Over the next few months, editors at The New Republic are choosing their favorite episodes of The Politics of Everything.
Summer Pick #1
Episode 24: “The Case of the Sick Spies”
In late 2016, staff at the American Embassy in Havana began hearing strange noises and experiencing odd symptoms: headaches, nausea, dizziness. Had they been targeted by a secret weapon, perhaps deployed by Russia? Hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk to four people who have closely followed Havana syndrome, as the collection of ailments came to be known: Jack Hitt, who covered the story for Vanity Fair in 2019; Tim Weiner, author of The Folly and the Glory: America, Russia, and Political Warfare 1945–2020; Adam Gaffney, a physician; and Natalie Shure, a columnist for TNR who covers health policy. What was the diplomatic context in which Havana syndrome appeared? Why is the secret weapon theory so attractive? And is there a likelier explanation for the mysterious illness? The show, which originally aired in February 2021, has been updated to account for more recent developments.
Summer Pick #2
Episode 23: Against Remote Work
As its boosters have long argued, remote work offers a slew of obvious benefits. Companies save money on rent; employees don’t have to commute; and everyone, without the distractions of the office, can be more efficient. But for decades, telecommuting simply failed to take hold. On Episode 23 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk with the writer Richard Cooke about why that is. And now that the pandemic has changed our habits so drastically, what does our historical reluctance to work from home augur for the post-pandemic future? Later in the show, Katie McDonough, a deputy editor at The New Republic, investigates the fantasy of escaping from work altogether, with a look at the politics of early-retirement advice.