Profiles

For more than four decades, one of America's most astonishing whodunits has gone unsolved. "D.B. Cooper" was on a flight from Portland to Seattle when he handed over a bomb threat. The airline gave him $200,000 and the hijacker parachuted from the plane, never to be seen again. Cooper evaded one of the most extensive manhunts of the 20th century and has become the stuff of legend. Monday, investigative journalist Geoffrey Gray joins Doug to separate myth from fact in the case of D.B. Cooper.

During her long tenure as a film critic at the New Yorker, Pauline Kael was the tastemaker. With her brash, vernacular style and unalloyed opinions, she often generated controversy. She also created an impressive body of criticism that still haunts and inspires film critics. Unlike the movies she so passionately reviewed, Kael's life went largely unreported. The writer Brian Kellow has written a biography of Kael that captures this tough, exacting woman, and he'll join Doug on Thursday. 

In 2000, a man in Moab left his life savings - $30 - in a phone booth and walked away. Twelve years later, Daniel Suelo enjoys an apparently full and sane life without money, credit, barter or government hand-outs, fulfilling a vision of the good life inspired by his spiritual guides: Jesus, Buddha and wandering Hindu monks. The writer Mark Sundeen has written a book that traces the path and the singular idea that led Suelo to his extreme lifestyle, and he joins Doug on Wednesday.

Into the Silence

Feb 29, 2012

Thursday, Doug is joined by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis for a look at British attempts to conquer Mount Everest in the early 1920s. George Mallory is the most recognizable name from the expeditions, but Davis wanted to go beyond the icon of mountaineering to explore the spirit that drew the group to such heights. Davis has called the expeditions "a mission of regeneration and redemption for a nation bled white by war." His book is called "Into the Silence."

Wednesday, we're talking about one of the most enigmatic and fascinating characters in American music. La Monte Young was a pioneer of the minimalist movement and his work influenced artists like Terry Riley, Yoko Ono, The Velvet Underground and Brian Eno. So it may surprise you to hear that he was born in a log cabin in Idaho and worked the family farm on Utah Lake. BYU Professor Jeremy Grimshaw has written a biography and joins Doug to talk about Young's music and mysticism. (Rebroadcast)

2/15/12: Elna Baker

Feb 14, 2012

Three years ago, the comedienne and storyteller Elna Baker published her memoir, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance. It’s about being a twenty-something Mormon virgin in a town – New York City – that doesn’t take kindly to that type. A lot has changed for Elna Baker since 2009: now she’s an ex-28-year-old virgin and ex-Mormon comedienne. Wednesday on RadioWest, Elna joins Doug to talk about leaving the church, her journey to Siberia and the challenges of honest storytelling.

2/8/12: Anonymous

Feb 7, 2012
<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/70857039@N00/2255718951">Vincent Diamante</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

The journalist Quinn Norton admits it's difficult to pin a name tag on the group Anonymous. Is it a bunch of hackers? Activists? Terrorists? As far as she can tell, the internet meme that inspires online and offline users to participate in an archaic, globalized hive mind is really a culture, with its own ever evolving aesthetics, values, idioms and iconography. Norton and the anthropologist Garbriella Coleman join Doug on Wednesday to look behind the Guy Fawkes masks and try to understand Anonymous.

Much has been written about the Kennedy family. And yet, Ethel Skakel Kennedy, wife of the late Robert F. Kennedy, has somehow managed to elude scrutiny, interview and biography. Until now. Rory Kennedy, Ethel's youngest child, has made a film about her mother that captures the life of a vivacious, authentic heroin who's often quick to deflect attention from herself. Ethel and Rory join Doug on Friday in Park City to talk about the film, ETHEL.

A canine orphan of World War I, Rin Tin Tin was rescued from a French battlefield and went on to become one of the most renowned names of 20th century entertainment. Susan Orlean wrote about the life and legend of the famous German shepherd, his descendants and their owners,tracing in the rise of dogs in American life and the cinema and exploring the bond between humans and animals. Orlean talks with Doug on Wednesday about the legacy of Rin Tin Tin. (Rebroadcast)

When British politician Margaret Thatcher was first dubbed "the Iron Lady," it was meant to be an insult. A Soviet newspaper gave her the name three years before she became Prime Minister. The biographer John Campbell calls Thatcher a "feminist pioneer" who rose to global political power through her own ambition and determination. Campbell's portrait of Margaret Thatcher was the basis for the new biopic starring Meryl Streep, and Thursday he joins us for an unvarnished look at "The Iron Lady."

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