Culture

Culture, Ideas, Religion

Scars of Independence

Oct 17, 2017
by H. Charles McBarron, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, we’re taking a different look at the American Revolutionary War. We think of it as brave patriots fighting for a noble cause, which is true, but in his new book historian Holger Hoock is trying to remind us just how bloody it was. The British brutalized American soldiers; we tortured loyalists. In fact, this cruelty shaped the outcome of the war. Hoock’s book is called Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth  and he's joining us to talk about it. (Rebroadcast)

Democracy in Chains

Oct 12, 2017


In an explosive new book, noted historian Nancy MacLean exposes the billionaire-funded campaign to upend democratic governance. Her controversial argument centers on one man: James McGill Buchanan. According to MacLean, it was Buchanan who, funded by the Koch brothers, devised the blueprints for a libertarian takeover of American politics. She joins us Wednesday to explore the radical right's plan to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize public education, and rewrite the Constitution.

Historian Pamela Haag says there’s a mythology around American gun culture. The conventional wisdom is that since the Revolutionary War we’ve had some primal bond with our firearms. But Haag argues that our guns were once just another tool of everyday life and that the gun industry convinced us we needed to be armed. In her book, she follows the rise of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and the marketing campaign she says created our gun culture. Haag joins us Friday to tell the story. (Rebroadcast)

Monday, we’re talking about the complicated relationship between the Mormon Church and homosexuality. Our guest is historian Gregory Prince who is working on a history that includes the public and not-so-public campaigns against same-sex marriage and their attempt at punishing and curing same-sex attraction. He also examines whether the LDS theology of an afterlife will ever have room for gay people. Prince is coming to Utah, and joins us to talk about Mormons and Gays.

The Opiate Generation

Sep 21, 2017
Jenny Mackenzie

In a new documentary, filmmaker Jenny Mackenzie offers a deeply personal examination of the trials and extraordinary costs of opiate addiction. It’s about the lives of several young people struggling to get and stay clean. It’s about a family grieving the loss of their son to an overdose. And it’s about the doctors and therapists fighting to save lives. Mackenzie will join us to talk about her film and the harsh reality faced by a generation of young people struggling to survive America’s opioid crisis.

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.

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