Slow Burn podcast

Slow Burn

Slow Burn illuminates America’s most consequential moments, making sense of the past to better understand the present. Through archival tape and first-person interviews, the award-winning series uncovers the surprising events and little-known characters lurking within the biggest stories of our time. Want more Slow Burn? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access all episodes of Slow Burn (and your other favorite Slate podcasts) completely ad-free. Plus, you’ll unlock subscriber-exclusive bonus episodes that bring you behind-the-scenes on the making of the show. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/slowburnplus to get access wherever you listen. Season 8: Becoming Justice Thomas Where Clarence Thomas came from, how he rose to power, and how he’s brought the rest of us along with him, whether we like it or not. Winner of the Podcast of the Year at the 2024 Ambies Awards. Season 7: Roe v. Wade The women who fought for legal abortion, the activists who pushed back, and the justices who thought they could solve the issue for good. Winner of Apple Podcasts Show of the Year in 2022. Season 6: The L.A. Riots How decades of police brutality, a broken justice system, and a video tape set off six days of unrest in Los Angeles. Season 5: The Road to the Iraq War Eighteen months after 9/11, the United States invaded a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. Who’s to blame? And was there any way to stop it? Season 4: David Duke America’s most famous white supremacist came within a runoff of controlling Louisiana. How did David Duke rise to power? And what did it take to stop him? Season 3: Biggie and Tupac How is it that two of the most famous performers in the world were murdered within a year of each other—and their killings were never solved? Season 2: The Clinton Impeachment A reexamination of the scandals that nearly destroyed the 42nd president and forever changed the life of a former White House intern. Season 1: Watergate What did it feel like to live through the scandal that brought down President Nixon?

Slow Burn illuminates America’s most consequential moments, making sense of the past to better understand the present. Through archival tape and first-person interviews, the award-winning series uncovers the surprising events and little-known characters lurking within the biggest stories of our time. Want more Slow Burn? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access all episodes of Slow Burn (and your other favorite Slate podcasts) completely ad-free. Plus, you’ll unlock subscriber-exclusive bonus episodes that bring you behind-the-scenes on the making of the show. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/slowburnplus to get access wherever you listen. Season 8: Becoming Justice Thomas Where Clarence Thomas came from, how he rose to power, and how he’s brought the rest of us along with him, whether we like it or not. Winner of the Podcast of the Year at the 2024 Ambies Awards. Season 7: Roe v. Wade The women who fought for legal abortion, the activists who pushed back, and the justices who thought they could solve the issue for good. Winner of Apple Podcasts Show of the Year in 2022. Season 6: The L.A. Riots How decades of police brutality, a broken justice system, and a video tape set off six days of unrest in Los Angeles. Season 5: The Road to the Iraq War Eighteen months after 9/11, the United States invaded a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. Who’s to blame? And was there any way to stop it? Season 4: David Duke America’s most famous white supremacist came within a runoff of controlling Louisiana. How did David Duke rise to power? And what did it take to stop him? Season 3: Biggie and Tupac How is it that two of the most famous performers in the world were murdered within a year of each other—and their killings were never solved? Season 2: The Clinton Impeachment A reexamination of the scandals that nearly destroyed the 42nd president and forever changed the life of a former White House intern. Season 1: Watergate What did it feel like to live through the scandal that brought down President Nixon?

 

#147

Decoder Ring: Can the “Bookazine” Save Magazines?

