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Still Processing

Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham are working it out in this weekly show about culture in the broadest sense. That means television, film, books, music — but also the culture of work, dating, the internet and how those all fit together.

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  • 20.05.2021
    41 MB
    43:32
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    'Before I Let Go'

    When the three opening notes of the song hit, there’s only one thing to do: Find your people and dance. Today, we’re talking about “Before I Let Go,” by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, and the song’s unique ability to gather and galvanize. It wasn’t a huge hit when it came out in 1981, but it has become a unifying Black anthem and an unfailing source of joy. We dissect Beyoncé’s cover, and we hear from friends, listeners and the Philadelphia DJ Patty Jackson about their memories of the classic song. You can find more info on today's episode here .

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  • 13.05.2021
    37 MB
    39:23
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    The People in the Neighborhood

    A powerful — and revealing — aspect of the Derek Chauvin trial was the community it created out of strangers. Week later, we’re still thinking about the witnesses, and the way they were connected in telling the story of how George Floyd lost his life. This phenomenon is reflected in works of art, like Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” which explores the conflict inherent in a community. You can find more info on today's episode here .

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  • 06.05.2021
    40 MB
    42:17
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    We, Tina

    She’s simply the best. A new documentary on HBO (called, simply, “Tina”) explores Tina Turner’s tremendous triumphs, but we wanted to go deeper. We talk about how her entire career was an act of repossession: Taking back her name, her voice, her image, her vitality and her spirituality made her one of the biggest rock stars in the world, even in her 50s. You can find more info about today's episode here , and follow Wesley’s playlist of his top Tina Turner songs. Also, Jenna and Wesley want your help in settling a bet! Do you know the song “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly and Maze? Did you play it at a party or dance to it at a wedding? Do you jump to your feet every time it comes on? Grab your phone and record yourself telling a story about what the song has meant to you. Send it to us at [email protected]

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  • 29.04.2021
    35 MB
    37:00
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    Cathy Park Hong

    The Asian-American poet wants to help women and people of color find healing — and clarity — in their rage. Hong's book of essays, “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning," came out in February 2020, and it’s taken on new urgency with the rise in anti-Asian violence and discrimination during the pandemic. You can find more info on today's episode here . And check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our series on Asian-American racism from 2018.

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  • 15.04.2021
    40 MB
    42:34
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    Lil Nas X? Not Sorry!

    Social media apologies have become the standard celebrity response to internet outrage. But why do they feel so deeply inadequate? Jenna and Wesley dissect a new spate of public apologies from the last year. And they look to the activist and writer adrienne maree brown for an example of a “fully evolved” apology. You can find more info about today’s show here . And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning” by Cathy Park Hong. Read it along with us!

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  • 08.04.2021
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    39:44
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    40 Acres and a Movie

    Disney owns a piece of every living person’s childhood. Now it owns Marvel Studios, too. Jenna and Wesley look at depictions of racist tropes and stereotypes in Disney’s ever-expanding catalog. The company has made recent attempts to atone for its past. But can it move forward without repeating the same mistakes? You can find more info about today’s episode here . And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning” by Cathy Park Hong. Send us your questions and thoughts about the book at [email protected]

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  • 01.04.2021
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    36:59
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    No Country for Any Men

    “Promising Young Woman” is one of this year’s major Oscar contenders. It’s a dark revenge fantasy that asks a sweeping moral question: What if there are no good men? Wesley and Jenna go deep into the film and consider what it gets right — and wrong — about sexual assault and justice. Beware: There will be spoilers. You can find more info about today’s show here . And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning” by Cathy Park Hong. Read it along with us!

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  • 25.03.2021
    40 MB
    42:08
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    Now That's What I Call a Bridge!

    “Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo makes Wesley nostalgic for his favorite part of a song: the bridge. Bridges used to be a core feature of popular music, but they’ve become an endangered species, right next to the sitcom laugh track. While Wesley laments the demise of the bridge, Jenna points out that TikTok has given us new ways to experience the best part of a song. You can find more info about today’s episode here , and follow our playlist of Wesley and Jenna’s favorite bridges.

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  • 18.03.2021
    49 MB
    51:23
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    The N-Word

    It’s the episode we’ve been wanting to make for years. In our season premiere, we’re talking about the N-word. It’s both unspeakable and ubiquitous. A weapon of hate and a badge of belonging. After centuries of evolution, it’s everywhere — art, politics, everyday banter — and it can't be ignored. So we’re grappling with our complicated feelings about this word. You can find more information about today's episode here .

