With Friends Like These artwork

With Friends Like These

203 episodes - English - Latest episode: 3 days ago - ★★★★★ - 6.2K ratings

Is the path to hell really paved with Good Intentions?  In “With Friends Like These: Good Intentions”, host Ana Marie Cox will introduce people and organizations who set out to make positive change, as well as the ones who ended up doing more harm than good. What’s the brain science behind warm fuzzy feelings? How does altruism change the way we feel about the world? And could trying too hard somehow get us killed? (Spoiler alert: yes.)From social enterprise to social media, our intention is to find the good - and figure out how it goes bad.

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Episodes

These Friends

February 26, 2021 08:01

To celebrate With Friends Like These 200th episode, we talk with Rolling Stone senior writer Jamil Smith about how he helped inspire the show, what the pandemic has taught us about grief, and being careful about who you call a friend. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Who Watches the Weight Watchers?

February 19, 2021 08:00

CW: Eating disorders, dieting. Aubrey Gordon, of Maintenance Phase and “Your Fat Friend,” joins to take us through the twisty history of Weight Watchers and its founder, Jean Nidtech. Stops on the tour include Heinz ketchup and Maya Angelou! Aubrey’s new book is “What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

The Sheraton Experiment

February 12, 2021 08:00

After the National Guard descended on Minneapolis to enforce an 8PM curfew on the streets, advocates for those living on the streets bought a block of rooms at a shuttered Sheraton to house them. The volunteers decided to impose as little authority as possible, hoping that a radical approach to harm reduction would empower the residents. But their experiment went terribly wrong.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

The Berkley Socialist Behind Mass Incarceration (with Heather Ann Thompson)

February 05, 2021 08:01

Robert Martinson was a radical anti-racist activist in the 1960s: He ran for mayor in Berkley as a socialist. He was arrested in Mississippi for participating in Freedom Summer. And then he authored the academic paper that became the political justification for “tough on crime” policies. He’s forgotten; can he be forgiven? Pulitzer Prize-winning author Heather Ann Thompson guides us through his tragic story. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

The Berkeley Socialist Behind Mass Incarceration (with Heather Ann Thompson)

February 05, 2021 08:01

Robert Martinson was a radical anti-racist activist in the 1960s: He ran for mayor in Berkeley as a socialist. He was arrested in Mississippi for participating in Freedom Summer. And then he authored the academic paper that became the political justification for “tough on crime” policies. He’s forgotten; can he be forgiven? Pulitzer Prize-winning author Heather Ann Thompson guides us through his tragic story. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

“Hope Is a Strategy"

January 29, 2021 08:00

New York Magazine senior writer and Friend of the Pod Rebecca Traister joins to talk us through how Biden’s missteps around issues of gender and race made him the white guy who could win in 2020. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

The Future Reminds You of Your Responsibility

January 22, 2021 08:01

The Atlantic's Adam Serwer comes on to talk about the inauguration and the future of this fragile democracy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Mothers of Invention

January 15, 2021 08:01

We love to love mothers, except when we don’t — like when they’re Black, or queer, or too thin, or too fat, or want to end their pregnancy, or do it alone, or have a glass of wine. Friend of the pod Lyz Lenz joins to discuss her new book, “Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

You Can’t Change the World If You Hate Yourself

January 08, 2021 08:01

“The only sustainable foundation for a changed world is internal transformation” — that’s the message of Sonya Renee Taylor, author of “The Body Is Not an Apology.” Her mission is to take us out of the realm of mere “body positivity” or “self-acceptance” and into a place of “radical self-love.” That means not just creating a world where all bodies are celebrated, but also embracing who we are, exactly as we are. Which part of that mission sounds harder to you? Learn more about your ad choices...

When Denouncing White Nationalism Isn’t Enough (Encore)

January 01, 2021 08:01

Derek Black thought he was done with the white nationalist movement when he wrote a public letter renouncing the ideology he grew up in. Then he realized that white nationalism wasn’t just the racists that used to listen to his white nationalist radio show and read his white nationalist website — white supremacy was everywhere, people just weren’t talking about it. (With a new introduction; this episode originally aired 06/12/20.) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adc...