Magazines have fallen on hard times – especially the weekly news, fashion, and celebrity mags that once dominated newsstands. The revenue from magazine racks has plummeted in recent years, and many magazines have stopped appearing in print or shut down altogether. And yet, there is something growing in the checkout aisle: one-off publications, each devoted to a single topic, known as “bookazines.” Last year, over 1,200 different bookazines went on sale across the country. They cover topics ranging from Taylor Swift, Star Wars, the Kennedy assassination, K-pop, the British royal family, and as host Willa Paskin recently observed, the career of retired movie star Robert Redford. In today’s episode, Willa looks behind the racks to investigate this new-ish format. Who is writing, publishing, and reading all these one-off magazines – and why? Is the bookazine a way forward for magazines, or their last gasp? Voices you’ll hear in this episode include Caragh Donley, longtime magazine journalist turned prolific writer of bookazines; Eric Szegda, executive at bookazine publisher [a360 media] (https://accelerate360.com/business-services/a360-media/) ; and [Erik Radvon] (https://www.radvon.com/) , comic book creator and bookazine fan. This episode was produced by Max Freedman and edited by Evan Chung, who produce the show with Katie Shepherd. Derek John is Executive Producer. Merritt Jacob is Senior Technical Director. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, please sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring and all other Slate podcasts without any ads and have total access to Slate’s website. Your support is also crucial to our work. Go to [Slate.com/decoderplus] (http://slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

10 Apr 2024

37 MINS

37:05

10 Apr 2024


#146

Decoder Ring: Andrew Wyeth's Secret Nudes (Encore)

In 1986, Andrew Wyeth was the most famous painter in America. He was a household name, on the cover of magazines and tapped to paint presidents. And then he revealed a secret cache of 240 pieces of artwork, many provocative, all featuring the same nude female model. This collection, called The Helga Pictures, had been completed over 15 years and hidden from his wife, until they were revealed and wound up on the covers of both Time Magazine and Newsweek. The implication of these paintings were clear: Wyeth must have been having an affair, but then the story got complicated. Was it a genuine sex scandal? A hoax? Or something else entirely?  Some of the voices you’ll hear in this episode include [Doug McGill] (http://www.mcgillreport.org/about) , former New York Times reporter; Neil Harris, author of [Capital Culture: J. Carter Brown, the National Gallery of Art, and the Reinvention of the Museum Experience] (http://www.amazon.com/dp/022606770X/?tag=slatmaga-20) ; Cathy Booth Thomas, former Time Magazine correspondent; [Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw,] (http://www.gwendolynduboisshaw.com/) art historian and curator; Jeannie McDowell, former Time Magazine correspondent; Chris Lione, former art director at Art and Antiques; [Joyce Stoner,] (https://www.udel.edu/faculty-staff/experts/joyce-stoner/) Wyeth scholar; [Peter Ralston,] (https://www.ralstongallery.com/about) Wyeth photographer and friend; and Jim Duff, former director of the Brandywine River Museum. This episode was written by Willa Paskin and produced by Willa Paskin and Benjamin Frisch. It was edited by Benjamin Frisch and Gabriel Roth. We had research assistance from Cleo Levin. Decoder Ring is produced by Evan Chung, Katie Shepherd, and Max Freedman. Derek John is Executive Producer. Merritt Jacob is Senior Technical Director. A very special thank you to Paula Scaire. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, please sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring and all other Slate podcasts without any ads and have total access to Slate’s website. Your support is also crucial to our work. Go to [Slate.com/decoderplus] (http://slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

27 Mar 2024

54 MINS

54:16

27 Mar 2024


#145

Decoder Ring: Why Stylists Rule the Red Carpet

Like a manager or an agent or a publicist, a stylist has become a kind of must-have accessory for well-dressed, A-list celebrities. It’s just expected that they will have hired someone to select the clothes they’ll wear at public appearances. But this was not always the case.  In today’s episode, Avery Trufelman, host of [Articles of Interest] (https://99percentinvisible.org/aoi/) , will guide us through the collapse of a certain kind of Hollywood glamor; to the rise of a growing, financially rewarding relationship between fashion designers and celebrity culture; and then onto the explosion in red carpet events patrolled by fashion police that helped create this new occupation. This episode was produced by Avery Trufelman and Evan Chung, who produces Decoder Ring with Willa Paskin, Katie Shepherd and Max Freedman. Derek John is Executive Producer. Merritt Jacob is Senior Technical Director. You’ll hear from [Teri Agins] (https://twitter.com/teriagins?lang=en) , [Dana Thomas] (https://www.danathomas.com/) , [Melissa Rivers] (https://twitter.com/MelRivers?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor) , and [Jeanne Yang] (https://www.thewallgroup.com/artist/jeanne-yang) . If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, please sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring and all other Slate podcasts without any ads and have total access to Slate’s website. Your support is also crucial to our work. Go to [Slate.com/decoderplus] (http://slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

