The Ezra Klein Show
The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein Show

New York Times Opinion

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*** Named a best podcast of 2021 by Time, Vulture, Esquire and The Atlantic. *** Each Tuesday and Friday, Ezra Klein invites you into a conversation on something that matters. How do we address climate change if the political system fails to act? Has the logic of markets infiltrated too many aspects of our lives? What is the future of the Republican Party? What do psychedelics teach us about consciousness? What does sci-fi understand about our present that we miss? Can our food system be just to humans and animals alike?

Recent Episodes

How Do We Face Loss With Dignity?
AUG 12, 2022
How Do We Face Loss With Dignity?
In his latest work, “The Last White Man,” the award-winning writer Mohsin Hamid imagines a world that is very like our own, with one major exception: On various days, white people wake up to discover that their skin is no longer white. It’s a heavy premise, but one of Hamid’s unique talents as a novelist is his ability to take on the most difficult of topics — racism, migration, loss — with a remarkably light touch. “How do you begin to have these conversations in a way that allows everybody a way in?” Hamid asks at one point in our conversation. “How do you talk about these things in a way that’s open to everyone?” What sets Hamid apart is his capacity to do just that — both in his fiction and in our conversation. We discuss: How Hamid experienced what it was like to lose his whiteness after 9/11 What happens to a society when suddenly we can’t sort ourselves by race The origins of modern humans’ fear of death — and how to overcome it Why Hamid thinks future humans will look back at the idea of borders with moral horror Why Hamid believes that pessimistic realism is a “deeply conservative” worldview Hamid’s process for imagining optimistic futures Why Hamid believes that the very notion of the self is a fiction Why we turn to activities like sex, drugs and meditation when we get overwhelmed How America’s policies toward immigrants and refugees should challenge our “heroic” sense of national identity What Toni Morrison taught Hamid about how to read and write And more. Mentioned: "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka Exit West by Mohsin Hamid Book Recommendations: Beloved by Toni Morrison Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges The Epic of Gilgamesh, translated by Andrew George Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs. “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
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76 MIN
Three Sentences That Could Change the World — and Your Life
AUG 9, 2022
Three Sentences That Could Change the World — and Your Life
Today’s show is built around three simple sentences: “Future people count. There could be a lot of them. And we can make their lives better.” Those sentences form the foundation of an ethical framework known as “longtermism.” They might sound obvious, but to take them seriously is a truly radical endeavor — one with the power to change the world and even your life. That second sentence is where things start to get wild. It’s possible that there could be tens of trillions of future people, that future people could outnumber current people by a ratio of something like a million to one. And if that’s the case, then suddenly most of the things we spend most of our time arguing about shrink in importance compared with the things that will affect humanity’s long-term future. William MacAskill is a professor of philosophy at Oxford University, the director of the Forethought Foundation for Global Priorities Research and the author of the forthcoming book, “What We Owe the Future,” which is the best distillation of the longtermist worldview I’ve read. So this is a conversation about what it means to take the moral weight of the future seriously and the way that everything — from our political priorities to career choices to definitions of heroism — changes when you do. We also cover the host of questions that longtermism raises: How should we weigh the concerns of future generations against those of living people? What are we doing today that future generations will view in the same way we look back on moral atrocities like slavery?Who are the “moral weirdos” of our time we should be paying more attention to? What are the areas we should focus on, the policies we should push, the careers we should choose if we want to guarantee a better future for our posterity? And much more. Mentioned: "Is A.I. the Problem? Or Are We?" by The Ezra Klein Show "How to Do The Most Good" by The Ezra Klein Show "This Conversation With Richard Powers Is a Gift" by The Ezra Klein Show Book Recommendations: “Moral Capital” by Christopher Leslie Brown “The Precipice” by Toby Ord “The Scout Mindset” by Julia Galef Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs. ​​“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
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68 MIN
Gender Is Complicated for All of Us. Let’s Talk About It.
AUG 5, 2022
Gender Is Complicated for All of Us. Let’s Talk About It.
