6 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

    • Documentary
    • 3.8 • 1.1K 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.

    Lost Cause

    Lost Cause

    The Confederate States seceded from the United States over slavery. But the “lost cause” myth—the idea that the Civil War was not about slavery but about northern aggression—still has a hold on countless Americans.

    The historian Ty Seidule doesn’t believe that anymore, though he only came to the realization well into his career as an Army officer and a history professor. His book Robert E. Lee and Me deconstructs the legacy of the top Confederate general and unpacks the enduring “lost cause” ideology. 

    On this week’s episode of The Experiment, the correspondent Tracie Hunte talked with Seidule about why unlearning the mythology surrounding Lee took him so long, and the host, Julia Longoria, considers what it might take for other white Americans to do the same.


    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 Matt Collette, with editing by Katherine Wells, Julia Longoria, and Alvin Melathe. Fact-check by William Brennan. Sound design by David Herman. Special thanks to Adam Serwer, Vann R. Newkirk II, Veralyn Williams, and Jenisha Watts.

    Music by Keyboard (“Shingles,” “Contractions”), Parish Council (“St. Peter Port/Wiltshire/Cooking Leeks,” “Socks Before Trousers,” “Leaving the TV on at Night”), Ob (“Waif”), and infinite bisous (“Brain”); provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional audio from CBS, Military Videos, the Associated Press, Congressman Steve Womack, the U.S. Naval Academy, CBSN, and Senator Lindsey Graham.

    • 29 min
    The Sisterhood

    The Sisterhood

    At the start of the pandemic, Jollene Levid and her mother, Nora, found themselves glued to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nightly press conferences. In a press conference late last March, Garcetti announced a new milestone: the first health-care worker in Los Angeles County to die of the disease.

    “When I heard him say that, I realized that he was talking about Auntie Rosary,” Jollene Levid says, speaking about Rosary Castro-Olega, a 63-year-old nurse who came out of retirement to work in hospitals strained by the pandemic. Castro-Olega’s death helped inspire an online memorial called Kanlungan, which honors the lives of health-care workers of Filipino descent. 

    This week on The Experiment, the story of why so many people—many of them women, many of them nurses—have left the Philippines to work in the American health-care system, and why they have been so disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic.


    Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. Listen and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts

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

    Music by Keyboard (“Small Island,” “My Atelier,” “Mu,” and “Ojima”), water feature (“a paradise,” “richard iii (duke of gloucester)”), Laurie Bird (“Detail Wash”), naran ratan (“Forevertime Journeys”), r mccarthy (“Home/Home”), and Parish Council (“New Apt.”) provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by APM (“Macho Theme”). Additional audio from C-SPAN, the Associated Press, and ABS-CBN News.

    • 30 min
    The Case for Sweatpants

    The Case for Sweatpants

    To mid-aughts celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, they were high fashion. To the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Eva Mendes they’re a sign of defeat; they declare to the world, as Jerry tells George Costanza in the Seinfeld pilot, “I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.”

    And since the start of the pandemic, sweatpants have become perhaps more ubiquitous than ever.

    “A lot of people who had been going to offices stopped going to offices for the foreseeable future,” Amanda Mull, a staff writer for The Atlantic, says. “I think people were forced to decide what it is they want to wear for this new circumstance they’re in.”

    In this episode of the new podcast The Experiment, Mull and the host, Julia Longoria, trace sweatpants through U.S. history and debate an age-old question: Do they symbolize laziness, or freedom?

    Further reading: “America’s Most Hated Garment”


    Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. Listen and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts

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

    Music by Ob (“Grot”), and r mccarthy (“Learning English”), water feature (“with flowers”), Laurie Bird (“Jussa Trip”), Column (“「The Art of Fun」 (Raj)”), infinite bisous (“The Past Tense”), and Nelson Bandela (“561 Mac D 10,” “011 HareDoe 019 8396,” “GLU EEE 86”), provided by Tasty Morsels and Nelson Nance. Additional audio from DigitalPimple, Glamourdaze, International Fitness Center, The Richard Simmons Show, Jane Fonda, Hudson’s Bay, Atelier ID, Breakin’ in the USA, WABC, Dance Centre, Adidas, Seinfeld, watchFashionNews, Extra, Vogue, and X17online 

    • 22 min
    56 Years

    56 Years

    Nineteen sixty-four. Freedom Summer. Marylin Thurman Newkirk was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, in a county where just about 250 Black adults out of more than 13,000 were registered to vote. She would grow up as part of the first generation of Americans who lived in a true democracy, according to her son Vann R. Newkirk II.

