Smart people talking about politics, policy, culture and other stuff

Smart people talking about politics, policy, culture and other stuff


United States


Smart people talking about politics, policy, culture and other stuff




How to Be Anti-Tribal (Robert Wright & Mónica Guzmán)

Mónica’s book I Never Thought of It That Way, about how to have “bridge-building” conversations ... Why Mónica’s immigrant parents support(ed) Trump ... Barriers to getting bridge-building buy-in ... Understanding vs. the need to be understood ... Bridge-building 101 ... Is understanding a slippery slope to excusing? ... The underrated bridge-building power of curiosity ... Does the media fuel or just reflect our divisions? ... The limits of bridge-building ...


Biden in 2024? (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Would a Biden re-election bid spell doom for Dems? ... Opening the Ron DeSantis black box ... Bob’s Washington Post piece on Russia-Ukraine diplomacy ... Is it too early to write off Herschel Walker? ... Sam Bankman-Fried’s bipartisan approach to corrupting politics ... Elon’s and Apple’s China challenges ... Parrot Room preview: Mickey’s spat with Damon Linker; what we know about Peter Thiel; Ye and Fuentes; the center-less GOP; Elon’s Twitter regime; Errol Morris’s miniseries Wormwood. ...


A Peek Behind the Antiracist Curtain (Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, and James Beaman)

How the pandemic affected diversity in the theater ... James gets drawn into an “antiracist” meltdown during rehearsal ... Juilliard students revolt ... A plea for mutual understanding in the theater ... A preview of things to come on The Glenn Show ... Glenn’s problem with “racial inequity” ... Getting through to “Donna” ... To speak your mind or to speak strategically? ...


Trump's Nick Fuentes Dinner (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Matt compares Nick Fuentes to Islamist terrorists ... Why is DeSantis silent on the Trump-Fuentes dinner? ... Is there room for a Republican presidential candidate who is not Trump or DeSantis? ... Can Kevin McCarthy become Speaker of the House? ... Should we ban crypto? ...


American Jews and Israel (Robert Wright & Eric Alterman)

Eric’s new book We Are Not One, about changing American Jewish attitudes toward Israel over the years ... Jewish-American identity before its “Zionization” ... Why fewer young American Jews are feeling the pro-Israel vibe ... Israel in American politics ... The “Israel as apartheid state” debate ... How the 1960’s defined Jewish visions of Israel ... Is a “two-state solution” now the conservative position? ... Zionism vs. social justice activism ... Why Israel is fine with the Palestinian...


The Elon-SBF Connection (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

The (totally selfless) reasons Mickey wants an SBF clawback ... Did Semafor fumble its big SBF-Elon scoop? ... Mickey’s clawback campaign (cont’d) ... Origins of Mickey’s (alleged) Ben Smith vendetta revealed! ... Is Musk destroying his town square? ...


The Ethics of Black Identity (Glenn Loury, Reihan Salam, Kmele Foster, Shelby Steele & Robert Woodson)

What does “black identity” mean? ... Why Bob left the Civil Rights Movement ... Shelby: Our problem today is freedom, not racism ... Glenn: We can’t afford to give up on black collective goals ... Why Shelby wouldn’t sign a letter of support for Clarence Thomas ... Would freeing ourselves from race mean sacrificing collective action? ... The tactical efficacy of racial identification ... The struggle for human freedom ... Can we take pride in group achievements past? ... Kmele: We have a...


Dems in Array (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Why Katie Hobbs won ... Can Herschel Walker win? ... Where does Kari Lake go from here? ... Does Mike Pence have a shot? ... Is DeSantis better for democracy than Trump? ... Are Dems in array? ...


The Two Kinds of Empathy (Robert Wright & Paul Bloom)

Paul’s upcoming book, Psych: The Story of the Human Mind ... Bob’s upcoming book, tk ... Are psychopaths high in (cognitive) empathy? ... How good are we at perspective taking—and how can we get better? ... Elon Musk’s apparent cognitive empathy deficit ... Is cognitive empathy a biological adaptation? ... Is it even possible to understand the minds of others? ... Paul’s budding interest in perversity ...


