Q & A, Hosted by Jay Nordlinger

Ricochet Audio Network

Jay Nordlinger is a senior editor of National Review and the music critic of The New Criterion. His guests are from the worlds of politics and culture, talking about the most important issues of the day, and some pleasant trivialities as well.

All Episodes

Daniel Asia is a composer and a professor at the University of Arizona. He heads the American Culture and Ideas Initiative. Some of his articles are available in in a collection: “Observations on Music, Culture, and Politics.” Jay wrote the foreword to it. He and Dan Asia are old friends and comrades. In this conversation, they talk about Dan’s life (very interesting); the state of music education (deplorable); the threat of wokeness (great); and the future of music (?). A very lively—even impassioned—discussion.

Nov 20

53 min 23 sec

With two of his gurus, David French and Vivek Dave, Jay talks college football, Major League Baseball, the NFL, and college basketball. The guys hash over the Big Ten, the Houston Astros, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Simmons, and more. Vivek is in a peevish mood; David is freewheeling. An excellent discussion. 

Nov 15

50 min 2 sec

Garry Kasparov is the chess champion and democracy champion. He was Jay’s very first guest on “Q&A,” in 2015. For 255 months, Kasparov was the world’s No. 1 in chess. As Jay points out, Tiger Woods, in his career so far, has been No. 1 in golf for 158 months. Kasparov is chairman of the Human Rights Foundation and also chairman of the Renew Democracy Initiative. RDI has a new program called “Frontlines of Freedom.” In his latest conversation with Jay, Kasparov talks of many things, not excluding chess. But his main message is: The world needs America. The world needs America to be strong, sane, and democratic. “Just don’t get crazy.” Curb radicalism, coming from whatever direction. Remember who you are, and what you stand for. 

Nov 9

51 min 1 sec

Widely known as “BHL,” Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French philosopher and writer. He is one of the leading “public intellectuals” of our time. Not content with his armchair and library, he goes on adventures, including dangerous ones. His latest book is “The Will to See: Dispatches from a World of Misery and Hope.” Jay talks with him about his book, his life, and his thoughts. 

Oct 29

45 min 14 sec

Mark Haidar is “a tech whiz and entrepreneur,” as Jay says. Mr. Haidar has founded or co-founded several companies and has several patents. He lives in Dallas, but started out in Lebanon. His family was very poor, and his country was beset by war. His rise has been spectacular. Mr. Haidar is featured in George W. Bush’s latest book, “Out of Many, One:  Portraits of America’s Immigrants.” He and Jay sat down together at the Bush Center in Dallas. Listen to the stories this man has to relate—amazing. 

Oct 21

47 min 42 sec

You will want to meet Masih Alinejad, an extraordinary woman from Iran. She is a journalist, who defied the rulers of her home country. She is now in exile, in the United States. Recently, she was the target of a kidnap plot by the Iranian regime. She soldiers on, undaunted. She is full of courage, full of love. Jay sat down with her at the Oslo Freedom Forum in Miami.

Oct 15

34 min 33 sec

That is the slogan of Leopoldo López: “El que se cansa, pierde.” “He who tires, loses.” López is a face and voice of the Venezuelan opposition. He was imprisoned in February 2014. He made a daring escape from the country in October 2020. This week, at the Oslo Freedom Forum, Jay talked with López about his life in and out of prison. And about his hopes and dreams for his country.    

Oct 8

40 min 23 sec

Robert Costa, the Washington Post reporter, is a frequent guest on “Q&A,” and an old friend and colleague of Jay’s. With Bob Woodward, Costa has written “Peril,” which is the best-selling book in the country at the moment. It is about the last days of the Trump presidency, essentially, and the first days of the Biden presidency. With Jay, Costa discusses a number of issues and personalities. The personalities include Trump, of course – and Pence, Rudy, Lindsey, Barr, and Quayle. Dan Quayle is an interesting blast from the past: a Republican vice-president from Indiana, like Pence. Costa has reported deeply, and has important things to say. 