It’s hard to think of anything changing more quickly in our society right now than our understanding of gender. There’s an explosion of young people identifying as gender nonconforming in some way or another, and others are coming out as transgender or nonbinary throughout their lives, from childhood to old age. But this sea change has brought with it an enormous amount of confusion and resistance. As of July, lawmakers in 21 states had introduced bills that focus on restricting gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth, such as hormone blockers, and 29 states had introduced bills banning transgender youth from sports. But we also know that the degree of support a young person receives when coming out — or doesn’t — can have profound consequences for their mental health. How should we process and understand this moment in gender? Kathryn Bond Stockton is a distinguished professor of English focusing on gender studies at the University of Utah and the author of the book “Gender(s).” She is incredibly skilled at explaining the fundamentals — and complexities — of what gender means and how people, including Stockton herself, have wrestled with it. In this conversation, we discuss: - Why and how Stockton has always felt out of place as a woman - How her entry to the evangelical church actually advanced her acceptance of her gender - Why gender is “queer” for all of us, regardless of how we identify or how much we think about it - The ways that we perform our genders without even knowing we’re doing it - How the choices parents make concerning things as seemingly banal as clothing and toys shape children’s gender identities - How an expanded sense of gender can bring pain as well as pleasure and playfulness - What Stockton has learned from discussions about gender roles with Mormon students in her Utah classrooms - What we would gain — and possibly lose — if we were to loosen social categories of gender - Why Pride celebrations can be so utopian And much more. Mentioned: Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters Butch Queens Up in Pumps by Marlon M. Bailey Book Recommendations: Histories of the Transgender Child by Jules Gill-Peterson Brilliant Imperfection by Eli Clare Asegi Stories by Qwo-Li Driskill Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs. “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Rollin Hu.
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75 MIN
The Argument: Who Can Write About What?
AUG 2, 2022
The Argument: Who Can Write About What?
Today we're bringing you an episode from our friends at The Argument, about cultural appropriation in creative work. In recent years, book written by white authors like “American Dirt” and “The Help" have been criticized for their portrayals of characters of color. Artists’ job is to imagine and create, but what do we do when they get it wrong? To discuss, Jane Coaston is joined by the Opinion writers Roxane Gay and Jay Caspian Kang. In their work, both have thought deeply about the thorny issues of writing across identities — including what makes work authentic, the pressure of representation for writers of color and the roles social media and the publishing industry play in literary criticism. “I don’t think it’s that complicated,” Roxane says. “It’s not that we divorce identity from the conversation. It’s that we treat it as inherent because we can’t separate out parts of ourselves.” Mentioned: “White Fever Dreams” by Roxane Gay in Gay Magazine “The Pity of the Elites” by Jay Caspian Kang Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs. “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones and Pat McCusker; mixing by Pat McCusker; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
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27 MIN
Best Of: Ruth Ozeki’s Enchanted Relationship to Minds and Possessions
JUL 29, 2022
Best Of: Ruth Ozeki’s Enchanted Relationship to Minds and Possessions
Today we're taking a short break and re-releasing one of our favorite episodes from 2022, a conversation with the novelist and Buddhist priest Ruth Ozeki. We'll be back with new episodes next week! The world has gotten louder, even when we’re alone. A day spent in isolation can still mean a day buffeted by the voices on social media and the news, on podcasts, in emails and text messages. Objects have also gotten louder: through the advertisements that follow us around the web, the endless scroll of merchandise available on internet shopping sites and in the plentiful aisles of superstores. What happens when you really start listening to all these voices? What happens when you can’t stop hearing them? Ruth Ozeki is a Zen Buddhist priest and the author of novels including “A Tale for the Time Being,” which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and “The Book of Form and Emptiness,” which I read over paternity leave and loved. “The Book of Form and Emptiness” is about Benny, a teenager who starts hearing objects speak to him right after his father’s death, and it’s about his mother, Annabelle, who can’t let go of anything she owns, and can’t seem to help her son or herself. And then it’s about so much more than that: mental illnesses and materialism and consumerism and creative inspiration and information overload and the power of stories and the role of libraries and unshared mental experiences and on and on. It’s a book thick with ideas but written with a deceptively light, gentle pen. Our conversation begins by exploring what it means to hear voices in our minds, and whether it’s really so rare. We talk about how Ozeki’s novels begin she hears a character speaking in her mind, how meditation can teach you to detach from own internal monologue, why Marie Kondo’s almost animist philosophy of tidying became so popular across the globe, whether objects want things, whether practicing Zen has helped her want less and, my personal favorite part, the dilemmas posed by an empty box with the words “empty box” written on it. Mentioned: The Great Shift by James L. Kugel Book recommendations: When You Greet Me I Bow by Norman Fischer The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges Vibrant Matter by Jane Bennett This episode contains a brief mention of suicidal ideation. If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). A list of additional resources is available at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources. Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs. This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
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58 MIN