Cover art for podcast Open Source with Christopher Lydon

Open Source with Christopher Lydon

50 EpisodesProduced by Christopher LydonWebsite

Christopher Lydon in conversation on arts, ideas and politics

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Malcolm X in Boston and Beyond

February 14th, 2020

50:24

The life of Malcolm X is the classic hero’s journey, in a setting we almost know: a story of anointment, dedication, fate, faith, family, incredible …

The New Hampshire Primary

February 7th, 2020

50:21

Say what you will about the cranky-Yankee New Hampshire primary, in a remote, mostly white state in the shape of a dunce cap on the map of New England. It’s still the place where presidential candidates have to go …

The Age of Illusions

January 31st, 2020

50:21

Soldier and citizen, Andrew Bacevich is the overqualified expert who turns the standard take on our distress inside out. It’s not President Trump …

Greta Gerwig Meets Louisa May Alcott

January 24th, 2020

49:59

In the Oscar-excitement around the new Little Women, director Greta Gerwig has a note for all of us: her hero at the party is still the woman who wrote the book a hundred and fifty years ago. Louisa May Alcott was the …

The Costs of War

January 17th, 2020

50:23

A trillion dollars here, a trillion dollars there — pretty soon, as the man said, you’re talking real money. But you’re not even close to counting …

2020 Hindsight on Iraq

January 10th, 2020

49:56

We have a formal stand-down, meaning no war this week, between the US and Iran. On the long horizon of empires, rising and falling, it looks like an interval of restraint between hubris and nemesis—the ancient Greek …

The Inimitable Johnny Hodges

January 3rd, 2020

50:25

There’s a big difference between the two greatest jazz stars on the alto horn. Charlie Parker had imitators without number; Johnny Hodges was simply inimitable. Parker, known as Bird, broke frontiers of speed, harmonic …

Ben Lerner’s Literary Charge

December 26th, 2019

46:25

This week we have an Open Source literary treat. It’s our producer Adam Colman in conversation with Ben Lerner, the MacArthur Genius who speaks as a …

Labour’s Love Lost

December 20th, 2019

50:24

Britain’s long, lurching political campaign of self-discovery, on the eve of ours in 2020, was a shocker. Thunder on the right, collapse on the …

Impeachment Lite

December 13th, 2019

50:22

The impeachment season just opening begins to look like a required scandalous course for citizens on how your government actually works, and as the New York Times noted this week, it will not be pretty. Not President …

Origin Stories

December 6th, 2019

50:27

Origin stories can be educated guesses, or leaps of collective imagination as to who we are, how we got to this point. The Big Bang is one kind, …

Hong Kong Crackdown

November 22nd, 2019

50:24

“May you live in interesting times” was never in fact a Chinese curse. It’s a modern American cliché that could work as a caption on both China and …

Billionaire Noir

November 15th, 2019

50:53

The most honored movie of the year looks to be Parasite, from Korea, about the soul-crushing advance of mega-wealth and the heartbreak of poor people …

In Hoffa’s Shadow

November 8th, 2019

50:26

Jimmy Hoffa will never be found, and won’t be forgotten either. What was it about the Teamster tough guy that’s more compelling 45 years after his perfect-crime murder than in his larger-than-life career? He was a …

Lovecraft Country

November 1st, 2019

50:21

H. P. Lovecraft’s frightful horror fiction—dated between Edgar Allan Poe’s and Stephen King’s—is the weirdest of the weird. Lovecraft found ravenous, …

Monopoly vs. Democracy

October 25th, 2019

50:24

It’s new for most Americans that we’re embarrassed by our democracy. We don’t know where it went wrong, or whether it’ll survive. Matt Stoller …

Harold Bloom’s Spark

October 18th, 2019

50:20

Harold Bloom sat for 60 inspired, combative years at the high table of the All-American book group. His passing this week can be said to mark the …

The Neuro-Adventures of Oliver Sacks

October 11th, 2019

50:22

Oliver Sacks was the beloved doctor of strong souls in afflicted bodies. He was a neurologist with an eye for the invisible, the medical detective …

Impeach This

October 4th, 2019

50:21

The impeachment treatment for Donald Trump looks already an ultimate fighting contest with a nasty guy who makes up his own rules. We’re thinking it …

The CIA’s Covert Chemist

October 1st, 2019

37:13

We’re at home with Stephen Kinzer, the longtime reporter of secret U.S. operations in books like Overthrow and All the Shah’s Men. In a new book, Poisoner in Chief, Kinzer looks at a scientist named Sidney Gottlieb and …

Tech-Master Disaster: Part Three

September 27th, 2019

50:24

Take a walk through Kendall Square, Cambridge, this hour. It’s the Emerald City of biotechnology—as magical/mysterious as the Land of Oz, but it’s …

Tech-Master Disaster: Part Two

September 20th, 2019

49:59

It took the late, notorious Jeffrey Epstein to force the conversation, but now MIT can’t stop talking about what money is too dirty to take in the cause of “inventing the future,” as the tarnished Media Lab used to say. …

Tech-Master Disaster: Part One

September 13th, 2019

50:25

The late Jeffrey Epstein stands for at least three levels of mystery: the man himself, a boastful sex offender, convicted of preying on under-age …

Pick Your Populism

September 6th, 2019

50:23

Mark Blyth is that noisy wise-guy on speed in our portable Glasgow pub, and he’s locating our anxieties about a world at sea. Where we’re at, he is …

Toni Morrison

September 4th, 2019

49:46

We’ve been reflecting on Toni Morrison and her legacy, and so we’re thinking of Chris’s interview with her back on The Connection. Here from our archives is that interview, which was occasioned by Morrison’s 1997 novel

Tom Reney’s Discs for a Desert Island

August 23rd, 2019

49:58

The jazz DJ Tom Reney has been telling people for 40 years about the true American art form. This hour he’s telling people about himself for a …

Ah Bartleby! Ah Humanity!

