On the Radio

Week of March 26, 2017

Protester

Mad As Hell

March 26, 2017

Wherever you turn, it seems like someone’s angry -- on Facebook and cable news, in street marches and congressional town halls. It would seem that we’ve entered a new era of increased hostility. But how did we, as a nation, get here? Is it possible we’re addicted to outrage? This hour, we explore the advantages and perils of getting mad as hell.

Producer(s): 
  1. A Lovely Day For A Tea Party

    Brendan Steinhauser was watching Rick Santelli on Squawk Box, listening to the CNBC editor’s now-legendary rant following the 2009 bailout of the financial sector that ended with his call for a “Chicago Tea Party” outside of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Steinhauser thought it sounded like a good idea, so he and other activists from Freedomworks did tap into that rage to organize the Taxpayer March on Washington in 2009. Reflecting on the moment, Steinhauser recalls how political anger was just one step toward what he hoped would be lasting political change.

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  2. Want To Be More Understanding? Get Angry

    Psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett runs a lab where she studies emotions and says that if you pay attention, everyday anger can be a source of wisdom.

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  3. How 18th Century Philosophers Created Our Age of Anger

    Anger seems to be bubbling over all over the world today. Terrorist attacks in Europe, hate crimes in the US, and populist leaders everywhere spouting nationalist slogans that just a few years ago would have been unthinkable. Writer Pankaj Mishra traces the roots of contemporary political rage back to a surprising source: the 18th century Enlightenment.  

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  4. The Fury And The Calm of Harvey Milk’s Memory

    In 1978, in San Francisco, a terrible and famous crime took place.  Harvey Milk, one of the country’s first openly gay elected officials, was assassinated. Cleve Jones was a young activist and Harvey’s protégé, the man who would later create the AIDS Memorial Quilt.  What he remembers about that time is how the gay community channeled anger and grief into a night he’ll never forget.

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  5. Addicted to Indignation

    There’s a lot of vitriol out there these days.  Partisan sniping on social media, screaming matches on cable news, and early morning tweetstorms from certain elected officials. Frankly, it’s exhausting. And also infuriating, blood-boiling, and  maddening — so why can’t we let it go?  Could we, as a nation, be addicted to anger? That’s what science fiction writer and astrophysicist David Brin thinks. In fact, he wrote an open letter to addiction researchers and psychologists, asking them to investigate America’s epidemic of self-righteous indignation.  

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  6. Michael Eric Dyson's Message to White America: Get Angry

    Anger can separate us into partisan camps, but it can also inspire people to work together to achieve amazing things. Michael Eric Dyson knows this firsthand. His latest book “Tears We Cannot Stop,” reads as a call to action for many Americans. 

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library

The Art of Reading (Updated)

March 26, 2017
(was 05.08.2016)

It used to be easy to get lost in a good book, but now lots of people say reading is boring. Scientists say all that skimming and surfing on electronic screens is actually rewiring our brains. So we examine the new science of reading, and meet celebrated New Yorker book critic James Wood.

Also, Jordanian scientist Rana Dajani tells the remarkable story of how she started a reading program for kids at her local mosque, which has spread to hundreds of libraries across the Middle East. And Princeton historian Tony Grafton uncovers the history of reading by looking in the margins of books.

Producer(s): 
  1. Why it's Hard to Read in the Electronic Age

    Are we losing the ability to read difficult books? Cognitive scientist Maryanne Wolf says we need to develop a "bi-literate reading brain" so that we can switch back and forth between the deep reading of print and the skimming of electronic texts.

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  2. What Makes a Good Book Critic?

    James Wood is often called the best critic of his generation. He looks back at his own career, from writing brutal take-downs at the Guardian to his current perch at The New Yorker, and tells us why genre fiction makes him "anxious." You can read the transcript of the complete interview at Electric Literature.

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  3. Teaching Kids to Love Books in the Middle East

    When she moved back to Jordan, molecular biologist Rana Dajani realized that children there didn't read for pleasure. So she started a reading program at her local mosque. Since then, her reading program has reached more than 10,000 kids in Jordan and has spread across the Middle East.

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  4. Reading History from the Margins

    Can we ever know how people used to read - say, 500 years ago? Princeton historian Tony Grafton is obsessed with that question. He says we get plenty of clues by looking at what our ancestors wrote in the margins of books, and this provides a glimpse at how people thought about themselves and the world around them.

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  5. BookMark: Sarah Bakewell Recommends "The Pillow Book"

    Sarah Bakewell recommends "The Pillow Book" by Sei Shonagon (translated by Ivan Morris).

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  6. Mixing India and America

    Rolling Stone India has called Karsh Kale one of "the high priests of electro." He's a pioneer of the Asian Underground and top DJ at clubs around the world, from Ibiza to New York. He tells Charles Monroe-Kane about his lifelong journey to blend his two cultures: Indian and American.

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