November 29th, 2013
We’ve all heard that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. The notion that men and woman are different is deeply inculcated in our culture. Yet today science, our growing understanding of the human genome and the interaction of culture and genetics, are giving us a far greater understanding of those differences.
Harvard Professor of the History of Science and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Sarah Richardson, in Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome, offers a compelling argument for the importance of an ongoing critical dialogue on how cultural conceptions both pre-judge, but also shape o
ur evolving gender roles.
Yet, like almost everything else in the realm of modern scientific discovery, different groups are happy and unhappy with the results of the science.
My conversation with Sarah Richardson:
November 29th, 2013
Let's face it, our attention spans have been decapitated by modernity. Our knowledge, criticism and even entertainment now comes to us in 140 neat characters. We ourselves can be critics, just by clicking on a “thumbs up.”
Today, serious commentary and serious criticism is in short supply. It's not gone..but it's in remission. One place it still survives is in the presence of James Wolcott and and his work, primarily today, on the pages of Vanity Fair.
My conversation with James Wolcott:
November 27th, 2013
For over thirty years, and through over thirty books Anne Rice has captivated us with her imaginative fiction. She has become one of the most beloved novelists of our time. With each new book or series, she not only reinvents herself, but reinvents whole new arenas of fiction. From the Vampire Chronicles, to her Christ the Lord books, to the world of angels.
Now she continues her move into the realm of werewolves. Where she still brings her own quite unique perspective. During a time of when we all face real dangers each day, she gives us a reason to escape into another world, but at the same time stay connected to our own. The Wolves of Midwinter: The Wolf Gift Chronicles is her latest.
My conversation with Anne Rice:
November 25th, 2013
When Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992, and came in second in the New Hampshire primary, he dubbed himself “the comeback kid.” The idea being that , Americans loved and admired the story of resurgence. The ability and the character to come back from seeming defeat. Perhaps no President's story embodies that more than FDR.
Struck down with polio at age thirty-eight, his polio not only further shaped his character, and honed what Oliver Wendell Holmes called “his first class temperament.” but perhaps it also taught him skills that he would need as he taught the nation to deal with and recover from the twin crises of war and depression.
My conversation with James Tobin:
November 23rd, 2013
Like almost everything else in our globalized world, education is now competitive. We are long past the time when American kids could stand on the ramparts and look down at the rest of the world. Even some of our most prestigious and wealthiest communities can’t compete with the “average” kids in places like Korea or Finland or Poland.
As is normal when we are under attack, our knee jerk reaction is to come up with excuses. We are more diverse, we are larger, we focus on different things and different values. Problem is, they are excuses. When the pencils are down, we fail. We fall far, far behind. But why? We often ask what we are doing wrong, but instead, Atlantic and Time journalist Amanda Ripley, asks and explores what are others are doing right.
Amanda Ripley spent one year following American teenagers living in Finland, South Korea and Poland. Her stories, reveal startling transformation. These countries got smarter not by spending more money or creating more tests, and they are not like Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average.
My Conversation with Amanda Ripley:
November 21st, 2013
If the assassination of a President took place today, we’d all know about it in a matter of seconds. Alerts, tweets, the Internet. We’d all have the same facts, literally in an instant. In a way that microsecond information impacts the way we process the news itself.
50 years ago, upon the assassination of JFK, this was not the case. The information came out slowly. Even on the streets of Dallas, news traveled by word of mouth, from person to person.
Bit by bit, drop by drop we lived the story over four remarkable days. The events, the images, the sounds had time to be absorbed into our pores, in a way that made it a part of our fabric, of the DNA of the American experience.
Perhaps that’s why those events, 50 years ago, still resonate so powerfully today. Now bestselling author James Swanson turns a laser like focus on the minute by minute events of the final days of our 35th president in End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy
My conversation with James Swanson: