130 episodes

Harper’s Magazine, the oldest general-interest monthly in America, explores the issues that drive our national conversation, through long-form narrative journalism and essays, and such celebrated features as the iconic Harper’s Index. With its emphasis on fine writing and original thought Harper’s provides readers with a unique perspective on politics, society, the environment, and culture. The essays, fiction, and reporting in the magazine’s pages come from promising new voices, as well as some of the most distinguished names in American letters, among them Annie Dillard, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jonathan Franzen, Mary Gaitskill, David Foster Wallace, and Tom Wolfe.

The Harper’s Podcast Harper’s Magazine

    • News
    • 4.4 • 110 Ratings

Harper’s Magazine, the oldest general-interest monthly in America, explores the issues that drive our national conversation, through long-form narrative journalism and essays, and such celebrated features as the iconic Harper’s Index. With its emphasis on fine writing and original thought Harper’s provides readers with a unique perspective on politics, society, the environment, and culture. The essays, fiction, and reporting in the magazine’s pages come from promising new voices, as well as some of the most distinguished names in American letters, among them Annie Dillard, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jonathan Franzen, Mary Gaitskill, David Foster Wallace, and Tom Wolfe.

    The Matter of War

    The Matter of War

    It has always been difficult to parse the experience of war. Following two decades of “forever wars” in the Middle East and an accompanying surfeit of information, that challenge has deepened for reporters. Yet the artful, mournful, and devastating images photojournalist Nicole Tung has sent back from Ukraine can break through the din of struggle—if you simply take the time to look closely. Tung, who has shot four photo essays for Harper’s Magazine—two in print, and two online—joins web editor Violet Lucca to discuss representation’s ethical complexity. How can an outsider portray a conflict they aren’t part of? How can difficult images preserve respect for those involved? When does bracing shock become deadening sensationalism? And how has Tung’s experience in war zones informed her balance of art and journalism?

    See Tung’s photo essays:

    https://harpers.org/archive/2022/06/the-matter-of-war-ukraine-kharkiv-bucha-kyiv/

    https://harpers.org/archive/2022/05/a-way-out-of-irpin-ukraine-war-russia-photos/

    https://harpers.org/archive/2022/04/days-at-war-russian-invasion-of-ukraine-bucha-kyiv-odesa-kharkiv-trostyanets/

    https://harpers.org/archive/2022/03/the-battle-for-kyiv-ukraine-photo-essay-nicole-tung/

    • 31 min
    Down the Hatch

    Down the Hatch

    For over a century, carnivals have provided a unique mix of seedy, woozy, all-American fun. Where else can you knock down milk bottles for prizes, see a man breathe fire, and ride the Tilt-a-Whirl until you throw up fried Oreos? But in a world where entertainment options are vast, what motivates the performers who take on the backbreaking labor and constant travel of the carnival life? In the May issue, author and podcaster David Hill hits the road with the World of Wonders sideshow, a traveling band of sword-swallowers, knife-throwers, and escape artists who remain devoted to the carnival lifestyle, even though their talents might bring them greater fame or riches on TikTok. He joins web editor Violet Lucca for a discussion of his carny ancestors, the history of the midway, and the pleasures of suspending our cynicism and enjoying the hustle, even if that involves spending five bucks to win a teddy bear worth five cents.

    Read Hill’s article about World of Wonders, the oldest traveling sideshow in the United States: https://harpers.org/archive/2022/05/down-the-hatch-on-the-road-with-the-last-american-carnival-sideshow/

    This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

    • 48 min
    In the Land of Living Skies

    In the Land of Living Skies

    Humanity has long sought to literally and metaphorically banish darkness. But as poet and novelist Suzannah Showler writes in the May issue, succeeding in that aim poses great spiritual and biological risk. Showler describes her journey to Grasslands National Park, the darkest place in Canada, to commune with obscurity. Her essay examines the cultural and philosophical history of light and darkness, as well as the burgeoning movement to reclaim the night. What Showler finds in the sky is more intricate than just a beautiful starscape: it’s a confrontation with herself and what lies far beyond. She joins web editor Violet Lucca for a discussion of the human instinct to colonize the night, the possibilities for global health and happiness offered by the fight against light pollution, and the idea that chasing away darkness isn’t the only path to illumination.