Oct 1

43 min 32 sec

John U. Bacon was Jay’s guest on “Q&A” last summer—talking about some terribly serious issues in college sports. In this new episode, JUB talks about his new book: “Let Them Lead: Unexpected Lessons in Leadership from America’s Worst High-School Hockey Team.” That team was the Huron High School River Rats, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Before coaching at Huron, John went there. So did Jay. They are old friends and classmates. John turned the hockey team around in an extraordinary way. In this achievement are lessons for all of us. 

Sep 22

35 min 36 sec

The heading of this episode tells you the necessary: John Bolton discusses Afghanistan with Jay. Bolton has served in the national-security field for many years, including as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and national-security adviser to the president. His memoirs are “Surrender Is Not An Option” and “The Room Where It Happened.” With Jay, Bolton talks about why we went into Afghanistan; what we did there; how we left; and what it all means. This talk is a half-hour of knowledge, experience, and blunt reality.

Sep 15

36 min 13 sec

Christopher Meyer has had an action-packed life. For 33 months, he was deployed across three combat zones, in support of special operations. He received a Bronze Star in Afghanistan. He is the artistic director of a new theater: Veterans Repertory Theater. And, like many other vets, he has been involved in the effort to rescue Afghan allies, on the run and facing death. Some people speak of a “Digital Dunkirk.” You will want to hear what Chris Meyer has to say: he is eloquent, blunt, informed, and determined. 

Sep 13

36 min 51 sec

Regula Mühlemann is a “bright and rising and wonderful young soprano,” as Jay says in his introduction. She is from Switzerland. And she performed at the Salzburg Festival this summer. Jay interviewed her, in the series of public conversations hosted by the Salzburg Festival Society. Get to know this appealing young artist (Regula, that is—no offense to Jay). 

Sep 2

42 min 25 sec

Maria DeCotis is a comedienne, an actress, a writer, a singer, a dancer—a Renaissance woman in entertainment. She came to broad public attention when she impersonated Andrew Cuomo, during the pandemic. It was hilarious, and creative. She has lost Cuomo as a public figure, but she has many more characters in her repertoire. With Jay, she talks about her life and career. She is a breath of fresh air. “A break away from the everyday,” as a fast-food slogan once had it. Enjoy. 

Aug 26

42 min 53 sec

Radek Sikorski is a veteran journalist, writer, politician, and statesman. He has been foreign minister and defense minister of his country, Poland. He is now a member of the European Parliament. He first went to Afghanistan, as a war correspondent, in 1986. With Jay, Sikorski discusses Afghanistan and U.S. foreign policy. They move on to Belarus, Poland itself, Hungary – and last, the very question of democracy and freedom. Democratic values are under siege and need help. 

Aug 19

28 min 40 sec

 Jay has a leisurely, wide-ranging, enriching hour with Daniel Hannan, the writer, columnist, and member of the House of Lords. What’s that all about, by the way? Is the House of Lords a senate? Do they wear wigs? And how about “House of Cards”? Is Westminster anything like that? Hannan and Jay further talk about Peru, where Hannan was born and grew up. A new president has been elected—a real bolshie. How does democracy fare across the world, in this age of pandemic and strongmen? At the end of their conversation, the two talk about Shakespeare, about which Daniel Hannan is authoritative and, as ever, eloquent. You will enjoy this hour—the cast of characters is large (FDR, Churchill, JFK, Macmillan, Reagan, Thatcher, Falstaff, Cleopatra, Bill Clinton, Blair, Boris) and the subjects burning or engrossing, or both. 

Aug 16

1 hr 10 min

Jay convenes a sportscast, with two of his regular gurus: David French and Vivek Dave. They talk some Olympics—Simone and the twisties, plus other issues. Including transgenderism. And: Should PGA stars be in the Olympics? The guys also talk the NFL, the NBA, and the SEC. Initials abound, as do personalities. A lively conversation.   

