By Michael Sargent
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Hosted by social psychologist Michael Sargent, this podcast has become a place for conversation about policy and politics, where Sargent talks with people who nerd out on the topics, bringing extensive knowledge, including knowledge of the limits of their knowledge. These nerds don't have the pocket protectors and social awkwardness of nerd stereotypes. They have wit, a love of fun, and most importantly, an understanding gained from the tattered pages of journals, books, and printouts of statistical analyses, or they've been tattered by experience. As host, Sargent isn't above asking dumb questions, because he knows we all learn from the answers. If you're looking for overconfident, ill-informed (or misinformed) bloviation, this isn't the place for you. (But maybe Fox & Friends is.) If that's the opposite of what you want, then stick around.
||CleanEpisode 29: Mission Creep (On Carrying Implicit Bias Too Far)||A conversation about implicit bias, and potential overextension and overapplication of it, with Jonathan Kahn, author of Race on the Brain.||11/5/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 28: Magnolia In Bloom (Mississippi Politics)||A chat with Geoff Pender, political editor of the Clarion-Ledger, based in Jackson, Mississippi; we discuss the upcoming U.S. Senate special election, as well as what might come from Mississippi and land before the U.S. Supreme Court.||10/15/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 27: Class Action||My conversation with Julie J. Park, of the University of Maryland, as we discuss college and university admissions, merit, affirmative action, and their relationships to Asian-Americans and other groups.||9/18/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 26: A Mighty Pen, Part II (Another Discussion of the Kavanaugh Nomination)||A conversation with legal experts Jonathan Adler and Brianne Gorod, as we discuss the record and thinking of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh||9/2/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 25: A Mighty Pen, Part I (Discussing the Kavanaugh Nomination)||A conversation with law professors Peter Margulies and Stephen Vladeck, as we discuss the record and thinking of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh||8/14/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 24: Old Times Forgotten (Talking Southern Politics)||A conversation ranging from Arkansas politics to national politics, with Hendrix College politics professor Jay Barth.||8/10/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 23: Policy of Truth (or, How to Tell a Good Story)||A discussion of live, true, first-person storytelling (e.g., on The Moth), and how to do it well, featuring Moth GrandSLAM champion tellers Peter Aguero and Tara Clancy, as well as researcher Melanie Green.||8/6/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 22: Moats and Bridges||My conversation with Father James Martin, SJ, editor at large for America: The Jesuit Review. Most of our discussion addressed his advocacy for the Catholic church engaging LGBT people with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.||7/23/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 21: Brotherly Love||A conversation with G. Lamar Stewart, Vice-President of the National Black Police Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter, touching on implicit bias, faith, community-police interactions, and more, including (of course) the infamous Starbucks arrest f||7/16/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 20: The Humean Stain, Part 2||The second part of a conversation about implicit racial bias, and about one well-known implicit measure, the Implicit Association Test.||7/9/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 19: The Humean Stain, Part 1||A conversation about implicit racial bias, and about one well-known implicit measure, the Implicit Association Test.||7/2/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 18: The Story Is Not Enough||My conversation with Josie Duffy-Rice, an attorney with the Fair Punishment Project.||6/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 17: Unsafe Harbor (A Special Briefing)||A conversation with Sarah Sherman-Stokes, Associate Director of the Immigrants' Rights and Human Trafficking Program at Boston University Law School. We talk about what's happening on the ground at the southern border of the U.S., and what people who wa||6/22/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 16: The Golden Door (A Special Briefing)||A conversation about immigration on the southwest U.S. border, and relevant House legislation, with Sarah Pierce, Policy Analyst for the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute||6/19/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 15: Where True Stories Lie||A conversation about stories, especially the ones we tell about people struggling against injustice, and what good (and harm) those stories might do.||6/18/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 14: Spoiled||Once upon a time, I was an enthusiastic supporter of ranked-choice voting. But after reading a bit more, and after this conversation with two political scientists, I'm not so sure anymore.||6/7/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 13: Open, Bar None||A conversation with J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham (the newly appointed Diversity Ambassador of the Brewer's Association) and Carla Jean Lauter (Maine-based beer writer, also known as "The Beer Babe"). We discuss diversity and inclusion in the craft beer indu||6/5/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 12: Strait and Narrow||My conversation with my friend Conor Quinn, my favorite linguist in the whole world, as we talk about the ways that scientists use language, as well as language communities indigenous to the U.S., and a bit about the overlap between those two topics.||6/1/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 11: Magic Carpet Ride||This is the full interview I did with Lucas St. Clair, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House seat in the Second Congressional District of Maine.||5/16/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 10: I-95 Northernmost||This episode features a discussion of the Second Congressional District of Maine, the status of eight of its counties as "pivot counties," and the upcoming election of its representative to the U.S. House.||5/14/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 9: Just Another Word||Legal and literary theorist Stanley Fish engages with classicist, former litigator, and former assistant U.S. attorney Margaret Imber, as they discuss freedom of inquiry and the free exchange of ideas, on college campuses.||5/4/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 8: A Thinking Debater's Guide to the AR-15||For anyone who wants to inform their opinions, this is a deep dive into what the AR-15 is, and what it can do.||3/28/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 7: Rising Tide||An interview with Seth Masket, Professor of Political Science at the University of Denver, and Director of its Center on American Politics. We discussed Democrats' prospects in the upcoming midterm elections.||2/26/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 6: 2012||Political scientists Julia Azari, Christopher Federico, and Vincent Hutchings discuss populism, presidential politics, President Obama, Cornel West, and even Oprah.||2/20/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 5: Nonstandard||Extended excerpts from my conversation with John Pfaff, Professor of Law at Fordham University, and author of "Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration--and How To Achieve Real Reform."||12/20/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 4: Multifunctional||Extended excerpts from my conversation with Hannah Harleen, formerly Vera Velvet of Voulez-Vous Burlesque.||11/19/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 3: Sugar, Pt. 2||Extended excerpts from my conversation with Heidi Sawyer.||11/5/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 2: Sugar, Pt. 1||Extended excerpts from my interview with Heidi Sawyer.||10/23/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 1: Doughboy||Extended excerpts from my interview with Thomas "Bummah" Gurney.||10/8/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
Refreshingly concise, dispassionate perspective
This podcast is outstandingly respectful of the listener by not dedicating gratuitous amounts of time or emotional energy to a topic. It gets to the point quickly, finds the relevant facts and/or experts and/history, and then begins the analysis. And the purpose of its analysis is clearly to clarify and educate; we are not distracted by attempts to entertain us or provoke us or confirm our biases. I love it.
How much? Well, if this were a TV show, it’d be the reason I consider buying a cable package for the first time in 10 years. Hell, I’d buy other people cable if they’d tune in to this kind of analysis.
Favorite episodes so far:
- The US prison episode
- The AR-15 episode
A very different political podcast
I love the somewhat abstract presentation produced by Michael Sargent here. He uses brilliant audio storytelling techniques for an engaging and thoughtful exploration of the topics which are mere talking points on far too many other outlets.