Malcolm Gladwell Has Launched a New Podcast, Revisionist History: Hear the First Episode

Mal­colm Glad­well has a pod­cast. Some of you will require no fur­ther infor­ma­tion, and in fact have already clicked over to iTunes (or anoth­er pod­cast down­load­ing appli­ca­tion of your choice), des­per­ate to down­load the first episode. Allow me to inform those cool­er heads who remain that Revi­sion­ist His­to­ry won’t begin its ten-week run, with one episode out per week, until June 16th. (Update: The first episode is now live and you can stream it below.) But you can sub­scribe right now (iTunesStitch­erRSS), and while you wait over the next few days, you can lis­ten to the pre­view that Glad­well has already post­ed.

You can also get a lit­tle a taste of Glad­well’s new project by watch­ing the trail­er at the top of the post. “Every week, I’m going to take you back into the past,” Glad­well promis­es in the video’s nar­ra­tion, “to exam­ine some­thing that I think has been over­looked and mis­un­der­stood.”

He gets into more detail on the Bri­an Lehrer Show seg­ment below, in which he describes the first episode of Revi­sion­ist His­to­ry as about the ques­tion of what it means to be “the first out­sider to enter a closed world,” start­ing from the career of British painter Eliz­a­beth Thomp­son, whose 1874 can­vas The Roll Call became, for a time, the most famous image in the coun­try. It broke its female artist into the male-dom­i­nat­ed world of paint­ing, and seemed, for an even short­er time, to her­ald a new era rich with high-pro­file female painters. “Every­one waits and waits for the rev­o­lu­tion to hap­pen,” Glad­well says, already into his char­ac­ter­is­tic sto­ry­telling mode, “and it nev­er hap­pens.”

Lehrer reacts to Glad­well’s choice of the sto­ry of “the first woman to break through in a male-dom­i­nat­ed field” with the obvi­ous ques­tion: “Is that a coin­ci­dence?” It is absolute­ly not a coin­ci­dence, Glad­well replies, going on to con­nect the phe­nom­e­non in ques­tion to not just mod­ern fig­ures like Hillary Clin­ton but Barack Oba­ma, Julia Gillard, and Mar­garet Thatch­er as well, and in the pod­cast itself sure­ly many oth­ers besides. He also hints at an episode lat­er in the sea­son that begins with an obscure Elvis Costel­lo song — and a “ter­ri­ble” one at that, he adds — and uses it “as a way of find­ing out how cre­ativ­i­ty works, and how an awful lot of what we con­sid­er works of genius had an incred­i­bly cir­cuitous path to great­ness,” end­ing up at a gallery look­ing at Cézannes.

You can sign up for episode updates at the offi­cial Revi­sion­ist His­to­ry site. The show comes as a prod­uct of Panoply, the pod­cast net­work of The Slate Group, and its first sea­son promis­es slick pro­duc­tion in addi­tion to the kind of com­pelling sto­ries and mem­o­rable social-sci­ence insights with which Glad­well has made him­self famous. And we should­n’t ignore his tal­ent for mar­ket­ing, either, ful­ly in evi­dence from noth­ing more than the tagline he speaks in the trail­er: “Because some­times the past deserves a sec­ond chance.” All this togeth­er sounds like more than a good rea­son to give his pod­cast a first one.

Revi­sion­ist His­to­ry is list­ed in our new col­lec­tion, The 150 Best Pod­casts to Enrich Your Mind.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Pod­cast His­to­ry of Our World Will Take You From Cre­ation Myths to (Even­tu­al­ly) the Present Day

The His­to­ry of the World in 46 Lec­tures From Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty

Jump Into the “Pod­cast­ing Renais­sance” with These Intel­li­gent Shows (and Tell Us Your Favorites)

Mal­colm Glad­well: What We Can Learn from Spaghet­ti Sauce

Mal­colm Glad­well: Tax­es Were High and Life Was Just Fine

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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Comments (9)
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  • Wanda Duchesne says:

    Look­ing for­ward to a new per­spec­tive on his­tor­i­cal events.

