Nicholas Christakis is an unusual academic—a physician, a sociologist, and more. He is also a champion of free speech. Christakis is a Greek American, who grew up in both countries. He has a lofty position at Yale: Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science. He has written a book about the pandemic, “Apollo’s Arrow.” He talks about this, both knowledgeably and movingly. He and Jay discuss a number of other issues too, including “wokeness” on campus, and the need for good old-fashioned pluralism. Get to know the extraordinary Nicholas Christakis.

In this episode, Jay begins with some playing by Maxim Lando, a teenage pianist. There is also a solo-violin piece by John Corigliano: “Stomp.” At the end, Jay pays tribute to Christa Ludwig, one of the greatest singers of all time, who has passed away at 93. In a life of interviewing, he has been starstruck very few times, he says. He was by Christa Ludwig.

Sibelius, Piano Sonata in F, Op. 12
Led Zeppelin / Maxim Lando, “Stairway to Heaven
Glazunov, finale, Symphony No. 5, “Heroic”
Corigliano, “Stomp
Mancini, Theme to “Peter Gunn”
Brahms, “Wie Melodien zieht es mir

Dana Perino has written three books, all filled with wisdom and light. Books tend to reflect their authors. She has podcasted with Jay about all three of them. The latest is “Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Woman).” Ms. Perino is a co-host of two shows at Fox News: “America’s Newsroom” and “The Five.” She served a press secretary to President George W. Bush. With Jay, she talks about some of the issues of her book: the whys and wherefores of being a young woman, navigating her way through life. The lessons are relevant to men as well, and to people of all ages. Dana and Jay’s conversation is interesting, amusing – and practical. 

Gulchehra Hoja works at Radio Free Asia, in Washington, D.C. She is a Uyghur, a Uyghur American. The Chinese government has imprisoned more than a million Uyghurs in a new network of concentration camps—a new gulag archipelago. Among the prisoners are many of Gulchehra Hoja’s relatives. She and her colleagues at RFA have paid a terrible price for their truth-telling; so have their families. Ms. Hoja talks with Jay about her life, her work, and the horror of it all. A tremendously informative and moving podcast. 

As Jay says in his introduction, Donna M. Hughes is “an academic and activist—a righteous warrior.” She is a professor of women’s studies at the University of Rhode Island. Her specialty is sex trafficking. No one knows more about it than she. She works against it day after day. In recent days, she has published an article involving the transgender movement, which caused a furious reaction—attempts to get her fired, etc. Professor Hughes, a gutsy lady, has prevailed. She is still teaching, still speaking out. Get to know this very interesting and highly valuable person. 

Ellen Bork is a veteran analyst of Far Eastern affairs—and a devoted friend of freedom and democracy. Perry Link is an eminent professor of Chinese and Chinese literature—and a friend and helper of dissidents, over the years. They are part of a new effort called the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong. The Chinese government has cracked down ferociously on that city, that outpost. For Taiwan, too, this is a nerve-wracking time. Jay’s guests talk about these matters and more, with eloquence, experience, and heart. 

This episode ends with “Embraceable You,” the Gershwin song—but in a piano arrangement by Earl Wild. An extraordinary thing. The episode begins with some Bach—the same piece, more or less, two different ways. Jay also has some music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, known by some as “the African Mahler.” There is a story, too, about French horn playing. Does your pulse race when you have a big solo? You bet it does. Much to savor here.

Bach, Prelude in E minor from Book I of “The Well-Tempered Clavier”
Bach-Siloti, Prelude in B minor
Coleridge-Taylor, Clarinet Quintet in F-sharp minor, Op. 10, first movement
Dove, “Departure,” from “Airport Scenes”
Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 5, slow movement
Gershwin-Wild, “Embraceable You

That’s a phrase that David French uses in this episode: “a Darwinian mêlée.” He is talking about the survival of the fittest in the NBA—but the phrase applies to other arenas as well. Jay hosts his golden gurus—David, Sally Jenkins, and Vivek Dave—in this discussion of, yes, the NBA, and also the NCAA (including in the Supreme Court), along with the Masters and more. A discussion both lively and thoughtful. Sally ends the show with a reflection on fandom: its thrill, its agony.

Michael Wooldridge is the chairman of the computer-science department at Oxford University. He is a specialist in artificial intelligence, and the author of a new brief history of the subject (which Jay has reviewed). Driverless cars are coming. What else is coming? Should we worry or rejoice? Anyway, a fine talk with the AI Man. 

Peter Meijer is a new congressman from Grand Rapids, Mich. He is the son of Hendrik Meijer, with whom Jay did a “Q&A” three years ago (here). The Meijers own a chain of “superstores” in Michigan (and beyond) where virtually everyone shops. Peter went to West Point, Columbia, and NYU. He served in the Iraq War. Three days after he was sworn in as a congressman, a mob attacked the Capitol. To Jay, he has much to say about that day, January 6, and much to say about other topics as well: growing up, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the state of American politics. A very interesting new character on the scene. 

