Still Processing

Still Processing

Step inside the confession booth of Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, two culture writers for The New York Times. They devour TV, movies, art, music and the internet to find the things that move them — to tears, awe and anger. Still Processing is where they try to understand the pleasures and pathologies of America in 2018. ... Show More

Episodes

March 28, 2019 30 min

We dissect Jordan Peele’s new psychological thriller, “Us,” and discuss the film’s central question (WITHOUT SPOILERS): Are any of us ever truly free from the past?Also, we’re going on a short hiatus. Happy spring, and we’ll be back in your ears soon.Discussed this week:“Us” (directed by Jordan Peele, 2019)“Suspiria” (directed by Dario Argento, 1977)“The People Under the Stairs” (directed by Wes Craven, 1991)“It Follows” (directed ... Read more

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March 21, 2019 39 min

We celebrate Whoopi Goldberg from her days as a boundary-pushing stand-up comedian in the early ’80s to her current role as professional curmudgeon on “The View.”Discussed this week:“Whoopi Goldberg” (Ottessa Moshfegh, Garage magazine: Issue 16, Feb. 19, 2019)“Whoopi Goldberg: Direct From Broadway” (directed by Thomas Schlamme, 1985)“The Color Purple” (directed by Steven Spielberg, 1985)“Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (directed by Penny Marsh... Read more

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March 14, 2019 30 min

We chat with David Wallace-Wells, climate columnist for New York Magazine, about the limits of individual consumption choices and the necessity of political action to combat climate change. Discussed this week:“The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming” (David Wallace-Wells, 2019)

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March 7, 2019 39 min

HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” — a two-part documentary that focuses on the stories of two men, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who allege that Michael Jackson sexually abused them as children — prompts us to wrestle with our love for and discomfort with the pop star. We examine how Jackson seemed to have been culturally exonerated, and we ask what to do with a man whose artistic reach is so profound that “canceling” him — an imperfect... Read more

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February 28, 2019 42 min

The Jussie Smollett investigation has captured America’s attention — and ours. We take a look at the support for as well as the doubts about Smollett’s claims, and try to make sense of the charge that Smollett staged his own attack. In an era in which personal trauma and victimhood are often leveraged for cultural capital, we consider the long-term repercussions of the Smollett case.Discussed this week:“Jussie Smollett Timeline: My... Read more

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February 21, 2019 37 min

With the Academy Awards right around the corner, we take a look back at some previous Best Picture winners. When these winning films were about race, they often highlighted a feel-good racial reconciliation fantasy. But about 30 years ago, there was one movie that was snubbed at the Oscars — “Do the Right Thing” — that is anything but a feel-good racial reconciliation fantasy. We revisit how “Do the Right Thing” showcased realities... Read more

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February 14, 2019 44 min

"Becoming," the best-selling memoir by the former first lady, Michelle Obama, is a study in what happens when the ways we see ourselves don't always line up with the ways that society sees us. In reading about her journey from high-achieving, self-possessed child in Chicago to the fraught glamour of her life in the White House, we marvel at the ways she balanced herself and her image in service of the country. And we discuss how Mi... Read more

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February 7, 2019 37 min

Inspired by Netflix’s “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” we decide to KonMari Wesley’s Brooklyn apartment. We ask ourselves what sparks joy in our lives and examine whether Marie Kondo’s philosophy extends into the metaphysical realm.Discussed this week:"Tidying Up with Marie Kondo" (Netflix, 2019)"The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" (Marie Kondo, 2014)"The Gentle Art of Swedish Death... Read more

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January 31, 2019 27 min

We now live in an era where people can choose to believe whatever they want to believe, regardless of proof or evidence. From the Laquan McDonald trial to the film “Green Book” to R. Kelly’s song “I Believe I Can Fly” to the Nick Sandmann/Nathan Phillips encounter at the Lincoln Memorial, we wrestle with the ways that reality is contested, both personally and politically.Discussed this week:"Jason Van Dyke Sentenced to Nearly 7 Yea... Read more

