The Gray Area with Sean Illing

The Gray Area with host Sean Illing is a philosophical take on culture, politics, and everything in between. We don’t pretend to have the answers, but we do offer a space for real dialogue. Resist certainty, embrace ambiguity, and get some cool takes on a very hot world. Formerly the Vox Conversations podcast. New episodes drop every Monday and Thursday.

Philosophy
Politics
News Commentary
301
Best of: The age of "mega-identity" politics
A conversation with Lilliana Mason about identity politics
75 min
302
Because podcast
Gretchen McCulloch on how the internet revolutionized language
77 min
303
There’s more to life than profit
Yancey Strickler on climate change, founding Kickstarter and the perils of profit
89 min
304
Having a bad day? Dave Eggers can help.
Dave Eggers and I discuss satire, the Trump presidency and the importance of disconnecting.
80 min
305
How Whole Foods, yoga, and NPR became the hallm...
Elizabeth Currid-Halkett and Ezra Klein discuss why today’s rich are far less materialistic, but a far greater threat to equality
68 min
306
How social media makes us antisocial
Andrew Marantz explains the symbiotic relationship between social media platforms and the alt-right
89 min
307
ICYMI: Edward Norton’s theory of mind, movies, ...
107 min
308
Introducing Reset
Arielle Duhaime-Ross hosts Reset - the new tech podcast from Recode.
42 min
309
What a smarter Trumpism would sound like
Michael Lind discusses the new class war, China, and his theory of political settlement
82 min
310
The climate crisis is an oceans crisis
Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson explains why oceans are essential to human life and how we are killing them.
69 min
311
We live in The Good Place. And we’re screwing i...
How bad is climate change? Scientist Kate Marvel explains.
81 min
312
Neoliberalism and its discontents
Wendy Brown and Noah Smith try to define one of the most confusing concepts in modern political discourse
89 min
313
The four words that will decide impeachment
Ezra Klein and Gene Healy discuss the meaning of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors"
52 min
314
We don’t just feel emotions. We make them.
A mind-blowing conversation with Lisa Feldman Barrett on how emotion is made
90 min
315
How politics became a war against reality
Peter Pomerantsev on modern propaganda, post-truth politics, and the authoritarian resurgence
84 min
316
The loneliness epidemic
A deeply personal conversation with Vivek Murthy about loneliness and its impact on the mind, body, and soul
76 min
317
Ibram X. Kendi wants to redefine racism
Is racism solely about policies that widen racial inequality? Ibram X. Kendi and Ezra Klein discuss.
85 min
318
Malcolm Gladwell’s Stranger Things
Ezra Klein and Malcolm Gladwell discuss Cuban spies, talking to strangers, the process of creative storytelling, and much more
91 min
319
An inspiring conversation about democracy
Danielle Allen and Ezra Klein discuss what a democratic policy agenda would looks like, how to talk to strangers, and why we need to reform civic education.
87 min
320
Samantha Power’s journey from foreign policy cr...
A conversation about human nature, China, and the blurry line between morality and strategy in US foreign policy
87 min
321
When meritocracy wins, everybody loses
Is meritocracy responsible for rampant inequality, waning social mobility, and widespread dissatisfaction? Ezra Klein and Daniel Markovits discuss.
85 min
322
Nikole Hannah-Jones on the 1619 project, choosi...
Ezra Klein and Nikole Hannah-Jones discuss America's founding contradiction, racial segregation, capitalism and more
98 min
323
Randall Munroe, the genius behind XKCD
A quirky, weird, illuminating, curious trip through the mind of a genius
82 min
324
Julián Castro's quiet moral radicalism
Why Julián Castro wants to decriminalize migration, admit climate refugees, reimagine our relationship with the homeless, and protect animals.
61 min
325
Political animals (with Leah Garcés)
Leah Garcés and Ezra Klein discuss how building coalitions with unlikely allies may just be the key to reducing animal suffering
87 min
326
John McWhorter thinks we're getting racism wrong
John McWhorter and Jane Coaston discuss the limits of third-wave antiracism
63 min
327
The rocky marriage between libertarians and con...
Jane Coaston and Conor Friedersdorf discuss the future of the GOP in Trump's America
83 min
328
A mind-bending, reality-warping conversation wi...
What psychedelics, burning money, and postmodernism have in common
85 min
329
Jia Tolentino on what happens when life is an e...
Ezra Klein and Jia Tolentino discuss how the Internet distorts identities, cheapens solidarity, and erodes morality
99 min
330
The original meaning of “identity politics” (wi...