Midterms, Missiles, and Musk (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Why Mickey’s not unhappy about the midterm results ... Can Trump go the distance against DeSantis? ... The Pelosi era ends ... Zelensky invites NATO to join the war ... Is a peace deal on the horizon in Ukraine? ... Elon update ... SBF's fall takes wind out of the sails of effective altruism movement ...


The Wake of the "Red Wave" (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)

Glenn’s culinary dilemma ... Why the Republican Party depresses John ... What’s the difference between Herschel Walker and John Fetterman? ... Glenn’s argument for voting Republican ... Woke theater’s “melodramatic agitprop” ... Kanye, Kyrie, and the Jews ... What’s “systemic,” “structural,” or “institutional” about racism? ...


A Mastodon Explainer (Robert Wright & Harry McCracken)



Blue Checks and Red Ripples (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Mickey mourns the fate of his midterm hopes and dreams ... What the midterm results mean for 2024 ... Who wins in a Trump v. DeSantis civil war? ... Bob’s plan to boot Biden from the 2024 ticket ... Will Musk chicken out on his blue check shake-up? ... The Twitter business model Musk may be banking on ... Parrot room preview: Ukraine update; more Twitter business model talk; Metaverse vibe check; Errol Morris’s Leary love story; questioning “blame Trump” midterm post-mortems; is America...


The Heterodox Docs of Rob Montz (Glenn Loury & Rob Montz)

The appeals of immigration restrictionism ... The 2013 Ray Kelly incident at Brown University ... Rob’s forthcoming documentary about James Blake and Kyle Rittenhouse ... The response to Rob’s Roland Fryer doc ... The response to Rob’s Roland Fryer doc ... Is there a “next Glenn Loury”? ... Glenn’s course on race and policing be required? ... Rob’s position on Trump ... DeSantis vs. Trump ... Rob’s love of ‘90s rap ...


What Red Wave? (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Who got it right? ... What happened to the "red wave"? ... What issues drove the election results? ... Is Trump dragging down the GOP, and would DeSantis help? ... What does the election mean for Biden '24? ...


Awakening to the Meaning Crisis (Robert Wright & John Vervaeke)

Signs of the so-called “meaning crisis” ... How John addresses the meaning crisis in his own life ... Bob gets empathy-circled—live! ... How much of the meaning crisis is a crisis of community? ... Wisdom as the antidote to self-deception ... Is technological change outpacing our ability to adapt? ... How and where might new sources of meaning emerge? ... The conundrum of collective intelligence (or how should we talk about demons?) ... Can video games give us meaning? ... John:...


Bull In a Twitter Shop (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Why immigration squishes have Mickey worried about the midterms ... Elon Musk’s bull-in-a-china-shop strategy to owning Twitter ... The conspiracy theory about the attack on Paul Pelosi ... If Putin didn’t have nukes, would Biden’s Ukraine policy still be dangerous? ... Who is calling the shots in the Biden White House? ... Why Cold War psychology might have less sway over Musk-owned Twitter ... Bob has another baseball quiz for Mickey ... Could Biden’s tech embargo against China backfire...


The Golden Age of Black Heterodoxy (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)

Walking through the valley of the shadow of death ... Earning credibility through self-discrediting disclosure ... The lionization of the lightweights ... The golden age of black heterodoxy ... The mainstreaming of Glenn and John ... Glenn’s debate with Shelby Steele, Robert Woodson, and Kmele Foster ... Are we ready to “get past race”? ... The strange case of Jessica Krug ... Darrell Brooks’s courtroom performance ...


Bill & Matt's Midterm Predictions (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Senate predictions ... House predictions... and how do we know if it's a "wave"? ... Matt and Bill diverge on AZ-GOV ... Why did the Paul Pelosi conspiracy theory take off? ... Should Matt and Bill stay on Twitter? ...


Russia, Ukraine, and US Diplomacy (Robert Wright & Samuel Charap)

Sam’s Foreign Affairs piece on the importance of Ukraine diplomacy ... What’s Biden’s endgame in Ukraine? ... Sam: Russia has already suffered a strategic defeat ... Did the West play a role in Ukraine’s 2014 revolution? ... Putin says the West is Russia’s real enemy. Does he believe it? ... America’s lack of diplomatic urgency before Putin invaded ... How much pro-Russia sentiment is there in Ukraine? ...