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An Ode To Ink

14 hours ago
Mary T Moore / flickr creative commons

From ancient scrolls to modern toner cartridges, ink (in one form or another) has been around for millennia. And while we may take it for granted now, for much of that time, it was a precious and coveted substance.

Ink makers closely guarded their recipes; spy agencies developed secret, invisible ink formulations; and even now, billions are spent to create the perfect printer inks.

This hour, we look back at the history of ink and ask whether its heyday might be coming to a close.

Photo taken by PepBear at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston / Creative Commons

We don't do grief very well in this country. We don't talk about it, we get uncomfortable around it, and in some mind-twisting way, we hope grief will leave us alone if we pretend it doesn't exist. But that's not how grief works.

Even professionals trained in grief tend to pathologize it when those living in grief don't 'get over it' or 'recover ' from it fast enough. 

Today, a hard look at grief, including how to survive it and how we can all better support those who are living in it.

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Betsy Kaplan has been producing episodes of The Colin McEnroe Show for a decade. Today is her last day. (Ostensibly, anyway. She's producing our show next Monday, which isn't really how last days are supposed to work. But it's very much how Betsy Kaplan works.) The Nose is crestfallen.

And: In the Heights is the big (and/or small) screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's multiple Tony Award-winning musical. It is directed by Jon M. Chu and stars Anthony Ramos. It debuted in theaters and on HBOMax on Thursday.

HARU_Q / flickr creative commons

Everybody loves a bulldozer. In fact, we all grew up loving bulldozers, didn't we? From Benny the Bulldozer to Katy and her big snow, from all the Tonka toys to all the die cast model Caterpillars, the bulldozer is more of an icon in American popular culture than we maybe realize.

But the first scholarly "biography of the bulldozer" argues that there's a darker side to the demolition and clearance that gives these big machines purpose. And then, maybe there is a certain violence inherent here too.

a copy of the book THE CHOSEN AND THE BEAUTIFUL lies next to a copy of THE GREAT GATSBY
Carmen Baskauf / Connecticut Public

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby has dazzled readers for nearly a century. This year, 96 years after publication, The Great Gatsby has entered the public domain.

This hour, we talk with Gatsby expert Maureen Corrigan about the novel’s legacy.

bixentro / flickr creative commons

The word "bastard" hasn't always been meant to offend. Used simply as an indication of illegitimate birth at first, the label "bastard" didn't bring with it shame or stigma until long after it first appeared in the Middle Ages.

Today, while its original meaning has not been forgotten, its use is largely reserved for insult. Yet, ironically, the underdog status once associated with a person of illegitimate birth is now something our modern culture celebrates.

From Alexander Hamilton to Game of Thrones's Jon Snow, the bastard's ability to rise above his or her unfortunate circumstances to achieve greatness has become something to root for.

Betsy Kaplan

Francisco Goldman made a big choice as a young man. He chose to spend a year in Guatemala living with his uncle instead of pursuing the MFA he could have had from a prestigious school offering him a full scholarship. It turned out to be one of the most consequential decisions of his early life. 

Today, Colin talks with Francisco about his new novel, Monkey Boy, a story about the legacy of violence on a family, and much more, including how his decision to go to Guatemala has shaped his life. 

Carol Rosegg

Thornton Wilder's Our Town debuted more than 80 years ago. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and, over the decades since, it has continuously been one of the most produced of American plays.

It is known for its spare set -- just some chairs and tables, perhaps some ladders -- and lack of props and sometimes even costumes. It's known for its metatheatricality and its Stage Manager character, who addresses the audience directly and rarely participates in the action of the play, as much as there really is any.

It is known as old-fashioned, sentimental, nostalgic and, simultaneously, obviously and intentionally not old-fashioned, sentimental, and nostalgic.

This hour, a look at perhaps the quintessential American play: Our Town.

Roya Hakakian came to the US as a refugee from Iran when she was just a teenager.

Now, the Connecticut author and poet has drawn on her life story to create a “guidebook” about the immigrant experience.

