Christopher Lydon julkinen
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How’s to rescue the Earth from us people? Rachel Carson’s way – 60 years ago – was to write a book, and call it Silent Spring. She’d been a shy but defiant biologist in government service. Her book had science behind it, and the rhythm of poetry all through it: one woman’s outcry—as she herself was dying of cancer—against pesticides, most notorious…
 
This show was originally broadcast on December 5, 2019. Origin stories can be educated guesses, or leaps of collective imagination as to who we are, how we got to this point. The Big Bang is one kind, Adam and Eve make another. 1492 and 1776 are American starting points. The argument gets stickier around 1620, when Mayflower Pilgrims landed on Plym…
 
Our unipolar moment may be remembered as the United States’ turn as “king of the hill,” two decades or so between the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rocket rise of China’s economy. What comes next is the open question. Multipolarity is the tentative answer we’re getting at the end of 2022: it’s a spirit of “getting to know you” again, in a ne…
 
The hatching of a New Right Republican party, under fire, is the substance of this radio hour. It was simpler in Gilbert and Sullivan when the song said: every boy and every gal that’s born into the world alive was either a little liberal, or else a little conservative. The difference this year is the multiple relabelings of Republicans on the righ…
 
Finally, there’s a word for it: the polycrisis, to describe the multiple messes we’re in. Our guest the historian Adam Tooze says it’s a polycrisis when old crises like war, weather, and disease are breeding deadly new variants of anxiety and danger. It’s a polycrisis when you feel the old world you knew is undergoing not change but transformation.…
 
Talking time around the war in Ukraine may be approaching. This radio hour may be a moment in that trend: reaching out for strong views we hadn’t heard, in head-on disagreement about the morality and the meanings of the war. Ukraine can be hard to talk about, not least because the blind killing since the Russian invasion and the risks of nuclear es…
 
Next on the global agenda comes Taiwan, the island off China once known as Formosa, meaning shapely, beautiful. Today it’s a puzzle with moving parts: a not-quite nation of 24 million people that has two jealous imperial sponsors—the giants US and China, heading toward their own historic breakdown in relations. The deepest truth about Taiwan, some …
 
Try a simple riddle, about the time and climate we Americans are living in, today: Do we call it (a) wartime or (b) peacetime? Tense time, for sure, and there’s war in the headlines. But we’re not at war, not declared war anyway. There’s no draft, and no body bags coming home that we notice. War spending is up steeply, but it’s on weaponry for fara…
 
The conversation about a world in disarray feels urgent, elusive, etherized. Who will name this crisis and the roots of it: war, tribalism, maldistributed money, and pain, exceptionalism for rich people, maybe, for a rich nation in a poor world? Historians are the guides we turn to first, for the big picture, the connections between, say, a brutal …
 
This show first aired on May 19, 2022. George Orwell said, “It’s so easy to be witty about the British Empire.” As in the throwaway line that English people had conquered the world in a fit of absentmindedness. No big deal. But that empire was no joke. Boris Johnson, in the Prime Minister’s office today, says he can’t forget that his nation over th…
 
This show was first broadcast on October 31, 2019. H. P. Lovecraft’s frightful horror fiction—dated between Edgar Allan Poe’s and Stephen King’s—is the weirdest of the weird. Lovecraft found ravenous, man-eating rats in the walls and foundations of our houses, and in our hearts and dreams just as creepily. For Halloween readers, he gave us ocean mo…
 
This show was first broadcast on April 1, 2021. You must remember this, the song says. In fact, it’s hard to forget at Oscar time every April, that Casablanca, the Best Picture of 1942, was an all-time pinnacle of black-and-white Hollywood. To this day, it’s the whole world’s favorite American movie, for so many odd reasons — like the love triangle…
 
This show first aired on May 31, 2018. The Studs Terkel edge on the radio was, first of all, picking guests who would sound more interesting 50, 60 years later: Mahalia Jackson, Bucky Fuller, Toni Morrison, Bertrand Russell. Simone de Beauvoir on her Second Sex. Federico Fellini on La Dolce Vita. David Mamet on his Glengarry, Glen Ross. Aaron Copla…
 
This show is a rerun. This week sees the opening of The End of the Tour, an updated My Dinner with Andre about David Foster Wallace’s book tour in 1996 for his immeasurable novel, Infinite Jest. On that tour Wallace stopped by our old show, The Connection, and put forward a pitch: his America — better protected, educated, and entertained than ever …
 
This show originally aired on August 9, 2018. The Shostakovich story — man and music in the apocalypse of world war and Cold War — seems to get more frightfully irresistible with every remembrance, every new CD in the Boston Symphony’s Grammy winning series. With Stravinsky and Prokofiev in the trio of Russia’s 20th century immortals, Shostakovich …
 
This show first aired on November 11, 2021. George Orwell rests now with the immortal English writers. But why? For impact and influence, you could argue that Orwell in his novels and essays matched Shakespeare, Milton, Dickens—John Lennon, too. Orwell called out the Big Brother barbarism of the twentieth century, but he was more than the author of…
 
This show first aired on December 2, 2021. Giant questions this hour, and a slew of fresh answers: Where do we humans come from? Who are we, after all? Where are we going? Was our pre-history a Garden of Eden, or a nasty war of survival, or some of both? Are we human beings good or evil, by the way? Pretty much the same, the world around, or many d…
 
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