The Waves

The “Is Aziz Ansari Sorry?” Edition

The Waves on the Riverside Church controversy, Aziz Ansari’s Right Now, and the case of Sarah Milov.

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On this week’s episode of the Waves, Christina, Marcia, Nichole, and June discuss the firing of the Rev. Amy Butler, a prominent progressive pastor at Riverside Church. Butler had recently accused a member of the church’s governing council of sexual harassment—but she also had a formal harassment claim filed against her after she allegedly took three members of the congregation to a sex shop. Then, Aziz Ansari has returned to the spotlight for the first time since allegations of misconduct were raised against him in 2018. The resulting Netflix special, Right Now, engages with the #MeToo story immediately but stops short of a real apology. What should we make of Ansari’s approach, and how does it compare with other comics like Louis C.K.? Finally, the hosts unpack the case of Sarah Milov, whose work was central to a recent episode of Here & Now but went uncredited by the male historians on the show.

In Slate Plus: Is it sexist to call the conflict between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nancy Pelosi a “feud”?

Other items discussed on the show:

• “Pastor’s Exit Exposes Cultural Rifts at a Leading Liberal Church” by Rick Rojas in the New York Times
• “Why Did a Progressive Pastor at an Important New York Church Get Fired?” by Ruth Graham in Slate
• Amy Butler’s own blog post, “From #MeToo to #ChurchToo to #NeverAtChurch
Aziz Ansari: Right Now
• “I Went on a Date With Aziz Ansari. It Turned Into the Worst Night of My Life.” by Katie Way in Babe
• Alan Yang and Aziz Ansari’s Master of None
• “The Productive Ambivalence of Aziz Ansari in His Comeback Netflix Special” by Doreen St. Félix in the New Yorker
• “Louis the Reactionary” by Christina Cauterucci in Slate
• “America’s Complex History With Tobacco, From the Marlboro Man to E-Cigarettes” by Jeremy Hobson on WBUR
• The history podcast BackStory
• “A Female Historian Wrote a Book. Two Male Historians Went on NPR to Talk About It. They Never Mentioned Her Name. It’s Sarah Milov.” by Caroline Kitchener in the Lily
• Sarah Milov’s The Cigarette: A Political History
• Monica Kristin Blair’s thread on her work as BackStory’s lead researcher


June: Laura Mechling’s How Could She

Marcia: Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval

Nichole: Anne Rivers Siddons’ The House Next Door

Christina: Diaspora by GoldLink

This podcast was produced by Danielle Hewitt. Our production assistant is Alex Barasch.

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