13 Mar 2024

42 MINS

42:54

13 Mar 2024


#144

Decoder Ring: The Gen X Soda That Was Just "OK"

Thirty years ago, a new kind of soda arrived in select stores. Instead of crowing about how spectacular it was, it offered up a liquid shrug, a fizzy irony. OK Soda was an inside joke for people who knew soda wasn’t cool. But what exactly was the punchline? In today’s episode, we’re going to ask how Coca-Cola, a company predicated on the idea that soda is more than ‘OK,’ ever bankrolled such a project. It was either a corporate attempt to market authenticity or a bold send-up of consumer capitalism; a project that either utterly, predictably failed or, perhaps more surprisingly, almost succeeded. This episode was written by Willa Paskin. It was edited by Jenny Lawton. It was produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd, along with Evan Chung. Derek John is Executive Producer. Merritt Jacob is Senior Technical Director. You’ll hear from [Sergio Zyman] (https://www.harpercollins.com/blogs/authors/sergio-zyman-880000027844) , [ Brian Lanahan] (https://www.finnpartners.com/bio/brian-lanahan-2/) , [Robin Joannides Lanahan] (https://medium.com/@robinjoannideslanahan/about) , [Charlotte Moore] (https://charlotte-moore.net/) , [Peter Wegner] (http://peterwegner.com/) , [Todd Waterbury] (https://twitter.com/toddwaterbury?lang=en) , Dustin Ness, and Matt Purrington. Special thanks to David Cowles, Art Chantry, Seth Godin, Jeff Beer, Gabriel Roth, Mark Hensley for all the OK Soda commercials and Mark Pendergrast, whose book [For God, Country, & Coca-Cola] (https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/mark-pendergrast/for-god-country-and-coca-cola/9780465029174/?lens=basic-books) was indispensable. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, please sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring and all other Slate podcasts without any ads and have total access to Slate’s website. Your support is also crucial to our work. Go to [Slate.com/decoderplus] (http://slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

28 Feb 2024

43 MINS

43:48

28 Feb 2024


#143

Announcing Slow Burn Season 9

Hosted by Christina Cauterucci. Coming in May 2024. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

22 Feb 2024

01 MINS

01:00

22 Feb 2024


#142

Decoder Ring: Why Do So Many Coffee Shops Look the Same?

The eerie similarity of coffee shops all over the world was so confounding to [Kyle Chayka] (https://www.kylechayka.com/) that it led him to write the new book [Filterworld: How Algorithms Are Flattening Culture] (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/695902/filterworld-by-kyle-chayka/) . In today’s episode, Kyle’s going to walk us through the recent history of the cafe, to help us see how digital behavior is altering a physical space hundreds of years older than the internet itself, and how those changes are happening everywhere—it’s just easier to see them when they’re spelled out in latte art. This episode was written by Willa Paskin and produced by Katie Shepherd. Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin, Katie Shepherd and Evan Chung. Derek John is Executive Producer. Merritt Jacob is Senior Technical Director. Special thanks to Ben Frisch and Patrick Fort.  If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, please sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring and all other Slate podcasts without any ads and have total access to Slate’s website. Your support is also crucial to our work. Go to [Slate.com/decoderplus] (http://slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

14 Feb 2024

33 MINS

33:59

14 Feb 2024


#141

One Year: 1990 | 5. The Angry Death of Kimberly Bergalis

Before 1990, there had never been a documented case of a patient getting HIV from a health care worker. Kimberly Bergalis changed that. Her claim that she’d been infected by her dentist would captivate and terrify the country. And the dentist, David Acer, would be made into a villain without America ever knowing who he really was. This episode was written by Kelly Jones and Josh Levin, One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Olivia Briley.  It was edited by Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is senior technical director. We had mixing help from Kevin Bendis. We had production help this season from Jabari Butler. Join  [Slate Plus] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus)  to get a special behind-the-scenes conversation at the end of our season about how we put together our 1990 stories. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