“Scared to Believe” (Encore)

December 25, 2020 08:01

Santa isn’t the only myth we use to keep children in line! In the 1990s, evangelical churches bought and gave away thousands of copies of the book, “Left Behind,” hoping its overwrought depiction of the End Times would frighten unbelievers into the arms of Christ. That is not what happened. Amy Frykholm, author of “Rapture Culture: Left Behind in Evangelical America,” explains what did. Originally aired 8/7/2020. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

A Little White Christmas Lie

December 18, 2020 08:01

What, exactly, are parents accomplishing when they encourage their children to believe in the idea of an extravagently-dressed stranger breaking and entering into their homes on Christmas Eve? Is Santa a well-meaning myth or the beginning of the end of filial trust? CW: The truth about Santa. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Their Libertarians Attract Bears!

December 11, 2020 08:01

Welcome to Grafton, New Hampshire, a not-very-picturesque town where the streets are dark, the fires are unregulated, the cats are missing, and the camps are armed. Oh, and there are bears. Smart, dangerous bears. Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling tells us the story of “When a Libertarian Walked Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (and Some Bears).” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Don’t Accentuate the Positive

December 04, 2020 08:01

NYU and University of Hamburg psychology professor Gabriele Oettingen explains why positive thinking can backfire, and offers a method that might work better. She is the author of “Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Evangelical Christians’ Lesbian Poster Girl

November 27, 2020 08:01

Julie Rodgers was raised in a conservative evangelical home, so she knew they’d be horrified when she came out as a lesbian in her teens. To please her family and community, she first tried to change who she was, then she tried to deny it. We talk about how she went from being a star on the “ex-gay” speaker circuit to believing that God delights in all aspects of LGBTQ people, including their sexuality. Her forthcoming memoir is “Outlove: A Queer Christian Survival Story.” Learn more about yo...

Suicide Is a Public Health Issue

November 20, 2020 19:29

Trigger warning: This episode is about suicide and suicide prevention. While the pandemic has made mental health a part of the national conversation, policy makers and the public still tend to think of suicide as a matter of intervention at the point of crisis. Stephanie Wittels is on to explain why that is not the case. The second season of her podcast, “Last Day,” explores individual stories as a way of illustrating that true suicide prevention isn’t about intervening when someone’s life i...

Are We Overstating Abuse?

November 13, 2020 08:01

CW: Sexual violence Author Sarah Schulman joins the show to discuss her provocative and influential book, Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair. She argues that both the right and left can needless escalate mere conflicts into accusations of abuse, creating victims where there are none and blaming and shaming those who might be simply misunderstood. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

IN PRAISE OF MAGICAL THINKING

November 06, 2020 08:01

Oxford University professor of anthropology Chris Gosden joins us to discuss his book: A History: From Alchemy to Witchcraft, from the Ice Age to the Present. Also: We make politics disappear! Which is to say, there is NO DISCUSSION OF THE 2020 ELECTION IN THIS EPISODE. You’re welcome! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Cable News Is Bad for America

October 30, 2020 07:01

This week, a deep dive into how political enthusiasts’ default background noise is ruining our country. First, we hear from a former MSNBC producer who left the network after feeling like she was part of the problem. Then media critic Jay Rosen warns us about how the habits formed in covering Trump might warp coverage of whatever administration comes next. Lastly, CJR columnist Maria Bustillos helps us ponder why it is journalists who start out meaning well wind up making things worse. Learn ...

How Not to Cover a Conspiracy Theory

October 23, 2020 07:01

QAnon! What a *wild* conspiracy theory! Blood-drinking! Pedophilia! JFK Jr.! Pretty fascinating stuff! I bet you want to listen to this episode! Which is exactly why we need to rethink how the media covers conspiracies and how we think about them. George Mason University disinformation researcher John Cook helps explain how we can keep toxins out of the media bloodstream. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Julián Castro Had Trouble Smiling

October 16, 2020 07:01

Why do people enter public service? How do they keep going when times get hard — or they wind up not lasting long in a presidential primary? Julián Castro talks about injustice, strategic voting, and his new podcast, “Our America.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Hating on the Hiker Bro Evangelist

October 09, 2020 07:01

It’s easy to feel superior to John Allen Chau, the evangelical Christian who died attempting to bring the Bible to the North Sentinelese. We should ask ourselves if maybe it’s a little too easy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Just Say No to Politics

