From Circe to Clinton: why powerful women are cast as witches

A misogynist insult in Washington and Westminster, a force for good in Hollywood for centuries, witches have represented dread of assertive girls. But why does the stereotype persist?

During the 2016 US presidential election, American social media was inundated with images of Hillary Clinton wearing a black hat and riding a broom, or else cackling with green scalp. Her opponents named her The Wicked Witch of the Left, claimed they had sources witnessing that she reeked of sulphur, and took particular delight in depictions of her being melted. Given that the last witch trial in the US was more than 100 hundred years ago, what are we to construct of this?

In the late 19 th century, the suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage asserted something revolutionary. The persecution of witches, she told, had nothing to do with opposing evil or resisting the demon. It was simply entrenched social misogyny, the goal of which was to repress the intellect of women. A witch, she said, wasn’t wicked. She didn’t fly on a broomstick naked in the dark, or consort with demons. She was, instead, likely to be a woman” of superior knowledge “. As a thought experimentation, she suggested that for “witches” we should read instead “women”. Their histories, she intimated, operate hand in hand.

Obviously, she was on to something. When we say witch, we almost exclusively entail woman. Sure, men have also been accused of sorcery, but the objective is by far the minority. Further, the words used to describe men with magical powers- warlock, magus, sorcerer, wizard- don’t carry the same stigma.

A better parallel to “witch” is the word “whore”. Both are time-honoured tools for policing females, meant to dishonor them into socially prescribed behaviour. A harlot transgresses norms of female sexuality; a witch transgresses norms of female power. Witches are often called unnatural because of their ability to threaten men. With her spells, a witch can transform you into a swine, or defeat you in combat. She can curse you, blight your crops, dismis you, refuse you, correct you. Penalise witches achieves two things: it ends the threat and stimulates others afraid to follow in the unruly woman’s footsteps.

Yet, despite all the attempts to stamp out witches, they are as strongly with us as ever, from Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch in the Avengers movies, to the recent film The Love Witch , to the television series American Horror Story , to non-fiction books such as Stacy Schiff’s The Witches: Salem, 1692 . The stereotypical image of the witch- green skin, pointed hat, warts, black cat- has become entrenched, but beneath that surface lies a dazzling variety; a rich diversity of women who have frightened, possessed and inspired us over the centuries.

Bones
Bones of contention … montages of Hillary Clinton as a witch have inundated social media

Let’s start with the classic: the evil, aged crone. This image took firm root in the Christian era, when witches were women who consorted with the demon; but old and ugly witches predated Jesus. Roman literature portrayed witches as pathetic creatures with false teeth and grey hair, who dug in the ground by moonlight, tore animals with their teeth and used the organs of boys they starved to death for their spells. They had two main pastimes: making love potions, and casting curses. The poet Ovid blamed a disappointing sexual performance on a witch using a kind of Roman voodoo doll to take away his effectivenes.( Sure Ovid, that was my first supposed, too .)

The most famous of this kind is necessary Shakespeare’s weird sisters from Macbeth . They are repulsive” midnight hags”, with skinny lips, chapped fingers and beards. Their spells- eye of newt and toe of frog- are as disgusting as their appearances and curse anyone who traverses them. The classic fairytale witch, like the one in the story of Hansel and Gretel who eats infants, also fits into this category, as does the Slavic Baba Yaga, and the Wicked Witch of the West from L Frank Baum’s Oz series, made famous by actor Margaret Hamilton. The role was originally offered to the glamorous Gale Sondergaard, but she turned it down because she didn’t want to appear ugly.

Spellbound
Spellbound … Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, who was accused of sorcery. Photograph: Allstar/ 20 th Century Fox

And ugliness, of course, is key. The haggish outsides of these witches are meant to match their evil insides, and testify to their unnaturalness, since women are supposed to be as neat, attractive and young as possible. But the association with age also contains a kernel of truth: many of the women accused of sorcery were so-called ” wise females”, older figures, often poor widows, who scratched out a living in the community with their experience as midwives, herbalists and hedge-doctors. Their solitary, vulnerable status and unusual knowledge made them perfect targets for people’s fury and fear when crops failed or newborns died.

Foreign girls were also vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft, and the association between immigrants and sorcery goes back at the least to Greek mythology. The witch Medea was the princess of Colchis, on the eastern edge of the Black Sea, which to the notoriously xenophobic ancient Greeks was alien and suspect. When Jason and his Argonauts came to claim the Golden Fleece from her parent, Medea fell in love with Jason and aided him with her spells, so that he and the Argonauts were able to seize the fleece and escape. In gratitude, Jason married Medea, but back home in his kingdom she was shunned, her sorcery and foreignness merging into a single undesirable trait. The notion seemed to have been: no wonder she’s a murderous sorceress, she’s from the east.

This type of nativism also pops up in Shakespeare’s The Tempest . Sycorax, the witch mother of Caliban, is from Algiers, and though she never appears in the play, she is a harrowing, hideous figure, a” blue-eyed hag “, who is hunched over with” age and envy “. She was cast out from Algiers( the implication is that she was too wicked even for them ), and came to the island, where she “litter[ed]” her deformed son, practised her magic and worshipped her pagan-sounding deity, Setebos. Towards the end of the 17 th century, the slave Tituba, who may have been South American, was is the responsibility of leading the innocent( white) daughters of Salem into evil. Her experience as an outsider among the witch-hysterical Puritan is brilliantly imagined in Maryse Conde’s novel, I Tituba, Black Witch of Salem .

Fears of sorcery grounded in racism persist even today. The Roma, longtime outcasts in Europe, have frequently been accused of evil magical. And African-influenced voodoo is routinely used by Hollywood as a horror movie plot point.

But it wasn’t just vulnerable women who described accusations of witchcraft. It was also women with serious political power. Joan of Arc led the French to victory against the English and was renowned in France for her purity, cleverness and religion in her “voices”. When the English leadership couldn’t beat her, they undermined her, crediting her success to demonic means, since, of course, a young lady could never perform such wonders on her own. When she was captured, they tried her for sorcery, quoting as partial proof of her unnaturalness the tremendous courage she presented in combat, and her they are able to outwit her examiners in debate.

Magic
Magic circle … the new Wrinkle in Time film features Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit. Photograph: Atsushi Nishijima/ Disney/ Kobal/ Rex/ Shutterstock

Cleopatra and Anne Boleyn were likewise accused of witchcraft, with rumors that Anne even bore physical marks of her compact with the devil, such as a third teat, moles and a sixth thumb on her right hand. Such accusations were a clever and effective style for a woman’s political adversaries to smear her since, as countless other women accused of witchcraft learned, it is impossible to offer definitive proof that one is not a witch. Perhaps what is most shocking about this catch-2 2 is the way in which it continues to be played out today. Aside from Hillary Clinton, who has been called a witch since she was first lady, there was also the case of Julia Gillard, first female prime minister of Australia, who met with tauntings of” ditch the witch” from protesters. Nancy Pelosi, the minority speaker of the US House of Representatives, has faced similar witch-related insults, and lately Theresa May was filmed laughing loudly, and her so-called ” witch’s cackle” speedily ran viral. The misogyny of all this is obvious. Debating and defeating these leaders politically isn’t enough- as women who demonstrate ambition, they are abominations who must be deemed evil and cast out.

From
From JW Waterhouse’s portrait of Circe Invidiosa. Photograph: Alamy

The tradition of the sexy witch, who lures men with her beauty, is beloved by modern-day adult costume-makers, but goes all the way back to the first witch in western literature: the divine sorceress Circe. She first appears in Homer’s Odyssey , after Odysseus and his crew have washed up on her island, exhausted and grieving for the loss of their comrades. They run searching for inhabitants and find a palatial house with tame lions and wolves lolling around in the garden. A glistening goddess comes to the door, and invites them in. She devotes them food and wine which she has narcotic with spell-herbs, then lifts her wand and turns them into pigs.

Circe’s story brings together many classic witchy motifs: a ability with herbs and potions, a magic wand, control over animals. But what is most notable is her moral ambiguity- though she begins the episode as a figure of menace, after she and Odysseus become fans, she transforms his humen back and offers vital resources and advice to Odysseus for his journey home. Not all seductive witches indicate a similar ambiguity( CS Lewis’s White Witch surely does not ), but Morgan le Fay, Morticia Addams and Melisandre from Game of Thrones all fall into this category.

This brings us to our last form: the good witch. Before we get to the famous examples, let’s start with the unknown ones- the countless women of history who employed their knowledge of herbs, mending and midwifery to serve their communities as de facto doctors and chemists. In times when reliable medical treatment was scarce and expensive, they offered the first, and often merely, help a suffering person would receive. Matilda Joslyn Gage, in her treatise Woman, Church and State , hailed this local herb-woman as” the profoundest thinker, the most advanced scientist” of her age. Gage’s name is largely unknown now, but her work lives vibrantly on: she was the mother-in-law of Baum, and directly influenced his creation of Glinda, one of the most iconic good witches in popular culture. Glinda is a sparkly, memorable presence in the 1939 movie, and plays a meaty role in the books, protecting the good people of Oz with passion and wisdom. We may likewise watch Gage’s spirit in Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked , which reimagines the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, as a heroic, misunderstood character.

Of course no discussion of good witches can be complete without the superlative Hermione Granger. Throughout JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Hermione’s intellect, kindness, sense of justice and determination build her a role model for young girls- and boys- everywhere. And she’s only one of dozens of fascinating witches Rowling created, who operate the gamut from good( Minerva McGonagall) to cruelly wicked( Bellatrix Lestrange ).

Rupert
Rupert Grint, left, and Daniel Radcliffe with Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban( 2004 ). Photograph: Allstar/ Warner Bros

Which brings us back to the multiplicity and diversity of witches. The truth is that witches cannot really be contained by forms; they leap over boundaries, bursting out of categories as fast we build them. They are constantly changing as we change, reflecting our notions about females back to ourselves.

If this is so, then there is much to feeling encouraged by. The image of the very best witch is ascendant in popular culture( aside from Hermione, as exemplified by the Scarlet Witch, Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer , and the new A Wrinkle in Time movie, prominently featuring Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit ). Women have attained powerful strides towards equality, and we are seeing an unprecedented awareness of sexual harassment, assault and the stillness of women. More of these secret abuses are coming to light every day, and more of the perpetrators are being removed from power.

Despite this progress, there is also sobering news. In the past several decades, United Nations officials have reported an increase in women killed for witchcraft across the globe. In India the problem is particularly well-documented, with older girls being targeted as scapegoats or as a pretext for confiscating their lands and goods. In Saudi Arabia, women have been convicted of sorcery in the courts, and in Ghana they have been exiled to so-called ” witch camps”, an injustice movingly dealt with in award-winning cinema, I Am Not a Witch . And in the United States, a Gallup poll found that 21% of people believed in witches( and not the Hermione Granger kind ).

We stand therefore at a crossroads- which is fitting, since crossroads are sacred to Hecate, Greek goddess of witchcraft. Will we continue to fear and penalize women with power? To call them evil? Or perhaps we are capable of at last celebrate female strength, recognising that witches- and women- are not going away *

* Circe by Madeline Miller is published by Bloomsbury( PS16. 99 ). To b uy it for PS12. 99 go to guardianbookshop.com .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

There’s a search for a fifth meat- and 19 other things podcasts taught us in 2016

Whether its asking what happens when you watch Sex and the City 2 more than 50 times or which Oscar has won an Oscar, theres no question a podcast somewhere hasnt answered

1 Richard Ayoade employed a ThunderCats duvet cover until he was in his late 20 s

Where we learned it The Adam Buxton podcast

Adam Buxtons life-affirming, jingle-packed ramble chats with his celebrity guests are a constant delight. In this two-parter, the multi-talented Ayoade went into everything from the high levels of pillows to the reaction to his notoriously awkward interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy. As funny as the pod is, you are able to learn a lot, too from Buxtons honest discussions of sorrow when his daddy died to how upsetting Sara Pascoe observes it when people attain clicky sticky noises with their mouths.

