Still Processing

Still Processing

Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham are working it out in this weekly show about culture in the broadest sense. That means television, film, books, music — but also the culture of work, dating, the internet and how those all fit together.

Episodes

May 20, 2021 43 min

When the three opening notes of the song hit, there’s only one thing to do: Find your people and dance. Today, we’re talking about “Before I Let Go,” by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, and the song’s unique ability to gather and galvanize. It wasn’t a huge hit when it came out in 1981, but it has become a unifying Black anthem and an unfailing source of joy. We dissect Beyoncé’s cover, and we hear from friends, listeners and the Ph...

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A powerful — and revealing — aspect of the Derek Chauvin trial was the community it created out of strangers. Week later, we’re still thinking about the witnesses, and the way they were connected in telling the story of how George Floyd lost his life. This phenomenon is reflected in works of art, like Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” which explores the conflict inherent in a community.

You can find more info on today's episode ...

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May 6, 2021 42 min

She’s simply the best. A new documentary on HBO (called, simply, “Tina”) explores Tina Turner’s tremendous triumphs, but we wanted to go deeper. We talk about how her entire career was an act of repossession: Taking back her name, her voice, her image, her vitality and her spirituality made her one of the biggest rock stars in the world, even in her 50s. 

You can find more info about today's episode here, and follow Wesley’s pla...

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April 29, 2021 37 min

The Asian-American poet wants to help women and people of color find healing — and clarity — in their rage. Hong's book of essays, “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning," came out in February 2020, and it’s taken on new urgency with the rise in anti-Asian violence and discrimination during the pandemic. 

You can find more info on today's episode here. And check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our series on Asian-American...

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April 15, 2021 42 min

Social media apologies have become the standard celebrity response to internet outrage. But why do they feel so deeply inadequate? Jenna and Wesley dissect a new spate of public apologies from the last year. And they look to the activist and writer adrienne maree brown for an example of a “fully evolved” apology.

You can find more info about today’s show here. And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feelings...

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April 8, 2021 39 min

Disney owns a piece of every living person’s childhood. Now it owns Marvel Studios, too. Jenna and Wesley look at depictions of racist tropes and stereotypes in Disney’s ever-expanding catalog. The company has made recent attempts to atone for its past. But can it move forward without repeating the same mistakes?

You can find more info about today’s episode here. And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feeli...

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April 1, 2021 36 min

“Promising Young Woman” is one of this year’s major Oscar contenders. It’s a dark revenge fantasy that asks a sweeping moral question: What if there are no good men? Wesley and Jenna go deep into the film and consider what it gets right — and wrong — about sexual assault and justice. Beware: There will be spoilers.

You can find more info about today’s show here. And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feelin...

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March 25, 2021 42 min

“Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo makes Wesley nostalgic for his favorite part of a song: the bridge. Bridges used to be a core feature of popular music, but they’ve become an endangered species, right next to the sitcom laugh track. While Wesley laments the demise of the bridge, Jenna points out that TikTok has given us new ways to experience the best part of a song. 

You can find more info about today’s episode here, and follow ...

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March 18, 2021 51 min

It’s the episode we’ve been wanting to make for years. In our season premiere, we’re talking about the N-word. It’s both unspeakable and ubiquitous. A weapon of hate and a badge of belonging. After centuries of evolution, it’s everywhere — art, politics, everyday banter — and it can't be ignored. So we’re grappling with our complicated feelings about this word. You can find more information about today's episode here

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March 11, 2021 2 min

We’re back with a new season on March 18! Join culture writers Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris in the juiciest group chat, the coziest diner booth, the crowded kitchen at a house party with the best snacks and the real talk. Each week, they’ll come together to talk art, identity, politics, the internet — whatever they’re grappling with. Subscribe for deep chats, uncomfortable but necessary conversations and incisive takes on the cu...