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January 24, 2019 32 min

The new Netflix show “Sex Education” feels so refreshing because for the longest time, there has been a dearth of cultural properties that specifically deal with the realities of sex. Sure, there’s sex in film and TV, but in recent history, there has been an absence of content that treats sex (and the complicated feelings that it can bring up) not as an aside, but as the main event. From “Fatal Attraction” to “Sex and the City” to ... Read more

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January 17, 2019 36 min

Last fall, Nike released a groundbreaking ad featuring the former N.F.L. quarterback Colin Kaepernick. His kneeling protest, which started in 2016 as a response to police brutality, was reinterpreted by social media, celebrities and Nike itself to mean something that doesn’t always match the intention of his original protest. So what does it say that a multinational corporation has aligned itself with a social movement? And are we ... Read more

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January 10, 2019 37 min

New year, new season.Kevin Hart. Ellen. Brett Kavanaugh. We live in an age of #SorryNotSorry, prevalent in our pop culture and woven into the fabric of our nation’s founding. But how can we grow into the people we want to become when we can’t acknowledge our mistakes and the effect that they've had on others? We invite you to start off 2019 with an apology.Discussed this week:Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony at the Kavanaugh confi... Read more

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December 20, 2018 1 min

Buckle up, babies. Still Processing returns on Thursday, January 10th.  

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August 30, 2018 52 min

This week we pay our respects to the late, great Aretha Franklin. A legendary singer, writer, arranger, pianist, performer, and more, Aretha Franklin channeled both the difficult and beautiful aspects of American culture to make the songs that have scored our lives. From her breakout hit "Respect," to her performance of "Dr. Feelgood" at the Fillmore, to her rendition of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" at former president Barack Obama's... Read more

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This week, we realize we have two black klansmen on our hands — one on the big screen in the form of Spike Lee's new film "BlacKkKlansman," and one on the small screen in the form of America's most notorious reality show villain turned ex-White House employee, Omarosa Manigault Newman. Both the film and person showcase black people infiltrating hostile white institutions and coming out the other side to tell us about it. We questio... Read more

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August 16, 2018 37 min

This week, our friend and colleague, Taffy Akner, chats with us about her viral article, "How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million." We trace some similarities and differences between Gwyneth and fellow mogul, Oprah, and ask why the wellness industry, ironically, can make us feel bad. Taffy helps us understand how oftentimes, when our current healthcare systems fail to take the pain and suffering of ... Read more

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August 9, 2018 37 min

This week, we celebrate summer and present to you our 2018 Summer Faves. From tech to treats, tunes to TV, and of course, summer looks, we make some recommendations to help you live your best life in these warmer months.  Special thanks to James McCombe of Maple Street Creative and Taylor Wizner for remote recording support.Discussed this week:Native Land app (by Victor Temprano, 2015)"Mission: Impossible — Fallout" (dire... Read more

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August 2, 2018 50 min

This week, we trace the evolution of black American cinema from blaxploitation in the 1970s to what we’re calling "blaxplaining" in 2018. While blaxploitation sought to showcase black actors in dramatic, action-packed films, today’s blaxplaining centers on the challenges of being black in America. We examine three films — "The Hate U Give," "Blindspotting" and "Sorry to Bother You" — and ask if they accurately depict aspects of con... Read more

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It’s the 20th anniversary of the release of Ms. Lauryn Hill’s 5-time Grammy-winning debut solo album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” Still very much a part of our contemporary musical landscape — being sampled by everyone from Drake to Cardi B to Kanye — her prophecies on fame, artistry and the music industry reflect her own career trajectory and serve as a cautionary tale for other artists on the rise. We take a closer look at... Read more

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Jenna's back in New York after spending last week at the Tin House Summer Workshop in Portland, Oregon. An explosive moment at the workshop prompted us to consider what it means for an institution — from a writing workshop to a TV network to a social media platform — to really commit itself to inclusion, and whether inclusion is even enough.Discussed this week:Tin House Summer Workshop"The Danger of a Single Story" (... Read more

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