Watch Rachel Maddow on Letterman, Listen to Her on Fresh Air, Then Win a Copy of “Drift!”

Have you thought about Rachel Maddow in the last 24 hours? There’s a pretty good chance you have. After all, she was on Letterman last night, and he called her “probably the smartest person in all of journalism.” It would be hard to disagree, even if you wanted to.

And if that’s not enough Maddow for you, you’re in luck: she’s also on NPR’s Fresh Air today! The 45-minute interview (which you can listen to online) covers topics like the process of making the show, Maddow’s years as a student, and why she thinks humor is important:

“I think that humor has underappreciated explanatory value. If you are trying to explain something to a broad audience, using humor is sometimes a way to help people either make a leap in logic with you or shorthand to what’s important about something. Usually when I use humor on the show, it’s in the form of absurdity. I’ve pointed out something that somebody says is normal that I think is not normal, or something that should be seen as very serious that I don’t think deserves seriousness. You can explain that away or you can poke fun at it, but sometimes it’s not only shorter to poke fun at it, but also more effective at moving the argument along.”

And also, of course, American military policy, national intelligence, and public disconnect from America’s wars abroad. Because Maddow’s new book, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, comes out today, and it’s an incisive look at the way “we’ve drifted away from America’s original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails.” (Also, in case you were worried, it’s also been described as “scathingly funny.” Obviously.)

This is excellent news! What’s even better news is that you have the chance to win a signed copy. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling us one question you’d want to ask Rachel Maddow if you got to have lunch with her — about her book or otherwise. As of midnight EST on Thursday, the comments will be tallied and a randomized winner will be chosen! Good luck, because she looks really dreamy on the back of this book jacket, and you’re going to want to have this on your coffee table (bedside table?) for sure.

Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1129 articles for us.


  1. I think right now the only question I want to ask her is why the hell isn’t she coming to Colorado for this book tour? Kansas City but not Denver? For real? I need to see her lovely face.

    Also I really want to ask her if she can talk to her producers about that whole “check me out in the studio for two seconds!” during every commercial break of TRMS because they really mess up my fast-forwarding skills.

    And marriage, of course. Duh.

  2. I would ask (although I’m sure it’s been asked before)… Do you see yourself moving into politics, or running for office, in the precedented future?

    And of course, as a followup, when’s the wedding? :)

  3. Oh goodness, I haven’t read all 60-something responses up there so I’m not sure if this has been asked already. However, she mentioned in the Fresh Air interview that she thinks that if she weren’t doing broadcast work, she’d still be doing on prison justice and/or AIDS work. I’d like to ask her what she thinks the most pressing things are that need to be done in those areas are, and what type of action/activism is actually being taken.

    I would also ask her in, the least creepy way I could manage, if she would be mine forever. Just because I couldn’t not do it.

  4. I was driving home last night and switching radio stations when I heard her voice, and immediately cranked the radio to a volume generally reserved for a surprise Journey song. It was right as she started talking about her problems with clinical depression, so added bonus of feeling like she’d understand me if I ever had a chance to talk to her. ‘Twas a lovely drive home, indeed.

    I’d ask her how she keeps being so awesome when she gets in that place where depression makes you feel sad all of the time. I feel like she’d have a good answer to that, or at least be able to make me laugh about it.

  5. Considering she’s on my list of top 3 people i most admire, i’d ask her who’s the person she admires most?

    that and is there a song that gets her pumped up before doing her show–what’s the rach maddow anthem?

  6. I (obviously) haven’t read the book yet, but after listening to the NPR interview, I have a (wordy, hopefully acceptable) question about it.

    One of the major points of the book, as I understand it, is that the use of private contractors is a dangerous trend in US wars. I don’t see this as much of a trend at all: the US military as a whole has massively more money and personnel than the private contractors it hires, and the growth only looks dramatic from its starting point, which is essentially zero. From another perspective, the danger of private involvement in military policy is an old one: Eisenhower’s speech against the military-industrial is nearly fifty years old now, and the role of private corporations that design and build weapons and provide logistical support has been immense from at least World War II. Even the use of proxies and private organizations given authority to act on behalf of the military are old: the US government has used proxies in conflicts in South America for almost a century, and the US commissioned privateers from almost the formation of the country. Given this context, what makes this time different?

  7. Your book is about the premise that Americans have become at peace with being at war. What would you say to those who argue that the us was founded by warfare and has remained true to its bellicose beginnings?

  8. I’d like to ask her about her thoughts on contemporary feminism and the LGBT movement. As an AIDS activist for a decade and as one of the most recognizable out lesbians, what changes has she seen in the feminism/ lbgt/ queer communities? What are her feelings on the movements shift toward marriage/ workplace equality? What should young gay people/ feminists be doing to further our cause?

  9. Having just seen her at a book signing tonight, I would ask “So when does the book about cocktails and meeting babes come out?”
    But seriously, I would ask her about her time in grad school. Specifically I would ask, “When you were in grad school did you think you would end up in media? If not, what type of work did you think you would be doing?”

  10. I think I’m too late, but for the sake of discussion:

    After listening to the Fresh Air interview and battling with cyclical depression myself, I would ask her if/how she has had experience with taking antidepressants and what impact she thinks they may or may not affect her ability to articulate thoughts intellectually, discern and maintain the level of erudition many come to expect of her.

  11. I would ask Ms Maddow what she’d like to do for a living if she didn’t host a political/cultural commentary teevee show. And also, what person does she want to interview most in the world.


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