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We’re preparing to drop a whole new season this spring. In the meantime, we want to make sure you’ve had a chance to hear some of our all-time favorite episodes. Like this one, about Whitney Houston. It’s been nine years since Ms. Houston died. She was one of the biggest pop stars of her time, but she’s often remembered as a tragic figure. In this episode, we argue that her music is much more important than any of the scandals. Whe...

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When “Hillbilly Elegy” showed up on Netflix last November, it was just the latest in a series of media attempting to explain whiteness to its audience. We’re revisiting a better (though not perfect) example: the podcast “S-Town.” Check out our episode from 2017 while we prepare for a new season of Still Processing — coming to you in March. 

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February 11, 2021 47 min

Not long ago, Harry Styles graced the cover of Vogue magazine in a dress. It was just one example of how traditional ideas of masculinity have been expanding — on the runway and in culture. In our episode “Psychobros” from a couple of seasons ago, we appreciated another man in a dress on the front page of a magazine: Brad Pitt on the cover of Rolling Stone, published just as the movie “Fight Club” came out in 1999. It’s one of our ...

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Next month we’re starting a whole new season of shows! Yes, in March! We’re thrilled. While we’re getting ready, we selected four of our favorite past episodes for you to enjoy. This first one is about one of the greats: Aretha Franklin. 

A singer, writer, arranger, pianist, performer and more, Ms. Franklin channeled both the difficult and beautiful aspects of American culture to make the songs that have scored our lives. She left a...

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November 12, 2020 32 min

With the election (nearly) resolved, we have a moment to step back and look at what fantasies our country is built upon. From the role of president, to the threat of another civil war to the soul of the country itself, we’re all harboring some kind of fantasy that we should probably interrogate.

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October 29, 2020 37 min

With a monumental election on the horizon, we want to bring up a few recent events that show some sort of truth amid the confusion. From the NBA bubble to the fly in Mike Pence’s hair to HBO's “Lovecraft Country”, these are moments that point us beyond the present, to be our best and greatest selves.


Discussed this week:

  • Scandal” (Season 4, Episodes 9-12, ABC, 2015)
  • The N.B.A. bubble
  • The vice-presidential debate (Oct. 7, 2020)
  • Lov...
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    July 23, 2020 37 min

    “Hamilton” is back in the mix, but the flavor has changed from beloved historical blockbuster to “wait, that’s what this is?” Elsewhere, in new works like “Baited,” on Instagram Live, and “I May Destroy You,” on HBO, Black women are getting personal in ways that are expanding our palates for discomfort.


    Discussed this week:

  • Hamilton” (written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Disney+, 2020)
  • Baited” on Instagram Live
  • Ziwe Fumudoh
  • I May Destr...
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    July 16, 2020 34 min

    When Quaker decided to take Aunt Jemima off the red pancake box after 131 years, did it also try to scrub the legacy she represents? And what sort of compensation is appropriate — and to whom — from a brand that maintained that image in public for so long?

    Discussed this week:

  • Aunt Jemima Brand to Change Name and Image Over ‘Racial Stereotype’” (Tiffany Hsu, The New York Times, June 2020)
  • Aunt Jemima: I’se in Town, Honey” (Jim Crow ...
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    July 9, 2020 25 min

    Excerpts from our June 12 live event, where we caught up about the uprisings and resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. This is the first of three special summer episodes.

    Discussed this week:

  • Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris in a live New York Times event (June 12, 2020)
  • ‘Cops,’ Long-Running Reality Show That Glorified Police, Is Canceled” (The New York Times, June 2020)
  • LEGO Pulls Back Police Playset Affiliate Marketing Ami...
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    May 14, 2020 39 min

    In our final episode from our living rooms, we visit the dystopia of “Westworld” and the utopia of “Hollywood” to see if we can glean anything about what might be in store on the other side of this pandemic — and about who we want to be.


    Discussed this week:

  • Westworld” (HBO, 2016-20)
  • Hollywood” (Netflix, 2020)
  • Ryan Murphy
  • The Stepford Wives” (directed by Frank Oz, 2004)
  • The Stepford Wives” (directed by Bryan Forbes, 1975)
  • The Motion P...
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