Politics and Policy

398: Anita Hill

This heroic Brandeis professor explains how sexual-harassment law derives from civil-rights law: “There was the sense that, OK, now we’ve tackled one area of equality, we’ve prevailed to some extent, let’s build on it.” One right leads to another. Or used to. In ancient days. (Sigh.) Plus, the difference between baggage and luggage. Continue reading »

Movies

395: Ken Burns

He’s made a lot of films about war, from the Civil War to Vietnam, but his great themes are not death and destruction, he says: “Most of my films, despite the particular subject matter, besides the tragedy or the conflict, are ultimately about love.” He’s currently working on the Revolutionary War.  It’s complicated. And delightfully so. Continue reading »

Science & Medicine

394: Drew Lanham

This naturalist and writer is wary of “bad people having their names attached to perfectly good birds.” Audubon’s warbler evokes not just an ornithologist but also a slave-owner. “We should remove all human names from birds and let the birds tell us who they are—by their appearance, their behavior, their song.” Bluebird, woodpecker, whippoorwill. Elegant! … Continue reading »

Science & Medicine

393: Dr. Dave Ashok Chokshi

New York City’s health commissioner during the first two years of the pandemic—he stepped down on March 15, 2022—says he sees something admirable in our response: “We have gotten vaccinated not just to protect ourselves but to protect our communities.” Well, yes, if we have gotten vaccinated, says dour me, who sees something else. Produced with the New York City … Continue reading »

Scholars

392: Michael Kazin

He did much of the research for What it Took to Win: a History of the Democratic Party, in the Manuscript Reading Room at the Library of Congress. “I don’t believe in heaven, but, if there’s a heaven for historians, this would be right in the center of it.” Plus some thoughts on the late Richard Hofstadter … Continue reading »