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Aaron Augenblick

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A series of open, thoughtful and engaging conversations with notable writers, scientists, comedians, politicians, chefs and more in which their unique perspectives are creatively animated.
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Sarah Vowell is an author, historian and self-described “heathen” who grew up in the bosom of a Reagan-voting, gun-toting, Evangelical family. Her parents were okay with their children’s dissenting views, however, because, as Vowell points out, there’s really nothing more American than irreconcilable differences. In this episode of our series “Monologue,” recorded in August 2018, Vowell discusses how she self-soothes against contemporary politics with domestic work around her Montana home.
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Laura Lippman has a message for her fellow detective novelists: “One death is enough.” In this interview with Topic from January 2019, the award-winning writer points out that books in her genre tend to pile up the bodies—then forget the human toll.
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Rick Steves is a travel guidebook author and TV host known to millions. In this 2019 interview with Topic, Steves explains how to become an “activated citizen” and why a world in which people get out of their comfort zones is a better world for all.
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The filmmaker and photographer Lauren Greenfield, best known for the documentaries Generation Wealth (2018) and The Queen of Versailles (2012), has been poking at the ugly underbelly of consumerism for more than 25 years. In an interview with Topic recorded in late November of 2018, Greenfield talks about the major themes running through her work, and what she calls “the ultimate cost, and degradation, of capitalism.”
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Dani McClain’s new book, 'We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood,' is informed not only by the journalist’s years of reporting on race and reproductive health but by her own experiences raising her young child. In March, McClain spoke to Topic about being mom to a daughter, navigating the world as a “thoughtful black girl,” and how #MeToo made her hyper-aware of the challenges confronting young women.
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When Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy was a young punk growing up in Belleville, Illinois, he felt sure about what sort of music he did and didn’t like: “We thought that hippies were the enemies,” he says now. “I don’t know where we got that idea.” In an interview with Jancee Dunn recorded in April, Tweedy explains how a fresh appraisal of his own musical tastes changed his palate and why he thinks the idea of a generation gap was destructive to young musicians growing up in the ’70s and ’80s.
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