Renunciation

Abstaining from alchohol in January?
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Ah, January. Season of diets and fasts and cleanses, of "Drynuary" and "Veganuary." Why does being virtuous always seem to mean giving up pleasure? This hour, we explore the concept of renunciation and our complicated feelings about it. Giving something up — whether a glass of wine or a way of life — can be hard and painful. The experience can change people in ways they don't expect — for better and for worse.

This program originally aired on January 4, 2015. 

One last drink
Audio

Could you give up alcohol for a whole month? No cocktails with friends, wine with dinner, or beer after a game. Ten years ago, John Ore and his wife started a new tradition and named it "Dry- nuary ." Today, people all over the world observe it. John says even after a decade, it's still a challenge — but worth it.More

Length: 
4:22
Cabin in the woods
Audio

Howard Axelrod was accidentally blinded in one eye in a freak accident when he was in college. Disoriented and depressed, he retreated to an off-the-grid cabin in the Vermont wilderness. More

Shulem Deen
Audio

Shulem Deen was a Skverer— a member of one of the most insular Hasidic sects in the U.S.  Then he got curious about secular life and the world outside his small village in Rockland County, NY.  The community branded him a heretic and expelled him.More

Length: 
11:31
A discarded pen of a poet.
Audio

Renunciation can be a creative force. American scholar Ross Posnock tells stories of writers, philosophers and artists who've committed "acts of abandonment," leaving careers and creative lives behind. They weren't failures, Posnock says — they were necessary departures that led to creative and intellectual breakthroughs.More

Length: 
10:17
"Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace
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David Foster Wallace wrote memorably about AA in his famous novel "Infinite Jest." Writer Marshall Boswell reads one of his favorite passages.More

Length: 
2:59
A serious backbar
Articles

Prohibition gave us speakeasies, jazz clubs and bathtub gin. But a new revisionist history uncovers a more disturbing legacy: campaigns against immigrants, the War on Drugs ,and the rise of America's "incarceration nation," says historian Lisa McGirr.More

Length: 
10:08
Show Details 📻
Airdates
Original Air Date: 
January 06, 2018
Airdates: 
January 04, 2015
January 17, 2016
January 01, 2017
January 04, 2018
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Last Updated: 
1 month 2 weeks ago