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  • 11.03.2021
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    02:37
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    The Return of Still Processing

    We’re back with a new season on March 18! Join culture writers Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris in the juiciest group chat, the coziest diner booth, the crowded kitchen at a house party with the best snacks and the real talk. Each week, they’ll come together to talk art, identity, politics, the internet — whatever they’re grappling with. Subscribe for deep chats, uncomfortable but necessary conversations and incisive takes on the cultural landscape. New episodes come out every Thursday.

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  • 25.02.2021
    51 MB
    53:58
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    Best of the Archives: Whitney Houston (2017)

    We’re preparing to drop a whole new season this spring. In the meantime, we want to make sure you’ve had a chance to hear some of our all-time favorite episodes. Like this one, about Whitney Houston. It’s been nine years since Ms. Houston died. She was one of the biggest pop stars of her time, but she’s often remembered as a tragic figure. In this episode, we argue that her music is much more important than any of the scandals. When we listen to some of her best performances, we remind ourselves who we actually lost: the greatest singer of the rock ’n’ roll era.

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  • 19.02.2021
    43 MB
    45:25
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    Best of the Archives: Whiteness in America (2017)

    When “Hillbilly Elegy” showed up on Netflix last November, it was just the latest in a series of media attempting to explain whiteness to its audience. We’re revisiting a better (though not perfect) example: the podcast “S-Town.” Check out our episode from 2017 while we prepare for a new season of Still Processing — coming to you in March.

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  • 11.02.2021
    45 MB
    47:03
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    Best of the Archives: Psychobros (2019)

    Not long ago, Harry Styles graced the cover of Vogue magazine in a dress. It was just one example of how traditional ideas of masculinity have been expanding — on the runway and in culture. In our episode “Psychobros” from a couple of seasons ago, we appreciated another man in a dress on the front page of a magazine: Brad Pitt on the cover of Rolling Stone, published just as the movie “Fight Club” came out in 1999. It’s one of our favorite past episodes coming your way … while we're getting ready to drop a whole new season this spring.

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  • 04.02.2021
    52 MB
    55:05
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    Best of the Archives: Aretha Franklin (2018)

    Next month we’re starting a whole new season of shows! Yes, in March! We’re thrilled. While we’re getting ready, we selected four of our favorite past episodes for you to enjoy. This first one is about one of the greats: Aretha Franklin. A singer, writer, arranger, pianist, performer and more, Ms. Franklin channeled both the difficult and beautiful aspects of American culture to make the songs that have scored our lives. She left a legacy of virtuosity and swagger that will live on — both online and off.

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  • 25.11.2020
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    32:15
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    Sweet, Sweet Fantasies, Baby

    With the election (nearly) resolved, we have a moment to step back and look at what fantasies our country is built upon. From the role of president, to the threat of another civil war to the soul of the country itself, we’re all harboring some kind of fantasy that we should probably interrogate.

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  • 12.11.2020
    37 MB
    37:16
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    'Waiter, There's a Fly in Our Bubble'

    With a monumental election on the horizon, we want to bring up a few recent events that show some sort of truth amid the confusion. From the NBA bubble to the fly in Mike Pence’s hair to HBO's “Lovecraft Country”, these are moments that point us beyond the present, to be our best and greatest selves. Discussed this week: “ Scandal ” (Season 4, Episodes 9-12, ABC, 2015)The N.B.A. bubble The vice-presidential debate (Oct. 7, 2020)“ Lovecraft Country ” (Episode 7, HBO, 2020) Sun Ra More Sun Ra Even more Sun Ra

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  • 12.11.2020
    37 MB
    37:10
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    Ziwe May Destroy Hamilton

    “Hamilton” is back in the mix, but the flavor has changed from beloved historical blockbuster to “wait, that’s what this is?” Elsewhere, in new works like “Baited,” on Instagram Live, and “I May Destroy You,” on HBO, Black women are getting personal in ways that are expanding our palates for discomfort. Discussed this week: “ Hamilton ” (written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Disney+, 2020)“ Baited ” on Instagram Live Ziwe Fumudoh “ I May Destroy You ” (written by Michaela Coel, HBO, 2020) Native Land project“ White Fragility ” lecture (by Robin DiAngelo, 2019)

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  • 12.11.2020
    34 MB
    34:05
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    Reparations for Aunt Jemima!

