Monthly Archives: March 2001

English Language Usage

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Host – Judy Swallow

Guests:

David Foster Wallace

Bryan Garner

Indian Fiction

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Literature about India has always been hot – think E.M. Forster, George Orwell, and James Hilton. But now the subcontinent and its immigrant discontents are doing a bit of post-colonial pay-back by producing some of the most provocative writing in the world — and in the language of Mother England to boot.

Rushdie, Naipul, Mishra, Ghosh, Suri, Roy, Lahiri, Seth, Charma, Chandra, Chaudri, Chatterjee, Mistry and the two Desai’s… there have been Bookers, Pulitzers, and best-sellers galore. But critics worry about India being turned into caricature. And perhaps more importantly, they fear that India’s vigorous literature in its ancient languages will be forgotten in the quest for the next big advance from an English-language publishing house.
(Hosted by Judy Swallow)

Guests:

Manil Suri, author of “The Death of Vishnu.”;

Chitra Divakaruni, author of the soon-to-be-published collection of stories, “The Unknown Errors of Our Lives.”;

Pankaj Mishra, one of the great luminaries in Indian letters, critic for the New York review of Books, and author of “The Romantics.”

Anti-Oscars

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Oscar turns seventy-three this year, and to hear some tell it, he’s lost his touch.

He’s still a big fan of cleavage – just ask Erin Brokovich. But his penchant for men in sandals and epic struggles has a few crouching tigers growling in the wings. If Oscar bought Traffic’s take on the war on drugs, some Hollywood-watchers snicker that Chocolat tried to buy him. In some ways, though, nothing’s changed. Sour grapes are always the fruit du jour when the Academy Awards come around. But somewhere between the cinderblock schlock of multiplexes everywhere and the fussy, pretentious stuff that’s as good as a cure for insomnia, there’s a crop of films that deserve their own megawatt merit.

Forget the borrowed jewels and drippy acceptance speeches. We’re hosting the Anti-Oscars this hour, and our red carpet’s open to all comers.
(Hosted by Judy Swallow)

Guests:

Jonathan Rosenbaum, author of “Movie Wars: How Hollywood and the Media Conspire to Limit What Films We Can See” and film critic for The Chicago Reader;

Peter Keough, film critic for The Boston Phoenix;

Krysanne Katsoolis, Senior Vice-President of Acquisitions at Wynstar Cinema and distributor of “YiYi.”;

Macedonia

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Now it’s Albanians and Slavs fighting in Macedonia. And Americans are either trying to sort out who’s who…or saying “enough already, who cares?”

Two years ago, NATO began its bomb attacks on Kosovo and Serbia. The goal: to “persuade” Slobodan Milosevic and advocates of a Greater Serbia to lay off ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Now, in the name of civil rights, some of those same Albanians are waging guerilla war in neighboring Macedonia. And they have turned the one part of old Yugoslavia relatively untouched by a decade of warfare…into a nation on the verge of breakdown.

Bill Clinton ordered the bombing to “prevent a wider war.” President George W. Bush campaigned on dis-engagement from the Balkans, but the G-I’s are still there.
(Hosted by Judy Swallow)

Guests:

Scott Peterson, reporter for The Christian Science Monitor in Tetova, Macedonia.;

Steven L. Burg, professor of politics at Brandeis Univeristy and co-author of “The War in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Ethnic Conflict and International Intervention.”;

Joseph Dioguardi, former Republican Congressman from Ney York, president of the Albanian-American Civic League.;

Dusko Doder, journalist, formerly of The Washington Post, author of “Milosovic: Portrait of a Tyrant.”;

Einstein – Picasso

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Einstein. Picasso. Two years apart in age, separated by borders and languages, the dashing painter and the fuzzy-haired scientist may have shared more than we realize.

A hundred years ago, the two set off on revolutionary paths winding through the science, mathematics, and aesthetics of the time. Historian and philosopher of science Arthur I. Miller argues we’ve let them walk alone too long. He says, through the right lens — Picasso’s Cubism emerges as the child of turn-of-the-century geometry and science, and Einstein’s Relativity clearly finds its inspiration in aesthetics.

To be an artist…to be a scientist…to be Einstein, or Picasso – is to listen to the voices of an age and revel in the picture they paint together. Two men of genius, one time, in the explosion of thought that launched the twentieth century.
(Hosted by Judy Swallow)

Guests:

Arthur I. Miller, author of “Einstein Picasso”;

Howard Gardner, Professor of education and cognition at Harvard.

