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Best Of: Status Games, Polyamory and the Merits of Meritocracy

Best Of: Status Games, Polyamory and the Merits of Meritocracy

Update: 2024-02-137
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For years, Agnes Callard has been on a mission to take ethical philosophy out of the ivory tower. She examines everyday human experiences — jockeying for status, navigating jealousy, marriage — with dazzling detail, publishing regularly in mainstream publications. And she tries to live by her philosophy, too, even if it violates social conventions, as many discovered when The New Yorker published a provocative profile of Callard last year. 

We recorded this conversation in May 2021, before the New Yorker article drew attention to the details of her home life. (She lives with both her husband and her ex-husband.) But after our episode with Rhaina Cohen about imagining relationships more expansively, we thought it would be interesting to revisit Callard, who has spent so much time dissecting the dynamics and ethics of different relationships and their possibilities.

Mentioned:

Who Wants to Play the Status Game?” by Agnes Callard, The Point

Against Advice,” by Agnes Callard, The Point

The Other Woman,” by Agnes Callard, The Point

Parenting and Panic,” by Agnes Callard, The Point

"Aspiration" by Agnes Callard

Book Recommendations:

"Tolstoy: A Russian Life" by Rosamund Bartlett

"Pessoa: A Biography" by Richard Zenith

"Augustine of Hippo" by Peter Brown

Real Death” by Mount Eerie

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld, audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

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Best Of: Status Games, Polyamory and the Merits of Meritocracy

Best Of: Status Games, Polyamory and the Merits of Meritocracy

New York Times Opinion