Culture

Culture, Ideas, Religion

Clay Gilliland via Flickr (http://bit.ly/2hekfMy) CC-BY-SA 2.0 (http://bit.ly/1dsePQq)

In April 2012, a Vietnamese man stabbed random white males in a supermarket parking lot in Salt Lake City. Throughout the incident he was heard to shout, “You killed my people, you should all die!” Witnesses and police suspected the attack was in part motivated by delusional recollections of the Vietnam War, which ended before the attacker was born. In a new book, Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal examines what this violent outburst can tell us about war’s traumatic effects on communities over time.

Robert Gehrke

For almost a century, the citizens of Wellsville, Utah, have held an annual spectacle called the “Sham Battle.” It’s an historical reënactment, with white people costumed as Native American Indians attacking Mormon settlers. But the 19th-century battle it purports to depict isn’t the full story, which, of course, is much more complicated. Monday, we’re talking about the Wellsville Sham Battle and the long history in this country of white people dressing up and acting like Indians.

How did we end up here? How did America get to this post-truth moment, where the line blurs between reality and illusion? In a new book, radio host and author Kurt Andersen lays out a timeline for how we lost our collective mind. And really, it’s nothing new. America, Andersen says, has always been a country of true believers, wishful dreamers, hucksters and suckers, and we’ve always been uniquely susceptible to fantasy. Andersen joins us Wednesday to explore the 500-year history of a country going haywire.

Public domain

The swastika. Few symbols, few words even, evoke such visceral reactions in the Western world. It stands for genocide and hatred. But it wasn’t always that way. For centuries it symbolized good fortune, success, and well-being. It held deep religious and spiritual meaning for people around the world. Graphic designer Steven Heller has long been fascinated by the swastika, and he joins us Monday to discuss its power and history. Can it ever be seen in its original context again?

iGen

Sep 6, 2017
Anthony Kelly via CC/Flickr, http://bit.ly/2xMGmgU

Five years ago, psychologist Jean Twenge noticed that teenagers were acting differently than the Millenial generation that preceded them. They were more depressed, and more suicidal. They sought less independence from their parents, hung out less with friends, and were less interested in sex. All these behaviors coincide with a pivotal cultural moment: 2012 was the first year a majority of Americans owned smartphones. Twenge joins us Wednesday to explain what she’s learned about today’s super-connected kids.

 

Questions surrounding suicide have been with us for at least as long as we’ve had written record, and the answers are as varied as the times and places where they were discussed. Tuesday, Doug's guest is the philosophy scholar Margaret Battin. She’s spent her career collecting the works of religious and secular thinkers regarding suicide. It has been considered noble, immoral, heroic and cowardly, and we’ll talk about what all of those views teach us about end-of-life issues today. [Rebroadcast]

Photo by simpleinsomnia, CC via Flickr, http://bit.ly/2rRq3Nu

 

In her latest book, media analyst Brooke Gladstone tries to understand the current landscape of “fact” and “truth” in the United States. Facts, she says are crucial for negotiation and compromise in a democracy. Truth, though, is subjective. So how have we reached a point where reality is so fractured? Gladstone joins Doug to talk about lies, the Trump administration, journalism, and why we all need to know more about each other's truth. (Rebroadcast)

 

Marketing professor Adam Alter begins his new book by noting that Steve Jobs didn’t let his own children use an iPad, a product he invented, because he was worried they’d get addicted to it. That’s what Alter’s book is about: our increasing addiction to technology. These days, we aren’t just hooked on substances, like drugs and alcohol. We’re addicted to video games, social media, porn, email, and lots more. Alter joins us to explore the business and psychology of irresistible technologies. (Rebroadcast)

Wednesday, we continue our Through the Lens series with a poignant film about the devastating impact economic inequality has had on America’s black working class. Utah-based filmmaker Andrew James’s documentary Street Fighting Men follows the lives of three men in Detroit as they struggle to build something lasting for themselves and future generations. James will join us to tell their stories of fighting to find steady ground in a community wracked by crime, violence, and dwindling opportunity.

The First Love Story

Aug 11, 2017
Public domain

Friday, we’re talking about the oldest relationship in the Christian world: Adam and Eve. The writer Bruce Feiler says the two don’t get the credit they deserve, and in his book, he aims to redeem them for a new generation. According to Feiler, the tale of Adam and Eve is a timeless myth that still has much to teach us. They confronted the ultimate human fear—loneliness—and defeated it with the ultimate human expression—love. Feiler joins us to explore the meaning of the first love story. (Rebroadcast)

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