    Read Showler’s article here: https://harpers.org/archive/2022/05/in-the-land-of-living-skies-reacquainting-ourselves-with-the-night/

    • 28 min
    Ghosting the Machine

    Ghosting the Machine

    Although video porn, webcams, and teledildonics have existed for decades, rapid advancements in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and robotics mean that a new era of digisexuality is—please forgive us—coming. In the May issue, Sam Lipsyte explores the “warm, sticky horse carcass” of technological intimacy with a trip to the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas, where he meets a sex robot named Emma, as well as two scholars who’ve coined the term digisexuality, a new type of identity. He joins web editor Violet Lucca for a discussion of technology’s potential to both offer succor and create stupor, the ethical questions raised by child sexbots and non-consenting AIs, and how the future of sexuality might be monetized by tech moguls.

    Read Lipsyte’s article: https://harpers.org/archive/2022/05/ghosting-the-machine-humans-robots-and-the-new-sexual-frontier-sam-lipsyte/

    This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins

    • 38 min
    Who Killed Louis Le Prince?

    Who Killed Louis Le Prince?

    Although Thomas Edison is usually credited with the invention of the movie camera, as with so much surrounding the Wizard of Menlo Park, the truth is more complicated. Louis Le Prince, a French-born artist and inventor, made a short film six years before Edison, but mysteriously disappeared before he could get a patent for the device he used to shoot it. In the April issue, Nat Segnit reviews Paul Fischer’s The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies, a book that focuses on Le Prince’s life and his contributions to cinematic history. Segnit joins web editor Violet Lucca for a discussion of film’s contested origins and its rise and fall as the preeminent popular medium. In addition to possibly making the first film, Le Prince was unique among cinematic pioneers in seeing film as more than a gimmick or a product—he understood film’s cultural value, its capacity to unite audiences. Segnit and Lucca discuss this “communal swoon,” a rapture in the presence of film’s massive, unpausable images, and debate whether different forms of moving pictures, from magic lanterns to television to smartphones, have brought more isolation than interconnectedness. They also discuss the nature of invention—whether advances are more often the product of single, heroic creators or of smaller contributions by countless sources, and hypothesize about how the history of Hollywood would have been different had Le Prince lived.

    Read Segnit’s review: https://harpers.org/archive/2022/04/who-killed-louis-le-prince-on-the-forgotten-father-of-film/

    This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

    • 50 min
    Notes on the State of Jefferson

    Notes on the State of Jefferson

    Modern American secessionist movements are commonly perceived as buffoonish or quixotic. Yet when their members take up arms after failing to achieve independence by electoral means—and openly state that they have no other recourse than violence—they cannot be so easily dismissed. James Pogue joins web editor Violet Lucca to discuss his reporting from the proposed State of Jefferson, a swath of counties in northern California and southern Oregon that wish to become the 51st state. Since the early 1940s, the Jeffersonians, united by a shared rural identity centered on mining and logging, have agitated for independence in search of better representation and infrastructure. During the COVID-19 pandemic, government health policies and a wave of new arrivals who bought second homes in the area, driving up rents, led many residents to conclude that their way of life was under threat. Their quest to recall three county board members was mocked in the media and treated as illegitimate, which only heightened their sense of persecution, leading many to view violence as the only alternative. Pogue and Lucca discuss how the situation in Redding reveals problems in American democracy, exacerbated by the end of local newspapers and the rise of social media. They also look towards the future: What’s next for the State of Jefferson, and will their recall efforts become a model for others?

    Read Pogue’s article here: https://harpers.org/archive/2022/04/notes-on-the-state-of-jefferson-secession-northern-california/

    This episode was produced by Violet Lucca and Andrew Blevins.

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
110 Ratings

110 Ratings

SoupsTroups ,

Unserious approach makes it a tough listen

I am a magazine subscriber and want to be a regular listener. But the loose, chummy, often giggly tone of the episodes detracts from the material for me. It’s not in service of the listener to focus more on banter than the subject. For demographic reference, I’m an older millennial.

nicoleay ,

You need this podcast!

A thoughtful, stimulating show. Violet Luca is an excellent host.

JJRROMI ,

Unlistenable

Even worse than the disorganized treatment of the subject is the vile vocal fry creaky talk of the guest. Where is the editor, or do these folks think this revival of Baby Snooks is cute? I’ve given this podcasts two tries and that’s all for me! What a shame on such an old and distinguished publication!

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