Matthew LaPlante

Guest Host, RadioWest

Matthew LaPlante is journalist, blogger and assistant professor of journalism at Utah State University. As national security reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune from 2005 to 2011, he covered military operations in Iraq, Kuwait, Germany and throughout the United States. Before arriving in Utah in 2004, LaPlante worked for The McMinnville News-Register in Oregon’s wine country, where he covered the local court system and sports. A native of California, LaPlante lives in Salt Lake City with his wife Heidi, a public school teacher, and their daughter, to whom he writes regular letters of love, advice and anxiety at DearSpike.com.

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.

The Good Nurse

Jul 10, 2013

Charles Cullen seemed like a great nurse to many of his hospital coworkers. He was well qualified and always eager to take an unwanted shift. What they didn’t know was that Cullen was less interested in saving lives than ending them. He became perhaps the most prolific serial killer in American history, killing as many as 300 patients. The journalist Charles Graeber has documented Cullen’s deadly career and how he managed to slip through the cracks of the world’s most trusted profession. He joins us Thursday to talk about it.

The movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was recently released in theaters. It's an inventive take on the vampire mythos -- and on American history. Historian Scott Poole isn't crying foul, though. In the film, and the book it's based on, he sees a creative take on the horrors of history, as well as its mutability. He joins guest host Matthew LaPlante on Monday to explore America’s obsession with vampires, when they entered the national psyche and how we continually reinvent them in our own image.

<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/a_sorense/3489209778/">Andrew Sorensen</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

The “Star-Spangled Banner” is a song about war and resolve that began life as a drinking tune. We sing it all the time, but often struggle to sing it correctly.  Even professional musicians sometimes butcher our anthem. In a time of uncertainty about national unity, the anthem is one of the few things that can get thousands of Americans to stand up as one.  Guest host Matthew LaPlante looks at the song's complicated history and how it stacks up against other national anthems.