Happy Fourth of July From Radiotopia
We’ve compiled an Independence Day playlist to get you through your holiday weekend road trips, train rides and spiritual journeys. It’s full of Radiotopia episodes about the Founding Fathers, democracy and — everyone’s favorite — summertime. Pop in your earbuds or turn up your car’s sound system and hit play.
The Memory Palace, “Episode 25 (I Have Not Yet Begun to Rot)”
The story of John Paul Jones, a hero of the American Revolution.
Song Exploder, “Mitski — Your Best American Girl”
Mitski breaks down her song Your Best American Girl, along with her long-time collaborator Patrick Hyland.
What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law, “1 — Judicial Legitimacy”
Back in February 2017, Trump tweeted a criticism of the “so-called judge” who blocked the enforcement of his travel ban. Why does the president have to listen to what the courts say? The Trump Con Law team tells the story of a key moment in history when the president (Truman, in this case) and the court strongly disagreed.
Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything, “Man Without a Country (1 of 3)”
What happens when you curse your own country? In this version of the classic Americana tale, your host is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in a hot air balloon. In part one, you’ll hear the story of what happened when he fought the “three strikes, you’re out forever” law and lost. Plus, Howard Zinn on the myth of American exceptionalism.
The Kitchen Sisters Present, “44 — Black Chef, White House: African American Cooks in the President’s Kitchen”
Cooking for the Founding Fathers — the story of Hercules and Hemings, the enslaved chefs of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. And an interview with Zephyr Wright, President Lyndon Johnson’s cook who worked for the family for 27 years.
99% Invisible, “244 — The Revolutionary Post”
Winifred Gallagher, author of How the Post Office Created America: A History, argues that the post office is not simply an inexpensive way to send a letter. The service was designed to unite a bunch of disparate towns and people under one flag, and in doing so, she believes the post office actually created the United States of America.
Radio Diaries, “#41: The Story of ‘Ballad for Americans’ ”
How a 10-minute folk opera managed to unite Democrats, Republicans and Communists.
The Allusionist, “10. Election Lexicon”
Take a jaunt through the etymology of election and democracy-related words. Find out why casting a vote should be more like basketball, and why polling is hairy.
Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything, “Man Without a Country (2 of 3)”
What happens when you curse your own country? In this version of the classic Americana tale, your host is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in a hot air balloon. In part two of the story, your host has his first human interaction in 10 years. Plus, radio host Glynn Washington tells us what it was like to grow up black in a white-supremacist Christian cult.
The Memory Palace, ”Episode 9 (Ben Franklin Death Ray)”
Ben Franklin’s scientific knowledge had the British quaking in their boots during the Revolutionary Period.
What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law, “2 — The Appointments Clause and Removal Power”
The U.S. Constitution has a clause that describes how the president can hire certain political appointees with the advice and consent of the Senate. It doesn’t say when the president can fire someone. The Trump Con Law team takes a look at recent Trump firings and put them in context of Supreme Court cases where the court both upheld and denied the president’s right to fire an executive branch employee. Even if a president has the constitutional power to fire someone, it doesn’t mean there aren’t political and legal consequences of the action.
The Mortified Podcast, “21: Mortified’s Summer Camp Spectacular!”
In honor of Independence Day, this special episode features two tales of kids getting their first taste of freedom from mom and dad at sleepaway camp.
Strangers, “I’m an American”
Lea recounts the personal journey that led her to become an American citizen this summer. It starts in Sweden in 1945 …
The Heart, “Riis Park”
In the summer of 1960, Joan Nestle was 20 years old and in love. At the time, she lived in a Lower East Side tenement. The city was hot, sweaty and humid. Joan and her girlfriend Carol would ride the subway for an hour and a half to Riis Park. Riis Park was, and still is, an easily accessible queer beach in New York City.
The West Wing Weekly, “3.09: Bartlet for America (with John Spencer)”
To accompany their discussion of “Bartlet for America,” The West Wing Weekly team interviews John Spencer, who won an Emmy for his performance. They talk to David Daniel, who is a senior producer at CNN Newsource. He interviewed John Spencer in 2002, just before the Emmy awards, about The West Wing pilot, “Bartlet for America,” addiction and more. The West Wing Weekly got David’s original raw tape from that day, which they use to put this segment together.
Radio Diaries, “#50: Contenders: Women Who Fought for the White House”
Portraits of some of the most unusual and groundbreaking presidential candidates — who never won the White House. This is the first in a three-part series: Contenders.
What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law, “3 — Pardon Power”
There are reports that the Trump administration is being investigated for obstruction of justice. This has led a lot of people to wonder if the Constitution’s presidential pardon power could be used to absolve members of his administration, or even himself, from criminal charges. And what does the Constitution say about how a pardon has to be presented? Can Trump pardon someone with a tweet?
Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything, “Man Without a Country (3 of 3)”
What happens when you curse your own country? In this version of the classic Americana tale, your host is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in a hot air balloon. The story concludes(?) when your host attempts to turn bread into wine. Plus, learn about the origins of the tale of the Man Without a Country and the various versions that have been produced over the last hundred years.
The Memory Palace, “Episode 106 (A Washington Monument)”
If you want the story of the construction of the actual Washington Monument, you could check out John Steele Gordon’s book.
Song Exploder, “Old Crow Medicine Show — Dearly Departed Friend”
Old Crow Medicine Show is a six-piece band from Tennessee that’s been around since 1998. They were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2013, and they won the Grammy for Best Folk Album in 2015, for their record Remedy. In this episode, bandleader Ketch Secor tells the story of how they made “Dearly Departed Friend,” one of the songs from Remedy.
99% Invisible, “174 — From the Sea, Freedom”
In 1933, delegates from the United States and fourteen other countries met in Montevideo, Uruguay to define what it means to be a state. The resulting treaty from the Montevideo Convention established four basic criteria for statehood — essentially, what is required to be recognized as a country. The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications:
- A defined territory
- A permanent population
- A government
- Capacity to enter into relations with other states
Over time, some people got to thinking that the criteria for becoming a state seemed surprisingly simple. So simple, that some attempted to declare their house an independent country. So-called “micronations” popped up around the world.
Most of these micronations aren’t expecting anyone to take them seriously, and many don’t even meet all four criteria laid out at the Montevideo Convention. But one micronation, the Principality of Sealand, cannot be dismissed so easily.
The Truth, “That’s Democracy”
Parental advisory: This episode contains mature and violent themes. A teacher gives his students lesson about democracy that they’ll never forget. Performed by Peter McNerney as Mr. Mohr, Russ Armstrong as Eric and Alexis Lambright as Margaret, with Fiona Bradford, Teddy Shivers, Oscar Montoya and Ben Jones as the principal. From an outline by Louis Kornfeld. Produced and directed by Jonathan Mitchell.
The Truth, “The Making of That’s Democracy”
A new short film has been made based on the episode “That’s Democracy,” and, to celebrate, The Truth team produced this documentary about how the original story was made. Including interviews with Louis Kornfeld, Peter McNerney and filmmakers Jon Bowden and Cliff Traiman. Plus, archival tape from the story meetings and outtakes from the recording session.