America Divided at The New Yorker Festival

Living in a bustling metropolis certainly has its perks, and reading The New Yorker has always been an easy way to remind oneself of that. I can recall many quiet evenings on the secondhand futon in my tiny Cleveland apartment, thumbing through the pages of the magazine, a large Arabica iced mocha often within reach. I’d delve into the analysis of current events, read new fiction from distinguished authors and scour the pages for witty cartoons. Then I’d land on the listing of all the goings-on about town, and I’d wistfully make a list for my next visit.

America Divided - Mad Hatters NYC
Mural from “Ellis Island” series by Parisian street artist JR, in Tribeca

Now that we’re here, there is some wear to the patina, and it’s become easier to notice the cracks.  We share subway cars with city dwellers experiencing homelessness.  We speak to people who have to choose between a longer commute or a smaller space as rents continue to increase.  We have friends who now work multiple jobs as their wages stagnate but costs soar.  When it comes to affordable housing, our faces are pressed right up against the glass.  And it’s just one of the issues being covered in America Divided, a thought-provoking 8-part docuseries on EPIX.

With the weight of executive producers Norman Lear, Common and Shonda Rhimes behind it, America Divided attempts to shine light on some of the biggest social inequalities this country is facing, including such polarizing topics as gentrification and immigration.  Several celebrities act as correspondents, but the series does a wonderful job of including both subjects and experts who are intelligent and invested, which gives each problem an honest, relatable everyday face.  

America Divided - Mad Hatters NYC
Photo credit: EPIX
America Divided - Mad Hatters NYC
Photo credit: EPIX

We caught a preview of America Divided at the New Yorker Festival, an annual celebration that offers panels, talks and events spanning a broad spectrum of literature, politics, culture and entertainment.  It’s a jam-packed 3-day affair where you can hear from the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Jonathan Safran Foer, discuss a Trump presidency or participate in a food tour.

It’s an election year, so just by voting you get to shape some of the policies that will affect many of the topics discussed both directly and indirectly.  But we urge everyone to find a way to get more involved in the things that matter most to you, whichever side of the aisle you find yourself on.  Because there’s nothing like being in a city of 8 million people to remind you that lives intersect, and we can be better for it.

If you made it this far, we appreciate that you indulged us five minutes on the soapbox, and we will return to regular programming this Friday.  Thank you, as always, for reading!

America Divided is broadcast on EPIX Fridays at 9/8c, or it can be streamed here.

– L.

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