The 21st Show

Governor-Elect J.B. Pritzker; Rethinking Identity; Steppenwolf’s ‘Downstate’; Tech And Attention


(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

On the 21st: Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker on his plans for transitioning into office come January, and the tone he wants to strike in his first year as governor. Plus, philosopher and New York Times columnist Kwame Anthony Appiah on his latest book 'The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity.' We also learn about a new play at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre called 'Downstate,' and revisit our conversation on the way smartphones affect our mental health.

Democrats won all of Illinois’s statewide offices on Election Day, including the governorship. On Tuesday night, Democrat J.B. Pritzker beat Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner by about fifteen percentage points.

Governor-elect Pritzker will take office in January and we had a chance to talk with him about his plans for the transition and for the next four years.


The holidays are coming up and maybe you’re hoping to snag a deal on the latest Apple or android device.

And whether it’s iPhone or Android, each one is more advanced than the last and it can be easy to forget that the first iPhone came out just eleven years ago.

Today, we use these devices all the time: In 2016 Apple said that users unlock their phones an average of 80 times a day. And there’s other research that shows we touch our phones as many as 2,000 times in one day.

So given all that, how do our phones affect our mental health?

Alejandro Lleras is a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois. He’s also a member of the Mechanisms of Cognitive Control Group at the Beckman Institute at U of I. Lali Abril is an associate professor of communication at the University of Illinois Chicago.


What’s the difference between an identity and a label? Whether it’s how we express our faith, what country we claim as our home,how we look, or what gender we are, these are part of our identities. But are they just labels? And who really is the other when it comes to humanity?

Those are the big questions Kwame Anthony Appiah grapples with in his latest book: The Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity. And by breaking down color, class, creed, and our national identity, this is a book about how many of the ways in which we think about our identities are wrong - or at best, misleading.

We spoke with him during the Chicago Humanities Festival this past weekend in front of a live audience at the University of Chicago.


When we talk about compassion in our society who do we extend it to? How do we treat those who have committed what we often deem as the most horrific of crimes, especially against children?

That’s the heart of a new play called Downstate. It’s on right now at Steppenwolf Theatre, a play written by Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright and ensemble member Bruce Norris. It’s a co-commision and co-production between the Chicago theater and the National Theatre of Great Britain.

In the Spring of 2019, it will transfer to London. Downstate has been extended at Steppenwolf. It’s now on until Nov. 18.

Two of the actors, Glenn Davis and Aimee Lou Wood, joined us from Steppenwolf.

Story source: WILL