    When Quaker decided to take Aunt Jemima off the red pancake box after 131 years, did it also try to scrub the legacy she represents? And what sort of compensation is appropriate — and to whom — from a brand that maintained that image in public for so long? Discussed this week: “ Aunt Jemima Brand to Change Name and Image Over ‘Racial Stereotype’ ” (Tiffany Hsu, The New York Times, June 2020)“ Aunt Jemima: I’se in Town, Honey ” (Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University)“ The Dixie Chicks Change Their Name, Dropping the ‘Dixie’ ” (Ben Sisario, The New York Times, June 2020)“ Lady Antebellum Sues the Singer Lady A Over Name Change ” (Joe Coscarelli, The New York Times, July 2020)“ Aunt Jemima’s Heirs’ $3 Billion Lawsuit Against Pepsi, Quaker Oats Tossed by Judge ” (Tim Kenneally, The Wrap, February 2015)“ What Is Owed ” (Nikole Hannah Jones, The New York Times, June 2020)“ The Case for Reparations ” (Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, June 2014)

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  • 12.11.2020
    26 MB
    25:59
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    So Y’all Finally Get It

    Excerpts from our June 12 live event, where we caught up about the uprisings and resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. This is the first of three special summer episodes. Discussed this week: Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris in a live New York Times event (June 12, 2020)“ ‘Cops,’ Long-Running Reality Show That Glorified Police, Is Canceled ” (The New York Times, June 2020)“ LEGO Pulls Back Police Playset Affiliate Marketing Amid George Floyd Protests ” (ToyBook, June 2020)“ NASCAR Says It Will Ban Confederate Flags ” (The New York Times, June 2020)Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris on “ CBS This Morning ” (Aug. 18, 2017, CBS) Speech by Stokely Carmichael (a.k.a. Kwame Ture) (Oct. 29, 1966, Berkeley, Calif.)“ John Lewis: Good Trouble ” (directed by Dawn Porter, July 2020)

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  • 12.11.2020
    39 MB
    39:09
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    New Loop, America

    In our final episode from our living rooms, we visit the dystopia of “Westworld” and the utopia of “Hollywood” to see if we can glean anything about what might be in store on the other side of this pandemic — and about who we want to be. Discussed this week: “ Westworld ” (HBO, 2016-20)“ Hollywood ” (Netflix, 2020) Ryan Murphy “ The Stepford Wives ” (directed by Frank Oz, 2004)“ The Stepford Wives ” (directed by Bryan Forbes, 1975) The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 “ Love Jones ” (directed by Theodore Witcher, 1997)“ Love & Basketball ” (directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, 2000) Anna May Wong Hattie McDaniel Oscar Micheaux “ Delivering Thanks Team ” (Papa John’s, 2020)

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  • 12.11.2020
    40 MB
    40:20
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    Does This Phone Make Me Look Human?

    Covid-19 isn't "the great equalizer" – except when it comes to making us need our devices more than ever. Screens have revealed superstars as civilians, and turned sitcom grouches into teddy bears. Basically: We’re ready to be more open with one another. Discussed this week: “ Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration ” (Broadway.com)“ The ‘Credibility Bookcase’ Is the Quarantine’s Hottest Accessory ” (Amanda Hess, The New York Times)Randy Rainbow’s YouTube Channel “ A Parks and Recreation Special ” (NBC, 2020)“ The Power of Vulnerability ” (Brené Brown, TEDx)“ Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead ” (Brené Brown, 2012)The “ Unlocking Us ” Podcast (Brené Brown) Teddy Riley Verzuz Babyface

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  • 12.11.2020
    35 MB
    35:15
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    Fiona Ex Machina

    "Fetch the Bolt Cutters" is Fiona Apple's master class in channeling frustration and anger into what can only be called wisdom. Also, we hear from listeners all over the planet, sharing how they are taking care of the people in their lives. Discussed this week: " Fetch the Bolt Cutters " (Fiona Apple, 2020) Fiona Apple on the VMAs in 1997 " Regret " (Fiona Apple, "The Idler Wheel Is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do", 2012)" Criminal " (Fiona Apple, "Tidal", 1996)" Hold Up" (Beyonce Knowles, "Lemonade", 2016)

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  • 12.11.2020
    102 MB
    01:44:37
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    Halle Berry? Hallelujah.

