The Colin McEnroe Show | Connecticut Public Radio
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The Colin McEnroe Show

Weekdays at 1:00 pm and 10:00 pm and Saturdays at noon

“The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately.” — Thomas Paine

The Colin McEnroe Show endeavors to prove Paine correct, every weekday. While the topics are unpredictable from one day to the next (previous show topics include whistling, placebos, politics, the nature of divinity, Barbra Streisand, bedbugs, human hydration, dinosaurs, unreliable narrators, ugliness, and raccoons), what is always assured is that a thoughtful, smart, and interesting exploration and conversation with amazing guests will take place about something.

Colin McEnroe is an author, playwright, professor, columnist, and blogger, who is allergic to penicillin and enjoys photographing his dog wearing hats and publishing those photos to the internet.

While we are live, call us at 888-720-WNPR. That's 888-720-9677. 

You can email us anytime at colinshow@ctpublic.org. To reach us in the newsroom when we're not on air, call 860-275-7272.

Contact Colin McEnroe Show Producers:

The Senior Director is Catie Talarski. The Technical Producer is Cat Pastor.

Are you looking for our Radio for the Deaf broadcasts? Those are all collected under our very special, and, if you don't mind us saying so, very nice looking RFTD site.

Ruth Hartnup / flickr creative commons

We wake up to coffee from a pod, listen to music through our EarPods from our iPods, drive our Smart cars and Fiats and other increasingly pod-shaped vehicles, wash our clothes using Tide pods, and while we wait for the clothes to dry, we listen to our favorite podcast through our AirPods from our HomePod. Sound about right?

Donkey Hotey / Creative Commons

The Trump Administration continues to downplay the pandemic, Vice-President Mike Pence campaigns even as staff members in his inner circle test positive for SARS-CoV-2, and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," that the Administration is no longer going to control the pandemic.

HBO

It has come to The Nose's attention that you can rent an entire movie theater out for just $99 and have yourself a slightly less pandemic-panicky moviegoing experience. Which got us thinking about, just, going to the movies. Remember going to the movies?

And then: "Which of the Hollywood Chrises is the worst Hollywood Chris?" is a question the internet has been grappling with recently. As with all things internet, there's now a bit of a controversy.

And: David Byrne's American Utopia is Spike Lee's HBO movie version of Byrne's American Utopia Broadway show, which is a theater version of Byrne's American Utopia tour, which Byrne did in support of his album, American Utopia.

Michael Winters / flickr creative commons

Secession is in the air. Britain withdrew from the European Union, Scotland wants out of the U.K., Catalonia from Spain, and, wait for it, California from the U.S. Yes, the days of our country's states being united may soon come to an end.

Andry Fridman / Creative Commons

In the 1990's, the Southport Sockmen, otherwise known as Steven Bain and Steven Gawthrop, paid drunk people in Liverpool bars and clubs to give them the socks they were wearing. The Sockmen took photos of each “donor,” before placing each sock and its matching donor photo in a plastic bag. The police found 4,000 pairs of socks piled 18 inches deep when they arrived to arrest the pair for "acts of gross indecency." The socks were also hanging from the furniture and lampshades - and some were in the microwave. 

Alyssa L. Miller / Creative Commons

Our ancestors viewed sleep as a highly sensual and transcendent experience. Today, about a third of adults have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or feeling rested. We're becoming a nation of insomniacs.

Mike Licht / Creative Commons

Donald Trump asked journalist Tony Schwartz to ghostwrite his memoir, "The Art of the Deal," because Trump liked the unflattering story Schwartz wrote for New York magazine, about Trump's effort to evict rent-controlled tenants from his Manhattan apartment building. Schwartz agreed and has been atoning for that decision ever since. 

HBO Max

Bill Burr hosted Saturday Night Live last weekend, and his monologue -- which included bits about wearing masks, cancel culture, white women in the "woke" movement, Pride Month, and more -- has drawn some criticism. It has The Nose thinking about "How President Trump Ruined Political Comedy."

And: The West Wing ran for seven seasons and 156 episodes and ended more than 14 years ago. A new reunion special debuted yesterday, and it's got The Nose wondering how the classic show -- with its Capraesque, idealized vision of American politics -- plays against our present reality.

Right-Wing Extremism

Oct 15, 2020
Anthony Crider / Creative Commons

The pandemic, coupled with Black Lives Matter protests, and incendiary rhetoric from President Trump, has riled up anti-government militias across the US, most evident in the recent foiled plot by militia groups in Michigan, to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer. 

