The New Yorker Radio Hour

By WNYC

SHOW DESCRIPTION

David Remnick is joined by The New Yorker’s award-winning writers, editors and artists to present a weekly mix of profiles, storytelling, and insightful conversations about the issues that matter — plus an occasional blast of comic genius from the magazine’s legendary Shouts and Murmurs page. The New Yorker has set a standard in journalism for generations and The New Yorker Radio Hour gives it a voice on public radio for the first time. Produced by The New Yorker and WNYC Studios. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, On the Media, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, Nancy and many more. © WNYC Studios


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EPISODES LIST

Aaron Sorkin Rewrites “To Kill a Mockingbird”

As he set about adapting “To Kill a Mockingbird” for the stage—the play opened this week on Broadway—Aaron Sorkin first wrote a version that he says was very much like the novel, but “with stage directions.” As he delved into the character of Atticus Finch, though, he found himself troubled. The small-town lawyer is tolerant, but too tolerant, tolerant of everything, including the violent racism of many of his neighbors—which he attempts to understand rather than condemn. And Sorkin felt that Lee’s two black characters, the maid Calpurnia and the falsely accused Tom Robinson, had no real voice in the book. “I imagine that, in 1960, using African-American characters as atmosphere is the kind of thing that would go unnoticed by white people,” he tells David Remnick. “In 2018, it doesn’t go unnoticed, and it’s wrong, and it’s also a wasted opportunity.”   Sorkin’s changes in his adaptation led to a lawsuit from Harper Lee’s literary executor, who had approved him as the playwright but placed specific conditions on the faithfulness of his script. In Sorkin’s view, the criticisms of the executor, Tonja Carter, were tantamount to racism. He thinks they reinforced the lack of voice and agency of black people in the South in the nineteen-thirties. (Carter declined to comment on Sorkin’s remarks.) The two sides eventually reached a settlement, in May, and the play proceeded to production. Sorkin says that, of his own volition, he cut some of his lines that hinted too broadly at the political realities of America under Donald Trump. But Atticus Finch’s realization—that the people in his community whom he thought he knew best, he never really knew at all—mirrors the experience of many Americans since 2016. Plus, a Minnesota senator on running as a Democrat in the age of Trump.  

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Is Voting Safe?

For democracy to function, we have to trust and accept the results of elections. But that trust is increasingly difficult to maintain in a world where malicious actors like the G.R.U., the Russian intelligence agency, have been actively probing our election systems for technological vulnerabilities. Sue Halpern, who reports on election security, spoke with the researcher Logan Lamb, who found a massive amount of information from the Georgia election system sitting unsecured on the Internet. The information included election officials’ passwords and the names and addresses of voters, and Lamb made the discovery during the time that (according to the Mueller investigation) Russian hackers were probing the system. Georgia is one of a number of states that do not use any paper backup for their balloting, so suspected hacking of voting machines or vote tabulators can be nearly impossible to prove. On top of this, new restrictive voting laws purge voters who, for instance, haven’t voted in the last few elections, so hackers can disenfranchise voters by deleting or changing information in the databases—without tampering with the tallied votes. Susan Greenhalgh of the National Election Defense Coalition tells Halpern that while some states are inclined to resist federal assistance in their election operations, they are poorly equipped to fight cyber-battles on their own. Plus, the story of explorer Henry Worsley, who set out at fifty-five ski to ski alone across Antarctica, hauling more than three hundred pounds of gear and posting an audio diary by satellite phone. New Yorker staff writer David Grann spoke with Worsley’s widow, Joanna, about the painful choice she made to support her husband in an endeavor that seemed fatal.  

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The New Yorker Radio Hour Podcast

LAST EPISODE

Robyn Talks with David Remnick

12.07.2018

For the past twenty-five years, since she was a young teen-ager, the singer Robyn has been on the cutting edge of pop music. Her sound is sparse and complex, influenced by electro and dance music while preserving the catchiness of ...