Other lessons from this podcast Louis Theroux does a fine rendition of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie. Ellie Violet Bramley

Malcolm
Journalist and writer Malcolm Gladwell. Photo: Anne Bailey

2 One of the biggest automobile recollects in history may have been caused by drivers pressing the incorrect pedal

Where we learned it Malcolm Gladwells Revisionist History

If you are familiar with Gladwells run, then Revisionist History is both a treat and familiar province. The New Yorker novelist often takes assumptions and things we might think to be true and unravels them to end up in a different place wholly. In his bestseller Blink, he explained why it might not have been so unusual that an unarmed man was shot 41 times by New York police. In the best episode of Revisionist History, Gladwell appeared back at Toyotas sudden unintended acceleration phenomenon, which led to a gigantic penalty for the car maker. The conclusion after we listen to a 911 call in which a man is driven to his death by a car that wont slow down was not that the cars accelerators were sticking, but that drivers unfamiliar with certain automobiles were having a brain malfunction that meant the latter are physically unable to differentiate between the brake and the accelerator.

Other lessons from this podcast American colleges with the nicest canteens are the worst selections for poor students; if you want to score the most free-throws in basketball, do them underarm. Will Dean

3 One day, everyone in Sweden switched to driving on the opposite side of the road

Where we learned it 99% Invisible

You neednt be an architecture or design fanatic to enjoy Roman Marss gentle unpicking of how the world around us came to look and function as it does. As well as narratives about the origins of the inflatable humen they have outside automobile traders in the US, and why they used to publicize missing children on milk cartons, you can learn about Hgertrafikomlggningen , or H-day 3 September 1967 when everyone in Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right.

Other lessons from this podcast Californias Salton Sea was formed by mistake; 20 years ago, the world became obsessed with a phone booth in the middle of the Mojave desert. Leah Harper

4 Having your own podcast wont win you an election

Where we learned it With Her

How do we know that Hillary Clinton enjoyed a Cuban sandwich and a beer at the end of a day on the road? Well, she had her own campaign podcast, about the little details of being on the road. In the first episode, Max Linsky, of the podcast Longform, talked to her in Miami about what she was going to have for dinner that evening. As the first presidential candidate to have a campaign podcast, Clinton tried to harness the power of the medium to show a more personable side of herself. Suffice to say, it didnthave the desired effect.

Other lessons from this podcast Clinton is a TED talks fan and has to ration her Elena Ferrante novels. EVB

My
The hosts of My Dad Wrote a Porno.

5 Theres more than one way of motivating your marketings force

Where we learned it My Dad Wrote a Porno

Pots-and-pans sales supremo Belinda Blumenthal can find lust in any situation even when she is lost in an ornamental labyrinth. The superstar of the erotic fiction written by comedian Jamie Mortons father has taught the world that a regional sales meeting has just as much potential for naked fun as a business trip to Amsterdam. Other things she has appropriated into her libidinous realm include a charity tombola, Herb Alpert, a chalet, a pomegranate, a horsebox and any sentence involving the words further access. What she has taught listeners about her ridiculously sexy life is a possibility unsavoury, but via Mortons podcast it has brought a whole lot of mirth.

Other lessons from this podcast There is such a thing as a vaginal eyelid; never read erotic fiction written by your papa. Hannah Verdier

6 Sacha Baron Cohen has been known to use a getaway car

Where we learned it WTF

Marc Marons WTF can be off-putting: the hosts 15 -minute opening monologue and guitar jams are often enough to deter new listeners. But when it comes to teasing out colourful details from the careers of some of Hollywoods funniest and finest, Maron is the master. Grimsby may have bombed in the cinemas, but it was worth it for the interview Baron Cohen did with Maron to promote the cinema. The best bits were the details of the logistical difficulties of inducing Brno, from how a redneck fighting crowd were deceived into watching a homoerotic cavort to how Baron Cohen managed to escape Kansas police after being caught with, among other things, a pedal-powered sex machine in a hotel room.( He had a auto waiting outside with the engine running .)

Other lessons from this podcast Asking what peoples mothers were like rarely gets a dull answer; if you have the US president over to record in your garage, youd better have nice neighbours; William Friedkin is the best storyteller in Hollywood. WD

Alix
Alix Fox looks into peoples sexuality lives. Photograph: Ken McKay/ Rex/ Shutterstock

7 Having two vaginas doesnt mean you can have vaginal sexuality with two men at the same time

Where we learned it Close Encounters from the Guardian

Alix Fox pries into the complicated and fascinating lives of people for whom sexuality is not always altogether straightforward, from a polyamorous couple to a man paralysed from the waist down just before his honeymoon. An extraordinary interview with double-barrelled Hazel, who talked openly about the effects her condition has had on her and may have on her if she wants to have infants is the standout so far.

Other lessons from this podcast Russian-doll-style dildos can cure vaginismus; having cold feet can help to delay an orgasm. LH

8 The search for a fifth meat continues

Where we learned it The Beef and Dairy Network podcast

The centuries-old assumption that there are only four meats beef, lamb, pork and chicken is disintegrating after unconfirmed reports that the European Space Agency has identified a mysterious fifth meat. The Beef and Dairy Network podcast, produced by comedian Ben Partridge, is the No 1 podcast for those involved or only interested in the production of beef animals and dairy herds. Featuring guest appearances from agricultural experts such as Josie Long, and attracting fans including Miranda Sawyer, it is a surreal beefstravaganza.

Other lessons from this podcast According to Beef and Dairy Network sponsor Mitchells, 90% of livestock can kick through a ships hull after simply one month of taking hoof-strengthening supplement Steel Hoof Deluxe. EVB

A
Dont set this cow in your ships hull. Photo: Brian Brown/ Getty Images

9 John Oliver is not dead

Where we learned it The Bugle

For a decade, long-time comedy partners John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman set the world to rights via the medium of their audio newspaper for a visual world. Their riffs on anything from civil liberties( Like puppies, John, we love our own, but we get genuinely vexed when other people civil liberties keep shitting on our lawns) to Texas barbecues( All I know is this, Andy: if I was a cow, and I knew that I could savour like that, Id find it very hard to make a coherent suit for not being immediately killed and slow-cooked) often constructed the present the funniest thing you could get on Wi-Fi. With Oliver having left the Daily Show to front his own depict on HBO, the Bugle went into satirical hibernation. It awoke in mid-October, just in time for a political event so ridiculous that even Zaltzman at his most surreal couldnt have imagined it. The pods Have I Got News for You-style rotating guest co-hosts now include US comics Wyatt Cenac and Hari Kondabolu, as well as Brit Nish Kumar and brilliant Indian standup Anuvab Pal. They dont know each other as well as best friends Zaltzman and Oliver, but perhaps the other co-host, Andys sister Helen, could claim an advantage on that front. The Bugle is dead, long live the Bugle.

Other lessons from this podcast Bashar al-Assad bought LMFAOs Im Sexy and I Know It as the Syrian civil war raged. WD

10 A bloke running a driving school in Acton, west London, was also helping to prop up the death penalty in the US

Where we learned it More Perfect

In a residential area of west London, inside a build with a banner that reads Elgone Driving Academy, is a guy in his 50 s who looks a bit like William Hurt and who was the one-man operation helping to provide the narcotics used for capital punishment in the US. That was until a human rights charity alerted the UK government to his pharmaceutical broom closet of death. In the inaugural episode of More Perfect, a Radiolab spin-off looking at how US supreme court cases affect lives miles away from the bench, the presenters investigated those three little words from the US constitution: cruel and unusual.

Other lessons from this podcast An unusual 911 call made in Houston, Texas, in 1998, led to one of the most important LGBTQ rights decisions in the courts history, effectively building homosexual relations a basic civil right. EVB

11 The political insiders term for people panicking about a Trump win was bedwetters

Where we learned it Keepin it 1600

A politics podcast hosted by Barack Obamas former speechwriter and a senior communications adviser ought to scream wonkishness, but Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer may be the two most engaging analysts of a bonkers electoral campaign. Having been at the heart of two US election storms, they alongside other hosts Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor know, inside-out, how this world works and share it. Their near certainty about a Clinton win up to the morning of the election attained 1600 one of the most reassuring political podcasts you could listen to and stimulate their morning-after mea culpa on 9 November all the more extraordinary. Now its genuinely time to wet the bed.

Other lessons from this podcast The Obama team realised it was impossible to refute crazy lies about its candidate after Fox News said in 2008 that the young Obama had been raised a Muslim when the team complained, they were told that it was an amusement demonstrate. WD

12 Billy Joel has really soft hands

Where we learned it Two Dope Queens

Comedians and co-podcast hosts Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams went where two black girls have never gone before a Billy Joel concert. They sneaked in their ros in suntan lotion bottles bought on Amazon the kind that get white daughters, watching the Shins, through Coachella. And, having been given front-row tickets because Billy likes to see pretty females up at the front, they got to shake his baby-soft hands. If thats not informative enough for you, listen to the other episodes of this snort-out-loud-funny podcast from WNYC and hear some of New Yorks best female comedians talking about sex, romance, race, hair journeys and living in the city.

Other lessons from this podcast Pierce Brosnans volcano thriller Dantes Peak has a lot to tell us about how far we have come since the 90 s; talcum powder is the best method to deal with boob sweat. EVB

13 Tar heroin smells just like capers

Where we learned it Guys We Fucked

Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson host the anti-slut-shaming podcast, featuring interviews with everyone from Jon Ronson to Stoya( and, as the title gently indicates, people with whom they have had sexuality ). Their interview with Wendi Kent or, as they call her, White Precious who photographs protesters outside abortion clinics, revealed the reason she can no longer feed capers and what its like to have sex when youre homeless. But its not all heavy-going. The episode titles alone are a treat good luck concealing You didnt go to France because you wanted to masturbate ?, His pubes were haunted? and Period sex: supposes? from fellow commuters.

Other lessons from this podcast DIY HIV tests can be done at home( or on-air) with a mouth swab; comedians on the circuit all hook up with each other. LH

Sex
There is such a this as too much SatC2 I mean, you knew that already, right? Photograph: Allstar/ Warner/ Sportsphoto Ltd

14 You can watch Sex and the City 2 too many times

Where we learned it The Worst Idea of All Time

A lot of period, attempt and fund, especially fund, went into making this film, tells Guy Montgomery. Weve just opened up the most disgusting can of worms. Theres no need to watch SatC2 because he and Tim Batt have done it more than 50 periods for the sake of their podcast( they did the same with Grown Ups 2 ). Mirandas nanny Magda is a spy who is gradually poisoning her, Charlotte is the other one and the whole thing is crying out for the kind of dialogue that induced the TV series great.

Other lessons from this podcast We Are Your Friends is next on your hatewatch list. HV

15 You can have a podcast about a podcast

Where we learned it Slates Serial Spoiler Specials

Slates week-by-week analysis of Serial, 2014 s podcast preoccupation, is perfect for when everyone you know is listening far too slowly offering tale recaps, whodunnit theories and criticisms of the host, Sarah Koenig. Not to mention excavating deep down into Reddit rabbit pits about the two cases covered in so far.

