Hello, sweatpants. With scaled-down Fashion Weeks, department stores hurting, and more and more people opting for loungewear rather than workplace attire... where does that leave the fashion business in 2021? Sam talks to Robin Givhan, senior critic-at-large at The Washington Post, about how the very harsh reality of the pandemic has shifted an industry largely built on fantasy.
Riot fencing and razor wire reinforce the security zone on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
How will the response to far-right extremism compare to the response after 9/11? Sam talks to Hannah Allam, NPR national security correspondent, about the security and civil liberties debate over taking a "war on terror" mindset to today's far-right threat. Also, Sam chats with sisters Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar, co-authors of the book You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey, about their inexplicable, sometimes hilarious, but always horrifying stories of everyday racism.
Lessons from 9/11 for Today's Extremism; Plus 'Crazy Stories About Racism'
What will happen to Fox News after President Trump leaves office? Fox News is facing Trump's anger for not being sufficiently "loyal," and it's seeing new competition as viewers head to conservative networks like Newsmax and One America News Network. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik and Sam discuss how the feuds of cable news fuel our politics and how the whole news industry adapts to life after Trump.
A lot of the pro-Trump extremism behind the attack on the Capitol flourished online. Sam talks to Bobby Allyn and Shannon Bond, who both cover tech for NPR, about social platforms and the actions they've taken since the siege, the implications for free speech and whether the internet could fundamentally change. Also, Sam talks to Devon Price, author of the book Laziness Does Not Exist, about the lie of laziness and what it means for productivity.
What's Next For Social Media After Trump? Plus The Lie Of 'Laziness'
Trump supporters gathered outside the Capitol Building last week, in Washington, as Congress prepared to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Jose Luis Magana/AP
History has a way of repeating itself. Last week's storming of the U.S. Capitol has parallels to an incident dating back to 1874, when a paramilitary force of ex-Confederates seized control of the Louisiana state house. Their goal? To depose a governor who won the election and replace him with his opponent. Sam revisits this history with Jamelle Bouie, columnist at The New York Times. They explore why the path toward political unity in our time might actually be through division.
With the pro-Trump insurrection at the U.S. Capitol this week, at the same time that Congress was set to certify the presidential election results, 2021 is off to a rocky start. Sam checks in with NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis and NPR White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe on the Capitol breach and the week in politics.
Sam revisits his conversation from 2020 with actress Pamela Adlon. Adlon is the writer, star, director and co-creator of the acclaimed comedy-drama Better Things on FX. The series follows Adlon's character, Sam, as a divorced actress, raising three kids in Los Angeles - all things that mirror Adlon's real life. Sam talks to Adlon about her career, seeing your parents as real-life people, and the awful, crazy, beautiful experience of being a parent yourself.
Why 'Better Things' Pamela Adlon Is Everyone's Mother
After a year that offered many moments of reflection—from the coronavirus pandemic, to protests for racial justice, to the long election season—acclaimed poet Claudia Rankine's latest book offers a framework to process it all. That book is called Just Us: An American Conversation, and in this episode, we revisit her chat with NPR's Audie Cornish. In the book, Rankine has conversations about race with friends and strangers—and learns about herself in the process.
Claudia Rankine On The Uneasy Conversations Between 'Just Us'
Aaron Sorkin, writer/director of "The Trial of the Chicago 7," poses at the drive-in premiere of the Netflix film, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Sam sits in the Fresh Airhost chair to talk with writer and director Aaron Sorkin. His latest film The Trial of the Chicago 7 covers the events at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago when several prominent anti-war activists were accused of conspiring to start a riot.
Presenting 'Fresh Air': Aaron Sorkin On 'The Trial of the Chicago 7'
This year has been hard for pretty much everyone, but that still hasn't stopped people from getting married, having babies, starting new jobs, and telling us all about those milestones and celebrations in voice memos on our show.
Without movies or TV shows to shoot or music to record, celebrities were restless in 2020 and eager to connect with a public that, at least for a while, couldn't care less about them. Sam wraps up the year in celebrity culture with Lindsey Weber and Bobby Finger, co-hosts of the podcast Who? Weekly, and breaks down how a pandemic changed our relationship with the rich and the famous. Stuck in quarantine, it turns out that stars really are just like us... and often a little worse.