21 Dec 2023

56 MINS

56:03

21 Dec 2023


#140

One Year: 1990 | 4. Art on Trial

Robert Mapplethorpe was one of the most famous photographers in the world—and one of the most controversial. When his work came to Cincinnati in 1990, it would be at the center of a vicious fight over obscenity and the First Amendment, one that threatened the future of art in America. This episode of One Year was written by Evan Chung, One Year's senior producer. It was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Olivia Briley. It was edited by Josh Levin, One Year’s editorial director, with Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Join  [Slate Plus] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus)  to get a special behind-the-scenes conversation at the end of our season about how we put together our 1990 stories. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

14 Dec 2023

58 MINS

58:14

14 Dec 2023


#139

One Year: 1990 | 3. Bush vs. Broccoli

In March 1990, a story broke that shocked the nation: George H.W. Bush had banned broccoli from Air Force One. The frenzy that came next would change the fate of a vegetable—and maybe even alter the course of a presidency. This episode was written by Olivia Briley and Josh Levin, One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Olivia Briley and Kelly Jones.  It was edited by Joel Meyer and Evan Chung. Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts.  Merritt Jacob is senior technical director. Join  [Slate Plus] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus)  to get a special behind-the-scenes conversation at the end of our season about how we put together our 1990 stories. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

07 Dec 2023

40 MINS

40:44

07 Dec 2023


#138

One Year: 1990 | 2. Mandrake the Magician

A middle-aged single dad in Chicago was outraged by all the cigarette billboards popping up in Black communities. In 1990, he picked up a paint roller and became an anti-tobacco vigilante. And he did it all under a secret identity. This episode was written by Josh Levin, One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones, Olivia Briley, and Evan Chung. It was edited by Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts.  Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. We had mixing help from Kevin Bendis. Join  [Slate Plus] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus)  to get a special behind-the-scenes conversation at the end of our season about how we put together our 1990 stories. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

30 Nov 2023

50 MINS

50:46

30 Nov 2023


#137

One Year: 1990 | 1. Pizzastroika

Pizza Hut’s adventure in the Soviet Union was unlike any restaurant opening before or since. It involved a fleet of submarines, a very special pizza topped with tuna and salmon, and a casual dining spot on a mission to change the world. This episode was written by Kelly Jones and Josh Levin, One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Olivia Briley.  It was edited by Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Join  [Slate Plus] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus)  to get a special behind-the-scenes conversation at the end of our season about how we put together our 1990 stories. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

22 Nov 2023

57 MINS

57:07

22 Nov 2023


#136

Decoder Ring: The Forgotten Video Game About Slavery

In 1992, a Minnesota-based software company known for its educational hit The Oregon Trail released another simulation-style game to school districts across the country. Freedom! took kids on a journey along the Underground Railroad, becoming the first American software program to use slavery as its subject matter. Less than four months later, it was pulled from the market. In this episode, we revisit this well-intentioned, but flawed foray into historical trauma that serves as a reminder that teaching Black history in America has always been fraught.  This episode was written by Willa Paskin. Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. This episode was also produced by Benjamin Frisch, and edited by Erica Morrison. Derek John is executive producer. Joel Meyer is senior editor-producer and Merritt Jacob is senior technical director. We’re grateful to Julian Lucas for his expertise, reporting, and generosity, without which this episode would not have been possible. His New Yorker article, “ [Can Slavery Reenactments Set Us Free?] (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/02/17/can-slavery-reenactments-set-us-free) ,” revisits the Freedom! story as part of an exploration of the live Underground Railroad re-enactments that Kamau Kambui pioneered. Thank you to Jesse Fuchs for suggesting this topic. Thanks also to Coventry Cowens, Brigitte Fielder, Bob Whitaker, Alan Whisman, Wayne Studer, Alicia Montgomery, Rebecca Onion, Luke Winkie, and Kamau Kambui’s children: Yamro Kambui Fields, Halim Fields, Mawusi Kambui Pierre, Nanyamka Salley, and Kamau Sababu Kambui Jr.  If you haven’t please yet, subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, please sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads and have total access to Slate’s website. Your support is also crucial to our work. Go to [Slate.com/decoderplus] (http://slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