Other lessons from this podcast The cow birth in season two can be seen as an agricultural metaphor for the militarys response to Bowe Bergdahls disappearance; its almost impossible to map a timeline via audio. LH

16 Moby is a CD thief

Where we learned it Heavyweight

Jonathan Goldsteins Heavyweight aims to the tell the stories of people whose lives have taken a wrong turning somewhere. One of these was to reunited his 80 -year-old father with his elder friend before it was too late. Another was to reunite his friend Gregor who is haunted by the moment he loaned a box of CDs to a techno-producer friend. The friend, was, of course, Moby, who employed many of them as the basis for his squillion-selling Play. Gregor doesnt want royalties he just wants his CDs back. And Goldstein helps him get them.

Other lessons from this podcast Tracking down your school bullies is an uncomfortable eye-opener( as demonstrated by Julia in episode seven ). HV

17 You can have an -Alist cast in a podcast drama

Where we learned it Homecoming

Although Serial was basically a piece of investigative journalism, its format proved that podcasting didnt need to be limited in its sort. Gimlet Media, a specialist podcasting company, emerged around the same hour as that NPR made and proved its ambitions in the field. Its scripted drama, Homecoming, aimed straight for the stars with a cast including Catherine Keener, Star Wars Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer. The story flips between Keeners characters work at an experimental facility that helps soldiers incorporate back in local communities and her present-day life as a waitress. There are plenty of cliffhangers helping to tell the story of what happened in between.

Other lessons from this podcast You dont mess with David Schwimmer. As Colin Belfast, he oozes rage and has the air of a human on the leading edge. HV

18, 19, 20 France buys in most of its frogs legs only one person called Oscar has won an Oscar Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck are the most reprinted comic book characters( that arent superheroes) of all time

Where we learned it Answer Me This !

Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann( plus Martin the soundman) solve listeners queries on a fortnightly basis with questions ranging from the practical to the ethical to the ridiculous. Suffice to say, you are able to learnt more listening to them while doing the washing up than from Heart FM. You will also learn that drunken voicemails are welcome, especially from Dave from Smethwick and Graham from Canada.( Its Oscar Hammerstein II, by the way .) LH

The Guardian publishes a wide range of award-winning podcasts daily, from Football Weekly to the Guardian Books podcast, all of which are available on our site , iTunes and other leading podcast platforms .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

From Circe to Clinton: why powerful girls are cast as witches

A misogynist insult in Washington and Westminster, a force for good in Hollywood for centuries, witches have represented fear of assertive females. But why does the stereotype persist?

During the 2016 US presidential election, American social media was flooded with images of Hillary Clinton wearing a black hat and riding a broom, or else cackling with green scalp. Her foes named her The Wicked Witch of the Left, claimed they had sources witnessing that she reeked of sulphur, and took particular delight in depictions of her being melted. Dedicated that the last witch trial in the US was more than 100 hundred years ago, what are we to induce of this?

In the late 19 th century, the suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage asserted something revolutionary. The persecution of witches, she said, had nothing to do with fighting evil or defying the demon. It was simply entrenched social misogyny, the goal of which was to repress the intellect of women. A witch, she said, wasn’t wicked. She didn’t fly on a broomstick naked in the dark, or consort with demons. She was, instead, likely to be a woman” of superior knowledge “. As a thought experiment, she suggested that for “witches” we should read instead “women”. Their histories, she intimated, operate hand in hand.

Obviously, she was on to something. When we say witch, we almost exclusively mean female. Sure, humen have also been accused of sorcery, but the objective is by far the minority. Further, the words used to describe men with magical powers- warlock, magus, sorcerer, wizard- don’t carry the same stigma.

A better parallel to “witch” is the word “whore”. Both are time-honoured tools for policing females, meant to dishonor them into socially prescribed behaviour. A harlot transgresses norms of female sexuality; a witch transgresses norms of female power. Witches are often called unnatural because of their ability to threaten men. With her spells, a witch can transform you into a pig, or defeat you in battle. She can curse you, blight your harvests, dismis you, refuse you, correct you. Penalise witches accomplishes two things: it ends security threats and builds others afraid to follow in the unruly woman’s footsteps.

Yet, despite all the attempts to stamp out witches, they are as strongly with us as ever, from Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch in the Avengers movies, to the recent movie The Love Witch , to the television series American Horror Story , to non-fiction volumes such as Stacy Schiff’s The Witches: Salem, 1692 . The stereotypical image of the witch- green skin, pointed hat, warts, black cat- has become entrenched, but beneath that surface lies a dazzling assortment; a rich diversity of women who have frightened, possessed and inspired us over the centuries.

Bones
Bones of contention … montages of Hillary Clinton as a witch have inundated social media

Let’s start with the classic: the evil, aged crone. This image took firm root in the Christian era, when witches were women who consorted with the devil; but old and ugly witches predated Jesus. Roman literature portrayed witches as pathetic beings with false teeth and grey hair, who dug in the ground by moonlight, tore animals with their teeth and used the organs of boys they starved to death for their spells. They had two main pastimes: making love potions, and casting curses. The poet Ovid blamed a disappointing sex performance on a witch employing a sort of Roman voodoo doll to take away his potency.( Sure Ovid, that was my first guessed, too .)

The most well known of this kind must be Shakespeare’s weird sisters from Macbeth . They are repulsive” midnight hags”, with skinny lips, chapped thumbs and beards. Their spells- eye of newt and toe of frog- are as disgusting as their appearances and curse anyone who crosses them. The classic fairytale witch, like the one in the story of Hansel and Gretel who fees infants, also fits into this category, as does the Slavic Baba Yaga, and the Wicked Witch of the West from L Frank Baum’s Oz series, built famous by performer Margaret Hamilton. The role was originally offered to the glamorous Gale Sondergaard, but she turned it down because she didn’t want to appear ugly.

Spellbound
Spellbound … Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, who was accused of witchcraft. Photograph: Allstar/ 20 th Century Fox

And ugliness, of course, is key. The haggish outsides of these witches are meant to match their evil insides, and testify to their unnaturalness, since women are supposed to be as neat, attractive and young as is practicable. But the association with age also contains a kernel of truth: many of the women accused of witchcraft were so-called ” wise girls”, older figures, often poor widows, who scratched out a living in the community with their experience as midwives, herbalists and hedge-doctors. Their solitary, vulnerable status and unusual knowledge built them perfect targets for people’s rage and dread when crops failed or newborns died.

Foreign females were also vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft, and business associations between immigrants and sorcery goes back at least to Greek mythology. The witch Medea was the princess of Colchis, on the eastern edge of the Black Sea, which to the notoriously xenophobic ancient Greeks was alien and suspect. When Jason and his Argonauts came to claim the Golden Fleece from her parent, Medea fell in love with Jason and aided him with her spells, so that he and the Argonauts were able to seize the fleece and escape. In gratitude, Jason wedded Medea, but back home in his kingdom she was shunned, her witchcraft and foreignness merging into a single undesirable trait. The notion seems to have been: no wonder she’s a murderous sorceress, she’s from the east.

This type of nativism also pops up in Shakespeare’s The Tempest . Sycorax, the witch mom of Caliban, is from Algiers, and though she never appears in the play, she is a harrowing, hideous figure, a” blue-eyed hag “, who is hunched over with” age and jealousy “. She was cast out from Algiers( the implication is that she was too wicked even for them ), and came to the island, where she “litter[ed]” her deformed son, practised her magic and worshipped her pagan-sounding divinity, Setebos. Towards the end of the 17 th century, the slave Tituba, who may have been South American, was is the responsibility of resulting the innocent( white) daughters of Salem into evil. Her experience as an foreigner among the witch-hysterical Puritan is brilliantly imagined in Maryse Conde’s novel, I Tituba, Black Witch of Salem .

Fears of sorcery grounded in racism persist even today. The Roma, longtime outcasts in Europe, have frequently been accused of evil sorcery. And African-influenced voodoo is routinely used by Hollywood as a horror movie plot point.

But it wasn’t just vulnerable women who depicted accusations of witchcraft. It was also women with serious political power. Joan of Arc resulted the French to victory against the English and was renowned in France for her purity, cleverness and faith in her “voices”. When the English leadership couldn’t beat her, they undermined her, crediting her success to demonic entails, since, of course, a young lady could never perform such wonders on her own. When she was captured, they tried her for witchcraft, citing as partial proof of her unnaturalness the tremendous fearlessnes she presented in combat, and her they are able to outwit her examiners in debate.

Magic
Magic circle … the new Wrinkle in Time film features Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit. Photograph: Atsushi Nishijima/ Disney/ Kobal/ Rex/ Shutterstock

Cleopatra and Anne Boleyn were likewise accused of witchcraft, with rumors that Anne even bore physical marks of her compact with the demon, such as a third teat, moles and a sixth thumb on her right hand. Such accusations were a clever and effective route for a woman’s political enemies to smear her since, as countless other women accused of witchcraft learned, it is impossible to offer definitive proof that one is not a witch. Perhaps what is most shocking about this catch-2 2 is the way in which it continues to be played out today. Aside from Hillary Clinton, who has been called a witch since she was first lady, there was also the case of Julia Gillard, first female premier of Australia, who met with tauntings of” ditch the witch” from protesters. Nancy Pelosi, the minority speaker of the US House of Representatives, has faced similar witch-related insults, and lately Theresa May was filmed giggling aloud, and her so-called ” witch’s cackle” promptly ran viral. The misogyny of all this is obvious. Debating and defeating these leaders politically isn’t enough- as women who show aspiration, they are abominations who must be deemed evil and cast out.

From
From JW Waterhouse’s portrait of Circe Invidiosa. Photo: Alamy

The tradition of the sexy witch, who lures men with her beauty, is beloved by modern-day adult costume-makers, but goes all the route back to the first witch in western literature: the divine sorceress Circe. She first appears in Homer’s Odyssey , after Odysseus and his crew have washed up on her island, exhausted and grieving for the loss of their comrades. They run searching for inhabitants and find a palatial home with tamed lions and wolves lolling around in the garden. A shining goddess comes to the door, and invites them in. She gives them food and wine which she has drugged with spell-herbs, then lifts her wand and turns them into pigs.

Circe’s story brings together many classic witchy motifs: a skill with herbs and potions, a sorcery wand, control over animals. But what is most notable is her moral ambiguity- though she begins the episode as a figure of menace, after she and Odysseus become fans, she transforms his men back and offers vital resources and advice to Odysseus for his journey home. Not all seductive witches demonstrate a similar ambiguity( CS Lewis’s White Witch surely does not ), but Morgan le Fay, Morticia Addams and Melisandre from Game of Thrones all fall into this category.

This brings us to our last type: the very best witch. Before we get to the famous examples, let’s start with the unknown ones- the countless women of history who used their knowledge of herbs, healing and midwifery to serve their communities as de facto doctors and chemists. In hours when dependable medical treatment was scarce and costly, they offered the first, and often only, help a suffering person would be given. Matilda Joslyn Gage, in her treatise Woman, Church and State , hailed this local herb-woman as” the profoundest intellectual, the most advanced scientist” of her age. Gage’s name is largely unknown now, but her work lives vibrantly on: she was the mother-in-law of Baum, and directly influenced his creation of Glinda, one of the most iconic good witches in popular culture. Glinda is a sparkly, memorable presence in the 1939 movie, and plays a meaty role in the books, protecting the good people of Oz with passion and wisdom. We may likewise watch Gage’s spirit in Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked , which reimagines the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, as a heroic, misunderstand character.

