Slow Burn

Clarence Thomas is one of the most powerful figures in America today. Nearly every issue of national consequence has his fingerprints all over it, from voting rights to gun rights and from abortion access to affirmative action. But nothing about his journey from rural Georgia to the Supreme Court was inevitable.In the eighth season of Slate’s Slow Burn, host Joel Anderson traces Justice Thomas’ surprising path from youthful radical to conservative icon. You’ll hear about why he came to despise the race-based admission policies that personally benefitted him, how he credited his political rise to the Black self-sufficiency preached by Malcolm X, and what the American people didn’t hear during his explosive confirmation hearings.

One Year: 1955 - 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 - Siberia, USA
The Communist-hunting housewives who spawned a far-right conspiracy theory about an American gulag.
51 min
One Year: 1955 - 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 - The Crockett Craze
How Walt Disney created the first baby-boom phenomenon totally by accident.
53 min
One Year: 1955 - 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
S8 Ep. 4: A National Disgrace
What if Anita Hill hadn’t been the only woman who testified against Clarence Thomas?
62 min
S8 Ep. 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
S8 Ep. 2: Smiling Faces
Racial preferences gave Clarence Thomas a leg up. They also made him feel degraded.
45 min
S8 Ep. 1: America’s Blackest Child
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