August 16th, 2019

50:11

Herman Melville, at his 200th birthday, is the American Shakespeare if only for his epic prose poem Moby Dick, or The Whale. That’s Maximum Melville; we’re celebrating, instead, his short story “Bartleby, the …

Tarantino’s 9th

August 9th, 2019

50:17

Spoiler alert! (Really.) The big movie to reckon with this summer may be as much about the mood of 2019 as about the Helter-Skelter 1960s. It’s Once …

A Politics of Love

August 2nd, 2019

50:13

It’s been Marianne Williamson’s week in the presidential campaign, by the new metrics of Tweets (running less and less snarky), and Google searches asking who is this ageless New Ager, this fount of love and toughness, …

Fuhgedaboutit

July 26th, 2019

50:15

“You must remember this,” the songwriter said, but is it ever that simple? Same for all the admonitions: never to forget. Really, never? Lewis Hyde is back, the wisdom-writer and provocateur, to wonder if we’ve missed …

Middlemarch at the Beach

July 19th, 2019

50:17

Middlemarch, a novel by the woman who gave herself a man’s by-line, “George Eliot,” may be the most honored masterpiece you’ve been avoiding all your life. Here’s the point: read it this summer. You’re ready to love

Casino Capital

July 12th, 2019

50:12

Casino gambling makes an odd fit with old bean-and-codfish Boston, even with Boston today: the best big college town in the country, the leading edge …

Adventures in D Flat

July 4th, 2019

50:17

Composer Matt Aucoin stands for the proposition that the kid playing baseball next door in Medfield, Massachusetts, can grow up to be all music, all the time: mind, heart, spirit, to his fingertips. He remembers finding …

Africa, Maine

June 28th, 2019

50:14

Migrants from the Congo and Angola, by way of Texas, stepping off buses in Portland, Maine, by the hundreds, taking shelter and sleeping on cots on a …

23 and You

June 21st, 2019

49:58

The Democratic debates are going to feel like a long weekend with the whole extended family: grandfather figures banging the table, no-nonsense women …

Who Killed the American Century?

June 14th, 2019

50:14

Richard Holbrooke makes a case study in American power. He had a diplomatic career, starting in Vietnam, of heroic ambition and hyperactive …

Tiananmen Square and China’s 1980s

June 7th, 2019

50:13

China in the 1980s can sound like a Paradise Lost—paradise crushed by tanks on Tiananmen Square 30 years ago, paradise erased by massacre and state …

Beyond Stonewall: From Power to Pride

May 31st, 2019

50:14

The Stonewall Uprising, fifty years ago, was chapter one in modern LGBTQ history. It was rough and ready in New York.  It was sexy and often celebratory in the San Francisco version. In Boston, true to character, gay …

At Home in Japan with Pico Iyer

May 24th, 2019

50:16

Pico Iyer once described himself as “a global village on two legs.” He’s the writing champion of cosmopolitan consciousness who lived awhile inside …

John Bolton’s War?

May 17th, 2019

50:00

Three guys walk into a bar in the Middle East. A Saudi: bin Salman. An Israeli called Bibi. An American—call him Donald. They all know one thing deeper than deep: they hated that nuclear deal with Iran, and now they’ve …

Amazing Aretha

May 3rd, 2019

49:48

Aretha Franklin made you believe you were hearing both heaven and earth. Her voice was not of this world: it was “a gift of God,” people have said. She was the reason women want to sing, said Mary J. Blige, who covered …

Russiagate, Unredacted

April 19th, 2019

50:03
A conversation about collusion, obstruction of justice, and the full Mueller Report with Seth Berman, Andy Bacevich, and David Bromwich.

A second …

The Bauhaus in Your House

April 12th, 2019

50:13

A conversation on art, architecture, and design with Tamar Avishai, Peter Chermayeff, Ann Beha, and Sebastian Smee.

Bauhaus was the art school in …

Esperanza Spalding: Drawn to Greatness

April 5th, 2019

50:18

Esperanza Spalding’s eyes sparkle when she says she’s “drawn to greatness” in other musicians, greatness meaning the charisma of boldness in the …

Collusion Delusion

March 29th, 2019

50:30

In the annals of public conversation, we seem to have reached toxic meltdown in the close of the mighty Mueller investigation. We’re past the “liar, liar, pants on fire” stage of a race to the bottom. Donald Trump is …

Barriers and borders and frontiers (oh my!)

March 22nd, 2019

50:15

A conversation with Greg Grandin, Valeria Luiselli, and John Lanchester.

A reckless wall-building era runs round the 21st century globe. Reckless next to the New England farmer in Robert Frost’s famous poem. He’s …

Real Education About Artificial Intelligence

March 15th, 2019

49:57

Siri: what is ‘artificial intelligence’? In computer science, she says, AI can refer to any device that senses its environment and responds to reach a goal. A simple translation of A. I. as, say, ‘robotic thinking’ …

On Becoming Who You Are

March 8th, 2019

49:56

A conversation with John Kaag and Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen on Nietzsche, philosophy, and life.

The news about Nietzsche, as you may have heard, is …

Why We’re Addicted to Facebook

March 4th, 2019

42:14

Could it possibly be that Stanford’s great humanist Robert Pogue Harrison invented René Girard out of sheer longing for an omni-theorist of our …

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