On the Radio

Week of November 9, 2014

Death: The Reckoning

November 9, 2014

From death cafes and death dinners, to innovative schools that now talk openly about death with their students, there's a movement afoot to change how we talk about the end of life. In this hour, how do we reckon with our own death and the deaths of our loved ones?

If you'd like more information about how to start a conversation about the end of life, check out this resource page.

  1. Let's Talk About Death

    Welcome to the death revolution.  Across the country - in cafes, dining rooms, and community centers - there's a new conversation taking shape. Funeral professionals, hospice workers, academics, artists, and just plain folks are working together to change the way we talk about death and dying.

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    Average: 5 (13 votes)
  2. We Don't Have to Be Alone with Dying and Grief

    Lani Leary has worked with thousands of dying people and their families. She’s been at the bedside of more than 500 people at the moment of death. Her dedication to working with the dying and bereaved goes back to the painful experience of her own mother’s death when she was a child, when her family told her nothing about how her mother died.

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    Average: 5 (9 votes)
  3. Living with your Coffin [Slideshow]

    What would it be like to live with your coffin? To see it every day? Woodworker and home funeral advocate Chuck Lakin has designed a series of coffins that double as furniture.

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    Average: 4.8 (6 votes)
  4. The Museum of Death [Slideshow]

    "I had never known that beauty and death could go together." Joanna Ebenstein runs Brooklyn's Museum of Morbid Anatomy, which celebrates the memento mori that were part of daily life in the past. From art sculpted out of a dead person's hair, to death masks molded from a corpse's face, she give us a tour.

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    Average: 5 (5 votes)
  5. "Death Doesn't Bother Me, Anyway" Pt. 1

    For 26 years, Dan Pierotti knew — really knew — that his days were numbered. In 1988 he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. In this first installment of his story, the former Lutheran minister talks about his feelings on death and the afterlife.

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    Average: 5 (4 votes)
  6. Muhammad the Mortician Confronts Black-on-Black Violence

    Tyrone Muhammad is tired of seeing so many young black men die from street violence. So the Newark mortician is using an in-your-face strategy to show people the effects of that violence: taking his work into the streets.

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    Average: 5 (5 votes)
  7. Nikki Giovanni Reads a Poem of Remembrance

    The show closes with something to think about: Nikki Giovanni's poem "One Ounce of Truth Benefits Like a Ripple on a Pond."

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    Average: 5 (4 votes)

Does Fiction Make Us Good?

November 9, 2014
(was 05.04.2014)

Who doesn’t love a good book? We all know a great novel can change the way we see the world, but what about the way we treat each other? Today, we discuss whether reading great literature makes us more moral. And, we celebrate William Shakespeare's 450th birthday.

And if you're wondering if movies can make us more caring, we did some digging on that too. Read all about it, here.

  1. The Psychology of Fiction - Keith Oatley

    We all love the feeling of getting lost in a good story and seeing the world through a character’s eyes.  Recently, psychologists have been studying whether that experience actually changes readers. Novelist and cognitive psychologist Keith Oatley tells us about the latest research connecting fiction with empathy.

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    Average: 5 (4 votes)
  2. Sonic Sidebar: Literature Behind Bars

    In a small prison just outside Madison, groups of inmates get together to read and discuss classic novels and poetry. They’re part of The Oakhill Prison Humanities project and featured in the new documentary, Dostoyevsky Behind Bars. It follows the inmates and the University of Wisconsin graduate students who teach them. Naomi Olson led a Russian literature course at the prison. Here’s her story.

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    Average: 4.8 (4 votes)
  3. In Defense of the Sentimental - Leslie Jamison

    Writer Leslie Jamison believes critics are too quick to dismiss sentimentality in fiction. She tells producer Sara Nics how even trashy movies can offer a route to better self-understanding.

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    Average: 4 (3 votes)
  4. Fiction and Morality - Joshua Landy

    Recent research has shown a connection between reading fiction and social understanding, but does it make us good?  Joshua Landy co-directs the Literature and Philosophy Initiative at Stanford and is the author of How to Do Things With Fictions. He believes reading literature can transform people – just not morally.

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    Average: 5 (2 votes)
  5. Watch This! "Salinger" & "Shakespeare Uncovered"

    This week in Watch This! we talk about "Salinger" and "Shakespeare Uncovered."

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    Average: 2 (1 vote)
  6. On Our Minds: Shakespeare's Influence

    Stephen Marche is the author of "How Shakespeare Changed Everything."  He tells Anne Strainchamps why he thinks Shakespeare is the most important figure in history who influenced everything from starlings to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

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    Average: 4 (3 votes)