Our Super Bowls, Ourselves

Hosted by Michelle Cottle, Ross Douthat, Carlos Lozada and Lydia Polgreen

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What do Lady Diana’s wedding, the “Survivor” first-season finale and Prince’s 2007 Super Bowl halftime show have in common? They were huge cultural moments that brought millions of Americans together. In an era of streaming, social media bubbles and sharp political divides, are unifying events like these becoming relics?

On today’s episode, the hosts make a case for the secular ritual of the Super Bowl and ask whether we need more mass cultural events to bring Americans together.

(A full transcript of this episode will be available within 24 hours of publication, and can be found in the audio player above.)

Credit…Illustration by The New York Times; Photograph by Robert Deutschman/Getty Images

Mentioned in this episode:

  • “Bowling Alone,” the 1995 essay in The Journal of Democracy and 2000 book by Robert D. Putnam

  • “The Wiz,” the 1978 American musical featuring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson

  • Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs perform “Fast Car” at the 2024 Grammy Awards

Thoughts? Email us at [email protected].

Follow our hosts on X: Michelle Cottle (@mcottle), Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) and Carlos Lozada (@CarlosNYT).

“Matter of Opinion” is produced by Sophia Alvarez Boyd, Derek Arthur and Phoebe Lett. It is edited by Jordana Hochman. Mixing by Pat McCusker. Original music by Isaac Jones, Carole Sabouraud, Efim Shapiro and Pat McCusker. Our fact-checking team is Kate Sinclair, Mary Marge Locker and Michelle Harris. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta and Kristina Samulewski. Our executive producer is Annie-Rose Strasser.

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