    We’re trying something new this week. We want you to watch a movie with us, and not just any movie, but the 2004 superhero bomb “Catwoman,” starring two of our favorites: Halle Berry and Sharon Stone. We’ve got fun facts, some questions and a little bit of, um, cattiness. Discussed this week: Catwoman Halle Berry Sharon Stone Benjamin Bratt Alex Borstein Pitof

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  • 12.11.2020
    33 MB
    33:15
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    How to Learn From a Plague

    Activists stood up against the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s, but the tools they used to make themselves heard are unavailable during our coronavirus pandemic. Still, many of that era’s strategies and warning signs seem alarmingly relevant now. Discussed this week: “ How to Survive a Plague ” (directed by David France, 2012) ACT UP New York “ How ACT UP Remade Political Organizing in America ” (David France, The New York Times, April, 2020)“ ‘A Tragedy Is Unfolding’: Inside New York’s Virus Epicenter ” (Annie Correal, Andrew Jacobs and Ryan Christopher Jones, The New York Times, April, 2020)“ America’s Hidden H.I.V. Epidemic ” (Linda Villarosa, The New York Times, June, 2017)“ Amazon’s Whole Foods to Cut Medical Benefits for Part-Timers ” (Spencer Soper, Bloomberg, September, 2019)

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  • 12.11.2020
    39 MB
    39:22
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    Frosted Flakes

    Lions, and tigers and barely suppressed glee at criminal weirdos, oh my! What has big personalities, big issues and big cats? Netflix’s hit streaming show “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.” We explore what the show says about America’s unique relationship to freedom. Discussed this week: “ Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness ” (Netflix, 2020)“ Blue Caprice ” (directed by Alexandre Moors, 2013)“ The Wire ” (HBO, 2002-08)“ Breaking Bad ” (AMC, 2008-13)“ O.J.: Made In America ” (ESPN, 2016)“ Fargo ” (directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, 1996)“ Empire ” (Fox, 2015-20)“ Surviving R. Kelly ” (Lifetime, 2019) Gunther Gebel-Williams

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  • 12.11.2020
    40 MB
    40:28
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    Delicious Vinyl

    Not all reboots deserve to exist. Lots of them aren’t even things we want. But the new "High Fidelity" on Hulu is the reboot we didn’t know we needed. Discussed this week: Barack Obama’s Twitter Cardi B’s Twitter and Instagram " Celebrity Culture is Burning " (Amanda Hess, 2020)" Oprah Talks Covid-19 " (Apple TV+, 2020)Britney’s Instagram " High Fidelity " (directed by Stephen Frears, 2000)" High Fidelity " (Hulu, 2020)

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  • 12.11.2020
    31 MB
    30:47
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    A Pod From Both Our Houses

    From our living rooms to yours, “Still Processing” is back. During this unprecedented time in our lives, we talk routines, dreams and what’s on our screens — or at least what will be on our screens. Because screens are all we have left. Discussed this week: “ Darn That Dream ” (Dinah Washington, 1954) The Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC) Working out with Mr. and Mrs. Muscle “ Ra Ma Da Sa ” (Amanbir Singh, 2017) The Wiz (directed by Sidney Lumet, 1978) High Fidelity (Hulu, 2020)

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  • 12.11.2020
    3 MB
    02:03
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    Got That WFH Setup Set Up

    New episodes coming March 26! You’ve got a lot of time on your hands, and so do we. Let's spend it together

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  • 12.11.2020
    45 MB
    45:21
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    Wake

    We examine how HBO’s series “Watchmen” and Bong Joon Ho’s film “Parasite” bring to light the hidden histories that shape our modern lives. Discussed this week: “ Parasite ” (directed by Bong Joon Ho, 2019)“ Watchmen ” (HBO, 2019)“ White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination ” (Jess Row, 2019)“ In the Wake: On Blackness and Being “ (Christina Sharpe, 2016) We're going on hiatus, but we'll be back in your ears in early 2020!

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  • 12.11.2020
    38 MB
    38:11
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    Straws

    California’s new legislation allowing college athletes to make money off endorsements. One step forward. The backlash against victims who came forward in the wake of #MeToo. Two steps back. Does big, sustainable change have to feel like grasping at straws? Discussed this week: “ California Tells the N.C.A.A. to Share, and It Pitches a Fit. ” (Michael Powell, The New York Times, Oct. 4, 2019)“ The Toll of Me Too. ” (Rebecca Traister, The Cut, Sept. 30, 2019)

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  • 12.11.2020
    43 MB
    42:45
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    Psychobros

    We revisit "Fight Club" on the 20th anniversary of its release, and consider how the trope of the "psychobro" is showing up onscreen — in the new blockbuster “Joker” and HBO’s critically acclaimed series “Succession” — and off. Discussed this week: " The Unbearable Bradness of Being " (Chris Heath, Rolling Stone, Oct. 28, 1999)" Fight Club " (directed by David Fincher, 1999)" Joker " (directed by Todd Phillips, 2019)" Succession " (HBO, 2019)" Whistleblower Explains How Cambridge Analytica Helped Fuel U.S. 'Insurgency' " (Fresh Air, Oct. 8, 2019)

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  • 12.11.2020
    44 MB
    43:59
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    J.Lo

    Jennifer Lopez is having a triumphant 2019. From her Motown tribute at the Grammys to the success of “Hustlers” to the announcement that she’ll be performing at the Super Bowl halftime show, she seems to be enjoying the fruits of her labor from about three decades in show business. So we want to know: is Jennifer Lopez finally getting her due? Discussed this week: “ How Jennifer Lopez’s Versace Dress Created Google Images ” (Rachel Tashjian, GQ, Sept. 20, 2019)“ Hustlers ” (directed by Lorene Scafaria, 2019)Jennifer Lopez’s Motown Tribute at the 2019 Grammy Awards“ Jennifer Lopez Talks Engagement, Diddy’s Instagram Comments, Bonding With Cardi B + More ” (Breakfast Club, Apr. 10, 2019)“ ‘Hustlers’ Has a Strong Opening at the Box Office ” (Gabe Cohn, The New York Times, Sept. 15, 2019)“ Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez Announce Their Engagement ” (The Associated Press, March 9, 2019)“ Selena ” (directed by Gregory Nava, 1997)“ Movies (And Other Things) ” (Shea Serrano, 2019)“ Waiting for Tonight ” (Jennifer Lopez, 1999)“ 1999 ” (Prince, 1982)“ Out of Sight ” (directed by Steven Soderbergh, 1998)“ Monster-in-Law ” (directed by Robert Luketic, 2005)“ The Wedding Planner ” (directed by Adam Shankman, 2001)“ Maid in Manhattan ” (directed by Wayne Wang, 2002)“ Gigli ” (directed by Martin Brest, 2003)“ Jenny from the Block ” (Jennifer Lopez, 2002)“ Play ” (Jennifer Lopez, 2001)“ Rap Performer Puffy Combs Is Arrested After Shootings at Times Sq. Nightclub ” (William K. Rashbaum, The New York Times, Dec. 28, 1999)“ El Cantante ” (directed by Leon Ichaso, 2006)“ American Idol ” (Jennifer Lopez as judge in Seasons 10-11 and 13-15)

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  • 12.11.2020
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    Back Next Week!

    We'll be back with a new episode next Thursday, October 17th.

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  • 12.11.2020
    41 MB
    40:41
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    Chappelle

    Comedy is changing. Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix comedy special, " Sticks & Stones ," makes us wonder if he can keep up. Discussed this week: " Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones " (Netflix, 2019)" Aziz Ansari: Right Now " (Netflix 2019)" A Black Lady Sketch Show " (HBO, 2019)" My Favorite Shapes " (HBO, 2019)" Ramy Youssef: Feelings " (HBO, 2019)

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  • 12.11.2020
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    36:46
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    BoomBoom

    We’re in love with MTV’s dating-reality TV show “Are You the One?” Discussed this week: Jenna Wortham. " How Queer People Brought Some Actual Reality to Dating-Reality TV " (The New York Times Magazine, Aug. 28, 2019)Wesley Morris. " Rom-Coms Were Corny and Retrograde. Why Do I Miss Them so Much? " (The New York Times Magazine, April 24, 2019)" Are You the One? " (MTV, Season 8, 2019)

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  • 12.11.2020
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    Yeehaw

    How "Old Town Road" gave us hope without making us cringe, and became our song of the year. Discussed this week: Joe Coscarelli, Alexandra Eaton, Will Lloyd, Eden Weingart, Antonio de Luca and Alicia DeSantis. " Diary of a Song — ‘Old Town Road’: See How Memes and Controversy Took Lil Nas X to the Top of the Charts " (The New York Times, May 10, 2019)Jon Caramanica. " The Short Rise and Long Tail of Lil Nas X " (The New York Times, Jun. 26, 2019) Jade Jolie " Shut Up & Sing " (directed by Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck, 2006) BriMalandro.tumblr.com

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  • 12.11.2020
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    31:32
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    2020