15 Nov 2023

47 MINS

47:23

15 Nov 2023


#135

Decoder Ring: The Dating Manual Unlike Any Other

From the moment it was released in 1995, [The Rules] (https://therulesbook.com/) was controversial.. Some people loved it—and swore that the dating manual’s throwback advice helped them land a husband. Others thought it was retrograde hogwash that flew in the face of decades of feminist progress. The resulting brouhaha turned the book into a cultural phenomenon. In this episode, Slate’s Heather Schwedel explores where The Rules came from, how it became so popular, and why its list of 35 commandments continue to be so sticky—whether we like it or not.  Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. This episode was edited by Willa Paskin. Derek John is executive producer. Joel Meyer is senior editor/producer. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. We’d like to to thank Benjamin Frisch, Rachel O'Neill, Penny Love, Heather Fain, Elif Batuman, Laura Banks, Marlene Velasquez-Sedito, Leigh Anderson, Caroline Smith. We also want to mention two sources that were really helpful: [Labour of Love] (https://www.amazon.com/Labor-Love-Invention-Moira-Weigel/dp/0374182531) by Moira Weigel, a paper called [Shrinking Violets and Caspar Milquetoasts] (https://nyupress.org/9780814761212/shrinking-violets-and-caspar-milquetoasts/) by Patricia McDaniel If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, we’d love for you to sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads. Their support is also crucial to our work. So please go to [Slate.com/decoderplus] (http://slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

08 Nov 2023

37 MINS

37:35

08 Nov 2023


#134

Decoder Ring: Mailbag - The Recorder, Limos, and “Baby on Board” Signs

We receive a lot of fantastic show ideas from our listeners—and we’re grateful for each and every one. For our latest mailbag episode, we’re tackling five of your questions, including “Why the hell do we teach kids to play the recorder?” (We’re paraphrasing a bit.) Also: We’ll explore the rise and fall of the stretch limo, the incredible versatility of the word “like,” the meaning of the “Baby on Board” sign, and why it took so long to develop luggage with wheels.  Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. This episode was also produced by Rosemary Belson. Derek John is executive producer. Joel Meyer is senior editor/producer. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Thank you to every listener who has submitted a suggestion for an episode. We truly appreciate your ideas. We read them all, even if we don’t always respond. Thanks for being a listener and for thinking creatively about this show.  If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, we’d love for you to sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads. Their support is also crucial to our work. So please go to [Slate.com/decoderplus] (http://slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

01 Nov 2023

40 MINS

40:50

01 Nov 2023


#133

Decoder Ring: When Art Pranksters Invaded Melrose Place

In the mid-1990s, the prime time drama Melrose Place became a home to hundreds of pieces of contemporary art—and no one noticed. In this episode, Isaac Butler tells the story of the artist collective that smuggled subversive quilts, sperm-shaped pool floats, and dozens of other provocative works onto the set of the hit TV show. The project, [In the Name of the Place] (https://melchin.org/oeuvre/in-the-name-of-the-place/) , inspired a real-life exhibition and tested the ability of mass media to get us to see what’s right in front of our faces.  Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. This episode was written and reported by Isaac Butler and produced by Benjamin Frisch. Derek John is executive producer. Joel Meyer is senior editor/producer. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Thank you to Jamie Bennett, JJ Bersch, Mark Flood, and Cynthia Carr, whose book [On Edge: Performance at the End of the 20th Century] (https://www.amazon.com/Edge-Performance-End-Twentieth-Century/dp/0819568880#:~:text=Book%20overview&text=On%20Edge%20brings%20together%20her,nature%2C%20can%20never%20be%20repeated.) inspired this episode. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, we’d love for you to sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads. Their support is also crucial to our work. So please go to [Slate.com/decoderplus] (http://slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

