Terry Gross

Russia expert Fiona Hill warns that American democracy is under attack — from within.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. I'm going to start today's show with a scene from the 1944 classic film noir "Double Indemnity."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DOUBLE INDEMNITY")

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

In 1991, attorney Anita Hill testified that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her when he was chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and she worked there as an adviser to him.

Dear Evan Hansen star Ben Platt admits to being anxious. He frequently worries about the past and also about what's to come, but there's one place where his anxiety tends to subside.

"Being on stage, for me, is kind of the antidote to that," Platt says. "That's the place where my mind is the most quiet."

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

It's been nearly 20 years since B.J. Novak first took the stage as a stand-up comic. He still remembers the date: Oct. 10, 2001, less than a month after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

It was a tough time to be telling jokes and Novak was inexperienced. His set bombed.

It took him three months to get back on stage after that show. But when he did, he booked five shows in a single week, vowing to himself that he wouldn't let a single show be a referendum on whether or not he should continue.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, in for Terry Gross.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, professor of television studies at Rowan University, sitting in for Terry Gross. Actress Jean Smart is nominated for two Emmys this year. One is for starring in the comedy series "Hacks," as a comic whose career is in decline. The other is for her supporting role in the drama "Mare Of Easttown," as the mother of Kate Winslet's character. Her comedic timing was obvious in the hit '80s sitcom "Designing Women," and in the early 2000s, when she won two Emmys for her guest-starring role on "Frasier."

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead does extensive background research whenever he works on a book. For his latest novel, Harlem Shuffle, that meant learning how stolen items get "fenced."

"There's not a lot of literature about fences," Whitehead says. "But there is actually a book ... [that's] a sociological a study about these guys in the Midwest in the '60s, and one of the first things that struck me was their description of [the fences] being a wall between the straight world and the crooked world."

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

My guest, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, has made his directorial debut with the new documentary "Summer Of Soul." Questlove co-founded The Roots, which is, among other things, the house band for "The Tonight Show," where Questlove serves as the music director. He describes his new film as his chance to restore history.

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Actor Sandra Oh grew up in a mostly white suburb of Ottawa. Her parents were South Korean immigrants. "I socialized myself to be as comfortable as possible in a white world," she says.

It wasn't until she left home for Montreal and Toronto and then, eventually, Los Angeles that she started meeting other artists of color.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward can't stop looking at the bruise on her arm. It's a reminder of her harrowing escape last week from Afghanistan.

At the end of a trip reporting on the fall of the Afghan government, Ward found the Kabul airport thronged with people desperate to leave the country. She and her crew held hands and formed a chain, but when the gate to their flight opened, the crowd closed in upon them.

Human beings are programmed to approach pleasure and avoid pain. It's an instinct that dates back millions of years, to a time when people needed to actively seek food, clothing and shelter every day, or risk death.

But psychiatrist Anna Lembke says that in today's world, such basic needs are often readily available — which changes the equation.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Tony Bennett, the singer Frank Sinatra called the best in the business, is retiring from performing at the age of 95, after eight decades on stage and in clubs. Earlier this year, it was announced he had Alzheimer's disease, diagnosed five years earlier, but he'd continue to perform. His last performance was just two weeks ago with Lady Gaga in sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall.

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