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.


Want more Slow Burn? Join Slate Plus to immediately access all past seasons and episodes of Slow Burn (and your other favorite Slate podcasts) completely ad-free. Plus, you’ll unlock subscriber-exclusive bonus episodes that bring you behind-the-scenes on the making of the show. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Subscribe” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/slowburnplus to get access wherever you listen.


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?

History
Documentary
Politics
51
Decoder Ring: How Preppy Became Streetwear
Ralph Lauren’s modern Ivy style was remixed by ’Lo-Heads.
32 min
52
Decoder Ring: The New Age Hit Machine
How a PBS pledge drive turned Yanni and John Tesh into rock stars.
24 min
53
Slow Burn: Roe v. Wade special announcement
The women who fought for legal abortion, the activists who pushed back, and the justices who thought they could solve the issue for good.
2 min
54
Roe v. Wade | Creating a Winning Show
The team behind Slow Burn: Roe v. Wade reveals how they made Apple Podcasts Show of the Year.
2 min
55
One Year: 1942 | 6. The Black-Japanese Axis
A shadowy organization, a mysterious leader, and an alleged conspiracy against America during World War II.
35 min
56
Decoder Ring: The Butt and the Bustle
It may be old-fashioned, but the bustle still has a lot to tell us about race, sex and power.
41 min
57
One Year: 1942 | 5. When Internment Came to Alaska
The U.S. military claimed it was protecting indigenous Alaskans during World War II. The real story is much darker.
37 min
58
Decoder Ring: The Truth About #TheDress
An unassuming photo of a party dress showed how seeing is believing.
32 min
59
One Year: 1942 | 4. The Info Wars of World War II
How the Nazis used radio propaganda as a weapon against the United States.
43 min
60
One Year: 1942 | 3. The Day the Music Stopped
How a 1942 recording ban changed America forever.
52 min
61
One Year: 1942 | 2. The Year Everyone Got Married
In 1942, matrimony was a national obsession. How would those weddings change America?
39 min
62
One Year: 1942 | 1. The Most Hated Man in America
In 1942, it was up to Leon Henderson to stop inflation. He became a nationwide villain.
42 min
63
Decoder Ring: McGruff Takes a Bite Out of Crime...
Did a trench-coat wearing dog’s catchy anti-drug anthems actually work?
42 min
64
Decoder Ring: McGruff Takes a Bite Out of Crime...
The unlikely origins of the trench-coat wearing bloodhound who tackled personal safety, guns and drugs.
32 min
65
One Year: 1986 | 7. The Man From Fifth Avenue
The stranger-than-fiction story of a mysterious American who starred in a Soviet propaganda film.
53 min
66
One Year: 1986 | 6. The Miracle of Cokeville
How the worst school attack in U.S. history was miraculously averted.
62 min
67
One Year: 1986 | 5. Herschel vs. the Blubber Bu...
How a cute story about a hungry sea lion became a fight over targeted animal killing.
46 min
68
One Year: 1986 | 4. A Boycott in Mississippi
The civil rights battle that divided a small Southern town, and captivated the nation.
54 min
69
One Year: 1986 | 3. The Mystery of Al Capone’s ...
How a live television special became a legendary American fiasco.
58 min
70
One Year: 1986 | 2. The Ultimate Field Trip
They competed for a spot on the Space Shuttle Challenger. Then they watched it explode.
55 min
71
Slow Burn presents... One Year: 1986 | 1. No Cr...
Would Isiah Thomas’ vision of a crime-free world set Detroit on a new path, or was it a recipe for failure?
50 min
72
Decoder Ring: The “Sex” Scandal That Made Mae West
Before she hit the big-screen, the sultry actress starred in a 1927 tabloid trial.
41 min
73
Decoder Ring: The First Alien Abductees
The alien abduction narrative started right here on Earth.
36 min
74
Decoder Ring: The Most Famous Poet No One Remem...
Searching for Rod McKuen.
43 min
75
Slow Burn presents: Decoder Ring - The Mall is ...
For a supposedly dying place, the mall keeps hanging around.
44 min