Of course no discussion of good witches can be complete without the superlative Hermione Granger. Throughout JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Hermione’s intellect, kindness, sense of justice and determination make her a role model for young girls- and boys- everywhere. And she’s only one of dozens of fascinating witches Rowling created, who run the gamut from good( Minerva McGonagall) to cruelly wicked( Bellatrix Lestrange ).

Rupert
Rupert Grint, left, and Daniel Radcliffe with Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban( 2004 ). Photograph: Allstar/ Warner Bros

Which brings us back to the multiplicity and diversity of witches. The truth is that witches cannot really be contained by types; they leap over borders, exploding out of categories as fast we build them. They are constantly changing as we change, reflecting our ideas about women back to ourselves.

If this is so, then there is much to feel encouraged by. The image of the good witch is ascendant in popular culture( aside from Hermione, as exemplified by the Scarlet Witch, Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer , and the new A Wrinkle in Time movie, prominently featuring Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit ). Women have constructed powerful steps towards equality, and we are seeing an unprecedented awareness of sexual harassment, assault and the silencing of women. More of these secret abuses are coming to light every day, and more of the perpetrators are being removed from power.

Despite this progress, there is also sobering news. In the past several decades, United Nation officials have reported an increase in females killed for witchcraft across the globe. In India the problem is particularly well-documented, with older girls being targeted as scapegoats or as a pretext for confiscating their lands and goods. In Saudi Arabia, women have been convicted of sorcery in the courts, and in Ghana they have been exiled to so-called ” witch camps”, an injustice movingly addressed in the award-winning cinema, I Am Not a Witch . And in the United States, a Gallup poll found that 21% of people believed in witches( and not the Hermione Granger kind ).

We stand therefore at a crossroads- which is fitting, since crossroads are sacred to Hecate, Greek goddess of witchcraft. Will we continue to fear and penalize women with power? To call them evil? Or perhaps we can at last celebrate female strength, recognising that witches- and women- are not going away *

* Circe by Madeline Miller is published by Bloomsbury( PS16. 99 ). To b uy it for PS12. 99 go to guardianbookshop.com .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Republicans for Hillary? Clinton campaign woo those lost by Trump

Prominent GOP figures have forged an array of groups to support the Democrat but some experts doubt the Republican rank and file will follow suit

Hours before Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at the partys convention in Philadelphia, Doug Elmets strolled on to the stage. Simply 18 months ago, his speech would have been unthinkable.

Its an honor to be here, and candidly, its also a shock, told Elmets, a former spokesman and speechwriter for Ronald Reagan.

The existence of Republicans who support Clinton, such as Elmets, is one of many plot spins in an extraordinary presidential election cycle. Conservative men and women have rejected their natural nominee in favor of a candidate their party has expended two decades tearing down.

With less than 100 days left before election day, the Clinton campaign is accelerating its drive to recruit GOP donors, business leaders and foreign policy experts. According to people familiar with the effort, a visible alliance of independents and Republican backing Clinton will make it easier for conservatives dismayed by Donald Trump to cast their votes for a Democrat.

The Clinton campaign has been preparing for its Republican outreach attempt for months. Around the start of the conventions, it went into gear. Since then , notable Republican, military leaders and one GOP congressman have abandoned Trump and cast their lot with Clinton. Framing their defections as a moral imperative, the converts are advising fellow Republican and independents to set country over party and join them on 8 November.

Donald Trumps demagoguery has undermined the fabric of our national character, Meg Whitman, president and CEO of Hewlett Packard and a prominent Republican donor, said in a statement. America needs the kind of stable and aspirational leadership Secretary Clinton can provide.

Whitman was joined this week by billionaire hedge fund director Seth Klarman, who donated to Jeb Bushs primary campaign; GOP representative Richard Hanna of New York; and Sally Bradshaw, a top consultant to Bush who said she would vote for Clinton if the race is close in Florida.

On Friday, Clinton was endorsed by Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA, who used a New York Times op-ed to call Trump a threat to our national security and an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.

The Trump campaign did not return a request for comment.

Doug
The former Reagan official Doug Elmets and the founder of Republican Women for Hillary Clinton, Jennifer Pierotti Lim, walk offstage after dealing with the DNC. Photo: Scott Audette/ Reuters

Ever since Trump claimed his partys nomination, Republican-backed groups for Clinton have cropped up. Among them are Republicans for Her 2016, founded by the lobbyist Craig Snyder; Republican Women for Hillary, led by Jennifer Pierotti Lim, director of health policy for the US Chamber of Commerce; and a grassroots group, R4C16, led by John Stubbs and Ricardo Reyes, former officials in the George W Bush administration.

This year, the threat posed by Mr Trump compels us to consider what many of us never have: supporting the Democratic nominee for President, R4C16 wrote on its website. The group has also documented the backlash its received without converting. If youre a Republican and you vote for Hillary do us all a favor, go straight to Hell! one poster wrote.

It is not just by design that a commotion of Republican are abandoning their party. Trump has had an extraordinarily bad week, beginning where reference is belittled the Gold Star family of a fallen American soldier.

Trump was also described by Barack Obama as unfit and woefully unprepared to become president; initially refused to endorse House speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain in their primaries; falsely claimed to have watched a video presenting $400 m being unloaded from a plane in Iran; expelled a weeping newborn from a rally in Virginia; accepted a purple heart from a veteran though he did not serve himself; indicated his daughter would find another career if she were harassed at work; and seemed unaware of that Russia had invaded Ukraine two years ago. Questions is likewise raised about whether his wife, Melania, had worked illegally in the US before 1996. The work in question was a collecting of nude photos, republished by the New York Post.

This all came after a week in which the Republican nominee for chairwoman called for Russia to hack and release the missing emails from the private server Clinton use while secretary of state, and asserted that Nato member countries should pay their fair share if America was to contribute fully to the alliance.

The noise arising from Trumps self-inflicted disputes virtually drowned out criticism of Clinton for her claim that FBI director James Comey said her past statements about her email use were consistent and truthful. Republican have employed the controversy to raise doubts about her fitness for office and to indicate she operates above the law. Clinton said on Friday she may have short-circuited the characterization of Comeys comments.

Paul Manafort, Trumps campaign chair, has deflected criticism, insisting that the campaign is in good shape. In July, the campaign told, Trump took his largest fundraising haul yet $80 m but his campaign still fights to match Clintons fundraising apparatus.

One veteran Republican consultant, Reed Galen, doubts Clintons campaign can overcome 25 years of mistrust among Republican voters, especially those who remember her husbands administration.

The trend of traversing party lines is happening among GOP elites the establishment kinds and GOP elected officials who are in safe districts or retired, Galen told. I cant consider there being a whole lot of crossover from rank-and-file Republicans.

According to the latest McClatchy-Marist poll, if the election were held today, only 6 % of voters for Clinton would identify as Republican. That number is unchanged from last month, ahead of the conventions. Galen said, however, that this could change dramatically depending on what Trump does in the three months and as many presidential debates remaining before Election Day.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Bernie Sanders And Big Business Find Something They Can Actually Concur On

Hillary Clinton has tried to convince Democratic primary voters that she is firmly opposed to the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

But the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the country’s resulting business trade group and a proponent of the agreements, told Bloomberg News earlier this month that he isn’t buying Clinton’s public posture. Now Sen. Bernie Sanders is seizing on those comments as a sign that his presidential primary rival can’t be counted on to oppose TPP.

Thomas Donohue, head of the business hall, suggested that Clinton is merely resisting TPP to improve her opportunities against Sanders, who has objected to the bargain from the beginning. Clinton would likely revert to her previous is supportive of the agreement if she were elected president, Donohue posited.

“If she were to get nominated, if she were to be elected, I have a hunch that what operates in the family is you get a little practical if you get the job, ” Donohue said.

As leader of one of the most influential groups in Washington, Donohue is an old hand at assessing politicians’ moves and motives. TPP is a top priority for the Chamber of Commerce and the businesses it represents. If Donohue is saying he’s not concerned that Clinton would ultimately resist the passage of TPP, that’s a opinion worth considering.

The business lobbyist also rejected concerns about Donald Trump, who is loudly anti-TPP. He expressed confidence that the populist fury that has characterized the early primary process will give way to more business-friendly sensibilities.

“The citizens are sort of mad, but they haven’t voted at all, ” Donohue told Bloomberg News. “We haven’t had a single vote.”

“I’m not saying who is going to win, ” he added. “I’m just telling you that on both the Democratic and Republican side, we are getting down to the real stuff. It isn’t going to end the style you think it is.”

Joshua Lott/ The Washington Post via Getty Images
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign hasexpressed doubts about his rival’s true opposition tothe controversial trade bargain.

The Sanders campaign said in a press release Thursday that Donohue’s statements create “questions about where Clinton stands” on TPP.

“What’s her position on this bad trade bargain today? ” Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs asked. “It’s hard to keep track of Secretary Clinton’s shifting stands on the trade agreement that would help multi-national firms ship more decent-paying tasks from the United States to low-wage nations overseas.”

The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Clinton announced her opposition to TPP on Oct. 7 last year, telling Judy Woodruff of the “PBS NewsHour” that there existed “still too many unanswered questions” about how the agreement would affect U.S. jobs, the affordability of prescription drugs and other matters.

At the time, Clinton was under rising pressure from progressive activists to take a more definitive stance on the trade agreement. Yet in her statements, she appeared to give herself leeway to embrace the deal subsequently if her concerns could be assuaged.

“As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it, ” she said.

Even those cautious terms marked an about-face from Clinton’s previous espouse of TPP, which she had worked on as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Clinton called the deal the “gold standard in trade agreements” in November 2012, all there is serving as America’s top diplomat.

T.J. Kirkpatrick/ Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hillary Clinton called TPP the “gold standard in trade agreements” when she was stillsecretary of state.

More than one progressive activist has argued that Clinton’s public change of heart simply shows that she’s willing to say things to appease voters, but that doesn’t mean she can be relied on to stick to her stances if elected. These skeptics contend, for example, that Clinton only came out against construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in September 2015 when it had become a growing political liability to continue not taking a stance.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a wide-ranging accord among 12 Pacific Rim nations, would lower tariffs and streamline regulations on goods and services exchanged by the participating countries. The Obama administration, most big business leaders, some congressional Democrats and the majority of congressional Republicans argue that the agreement is essential to maintain the U.S.’s competitive edge in the global economy and counter the rising influence of China in the Pacific region.

Critics of the deal — including labor unions, environmental groups, global health activists, Internet freedom advocates and the majority of congressional Democrats — argue that it will cost the U.S. manufacturing undertakings, reward nations that abuse human rights and empower corporations to challenge domestic laws protecting customers, patients and workers.

Last June, Congress granted the president trade promotion authority, which bars Congress from revising or filibustering a trade agreement to be provided by the White House for approval. Lawmakers are restricted to an up-or-down vote.

A senior White House official told reporters Wednesday that the opposition to TPP from presidential candidates of both parties was being “closely watched” by America’s negotiating partners. The official implied that the candidates’ comments attained other TPP nations eager to find the U.S. ratify the agreements this year.

The official also said the Obama administration did not have a position on whether it would be better to pursue ratification of TPP before the November elections or in the lame-duck conference of Congress afterward.

Andrew Harnik/ Associated Press
Has Donald Trump’s vehement opposition to TPP hurtitsprospects? A top business lobbyist doesn’t think so.

Chamber of Commerce leader Donohue told Bloomberg that he ensure the best opportunity for approving the trade agreement after the election, since Republican lawmakers including with regard to could vote for it without fear of endangering their own re-elections.

“If you tried to get a vote on it right now, the Senate wouldn’t let you do it, because they are not going to take three or four very important senators — at a time when they are … operating for office, you know, more Republicans than Democrat — and put them at risk, ” Donohue said.

