The Sunday Magazine

The Sunday Magazine for March 7, 2021

Host Piya Chattopadhyay discusses how the pandemic has tested Canadian federalism, talks with recently retired Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron about the challenges facing journalism today, chats with journalist Michael Moss about the science of food addiction, and learns about ‘Sheanderthals’ from archeologist Rebecca Wragg Sykes.
Piya Chattopadhyay is host of The Sunday Magazine. (CBC)

This week on The Sunday Magazine with Piya Chattopadhyay:

Has COVID-19 exposed cracks in the Canadian federation?: From closing borders and procuring personal protective equipment, to vaccine rollouts and standards for long-term care…the Covid-19 pandemic has required governments to coordinate and act quickly to protect lives. And while experts say the Canadian government has worked well with provincial and territorial leaders to tackle some pandemic-related issues, weaknesses in the Canadian federation have also been exposed. One year into the global pandemic, Johanne Poirier, Chair in Federalism at McGill University's Law Faculty and Jennifer Wallner, Research Chair in Canadian Politics at the University of Ottawa,  join Chattopadhyay to talk about how the pandemic has tested Canadian federalism, what it has revealed to us about how well we work together, how we stack up against other federations - and what we can improve, moving forward. 

What a flaming bag of Fritos can tell us about food addiction: If your pandemic diet is more Fritos than fibre, you're not entirely to blame. Journalist Michael Moss, author of the bestselling Salt Sugar Fat,  says the corporations that churn out our favourite snacks know exactly what they're doing to get into our guts and onto our grocery lists. He joins Chattopadhyay to talk about his new book, Hooked: Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions, which explores the science of food addiction, and how the processed food industry exploits our evolutionary instincts in the name of profit over public health.

Marty Baron: Democracy depends on a free and independent press: Martin "Marty" Baron was at the helm of The Boston Globe when it published its expose of the Catholic Church's coverup of sexual abuse of children -- the subect of the Academy Award-winning film, Spotlight. During his tenure as Executive Editor of the Washington Post, the paper won seven Pulitzer Prizes and became a perpetual thorn in the side of the Donald Trump administration. In the process, Baron became perhaps the best-known newspaper editor in North America. So when he announced he was retiring, that became news in itself. He joins Chattopadhyay as he exits the Post to talk about the role of journalism in these polarized, turbulent times; the challenges facing media today; and how the profession and industry need to evolve.

Zoom fatigue explained: Why are those video conference meetings so exhausting? Researchers at Stanford University this week came out with an explanation for it  - several, actually.  Canadian researcher Dr. Jeff Hancock of the Stanford Social Media Lab walks us through the reasons for so-called "Zoom fatigue" -  and gives us a few pointers on how we might alleviate it in a world where video conferencing has become a huge part of our daily lives.

Not all 'Cavemen' were men!  What we can learn from 'Sheanderthals': Neanderthals need a PR boost today. Not only has the name become a synonym for 'stupid' - US President Joe Biden just this week used the term "Neanderthal thinking" in criticizing some state leaders for lifting COVID restrictions - but we also tend to imagine them as brutish cave dwellers.  And almost always, we picture Neanderthals as men. Archaeologist Rebecca Wragg Sykes wants to change all that. She says that as our closest human kin, Neanderthals likely led lives as rich and sophisticated as we homo sapiens do. Moreover, fully half of them were women. She joins Chattopadhyay to help us imagine what it was like to live as a "She-anderthal" in order to truly understand our cousin species - and better understand ourselves, too.