October 02, 2020 07:01

You might think being obsessed with politics — watching cable news, reading political blogs, and, er, listening to political podcasts — is a good thing! Historian Claire Bond Potter isn’t so sure. She joins us to talk her book, Political Junkies: From Talk Radio to Twitter, How Alternative Media Hooked Us on Politics and Broke Our Democracy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

The Empathy Engine

September 25, 2020 07:01

We begin our “Good Intentions” series exploring the origin of the impulse to help. The good news is that empathy and altruism appear to be instinctive reactions to the pain of others! The bad news is that it’s super-easy to divert or suppress that instinct (hint: the President does it all the time!). USC neuroscientist Leo Christov-Moore explains. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

The Friend Zone

September 18, 2020 07:01

Eva Hagberg thought she knew who she was: a smart, overachieving loner on her way to literary fame. Then her brain went boom (technical term), and she had to reevaluate her relationship to achievement, to herself, and to the people that loved her. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Dark Arts Professors Against Trump

September 11, 2020 07:03

Two founders of the Lincoln Project on their “psychological warfare” campaign against Trump, why Susan Collins must go, and how those viral ads are just the tip of the iceberg. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

What We Have Learned

August 21, 2020 07:01 - 41.5 MB

In this final episode of our “Converts” edition, we revisit some past episodes to see exactly what we’ve learned about how people do (and don’t) change their minds. What have we picked up from the a cop-turned-activist, a scientist who embraced mysticism, a conservative climate change advocate, and a onetime white nationalist who marched to say Black Lives Matter? The answers may surprise you. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Can You Convert a Conversion Therapist?

August 14, 2020 07:01 - 37.8 MB

You may know about the ways that “conversion therapy” has played out when it comes to religion. But what about the once-mainstream, secular professionals who refused to give up on the idea that their work wasn’t just necessary, but also the truly scientific approach to homosexuality? This is their story. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

“Scared to Believe?”

August 07, 2020 07:01 - 62.4 MB

In the 1990s, evangelical churches bought and gave away thousands of copies of the book, “Left Behind,” hoping its overwrought depiction of the End Times would frighten unbelievers into the arms of Christ. That is not what happened. Amy Frykholm, author of “Rapture Culture: Left Behind in Evangelical America,” explains what did. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

The Science Writer Who Became a Mystic

July 31, 2020 07:01 - 45.5 MB

Julie Rehmeyer is a science writer who studied math at MIT. She also lives with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a disease that many doctors treat with skepticism bordering on derision. So when traditional medicine couldn’t help her, she had to try treatments science couldn’t support. Julie’s book is Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer’s Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn’t Understand Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

America Is a Nation of Converts, with Thomas Kidd

July 24, 2020 07:01 - 66 MB

Thousands of people crowding public venues to hear the word of the Lord. Men fainting, women claiming to be healed, all rejoicing at being “born again.” When you think of “converts,” this may be what you picture, because it’s a familiar scene — more familiar than you may realize. The quintessentially American revival meeting was born before the country itself, in the mid-1700s, during what we call today “The First Great Awakening.” Our guest this week is Thomas Kidd, a historian at Baylor Uni...

The Moment You Realize You’re White

July 17, 2020 07:01 - 67 MB

Former mayor of Minneapolis Betsy Hodges comes on to talk about how the Rodney King uprisings started her journey to anti-racist activism — and what happened when, in 2015, her anti-racist ideals ran up against the realities of governing a city rocked by the shooting of a black man by white police officers. Her piece on the King uprisings is here. Her op-ed in the New York Times about how white liberals stand in the way of progress on police violence is here. Learn more about your ad choices....

From Feminist to Fascist

July 10, 2020 07:01 - 36.4 MB

What would turn a passionate, witty feminist into a xenophobic white nationalist? This week’s episode tells the story of Cordelia Scaife May, the eccentric heiress whose fortune underwrote both the Pittsburg Children’s Museum and the most influential network of immigration restrictionists in American history. Our episode owes much to the New York Times’ investigative report on Scaife May last year, [“Why an Heiress Spent Her Fortune Trying to Keep Immigrants Out”] Learn more about your ad ch...

