Monday, August 31, 2009
For years, newspapers and TV news coverage based on fact-finding reporting has served as a powerful watchdog over our government and commercial world. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex S. Jones argues in his book Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy that as traditional news media falls in the wake of new media’s need for quick information, our democracy will weaken. Then, folklorists Nancy Groce and Steve Winick from the American Folklife Center bring audio treasures related to the theme “Home, Sweet, Home.”
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Books about childhood are generally of the self-help or memoir variety. But in The Philosophical Baby, psychologist Alison Gopnik writes about new scientific research and philosophical thinking that is helping answer the question, ‘What is it like to be a baby?’ Gopnik argues that babies are the research and development department of the human species. Then, Nathan Rabin’s memoir begins, “I’ve wasted far too much time fantasizing about my funeral.” Rabin is a head writer for The Onion’s AV Club. But during his childhood, he was abandoned by his mother and placed in a mental hospital. Rabin adapted to trauma with humor, and lives on to tell his stories in The Big Rewind: A Memoir Brought to You by Pop Culture.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
In the first few days of Obama’s presidency, Sam Tanenhaus published an essay in The New Republic titled “Conservatism is Dead.” The essay started a debate about the state of the GOP. Drawing on 20 years of research, Tanenhaus has now followed up with a longer study of the conservative movement. In The Death of Conservatism Tanenhaus writes, “Today’s conservatives resemble the exhumed figures of Pompeii, trapped in postures of frozen flight, clenched in the rigor mortis of a defunct ideology.” Tanenhaus is the editor of the Book Review and the Week in Review sections of the New York Times. Then, some credit Frederick “Toots” Hibbert with inventing the word “reggae” and indeed, the Jamaican is the first to record the word in his 1968 release “Do the Reggay.” Toots began performing with The Maytals in the mid-1960s and in 2006, his collaboration with Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton and others earned a Grammy for Best Reggae Album. Toots joins Bob in studio to talk about his life and the genre of music he helped create.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Richard Russo’s latest book, That Old Cape Magic, begins and ends with a wedding. It’s during the year in-between that Griffin, the main character, disrupts the respectable life he built over the years. Russo’s story is about a man confronting middle-age, along with his past, present, and possibly even his future, as Griffin realizes that all he’s work towards in his life isn’t what he wants at all. Next, a look at the world of film with our resident entertainment critic David Kipen. Then, to kick off the new school year, producer Ariana Pekary attended Washington DC’s Trapeze School New York. We end the show with this audio post card of her high-flying experience.
Friday, September 4, 2009
David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, FDR’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) funded four arts program. One of those, the Federal Writer’s Project, employed thousands of writers and started the careers of some of America’s most famous authors like Studs Terkel, Ralph Ellison, Richard Writer, Saul Bellow, and Zora Neale Hurston. Bob talks with writer David Bradley about a new documentary that tells the story of the Federal Writer’s Project. “Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story” premiers on the Smithsonian Channel over Labor Day Weekend. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from James Carey. Called “Labor’s Boy Wonder,” Carey was still in his 20s when he was elected national secretary of the Congress of Industrial Organizations. By age 40, Carey founded and became the first president of the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers