Slate's The Gist

Slate's The Gist

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Slate's The Gist with Mike Pesca. A daily afternoon podcast about news, culture, and whatever else you'll be discussing with friends and family tonight. thegist@slate.com. Part of the Panoply Network.

Episodes

Jamelle Bouie on the Trump Cabinet  

So, who is Donald Trump’s most troubling Cabinet pick? Is it Jeff Sessions, who received an 11 percent score on civil rights issues from the NAACP? Or Rex Tillerson, who was unprepared for questions about Vladimir Putin’s regime? Or Ben Carson, who didn’t seem to know anything about the mandate of Housing and Urban Development? Slate’s chief political correspondent weighs in on the first week of hearings for Trump’s Cabinet picks. In the Spiel, it’s Lobstar time again.   

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How Should We Talk About Whiteness?  

This week, race was front and center at the confirmation hearing for Trump’s attorney general nominee, Jeff Sessions. Cory Booker and the head of the NAACP testified that Sessions’ history of alleged racist comments and his voting record suggested he could not fairly uphold the rights of all Americans. The Alabama senator fired back that he was not a racist and had fought to honor historical figures like Rosa Parks. The whole affair raised questions about how to discuss race, “whiteness,” and issues of identity politics in the Trump era. Marc Lamont Hill is a professor at Morehouse College, a frequent commentator on CNN, and a host for BET News. His new book is Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, From Ferguson to Flint and Beyond.

In the Spiel, Kellyanne Conway’s war on the media.

Today’s sponsor:

LifeAfter. What happens to our digital lives when we’re gone? LifeAfter, a new series from GE Podcast Theater and Panoply, the creators of last year’s award-winning The Message, explores these very questions. Listen and download LifeAfter wherever you find your podcasts.

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Twenty-Four Grueling Hours in Trumpland  

Between the shady unverified intelligence dossier, Trump’s strange press conference, and the Rex Tillerson hearings, this has been a head-spinning 24 hours. We called up Slate’s War Stories correspondent Fred Kaplan to make sense of it all. Kaplan is most recently the author of Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War
In the Spiel, an analysis of President Obama’s farewell and the meaning of activism. 

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How the Onion Remade Joe Biden  

If you’ve been reading the Onion the past eight years, you know that Vice President Joe Biden is a hair metal–loving party machine. He’s set up a fog machine at the State of the Union address. He’s regaled crowds with stories from his historic summer of ’87. And he’s been busted many, many times for his shady side hustles. Chad Nackers, head writer at the Onion, talks about how his site created a whole new character to satirize Obama’s tee-totaling vice-president, and the delicate balancing act of finding jokes that don’t normalize the next president.  For the Spiel, don’t worry, the Amazon Echo won’t turn on you, Space Odyssey–style. It’ll just order stuff you don’t want. 

Today’s sponsors:

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The Secret to Meaningful Work  

Are millennials really less money-focused than their forebears were? Do the kings of finance obsess over money because society doesn’t give them another way to measure their success? How can we make ditch-digging meaningful work? On The Gist, behavioral economist and Wall Street Journal columnistDan Ariely weighs in; think of him as the Dear Abby for the smartphone set. Ariely is the author of Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations.  For the Spiel, surely the glitz and glamour of the Golden Globes will stop Trump! Right?   

Today’s sponsors:

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And by Lifeafter. What happens to our digital lives when we’re gone? LifeAfter, a new series from GE Podcast Theater and Panoply, the creators of last year’s award-winning The Message, explores these very questions. Listen and download LifeAfter wherever you find your podcasts. 



Unpacking Peanuts  

The National Institutes of Health used to have blanket advice for parents: Don’t give peanuts or peanut products to children under the age of 4. The result? Between 2003 and 2014, it seems likely more Americas were killed by bad advice about peanuts than by acts of terrorism. Why did it take so long to change these guidelines? Marion Nestle says we know very little about the science of food allergies. She’s the author of Food Politics.  In the Spiel, explaining hacking in a way even Donald Trump would understand.    Sponsors:  What happens to our digital lives when we’re gone? LifeAfter, a new series from General Electric Podcast Theater and Panoply, the creators of last year’s award-winning The Message, explores these very questions. Listen and download LifeAfter wherever you find your podcasts.

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The Paradox of Shaving  

New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova returns for another round of everyone’s favorite game, “Is That Bulls--t?” Konnikova takes on a long-held theory about hair growth: The more often you shave, the faster it grows back. Konnikova’s most recent book is The Confidence Game.  In the Spiel, the Megyn Kelly backlash begins.    Sponsors:  ZipRecruiter. Post your job listing to all the top job sites with a single click. Try it for free by going to ZipRecruiter.com/gist.

Harry’s. Get the smooth shave you deserve. Right now Harry’s is giving away their shave set for free when you sign up. All you have to cover is the shipping. Go to Harrys.com, enter code gist at checkout and you’ll also get one of their post-shave balms for free.

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Mara Wilson’s Post–Child Star Life  

Mara Wilson became iconic in the 1990s, but she hasn’t appeared in a film since the year 2000. In her memoir Where Am I Now? Wilson explores the joys and difficulties of her life after child stardom. Mara’s book was recently named one of the best of 2016 by NPR.

Sponsors:

Betterment, the largest automated investing service. Get up to six months of investing FREE when you go to Betterment.com/gist.

What happens to our digital lives when we’re gone? LifeAfter, a new series from GE Podcast Theater and Panoply, the creators of last year’s award-winning The Message, explores these very questions. Listen and download LifeAfter wherever you find your podcasts.

Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.
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Ralph Nader’s Animal Instincts  

Ralph Nader’s second work of fiction, Animal Envy, imagines a world where animals can talk to people and start demanding rights. Nader says the fable is meant to prompt deeper thinking about our relationship with nature. “We need to talk about what-if, because if we don’t, we can’t kick in our idealism and imagine real possibilities,” says the 82-year-old author and advocate. Nader also weighs in with his thoughts on the Trump presidency, and how to win a political argument.

In the Spiel, Donald Trump’s rockin’ New Year’s Eve.  
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Bob Boilen: Tiny Desk, Big Effect  

Bob Boilen, creator and host of NPR’s All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts, built his book around something he learned in his nearly 30 years of covering music: Artists are tired of talking about their own work, but ask them about what inspires them, and they’ll light up. Boilen’s book of interviews is the epically titled Your Song Changed My Life: From Jimmy Page to St. Vincent, Smokey Robinson to Hozier, Thirty-Five Beloved Artists on Their Journey and the Music That Inspired It.
For the Spiel, a defense of 2016. 

Good Grief  

When comedian Laurie Kilmartin found out her father had advanced lung cancer, she processed it the best way she could: by tweeting jokes about her father’s decline. The real-time mourning gave rise to Kilmartin’s stand-up special, “45 Jokes About My Dead Dad,” available on Seeso. Kilmartin is a writer for Conan on TBS and author of Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us
In the Spiel, noting the death of Debbie Reynolds and the prospects of a two-state solution. 

The Home Movie That Changed America  

When the Russian ambassador to Turkey was killed in front of cameras by an assassin, Alexandra Zapruder had one thought: “There’s another Zapruder film.” Her new book, Twenty-Six Seconds, looks at how her grandfather’s film of the John F. Kennedy assassination changed media and American life, and how her family dealt with the grave responsibility of being part of American history. 
In the Spiel, there’s a war on Mike’s birthday.  

LifeAfter’s Mac Rogers  

Movies are out, TV is in, and radio theater is on the rise. Playwright Mac Rogers explains the challenges of creating theater of the mind. Rogers is the writer behind hit podcast dramas LifeAfter and The Message
For the Spiel, The 12 Days of Trumpmas, revisited. 

When There Was No Ducking Disco  

On the Gist, Chris Molanphy takes us back to 1976, the year we learned the true meaning of “booty” and the inherent value of shake-shake-shaking it. Molanphy writes the “Why Is This Song No. 1?” column for Slate. 
For the Spiel, are Christmas songs good or just familiar?

The Year of Bill Camp  

Actor Bill Camp specializes in subtlety—whether as an earnest Puritan pastor in the 2016 Broadway revival of The Crucible or a veteran homicide detective in HBO’s The Night Of. On The Gist, Camp talks about preparing for roles, getting hot after age 50, and how he might fit into a Sex and the City reunion. Camp is narrating the documentary TV series EPIX Presents Road To the NHL Outdoor Classics, which follows the Detroit Red Wings, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the St. Louis Blues. The entire series is available on NHL.com, EPIX.com, Sling TV, and the teams’ websites.
For the Spiel, let’s check the calendar. 

We’re Going Into Labor  

Have blue-collar workers fallen for a Republican bait-and-switch? On The Gist, journalist Steven Greenhouse sets aside globalization and turns to the domestic forces suppressing wages and hammering workers: Republican-backed anti-union laws, a feeble response from Democrats, and cultural amnesia around the labor movement’s achievements. Greenhouse is working on a follow-up to his 2008 book, The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker.
For the Spiel, the photos of the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey.

Thank God for Hedonists  

There is virtue in delight! We chanced upon new building materials, better computer software, and a global economy by frittering away our time. On The Gist, author Steven Johnson says our flights of fancy may have driven most of human progress. Johnson’s new book is Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World.
For the Spiel, the passings of 2016. 

Our Inflamer-In-Chief  

The current world order is fragile, and President-elect Donald Trump has shown himself to be sensitive, antagonistic, and gleeful about turning existing dynamics upside-down. How could this affect the United States’ role in defusing international conflicts? Dan De Luce, chief national security correspondent for Foreign Policy magazine, runs through a few scenarios. “The executive branch has expanded dramatically,” said De Luce. “We are a long way from where we were when this country was founded and the president has enormous power in foreign policy.” For the Spiel, the big headlines of 2017. 

Do Strict Voter Laws Make a Difference?  

Last summer, the Supreme Court stopped North Carolina from using a strict voter ID law that would likely disadvantage Democrats and “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

Now, the court is facing two more restrictive voter laws that could seriously change American elections. Rick Hasen covers the wild world of election law on his blog. He joins Mike to discuss the new cases, and other ways that Republican-governed states have tried to suppress turnout.

For the Spiel, a Pesca family musical postcard for the holidays.

Today’s sponsors:

Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans. Rocket Mortgage brings the mortgage process into the 21st century with an easy online process. Check out Rocket Mortgage today at QuickenLoans.com/gist.

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We Could Use Jon Stewart Right Now  

Jon Stewart had a rough time hosting The Daily Show. By 2015, he hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in years. Exposure to Fox News had taken a toll. Writer Chris Smith chronicles Stewart’s reign in a new oral history, which looks at the comedian’s broader impact on political culture. 
For the Spiel, Mike has cat scratch fever! Literally.   Today’s sponsors:
 
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