Culture

Culture, Ideas, Religion

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)

Overdressed

Aug 4, 2017

Try to imagine 18 tons of clothes. It’s the image journalist and author Elizabeth Cline said surprised her the most while researching her book about the way Americans dress. That’s because that pile represented three-days of donations to one thrift store in one U.S. city. And what’s the impact of the cheap fashion we buy and toss on such a regular basis? Cline is coming to Utah, and Monday she joins Doug to explain what it means for our economy, our environment, and for our culture. (Rebroadcast)

Dream Hoarders

Aug 3, 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.

Messy

Jul 31, 2017
Andy Elk via Flickr/CC BY 2.0 http://bit.ly/2rn6yf7

 

In his new book, the journalist and economist Tim Harford makes an argument that’s a tough sell for a culture hooked on neatness, structure, and tidying up. Harford comes to the defense of messiness, of inconvenient situations, clutter, and difficulty.  They’re not as bad as we might think, he says, and in story after story he shows how disorder can spur creativity, nurture resilience, and bring out our very best. Harford joins us to explore the messy foundations that often underlie success. (Rebroadcast)

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