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Wonder Woman

Great girdle of Aphrodite! Monday, historian Jill Lepore joins Doug to tell the story of Wonder Woman, who she calls the “missing link” in the women’s rights struggles of the 20th century. Wonder Woman was created by psychologist William Marston, whose own family was very, very complicated and deeply influenced by the suffrage movement. We’ll talk about Wonder Woman’s feminist roots, the “new type of woman” Marston had in mind, and her influence on the women’s lib movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
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Mary Norris has spent more than three decades in The New Yorker's copy editing department, maintaining the magazine’s high standards for grammar, punctuation, and style. In a new book, she shares her vast knowledge, good cheer, and sharp pencil with the rest of us. It’s partly a book of practical advice on language usage, and it also offers a peek inside the hallowed halls of one of the world’s most important publications. Norris joins us Friday to share what she's learned as a self-proclaimed "comma queen." [Rebroadcast]

The days of the gallant, pure-of-heart superhero are numbered. That’s how cultural critic Chuck Klosterman sees it. He says we just can’t relate to them anymore. For many adults, it’s the villain who holds the most appeal. And though we don’t condone their malevolence, Klosterman says the flawed and complex nature of villains makes them more like us. Klosterman joins guest host Matt LaPlante Wednesday to investigate the nature of villainy and to ask why we’re so drawn to black-hatted bad guys.

Wednesday, our guest is Biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan, whose latest book explores the bipolar nature of divine violence in both the Old and New Testaments. On the one hand, God and Jesus assert messages of love and equity for mankind. Then suddenly, plowshares are beaten into swords and horses are up to their bridles in blood. Crossan joins guest host Elaine Clark to discuss whether God is violent or nonviolent and what the answer tells us about ourselves and the civilizations we’ve built.

The Big Fat Surprise

Jul 28, 2015

Since the 1950s, a war has been waged in America against an accused dietary culprit: fat. Avoid fat, we were told, and you’ll live longer and healthier. However, as the investigative journalist Nina Teicholz discovered, there isn’t solid evidence of the benefits of a low-fat diet nor of the dangers of fat. In a new book, Teicholz reviews the science and history of the war on fat and Tuesday we're rebroadcasting a conversation about how America’s nutrition was derailed by a bunch of bad science. [Rebroadcast]

Nature Needs Half

Jul 27, 2015

For centuries, humans have used technology to alter the planet, with dramatic consequences for the environment. Some think technology can also be used to manage our way out of these problems. It’s an approach that places humans at the center of everything. But conservationist Harvey Locke builds his work around a different idea: we do not control the world; we are part of it. Locke advocates a "wiser" relationship with nature, and Monday, he joins Doug in studio to talk about his goal to conserve half the world’s land and water. (Rebroadcast)

Sandra Wahl via Flickr/Creative Commons & University of Utah Press

The growing season is just ramping up, which means that many people will soon be enjoying the bounty of summer's harvest. Friday, we’re discussing a solution to that problem: food preservation. We’ll be talking about the joys, traditions, and methods of putting food by when produce crops are heaviest. We’ll also explore Mormon pioneer foodways and uncover the culinary challenges and delights of settling the Great Salt Lake Basin.


Thursday, Iranian-American author Azar Nafisi joins us to talk about the state of literature and the humanities in the US. Using the great American works Huck FinnBabbitt, and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, she argues the greatest danger to the literary arts is not a totalitarian regime, but the "intellectual indolence" of the public. Nafisi says it matters because literature is more than entertainment; it is a guide to a better society. Her book is called The Republic of Imagination. (Rebroadcast)

How Fashion Works

Jul 22, 2015

Longtime NPR correspondent Jacki Lyden now leads a radio and podcast project called The SEAMS. It’s an audio expedition of the fashion world and it explores how our clothes connect us to each other. To Lyden, everything we wear says something, whether we intend it to or not. She and fashion designer Simon Doonan join us Wednesday to discuss how fashion works. Is it merely trivial and frivolous, or does it say something important about our history and culture? [Rebroadcast]

Somewhere Outside via CC/Flickr,

Rolling Stone reporter Paul Solotaroff joined us earlier this month to discuss a perceived spike in infant deaths in Vernal, Utah. He said the oil and gas industry was to blame. His was one side of the story. Tuesday, we'll hear from guests who say Solotaroff missed the mark. While it's agreed air pollution in the Uintah Basin is a problem, county officials and researchers in the region say there's little evidence pointing to an infant mortality epidemic. And, they say, it's wildly speculative to indict industry.

Romantic Outlaws

Jul 20, 2015

Monday, we’re talking about two feminist and literary giants who our guest says “broke almost every rule there was to break.” Mary Wollstonecraft was the pioneering 18th century author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in 1816 at the age of 19. They were also mother and daughter, though Wollstonecraft died less than two weeks after Shelley’s birth. Scholar Charlotte Gordon joins us to talk about their “outrageous” lives and their legacy for women today.




In 1974, Tom Clark served a Mormon mission to Italy. He met a handsome Italian communist and eventually had to choose between his church and the man he loved.

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