Wednesday's Show

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Mormons, Native Americans, and the Indian Placement Program

From 1947 to 2000, the LDS Church ran the “Indian Student Placement Program.” It took 50,000 native children from reservations and placed them in Mormon homes. This effort to educate and convert them came naturally out of Mormon theology, which taught that Native Americans were descended from a lost tribe of Israel and were cursed for their wickedness. Wednesday, we’re talking about the program and what it reveals about Mormonism’s complicated relationship with Native Americans.

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Scars of Independence

Oct 17, 2017
by H. Charles McBarron, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, we’re taking a different look at the American Revolutionary War. We think of it as brave patriots fighting for a noble cause, which is true, but in his new book historian Holger Hoock is trying to remind us just how bloody it was. The British brutalized American soldiers; we tortured loyalists. In fact, this cruelty shaped the outcome of the war. Hoock’s book is called Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth  and he's joining us to talk about it. (Rebroadcast)

The Ends of the World

Oct 16, 2017
Mark Byzewski via Flickr (http://bit.ly/2kLZtoW), CC BY 2.0 (http://bit.ly/1mhaR6e)

Throughout human history, people have warned that the end of the world is coming. If it does, it won’t really be all that unique. You see, the world has already ended five times. Life on earth has been broiled, frozen, gassed, smothered, and asteroided out of existence. And scientists believe that those previous mass extinctions can teach us something about the one happening right now. Monday, science writer Peter Brannen joins us to explore the Earth’s past dead ends and what they mean for the future.


Henry David Thoreau famously went to Walden Pond to “live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life.” But as the scholar Laura Dassow Walls shows in a new biography, there was much more to Thoreau’s life and work than his brief experiment at Spartan living in the woods. He was an inventor, a manual laborer, a gifted naturalist, a writer of great originality, and an uncompromising abolitionist. Walls joins us Monday to explore Thoreau’s profound, complex, and influential life. (Rebroadcast)

Democracy in Chains

Oct 12, 2017


In an explosive new book, noted historian Nancy MacLean exposes the billionaire-funded campaign to upend democratic governance. Her controversial argument centers on one man: James McGill Buchanan. According to MacLean, it was Buchanan who, funded by the Koch brothers, devised the blueprints for a libertarian takeover of American politics. She joins us Wednesday to explore the radical right's plan to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize public education, and rewrite the Constitution.

ka2rina, CC via Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/ka2rina/1213155545/

Wednesday, Doug is live with reporter Rachel Monroe for a look at the world of essential oils and multi-level marketing. Monroe came to Utah to figure out how it is that essential oils became “the cure for our age of anxiety.” She says that using them and selling them isn’t just about money; these networks offer community, friendship, and an alternative to what many see as a failing medical system. But is it all it’s cracked up to be? Her article appears in the current issue of The New Yorker.

Public domain via Flickr, http://bit.ly/2y4mWaB

Following their silly romp through Arthurian legend, Monty Python took on something completely different for their second film. In it, the Pythons satirized the similarities between ancient Jerusalem and 1970s England: the terrorism, the authoritarians, the waning empires. And, oh yeah, they told a “shadow” version of the Christ story. Monty Python’s Life of Brian was a critical and commercial smash, and the subject of protests over its perceived blasphemy. Film scholar Darl Larsen joins us Tuesday to unpack one of the greatest comedies of all time.

When Bryan Fogel set out to make a documentary film about doping in cycling, he never figured he’d wind up in a global controversy. But that’s what happened. He met and befriended a talented Russian anti-doping scientist, Grigory Rodchenkov. Rodchenkov had actually been helping Russian athletes beat Olympic doping tests, at the behest of Vladimir Putin. Fogel’s film documents the unraveling of this conspiracy and the scientist-turned-whistleblower at its center. It’s called ICARUS, and Fogel joins us Monday to talk about it.

Historian Pamela Haag says there’s a mythology around American gun culture. The conventional wisdom is that since the Revolutionary War we’ve had some primal bond with our firearms. But Haag argues that our guns were once just another tool of everyday life and that the gun industry convinced us we needed to be armed. In her book, she follows the rise of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and the marketing campaign she says created our gun culture. Haag joins us Friday to tell the story. (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, we’re talking about Martin Luther. In the 16th century, he ignited a movement to rethink the traditions and beliefs of Christianity. He came to be seen as a heretic or revolutionary, but the historian Craig Harline said Luther never set out to be either of those things. He began as a cranky friar who obsessed about the fate of his soul. He went looking for answers, and when he found them, refused to keep his mouth shut. Harline has just written a new book called A World Ablaze.

 

Is there anybody out there? Is there life on other planets? If the answer is yes, and we can prove it, the physicist Jim Al-Khalili says that would be a revolutionary moment in science, up there with Copernicus proving that Earth is not the center of the universe. Considering the vastness of space, scientists mostly agree that somebody or something else is out there. Al-Khalili joins us Wednesday to explore where that life might be, what it might be like, and what would happen if we found it—or it found us. (Rebroadcast)

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