He added that waiting until after the election also devotes TPP’s proponents more time to lash votes in favor of it.

Donohue calculated the likelihood of the deal passing by the end of 2016 at 75 percent.

Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton review- no twinge of repentance

The presidential candidate blames everyone but herself for her shock defeat to Trump in this hubristic memoir

In common with everyone who is likely to read this review, I mourned when Hillary Clinton lost the election last November. Now there is an extra reason for unhappines: with time on her hands, the woman who was so qualified to be an able, diligent, clear-headed chairwoman has hurriedly written- or presided over the the time of writing of- an unreflective book that in its combining of number-crunching wonkery and strenuously pious uplift reveals more than she might have intended about why she lost. Her bewilderment is easy to understand, but couldn’t she have waited before monetising failing and relaunching her brand with a nationwide book tour?

Bill Clinton’s mantra was ” I feel your pain”, a phrase he uttered not at the site of a inundation or a earthquake but in a Manhattan nightclub, where he was heckled by an Aids activist. Hillary’s equivalent is not an offer of empathy but a demand for sympathy: she wants us to feel her ache- the numbing shock of election night, the distres of having to face a hostile mob at Trump’s inauguration and listen to him rant about social bloodbath in a speech that George W Bush described as” some weird shit “.

Public figures like to claim that they’re selflessly serving us- the little people, their voters and customers- and Clinton presents this therapeutic exercising as if she had our emotional health in intellect rather than her own.” Perhaps it’ll help you too ,” she says when describing how she mended her sadnes with Chardonnay, alternate nostril breathing, and a daily devotional text emailed by her clergyman( whose anthology of these missives has just been pulped, since some of his feelgood smarminess was plagiarised ). Then she glimpses herself in the mirror and adds:” I doubt that many people reading this will ever lose a general elections .” All commiseration dries up: it’s as self-regarding a statement as Trump’s” I’m the president and you’re not”, or his smugness when he’s devoted two scoops of ice-cream while guests get only one.

This is a classic tale of hubris( nowadays called ” entitlement “). Clinton packaged herself as America personified, wearing successive pantsuits- styled by Ralph Lauren- in red, white and blue for her three debates with Trump, and on election night she intended to declare victory on a stage shaped like a cut-out US map. Her garment bag that evening included the purple suit she planned to wear” on my first trip-up to Washington as president elect “; she had already bought the house next door in suburban New York as overspill accommodation for her travelling troupe of White House aides. Not since Agamemnon swaggered on to the red carpet in the tragedy by Aeschylus has anyone so vaingloriously asked for a comeuppance.

All this triumphalism is recalled with no twinge of compunction. Instead, others are blamed- James Comey for creating the alarm about her emails, Bernie Sanders for splitting the progressive vote, the “odious” Julian Assange for WikiLeaking, and those best buddies Putin and Trump for the Darth Vader-like” dark energy” they conjured up. Everyone who opposed her accuses of doing so out of misogyny: is Assange’s dumping of scurrilous information about the Democratic party genuinely explained by the fact that he” was charged with rape in Sweden “? Despite these accusations, her postmortem on her campaign’s” data analytic platform” and” word-of-mouth favourability metric” discloses why the masses didn’t warm to her. She erroneously assumed that American politics is about policy, whereas Trump considered that it is now an extension of showbiz.

Instead of recuperating, Clinton has opted for a re-enactment of a remote past. Her book grows fat on rosy reminiscences about her childhood baseball games, her first date with Bill, and Chelsea’s breech birth, with victory laps to celebrate her achievements as a “lady lawyer” in Arkansas, a” hometown senator’ in New York( where “shes never” actually lived when she ran for office ), and a secretary of state who travelled” almost a million miles “. She has reason to be proud, but does any of that help explain what happened on 8 November? When the reckoning arrives, she diverges into fantasies about alternative solutions future. She gives details of the legislation she would now be advancing, and even prints( or, as she sets it, “shares”) the oration she” never got a chance to deliver that night”, which ends by announced today that” America is the greatest country in the world” and promising that” we will construct America even greater”- lines that might have dribbled from the mouth of Trump.

It’s all very well to repeat” I love America”, as she ritualistically does: mustn’t she also dislike at the least half of it for rejecting her? Here her immense self-possession comes to her assist. She recollects Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who murdered the worshippers in a church in Charleston, being told by relatives of his victims” I forgive you “. Then she asks herself what she feels about Trump voters, the so-called ” deplorables “. She answers: “It’s complicated”, but the preceding anecdote speaks for her. She forgives them: like the ragtag of crucifiers, they knew not what they did.

A brief, embarrassed including references to earlier periods is inadvertently telling: Bill and Hillary were guests at Trump’s wedding to Melania( and, as the titanically petty bridegroom still recollects, they didn’t bring a present ).” We weren’t friends ,” says Hillary defensively. Then why run? It turns out Bill was ” speaking in the area that weekend”, so they ran for a laugh; Hillary calculates that Trump wanted them for their “star power”. The comment reflects as badly on the Clintons as it does on Trump: they remind me of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who subsidised their residence at the Waldorf Astoria by charging a fee for attendance at Manhattan cocktail parties.

There is one wrenchingly perceptive insight about Trump, who seems, she says, as if he” didn’t even want to be president at all”- unlike Clinton, who wanted it almost more than life itself. Yes, he now relives the election as obsessively as she does, and with similar qualms. He thought it would be the award handed out in the season finale of The Apprentice ; it didn’t occur to him that four years- if we’re unlucky- of tedious office work lay ahead. Maddened by the false stance he procures himself in, the captive of a reality that is not at all like reality Tv, he’s therefore concentrating on finding a way to get himself fired. Despite Clinton’s appeal for sympathy, it’s Trump that her book built “i m feeling” momentarily sorry for.

* What Happened byHillary Rodham Clinton is published by Simon and Schuster( PS20 ). To order a copy for PS17 go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p& p over PS10, online orders merely. Phone orders min p& p of PS1. 99

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Abortion remarkably absent from election as Trump and Clinton stay quiet

There may have been moments of high drama during the presidential debate, but its a contrast to 2012 when Republican were accused waging a war on women

An unusual election year has ushered in an unusual stillnes: the issue of abortion, almost always a cause for pitched battles between presidential candidates, has been all but invisible on “the member states national” stage as the campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton draws to a close.

There have been moments of high drama. Trumps call for penalty when women get abortions in illegal situations collided with Clintons demand, unprecedented for a major party presidential nominee, to roll back a 40 -year restriction on public funding for abortion. And the third presidential debate insured Trump unleash an inflammatory line of assault, telling Clinton supported policy allowing doctors to rip infants out of the womb days before birth.

But contrast that with 2012, when the Republican ticket struggled to escape accusations that the party had waged a war on women reproductive health. This year, merely a handful of ballot races have revolved around issues of abortions.

Its causing major abortion rights groups, a fixture in modern politics, to readjust.

Trumps record with women took up a lot of air in this election, said Marcy Stech, a spokesperson for Emilys List. The Democratic political action committee is focused on electing pro-abortion rights women and is throwing its resourcesinto several Senate candidates in swing states.

He turned Republican from the party of the transvaginal probe a 2012 dispute that Emilys List and groups like it deftly exploited into something else entirely, Stech said. Weve never had to poll-test before what happens when you construct fat-shaming an actual campaign strategy.

Kaylie Hanson Long, a spokesperson for Naral Pro-Choice America, acknowledged that this election had the group feeling a little out of its comfort zone. It is unprecedented how this race is unfolding. But it is unfold, she added, to Narals advantage. Abortion may not have been a staple issue of this election, but thats merely because the oxygen has been taken up by a candidate who has said such nasty things about women.

trump-clinton explainer

Deirdre Schifeling, the executive director of Planned Parenthoods Super Pac, agreed that the dimensions of the race were unusual, but to her groups advantage. In the days after the Washington Post published the infamous videotape of Donald Trump bragging that he could get away with groping a womans genitals, volunteer switchings for Planned Parenthood increased 126% in Ohio. The group deployed $30 mon voter turnout, and its canvassers have knocked on close to 2m doors.

Susan B Anthony List, the Republican answer to Emilys List, will by next week have knocked on 1m doors. Some of its canvassing is also intended to discouraging is supportive of Clinton. But a substantial proportion is aimed at keeping control of the Senate seats, in countries such as Missouri and Florida, that are crucial to a Republican majority.

These canvassers are highlighting Clintons longtime support for abortion rights, told Mallory Quigley, a spokesperson for SBA List, including her radical vote as senator in 2003 against a ban on a technique of second- and third-trimester abortion.

Trumps record as an anti-abortion rights crusader, by contrast, is much shorter. In an August 2015 primary debate, Trump said he could not commit to defunding Schemed Parenthood without considering how the organization was good for women. He did not commit to stripping Schemed Parenthood of federal monies until this past February. Then, in April, Trump suggested that as chairwoman he would attain no effort to overrule Roe v Wade. The statutes are defined, he told. And I think we have to leave it that way. He reversed himself one month afterwards, telling Fox host Bill OReilly that as chairperson he would nominate pro life judges to the supreme court.

But the reaction of pro- and anti-abortion rights activists alike has been to gloss over Trumps bumpy journey on abortion rights.

We can only go by what he has said in this campaign, Long said. That has ranged from saying that a woman should be punished for having an abortion if the procedure were illegal to taking advice, we assume, and talking points from anti-choice legislators like Mike Pence.

I dont doubt his seriousnes, told Quigley of Trumps current anti-abortion views. In the third debate, you could really feel his passion. Trump himself, she added, has acknowledged that he is a convert to the cause.

Still, it was only nine months ago that Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of SBA List, pleaded with Iowa caucus-goers in an open letter to support anyone but Donald Trump.

Pressed on this, Quigley replied: Well, when it came down to a general election scenario, and we had two candidates, there is no question. We would of course subsistence Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. Policy not the person is the most important consideration.

Late-term abortion

One moment when the clash over abortion rights virtually resembled a normal election year went when Fox News host Chris Wallace requested information about abortion in the final presidential debate.

His questions touched a nerve on all sides. Asked about abortion late in a pregnancy, Trump opened up an inflammatory line of assault. If you go with what Hillary is saying, Trump told, you can take the baby and rend the newborn out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day.

Clinton shot back that many terminations late in pregnancy take place when something terrible has happened or only been discovered about the pregnancy.

Using that kind of scare rhetoric is simply terribly unfortunate, she said.

The exchange concerned one of the least understood and most controversial types of abortion those taking place when the fetus approaches or passes the point of viability.

It is a topic wracked by misrepresentations. Wallace raised the issue of partial birth abortion, a political term that doesnt readily correspond to a specific medical procedure, but which Congress nonetheless banned more than a decade ago. In 2003, the ban was upheld by the supreme court.

Clinton has never campaigned on overruling the ban, but as a senator she voted against it. In the final debate, she explained that she voted no because the bill didnt make an exception for the lives of the mother. Prior to the debate, she has said she supported late-pregnancy regulation that would have exceptions for the life and health of the mother.

Trump, meanwhile, has committed to signing a ban on abortion in the 20 th week of pregnancy before a fetus is viable outside the womb.

But his suggestion that pregnancies are objective days before a pregnancy is full term doesnt appear to be supported in fact.

The percentage of women having abortions past the midpoint of their pregnancy is very small. The latest calculate by the CDC is that fully 98.7% of abortions take place before 21 weeks gestation. Most fetuses are not viable outside the womb for another three weeks. The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion rights thinktank, estimates that proportion of terminations after 20 weeks is slightly higher, or about 15,000 procedures every year.

