This is Vox Tablet, the weekly podcast of Tablet Magazine, the online Jewish arts and culture magazine that used to be known as Nextbook.org. Our archive of podcasts is available on our site, tablet2015.wpengine.com. Vox Tablet, hosted by Sara Ivry, varies widely in subject matter and sound -- one week it's a conversation with novelist Michael Chabon, theater critic Alisa Solomon, or anthropologist Ruth Behar. Another week brings the listener to "the etrog man" hocking his wares at a fruit-juice stand in a Jersualem market. Or into the hotel room with poet and rock musician David Berman an hour before he and his band, Silver Jews, head over to their next gig. Recent guests include Alex Ross, Shalom Auslander, Aline K. Crumb, Howard Jacobson, and the late Norman Mailer.
Archie Bunker, George Jefferson, Mary Hartman, Maude Findlay are just a handful of the iconic characters Norman Lear created for television. In his storied career, Lear tackled abortion, cancer, racism, rape, abuse, interracial relationships, single motherhood, alcoholism, and poverty—subjects many shows today won’t even consider as viable fodder for entertainment. Now 92 years old, Lear got his start writing bits for showmen like Danny Thomas and Jerry Lewis before moving into television and film and then embarking on a second career as an activist (he co-founded People for the American Way).
Now Lear has moved into a new medium—print. He has written Even This I Get To Experience, a memoir, and joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to discuss how his father, who was in jail for several years during Lear’s childhood, inspired and deviates from Archie, what compelled him about writing shows about racial and economic disparities, and why Transparent is the best show on television now.