Ezra Klein and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor discuss the origins of identity politics and the future of Black liberation
79 min
331
Are bosses dictators? (with Elizabeth Anderson)
Elizabeth Anderson sits down with Ezra Klein to discuss workplace tyranny, the power of ideology, and a vision for a more democratic society
85 min
332
The Constitution is a progressive document
Gerrymandering, constitutionalism, and the future of the Supreme Court
56 min
333
Matt Bruenig’s case for single-payer health care
Ezra interviews Matt Bruenig
119 min
334
Can Raj Chetty save the American dream?
Ezra chats with Raj Chetty about the fading American dream.
77 min
335
Astra Taylor will change how you think about de...
Is democracy even possible? A conversation with Astra Taylor
76 min
336
Is big tech addictive? Nir Eyal and I debate.
Is big tech addictive? Nir Eyal and Ezra debate.
73 min
337
Generation Climate Change
Ezra sits down with Varshini Prakash of Sunrise Movement
91 min
338
Is the media amplifying Trump’s racism? (with W...
Ezra interviews Whitney Phillips
82 min
339
Rutger Bregman’s utopias, and mine
Ezra interviews Rutger Bregman
86 min
340
How white identity politics won the Republican ...
83 min
341
George Will makes the conservative case against...
70 min
342
What deliberative democracy can, and can’t, do ...
Ezra interviews Jane Mansbridge
51 min
343
Rod Dreher on America’s post-Christian culture ...
110 min
344
White threat in a browning America (Jennifer Ri...
73 min
345
Behind the panic in white, Christian America
91 min
346
An enlightening, frustrating conversation on li...
105 min
347
The cognitive cost of poverty (with Sendhil Mul...
93 min
348
Failing towards Utopia
20 min
349
Why liberals and conservatives create such diff...
90 min
350
Stacey Abrams and Lauren Groh-Wargo (Live!)
59 min
351
This changed how I think about love (with Aliso...
93 min
352
The plan behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans
49 min
353
Michael Lewis reads my mind
101 min
354
How Mitch McConnell convinced Michael Bennet to...
73 min
355
How the brains of master meditators change
68 min
356
Why good people are easily corrupted (with Lawr...
79 min
357
The art of attention (with Jenny Odell)
85 min
358
Matt Yglesias and Jenny Schuetz solve the housi...
Matt Yglesias and Jenny Schuetz solve the housing crisis
59 min
359
What kind of news is cable news? (With Brian St...
82 min
360
Contrapoints on taking the trolls seriously
75 min
361
The purpose of political violence
75 min
362
Ask Ezra Anything 3: Endgame
Ezra answers listener questions
90 min
363
The disillusionment of David Brooks
93 min
364
Emily Oster schools me on parenthood
51 min
365
Lessons from Vox’s first 5 years
90 min
366
Work as identity, burnout as lifestyle
79 min
367
How social democrats won Europe — then lost it
64 min
368
In defense of white-backlash politics
96 min
369
Identity, nationalism, and fatherhood
103 min
370
An ex-libertarian’s quest to rebuild the center...
81 min
371
How whiteness distorts our democracy, with Eddi...
86 min
372
Pete Buttigieg’s theory of political change
56 min
373
Meet the policy architect behind the Green New ...
79 min
374
The somewhat fractured state of American conser...
58 min
375
American politics after Christianity, with Ross...
74 min
376
Why Gov. Jay Inslee is running for president on...
62 min
377
ICYMI: Julia Galef
88 min
378
The roots of extremism, with Deeyah Khan
79 min
379
ICYMI: Paul Krugman
94 min
380
Pop music can make you smarter
21 min
381
Life after climate change, with David Wallace-W...
69 min
382
Pramila Jayapal thinks we can get to Medicare-f...
54 min
383
Noah Rothman on the "unjustice" of social justi...
67 min
384
Why should we care about deficits?
62 min
385
Anniversary special: Rachel Maddow
98 min
386
Andrew Sullivan and I work out our differences
121 min
387
The core contradiction of American politics
63 min
388
Leftists vs. liberals, with Elizabeth Bruenig
76 min
389
The world according to Ralph Nader
80 min
390
This conversation will change how you understan...
131 min
391
Ending the age of animal cruelty, with Bruce Fr...
75 min
392
Robert Sapolsky on the toxic intersection of po...
75 min
393
Frances Lee on why bipartisanship is irrational
57 min
394
Sean Decatur doesn’t see a free speech crisis o...
75 min
395
Cal Newport has an answer for digital burnout
66 min
396
Eric Holder’s plan to save democracy
60 min
397
Anil Dash on the biases of tech
77 min
398
Jill Lepore on America’s two revolutions
90 min
399
Best of: N.K. Jemisin
80 min
400
Best-of: Bryan Stevenson
89 min