Culture, Ideas, Religion

On Monday, Doug’s chatting with Peter Meehan and Chris Ying, the editors of Lucky Peach magazine, about American food. It’s an admittedly hard topic to nail down. There’s diner food, of course. Fried chicken, sandwiches and sausages. But we’ll also consider the All-American cast-iron pan and Native American food, and food’s prominent place in American film and the oeuvre of Andy Warhol. Doug, Peter, Chris (and, just maybe, a special guest) will try to get to the bottom of what makes American food American.

image by <a href="" target="_blank">Jowo Sakyamuni</a>/<a href="" target=_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr

Last month, guest host Bill Allred traveled through the Himalayas. He was profoundly affected by the peace-loving people he encountered there and by their stories of the destruction of the Buddhist way of life by the Chinese occupation of Tibet. He wondered: how is it possible for pacifists to stop the assimilation of their way of life. On Wednesday, Bill talks with author and activist Matteo Pistono, author of In the Shadow of the Buddha, about the troubled history and the future of Tibetan Buddhism.

Credit Image by<a href="" target="_blank">tcg3j</a>/<a href="" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr

In the world of Facebook, you've got immediate access to a large circle of people - from your best friend in third grade to your sister-in-law's mother. New research suggests though that we have never been lonelier or more narcissistic. In the May issue of The Atlantic, writer and culture critic Stephen Marche takes on the epidemic of loneliness in the digital age. Friday, he joins us for a conversation about the effect it's having on our physical and mental health. (Rebroadcast)

Susan Matt, a professor at Weber State University, laughed when she first read of someone actually dying of homesickness. Nowadays, homesickness is regarded as a childish affliction that Americans, with our penchant for frequent relocation, are immune from. But as Matt writes, nostalgia has long distressed Americans--we leave to college, move for a new job, or migrate to a new country. She joins us to talk about homesickness and how we've managed to cope with it. (Rebroadcast)

God vs. Gay?

Jul 2, 2012

Some people make a case against LGBT equality in religious terms, quoting the Bible to argue homosexuality is a sin. Religion scholar and activist Jay Michaelson has a different reading though. He's an observant Jew, but he says it's an oversimplification to choose between God and being gay. Michaelson has written a book that explores what the Bible says about compassion, love and relationships. Tuesday, he joins guest host Joanna Brooks to make his case for equality because of religion, not despite it.

The movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was recently released in theaters. It's an inventive take on the vampire mythos -- and on American history. Historian Scott Poole isn't crying foul, though. In the film, and the book it's based on, he sees a creative take on the horrors of history, as well as its mutability. He joins guest host Matthew LaPlante on Monday to explore America’s obsession with vampires, when they entered the national psyche and how we continually reinvent them in our own image.

Truck Food

Jun 22, 2012
Lou Weinert

Monday, guest host Benjamin Bombard is joined by food writer and cultural historian John T. Edge for a look at the burgeoning food truck scene in the U.S. It's a cuisine Edge calls "the culinary equivalent of the Great American Novel." Chefs are creating adventurous foods on city streets where diners can get a great meal without a dress code or exorbitant prices. John T. Edge is coming to Utah as a guest of Weller Book Works and he'll take us on a tour of America's best restaurants on wheels.

<i>Image by <a href="">Ted Johnson</a>/<a href="" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Friday, we're talking about the ethical arguments for and against having children. The world's population is expected to reach eight billion by 2025 and The New Yorker's environmental journalist Elizabeth Kolbert says that when we make decisions about how many kids to have we're "determining how the world of the future will look." Kolbert will be our guide through the debate. We'll then be joined by economist Bryan Caplan who says there are a lot of good reasons to be having more kids. (Rebroadcast)

The Psychopath Test

Jun 16, 2012

It's estimated that 1 in every 100 people is a psychopath: manipulative, callous and lacking remorse. It's not just serial killers that fit the description though. Psychopaths are also CEOs, politicians and religious leaders. When journalist Jon Ronson learned to be a psychopath-spotter, he started seeing them everywhere. The problem he says, is that the psychology industry does too. Monday, Ronson joins Doug to explain why he says we should be defined by our sanity and not our madness.


Jun 12, 2012

Seventy-five years after his creation, Superman remains one of America’s most cherished cultural icons.  His legend laid the bedrock of the comic book world and precipitated the very idea of the superhero. In his new biography of the man of steel, Larry Tye chronicles Superman’s creation story and the adventures of the men and women who have ushered the red-and-blue-clad titan through changing eras and evolving incarnations. Tye joins Doug on Wednesday to profile America’s most enduring hero.