Songwriter Phoebe Bridgers has had a big year, but it's also been bittersweet. With four Grammy nominations for work on her acclaimed 2020 album Punisher, Bridgers, like most touring musicians, has been stuck at home. She talks to Sam about her love/hate relationship with touring, how she aims for the universal in the specificity of her lyrics, and her hopes for music—and everyone—in 2021... or whenever the pandemic ends.
'I Can't Wait To Hate Tour Again': Phoebe Bridgers On Her Breakout Year
Coronavirus has transformed pop culture and placed its creation in the hands of anyone who has social media. Sam chats with E. Alex Jung, a writer at New York Magazine, about pop culture's shift this year to the internet. Then, Sam talks to Alex Zaragoza, senior staff writer for culture at Vice, about her beef with the new Netflix series Selena: The Series and the exploitation of Selena.
The Internet Culture Of Quarantine, Plus Selena's Legacy
Are you sick of the friends and family you've been stuck with? Sam teams up with Anna Sale, host of the WNYC podcast Death, Sex & Money, to explore how our pandemic 'pods' are being tested by the coronavirus. In this episode, Sam digs into friendships under strain. Then, head on over to the Death, Sex & Money podcast feed for Anna's look at how two people stuck apart during the pandemic have fallen in love.
Pod Fatigue: How Coronavirus Lockdown Has Tested Friendships
Cathy Park Hong talks with Sam about her book Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning. She discusses how watching comedian Richard Pryor influenced her to write honestly about Asian American identity, and how her Korean parents' experience of immigration has made their understanding of race different from her own. Hong is known globally for her award-winning poetry. She also serves as poetry editor for The New Republic and is a professor at Rutgers University–Newark.
Cathy Park Hong's Asian American Reckoning And The 'Model Minority' Stereotype
For the holiday, Sam revisits his conversation with award-winning author James McBride. McBride's latest book Deacon King Kong tells the story of how one man's decision brings together the different racial communities of 1960s Brooklyn to solve a larger issue. Sam chats with McBride as he shares his thoughts on the hope he has for communities, the parallels he sees to the world we're living in today, and why he's still optimistic, despite protests and a pandemic.
James McBride On Hope, Community And 'A Place Of Miracles'
With the holidays coming, we're all trying to figure out how to celebrate with loved ones from a distance. When all we have to connect this year are phone calls and video chats, how do we make the most out of our conversations? In this episode from NPR's Life Kit Sam gets advice from the owner of a hair salon, whose job has taught her to be a good conversationalist. Then, Sam talks to journalist and professional speaker Celeste Headlee. Celeste, who gave a TED talk on this topic, shares her guidance on how to have more meaningful conversations.
Presenting Life Kit: How To Have Better Conversations
Georgia's Senate runoffs have become national races as control of the Senate depends on who wins. Sam asks Tia Mitchell, Washington correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, if Georgia voters are looking at the runoffs the way the rest of the country is. Then, Sam chats with comedians W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu, hosts of the podcast "Politically Re-Active", about how the Left is processing the results of the 2020 election.
Georgia's Senate Runoffs, Plus W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu Talk Politics
The rapper Bobby Shmurda had a big viral hit in 2014, and it looked like he was going to be a star. But just months later, Bobby and his friends were arrested and charged in connection with a murder and several other shootings. Our friends at NPR Music podcast Louder Than A Riot trace the interconnected rise of hip-hop and mass incarceration, and they take a look at Bobby's story in this episode.
Louder Than A Riot: 'The Badder, The Better: Bobby Shmurda (Pt 1)'
What could a new president mean for the coronavirus pandemic? Sam talks to Ed Yong, staff writer at The Atlantic, about President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus task force and how much the federal government can do to change the course of the pandemic. Then, Sam chats with comedian Matt Rogers, whose projects this year include competition show Haute Dog on HBO Max, Quibi's Gayme Show and the podcast Las Culturistas (which he hosts with SNL's Bowen Yang). They talk about pop culture and what's giving them joy in 2020.
Biden's Coronavirus Response, Plus Comedian Matt Rogers
Talia Lavin infiltrated white supremacist online groups for more than a year to research her book Culture Warlords: My Journey into the Dark Web of White Supremacy.
Courtesy of Talia Lavin
Talia Lavin went undercover in white supremacist online communities, creating fake personas that would gain her access to the dark reaches of the internet normally off-limits to her, a Jewish woman. That research laid the groundwork for her book, Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy. Lavin talks to Sam about what it was like to infiltrate those online spaces, what she learned, and how white supremacy cannot exist without anti-Semitism.