    Remember that beer test? It’s not enough. That’s why this election season, we bring you: Still Processing’s Rubric for Leadership and Democratic Excellence. Discussed this week: Astead Herndon, Jon Caramanica and Jon Pareles. " What Do Rally Playlists Say About the Candidates? " (The New York Times, Aug. 19, 2019)Clara Guibourg and Helen Briggs. " Climate change: Which vegan milk is best? " (BBC News, Feb. 22, 2019)The AP reporter Alexandra Jaffe’s post on Twitter that Senator Kamala Harris drinks oat milkMatt Flegenheimer and Sydney Ember. " How Amy Klobuchar Treats Her Staff " (The New York Times, Feb. 22, 2019)Carl Zimmer. " Elizabeth Warren Has a Native American Ancestor. Does That Make Her Native American? " (The New York Times, Oct. 15, 2018)Adrienne Keene, Rebecca Nagle and Joseph M. Pierce. " Syllabus: Elizabeth Warren, Cherokee Citizenship, and DNA Testing " (Critical Ethnic Studies, Dec. 19, 2018)Thomas Kaplan. " Elizabeth Warren Apologizes at Native American Forum: ‘I Have Listened and I Have Learned. ’" (The New York Times, Aug. 19, 2019)Matt Stieb. " Where Does Marianne Williamson Actually Stand on Vaccines? " (NYMag, Aug. 4, 2019)Glenn Thrush. " Obama and Biden’s Relationship Looks Rosy. It Wasn’t Always That Simple. " (The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2019)

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  • 12.11.2020
    3 MB
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    Catnip

    Still Processing will be back in your ears on Thursday, September 12th.

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  • 12.11.2020
    31 MB
    30:59
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    Us

    We dissect Jordan Peele’s new psychological thriller, “Us,” and discuss the film’s central question (WITHOUT SPOILERS): Are any of us ever truly free from the past? Also, we’re going on a short hiatus. Happy spring, and we’ll be back in your ears soon. Discussed this week: “ Us ” (directed by Jordan Peele, 2019)“ Suspiria ” (directed by Dario Argento, 1977)“ The People Under the Stairs ” (directed by Wes Craven, 1991)“ It Follows ” (directed by David Robert Mitchell, 2014)“ White Is for Witching ” (Helen Oyeyemi, 2014)“ Beloved ” (Toni Morrison, 1987)“ Beloved ” (directed by Jonathan Demme, 1998) Jan Svankmajer “ Beloved ” (Toni Morrison, audiobook, 2006)“ The Souls of Black Folk ” (W.E.B. DuBois, 1903)

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  • 12.11.2020
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    Whoopi

    We celebrate Whoopi Goldberg from her days as a boundary-pushing stand-up comedian in the early ’80s to her current role as professional curmudgeon on “The View.” Discussed this week: “ Whoopi Goldberg ” (Ottessa Moshfegh, Garage magazine: Issue 16, Feb. 19, 2019)“ Whoopi Goldberg: Direct From Broadway ” (directed by Thomas Schlamme, 1985)“ The Color Purple ” (directed by Steven Spielberg, 1985)“ Jumpin’ Jack Flash ” (directed by Penny Marshall, 1986)“ Burglar ” (directed by Hugh Wilson, 1987)“ Fatal Beauty ” (directed by Tom Holland, 1987)“ Clara’s Heart ” (directed by Robert Mulligan, 1988)“ Ghost ” (directed by Jerry Zucker, 1990)Whoopi Goldberg winning the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in Ghost (1991)“ Sister Act ” (directed by Emile Ardolino, 1992)“ The Fine Print: Danson in the Dark ” (Louis Theroux, Spy magazine, February 1994)“ The Associate ” (directed by Donald Petrie, 1996)

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  • 12.11.2020
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    30:55
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    Circular(s)

    We chat with David Wallace-Wells, climate columnist for New York Magazine, about the limits of individual consumption choices and the necessity of political action to combat climate change. Discussed this week: “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming” (David Wallace-Wells, 2019)

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  • 12.11.2020
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    M.J.

    HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” — a two-part documentary that focuses on the stories of two men, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who allege that Michael Jackson sexually abused them as children — prompts us to wrestle with our love for and discomfort with the pop star. We examine how Jackson seemed to have been culturally exonerated, and we ask what to do with a man whose artistic reach is so profound that “canceling” him — an imperfect way of dealing with problematic artists to begin with — might not even be possible. Discussed this week: “ How to Support a Friend or Loved One Who Has Been Sexually Abused ” (Vanessa Marin, The New York Times, 2019)“ Leaving Neverland ” (HBO, 2019)“ Moonwalk ” (Michael Jackson, 2009)“ The Oprah Winfrey Show ” (ABC, Feb. 10, 1993)“ Living With Michael Jackson ” (ITV, 2003)“ On Michael Jackson ” (Margo Jefferson, 2006)

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  • 12.11.2020
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    42:05
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    Liars

