Culture

Culture, Ideas, Religion

On Trails

Nov 4, 2016
Rich via CC/Flickr, https://goo.gl/uk4xos, https://goo.gl/xYWc9B

In 2009, while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths beneath our feet. On every scale of life on earth, he says, trails form that “reduce an overwhelming array of choices to a single expeditious route.” But how do they form? Why do some paths improve while others disappear? How does order emerge from chaos? Moor joins us Friday to explore how pathways serve as an essential guiding force for trailblazers and trail followers, alike. [Rebroadcast]

When the Mormon Church’s LGBT policy made headlines last November, it shocked a lot of people. Most mainstream Mormons have worked through it with official clarifications, but faithful LGBT members are still in pain and struggling to understand their place in the LDS Church. Critics say it’s also led to increased youth suicides, broken families, and mass resignations. Thursday, we’re talking about the effect of the policy at its one-year anniversary.

Last November, the LDS Church made policy changes that deeply affected LGBT members and their families. It labeled people in same-sex marriages as apostates subject to discipline and said children living with an LGBT parent would be barred from sacred rituals like baptism. Wednesday, in the first of two conversations on the policy’s anniversary, we’re asking how these changes came to be, why they took so many people by surprise, and what it says about LDS leadership and faith today.

Benjamin Bergen is a cognitive scientist and he loves swearing. He actually studies it for a living. In a fascinating new book, Bergen examines why we use swear words, why they’re so powerful, and how they work in our language and on our minds.  Swearing, he says, can be useful, funny, and cathartic. It also helps us express the strongest human emotions. Doug spoke with Bergen earlier this week, and Thursday we’re airing that conversation. But don’t worry: we’ve bleeped all the swear words.

Taber Andrew Bain via CC/Flickr, http://bit.ly/1SVrd1W

 

In a new book, legal scholar Mehrsa Baradaran argues that America has two systems for personal banking. The rich have personal bank accounts at brick-and-mortar businesses, while the poor either don’t bank at all or rely on payday lenders and check cashers that charge exorbitant rates and fees. The result, Baradaran says, is a sadly ironic situation where “the less money you have, the more you pay to use it.” She joins us Tuesday to explain how we got into this mess, and how we might get out of it.

Ghostland

Oct 24, 2016
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado is said to be haunted, and inspired Stephen King's novel "The Shining." William Andrus, CC via Flickr, http://bit.ly/2e8rrFw

Monday, we’re taking a haunted tour of America with writer Colin Dickey. Don’t worry though, we won’t try to convince you that ghosts or the paranormal are necessarily real. Dickey’s new book explores the bigger cultural questions behind these tales. Traveling to haunted mansions, brothels, industrial ruins, parks, and more, he asks why we tell these stories and how they help us make sense of our world. Dickey joins us to talk about what he calls “an American history in haunted places.”

Trapped

Oct 21, 2016

Abortion may be legal in America, but conservative legislatures have been working for years to pass laws that restrict women’s access to it. Hundreds of those laws have been enacted this decade, and they’ve forced many abortion clinics to close their doors. In a new documentary, filmmaker Dawn Porter tells the stories of clinic workers and lawyers fighting the restrictions designed to regulate abortion out of existence. Porter’s film is called Trapped, and she joins us Friday to talk about it. (Rebroadcast)

The psychologist Alison Gopnik is worried about modern day parenting, including her own. It’s too much like being a carpenter, she says, where you shape chosen materials into a final, preconceived product. Kids don’t work like that. In a new book, Gopnik suggests parents think less like carpenters and more like gardeners: creating safe, nurturing spaces in which children can flourish. Gopnik joins us Wednesday to discuss how we can raise better kids by changing our approach to parenting.

Hooligan Sparrow

Oct 14, 2016

Friday, we're talking about a thrilling exploration of the power of protest and the efforts to contain it. Filmmaker Nanfu Wang will join us to talk about her documentary film Hooligan Sparrow, which follows the efforts of activist Ye Haiyan as she and fellow protestors work to shed light on sexual exploitation in China. They’re marked as enemies of the state and routinely harassed by thugs, and the web of trouble also threatens Wang’s film, not to mention her personal safety. (Rebroadcast)

Jerry Rapier

There was a time when adoptions were a source of shame for a birth mother, and weren’t discussed in the adoptive family. But that slowly changed with birth control, a demographic shift in babies available for adoption, and the “adoption rights movement.” Today, 95% of infants in the U.S. are placed in “open adoptions” where the birth mother and the family have some sort of contact. Thursday, we’re talking about how adoption has changed over time, and what it means for children and families.

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