Slow Burn

In 1978, state Sen. John Briggs put a bold proposition on the California ballot. If it passed, the Briggs Initiative would ban gays and lesbians from working in public schools—and fuel a growing backlash against LGBTQ+ people in all corners of American life. In the ninth season of Slate’s Slow Burn, host Christina Cauterucci explores one of the most consequential civil rights battles in American history: the first-ever statewide vote on gay rights. With that fight looming, young gay activists formed a sprawling, infighting, joyous opposition; confronted the smear that they were indoctrinating kids; and came out en masse to show Briggs—and their own communities—who they really were. And when an unthinkable act of violence shocked them all, they showed the world what gay power looked like.

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Season 8: Becoming Justice Thomas

Where Clarence Thomas came from, how he rose to power, and how he’s brought the rest of us along with him, whether we like it or not. Winner of the Podcast of the Year at the 2024 Ambies Awards.

Season 7: Roe v. Wade

The women who fought for legal abortion, the activists who pushed back, and the justices who thought they could solve the issue for good. Winner of Apple Podcasts Show of the Year in 2022.

Season 6: The L.A. Riots

How decades of police brutality, a broken justice system, and a video tape set off six days of unrest in Los Angeles.

Season 5: The Road to the Iraq War

Eighteen months after 9/11, the United States invaded a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. Who’s to blame? And was there any way to stop it?

Season 4: David Duke

America’s most famous white supremacist came within a runoff of controlling Louisiana. How did David Duke rise to power? And what did it take to stop him?

Season 3: Biggie and Tupac

How is it that two of the most famous performers in the world were murdered within a year of each other—and their killings were never solved?

Season 2: The Clinton Impeachment

A reexamination of the scandals that nearly destroyed the 42nd president and forever changed the life of a former White House intern.

Season 1: Watergate

What did it feel like to live through the scandal that brought down President Nixon?

One Year: 1955 | 5. The Cutter Incident
In 1955, the polio vaccine was rightly heralded as a miracle. A medical mystery threatened to derail it.
32 min
One Year: 1955 | 4. Siberia, USA
The Communist-hunting housewives who spawned a far-right conspiracy theory about an American gulag.
51 min
One Year: 1955 | 3. The Weather Girls
In the 1950s, women weathercasters were idolized and lusted over. They were also seen as a major threat.
41 min
One Year: 1955 | 2. The Crockett Craze
How Walt Disney created the first baby-boom phenomenon totally by accident.
53 min
One Year: 1955 | 1. The Team Nobody Would Play
In 1955, a team of Black Little Leaguers battled the white establishment in the Deep South.
53 min
Decoder Ring: Think Catchphrases Are Dead? Eat ...
Bless up: It’s a whole episode about “Doh!”, “Dealbreaker!” and “Did I do that?”
36 min
Decoder Ring: The Quest for a Homemade Hovercraft
With his scouting days long over, a Slate producer enlists his dad for one last merit badge.
38 min
Decoder Ring: A Brief History of Making Out
Is deep kissing a universal human behavior?
32 min
Decoder Ring: The Great Parmesan Cheese Debate
Is a Wisconsin version more authentic than its beloved Italian counterpart?
40 min
Decoder Ring: What's Really Going On Inside a M...
The etiquette, science and enduring appeal of a concertgoing ritual.
30 min
S8 Live Announcement & Bonus Conversation
Host Joel Anderson is interviewed by Slate's Dahlia Lithwick.
25 min
Becoming Justice Thomas | 4. A National Disgrace
What if Anita Hill hadn’t been the only woman who testified against Clarence Thomas?
62 min
Becoming Justice Thomas | 3. I’m Their Guy
To understand who Clarence Thomas was in the 1980s, you need to hear from the women who knew him best.
51 min
Becoming Justice Thomas | 2. Smiling Faces
Racial preferences gave Clarence Thomas a leg up. They also made him feel degraded.
45 min
Becoming Justice Thomas | 1. America’s Blackest...
How Clarence Thomas went from an aspiring priest to a campus radical.
50 min
Season 8 Trailer: Becoming Justice Thomas
Coming May 31st.
2 min
Decoder Ring: Who Owns the Tooth Fairy?
The Tooth Fairy’s freak flag is still flying.
34 min
Decoder Ring: Why You Can’t Find a Damn Parking...
Parking is a mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. We can get ourselves out of it.
33 min
Decoder Ring: The Artist Who Was Both Loved and...
The painter LeRoy Neiman was adored by many Americans—but not the art critics.
33 min
Decoder Ring: The Curious Case of Columbo's Mes...
Why does no one remember the T.V. detective’s Cold War missive?
36 min
Decoder Ring: The Curious Case of Columbo's Mes...
Was the cigar-chomping detective also a Cold War diplomat?
39 min
Announcing Slow Burn Season 8
Slow Burn: Becoming Justice Thomas
0 min
Decoder Ring: The Mailbag Episode
From kids menus to succulents to the chicken that crossed the road, we answer your questions.
34 min
Decoder Ring: ‘You’ve Got Mail’ Got It Wrong
Who's afraid of... Barnes & Noble? The now quaint conflict that inspired the 1998 romantic comedy.
36 min
Decoder Ring: Cellino & Barnes, Injury Attorney...
Cellino and Barnes became the literal poster-men for personal injury advertising.
35 min