This hour, Hakakian joins us to talk about her new book, A Beginner’s Guide To America.

We want to hear from you, too. How has the history and experience of immigration in your family shaped your experience as an American?

Bill Smith / Creative Commons

Profanity used to be about someone swearing insincerely to God. Then the Reformation came along and made profanity about sex and the body. 

Today, our most unspeakable words are slurs against other groups at a time when BLM, #MeToo, and cancel culture are driving our cultural narrative.

We talk about the past, present, and future of profanity. 

Blink!

Apr 30, 2021
Designed by macrovector_official at Freepik.com

When I say BLINK! What do you think? 

Of that American POW who blinked the word “TORTURE” in Morse code live on Vietnamese television? 

Or do you think of someone with locked-in syndrome who can only communicate by blinking? 

Trevor / flickr creative commons

As we were preparing for our show on underdogs, I kept saying that we shouldn't overlook the fact that, often, to be an underdog in the first place, you have to be relatively bad at the thing you’re an underdog about.

The more we talked about it, the more I found myself making the case that losers and losing are fascinating.

And they are. There's a whole podcast about political candidates who lost. We romanticize losers in movies and TV and songs and stories.

Pandemic Baking projects
Lucy Nalpathanchil

With no commute to work and no gathering with friends, how have you been spending time during this pandemic?

This hour, we talk about pandemic hobbies and the lifelong benefits of having a hobby. 

Whether you are baking sourdough bread, or learning a new language - we want to hear from you! What’s your pandemic hobby? 

MARCO VERCH / flickr creative commons

Seriously: a show about towels.

There's the history of towels, towels in Christianity, Terrible Towels, Towel Day.

Oh, and there are actual towels too.

Because when has a bad idea ever stopped us before?

Werner Schutz / Creative Commons

We're so caught up in fetishizing (mostly) female breasts in film, literature, art, and in the anatomy-defying breasts of comic book heroines, that we overlook the breast as a vital source of food and and as a body part vulnerable to cancer, including young women under forty. How often should we get that mammogram? To breastfeed - or not?

Lastly, how come men can go topless in America but women can't?

Janus Films

André Gregory has directed and acted in the theater for more than 50 years. He has appeared in a number of movies, including Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, Woody Allen's Celebrity, Brian De Palma's The Bonfire of the Vanities, Peter Weir's The Mosquito Coast, and many more. He has starred in three movies about the theater with the playwright, actor, and comedian Wallace Shawn: A Master Builder, Vanya on 42nd Street, and the iconic My Dinner with Andre.

Gregory's memoir is This Is Not My Memoir. He joins us for the hour.

Bernardo Wolff / Creative Commons

Americans like to believe we live in a meritocracy but the odds are stacked in favor of the already lucky and fortunate. We congratulate the "winners" and humiliate the "losers," who are told to better themselves or carry the burden of their failure. 

The 2016 election of Donald 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.

Picasa / Google

The jury will begin deliberations later today on whether George Floyd's death was caused by his inability to breathe under the weight of Derek Chauvin. Breathing is so automatic that we don't think about it until lung disease, dirty air, poor breathing habits and, now, COVID-19 and police brutality make it hard to do.

We take breathing for granted; we don't breathe deep enough, we breathe too much, and we often breathe through our mouths instead of our noses. 

Bruce Andersen / Wikimedia Commons

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof recently wrote a column proclaiming that "America Is Not Made for People Who Pee." It hit a nerve. People responded with stories that all seemed to agree with him.

So, why don't we complain about locked doors, long lines (for women), or the lack of a public toilet where one should be? Lezlie Lowe might say that we don't like to talk about bodily functions that are perceived as kind of, well, gross.

THIERRY EHRMANN / flickr creative commons

Popeye. The World According to Garp. Good Morning, Vietnam. Dead Poets Society. Awakenings. The Fisher King. Aladdin. Mrs. Doubtfire. Jumanji. The Birdcage. Good Will Hunting. What Dreams May Come. One Hour Photo. Death to Smoochy. Insomnia. Night at the Museum.