Aug 4

51 min 22 sec

There are always many things on George F. Will’s mind, and on Jay’s, too. In this episode, they discuss the January 6 committee. Big Tech. Critical race theory. Confederates in the U.S. Capitol (their statues, that is). Taiwan. Hong Kong. The media. And other things—including baseball, which is in serious need of reform, according to GFW. Jay can only assent. If Will says that baseball must change—and he is a traditionalist who would not advocate change lightly—it must. 

Jul 30

43 min 58 sec

José de Córdoba is a Latin America correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. Jay has known him for several years. De Córdoba has reported from all over the region, but he has been reporting a lot lately on Cuba—understandably. The island has seen the biggest protests since the formation of the Communist regime. De Córdoba himself started out in Cuba. He left with his family in 1960, when he was seven. He talks with Jay about being an exile, and a “hyphenated American”—and also about various issues surrounding Cuba. An informative and at times moving conversation. 

Jul 25

56 min 11 sec

 Jay’s guest is Kevin D. Williamson, his friend and National Review colleague. They talk about things on their mind – including crime, inflation, Cuba, Reaganism, “post-liberalism,” abortion, the National Security Agency, Richard Branson, and Johann Sebastian Bach. A rich and stimulating conversation. See what you think.   

Jul 15

1 hr 15 min

In a brisk, bracing, and highly substantive half-hour with Jay, John Bolton covers a lot of topics. The late Donald Rumsfeld, the missile-defense cause, and the Iraq War. The Department of Justice case—now dropped—against Bolton for his latest book. China, the pandemic, and the new superpower competition. Putin and cyberwar. Ukraine and NATO. Central America and immigration. Iran and nukes. And more. One can learn a lot—always—from John Bolton. 

Jul 7

41 min

John U. Bacon is a veteran journalist and book-author. He has written on a variety of subjects, especially sports—sports at the University of Michigan, in particular. He and Jay grew up together (though on rival teams) in Ann Arbor. The athletic department at the U of M is now beset by scandal. Problems in Ann Arbor are ones being experienced all across the country. They have to do with racism, sexual abuse, the removing of names and statues, etc. John Bacon handles all these subjects with exceptional care and expertise. He and Jay also talk a bit about the old days, and the question: Should college athletes be paid? Much to chew on. 

Jul 1

57 min 7 sec

Last month, Jay hosted Haviv Rettig Gur, an analyst and writer with the Times of Israel. HRG explained the Hamas war (the latest one). He is back by popular demand—to explain Israeli politics: Bibi out, a strange coalition in. Moreover, he explains the peculiar, fascinating nature of Israeli democracy. A rich discussion. 

Jun 24

1 hr 9 min

Nathan Law is a democracy leader from Hong Kong. Born in 1993, he became the youngest person ever elected to the Legislative Council—age 23. He co-founded a political party. He was put in jail. Earlier this month, he spoke at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. Last summer, as a new, Draconian law was being imposed, he went into exile. With Jay, Nathan Law talks about his life, China, Hong Kong, and the future. Is there still hope? As Jay says, young Mr. Law is an inspiration. 

Jun 21

40 min 19 sec

Waad al-Kateab is a Syrian journalist and documentarian. She filmed daily life in Aleppo, during the siege of that city, which lasted four years. Today, she is exiled in London. She made a documentary called “For Sama” (Sama being one of her two daughters). This week, she has participated in the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. With Jay, she talks about a range of issues, surrounding this most difficult and important subject: Syria. 

Jun 9

32 min 17 sec

Haviv Rettig Gur is a senior analyst with the Times of Israel. In the last few days, he has written a searching article about the latest Hamas war, and the prospects for Israel. With Jay, Mr. Gur expands on important issues. What about intra-Palestinian politics (Hamas vs. Fatah)? What about the role of Iran? What about the United States? What errors has Israel made? Why can’t Israel finish off Hamas once and for all? To listen to Haviv Rettig Gur is an education. 

May 27

52 min 42 sec