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‘PE’ Greatest Hits: Thompson and Klosterman Debate Why Society Got So Negative

Derek Thompson re-boosts one of the show’s most popular episodes of the year

“Mad Men” Special Screening Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage

This has been an amazing year for the show, and I’m so grateful for everybody who has listened. I’m off the last two weeks of the year but I wanted to keep something in your feed over the holidays, so this week I’m re-boosting one of our most popular episodes of the year. Maybe you listened and want to listen again. Maybe you missed this one, and want to check it out. Or you’re looking at this feed for the first time and trying to figure out whether this is your kind of show. I think these episodes offer a great snapshot of what we try to do here on Plain English. Range widely across topics. Synthesize complicated ideas. Frame breaking news and big ideas in ways that you’ll remember when the show is over. And do it all relatively quickly. No BS. No filler. An espresso shot of news analysis.

In today’s episode, I talk with the author Chuck Klosterman about why society has gotten so negative, ranging from TV and film to politics and social media. Maybe the most wide-ranging conversation of the year and, in terms of online reception, probably the episode that I got the most positive feedback from … Ironically. I hope you enjoy! Happy holidays, and if you feel like giving this show a small gift, head to Spotify or Apple Podcasts and leave a five-star rating and review. It goes a long way. See you in the new year!

If you have questions, observations, or ideas for future episodes, email us at You can find us on TikTok at

Host: Derek Thompson
Guest: Chuck Klosterman
Producer: Devon Manze

Subscribe: Spotify