    That has a lot to do with a law enacted a year after her birth, in 1965. That’s when Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which ended Jim Crow laws preventing Black people from voting in many states.

    But the protections enacted in 1965 didn’t last, and today they’re hanging by a thread. Now, in the aftermath of his mother’s death at 56, Newkirk argues that the best way to ensure that democracy lasts is a constitutional amendment.

    Further reading: “When America Became a Democracy”


    Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. Listen and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts

    This episode was produced by Julia Longoria, Alvin Melathe, and Gabrielle Berbey, with editing by Tracie Hunte and Katherine Wells. Fact check by Will Gordon. Sound design by David Herman.

    Music by h hunt (“C U Soon,” “Journeys,” “Nice Arp”), Ob (“Wold”), Keyboard (“Being There,” “Ojima”), Laundry (“Films”), and water feature (“ancient morsel”); catalog by Tasty Morsels. Additional audio from CBSN, New York Public Radio, C-SPAN, Denia Vega, Rare Facts, American Experience PBS, KXAN, Oyez (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License), Democracy Now!, News4JAX, DW News, Streamline Films, and Archive.org.

    • 28 min
    The Loophole

    The Loophole

    When Mike Belderrain hunted down the biggest elk of his life, he didn’t know he’d stumbled into a “zone of death,” the remote home of a legal glitch that could short-circuit the Constitution—a place where, technically, you could get away with murder.

    At a time when we’re surrounded by preventable deaths, we document one journey to avert disaster.

    • Mike Belderrain is a hunter and former outfitter in Montana.• C. J. Box is the author of more than 20 novels, including Free Fire, a thriller set in Yellowstone National Park. • Brian Kalt teaches law at Michigan State University. He wrote a 2005 research paper titled “The Perfect Crime."• Ed Yong is a staff writer for The Atlantic.

    Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. Listen and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts


    This episode was produced by Julia Longoria and Alvin Melathe, with editing by Katherine Wells and sound design by David Herman.

    Music by water feature (“in a semicircle or a half-moon”), r mccarthy (“Big Game,” “She’s a Gift Giver, She’s a Giver of Gifts,” and “Melodi 2”), Ob (“Ell” and “Ere”), Parish Council (“Mopping”), h hunt (“11e”), Column (“Quiet Song”), and Bwengo (“Première Mosrel”); catalog by Tasty Morsels. Additional audio from Montana State University Library’s Acoustic Atlas, the National Park Service’s Sound Library, C. J. Box, CNBC, C-SPAN, Vox, NPR’s All Things Considered, Idaho News 6, @ItsKeyes, and C-SPAN’s Book TV.

    • 33 min
    Que Viva la Pepa

    Que Viva la Pepa

    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. 

    Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. Listen and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts


    Music by Ob (“Ghyll” and “Mog”), Parish Council (“Socks Before Trousers” and “Durdle Door”), and water feature (“richard iii (duke of gloucester)”). Additional audio from C-SPAN, Senator Chris Murphy, Lawrence University, the House Judiciary Committee, Washington Post reporter Rebecca Tan, and the City of Lake Worth Beach.

     

    • 4 min

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5
1.1K Ratings

1.1K Ratings

JGiquel ,

COVID NURSE

It is unfortunate what is happening; I am an immigrant doctor too.
But the story is not complete until you get the statistics about what percentage of the ICU nurses are Filipinos.
ICU across the country is full of Filipino nurses.
Being an ICU nurse has perks like higher salaries.

NewWaveGrrl ,

Lost Cause

This is an excellent podcast and the Lost Cause episode is my favorite so far. Best quote: “We need the facts and a story [about us] more powerful than the facts.”

bobby123557789 ,

Disappointing

Ugh! So frustrating! I was excited for this podcast after hearing the trailer, because I’m looking for thoughtful discussions that are actually interested in enlightening topics that are interested in problem solving. This is NOT that.. so very disappointed at the lack of thoughtfulness and critical thinking applied to the topics- especially in the Sisterhood episode. This is exactly the kind of media that fuels the flames of identity politics, which we need far less of if we are ever going to have an American experiment that works! People need journalism that is WELL-INFORMED and unbiased if we are ever going to get away from this extreme partisan ideology that exists today. The stories are predictable and lazy. Do your homework, read some books, learn some history before putting out stories like this that try to tilt the perspective toward victimhood. Gross.

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