25 Oct 2023

41 MINS

41:34

25 Oct 2023


#132

Decoder Ring: The Fast Decline of the Slow Dance

Judging from teen dramas on Netflix, the slow dance seems to be alive and well. But when you talk to actual teens, it’s clear this time-honored tradition is on life support. In this episode, we trace the history of slow dancing from its origins in partner dances like the waltz to the modern “zombie sway” seen at middle-school dances and high-school proms. Plus, former slow dancers offer up stiff-armed, nostalgia-soaked stories about a rite of passage that’s fading fast. Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. This episode was edited by Zakiya Gibbons. Derek John is executive producer. Joel Meyer is senior editor/producer. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Thank you to Benjamin Frisch and Carlos Pareja. Special thanks to everyone who shared their slow dancing stories, including Ralph Giordano, Matt Baume, Meryl Bezrutczyk, Ari Feldman, Ava Candade, Eileen Zheng, and Harper Kois. Here’s the article by Kyle Denis that we mentioned in the episode: [The Death of the Slow Dance? How the One-Time Rite of Passage Has Evolved for Gen Z] (https://www.billboard.com/music/rb-hip-hop/slow-dance-dead-gen-z-evolution-usher-keke-palmer-1235384473/) .  If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, we’d love for you to sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads. Their support is also crucial to our work. So please go to [Slate.com/decoderplus] (http://slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

18 Oct 2023

45 MINS

45:43

18 Oct 2023


#131

One Year: 1955 | 6. The Hiroshima Maidens

Ten years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, 25 women who’d been disfigured by the blast came to the United States. Those Japanese survivors would go to the White House and end up on a bizarre proto reality TV show. They’d also put their lives in the hands of American doctors, hoping that risky, cutting-edge surgeries might repair their injuries and give them a chance for a fresh start. Josh Levin is One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Sophie Summergrad.  It was edited by Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts.  Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Holly Allen created the artwork for this season. Join  [Slate Plus] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus)  to get a bonus 1955 episode at the end of the season. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. [Sign up now] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus) to support One Year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

06 Oct 2023

54 MINS

54:56

06 Oct 2023


#130

One Year: 1955 | 5. The Cutter Incident

Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine transformed America and the world in ways that seemed unimaginable. But in 1955, there was a moment when everything was in doubt. This week, Josh Levin talks with Dr. Paul Offit about the medical mystery that threatened to derail one of history’s most important scientific breakthroughs. Josh Levin is One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones, Evan Chung, and Sophie Summergrad.  It was edited by Josh Levin, Joel Meyer, and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts.  Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Join  [Slate Plus] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus)  to get a bonus 1955 episode at the end of the season. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. [Sign up now] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus) to support One Year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

28 Sep 2023

35 MINS

35:28

28 Sep 2023


#129

One Year: 1955 | 4. Siberia, USA

When Alaskans wanted their own mental-health facility, a rumor took hold all over America. This week, Evan Chung traces the origins of that far-right conspiracy theory: that the government was building a concentration camp where Americans would get imprisoned for their political beliefs. Get ready for a strange tale that involves a brainwashing manual, Scientology, and a vast network of Communist-hunting housewives. Josh Levin is One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Sophie Summergrad.  It was edited by Josh Levin, Joel Meyer, and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts.  Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Join  [Slate Plus] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus)  to get a bonus 1955 story at the end of the season. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. [Sign up now] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus) to support One Year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

21 Sep 2023

55 MINS

55:39

21 Sep 2023


#128

One Year: 1955 | 3. The Weather Girls

In the early days of television, women struggled to find their place. In 1955, they got it: forecasting the weather, on stations all across the country. But as these “weather girls” transformed the airwaves, a group of powerful men hatched a plan—one that had the potential to push women weathercasters off the air forever. Josh Levin is One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Sophie Summergrad.  It was edited by Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts.  Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Join  [Slate Plus] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus)  to get the first three episodes of One Year: 1955 right away—and a bonus 1955 story at the end of the season. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. [Sign up now] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus) to support One Year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