Jay talks with Jonah Goldberg about his writing life, his dogs, his political thought. Bill Buckley, Charles Krauthammer, Donald Trump. Music, sports, food. “Life its ownself,” or at least significant slices. Jonah is in splendid form, expressing joy even when the topics are unjoyful, somehow. 

Michael Powell is a national reporter for the New York Times. He has had many beats in his career, including sports. Today, he has a tricky one, you might even say a dangerous one: free speech, campus life, intellectual debate. Recently, he published a blockbuster piece headed “Inside a Battle Over Race, Class and Power at Smith College.” Jay talks with him about this—and about his career, the media, and much else. A terrific conversationalist, Michael Powell. 

Jay begins with a toast from “La rondine,” Puccini’s opera; he ends with “The Lord’s Prayer,” sung by Leontyne Price on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Lots in between, of course: including tributes to the jazz pianist and composer Claude Bolling; the jazz guitarist Pat Metheny; and the organist John Weaver. A delicious program.

Puccini, “Bevo al tuo fresco sorriso,” from “La rondine”
Fauré, “Reflets dans l’eau
Bolling, “Baroque and Blue,” from Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano
Prokofiev, Piano Sonata No. 7
Metheny, “Have You Heard
Weaver, Variation on “Sine Nomine”
Malotte, “The Lord’s Prayer

Steven B. Smith is indeed an American, Chicago born. (The line is Saul Bellow’s, cited by Smith in this “Q&A.”) He is a political scientist, a political theorist, a famous professor at Yale. His new book is “Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes.” He and Jay talk about patriotism (naturally) and nationalism and many other issues—including “wokeness” on campus and baseball. Professor Smith is not only a brain, he is a joy. You will enjoy him. 

On Twitter, Claire Berlinski bills herself as a “rootless cosmopolitan.” She has styled her new newsletter “The Cosmopolitan Globalist.” There is such a thing as “owning the insult.” In other words, if they’re going to call you those things anyway … Berlinski is a writer and scholar who specializes in international relations. She has lived in various places and is now in Paris. With Jay, she discusses France, anti-Semitism, the pandemic, free speech, and sundry other issues, most of them controversial. Candid and thoughtful, she is, as Jay says, a breath of fresh air. She is certainly herself, without apology. A very interesting listen. 

Douglas Carswell grew up in Uganda. For a dozen years—2005 to 2017—he was a member of the British parliament. He is a conservative and a free-market man. In recent weeks, he has come to America to head the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Jay talks with him about a little bit of everything: Africa; British politics (Thatcher, Cameron, Boris, et al.); Mississippi (how do you sell Thatcher-Reagan politics in a poor state?); America (what do you like about it, or dislike?); conservatism (what is it?); and more. Douglas Carswell has led a highly interesting life, and is an excellent conversationalist. 

Jared Genser is an American human-rights lawyer, who has represented many political prisoners and dissidents all over the world. From 2006 to 2010, he served as pro bono counsel to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese democracy leader. A week ago, the Burmese military ousted Aung San Suu Kyi and the government in a coup d’état. Genser wrote about the issue here. And he talks about Burma—and his work generally—with Jay. Jay wants to know, “What just happened in Burma? What are the ins and outs?” And, beyond that, “What happened to Aung San Suu Kyi, the great lady? Was she always so dark, or cynical, or did she take a terrible turn?” Very, very interesting stuff, from an expert.

What a strange title. What could it mean? That Jay addresses “The Well-Tempered Clavier” (both books), that masterpiece by Bach. And that he addresses music by Catalan composers. A successful mixture, we think you will find.

Bach, Prelude and Fugue in C major, “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” Book II
Montsalvatge, two songs from “Cinco canciones negras
Mompou, “Secreto,” from “Impresiones íntimas”
Mompou, “Damunt de tu només les flors,” from “Combat del somni”
Fábregas, Elisenda, “Pluja brodada,” from “Imitació del foc”
Bach, Prelude and Fugue in F-sharp minor, “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” Book I
Bach, “Gigue” Fugue in G major

Jay hosts two of his young colleagues from National Review: Madeleine Kearns, of Glasgow, and Cameron Hilditch, of Belfast (or nearby). He has had them as guests before—singly. This show is more of a roundtable. Under discussion: the British Isles, with its accents and whatnot; the critical importance of “loser’s consent” in a democracy; great literature (including “Jane Eyre”and George Herbert); and more. A relax, multi-faceted, enjoyable conversation

John Hare is an eminent philosopher—a professor of philosophical theology at Yale. Among his books are “Why Bother Being Good? The Place of God in the Moral Life.” Hare is also a renowned teacher, prized by his students. He is the son of another eminent philosopher, R. M. Hare. He and Jay talk about that. What else do they talk about? Young Hare’s adventures in India, as a teenager. His time on a congressional staff. The evolution of his thought. His favorite philosophers (there are four of them). The question, Was Jesus Christ a philosopher? Also: How are American students faring today? Professor Hare says that the Internet is a boon, and a problem as well. All in all, a fascinating discussion, and a heartwarming one, too.