Strom Thurmond

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It doesn’t get more surreal than this. The number four man in Washington DC – the man who holds the balance of power in the U.S. Senate – is a 98 year old South Carolinian with red-orange hair transplants.

Outside South Carolina — Strom Thurmond is often seen as a doddering Southern gentleman who seems more suited to a wax museum than the U.S. Senate. But to many South Carolinians – he’s larger than life — respected as a patriot, celebrated as a rascal, and adored as a senator who never said no to a constituent. To others, he is a race-baiting segregationist, who’s support for civil rights came late and was born of political expediency. Today Strom’s health is failing fast and he can’t make it onto the Senate floor without aides on each elbow.

If he should leave the Senate before completing his term, the Democratic governor of South Carolina gets to pick successor and now 50-50 Senate will go to the Dems. While Washington watches and waits, we look back at his life and legacy — remembering Strom the Dixiecrat and the tomcat, the king maker and the skirt chaser.
(Hosted by Judy Swallow)

Guests:

Lee Bandy, political reporter with the State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina;

Jack Bass, co-author of “Ol’ Strom,” an unauthorized biography of Strom Thurmond.

Flowers That Bloom in the Spring

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Those luscious colors … those intoxicating aromas … the alluring shapes of the flowers that bloom in the spring are there for one thing … and one thing only.

And that, quite simply, is sex…to help propagate more little violets and dewdrops and daffodils. That, at any rate, is what un-romantic evolutionists say. But it’s spring, and who wants to avoid amore? People have always been a little daft about flowers, especially after a long cold winter. Today we consider the lilies and the tulips and the people who plant them.

And we consider how sexy those little petals really are…and how they stir our dull roots. Even the Japanese take the day off when the cherry trees flower. The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring Connection is here.
(Hosted by Judy Swallow)

Guests:

Ketzel Levine, host of NPR’s Talking Plants

Tom Fischer, editor of Horticulture Magazine;

Sharman Apt Russell, author of “Anatomy of a Rose: Exploring the Secret Life of Flowers”

Space

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Space station Mir is dropping from the sky, and the International Space Station is taking its place – but there’s a problem in mission control.

Some say the United States space program stumbled into obscurity as soon as Neil Armstrong took his second lunar step. The Cold War space race is over, circling the moon is old hat – so how many trips does it take to know that staying in space costs muscle mass, bone density – and billions of dollars? Despite stated goals of exploring Mars and experimenting amongst the stars — in the galaxy of Purpose, NASA itself may be orbiting in a vacuum. The latest attempts to make ships and probes cheaper, more durable and quicker to the launch-pad – prove that extra-atmospheric travel remains rocket science.

Is the final frontier finished? Or is mankind just gearing up for the next giant leap? The United States in space – 2001 and beyond, here.
(Hosted by Judy Swallow)

Guests:

Lawrence Young, MIT professor and director of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute

Pat Duggins, NPR’s man at the launches.

Brunelleschi's Dome

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Derided as a madman. Hailed as a genius. Filippo Brunelleschi was petulant, secretive, and the mastermind behind one of the Renaissance’s most daring architectural legacies: the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. But that’s not all.

Brunelleschi was also a goldsmith and a clockmaker, an engineer and an artist. He rescued perspective painting from history’s rubbish bin. He invented hoists that literally took architecture to new heights. And by the time that Brunelleschi was an old man, a young fellow named Leonardo da Vinci was studying his work, aspiring to build a dome to rival the Duomo in size and splendor. Da Vinci’s never got past the planning stages, but Brunelleschi’s dome forever changed architecture. They called him brilliant. They called him a visionary. So why don’t more people know his name? We’re examining the life of the original Renaissance Man.

They called him brilliant. They called him a visionary. So why don’t more people know his name? We’re examining the life of the original Renaissance Man
(Hosted By Judy Swallow)

Guests:

Ross King, author, “Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture.”

Alan Greenspan

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Alan Greenspan has been described as the maestro of the American economy, but recently the orchestra is a bit out of tune.

All eyes are on his baton today to see if it really is a magic wand…if he knows the precise amount to tweak the economy to get it humming again. Over ten years of boom, Greenspan was elevated to genius status…every word marked, every pronouncement pondered, every grin graphed. But, as they say, if you take credit for the sunshine, you get the blame for the rain.

Now, some people are asking if Alan Greenspan is this generation’s Wizard of Oz, an ordinary guy standing behind a curtain of hype. Others say no, at 75, the man’s a gem who should keep his job forever.

Guests:

Albert M. Wojnilower, economist, New York

John Berry, Washington Post;

Francis M. Bator, professor of political economy emeritus, Harvard University.