history | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

history

Universal Studios Home Entertainment

A hard-boiled private eye, a glamorous blond, and a hapless drifter all sit at a bar on the seamy side of town. It's night, the streets are wet, the shadows are long. They each nurse a drink to the notes of a mournful saxophone and a lonely piano. Smoke from the cigarettes swirls in the darkness.

We all know classic noir when we see it and hear it and read it; yet, we don't really know how to define the dark plots that expose humanity in all its moral ambiguity and loneliness.

Portrait of "Flying Bird" Fidelia Fielding taken in 1902 in Mohegan, Connecticut
Courtesy of the Mohegan Tribe

The last fluent speaker of the Mohegan language, "Flying Bird" Fidelia Fielding, preserved her linguistic heritage in her extensive writings.

But Flying Bird’s writings have been separated from the tribe for years, in the possession of outside scholars, and even at one point nearly all lost in a fire.

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.

Jeopardy! has been part of the fabric of American TV, in a couple different forms and across a couple different breaks, since 1964. It is the longest-running nationally-televised game show in U.S. television history.

At the 2015 Emmys, John Oliver quipped, "The sun could burn out, humanity could flee to another galaxy, time as we know it could cease to exist, but Alex Trebek will still be there scolding librarians from Ames, Iowa, to answer in the form of a question."

Author photo of Rebecca F. Kuang
Kobi C. Felton

Rebecca F. Kuang started writing her first novel, The Poppy War, when she was just 19 years old. Now, the final installment in the author’s dark military fantasy series, The Burning God, comes out today.

This hour we talk with Kuang, who will also be starting a PhD program at Yale University in East Asian Languages and Literature. She has pursued an extensive academic career in modern Chinese studies—while also writing Nebula and Locus award-nominated fantasy novels.

Kuang’s stories weave the fantastic with her deep knowledge of twentieth century Chinese history.

Have you been reading The Poppy War trilogy?

Thomas Hart / Wikimedia Commons

Benedict Arnold's reputation as a traitor instead of a skilled warrior and confidante of George Washington, has become accepted history in the minds of Americans living hundreds of years removed from our founding. But that's too simple a story.  

Apple

The world has an Alex Trebek-shaped hole in it. Which raises a question: Who should fill said hole?

Billie Eilish has a new single out this week, which got The Nose thinking about her now-in-limbo James Bond theme song, which got The Nose thinking about James Bond theme songs in general.

And: Ted Lasso is a half-hour comedy series on AppleTV+. It stars Jason Sudeikis as the title character, and it's based on a character Sudeikis developed in 2013 for a series of promos for NBC Sports's Premier League coverage, of all things.

The Flap Over Flags

Nov 12, 2020
WonderWhy / Creative Commons

On the surface, a flag is a piece of cloth with pretty colors and designs. That's the thing with flags. They're often judged on their aesthetics, but their power lies in how well their design captures the culture, religion, politics, and history of a place and its people. 

Gage Skidmore / flickr creative commons

On most Mondays, we scramble around trying to put together a show reacting to the weekend's news.

But being that nothing much happened over this weekend, we decided just to take your calls this hour.

860-275-7266. Call in and talk to Colin about how you're feeling at the start of this new day, this new week -- this new era.

Netflix, Inc.

Since nothing has really been going on lately, we figured we'd do an hour about the week in pop culture, as usual.

The Nose is sad to see Sean Connery go. But it's glad to see John Mulaney on SNL again.

And: The Queen's Gambit is Netflix's new limited series adaptation of the Walter Tevis novel of the same name.

Illustration by Chion Wolf

Veterans Day is November 11th. Unlike Memorial Day, when we remember those who’ve died while serving in the military, and unlike Armed Services day, when we honor those who are currently serving, Veterans Day recognizes all people - living and dead - who have served in the military.

Illustration by Chion Wolf, candy corn photo by Skeeze on Pixabay

This hour, visit a West Hartford history professor’s eye-opening Halloween display about Black Lives Matter and Covid-19, and hear what passersby think of it.

Amazon.com, Inc.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (on Amazon Prime) is a sequel to 2006's Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Sacha Baron Cohen returns as the titular character.

And: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (on Netflix) is Aaron Sorkin's film depiction of the 1969 trial of Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale. Here, Baron Cohen plays Hoffman.

Artist's reproduction of Caihong juji, a dinosaur with iridescent feathers. Guest Julia Clarke was co-lead author on the paper which describe the species.
Velizar Simeonovski / Field Museum

When you think about a dinosaur what springs to mind? Probably something with giant teeth, but is it grey and scaly like a lizard? What about the sound it makes? Does it have a roar like a supersized lion?

Earlier this month Where We Live producer Carmen Baskauf moderated a virtual event with paleontologist Julia Clarke, a lecture presented by the Yale Peabody Museum.

Clarke studies the evolution of dinosaurs—including birds—and in her research, Clarke takes on questions that seem impossible to answer, like: What color were dinosaurs? And what might a Tyrannosaurus rex sound like?

Daniel Huizinga / Creative Commons

A lot of people are wondering if it's time to look at ">court packing," and other court reforms, to address judiciary dysfunction that we can see playing out during this election and in the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett. 

Shudder

It's our annual Halloween special! For this year, the script kind of wrote itself. We look at the way our current, actual horror is likely to affect our future fictional horror through the lens of the genre's past distinct historical eras.

Plus: A new study that seems to say that horror fans were better prepared for the pandemic than the wimpy rest of us were.

And: Every year on this show, for no particular reason, we look specifically at some classic horror movie that's celebrating its 40th anniversary. Two years ago, it was Halloween. Last year, it was Alien. This year, it's Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.

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?

Harli Marten / Unsplash

Fill in the blank: Love is… Patient. Kind. Love is Work. Hard to find.

But if you wanna put your finger on what makes up “long-lasting love”, you’re gonna need some wisdom to fill in those blanks.

So today, meet three couples who’ve been together for over 50 years.

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.

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.

Linnaea Mallette / Need Pix

Although we are in a pandemic, that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on our favorite fall activities. 

This hour, we hear from the Connecticut Historical Society about how Mexican Americans are finding ways to celebrate Día de Muertos this year. 

New York Public Library

Do you know how to make an Election Cake? What about the history of the Connecticut Witch Hunters

This hour, state historian Walt Woodward joins us to talk about his new book Creating Connecticut: Critical Moments That Shaped a Great State and answer all your questions about the Nutmeg state, starting with why do we call Connecticut the Nutmeg State? 

Elodie Reed / Vermont Public Radio

What we don’t learn in school can matter as much as the lessons we do learn. In this fourth and final episode of a special radio series on “Racism In New England,” we talk to teachers and students about the harm of omitting stories and cultures from curricula — and how we can do better.

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.

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.

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."

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.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Here’s the story that New England tells itself: Racism is a Southern problem.

But our region’s abolitionist past hides a darker history of racism, slavery and segregation. It’s a legacy that lives with us today. 

Pages