Considering the Novel in the Age of Obama

Have “postmodern” and “postwar” have become outmoded as classifications for novels? Lorentzen suggests it’s more useful to look at trends in fiction relative to the administration they were released under. During Obama’s, he says, novelists looked to answer questions of authenticity. During Trump’s, he anticipates dystopian narratives.

Published: Jan 11, 2017
Length: 22 minutes (5,640 words)

The Young Trump

“There were three campaign managers. There was only one son-in-law.” A look at how Ivanka Trump’s husband, real estate developer Jared Kushner, became one of Donald Trump’s closest advisers — and what it means for both of them over the next four years.

Published: Jan 8, 2017
Length: 28 minutes (7,050 words)

Can a Gun Victim and a Gun Advocate Change Each Other’s Minds?

Gun advocates and victims of gun violence meet together to participate in a “story exchange” in which they pair up to share personal stories, and then tell their partner’s story in the first person in front of the group. The process, organized by Narrative 4, is supposed to engender “transformative empathy,” to get two people with opposing points of views to understand the other side.

Published: Dec 26, 2016
Length: 25 minutes (6,443 words)

Truth, Lies, and Videotape

When writer Kelly Luce spends a week in a women’s detention center in Japan for a crime she didn’t commit, she learns about the difference between perception and reality, and what justice and punishment mean in a country known for honor and low crime.

Author: Kelly Luce
Published: Nov 18, 2016
Length: 15 minutes (3,801 words)

Tim Robbins’s Prison Improv Classes Make Inmates Less Likely to Re-Offend

A look at the Actors Gang Prison Project, an improv workshop actors Tim Robbins and Sabra Williams have been leading for inmates for ten years, which has been shown to reduce recidivism rates.

Published: Nov 14, 2016
Length: 8 minutes (2,092 words)

How Trump Made Hate Intersectional

“Progressives talk a lot about intersectionality — meaning, thinking about race and sex and class simultaneously — but Trump won the presidency by making hate intersectional. He encouraged sexists to also be racists and homophobes, while saying disgusting things about immigrants in public and Jews online. Hate, like love, is infectious, and it is contagious. And for so many, the adrenaline felt by blaming one group for one’s personal ills bled into blaming all the others.”

Published: Nov 9, 2016
Length: 6 minutes (1,513 words)

Final Days

“When I asked one senior Trump adviser to describe the scene inside, he responded: ‘Think of the bunker right before Hitler killed himself. Donald’s in denial. They’re all in denial.'”

Published: Oct 29, 2016
Length: 16 minutes (4,007 words)

A Kink in the Hyperloop

In 2013, Elon Musk put together a detailed proposal for a futuristic 35-minute San Francisco—L.A. commute. The idea was open-sourced, and enthralled by Musk’s vision, a venture capitalist named Shervin Pishevar started a company to bring a version of the idea to life. Like many Silicon Valley stories, this one would contain speed bumps and internal turmoil.

Published: Oct 18, 2016
Length: 20 minutes (5,248 words)

The Novelist Disguised As a Housewife

An excerpt of Ruth Franklin’s biography of Shirley Jackson, the author of seventeen books and many short stories including “The Lottery,” the bulk of which were written while she was immersed in raising—and being influenced by—her four children.

Published: Sep 27, 2016
Length: 10 minutes (2,664 words)

I Used to Be a Human Being

Retired Daily Dish blogger Andrew Sullivan’s meditation on the epidemic of digital distraction addiction—and his attempt to cure himself of it at a 10-day silent meditation retreat he attended after famously ending his 15-year blogging career.

Published: Sep 18, 2016
Length: 28 minutes (7,077 words)