FX Productions, LLC

Undoubtedly, the thing that will most be remembered from Wednesday night's vice presidential debate is the fly that landed on Mike Pence's hair... and then stay there for more than two minutes. The Nose isn't sure what to make of that, exactly, but things are definitely being made of it.

And: Fargo is an anthology that premiered on FX in 2014. It's inspired by the Coen brothers' 1996 film. The fourth season, which is airing now, stars Chris Rock, Jessie Buckley, and Jason Schwartzman, and it's set in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1950.

Bernardo Wolff / Creative Commons

The populist backlash that led to the election of President Trump was decades in the making.  Like other populist leaders around the world, Trump gave voice to the resentment directed toward “elites” who devalue the hard work and dignity of workers without college degrees.

We Like To Watch

Oct 7, 2020
Jana Vanden Eynde / flickr creative commons

For decades, we didn't take television seriously. We saw it as ephemeral, as "chewing gum for the eyes," as, literally, furniture.

And then, around the turn of the century, things started to change. There was The Sopranos. The Wire. And, at the same time, shows like Big Brother and The Amazing Race. For Emily Nussbaum, it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer that forever changed her take on television.

This hour: A serious appraisal of television with The New Yorker's television critic.

Tia Dulfour / The White House

President Trump was quick to downplay the pandemic upon his return from Walter Reed in a tweeted video encouraging people not to let the virus dominate or scare them. He said they would beat the virus, just as he's convinced himself that he's got his licked.

The president's attitude reflects a reality that denies the 209,000 (and counting) people who have already died from the virus and a stunning inability to admit weakness. Unfortunately, the nation has to pay for it.

Netflix, Inc.

It's been over 100 years since the first cartoons were drawn by hand. Since then, the form has delved into everything from sex and drugs to racial inequality and war crimes. Even the tamest, G-rated cartoons have often found ways of slipping in adult humor past the eyes of younger viewers.

Cartoons have been the vehicle for government propaganda, social change, and political satire. Some have been boycotted and even banned for their content while others have been deemed masterpieces and praised by critics for their bold message and style.

Showtime

The Nose had planned to discuss The Danish Girl star Eddie Redmayne standing up for J.K. Rowling and Rolling Stone updating their "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list.

But then some news broke overnight.

Perhaps fittingly, though, The Nose watched Showtime's new miniseries, The Comey Rule, this week.

Tom / Creative Commons

A 2019 YouGov survey says that 20 percent of American adults "definitely" believe in ghosts; another twenty-five percent believe they "probably exist."

And, while no data yet proves it, there's a good chance that quarantining at home during the pandemic has led more people to wonder where those nighttime creaks and groans are coming from.  

Some skeptics say that seeing ghosts is part of the human experience and far too common an occurrence for everyone who thinks they see a ghost to be crazy. But there are a lot of reasons to explain why we sincerely believe we're seeing a ghost. Yet, it's hard to convince people otherwise - even when confronted with evidence to the contrary.

In the end, psychologists can offer explanations but no one can definitively prove ghosts don't exist. 

Johannes Gärtner / flickr creative commons

Nietzsche called Richard Wagner "a volcanic eruption of the total undivided artistic capacity of nature itself," and Thomas Mann said he was "probably the greatest talent in the entire history of art."

More than a thousand movies have Wagner on their soundtracks, including classic scenes from Apocalypse Now, The Blues Brothers, Bugs Bunny cartoons, and Charlie Chaplin.

But, there's a reason Woody Allen says too much of Wagner's music gives him "the urge to conquer Poland." Wagner is nothing if not a problematic figure. As the new book Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music puts it, "An artist who might have rivaled Shakespeare in universal reach is undone by an ideology of hate."

Tiffany Bailey / Creative Commons

We tend to focus on the physical ailments that can arise from being fat more than how fat shaming can affect the mental health of people who are fat.

Nor do we think of how our culture (and the media) perpetuate the notion that fat people aren't desirable enough for love and intimacy. That's flat-out wrong. Sex is a physical act that is deeply influenced by how our mind perceives desire.

Frankie Leon / Creative Commons

At a news briefing last week, President Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition. Now, we're all talking about it.

Pop TV

The Nose has been contemplating covering the controversy around the The Ellen DeGeneres Show literally for months now. The show returned with a new season of new episodes this week, and Ellen addressed allegations of a toxic work environment in her monologue.

