual people confront deeply held American ideals in their own lives. We're interested in the cultural and political contradictions that reveal who we are.

The Experiment WNYC

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.2 • 2.2K Ratings

Each week, we tell the story of what happens when individual people confront deeply held American ideals in their own lives. We're interested in the cultural and political contradictions that reveal who we are.

    Who Would Jesus Mock?

    Who Would Jesus Mock?

    The satire site The Babylon Bee, a conservative Christian answer to The Onion, stirred controversy when some readers mistook its headlines for misinformation. In this episode, The Atlantic’s religion reporter Emma Green sits down with the editor in chief, Kyle Mann, to talk about where he draws the line between making a joke and doing harm, and to understand what humor can reveal about American politics.

    Further reading: “Who Would Jesus Mock?”

    A transcript of this episode will soon be made available. Please check back.


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

    This episode was produced by Gabrielle Berbey and Julia Longoria, with editing by Emily Botein and Katherine Wells. Fact-check by Michelle Ciarrocca. Sound design by David Herman, with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Transcription by Caleb Codding.

    • 24 min
    The True Cost of Prison Phone Calls

    The True Cost of Prison Phone Calls

    Ashley C. Ford was just a baby when her father was sentenced to 30 years behind bars. Prison phone calls—a $1.4 billion industry in the United States—were often prohibitively expensive for her family, so Ford maintained a fragmentary relationship with him through handwritten letters and short visits, while her loved ones tried to shield her from her father’s past. With limited contact and unanswered questions, Ford filled in the blanks with fantasies of her father as the perfect man. This week on The Experiment, the Atlantic staff writer Clint Smith speaks with Ford about what children lose when a parent is in prison—and what happened when she discovered the truth of her father’s crime.

    Further reading: “The Lines of Connection,” “The Financial Toll of Mass Incarceration on American Families,” “Restoring Pell Grants—And Possibilities—for Prisoners”

    A transcript of this is available. 


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

    This episode was produced by Gabrielle Berbey and Peter Bresnan, with reporting by Clint Smith. Editing by Katherine Wells, Jenny Lawton, and Julia Longoria. Fact-check by Michelle Ciarrocca. Sound design by David Herman, with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Transcription by Caleb Codding. 

    Music by Nelson Bandela (“Auddi Sun 06 17952 5n4”), Ob (“Ere”), H Hunt (“C U Soon” and “11e”), Water Feature (“Double Blessing I”), Laundry (“Films”), and Keyboard (“My Atelier” and “More Shingles”), provided by Tasty Morsels and Nelson Nance. Additional audio from the Connecticut Network and the Connecticut General Assembly Judiciary Committee.

    • 28 min
    The Original Anti-Vaxxer

    The Original Anti-Vaxxer

    This week, President Joe Biden rolled out a large-scale federal mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for two-thirds of the American workforce, impacting more than 100 million people across the public and private sectors. Some lawmakers have already called the mandate unconstitutional, and Arizona is the first state to sue to block it. This week on The Experiment: As the struggle between individual liberty and public safety rages, we revisit the story of the first Supreme Court battle over vaccines, waged more than 100 years ago.

    This episode of The Experiment originally ran on March 25, 2021.

    A transcript of this episode is available.

    Further reading: “Why Biden Bet It All on Mandates,” “Not Getting Vaccinated to Own Your Fellow Libs,” “‘Post-Vax COVID’ Is a New Disease”


    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 Will Gordon. Sound design by David Herman. Transcript by Caleb Codding.

    Music by Ob (“Wold”), Parish Council (“Leaving the TV on at Night,” “Museum Weather,” “P Lachaise”), Alecs Pierce (“Harbour Music, Parts I & II”), Laundry (“Lawn Feeling”), water feature (“richard iii (duke of gloucester)”), Keyboard (“Mu”), and naran ratan (“Forevertime Journeys”), provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by Dieterich Buxtehude (“Prelude and Fugue in D Major”), Johannes Brahms (“Quintet for Clarinet, Two Violins, Viola, and Cello in B Minor”), and Andrew Eric Halford and Aidan Mark Laverty (“Edge of a Dream”). 

    • 37 min
    The Unwritten Rules of Black TV

    The Unwritten Rules of Black TV

    The Atlantic staff writer Hannah Giorgis grew up in the ’90s, watching dozens of Black characters on TV. Living Single, Sister, Sister, Moesha, and Smart Guy were just a few of the shows led by Black casts. But at some point in the 2000s, those story lines and some of the Black writers behind them seemed to disappear. In a cover story for The Atlantic, Giorgis traces the cyclical, uneven history of Black representation on television.

    One writer whose career encompasses much of that history is Susan Fales-Hill. She got her start as an apprentice on The Cosby Show, wrote for A Different World, and now is an executive producer of BET’s Twenties. This week on The Experiment, Fales-Hill and Giorgis talk about  how power dynamics behind the scenes have shaped what we watch, what we talk about, and how we understand ourselves.

    A transcript of this episode is available. 

    Further reading: “Most Hollywood Writers’ Rooms Look Nothing Like America”


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

    This episode was produced by Meg Cramer. Reporting by Hannah Giorgis. Editing by Katherine Wells. Fact-check by Jack Segelstein. Sound design by David Herman, with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Transcript by Caleb Codding.  

