Closer Than They Appear
In this, the first show from Al Jazeera's new audio outfit Jetty, journalist Carvell Wallaceenvisions America as a fractured, fractious family. In his view, the division being played out in capital-letter Politics and Culture can be scaled all the way back down to the personal - the failures of individual people to communicate, to address past pain, to give an inch. Or, as he frames it in Episode 1, "Maybe this whole nation is just 320 million people who all need to talk with someone that they're afraid to talk to."
In conversation with smart, interesting people (Mahershala Ali; Shereen Marisol Meraji) who are also worrying away at this question - the question of what, exactly, America is now, and what it might become - Wallace shines as a giving, deep-thinking interlocutor. He also puts his money where his premise is, interweaving his personal anxieties with the political. We hear from his teenaged children, for example, and learn about his estranged relationship with the white woman who, for a time, raised him (and whom we'll eventually meet). Mesmerising and moving, this is therapy for America.
Gateway episode: 1. How did I get here? (with Mahershala Ali)