  • Renee Lemieux says:

    Mr. Glad­well’s new pod­cast is won­der­ful.. I real­ly enjoyed the first episode. The lev­el of research and analy­sis were very cap­ti­vat­ing.
    I look for­ward to the next episode.

  • Dorothea Dorenz says:

    Dear Mr. Glad­well;
    The mis­take you make in your blog is that although peo­ple can accept one Jew they will say he /she is the “excep­tion” which gives them the per­mis­sion to hate all the oth­ers. I real­ly don’t think it is because they have over­all accept­ed Jews; the anti-Semi­tism con­tin­ues despite the “excep­tion”. I don’t’ think your the­sis holds water because there real­ly is no way to prove that peo­ple who chose a Black pres­i­dent for exam­ple, now feel ok to be as racist as they want to be going for­ward. Rather, it is the fact that a Black pres­i­dent was elect­ed that brought out the racism into the open that was already there. If we had Sanders as our nom­i­nee, the anti-Semi­tes would have a field day: any Jew­ish jour­nal­ist who speaks out against Trump has expe­ri­enced extreme­ly hate­ful mes­sages from his fol­low­ers that ref­er­ence Hitler again and again.

    Wag­n­er hat­ed Jews, but exploit­ed a Jew­ish young musi­cian who tran­scribed his work to piano, because Wag­n­er couldn’t play piano very well. He also want­ed the con­duc­tor Levy (name?) to con­vert. Levy’s patron told W that he would not stage Par­si­fal with­out his con­duc­tor, Levy, doing it. So W had to accept a Jew to con­duct the pre­mier of Par­si­fal. W stopped try­ing to get Levy to con­vert since Levy refused. Levy’s father was a rab­bi.

    I real­ly don’t think that if one woman’s art­work is accept­ed that male dom­i­nat­ed soci­ety feels that all women are valu­able and equal to men. The sub­ject mat­ter of the paint­ing may also have had a big influ­ence on the val­ue of this paint­ing to the Acad­e­my in Britain. You should have looked into the effect that the sub­ject mat­ter had on their choice of Thompson’s paint­ing, and also that a woman, the Queen, who chose to buy her work. So per­haps the Queen had real influ­ence on the Academy’s choice of Thompson’s paint­ing. It is odd that you have not men­tioned that the Queen was an impor­tant female fig­ure in Britain, so why would a pow­er­ful woman at the head of the coun­try, have had no effect on the sta­tus of women in Eng­land?

    I don’t think the men in the Australian’s con­gress elect­ed a woman prime min­is­ter: the peo­ple did. You can­not con­flate these two cat­e­gories of peo­ple. The misog­y­ny that man­i­fest­ed in their con­gress may not have man­i­fest­ed in the gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion.

    Now we have Hilary Clin­ton who will face the worst attacks ever in the his­to­ry of this coun­try by one of the worst misog­y­nists in our his­to­ry despite the fact that many peo­ple men and women, will vote for her. There are now more women in con­gress than ever before although they are pre­dom­i­nant­ly Democ­rats: the Repub­li­cans are way behind in elect­ing women to Con­gress, sad to say.

  • Joe Shphered says:

    I won­der how many peo­ple will end up vis­it­ing the dot org web­site with the same name and get­ting some gen­uine revised his­to­ry?

  • Jennifer Feldman says:

    I find this series incred­i­bly good. It’s enlight­en­ing!

  • Jan says:

    Thank you for a clar­i­fied way of look­ing at the incred­i­ble inequities of our time. I know I look for pro­grams that fur­ther my under­stand­ing of issues so impor­tant to our lives. We need a voice that goes deep­er into the mucky rhetoric to parse out the unap­par­ent truth in spite of satire which car­ries us only so far. I applaude your tenac­i­ty and courage. Point­ing out the “ele­phants in the room” is not enough. Thx for tak­ing the con­ver­sa­tion fur­ther. I’m a fan.

  • Sharon Zibart says:

    How do can­cel sub­scrip­tion to Revi­sion­ist pod­cast?

  • Tony Criswell says:

    Did­n’t last long. 6/3/16 — 8/17/17. Would like to see it return.

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