“The Cop Who Realized The Bad Apple Was Him”

July 03, 2020 07:00 - 63.2 MB

In his 34 years in law enforcement, Norm Stamper participated in — or approved of — the gassing of protesters “hundreds” of times. Yet, he thought of himself as a reformer. He was, he thought, one of the “good guys.” His first book was intended to pull back the curtain and expose those *other* cops. Five years into retirement, he realized he was one of those other cops all along. Today, he’s advocate for not just changing policing policy, but resetting the whole system. Find out how he got th...

”The Heart Decides and Reason Justifies”: A conservative climate activist’s evolution

June 26, 2020 07:01 - 52.5 MB

Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) was proud of his Tea Party bona fides, until his son said he couldn’t vote for a climate change denier. Inglis wound up changing his mind, and gained one vote but lost a lot more — he’s now a former congressman, on a mission to recruit more conservatives to the climate cause. You can find out more about Inglis’ organization at RepublicEN.org. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

How White Light Moments Change Your Brain, with Andrew Newberg

June 19, 2020 07:01 - 45.1 MB

 How White Light Moments Change Your Brain, with Andrew Newberg If you’ve listened to the show at all this season, you’ve learned that the brain doesn’t want to change. And when it does change, it’s usually a slow process of erosion or evolution. So... what about the white light moments we’ve all heard of, if not experienced? Throughout history, there are accounts of people who undergo an instantaneous conversion of some kind: a flash of insight or comprehension that changes their lives fore...

When Denouncing Racism Isn’t Enough

June 12, 2020 07:01 - 68.8 MB

Derek Black thought he was done with the white nationalist movement when he wrote a public letter renouncing the ideology he grew up in. Then he realized that white nationalism wasn’t just the racists that used to listen to his white nationalist radio show and read his white nationalist website — white supremacy was everywhere, people just weren’t talking about it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

When Protests Changed Minds

June 05, 2020 09:30 - 73.9 MB

You can’t escape the images of protest and unrest happening in our country this week. But what will be their lasting impact on Americans’ — especially white Americans’ — views? We look back to the 1960s civil rights movement for clues. Princeton political science professor Omar Wasow work focuses on how the two different waves of protest in that era effected both voting patterns and Americans’ interest in cause of ending racial discrimination. SHOW LINKS How 1960s Black Protests Moved Elites,...

When Your Thoughts Are Not Your Own

May 29, 2020 07:01 - 47.7 MB

So far this season of “WFLT: Converts Edition,” we’ve focused on why the brain resists change — but that doesn’t mean that people give up on trying. Previous episodes have taught us that arguing doesn’t work and that people’s beliefs can be impervious to facts. But what about the blunt force approach? What about… brainwashing? We'll talk to science writer Kathleen Turner, author of the book, "Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control.” Thanks to our sponsors! Best Fiends: If you’re looking...

Why Your Brain Doesn't Want You to Change

May 22, 2020 07:01 - 43.2 MB

What happens when someone tells you something that challenges a deeply held belief? On the surface, it may feel annoying or uncomfortable, but according to research from the University of Southern California by Jonas Kaplan and Sarah Gimbel, it’s more than that. When people are presented with information that runs contrary to what they already believe, “The response in the brain that we see is very similar to what would happen if, say, you were walking through the forest and came across a bea...

Why (Most) People Don’t Convert

May 15, 2020 07:01 - 47.9 MB

Welcome to our first themed season, “With Friends Like These: Converts.” We’ve always been interested in why and how people change their minds about what they believe — mostly because it just doesn’t happen that often. Once we we make a choice about who we are or what we want to do, we start ignoring the evidence that might prove us wrong: that’s what “confirmation bias” is. Social psychologist Carol Tavris joins us to discuss the phenomenon, offer examples of it, and delve into the mystery o...

It’s My Body and I’ll Live if I Want To with Alice Wong

March 27, 2020 07:01 - 55.2 MB

This week friend of the pod Alice Wong (@SFDirewolf) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to talk about what it means to be a part of the disabled community during a pandemic. Spoiler: the world seems to get a little too cavalier about whether or not you deserve to live anymore. They talk about the grassroots activism being done within the community, and what able bodied folks can do to listen and be better. Remember, we are staying inside and quarantining for the good of everyone, not just tho...