    The Jussie Smollett investigation has captured America’s attention — and ours. We take a look at the support for as well as the doubts about Smollett’s claims, and try to make sense of the charge that Smollett staged his own attack. In an era in which personal trauma and victimhood are often leveraged for cultural capital, we consider the long-term repercussions of the Smollett case. Discussed this week: “ Jussie Smollett Timeline: Mystery Remains as Actor Is Charged With Faking His Assault ” (Sopan Deb, The New York Times, Feb. 17, 2019)“ Lee Daniels Shares Powerful Words for Jussie Smollett After Racist, Homophobic Attack ” (Alex Ungerman, ETOnline, Jan. 29, 2019)April Ryan asks President Trump what he thinks about the alleged attack on Jussie Smollett (C-Span, Jan. 29, 2019)“ Jussie Smollett speaks to Robin Roberts in ABC News exclusive interview ” (Good Morning America, Feb. 14, 2019)“ Can the Grammys Please Anyone ?” (Ben Sisario, The New York Times, Feb. 7, 2019)“ Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened ” (Netflix, 2019)“ Fyre Fraud ” (Hulu, 2019)“ Breaking Bad ” (AMC, 2008-13)“ Where’s All This Energy for the Attacks on Black Transgender Women? ” (Raquel Willis, Out, Jan. 31, 2019)“ At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance — A New History of the Civil Rights Movement From Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power ” (Danielle L. McGuire, 2011)“ Prada, Gucci and now Burberry: Are brands under fire for offensive designs doing it on purpose? ” (Rachel Leah, Salon, Feb 20. 2019)“ Former Goucher Student Faces Four Counts of Hate Crime Charges for Racist Graffiti ” (WJZ, Dec. 5, 2018)“ Revisiting a Rape Scandal That Would Have Been Monstrous if True ” (Retro Report, The New York Times, June 3, 2013)“ Why You Always Lying ” (Nicholas Fraser, Sept. 14, 2015)

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  • 12.11.2020
    38 MB
    37:45
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    Fantasies

    With the Academy Awards right around the corner, we take a look back at some previous Best Picture winners. When these winning films were about race, they often highlighted a feel-good racial reconciliation fantasy. But about 30 years ago, there was one movie that was snubbed at the Oscars — “Do the Right Thing” — that is anything but a feel-good racial reconciliation fantasy. We revisit how “Do the Right Thing” showcased realities about race in America in ways that none of the current Oscar nominees — including Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” — do, and why it matters. Discussed this week: “ Green Book ” (directed by Peter Farrelly, 2018)“ Forrest Gump ” (directed by Robert Zemeckis, 1994)“ Crash ” (directed by Paul Haggis, 2004)“ Driving Miss Daisy ” (directed by Bruce Beresford, 1989)“ BlacKkKlansman ” (directed by Spike Lee, 2018) Kim Basinger going off-script at the 1990 Academy Awards“ Do the Right Thing ” (directed by Spike Lee, 1989)

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  • 12.11.2020
    44 MB
    44:18
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    Becoming

    "Becoming," the best-selling memoir by the former first lady, Michelle Obama, is a study in what happens when the ways we see ourselves don't always line up with the ways that society sees us. In reading about her journey from high-achieving, self-possessed child in Chicago to the fraught glamour of her life in the White House, we marvel at the ways she balanced herself and her image in service of the country. And we discuss how Michelle Obama's memoir fits into a powerful lineage of black women navigating entirely new circumstances with curiosity, strength and grace. Discussed this week: “ Becoming ” (Michelle Obama, 2019)Beyoncé singing “ At Last ” at Barack Obama’s 2008 inauguration“ Lean In ” (Sheryl Sandberg, 2013)“ Complete Writings: Phillis Wheatley ” (Phillis Wheatley, 2001)“ Thick: And Other Essays ” (Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom, 2019)“ Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower ” (Dr. Brittney Cooper, 2018)“ Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds ” (adrienne maree brown, 2017)

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  • 12.11.2020
    37 MB
    37:14
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    Joy

    Inspired by Netflix’s “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” we decide to KonMari Wesley’s Brooklyn apartment. We ask ourselves what sparks joy in our lives and examine whether Marie Kondo’s philosophy extends into the metaphysical realm. Discussed this week: " Tidying Up with Marie Kondo " (Netflix, 2019)" The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing " (Marie Kondo, 2014)" The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter " (Margareta Magnusson, 2017)

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  • 12.11.2020
    28 MB
    27:22
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    Reality