Clintons statements, which characterized these terminations as being done in cases of severe fetal anomaly, do not fully capture what we know about later abortions.

We know very little about women who seek afterward abortions, reads a 2013 analyse published in the journal of the Guttmacher Institute. But data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.( The examine characterized later abortions as those taking place after 20 weeks .)

Dr Warren Hern, who is one of only a handful of doctors in the country performing third-trimester abortions, agreed to speak in as much detail as he could about his own patients.

Hern is forecast that in a majority of his later abortion examples, the women are there because of a serious fetal anomaly. The remainder of his clients are a mix. Hern objects to the word elective abortion. It makes it sound like you decided to have curls instead of bangs as a hairdo, he told. But he lets that many although not a majority of patients having later abortions are not there because of fetal anomaly.

Without doing the kind of analysis I would need to do to be sure, I would say that more than half of the patients who come in[ post-viability] are there because of fetal abnormalities, and this was a very desired pregnancy, he told. The other, smaller proportion are usually very young women, 12 or 13 years old, who are victims of sexual assault, of incest. Or they are adult women who have been told by a doctor they cant get pregnant, or who thought they were post-menopausal.

Hern says he turns many women away. For one, after about 33 weeks, termination carries more serious dangers.

One of the things I have to decide is, first of all, do I feel comfy objective the pregnancy at a late stage when “were not receiving” obvious problem, such a fetal abnormality or a rape? If I have someone whos 33 weeks pregnant, and she should have had this done four or five months ago, Im not going to do that, because theres a certain quantity of hazard involved.

Trump, he told, is totally and abysmally ignorant about this topic. His statements are highly inflammatory and obscene and designed to inflame his adherents, who dont need to be inflamed.

But it is unclear if Trumps commentaries won him any followers.

Wallace also asked Trump whether or not he wanted Roe v Wade to be overturned. Trump declined to answer, telling the issue will go back to the states. But when Trump reiterated his promise to appoint anti-abortion justices to the supreme court, his support among a group of undecided voters judging the debate for CNN plummeted.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

In Iowa, Clinton Defends A System Everyone Else Is Junking

DES MOINES, IOWA — In these days of anger and insurrection in politics, it takes a certain amount of daring — or stubbornness — to say the following in the closing days of the campaign for the Iowa caucuses 😛 TAGEND

“We are on the right path, my friends. We merely have to stay on it.”

And yet that is the surprising essence of Hillary Clinton’s final pitch to Democratic caucus-goers as she delivered it this weekend at Grand View University in Des Moines.

At a day when every other presidential candidate, Democrat and Republican, is crying havoc about the all-but-unsalvageable corruption of government, politics and Washington, Clinton detects herself — out of choice and necessity — the lone defender of the value of the old rulebook.

After more than four decades in politics and facing a socialist foe with sweeping and expensive new Big Government proposals, Clinton is trying to make a virtue of necessity.

As she tries to close the deal with Iowa Democrats — which she failed to do in the face of the Barack Obama wave of 2008 — Clinton is daring to suggest the virtues of the status quo to defeat Sanders’ youth brigade.

She defends Obamacare as the hard-won most-of-a-loaf that Sanders would tear up in a vain and politically unrealistic yearning for an all-government-run single-payer system.

She defends the present tax code — at least as it applies to middle-class taxpayers. She claims to be the only nominee in the race who will “not create taxes on the middle class, ” as Sanders himself acknowledges his health care scheme would require.

She defends the achievements of the Obama administration, arguing that the president “deserves more credit than he has gotten” for bailing out the economy in 2008, for saving the auto industry and for spurring innovative technologies through government loans and programs.

She defended the Dodd-Frank law as a good first step in tighter regulation of banks. And she defends the reigning status quo of Democratic economic reasoning: the business bent of the “Clinton Democrats” and the so-called Washington Consensus of international trade.

Charlie Neibergall/ ASSOCIATED PRESS

At Grand View, she boasted about the economic track record of her husband’s presidency and accentuated the positive of Obama’s( the vast gulf between the rich and the rest notwithstanding ). And she positioned herself as someone who can work the system as it is, rather than competing with Sanders’ call for a “political revolution” to sweep out the stables of the Capitol.

To be sure, Clinton has a laundry list of new proposals and promises: tighter surveillance of hedge funds and tougher criminal sanctions on their CEOs, a new infrastructure money and new taxes on the wealthiest American families.

But more than those specifics, she is selling herself as the realist, and proudly so, with decades worth of hide-toughening scars from campaigns and serving in government as a senator from New York and secretary of state.

“I’m not going to tell you what you want to hear, ” told Clinton. “I am going to tell you what I actually can get done.”

Of course that hard-eyed practicality is what her advisors think that voters want to hear from her as “shes trying to” win Iowa.

“She is the grownup in the race, ” said one top advisor, who insisted on anonymity to discuss campaign strategy. “She is not going to win the children with dreamings, but win at least some of them and most of the adults with facts.”

Indeed, the final Iowa poll by the Des Moines Register presented Clinton trailing severely among voters under 45 — both men and women. She had a wide lead among older voters of both sexes.

Clinton’s gamble of incremental realism is just that — a gamble. But it is based in part on the calculation that Sanders devotes her room to run in that direction and that he is not the cost free feel-good election that Obama was in 2008.

Voting for Obama was a statement of social uplift and hope about the country, and it did not come with much of a specific price tag.

Evan Vucci/ ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sanders is different. He has a price tag. And that is what Hillary is counting on.

It’s an debate that works with Ross Johnson, a 45 -year-old lawyer from Clive.

Johnson said at the Grand View rally that he had voted for Obama in 2008, but that he was resisting his 17 -year-old son’s pleas to support Sanders because of very concerned about taxes.

He said that he had read an analysis by Ezra Klein of Vox — “an analyst who shares my values” — in which the writer had suggested that Sanders’ agenda would carry huge costs.

“My wife and son are going to vote for Bernie, but I’m going with Hillary, ” Johnson said.

The mathematical impact is significant: what would have been a three-Bernie-vote household is reduced to a net of one.

But the broader argument seemed to be “the worlds biggest” selling point: that Hillary is practical and tough and clear-eyed — in other words, some would say, a woman.

“There is something about a woman’s touch, ” told Mary Scott, a retired insurance executive from Des Moines. “They know how to get things done.

“Bernie has all of these notions that are pie-in-the-sky and will never get through Congress, and he can’t do anything without Congress.”

“Hillary can work it, ” Scott added. “She’s a gal who gets things done.”

Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com

There’s a search for a fifth meat- and 19 other things podcasts taught us in 2016

Whether its asking what happens when you watch Sex and the City 2 more than 50 periods or which Oscar has won an Oscar, theres no question a podcast somewhere hasnt answered

1 Richard Ayoade used a ThunderCats duvet cover until he was in his late 20 s

Where we learned it The Adam Buxton podcast

Adam Buxtons life-affirming, jingle-packed ramble chats with his celebrity guests are a constant delight. In this two-parter, the multi-talented Ayoade went into everything from the high levels of pillows to the reaction to his notoriously awkward interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy. As funny as the pod is, you are able to learn a lot, too from Buxtons honest discussions of sorrow when his dad died to how upsetting Sara Pascoe find it when people construct clicky sticky noises with their mouths.

Other lessons from this podcast Louis Theroux does a fine rendition of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie. Ellie Violet Bramley

Malcolm
Journalist and writer Malcolm Gladwell. Photo: Anne Bailey

2 One of the biggest car recollects in history may have been caused by drivers pressing the incorrect pedal

Where we learned it Malcolm Gladwells Revisionist History

If you are familiar with Gladwells work, then Revisionist History is both a treat and familiar territory. The New Yorker writer often takes assumptions and things we might think to be true and unravels them to end up in a different place altogether. In his bestseller Blink, he explained why it might not have been so unusual that an unarmed man was shot 41 times by New York police. In the best episode of Revisionist History, Gladwell seemed back at Toyotas sudden unintended acceleration phenomenon, which led to a gigantic penalty for the car maker. The conclusion after we listen to a 911 call in which a man is driven to his death by a automobile that wont slow down was not that the cars accelerators were sticking, but that drivers unfamiliar with certain autoes were having a brain malfunction that meant they were physically unable to differentiate between the brake and the accelerator.

Other lessons from this podcast American colleges with the nicest canteens are the worst selections for poor students; if you want to score the most free-throws in basketball, do them underarm. Will Dean

3 One day, everyone in Sweden switched to driving on the opposite side of the road

Where we learned it 99% Invisible

You neednt be an architecture or design fanatic to enjoy Roman Marss gentle unpicking of how the world around us came to look and function as it does. As well as stories about the origins of the inflatable men they have outside auto dealers in the US, and why they used to advertise missing children on milk cartons, you can learn about Hgertrafikomlggningen , or H-day 3 September 1967 when everyone in Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right.

Other lessons from this podcast Californias Salton Sea was formed by mistake; 20 years ago, the world became obsessed with a phone booth in the middle of the Mojave desert. Leah Harper

4 Having your own podcast wont win you an election

Where we learned it With Her

How do we know that Hillary Clinton enjoyed a Cuban sandwich and a beer at the end of a day on the road? Well, she had her own campaign podcast, about the little details of being on the trail. In the first episode, Max Linsky, of the podcast Longform, talked to her in Miami about what she was going to have for dinner that evening. As the first presidential nominee to have a campaign podcast, Clinton tried to harness the power of the medium to presents a more personable side of herself. Suffice to say, it didnthave the desired effect.

Other lessons from this podcast Clinton is a TED talks fan and has to ration her Elena Ferrante fictions. EVB

My
The hosts of My Dad Wrote a Porno.

5 Theres more than one route of motivating your marketings force

Where we learned it My Dad Wrote a Porno

Pots-and-pans sales supremo Belinda Blumenthal can find lust in any situation even when she is lost in an ornamental maze. The starring of the erotic fiction written by comedian Jamie Mortons father has taught the world that a regional marketings seminar has just as much potential for naked fun as a business trip-up to Amsterdam. Other things she has appropriated into her libidinous realm include a charity tombola, Herb Alpert, a chalet, a pomegranate, a horsebox and any sentence involving the words further access. What she has taught listeners about her ridiculously sexy life may be unsavoury, but via Mortons podcast it has brought a whole lot of mirth.

Other lessons from this podcast There is such a thing as a vaginal lid; never read erotic fiction written by your daddy. Hannah Verdier

6 Sacha Baron Cohen has been known to use a getaway car

Where we learned it WTF

Marc Marons WTF can be off-putting: the hosts 15 -minute opening monologue and guitar jams are often enough to deter new listeners. But when it comes to teasing out colorful details from the careers of some of Hollywoods funniest and finest, Maron is the master. Grimsby may have bombed in the cinema, but it was worth it for the interview Baron Cohen did with Maron to promote the movie. The best bits were the details of the logistical difficulties of inducing Brno, from how a redneck fighting crowd were deceived into watching a homoerotic cavort to how Baron Cohen managed to escape Kansas police after being caught with, among other things, a pedal-powered sex machine in a hotel room.( He had a auto waiting outside with the engine operating .)

