Audacious with Chion Wolf | Connecticut Public Radio
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Audacious with Chion Wolf

Saturday, 10:00 am

Transcend assumptions. Humanize the stereotyped. Understand the misunderstood. Audacious with Chion Wolf highlights the uncommon experiences of everyday people – asking the hardest, most uncomfortable questions. With curiosity and compassion, Connecticut Public producer and host Chion Wolf digs deeper, encouraging you to ask hard questions in your own life.

Hurricane: NASA Goddard - Flickr Creative Commons / Tornado: Justin1569 - Wikipedia / Wildfire: U.S. Dept of Agriculture - Wikipedia

I’ve had a recurring dream ever since I was a little kid: I’m playing in the front yard of the house I grew up in, and suddenly, the atmosphere around me changes. I feel an ominous breeze on my face. I look up, and barreling down the street, is a tornado headed straight for me. I turn to run… and the dream ends. 

I think my compulsion to run away from dangerous weather - in my dreams and in real life - is probably shared by a lot of people. But today? The folks you’re gonna meet go towards the danger to stop it, or to document it so we can understand it better.

Image courtesy of Laina Morris

This hour, we’re talking with people who have become memes. Like, “Hide the Pain Harold”, who is actually András Arató - a stock photo model who  is smiling wide but his eyes, well, there’s a real sadness there.

And “Overly Attached Girlfriend”, who is Laina Morris. She entered a Justin Beiber song parody competition and just a few moments of her wide-eyed face from the video launched her into supermemedom.

And we’ll talk with two Karens - one who is Black and one who’s white - about what it’s like having their name become a meme that means “white woman who calls 911 on Black and brown people who aren’t doing anything illegal.”

Plus, hear from Zach Sweat from KnowYourMeme.com about how memes infiltrate every little corner of our lives - for better and worse.

Illustration by Chion Wolf

***This show originally aired on June 20, 2020***

Speech disfluencies are mysterious. They are defined as breaks or disruptions that occur in the flow of speech.

TOONMAN_blchin / Wikipedia

The art of tattooing has been traced back 7,000 years. While the significance or reason behind the oldest-known tattoos are total speculation, we do know that often, they were applied as sacred rites, and awarded as a signifier of adulthood. In Ancient Egypt, it’s likely they were used as a means of safeguarding women during pregnancy and birth. And in the ancient Greco-Roman world, they were applied on enslaved people who got caught trying to escape.

But today, the reasons for getting a tattoo are as distinct as the person getting them. Sometimes, it’s a memorial to a person or an experience or an idea. Sometimes, it’s nothing more than something that just looks really cool!

Now and then, though, the meaning changes, and the artwork needs to be covered up. So today, you’ll hear stories about how people have used tattoos to allow their skin to, shall we say, evolve.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

What do the 2020 Doomsday Clock - you know, the calculation that tells us which technologies and conditions may annihilate us all - and the 2020 presidential election have in common?

Your vote impacts the outcome.

For eight years, I hosted a storytelling show at the Mark Twain House, called The Mouth-Off. Five times a year, storytellers would take the stage with their true story on that night’s theme. Now that the pandemic has cancelled the remainder of this year’s season, I wanted to take the opportunity to play you some of my favorites.

You’ll hear all sorts of stories in this episode, but the one thing they all have in common? They all deal with relationships with authority figures - like parents, employers… or police.

Illustration by Chion Wolf

When you were growing up, you probably heard about famous inventors. Maybe you thought they were brilliant. Rigorously trained. Confident. Capable. And that their inventions advanced humankind through and through.

But Dr. Ainissa Ramirez spent the last 5 years writing a book that strips away those presumptions. In The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another, she paints portraits not of how inventors settled questions of the limits of technology - but of how much further we still have to go.

Today, you’re gonna hear from three people who had close encounters with wild animals - and have the scars to prove it.

You’ll hear how - and if - any of these people felt defined by their experiences, and what sense they’ve made out of their encounters. Plus, you’ll hear from a wildlife expert about what animals you should be careful to keep away from here in New England.

Claire Winter / Flickr Creative Commons

From ancient Egypt to Greek mythology, through Abrahamic religions, in ancient African and Native American spiritual traditions, in medieval Europe, and 16th century France (remember that Nostradamus guy?), humans have reliably attempted to predict the future, read minds, and communicate with the dead.

And at this moment in our history, with a pandemic, protests, an upcoming election, climate change... On top of the innate chaos of being a human being, it would surely be more psychologically manageable if we could somehow see into the future.

National Human Genome Research Institute / Flickr Creative Commons

Right now the world population is 7.8 billion, and growing fast. We have doubled our population over just the past 50 years!

Even though the population is growing, fertility rates, overall, are dropping. So, more people are here, but we’re having fewer babies. There’s a lot of reasons for that, and one of them is infertility. The CDC estimates that nearly one out of eight couples struggles to conceive, but because of assisted reproductive technology, we’re upping the population numbers in the United States. The CDC reports that almost 2 percent of all U.S. births annually - or about 4 million babies - are here as a result of things like in-vitro-fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, and egg donation.

Illustration by Chion Wolf

Last year, a 28 year-old guy in Mumbai tried to sue his parents - who are both lawyers - for having brought him into the world. He claims his parents didn’t get his consent to live. In addition to being a very bold person, he is an anti-natalist. That is, he believes that it is morally wrong to bring sentient life into this world - no matter how charmed or how troubled that life is - and that humanity should stop reproducing, full stop.

We’re all naked under our clothes. It’s when we take them off that things could get complicated.

I didn't want to be clothesminded, so in 2012 I did something that I had never done before. I took off all my clothes and spent time at Solair, a nudist resort in Woodstock, Connecticut, all in the name of radio. Then, I revisited the resort a few years later to go skinnydipping with four members of one family to find out what the nudist lifestyle means to their hearts, minds, and of course, bodies.

Décolleté Dekoltee / Pixabay

Imagine you’ve got breasts. It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine, because most every human being has’ em! And that means that most of us are candidates for breast cancer.

This hour, we hear very intimate conversations with two women who go through the process of getting a double mastectomy - the removal of all the breast tissue. One decides to get reconstruction, and one does not.

Speech disfluencies are mysterious. They are defined as breaks or disruptions that occur in the flow of speech.

For over 10 years, I was the midday host at Connecticut Public Radio, telling you the weather, the time, what show was coming up next — And at the top of every hour, the call letters.

Jumana Dakkur / Pexels.com

This hour, we talk about the role white people play in anti-racist work, and how we can all talk with young people about anti-racism.

You’ll hear from John Biewen, audio program director at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. He’s also the host and producer of Scene On Radio, a podcast that tells stories exploring human experience and American society. The second season of that series is called “Seeing White”. Through 14 episodes, it explores America’s deep history of white supremacy. Biewen, who is white, and his co-host and collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika, Assistant Professor at Rutgers University’s Department of Journalism and Media Studies, who is Black, talk about the manufacturing of the concept of race and the purpose of whiteness.

Gilad Raphaelli / Flickr Creative Commons

This hour, we’re starting at the end: Death.

Knowledge of our mortality affects almost everything about us. And lately, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, death is on our phones, in the headlines, and in the air.