    We now live in an era where people can choose to believe whatever they want to believe, regardless of proof or evidence. From the Laquan McDonald trial to the film “Green Book” to R. Kelly’s song “I Believe I Can Fly” to the Nick Sandmann/Nathan Phillips encounter at the Lincoln Memorial, we wrestle with the ways that reality is contested, both personally and politically. Discussed this week: " Jason Van Dyke Sentenced to Nearly 7 Years for Murdering Laquan McDonald " (Mitch Smith and Julie Bosman, The New York Times, Jan. 18, 2019) " Who is America? " (Showtime, 2018)" Green Book " (directed by Peter Farrelly, 2018)" Why Do the Oscars Keep Falling for Racial Reconciliation Fantasies? " (Wesley Morris, The New York Times, Jan. 23, 2019) " Surviving R. Kelly " (Lifetime, 2019)The Nick Sandmann/Nathan Phillips encounter at the Lincoln Memorial (Jan. 25, 2019)

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  • 12.11.2020
    33 MB
    32:50
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    Relations

    The new Netflix show “Sex Education” feels so refreshing because for the longest time, there has been a dearth of cultural properties that specifically deal with the realities of sex. Sure, there’s sex in film and TV, but in recent history, there has been an absence of content that treats sex (and the complicated feelings that it can bring up) not as an aside, but as the main event. From “Fatal Attraction” to “Sex and the City” to “Knocked Up” to “Black Panther,” we trace the history — on screen and off — of how we went from lots of bad sex to no sex to hopefully some good sex moving forward. Discussed this week: " Sex Education " (created by Laurie Nunn, 2019)" Fatal Attraction " (directed by Adrian Lyne, 2019) " Basic Instinct " (directed by Paul Verhoeven, 1992)" Color of Night " (directed by Richard Rush, 1994)" The Witches of Eastwick " (directed by George Miller, 1987)" Sex and the City " (created by Darren Star, 1998-2004)Bill Clinton denying his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky (1998)" Knocked Up " (directed by Judd Apatow, 2007)" X-Men " (directed by Bryan Singer, 2000)" Black Panther " (directed by Ryan Coogler, 2018)

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  • 12.11.2020
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    36:11
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    Kaepernick

    Last fall, Nike released a groundbreaking ad featuring the former N.F.L. quarterback Colin Kaepernick. His kneeling protest, which started in 2016 as a response to police brutality, was reinterpreted by social media, celebrities and Nike itself to mean something that doesn’t always match the intention of his original protest. So what does it say that a multinational corporation has aligned itself with a social movement? And are we O.K. with this form of “Kaepitalism”? Discussed this week: " Samson et Dalila " at the Metropolitan OperaJennifer Lee Chan’s tweet showing Colin Kaepernick not standing for the national anthem (Aug. 27, 2016)Colin Kaepernick explaining why he won’t stand for the national anthem (Aug. 28, 2016)" Colin Kaepernick and the Question of Who Gets to Be Called a 'Patriot' " (Wesley Morris, The New York Times Magazine, Sept. 12, 2016) Nike’s ad featuring Colin Kaepernick (September 2018)" Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad sparked a boycott — and earned $6 billion for Nike " (Alex Abad-Santos, Vox, Sept. 24, 2018)" This Could Be the Next Step for the New, Socially Conscious Nike " (Sarah Spellings, The Cut, Sept. 6, 2018)" Nike Is Facing a New Wave of Anti-Sweatshop Protests " (Marc Bain, Quartz, Aug. 1, 2017)

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  • 12.11.2020
    38 MB
    37:56
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    Apology

    New year, new season. Kevin Hart. Ellen. Brett Kavanaugh. We live in an age of #SorryNotSorry, prevalent in our pop culture and woven into the fabric of our nation’s founding. But how can we grow into the people we want to become when we can’t acknowledge our mistakes and the effect that they've had on others? We invite you to start off 2019 with an apology. Discussed this week: Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony at the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing (2018)“ I Won’t Back Down ” (Tom Petty, 1989)“ Ms. Jackson ” (OutKast, 2000)“ All Apologies ” (Nirvana, 1993)“ Sorry ” (Beyoncé, 2016)“Poltergeist” (directed by Tobe Hooper, 1982)“The Best Man” (directed by Malcom D. Lee, 1999)Dan Harmon’s apology on the Harmontown podcast (Jan. 10, 2018)Kevin Hart’s non-apology on Instagram (Dec. 6, 2018)Kevin Hart’s appearance on Ellen (Jan. 4, 2019)“ The Apology of Socrates ” (Plato, translated by Benjamin Jowett)“ I’m Sorry ” (Brenda Lee, 1960)

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