    • 35 min
    What 9/11 Did to One Family

    What 9/11 Did to One Family

    On September 11, 2001, Bobby McIlvaine was killed, along with nearly 3,000 other Americans. In the 20 years since, his parents and brother have searched for ways to live through, and with, their grief.

    The writer Jennifer Senior’s brother was Bobby’s roommate when he died, and in the cover story for The Atlantic’s September issue, she visited with each member of the family to understand their personal journey through the aftermath of national tragedy.

    “The McIlvaines very early on saw a grief counselor,” Senior tells The Experiment’s host, Julia Longoria, “who said to them: ‘Here’s how you have to think about this. You are all at the top of a mountain, and you all have a broken leg, and you all have to get down to the bottom of the mountain. But because you all have broken legs, you just have to take care of your own self and figure out how to get down.’” In this story, Senior explores how each family member dealt with their grief in very different ways. “But there might be a flaw in that metaphor too,” she says, “because, you know, some people never get down the mountain.” 

    This episode’s guests include the Atlantic staff writer Jennifer Senior and Helen McIlvaine, Bob McIlvaine Sr., and Jeff McIlvaine, the family of Bobby McIlvaine Jr. 

    Further reading: “What Bobby McIlvaine Left Behind,” “Everything My Husband Wasn’t There For”

    A transcript of this episode is available. 


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

    This episode was produced by Alyssa Edes and Julia Longoria, with editing by Katherine Wells and Scott Stossel. Reporting by Jennifer Senior. Sound design by David Herman, with additional engineering by Joe Plourde.

    Music by Water Feature (“Double Blessing I” and “Richard III (Duke of Gloucester)”), Naran Ratan (“Forevertime Journeys”), Keyboard (“Being There,” “Small Island,” and “Staying In”), Parish Council (“Heatherside Stores), Alecs Pierce (“Harbour Music, Parts I & II”), and H Hunt (“Journeys”), provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by Joe Plourde. Additional audio from C-SPAN.

    • 44 min
    A Uyghur Teen’s Life After Escaping Genocide

    A Uyghur Teen’s Life After Escaping Genocide

    Here in the United States, 19-year-old Aséna Tahir Izgil feels as though she’s a “grandma.” Aséna is Uyghur, an ethnic minority being imprisoned in labor camps by the Chinese government. The pain she witnessed before escaping in 2017 has aged her beyond her years, she says, making it hard to relate to American teenagers.

    “They talk about … TikToks … clothing, malls, games, movies, and stuff,” she says. “And then the things I think about [are] genocide, Uyghurs, international policies … all the annoying adult facts.”

    For years, the Chinese government has been persecuting her people, but few have escaped to bear witness. This week on The Experiment: Aséna shares her family’s story of fleeing to the U.S. to escape genocide, adjusting to newfound freedom, and trying to deal with the grief and guilt of being a refugee.  

    This episode’s guests include Aséna Tahir Izgil and her father, Tahir Hamut Izgil, a Uyghur poet and author.

    Further reading: One by One, My Friends Were Sent to the Camps, Saving Uighur Culture From Genocide, ‘I Never Thought China Could Ever Be This Dark,’ China’s Xinjiang Policy: Less About Births, More About Control

    A transcript of this episode is available. 


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

    This episode was produced by Julia Longoria, with help from Gabrielle Berbey and editing by Katherine Wells and Emily Botein. Fact-check by Yvonne Rolzhausen. Sound design by David Herman, with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Translations by Joshua L. Freeman.


     A translation of Tahir Hamut Izgil’s poem “Aséna” is presented below.

    Aséna

    By Tahir Hamut Izgil

    Translation by Joshua L. Freeman

     

    A piece of my flesh

    torn away.

    A piece of my bone

    broken off.

    A piece of my soul

    remade.

    A piece of my thought

    set free.

     

    In her thin hands

    the lines of time grow long.

    In her black eyes

    float the truths of stone tablets.

    Round her slender neck

    a dusky hair lies knotted.

    On her dark skin

    the map of fruit is drawn.

     

    She

    is a raindrop on my cheek, translucent

    as the future I can’t see.

     

    She

    is a knot that need not to be untied

    like the formula my blood traced from the sky,

    an omen trickling from history.

     

    She

    kisses the stone on my grave

    that holds down my corpse

    and entrusts me to it.

     

    She

    is a luckless spell

    who made me a creator

    and carried on my creation.

     

    She is my daughter.

    • 47 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
2.2K Ratings

2.2K Ratings

Huamper ,

One of my Favorites

Well researched, well written, well told. Calm, even-keeled, human, honest.

gurt the mongrel ,

AMAZING SHOW!!

If you hadn’t already, you should definitely start listening to it!!!

Maureen, AN OK BOOMER ,

MaureenB

Could you not get an intelligent person to interview. Clearly this man has only his limited knowledge from an overly religious up bring.
I should say I see all religions as a qAnon believer mentality I would also tell you that I was raised Catholic which is my basis for this.

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

You Might Also Like

More by WNYC