And: The CBC series Schitt's Creek has been endorsed on any number of Noses over the years, but we've never actually covered it. But then, after it won literally ever Emmy in the comedy category on Sunday (a feat no show has ever before achieved), we decided that this week had to be the week.

Nicolas Boullosa / Creative Commons

One of the few silver linings of the pandemic has been a resurgence of interest in motels and RV life from a diverse group of millennials who want safe and less expensive options to travel and work during a pandemic.

And motels and RV companies are trying to meet the demand with upgrades and amenities like flat-screen TVs, memory-foam mattresses, and free Wi-Fi.

Some are turning to RV life permanently to travel, live, and work from where they want instead of being tethered to a desk and real estate. The pandemic has shown us that millennials who have never known the security of stable jobs or home ownership feel more "at home" outside traditional places.

Andrew E. Larsen / flickr creative commons

Kurt Andersen's last book, Fantasyland, looks at America's "centuries-old weakness for the untrue and irrational, and its spontaneous and dangerous flowering since the 1960s" and how it got us where we are today.

His new book, Evil Geniuses, is a kind of sequel, a companion. It's a parallel history, really, that looks more closely at "the quite deliberate reengineering of our economy and society since the 1960s."

This hour, public radio great Kurt Andersen on "the unmaking of America."

Gage Skidmore / flickr creative commons

Bill Murray has starred in some of our favorite movies of the last few decades: Caddyshack, Stripes, Tootsie, Ghostbusters, Scrooged, What About Bob?, Groundhog Day, Ed Wood, Space Jam, Lost in Translation, all the Wes Anderson films, and so many more.

He doesn't like managers or agents, and, rumor has it, he once agreed to play Garfield because he thought it was a Coen brothers film. (It wasn't.)

And now, Bill Murray is 70 (!) years old.

Yash Mori / Creative Commons

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday evening, breaking the hearts of generations of women -- and men -- who have benefited from her work guaranteeing our rights to equal treatment under the law.

That same evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that a Trump nominee to replace Ginsburg would receive a vote on the floor of the Senate. By Saturday, President Trump was claiming he had an "obligation" to replace her, "without delay." The loss is larger than either man could understand.

Netflix, Inc.

Kim Kardashian and other celebrities "froze" their Facebook and Instagram accounts for one day this week "to protest the spread of hate speech and misinformation on those platforms." Meanwhile, Kardashian's husband had the strange sort of week that we've maybe grown to expect from him, but seemingly with more public peeing in it than we're maybe used to.

And: Cuties (Mignonnes in the original French) is the feature film debut of Senegalese-French writer and director Maïmouna Doucouré. The movie's release on Netflix has been controversial, to say the least.

Olgierd Rudak / Creative Commons

We produced our first show on masks in the spring of 2020. It was when most of us were isolated at home to sidestep the life-threatening illness we've come to call "COVID." The show was about how rapidly masks had become a statement of political identity.

The intensity of the mask battles has begun to calm as we've acclimated to the pervasiveness of masks in our lives. Like them or not, they're here to stay, and they've begun to leave a lasting imprint on our culture.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

Bob Woodward is 77 years old. He's in his 50th year at The Washington Post. And he just yesterday published his 20th book.

Rage is Woodward's second book about the Trump presidency. Two years ago, on the day after the first one came out, we did a show about it.

So we've gotten that band mostly back together again, and we've spent the last 30 or so hours cramming.

Joe Giron / www.pokerphotoarchive.com

Maria Konnikova, best-selling New York Times author and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, has long been interested in understanding the balance between skill and luck. How much of her life could she take credit for and how much was the luck of her draw? So, she took a year away from work to become a professional poker player. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Black Americans are more likely to be infected from COVID-19, be incarcerated, live in poverty, and/or be killed by the police than white Americans. It took a pandemic and the killing of George Floyd to crystallize those facts.

Netflix, Inc.

It's been a week of ending things, really. Keeping Up with the Kardashians is ending after 20 seasons. Diana Rigg -- Emma Peel on The Avengers and Lady Olenna on Game of Thrones, among many other things -- died at 82. And, of course, people are trying to end the whole world with their gender reveal parties.

And then there's I'm Thinking of Ending Things. It's Charlie Kaufman's first movie for Netflix, and it stars Jesse Plemons and Jessie Buckley. It's based on Iain Reid's novel of the same name, which makes it the first movie Kaufman's ever directed not from his own original screenplay.

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