When was the last time you said something so mortifying that all you wanted to do was crawl under a rock and hide? We've all been through plenty of uncomfortable moments, but it seems like we rarely talk about them. From teenage angst to cringe comedy, this week we're setting aside the shame and reveling in all things awkward.
For years, the Mortified stage show and podcast has brought people together from all walks of life to share their most painfully awkward teenage moments. The concept is simple -- participants open up their diaries to a packed theater and recount their most embarrassing stories, like a failed first kiss, an unrequited love, or a nightmarish prom date.
What is it about awkwardness that we can't seem to get enough of? Philosopher Adam Kotsko says our fascination with awkwardness is more than about entertainment -- it defines our modern era. He says we live in an age of awkwardness, which he traces back to the social and political turbulence of the 1960s.
For a true case study of an awkward situation, just head to the nearest pick-up bar. Here's what not to say when introducing yourself to a potential mate, in the words of actor and writer Jesse Eisenberg.
When blogger Jenny Lawson recently tweeted about an awkward exchange she had with a cashier at an airport, she couldn't have imagined the flood of responses she'd get from fans recounting their own mortifying moments. The tweet went viral and within a few days she'd received thousands of messages from fans recounting their own awkward stories. The whole affair was proof of something Jenny had long suspected -- that awkwardness can help bring people together.
Before John Muir - even before Charles Darwin - there was Alexander von Humboldt, the German scientist who shaped our modern understanding of nature. Today, he’s largely forgotten, but Humboldt was once the most famous scientist in the world. Historian Andrea Wulf has just written a biography of Humboldt called “The Invention of Nature,” which The New York Times has picked as one of this year’s ten best books. Steve Paulson recently sat down with Wulf to talk about this remarkable man.
Getting through winter requires mental and physical toughness, plus good central heating. But animals have amazing strategies for surviving conditions that make humans whimper. Today, winter survival strategies from our furred and feathered friends.
Depending on where you live, winter can be tough to get through. It’s cold, it gets dark early, the weather’s messy. Naturalist Bernd Heinrich shares some amazing stories about the ingeniuous ways animals survive winter.
Ok, some knowledge about animals surviving winter is good. But this is radio. How do animals SOUND in winter? For that we turn to Douglas Quin. He’s an award-winning sound designer and composer., and this is from his album called "Fathom” -- underwater field recordings from the Polar regions of the earth.
Piers Vitebsky is an anthropologist who studies the Eveny or Reindeer People of Siberia. They depend on the reindeer for their survival. They keep herds of them for meat - but their connection goes even deeper. Vitebsky says that they also have personal, consecrated reindeer animal doubles, which they believe will die for them.
What do you do when you’re an African-American filmmaker living in a country full of people who dress up in blackface at Christmastime? You pick up a camera. Roger Ross Williams talks about his new documentary, "Blackface." It's about the traditional Dutch celebration of "Black Pete" -- a Santa's helper who dresses in blackface, an Afro wig, red lipstick and big hoop earrings.