Culture, Ideas, Religion

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

Friday, we're talking about Scientology with the journalist Janet Reitman. To its adherents, Scientology is the "fastest growing religion in the world." Its critics though call it a "cult" and even a "mafia" pointing to the hundreds of thousands of dollars that believers can pay for salvation. Reitman spent five years investigating the group and joins us to discuss her book "Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion." (Rebroadcast)

Life in a Day

Oct 17, 2011

Tuesday we continue our Through the Lens film series with the documentary "Life in a Day." In a partnership with Youtube, director Kevin MacDonald invited people from around the globe to record their lives on July 24, 2010. The film's editor Joe Walker says they never anticipated the overwhelming response. Some 30,000 people submitted video equaling more than 4,500 hours of footage. Walker joins us to talk about the process of creating a portrait of our planet from so many points of view.

Dave Madden has never gone hunting. He's never mounted an elk hide on a plaster cast of a trophy bull. And yet, he's fascinated by taxidermy. His fascination began with his love of museum habitat dioramas, those fake frozen scenes of "nature," and it grew into a new book about taxidermy that explores the obscure subculture, as well as human relationships with animals, hunting, death and, in a sense, the after-life. Madden joins Doug on Wednesday to talk about his book, The Authentic Animal.

Thursday, Doug is joined by StoryCorps' David Isay for a conversation about the art and the techniques of oral history. StoryCorps is a project that records stories from Americans of walks of life - funny stories, heart-wrenching stories. Isay says that listening is the central element. In fact, he calls listening "an act of love." We'll talk about some of his favorite StoryCorps moments - and about how you can go about collecting your own stories from the people that matter most to you.

Wednesday, we're talking about the landmark film "Thelma & Louise." When it was released in 1991, it broke new ground by telling a story about women, with two strong female leads and a woman screenwriter. But 20 years later, Atlantic Magazine has dubbed it "The Last Great Film About Women", suggesting little has changed for women since. Star Geena Davis is in Utah and joins Doug and others for a look at "Thelma & Louise" and why it's still unique on the silver screen.

Image by <a href="">Derrick S.</a>/<a href="">Creative Commons</a> via flickr

College sports have become big business. Some schools earn $40 to $80 million from their football programs. In a recent article in The Atlantic, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch says it's a tragedy that student-athletes who attract that money don't get any of it. And he derides the NCAA's concepts of "amateurism" and the "student-athlete" as cynical hoaxes. Branch joins Doug on Monday to talk about the shame of college sports, and Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis offers a rebuttal.

Wednesday, we're joined by the Darger family for a conversation about the inner workings of a real polygamist family. The Dargers are Joe, Alina and Vicki who have been married for 21 years and Valerie who became Joe's third wife 11 years ago. All four were raised in polygamous families, and as adults made the choice to live in what they refer to as the "Principle." We'll talk to them about the marriage arrangement they say is inspired by their faith and personal decision.

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

The “Star-Spangled Banner” is a song about war and resolve that began life as a drinking tune. We sing it all the time, but often struggle to sing it correctly.  Even professional musicians sometimes butcher our anthem. In a time of uncertainty about national unity, the anthem is one of the few things that can get thousands of Americans to stand up as one.  Guest host Matthew LaPlante looks at the song's complicated history and how it stacks up against other national anthems.

Among the Truthers

Sep 12, 2011

Journalist Jonathan Kay says that a vast conspiracist subculture is spreading like wildfire through North America. Kay spent two years trying to understand the people who adhere to incredible theories on everything from 9/11 and Barack Obama's birth to vaccines. Monday, he joins Doug to explain what he's learned about these "truthers," and why they may be doing real damage to the unity and health of our society. (Rebroadcast)

Tuesday on RadioWest the historian Will Bagley is with us to talk about his epic quest to chronicle the westward migration of American settlers. Bagley's book tells the story of the Overland Trails that brought more than half a million Americans to the far West of Oregon and California. It's the story of families and fortune hunters and the effect that all of it had the native people who for centuries had already been calling the West home. (Rebroadcast)