The Gray Area with Sean Illing

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Date Title & Description Contributors

  The case for failure

Is our society's fixation with success hindering our ability to find humility? Sean Illing speaks with Costica Bradatan about his new book In Praise of Failure: Four Lessons in Humility, which explores failure through the lives of historical figures li...
  Vox author

  Poetry as religion

Sean Illing speaks with poet and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht, whose new book The Wonder Paradox asks: if we don't have God or religion, what — if anything — do we lose? They discuss how religion accesses meaning — through things like prayer, cerem...
  Vox author

  Revisiting the American Dream

In America, there's been an increase of available jobs, and there's also been a series of high-profile layoffs, strikes, and calls for unionization. The social safety net for workers is disappearing, so what can people do? Sean Illing speaks with Aliss...
  Vox author

  The cost of saving pandas

The giant panda is no longer endangered. This, of course, is good news. But the model of conservation that worked to protect these iconic bears has failed to help the countless other threatened species on Earth, most of which are far less charismatic. ...
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  Breaking our family patterns

Sean Illing speaks with marriage and family therapist Vienna Pharaon, whose new book The Origins of You aims to help us identify and heal the wounds that originated from our family, which shape our patterns of behavior in relationships and throughout o...
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  For Black horror fans, fact is scarier than fiction

Guest host Alissa Wilkinson talks with Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman about her new book, The Black Guy Dies First: Black Horror Cinema from Fodder to Oscar. Dr. Coleman is the Vice President & Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Di...
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  Taking Nietzsche seriously

Sean Illing talks with political science professor Matt McManus about the political thought of Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th-century German philosopher with a complicated legacy, despite his crossover into popular culture. They discuss how Nietzsche's ...
  Vox author

  The dark history of Silicon Valley

Sean Illing speaks with Malcolm Harris, a journalist, critic, and author of the new book Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World. Together, they discuss the weird history of the city that's birthed Stanford University, Hewlett Pac...
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  The value of being a "hater"

Guest host Rebecca Jennings talks with Justin Charity, cultural critic and senior staff writer at The Ringer, about what it means to be dubbed a "hater" on the internet. Rebecca and Justin talk about the role of criticism and the evolving ways in which...
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  Behind the blue wall

Sean Illing speaks with Rosa Brooks, a former reserve police officer and current law professor at Georgetown University. Brooks wrote Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City about her experience going through the police academy and becoming a co...
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