The Gist

Kurt Andersen’s History of American Wackadoodles

Have we always been this disconnected from reality? Very possibly, yes.

A performer from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey in front of the U.S. Capitol on March 22, 2011 in Washington.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Listen to Episode 839 of Slate’s The Gist:

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Charlatans and magical thinkers aren’t new to this country; they helped shape it. So goes the thesis of Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire. Author Kurt Andersen joins Mike to consider religious quacks, the wackadoodles of the left and right, and the shrinking authority of the academy. Andersen is the host of Studio 360.

In the Spiel, we’re long overdue for another Lobstar.

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