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 12, 2022 26 min

Wesley wants to get to the bottom of Keanu Reeves — and to understand “why we get so much out of a movie star who appears to give us so little.” He’s joined by Alex Pappademas, the author of “Keanu Reeves: Most Triumphant: The Movies and Meaning of an Irrepressible Icon,” to solve this mystery. They discuss Keanu’s three-decade acting career, how he became the internet’s adorably tragic boyfriend and why we are seeing ourselves whe...

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"Fatal Attraction" came out in 1987 when Wesley was 11, and it made a permanent impression on the way he thinks about certain aspects of lust and suspense. With Jenna away on book leave, he welcomed Parul Sehgal, a staff writer at The New Yorker, to the show. Both Wesley and Parul watched “Fatal Attraction” over and over as preteens, and they’ve rewatched it multiple times in the years since. As they break down the most pow...

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April 28, 2022 29 min

In the 20th century, method acting was everywhere. Actors went to extreme lengths to inhabit the complicated psyche of a character, sometimes making audiences deeply uncomfortable. Think Robert De Niro in “Raging Bull” or Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now.” But in 2022, in our heyday of superhero blockbusters and bingeable story lines, the Method seems to be fading away. Wesley invites Isaac Butler — critic, historian and author of ...

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April 21, 2022 21 min

Wesley worries the “skip intro” button is killing the TV theme song. He takes his concern to his friend Hanif Abdurraqib, a poet, music critic and MacArthur “genius grant” winner. Together, they explore their childhood memories of “Good Times,” “The Wonder Years” and “The Jeffersons.” Then, producer Hans Buetow unearths a rendition of a theme song that blows their minds — and they vow never to hit “skip intro” on it.

We have a speci...

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April 14, 2022 37 min

Wesley has been obsessed with lists since he was a child — think Casey Kasem’s American Top 40, the Academy Awards and Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums of All Time. Now, he wants to think more seriously about expanding what we call the canon, making sure more people have a say in which works of art are considered great, enduring and important.

For guidance, Wesley sits down with Daphne A. Brooks, an academic, critic and music lover, t...

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April 7, 2022 4 min

We’re back with a new season on April 14! Jenna Wortham is on book leave, so Wesley Morris will be taking on solo hosting duties for much of this spring. He will be joined by a stellar cast of guests, including Daphne Brooks to talk pop culture hierarchies, Hanif Abdurraqib to examine television theme songs (and that polarizing “skip intro” button) and Bill Simmons on what happens when athletes try to act. We can’t kick off this se...

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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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May 13, 2021 39 min

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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