Welfare for White People with Eduardo Porter

March 20, 2020 07:01 - 57.5 MB

Want to listen to anything NOT about COVID-19? We got the episode for you! Eduardo Porter (@portereduardo) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to talk about a much lighter subject: the history of racism in class divides and how it still affects us today. They talk about the hopes we’ve had in the past for a racially diverse working class coalition and how it’s been destroyed time and time again by exclusive language. Afterwards, they talk about how our social welfare will probably not cut it f...

A Whole Other Level of Disaster (with Dan Drezner)

March 14, 2020 07:01 - 83.2 MB

This week Dan Drezner joins Ana Marie Cox to talk about the likelihood of Trump handling COVID-19 responsibly (you guessed it, not well). Dan argues in his book, Toddler in Chief, that not only is Trump a toddler, power in American politics has shifted to the executive, making this more dangerous than ever. They discuss the treacherous tales of badger-related attacks on staffers in the White House to the genuine concerns of friends and family members about Trump’s behavior. Finally, Dan gives...

The Hopeful Feminist (with Rebecca Solnit)

March 06, 2020 08:01 - 84.4 MB

CW: Sexual assault and violence against women. If you, or someone you know, has experienced sexual violence, please call the RAINN hotline: 800.656.HOPE (4673). It’s never too late to get help.  It’s no secret that most women live in fear of violence. Nearly every week, there’s a news story showcasing the most gruesome examples of it, like the woman who was killed for jogging in Queens, or the countless number of ‘Rejection Murders’ men commit after a woman says “no.”  This week, author of ...

The Psychological Abyss (with Ezra Klein)

February 28, 2020 08:01 - 90 MB

This week we'll answer our number one question: why are we so polarized? Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to answer it. His new book is called, Why We’re Polarized, and they talk about how a lot of divisiveness stems from racism and problems beyond “political disagreements.” Finally they ask, can we bring unconditional love into politics, and more importantly, should we? Join us for another epistemologically exciting episode of With Friends Like These! Thanks to our ...

All Doom And Bloomberg (with Rick Wilson)

February 21, 2020 08:01 - 82.7 MB

Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) sits down with Lincoln Group founder Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) to discuss what the soft Republican stance is on everything happening around us right now. Will Trump stop an election from happening? As Rick agrees: Yikes all around.  Thanks to our sponsors! Postage rates have gone up AGAIN. Thankfully, Stamps.com eases the pain with big discounts off Post Office retail rates. Go to Stamps.com, click on the Microphone at the TOP of the homepage and type in FRIE...

Listen To Your Heart (with Kate Murphy)

February 14, 2020 08:01 - 44.1 MB

Want to learn some spicy new tricks just in time for Valentine’s Day? This week Kate Murphy joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to talk about this season’s hottest tip: mindfully listening to those around you. Kate Murphy, author of You’re Not Listening, talks about why listening is so important, and how it can save your life in the long term. Afterward, they discuss being comfortable with silence and working through disagreements. Thanks to our sponsors! quip, makers of the quip electric to...

We Can Be Heroes (with Susan Neiman)

February 07, 2020 08:01 - 85.5 MB

In Germany, studying the Holocaust — and the part everyday Germans played in it — is part of the school curriculum. There are memorials to the Jewish lives lost throughout the country, but they do not memorialize Nazis who died. Contrast this with the American South.  This week Susan Neiman, author of the book, Learning From the Germans, joins Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) to explain what we can learn from the Germans about regret and repentance. They talk about the inspiration for writing the...

Feels Like We Only Go Forward (with Lori Gottlieb)

January 31, 2020 08:00 - 106 MB

This week Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) is joined by Lori Gottlieb (@lorigottlieb1), author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. They talk about the route Lori took to become a therapist, how it's informed her practice and the common misconceptions of mental health. They'll also unpack why many are surprised that therapists have their own therapists! Join us for a mindful discussion on the mind, and don’t forget to call your therapist. (Turns out, like the rest of us, they don’t love being gho...

Guests

Rick Wilson
18 Episodes
Diana Butler Bass
4 Episodes
Jamil Smith
4 Episodes
Adam Savage
2 Episodes
Ed Schupman
2 Episodes
Alice Wong
1 Episode
Jemar Tisby
1 Episode
Mina Kimes
1 Episode
Naomi Klein
1 Episode
Sarah Jones
1 Episode

Books

The Witching Hour
1 Episode

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