Other lessons from this podcast Asking what peoples mothers were like rarely gets a dull answer; if you have the US president over to record in your garage, youd better have nice neighbours; William Friedkin is the best storyteller in Hollywood. WD

Alix
Alix Fox looks into people sex lives. Photo: Ken McKay/ Rex/ Shutterstock

7 Having two vaginas doesnt mean you can have vaginal sex with two men at the same time

Where we learned it Close Encounters from the Guardian

Alix Fox pries into the complicated and fascinating lives of people for whom sex is not always solely straightforward, from a polyamorous couple to a human paralysed from the waist down just before his honeymoon. An extraordinary interview with double-barrelled Hazel, who talked openly about the effect her condition has had on her and may have on her if she wants to have children is the standout so far.

Other lessons from this podcast Russian-doll-style dildos can cure vaginismus; having cold feet can help to delay an orgasm. LH

8 The search for a fifth meat continues

Where we learned it The Beef and Dairy Network podcast

The centuries-old assumption that there are only four meat beef, lamb, pork and chicken is disintegrating after unconfirmed reports that the European Space Agency has identified a mysterious fifth meat. The Beef and Dairy Network podcast, produced by comedian Ben Partridge, is the No 1 podcast for those involved or only interested in the production of beef animals and dairy herds. Featuring guest appearances from agricultural experts such as Josie Long, and attracting fans including Miranda Sawyer, it is a surreal beefstravaganza.

Other lessons from this podcast According to Beef and Dairy Network sponsor Mitchells, 90% of cattle can kick through a ships hull after merely one month of taking hoof-strengthening supplement Steel Hoof Deluxe. EVB

A
Dont set this cow in your ships hull. Photograph: Brian Brown/ Getty Images

9 John Oliver is not dead

Where we learned it The Bugle

For a decade, long-time comedy partners John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman set the world to rights via the medium of their audio newspaper for a visual world. Their riffs on anything from civil liberties( Like dogs, John, we love our own, but we get genuinely riled when other people civil liberty maintain shitting on our lawns) to Texas barbecues( All I know is this, Andy: if I was a cow, and I knew that I could savor like that, Id find it very hard to make a coherent lawsuit for not being immediately killed and slow-cooked) often induced the reveal the funniest thing you could get on Wi-Fi. With Oliver having left the Daily Show to front his own prove on HBO, the Bugle went into satirical hibernation. It awoke in mid-October, just in time for a political event so ridiculous that even Zaltzman at his most surreal couldnt have imagined it. The pods Have I Got News for You-style rotating guest co-hosts now include US comics Wyatt Cenac and Hari Kondabolu, as well as Brit Nish Kumar and brilliant Indian standup Anuvab Pal. They dont know each other as well as best friends Zaltzman and Oliver, but perhaps the other co-host, Andys sister Helen, could claim an advantage on that front. The Bugle is dead, long live the Bugle.

Other lessons from this podcast Bashar al-Assad bought LMFAOs Im Sexy and I Know It as the Syrian civil war raged. WD

10 A bloke running a driving school in Acton, west London, was also helping to prop up the capital punishment in the US

Where we learned it More Perfect

In a residential area of west London, inside a building with a flag that reads Elgone Driving Academy, is a guy in his 50 s who seems a bit like William Hurt and who was the one-man operation helping to provide the drugs used for capital punishment in the US. That was until a human rights charity alerted the UK government to his pharmaceutical broom closet of demise. In the inaugural episode of More Perfect, a Radiolab spin-off looking at how US supreme court cases affect lives miles away from the bench, the presenters explored those three little words from the US constitution: cruel and unusual.

Other lessons from this podcast An unusual 911 call made in Houston, Texas, in 1998, led to one of the most important point LGBTQ rights decisions in the courts history, effectively constructing homosexual relations a basic civil right. EVB

11 The political insiders term for people panicking about a Trump win was bedwetters

Where we learned it Keepin it 1600

A politics podcast hosted by Barack Obamas former speechwriter and a senior communications adviser ought to shrieking wonkishness, but Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer may be the two most engaging analysts of a bonkers electoral campaign. Having been at the heart of two US election cyclones, they alongside other hosts Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor know, inside-out, how this world works and share it. Their near certainty about a Clinton win up to the morning of the election attained 1600 one of the most reassuring political podcasts you could listen to and attain their morning-after mea culpa on 9 November all the more extraordinary. Now its really time to wet the bed.

Other lessons from this podcast The Obama team realised it was impossible to refute crazy lies about its candidate after Fox News said in 2008 that the young Obama had been raised a Muslim when the team complained, they were told that it was an amusement depict. WD

12 Billy Joel has really soft hands

Where we learned it Two Dope Queens

Comedians and co-podcast hosts Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams ran where two black women have never gone before a Billy Joel concert. They sneaked in their ros in suntan lotion bottles bought on Amazon the kind that get white daughters, watching the Shins, through Coachella. And, having been given front-row tickets because Billy likes to see pretty females up at the front, they got to shake his baby-soft hands. If thats not informative enough for you, listen to the other episodes of this snort-out-loud-funny podcast from WNYC and hear some of New Yorks best female comedians talking about sex, romance, race, hair journeys and living in the city.

Other lessons from this podcast Pierce Brosnans volcano thriller Dantes Peak has a lot to tell us about how far we have come since the 90 s; talcum powder is the best method to deal with boob sweat. EVB

13 Tar heroin smells just like capers

Where we learned it Guys We Fucked

Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson host the anti-slut-shaming podcast, featuring interviews with everyone from Jon Ronson to Stoya( and, as the title gently indicates, people with whom they have had sexuality ). Their interview with Wendi Kent or, as they call her, White Precious who photographs protesters outside abortion clinics, exposed the reason she can no longer feed capers and what its like to have sex when youre homeless. But its not all heavy-going. The episode titles alone are a treat good luck disguising You didnt go to France because you wanted to masturbate ?, His pubes were haunted? and Period sex: guess? from fellow commuters.

Other lessons from this podcast DIY HIV tests can be done at home( or on-air) with a mouth swab; comedians on the circuit all hook up with one another. LH

Sex
There is such a this as too much SatC2 I mean, you knew that already, right? Photograph: Allstar/ Warner/ Sportsphoto Ltd

14 You can watch Sex and the City 2 too many times

Where we learned it The Worst Idea of All Time

A lot of time, effort and money, especially money, went into making this film, says Guy Montgomery. Weve just opened up the most disgusting can of worms. Theres no need to watch SatC2 because he and Tim Batt have done it more than 50 days for the sake of their podcast( they did the same with Grown Ups 2 ). Mirandas nanny Magda is a spy who is gradually poisoning her, Charlotte is the other one and the whole thing is exclaiming out for the kind of dialogue that stimulated the TV series great.

Other lessons from this podcast We Are Your Friends is next on your hatewatch listing. HV

15 You can have a podcast about a podcast

Where we learned it Slates Serial Spoiler Specials

Slates week-by-week analysis of Serial, 2014 s podcast obsession, is perfect for when everyone you know is listening far too slowly offering tale recaps, whodunnit theories and critiques of the host, Sarah Koenig. Not to mention excavating deep down into Reddit rabbit holes about the two cases covered in so far.

Other lessons from this podcast The cow birth in season two can be seen as an agricultural metaphor for the militarys response to Bowe Bergdahls disappearance; its almost impossible to map a timeline via audio. LH

16 Moby is a CD thief

Where we learned it Heavyweight

Jonathan Goldsteins Heavyweight aims to the tell the stories of people whose lives have taken a wrong turning somewhere. One of these was to reunited his 80 -year-old father with his elder friend before it was too late. Another was to reunite his friend Gregor who is haunted by the moment he loaned a box of CDs to a techno-producer friend. The friend, was, of course, Moby, who use many of them as the basis for his squillion-selling Play. Gregor doesnt want royalties he only wants his Cds back. And Goldstein helps him get them.

Other lessons from this podcast Tracking down your school bullies is an uncomfortable eye-opener( as demonstrated by Julia in episode seven ). HV

17 You can have an -Alist cast in a podcast drama

Where we learned it Homecoming

Although Serial was essentially a piece of investigative journalism, its format proved that podcasting didnt need to be limited in its sort. Gimlet Media, functional specialists podcasting company, emerged around the same hour as that NPR hit and proved its ambitions in the field. Its scripted drama, Homecoming, aimed straight for the stars with a cast including Catherine Keener, Star Wars Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer. The tale flips between Keeners characters work at an experimental facility that helps soldiers incorporate back into the community and her present-day life as a waitress. There are plenty of cliffhangers helping to tell the story of what happened in between.

Other lessons from this podcast You dont mess with David Schwimmer. As Colin Belfast, he oozes fury and has the air of a man on the leading edge. HV

18, 19, 20 France buys in most of its frogs legs only one person called Oscar has won an Oscar Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck are the most reprinted comic book characters( that arent superheroes) of all time

Where we learned it Answer Me This !

Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann( plus Martin the soundman) solve listeners queries on a fortnightly basis with questions ranging from the practical to the ethical to the ridiculous. Suffice to say, you are able to learnt more listening to them while doing the washing up than from Heart FM. You will also learn that drunken voicemails are greet, especially from Dave from Smethwick and Graham from Canada.( Its Oscar Hammerstein II, by the way .) LH

The Guardian publishes a wide range of award-winning podcasts daily, from Football Weekly to the Guardian Books podcast, all of which are available on our site , iTunes and other resulting podcast platforms .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

There’s a search for a fifth meat- and 19 other things podcasts taught us in 2016

Whether its asking what happens when you watch Sexuality and the City 2 more than 50 times or which Oscar has won an Oscar, theres no question a podcast somewhere hasnt answered

1 Richard Ayoade utilized a ThunderCats duvet cover until he was in his late 20 s

Where we learned it The Adam Buxton podcast

Adam Buxtons life-affirming, jingle-packed ramble chats with his celebrity guests are a constant delight. In this two-parter, the multi-talented Ayoade went into everything from the high levels of pillows to the reaction to his notoriously awkward interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy. As funny as the pod is, you will learn a lot, too from Buxtons honest discussions among sorrow when his dad succumbed to how upsetting Sara Pascoe observes it when people build clicky sticky noises with their mouths.

Other lessons from this podcast Louis Theroux does a fine rendition of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie. Ellie Violet Bramley

Malcolm
Journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell. Photo: Anne Bailey

2 One of the biggest auto recollects in history may have been caused by drivers pressing the wrong pedal

Where we learned it Malcolm Gladwells Revisionist History

If you are familiar with Gladwells run, then Revisionist History is both a treat and familiar territory. The New Yorker novelist often takes assumptions and things we might think to be true and unravels them to end up in a different place wholly. In his bestseller Blink, he explained why it might not have been so unusual that an unarmed man was shot 41 days by New York police. In the best episode of Revisionist History, Gladwell seemed back at Toyotas sudden unintended acceleration phenomenon, which led to a gigantic fine for the car maker. The conclusion after we listen to a 911 call in which a man is driven to his death by a auto that wont slow down was not that the cars accelerators were sticking, but that drivers unfamiliar with certain autoes were having a brain malfunction that meant they were physically unable to differentiate between the brake and the accelerator.

Other lessons from this podcast American colleges with the nicest canteens are the worst options for poor students; if you want to score the most free-throws in basketball, do them underarm. Will Dean

3 One day, everyone in Sweden switched to driving on the opposite side of the road

Where we learned it 99% Invisible

You neednt be an architecture or design fanatic to enjoy Roman Marss gentle unpicking of how the world around us came to look and function as it does. As well as tales about the origins of the inflatable men they have outside auto merchants in the US, and why they used to publicize missing children on milk cartons, you can learn about Hgertrafikomlggningen , or H-day 3 September 1967 when everyone in Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right.

