The Gray Area with Sean Illing

The Gray Area with host Sean Illing is a philosophical take on culture, politics, and everything in between. We don’t pretend to have the answers, but we do offer a space for real dialogue. Resist certainty, embrace ambiguity, and get some cool takes on a very hot world. Formerly the Vox Conversations podcast. New episodes drop every Monday and Thursday.


Is America broken?

Sean Illing speaks with Alana Newhouse, the editor-in-chief of Tablet magazine. They discuss her recent essay on "brokenism," a term she coined in an effort to redefine political divisions in America. Newhouse argues that the most salient divide right now is between those who want to fix the institutions we have and those who want to burn it all down and start fresh.

Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area

Guest: Alana Newhouse (@alananewhouse) editor-in-chief, Tablet


  • “Brokenism” by Alana Newhouse (Tablet, Nov. 21, 2022)
  • “Everything is Broken” by Alana Newhouse (Tablet, Jan. 14, 2021)
  • "See Workers as Workers, Not as a College Credential" by The New York Times Editorial Board (Jan. 28)

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This episode was made by: 

  • Engineer: Patrick Boyd
  • Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall

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 2023-02-02  50m