Culture, Ideas, Religion

Modern American manners leave much to be desired. People answer their cell phones in the middle of meals, they shush loudly in movie theaters and even clip their toenails on the train. Henry Alford wanted to learn a little more about 21st century etiquette, so he went to Japan, AKA the Fort Knox of good manners, interviewed etiquette experts and even played a game called "Touch the Waiter." On Wednesday, Doug will talk with Alford about how we behave and how we could behave better.

Ballet has played an important role in Western art for more than 400 years, but the historian and dance critic Jennifer Homans cautions we shouldn't take it for granted. Homans is the author of "Apollo's Angels," which looks at the rich and complex history of ballet. She joins us to talk about the art form and the ways it has renewed itself in the face of political and social upheavals. We'll also talk about the "uncertain moment" Homans says ballet is experiencing now. (Rebroadcast)

Sons of Perdition

Dec 27, 2011

St. George, Utah is only an hour away from Warren Jeffs' polygamist community, but it might as well be another planet. Children of the fundamentalist group are taught little of the outside world, and they're told that leaving their faith means their damnation. Wednesday, we're talking to the creators of a documentary that follows 3 teenage boys who fled to St. George and had to give up their families and everything they knew to create a new life. (Rebroadcast)

Tuesday, Doug talks to Brooke Gladstone, host of NPR's "On the Media." She's written a new book. It's graphic nonfiction - a journey through two millennia of journalism. Gladstone says that there's always been a fear that the media are somehow controlling our minds. But rather than being an external force, she argues that the media are mirrors that show us our own reflection. Doug talks to her about "The Influencing Machine," and about what we can do to be savvy media consumers.

Far Between, Part II

Dec 20, 2011

Wednesday, Doug sits down again with Utah filmmaker Kendall Wilcox. Wilcox is creating a documentary that explores the tension between being a member of the LDS Church and being gay. Since joining us in August, Wilcox has been fired from Brigham Young University, but he says he still believes that the Mormon community is leaving polemics behind and "treating each other with genuine love, respect and empathy." We'll talk about his journey and about what he's learning as he films "Far Between."

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

Tuesday, we're talking about the King James Bible and its 400 year history. Our guide is the British historian, novelist and broadcaster Lord Melvyn Bragg. Bragg says that while there have been times the Bible was used "in the pursuit of wickedness," it has also transformed the world for the better. He joins Doug to talk about how this version came to be and how it has shaped social movements, politics, literature and the English language itself.

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

Tuesday on RadioWest we bring you our annual holiday book show. Here's how it works: we gather up our experts from local bookstores in Utah and ask them to make a list of the best books of the year so you can find just the right gift. They'll bring dozens of books with them into the studio – novels, mysteries, children's books, some meaty history and biography. There's sure to be a title that matches someone on your list.

Hell and Back Again

Dec 2, 2011

Monday, we continue our Through the Lens documentary film series with "Hell and Back Again." Photojournalist Danfung Dennis was embedded with US Marines Echo Company in Afghanistan and his film is remarkable for its visual images. Dennis created a camera system that immerses viewers in the experience of war. But it's also the story of 25-year-old wounded Sergeant Nathan Harris and his struggle to return to the normalcy of home.

It takes a lot of work to stay afloat in today’s ultra-connected world. Every day we face a torrent of emails, tweets, texts, tags, alerts, comments, pokes and posts. The writer William Powers believes that all those digital demands increasingly distract us from ourselves, from an inner place where time isn’t so fugitive and the mind can slow down. He proposes a new digital philosophy that accounts for our needs to connect and for time apart, and he’ll talk with Doug about it on Thursday. 

Wednesday on RadioWest we've got Peter Meehan and Chris Ying, editors of a new magazine called Lucky Peach. Lucky Peach - put out by McSweeney's, a sui generis publishing house - isn't your grandma's food magazine. It mixes travelogue, art, essays, epithet-riddled rants and foodie ephemera with diagrammatic recipes for crazy delicious and sometimes just plain crazy meals. Doug will talk with Meehan and Ying about their radical take on food magazines and McSweeney's' avant-garde publishing.