The New Yorker Radio Hour
The New Yorker Radio Hour is a weekly program presented by the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, and produced by WNYC Studios and The New Yorker. Each episode features a diverse mix of interviews, profiles, storytelling, and an occasional burst of humor inspired by the magazine, and shaped by its writers, artists, and editors. This isn’t a radio version of a magazine, but something all its own, reflecting the rich possibilities of audio storytelling and conversation. Theme music for the show was composed and performed by Merrill Garbus of tUnE-YArDs.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus recently won her sixth consecutive Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy for the role of Selina Meyer, the hapless Vice-President turned President, in HBO’s “Veep.” The show has been on for six seasons so her record is perfect. In 2016, Louis-Dreyfus spoke with David Remnick as the Presidential race was growing more outrageous by the day, and “Veep,” which began as a satire of Washington, had come to seem like “a somber documentary” about the political process. They also spoke about Louis-Dreyfus’s early days on “Saturday Night Live,” and her fight to be taken seriously as a woman in Hollywood.
Plus, another, earlier fight for women’s rights: the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs is the subject of the new film starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell called “Battle of the Sexes.” The composer Nicholas Britell wrote the score, and talks with The New Yorker editor Henry Finder about how a piano concerto is like a tennis match.
Donald Trump mocked Kim Jong Un by calling him “rocket man,” and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the U.S. or its allies were attacked. Kim, in turn, dismissed Trump as a “barking dog Evan Osnos recently reported from Washington and Pyongyang on the tensions between the United States and North Korea. Osnos tells David Remnick that North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons; they are no longer a bargaining chip but a source of national identity and security. Despite the forceful rhetoric and threats, Osnos found little appetite for war in either government, concluding that North Korea is not “a suicidal cult.” And he predicts that Trump will contain the risk, rather than eliminate it. Plus, critic Amanda Petrusich picks a book, a T.V. show, and an album for the end of summer.
Since the Inauguration, in January, there’s been a kind of protest renaissance for those on the left and some in the center of American politics; at rallies and marches, they’ve dusted off chants and songs that became symbols of resistance during the civil-rights and Vietnam eras. But many of these protesters weren’t alive in the sixties, and the songs of their parents’ or grandparents’ generations may not resonate for them. “Primer for a Failed Superpower” was a concert performance, organized by the theatre company the Team, that mixed classic protest songs with contemporary anthems, all sung by a cast that spanned generational lines from boomers to teens. The New Yorker’s Vinson Cunningham talked to two young performers, Maxwell Vice and Logan Rozos, about how that generational divide played out, and what public protest is worth in the age of social media.
Hillary Clinton harbors no doubts, she tells David Remnick in a long interview, that political allies of Donald Trump astutely “guided” the release of hacked e-mails by WikiLeaks and the planting of fake news in order to sabotage her. In a new book, “What Happened,” Clinton is by turns angry, accusatory, and apologetic about the 2016 election and its outcome. She describes the infiltration by Russia as a “clear and present danger” to the electoral process that Republicans should take as seriously as Democrats; Putin could, she points out, just as easily turn on Trump. She also tells Remnick that the media failed voters by focussing coverage on scandals rather than policies; she analyzes how sexism affected voters as they judged a woman who sought the highest office in the land; she wishes that President Obama had acted more forcefully on what was known about Russian involvement; and she lays out a plan for diplomatic efforts to address the North Korea nuclear crisis. A resolution is possible, she believes, but she worries that “nobody’s home at the State Department. There isn’t anybody to really guide a strategic approach to North Korea, as opposed to tweeting and speechifying.”
A magical time of unfettered creativity but zero productivity, the days before the Internet were so strange that it’s hard to believe they were real. Clearly no one got anything done, ever. Jenny Slate performs Emma Rathbone’s “Before the Internet,” from The New Yorker’s Shouts & Murmurs. Plus: Ten years ago, Susan Orlean, a staff writer at The New Yorker, wrote about a former laser physicist who had given up a successful career to become an origami artist. In time, Robert Lang became one of the world’s top practitioners,and origami became a surprising area of scientific activity, with government grants encouraging research into how materials fold. Orlean caught up with Lang at the OrigamiUSA convention recently, where she tried her hand at Lang’s popular goldfish—which has a hinged jaw and fins—and talked with him about the life lessons of folding paper.
When is speech no longer just speech? David Remnick looks at how leftist protests at Berkeley, right-wing violence in Charlottesville, and open-carry laws around the country are testing the traditional liberal consensus on freedom of expression. He speaks with Mark Bray, the author of a new and sympathetic book about Antifa; Melissa Murray, a law-school professor at U.C. Berkeley; and Dahlia Lithwick, a legal analyst for Slate.