And that's just a super-abbreviated version of Robin Williams's filmography. And it completely ignores his career as one of the all-time great standup comedians. And it ignores Mork & Mindy. And Comic Relief. And so much more.

This hour: A look at Robin Williams, who would've turned 70 this year.

Ajay Suresh / Creative Commons

Fox News broadcast the first episode of Greg Gutfeld's new late-night show, Gutfeld!, earlier this month. They're betting that Gutfeld can turn his talk show format into a successful late-night comedy show for conservatives. The problem is that conservatives don't do political satire any better than liberals do opinion talk radio.

Dannagal Young believes that opinion talk is political satire for the right and political satire is opinion programming for the left. They serve the same purpose; both formats are responses to a lack of trust in mainstream media. Which one appeals to each of us depends less on how "smart" we are and more on how we process information.

PBS

At Connecticut Public, there's a smallish corner conference room thing that we think of as The Crying Room. I, personally, haven't ever seen anyone cry in there, but I've had my suspicions. In any case, where people go to cry is part of the essential geography of the modern office. On the other hand, do we even have offices anymore?

And: Hemingway is a three-part PBS documentary directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. It premiered this week, and all 5½ hours are streamable now.

Martha Hall Kelly

Connecticut resident Martha Hall Kelly is back with a new book, Sunflower Sisters. This hour, she joins us to talk about the third and final installment following Caroline Ferriday’s family. This book centers on three women during the Civil War; Georgeanna Woolsey, Jemma and Anne-May. 

 

ALONSO NICHOLS

Jennifer De Leon grew up attending mostly white schools in the Boston area, where she tried to fit in.

“I was in this mode of survival and assimilation,” said De Leon, an author and assistant professor of creative writing at Framingham State University in Massachusetts.

Douglas Fernandes / Creative Commons

After a year of pandemic, we're all itching to break from the restrictions of the pandemic. We want to travel and explore. It makes sense; we're hard-wired to explore. Our ancestors would not have survived absent the drive to seek food and safety from the dangers of the day. Safe and satiated, they later sought new lands to conquer and later still, to escape the constraints and cruelties of rapid industrialization.

If the recent pandemic left you yearning to explore, you might be inspired by this show we first aired in 2017. 

Roya Hakakian came to the US as a refugee from Iran when she was just a teenager.

Now, the Connecticut author and poet has drawn on her life story to create a “guidebook” about the immigrant experience.

This hour, Hakakian joins us to talk about her new book, A Beginner’s Guide To America.

We want to hear from you, too. How has the history and experience of immigration in your family shaped your experience as an American?

jseliger2 / Creative Commons

Writer and essayist Lauren Oyler, joins Colin to talk about Fake Accounts, her new novel on internet culture. They'll also talk about literary fiction, cultural criticism, ghostwriting, and her staunch defense of semicolons, among other things.

Lauren Oyler will be at the Mark Twain House & Museum, Tuesday, March 23, 7-8 pm. The event is free. You can register at marktwainhouse.org

Green Fuse Films Inc.

On the one hand, obituaries are an amalgam of a bunch of different kinds of journalism: they're feature stories, they're profile pieces, they cover history, and they're hard news too.

On the other hand, the subject is always... dead.

Discovery Communications, LLC

Criminal Minds. Mindhunter and Manhunt. Cracker and Profiler. Nearly the whole of the Hannibal Lecter universe: Manhunter, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal (the movie and the TV series), Red Dragon, and now Clarice.

It seems we're fascinated by forensic psychology, by mindhunting, by criminal profiling.

This hour, we look at three different criminal profilers: James Brussel, the psychologist who helped catch the Mad Bomber of New York in 1957; James Fitzgerald, the forensic linguist who caught the Unabomber; and Bill James, the father of sabermetrics, turns his data analysis on a century-old serial killer mystery that no one had even realized was a serial killer mystery before he and his daughter figured it out.

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