Rank #1: Halls of Fame Need Diversity, Too
On The Gist, it’s tough to find a host for the Oscars.In the interview, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame can quickly become incestuous, since past winners get to vote on future inductees. But this year’s 15 nominees break the mold of guitar-slinging dudes with long hair. Sure, Def Leppard is in the running, but so are LL Cool J, Janet Jackson, and Kraftwerk. Music critic Chris Molanphy himself has a vote, and tells us what his ballot looks like. Molanphy is the host of the Slate podcast Hit Parade and writes Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” column. In the Spiel, Andrew Sullivan’s new religions.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #2: Elizabeth Stormborn, Mother of Democrats!
On The Gist, Rudy Giuliani was a big, loud, and busy distraction this past Sunday.In the interview, it’s a round of “Is That B******t?” with Maria Konnikova. In the hot seat: the humble egg. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that eggs can increase your chances of heart disease. But is this study all it’s cracked up to be? The nutritional science has gone back and forth on the health benefits and risks of this breakfast food. Maria boils it down.In the Spiel, dragons roast their victims—and we roast Elizabeth Warren’s Game of Thrones critique.This episode is brought to you by Simplisafe. Start protecting your home today at SimpliSafe.com/gist.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #3: Sitting President, Standing Anger
On The Gist, the hippocampus has its moment.Tom Arnold believes incriminating tapes of Donald Trump are out there, and he wants to find them. In his new series for Viceland, The Hunt for the Trump Tapes, he’s looking for anything from more Access Hollywood obscenities to the infamous pee tape. But would publishing any of these actually change anything about politics today?In the Spiel, the rhetoric of “sitting Trump” versus “standing Trump.”Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #4: For Every Brand, a Backstory
On The Gist, surprise surprise, right-wing commentators aren’t apologizing for getting the mail bomber story totally wrong.In the interview, brands don’t make it big by mistake. Behind the success of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte and Jell-O are stories worth hearing. Dan Bobkoff’s podcast for Business Insider, Household Name, explores the odd origins of TGI Fridays, the reason there’s a Mattress Firm on every corner, and how a Donald Trump ad may have saved Pizza Hut (it’s all about the stuffed crust).In the Spiel, the Pittsburgh shooter was fueled by hate. But just as importantly, he was armed with an AR-15. It’s time to ban it.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #5: Between a Rock and a Funny Place
On The Gist, Saudi Arabia, Trump, and Jamal Khashoggi. Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman has had a post-scandal Louis C.K. take to his stage six times now. Why does he welcome him, and if he doesn’t draw the line at Louis, is it somewhere else? In the Spiel, the death of Nevada Republican candidate Dennis Hof. This episode is brought to you by Merrill Lynch. Get started today at ML.com/you.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #6: The International Hilarity of Loyiso Gola
On The Gist, sick children and dead ducks are pretty convincing. In the interview, South African comedian Loyiso Gola is here to talk about his stand up special on Netflix, what it’s like performing in different countries, and why talking about the economy is so difficult for everyday people. Gola is performing at the Soho Playhouse until April 21, 2019. In the Spiel, time for an early Antentwig. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #7: Something in the Water
On The Gist, first we’ve got misleading statistics. In 2016, Art Cullen wrote a series of editorials for the Storm Lake Times, a small newspaper in Iowa, uncovering the murky depths of a fight between local and state governments about water pollution. They followed the money, and discovered a fight funded by agricultural corporations, and ended up winning the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Cullen’s new book is Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope From a Heartland Newspaper. In the Spiel, gubernatorial races.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #8: It’s Mueller Overtime
On The Gist, Trump’s fundamental misreading of politics. In the interview, Garrett Graff’s afternoon was as busy as any journalist’s, picking through the redacted Mueller report released by the Department of Justice. There’s something new on every page, Graff says, including the Trump campaign’s awareness of Russian efforts against Hillary Clinton—and its expectation to benefit from them politically. Graff wrote a biography of Robert Mueller. His latest ebook is Mueller’s War. In the Spiel, Mueller did a great job, and if this report came out in a different climate it’d actually lead to real consequences.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #9: Olive Branch, Turkey Leg
On The Gist, how coverage of bisexuality has changed (for the better).Thanksgiving approaches, and with it all the tension that comes with mixing family and politics in the age of Trump. In that setting, Ike Barinholtz saw grist for a political comedy. He directs and stars in The Oath, in which a family reunion is cleaved by the federal government’s push for Americans to sign a “loyalty waiver to the president.”In the Spiel, what Arizona Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema did as congresswoman is much more important than what she did … in a tutu?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #10: The NFL Mafia
On The Gist, ’tis the season (elections!) for baseless political analysis, courtesy of big network news.Americans spend countless hours watching football, but what do they know about the owners of their favorite teams? In Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times, Mark Leibovich covers the exclusive billionaire boys’ club and the “very unimpressive group of inherited misfits” that fills its ranks.In the Spiel, CNN’s Van Jones was way too chummy with interview guest Jared Kushner on Monday morning.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #11: Bare Necessities? Not in Alaska.
On The Gist, unpacking CNN’s list of top Democratic challengers ahead of 2020.Katmai National Park and Preserve’s publicity stunt worked: For one week (that’s Fat Bear Week), the internet delighted in the tournament bracket that would crown the plumpest predator of them all. Carnivore ecologist Rae Wynn-Grant tells us about the brown bear’s diet, the unknown mechanics of hibernation, and why fattest really means fittest for the competition’s chunky winner (Beadnose!).In the Spiel, what to make of Elizabeth Warren’s DNA-testing gambit.This episode is brought to you by the following advertisers: SimpliSafe, protect your home today with twenty-four seven monitoring for just fifteen dollars a month, visit simplisafe.com/gist.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #12: The Same Old Mike, Plus The New One
On The Gist, Donald Trump is to "wall" as zombies are to "braaaains."In his Broadway show (The New One) Mike Birbiglia tells you why procreation is a terrible idea, before waxing lyrical on the joys of raising a daughter—it’s complicated; he’s complicated. On The Gist, he spares a thought for how to tip at an Olive Garden, the future of email leaks, and Fox News’ underwhelming Christmas tree.In the Spiel, abandoning arguments of good (or bad) faith.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #13: The Plain Prince
On Tuesday's Gist, Donald Trump’s win has inspired a whole bunch of down-ballot Republicans, and boy, are they lame.What is retroactive classification, and is it going to get former FBI Director James Comey in trouble? Bradley P. Moss specializes in litigation related to security clearance law. He explains why Comey may need to worry about prosecution for leaking government secrets. Moss is the deputy executive director of the James Madison Project to promote government accountability and reduction of secrecy.In the Spiel, is third-time dad Prince William ugly? We ask the question, for science!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #14: Why Now With the Weinstein Stories?
Why did it take years of reporting before any news organizations could nail down the Harvey Weinstein story? NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik says previously, the allegations received only “twilight” coverage. He considers why NBC might have whiffed on the Weinstein story, and how the network’s hard pass is being recast in conservative circles. Folkenflik is the author of Murdoch’s World: The Last of the Old Media Empires. In the Spiel, who was the star of the New York City mayoral debate? It wasn’t Oxford-style discourse.
Rank #15: A Song You Can Graduate To
On The Gist, those beacons of honesty—retiring Republican members of the Congress. Cremation has the carbon footprint of a 1,000-mile road trip, your average bee has nearly 1 million brain cells, and only 3 to 4 percent of gossip is actually “malicious.” Those are all statistics relayed in Walt Hickey’s Numlock News, the daily newsletter he started after four years at FiveThirtyEight. In the Spiel, graduation songs over the years. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #16: They Can’t Hear You, Theresa
On The Gist, the bottomless Pinocchio. Americans are filled with anxiety in the pursuit of happiness, and social media isn’t making it any better. But how do we even define happy, and will changing our online habits actually change anything? Author Ruth Whippman, who wrote about the phenomenon in the recent New York Times piece, “Everything Is for Sale Now. Even Us.,” joins us to discuss.In the Spiel, the Brexit vote.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #17: The Kids Are Not All Right
On The Gist, the days are getting longer, the brand names shorter.In the interview, millennial whisperer (or, you know, just plain millennial) Anne Helen Petersen recently diagnosed “the burnout generation” in a viral feature for BuzzFeed. Student debt, the 2008 financial crisis, relatively low levels of family wealth—all have contributed to their dire straits. But could their biggest burden be a mental one?In the Spiel, President Trump’s unsurprisingly empty Oval Office address.This episode is brought to you by Doctors Without Borders. Donate today at doctorswithoutborders.org.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #18: Nukes and Crannies
On The Gist, the press is too squeamish to clarify that “shithouse” isn’t much better than “s******e.” In the interview, more on fire and fury—nuclear fire, rhetorical fury, and the consequences of both. Jeffrey Lewis and Aaron Stein, hosts of Arms Control Wonk, assess the Trump administration’s tough talk on North Korea and the danger of a South Korea that decides to take matters into its own hands. In the Spiel, Aziz Ansari isn’t blameless, but he doesn’t deserve a total destruction of his career, either.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rank #19: The Problem With America’s Rich
Can you move toward greater income equality without asking America’s richest to give something up? In a word, no. On The Gist, Richard Reeves argues that the upper echelons of the U.S. are bogarting wealth that would otherwise go to the middle class. His latest book is Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It. And today, Mike pulls a Spiel from the archives: What President Trump means when he says everybody. Or anybody. Or nobody.
Rank #20: Fellas We Frolicked With
Talking about sex makes some people squirm. For everyone else there’s Guys We F****d, a podcast hosted by Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson that started off as a series of interviews with their old partners. Now it’s more of a coffee klatsch between two raunchy feminists.Their new book is F*cked: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed.And in the Spiel, Bannon, Bulgarian mutiny, and beluga whales.