The podcast of Liberties, a Journal of Culture and Politics. LibertiesTalk will be an irregular series of wide-ranging conversations on culture and politics hosted by Celeste Marcus, the managing editor of Liberties. These lively discussions will feature our writers and the larger Liberties community.
In the first in a series Liberties X Interintellect salons, Benjamin Moser joins Celeste Marcus to discuss his forthcoming book The Upside Down World. Arriving as a young writer in an ancient Dutch town, Moser was overwhelmed by the language, people, and culture. The great painters of the Dutch Golden Age — Rembrandt, Hals, and Vermeer among them — offered him entry into his strange new universe. This book is a portrait of seventeen of these artists, and of Moser’s peculiar conception of each of them.
Agnes Callard and Becca Rothfeld
Becca Rothfeld and Celeste Marcus pepper Agnes Callard with questions about motherhood, among them: how it changes one, whether it's possible to prepare for it, and if one's own identity is enriched or extinguished through it.
Justin E. H. Smith
Justin E. H. Smith joins Celeste Marcus to discuss the thought and style of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Agnes Callard and Celeste Marcus use "Scenes from a Marriage," the television series directed by Ingmar Bergman and released in 1973, to consider themes such as whether loneliness is inevitable, whether one has a moral imperative either to lie or to be wholly honest with their partner, what personal liberation means, and whether or not it is possible.
Jared Marcel Pollen
Jared Marcel Pollen joins Leon Wieseltier to discuss Václav Havel and the proper relationship between power and justice.
Leon Wieseltier and Celeste Marcus discuss the rise of the radical Israeli right and the peculiar pain of responsible loyalty to a state
Justin E. H. Smith
Justin E. H. Smith joins Leon Wieseltier and Celeste Marcus to discuss the gamification of reality, and the pernicious compulsion to control and describe more and more of human existence via algorithms and technology.
William Deresiewicz joins Celeste Marcus to discuss his upcoming book "The End of Solitude: Selected Essays on Culture and Society." In this conversation they broach many of the themes which Deresiewicz explores in his book, including the nature of attention, the meaning of art, the purpose of education, and the snares endemic to membership in any community.
Morten Høi Jensen
Morten Høi Jensen joins Celeste Marcus to discuss literary biography as a failed genre, the impossibility of a writer ever achieving intimacy with her own subjects, and the license that futility conditions.
Celeste Marcus and Leon Wieseltier
Leon Wieseltier and Celeste Marcus discuss the La Ruche, Soutine, the romantic, fleeting world of the School of Paris, and its brutal destruction during WWII.
Laura Kipnis joins Celeste Marcus to discuss her most recent essay for Liberties, Gender: A Melee, in which Laura debunks the bad faith arguments and fear mongering which frequently plague conversations about gender.
Richard Thompson Ford
Richard Thompson Ford joins Leon Wieseltier to discuss what the legacy of slavery can and cannot explain about life in America.
Martha Nussbaum joins Leon Wieseltier for a conversation about the relationship between the body and the soul.
Agnes Callard and Becca Rothfeld
Agnes Callard and Becca Rothfeld join Celeste Marcus to discuss the movie The Night Porter.
Leon Wieseltier and Celeste Marcus discuss the many dimensions of the horror in Ukraine. “If you want to deter such obscenities, and if you want to be able to resist such obscenities then you need to have a world view that will prepare you for such obscenities to occur.”
Holly Brewer joins Celeste Marcus to discuss the intellectual history of a pernicious racist idea that Ibram Kendi wrongly attributed to John Locke.
Michael Kimmage and Leon Wieseltier discuss the rhetoric of declinism which is both ubiquitous and inaccurate, its origins, and the dangers it poses.
Benjamin Moser, in conversation with Leon Wieseltier and Celeste Marcus, argues that translation is a form of cultural appropriation that does not appropriate nearly enough.
Jewher Ilham, Uyghur activist and the daughter of celebrated economist Ilham Tohti (now serving a life sentence in jail in China), joins Leon Wieseltier and Celeste Marcus to discuss the Uyghur Genocide. Jewher describes how the conditions for Uyghurs have changed in China over the past few decades, what the concentration camps are and what goes on in them, who her father is and what he was fighting for, and what the international community can and should be doing to help the Uyghurs.
Agnes Callard joins Celeste Marcus to discuss the movie Winter Light (1963), faith, faithlessness, body hatred, and, of course, Ingmar Bergman.
Mamtimin Ala, a Uyghur activist and intellectual, talks with Celeste Marcus not only about the Uyghur genocide in China, but also about the syncretistic beauty and wealth of Uyghur tradition. Among the tragedies of the Uyghur story is that they are known most often for the horrors they now endure, and not for their vast, rich history. The Analysis of Uyghur culture - and Chinese culture - sheds much light on the origins of the current outrage.
Michelle Dauphinais Echols
Michelle Dauphinais Echols talks with Celeste Marcus about the alleged rape and torture of Michelle's nine cousins, the Charbonneau sisters, at St. Paul's Indian School in the 1960s and 1970s.
Becca Rothfeld and Celeste Marcus discuss Sanctimony Literature, the relationship between art and politics, and how to evaluate political art.
Ramachandra Guha talks with Leon Wieseltier and Celeste Marcus about Modi's disastrous mishandling of the pandemic in India, the ensuing disaster, and the historical and political context for the current crisis.
Andrea Marcolongo talks with Celeste Marcus about how the pandemic has altered her self-perception as a writer, and about what a writer's role is.
Elliot Ackerman and Leon Wieseltier
Elliot Ackerman and Leon Wieseltier talk with Celeste Marcus about American foreign policy. Regarding the decision to pull all troops out of Afghanistan: "We'll either never think about this again or we'll think about this in eighteen months when Kabul falls to the Taliban and people are being executed in the streets and we have to answer for it in some way."
David Greenberg talks with Celeste Marcus about the process of renaming public spaces and buildings, concerns about how such decisions are made, and suggestions for how to ameliorate these processes.
Leon Wieseltier and Celeste Marcus discuss the Syrian crisis in honor of its tenth anniversary, and use that occasion to talk about American foreign policy over the past decade and going forward.
Thomas Chatterton Williams
Thomas Chatterton Williams talks with Celeste Marcus about making sense of and participating in the vicissitudes of American culture from across the ocean in Paris.
Shawn McCreesh talks with Celeste Marcus about what it was like to grow up in a suburb of Philadelphia ravaged by the opioid crisis.
Michael Ignatieff, rector of Central European University, chats with Celeste Marcus about what it was like to watch America desecrate its own sacred institutions from Europe, and what that desecration represents for the United States and the world.
Leon Wieseltier and Celeste Marcus talk about hope and fear, and how to keep our heads in all our crises.