14 Sep 2023

45 MINS

45:34

14 Sep 2023


#127

One Year: 1955 | 2. The Crockett Craze

In 1955, the frontiersman Davy Crockett became the most famous man in America, more than a century after his death at the Alamo. This week, Evan Chung dives into a cultural phenomenon nobody saw coming. Not the kids in coonskin caps who started the craze, not the parents whose money fueled it, and least of all Walt Disney, the legendary studio head who created it totally by accident. Josh Levin is One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Sophie Summergrad.  It was edited by Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts.  Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Join  [Slate Plus] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus)  to get the first three episodes of One Year: 1955 right away—and a bonus 1955 story at the end of the season. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. [Sign up now] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus) to support One Year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

07 Sep 2023

57 MINS

57:28

07 Sep 2023


#126

One Year: 1955 | 1. The Team Nobody Would Play

The Cannon Street All-Stars dreamed of playing in the 1955 Little League World Series. Their biggest obstacle didn’t come on the field. In the year that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus, these Black 12-year-olds became unlikely civil rights pioneers—and faced the wrath of a white society that wasn’t ready to change. Josh Levin is One Year’s editorial director. One Year’s senior producer is Evan Chung. This episode was produced by Kelly Jones and Evan Chung, with additional production by Sophie Summergrad.  It was edited by Joel Meyer and Derek John, Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts.  Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Join  [Slate Plus] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus)  to get the first three episodes of One Year: 1955 right away—and a bonus 1955 story at the end of the season. Slate Plus members also get to listen to all Slate podcasts without any ads. [Sign up now] (https://slate.com/oneyearplus) to support One Year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

31 Aug 2023

57 MINS

57:49

31 Aug 2023


#125

Decoder Ring: Think Catchphrases Are Dead? Eat My Shorts.

Once you start listening for catchphrases in everyday life—you can’t stop hearing them. From the radio era’s “Holy mackerel!” to Fonzie’s “Ayyy!” to Urkel’s multiple go-to lines on Family Matters, we explore the irresistible quotables from sitcoms, movies and social media that have burrowed into our collective lexicon. Oh, just one more thing… bazinga! (Did I do that?) This episode was written by Willa Paskin, who produces Decoder Ring with Katie Shepherd. This episode was edited by Joel Meyer. Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Thank you to Luke Winkie, Stephen Langford, Doug Dietzold and [The Good, the Bad and the Sequel] (https://www.sequelsonly.com/) podcast, and Shawn Green for the suggestion and Urkel clips.  If you have any cultural mysteries you want us to decode, you can email us at [DecoderRing@slate.com] (mailto:DecoderRing@slate.com) If you haven’t yet, subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show and want to support us, consider signing up for Slate Plus. As a member, you’ll get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads—and your support is crucial to our work. Go to [slate.com/decoderplus] (http://www.slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

16 Aug 2023

40 MINS

40:23

16 Aug 2023


#124

Decoder Ring: The Quest for a Homemade Hovercraft

When Slate’s Evan Chung was a kid, he was obsessed with a mysterious advertisement that ran for decades in the scouting magazine Boys’ Life. Under the enticing headline “You Can Float on Air,” the ad assured Evan—and generations of scouts—that a personal hovercraft could be theirs for just a few bucks.  In this episode, the adult version of Evan journeys halfway across the country to wield power tools, summon his latent scouting skills, and conscript his father into a quest three decades in the making.  Will Evan float on air? Scout’s honor: You’ll just have to listen.  This episode was written by Evan Chung, who produced this episode with Decoder Ring’s Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd. It was edited by Willa Paskin and Joel Meyer. Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show and want to support us, consider signing up for Slate Plus. As a member, you’ll get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads—and your support is crucial to our work. Go to [slate.com/decoderplus] (http://www.slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