Other lessons from this podcast Californias Salton Sea was formed by mistake; 20 years ago, the world became obsessed with a phone booth in the middle of the Mojave desert. Leah Harper

4 Having your own podcast wont win you an election

Where we learned it With Her

How do we know that Hillary Clinton enjoyed a Cuban sandwich and a brew at the end of a day on the road? Well, she had her own campaign podcast, about the little details of being on the road. In the first episode, Max Linsky, of the podcast Longform, talked to her in Miami about what she was going to have for dinner that evening. As the first presidential candidate to have a campaign podcast, Clinton tried to harness the power of the medium to presents a more personable side of herself. Suffice to say, it didnthave the desired effect.

Other lessons from this podcast Clinton is a TED talks fan and has to ration her Elena Ferrante fictions. EVB

My
The hosts of My Dad Wrote a Porno.

5 Theres more than one route of motivating your sales force

Where we learned it My Dad Wrote a Porno

Pots-and-pans marketings supremo Belinda Blumenthal can find lust in any situation even when she is lost in an ornamental maze. The superstar of the erotic fiction written by comedian Jamie Mortons father has taught the world that a regional marketings meeting has just as much possibilities for naked fun as a business journey to Amsterdam. Other things she has appropriated into her libidinous realm include a charity tombola, Herb Alpert, a chalet, a pomegranate, a horsebox and any sentence involving the words further access. What she has taught listeners about her ridiculously sexy life is a possibility unsavoury, but via Mortons podcast it has brought a whole lot of mirth.

Other lessons from this podcast There is such a thing as a vaginal eyelid; never read erotic fiction written by your dad. Hannah Verdier

6 Sacha Baron Cohen has been known to use a getaway car

Where we learned it WTF

Marc Marons WTF can be off-putting: the hosts 15 -minute opening monologue and guitar jams are often enough to deter new listeners. But when it comes to teasing out colorful details from the careers of some of Hollywoods funniest and finest, Maron is the master. Grimsby may have bombed in the cinema, but it was worth it for the interview Baron Cohen did with Maron to promote the cinema. The best bits were the detailed logistical difficulties of attaining Brno, from how a redneck battle crowd were duped into watching a homoerotic cavort to how Baron Cohen managed to escape Kansas police after being caught with, among other things, a pedal-powered sex machine in a hotel room.( He had a car waiting outside with the engine running .)

Other lessons from this podcast Asking what peoples parents were like rarely gets a dull answer; if you have the US president over to record in your garage, youd better have nice neighbours; William Friedkin is the best storyteller in Hollywood. WD

Alix
Alix Fox looks into people sexuality lives. Photograph: Ken McKay/ Rex/ Shutterstock

7 Having two vaginas doesnt mean you can have vaginal sex with two men at the same time

Where we learned it Close Encounters from the Guardian

Alix Fox pries into the complicated and fascinating lives of people for whom sex is not always entirely straightforward, from a polyamorous couple to a man paralysed from the waist down just before his honeymoon. An extraordinary interview with double-barrelled Hazel, who talked openly about the effect her condition has had on her and may have on her if she wants to have children is the standout so far.

Other lessons from this podcast Russian-doll-style dildos can cure vaginismus; having cold feet can help to delay an orgasm. LH

8 The search for a fifth meat continues

Where we learned it The Beef and Dairy Network podcast

The centuries-old assumption that there are only four meats beef, lamb, pork and chicken is disintegrating after unconfirmed reports that the European Space Agency has identified a mysterious fifth meat. The Beef and Dairy Network podcast, produced by comedian Ben Partridge, is the No 1 podcast for those involved or only interested in the production of beef animals and dairy herds. Featuring guest appearances from agricultural experts such as Josie Long, and attracting fans including Miranda Sawyer, it is a surreal beefstravaganza.

Other lessons from this podcast According to Beef and Dairy Network sponsor Mitchells, 90% of livestock can kick through a ships hull after merely one month of taking hoof-strengthening supplement Steel Hoof Deluxe. EVB

A
Dont set this cow in your ships hull. Photo: Brian Brown/ Getty Images

9 John Oliver is not dead

Where we learned it The Bugle

For a decade, long-time comedy partners John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman set the world to rights via the medium of their audio newspaper for a visual world. Their riffs on anything from civil liberty( Like puppies, John, we love our own, but we get really riled when other peoples civil liberties maintain shitting on our lawns) to Texas barbecues( All I know is this, Andy: if I was a cow, and I knew that I could savour like that, Id find it very hard to make a coherent example for not being instantly killed and slow-cooked) often attained the indicate the funniest thing you could get on Wi-Fi. With Oliver having left the Daily Show to front his own depict on HBO, the Bugle went into satirical hibernation. It awoke in mid-October, just in time for a political event so ridiculous that even Zaltzman at his most surreal couldnt have imagined it. The pods Have I Got News for You-style rotating guest co-hosts now include US comics Wyatt Cenac and Hari Kondabolu, as well as Brit Nish Kumar and brilliant Indian standup Anuvab Pal. They dont know each other as well as best friends Zaltzman and Oliver, but perhaps the other co-host, Andys sister Helen, could claim an advantage on that front. The Bugle is dead, long live the Bugle.

Other lessons from this podcast Bashar al-Assad bought LMFAOs Im Sexy and I Know It as the Syrian civil war raged. WD

10 A bloke operating a driving school in Acton, west London, was also helping to prop up the death penalty in the US

Where we learned it More Perfect

In a residential area of west London, inside a build with a banner that reads Elgone Driving Academy, is a guy in his 50 s who looks a bit like William Hurt and who was the one-man operation helping to provide the medications used for capital punishment in the US. That was until a human rights charity alerted the UK government to his pharmaceutical broom closet of demise. In the inaugural episode of More Perfect, a Radiolab spin-off looking at how US supreme court cases affect lives miles away from the bench, the presenters investigated those three little terms from the US constitution: cruel and unusual.

Other lessons from this podcast An unusual 911 call made in Houston, Texas, in 1998, led to one of the most important LGBTQ rights decisions in the courts history, effectively inducing homosexual relations a basic civil right. EVB

11 The political insiders word for people panicking about a Trump win was bedwetters

Where we learned it Keepin it 1600

A politics podcast hosted by Barack Obamas former speechwriter and a senior communications consultant ought to holler wonkishness, but Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer may be the two most engaging analysts of a bonkers electoral campaign. Having been at the heart of two US election cyclones, they alongside other hosts Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor know, inside-out, how this world runs and share it. Their near certainty about a Clinton win up to the morning of the election attained 1600 one of the most reassuring political podcasts you could listen to and build their morning-after mea culpa on 9 November all the more extraordinary. Now its really time to wet the bed.

Other lessons from this podcast The Obama team realised it was impossible to disprove crazy lies about its candidate after Fox News said in 2008 that the young Obama had been raised a Muslim when the team complained, they were told that it was an amusement indicate. WD

12 Billy Joel has really soft hands

Where we learned it Two Dope Queens

Comedians and co-podcast hosts Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams went where two black females have never gone before a Billy Joel concert. They sneaked in their ros in suntan lotion bottles bought on Amazon the kind that get white girls, watching the Shins, through Coachella. And, having been given front-row tickets because Billy likes to see pretty girls up at the front, they got to shake his baby-soft hands. If thats not informative enough for you, listen to the other episodes of this snort-out-loud-funny podcast from WNYC and hear some of New Yorks best female comedians talking about sexuality, romance, race, hair journeys and living in the city.

Other lessons from this podcast Pierce Brosnans volcano thriller Dantes Peak has a lot to tell us about how far we have come since the 90 s; talcum powder is the best method to deal with boob sweat. EVB

13 Tar heroin reeks just like capers

Where we learned it Guys We Fucked

Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson host the anti-slut-shaming podcast, featuring interviews with everyone from Jon Ronson to Stoya( and, as the title gently suggests, people with whom they have had sex ). Their interview with Wendi Kent or, as they call her, White Precious who photographs protesters outside abortion clinics, exposed the reason she can no longer eat capers and what its like to have sex when youre homeless. But its not all heavy-going. The episode titles alone are a treat good luck concealing You didnt go to France because you wanted to masturbate ?, His pubes were haunted? and Period sex: thoughts? from fellow commuters.

Other lessons from this podcast DIY HIV tests can be done at home( or on-air) with a mouth swab; comedians on the circuit all hook up with each other. LH

Sex
There is such a this as too much SatC2 I entail, you knew that already, right? Photograph: Allstar/ Warner/ Sportsphoto Ltd

14 You can watch Sexuality and the City 2 too many times

Where we learned it The Worst Idea of All Time

A lot of time, endeavour and fund, especially fund, went into making this film, tells Guy Montgomery. Weve just opened up the most disgusting can of worms. Theres no need to watch SatC2 because he and Tim Batt have done it more than 50 hours for the sake of their podcast( they did the same with Grown Ups 2 ). Mirandas nanny Magda is a spy who is gradually poisoning her, Charlotte is the other one and the whole thing is weeping out for the kind of dialogue that stimulated the TV series great.

Other lessons from this podcast We Are Your Friends is next on your hatewatch listing. HV

15 You can have a podcast about a podcast

Where we learned it Slates Serial Spoiler Specials

Slates week-by-week analysis of Serial, 2014 s podcast obsession, is perfect for when everyone you know is listening far too slowly offering narrative recaps, whodunnit theories and criticisms of the host, Sarah Koenig. Not to mention excavating deep down into Reddit rabbit holes about the two cases covered in so far.

Other lessons from this podcast The cow birth in season two can be seen as an agricultural metaphor for the militarys response to Bowe Bergdahls disappearance; its almost impossible to map a timeline via audio. LH

16 Moby is a CD thief

Where we learned it Heavyweight

Jonathan Goldsteins Heavyweight aims to the tell the stories of people whose lives have taken a incorrect turn somewhere. One of these was to reunited his 80 -year-old father with his elder brother before it was too late. Another was to reunite his friend Gregor who is haunted by the moment he loaned a box of Cds to a techno-producer friend. The friend, was, of course, Moby, who employed many of them as the basis for his squillion-selling Play. Gregor doesnt want royalties he just wants his CDs back. And Goldstein helps him get them.

Other lessons from this podcast Tracking down your school bullies is an uncomfortable eye-opener( as demonstrated by Julia in episode seven ). HV

17 You can have an -Alist cast in a podcast drama

Where we learned it Homecoming

Although Serial was essentially a piece of investigative journalism, its format proved that podcasting didnt need to be limited in its form. Gimlet Media, a specialist podcasting company, emerged around the same day as that NPR hit and proved its ambitions in the field. Its scripted drama, Homecoming, aimed straight for the stars with a cast including Catherine Keener, Star Wars Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer. The story flips between Keeners characters work at an experimental facility that helps soldiers incorporate back in local communities and her present-day life as a waitress. There are plenty of cliffhangers helping to tell the story of what happened in between.

Other lessons from this podcast You dont mess with David Schwimmer. As Colin Belfast, he oozes fury and has the air of a human on the leading edge. HV

18, 19, 20 France buys in most of its frogs legs only one person called Oscar has won an Oscar Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck are the most reprinted comic book characters( that arent superheroes) of all time

Where we learned it Answer Me This !

Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann( plus Martin the soundman) solve listeners queries on a fortnightly basis with questions ranging from the practical to the ethical to the ridiculous. Suffice to say, you are able to learn more listening to them while doing the washing up than from Heart FM. You will also learn that drunken voicemails are greet, especially from Dave from Smethwick and Graham from Canada.( Its Oscar Hammerstein II, by the way .) LH

The Guardian publishes a wide range of award-winning podcasts daily, from Football Weekly to the Guardian Books podcast, all of which are available on our site , iTunes and other leading podcast platforms .

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