Thursday's Show

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The Monastic Life

How did a Trappist monastery flourish in the mountains of Utah for 70 years, and what led to its closing? Thursday, we’re talking about the history of monastic life and how it is expressed today.

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From Here to Eternity

Oct 31, 2017

There are death rituals around the world that might strike you as morbid, disrespectful, or downright gross. In Japan, survivors pick through their loved one’s cremated ashes with chopsticks to find bone fragments. In Tibet, bodies are eaten by vultures. Tuesday, mortician Caitlin Doughty joins us to talk about the rituals she chronicles in a new book. Doughty says these traditions give families time and space to mourn, something she argues is sorely missing in American culture today.

Edgar Allan Poe

Oct 30, 2017

Who was the real Edgar Allan Poe? One of America’s most iconic writers, his name and reputation are synonymous with the horror and the macabre. But he also invented the detective story and refined the sci-fi genre. And Poe’s popular image as a shadowy misanthrope toiling on the cultural margins bears little resemblance to the magazine editor and influential critic. In a new documentary, filmmaker Eric Stange explores the real story of the notorious author and the life of tragedy that inspired him.

Wheeler Copperthwaite via CC/Flickr, http://bit.ly/2szlOWg

The journalist Sam Quinones has called opiate addiction “the closest thing to enslavement that we have in America today.” It’s a scourge fueled by pharmaceutical companies and drug cartels, and it takes advantage of some heavy cultural baggage on either side of the border. Poor people in Mexico are looking for a leg up, while disaffected people in the world’s richest country just want to check out. Quinones joins us to discuss the culture of the opiate epidemic. (Rebroadcast)


Thursday, we’re talking about what happened to Russia. The fall of the USSR was followed by a period of liberalization, and the country appeared to be on the path towards democracy. Then Vladimir Putin rose to power. He invaded neighboring countries. He led a crackdown on political opposition. He’s waging war on the concept of Western democracy. But where has his regime left Russia and its people? Journalist Masha Gessen joins us Tuesday to share what she’s learned about how totalitarianism reclaimed Russia.

istock

Our guest Wednesday has written a book with a slightly off-color title: The A--hole Survival Guide. Robert Sutton is a Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University, and his book is a how-to for dealing with the jerks in your own life. And the problem isn’t just them. Sutton says research shows that if you work with a jerk, there’s a good chance you might become one. Robert Sutton joins Doug live to talk about identifying, outwitting, and disarming the a-holes around you.

The How-To Heretic

Oct 24, 2017

Tuesday, Doug is live with Uncle Dan and Uncle Mark, hosts of a new podcast called The How-To Heretic. It might surprise you that another atheist podcast Dan co-hosts from right here in Salt Lake City is really popular around the globe. So what do former Mormons have to teach the world about life without God? We’ll talk about their stories, where atheists fit in American society today, and about teaching people skills for a post-religion lifestyle, like avoiding logical fallacies and swearing.

The Ice Front

Oct 23, 2017
Guillaume Speurt, CC via Flickr, http://bit.ly/2yY699N

Monday, we’re telling a thrilling story from World War II: a troupe of Norwegian actors resisting the Nazi occupation and risking their lives to keep a vile, anti-Semitic play from being staged. The Nazis were using it as a propaganda tool and forcing the National Theater to perform it – at gun point. Utah playwright Eric Samuelsen has dramatized the story of the actors who had to decide if they should take a stand. It’s called The Ice Front, and it’s the latest production of Plan-B Theatre Company.

 

These days, the writer Alexandra Fuller lives in a yurt in Jackson Hole. It’s a far cry from where she grew up: under the cloud of civil war in what was once called Rhodesia in southern Africa. Fuller has chronicled her life in a series of acclaimed memoirs, writing fearlessly about war, family, and the collapse of her decades-long marriage. Her newest book is a novel about two Native American cousins on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. She joins us to talk about her life, her work, and how they overlap. (Rebroadcast)

Dream Hoarders

Oct 19, 2017
Bill Dickinson, CC via Flickr, http://bit.ly/2w4BumE

The scholar Richard Reeves was raised in the U.K., and he hates the sense of class consciousness he says pervades there. That was part of the appeal in becoming an American citizen. In his latest book though, Reeves describes a growing chasm between the upper middle class and the 80% of Americans whose opportunities have stagnated. Reeves joins Doug Thursday to talk about the ways this “favored fifth” is pulling away from the rest of the nation, and what it means for the American dream. (Rebroadcast)

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

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.

Pages

Films

We’ve been following Gerda Saunders on her journey with dementia. This time, we sat down with her husband Peter to ask what the diagnosis has meant for their life together.

From the Archive

NPR Best Books & RadioWest

NPR is your guide to the best books of 2017, and RadioWest made the list with featured links to three of Doug's great conversations.

Utah Profiles

Conversations with passionate and thoughtful people that make Utah unique.

LDS Topics

Conversations on LDS faith, history and culture

About RadioWest

Listen weekdays at 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. MT on KUER 90.1