09 Aug 2023

42 MINS

42:20

09 Aug 2023


#123

Decoder Ring: A Brief History of Making Out

Kissing—the romantic, sexual, steamy kind—is so ingrained in us that it just seems like a fact of life. Like breathing or eating, we just do it. But what if it’s not like that at all?  In this episode, we’re going to look at passionate kissing, well, dispassionately, not as something instinctual and innate but as a cultural practice. We’re going to backtrack through history in search of the origins of the kiss, with some surprises along the way.  This episode was written by Willa Paskin, who produces Decoder Ring with Katie Shepherd. This episode was edited by Andrea Bruce and Joel Meyer. Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Thank you to Marcel Danesi. If you’re interested in the papers we mentioned, you can read about Justin Garcia and William Jankowiak’s [research] (https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/aman.12286) , Troels Pank Arbøll and Sophie Lund Rasmussen’s [essay] (https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adf0512) , Sabrina Imbler’s [When Was the First Sexy Kiss?] (https://defector.com/when-was-the-first-sexy-kiss) and the [herpes study] (https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abo4435?adobe_mc=MCMID%3D67030302367313593493827412027826582048%7CMCORGID%3D242B6472541199F70A4C98A6%2540AdobeOrg%7CTS%3D1684263965) . ( [Here] (https://defector.com/when-was-the-first-sexy-kiss) ’s that bronze-age statue, too!) If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show and want to support us, consider signing up for Slate Plus. As a member, you’ll get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads—and your support is crucial to our work. Go to [slate.com/decoderplus] (http://www.slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

02 Aug 2023

36 MINS

36:59

02 Aug 2023


#122

Decoder Ring: The Great Parmesan Cheese Debate

Parmesan is a food—but it’s not just a food. Italy’s beloved cheese is often paired with a deep craving for tradition and identity. But its history also involves intrepid immigrants, lucrative businesses and an American version that’s probably available in your local grocery store. After a notorious debunker of Italian-cuisine myths claims this Wisconsin-made product is the real deal, we embark on a quest to answer the question: Has an Italian delicacy been right under our noses this whole time? Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin with Katie Shepherd. This episode was written by Willa Paskin and edited by Andrea Bruce. We had production help from Patrick Fort and editing help from Joel Meyer. Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Thank you to Giacomo Stefanini for translating. Thank you to Fabio Parasecoli, Ken Kane, Thomas McNamee, Dan Weber, Irene Graziosi, James Norton, and Ian MacAllen, whose knowledge and book [Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American] (https://www.amazon.com/Red-Sauce-Italian-Became-American/dp/1538162342) were very helpful.  You should also read Marianna Giusti’s article in the Financial Times. If you feel like really nerding out, we also recommend the 1948 academic study [Italian Cheese Production in the American Dairy Region] (https://www.jstor.org/stable/141480) . We also included clips in this episode from David Rocco’s [YouTube channel] (https://www.youtube.com/user/davidrocco) about how Parmigiano-Reggiano is made and from Gennaro Contaldo’s YouTube [documentary] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mS-PRzi2Io) on the same subject. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show and want to support us, consider signing up for Slate Plus. As a member, you’ll get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads—and your support is crucial to our work. Go to [slate.com/decoderplus] (http://www.slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

26 Jul 2023

44 MINS

44:18

26 Jul 2023


#121

Decoder Ring: What's Really Going On Inside a Mosh Pit?

The mosh pit has a reputation as a violent place where (mostly) white guys vent their aggression. There’s some truth to that, but it’s also a place bound by camaraderie and—believe it or not—etiquette. In this episode, we explore the unwritten rules of this 50-year-old, live-music phenomenon with punks, concertgoers and a heavy metal physicist. Decoder Ring is produced by Willa Paskin with Katie Shepherd. This episode was written by Katie Shepherd. This episode was edited by Willa Paskin and Andrea Bruce, with help from Joel Meyer. Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Thank you to Vivien Goldman, Paolo Ragusa, and Philip Moriarty whose insights and research on moshing were crucial to this episode. You can create your own mosh pit using this [simulator] (http://mattbierbaum.github.io/moshpits.js/) developed by Jesse Silverberg and his colleagues. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show and want to support us, consider signing up for Slate Plus. As a member, you’ll get to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads—and your support is crucial to our work. Go to [slate.com/decoderplus] (http://www.slate.com/decoderplus) to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

19 Jul 2023

34 MINS

34:45

19 Jul 2023