Monthly Archives: June 2001

Women in Scripture

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In the beginning God created Eve. Then came Jezebel, Salome, Mary Magdalene and a whole bunch more. All told there are more than 500 women in the Bible.

Most of them don’t have names, but every one has a story. And how those stories have been understood and misunderstood in the past shapes our sexual politics today. Feminist theologians argue that women in the Bible have been done wrong by more than 2,000 years of patriarchal scholarship.

Think Mary Magdalene was a prostitute? The new scholarship says nope. And not just that, but Eve really was framed — just like the bumper sticker says.
(Hsoted by Dick Gordon)


Carol Meyers, Professor of Theology, Duke University

Ross Kraemer, Professor of Religion, University of Pennsylvania

Liz Curtis Higgs, author of Bad Girls of the Bible.

Deconstructing David Brock

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Liar liar – Brock’s on Fire. The former brat prince of the right wing tells us, once again, that he lied, once again. And 10 years later, the whole sad cadaver of the Clarence Thomas – Anita Hill story is resurrected.

David Brock, in his earnest mea culpa, now says that while he piled all that dirt on Anita Hill, he didn’t even try to dig for the real story. He did it, he says, in the name of conservatism. He did it, he admits, in the name of his career.

So the media gets to talk dirty about pornography and coke cans yet again, and David Brock is back where he wants to be – in the headlines. But are Americans any closer to knowing the truth?
(Hosted by Dick Gordon)


Mike Isikoff, investigative journalist for Newsweek magazine

Craig Crawford, executive publisher, The Hotline

Jamin Raskin, professor of constitutional law at American University

Kaye Savage, director of national programs at the 21st Century School Fund

and Emmett Tyrrell, editor in chief, The American Standard.

The Modern Harp

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At the start of the seventeenth century, the fiercely Protestant Queen Elizabeth I issued a decree that all Irish harp players be hanged and their harps put to the torch.

It had more to do with politics than the actual music, but even today, its hard to imagine there’d be much of a public outcry over the loss of harp music. But there’s one musician who is single-handedly, or, I guess two-handedly, plucking away at the dismissal of harp music as little more than the background to a soap opera dream sequence. In the hands of Deborah Henson-Conant, the harp can evoke the spirit of Jimi Hendrix, or Moe Koffman or even one of the Celtic harpists subjected to the Queen’s noose.

This leather-clad warrior princess of the harp wants to overthrow the accepted order in American music, the harp.
9Hosted by Dick Gordon)


Deborah Henson-Conant, harpist, composer, and raconteur.

Teacher Shortage

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Sounds like its time to print up a new batch of those wartime posters with the fierce face and pointing finger of Uncle Sam, saying, this time: “I want you, to teach.”

More than 2 million teachers will be needed for America’s classrooms in the years ahead. This fall, 12-thousand will have to be found, somewhere, for New York City alone. Policy makers have warned us about the looming teacher shortage for years, but only recently have the rest of us started to realize that when Dick and Jane take an apple to school in September, there may be no one behind the desk to give it to.

The trouble is, who wants to teach in public school? Salaries are low, working conditions can be awful and many teachers say they’re still treated like glorified child care attendants rather than as professionals.
(Hosted by Dick Gordon)


David Haselkorn, President of the non-profit, Recruiting New Teachers

and Dr. Katherine Unger, Director of the Teachers College, Columbia University New Teacher Institute

The Visual Artist in America

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The United States government saw the avant-garde art of the 1960’s as a perfect tool for the American propaganda machine.

Artists of the Jackson Pollack stripe and splatter were promoted as icons of American freedom -cowboys combating the tyranny of Soviet propaganda and Socialist Realism. But when the cold war thawed, champions of free expression became less useful to the White House vision of the New World Order. And over the next decade, congress slashed funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, cut out grants to visual artists, and loosed artistic freedom to the freedom of the market

We now live in a world where the only art that makes news is a Vermeer exhibition or the Virgin Mary in a bikini; instead of ideas, we talk about decency, instead of progress we talk about price tags. Have we abandoned our visual artists, have they abandoned us?
(Hosted by Dick Gordon)


Michael Brenson, former art critic for the New York Times and author of “Visionaries and Outcasts: The NEA, Congress, and the Place of the Visual Artist in America”

and Barbara Kruger, visual artist.

The U.S. as Global Attorney

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Walk down the street in any foreign city and you’ll see more evidence of American pop culture than American jurisprudence.

But if you look behind the posters for “Tomb Raider,” you’ll find that it’s American legal values, not Hollywood and Coca Cola that are shaping the working conditions, the business and political climates of the world. So soon, we’ll all be playing by the same rules right? But here’s the catch. As U.S. and international courtrooms are increasingly used to right global wrongs and snag those international bad boys, the tables may start to turn.

The world is tightening the thumbscrews on Slobodan Milosevic… but someday it might be Ollie North or Robert MacNamara being led off in handcuffs.
(Hosted by Dick Gordon)


Alfred Rubin, Distinguished Professor of International Law, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Peter Weiss, the Vice President of the Center for Constitutional Rights

and Gregory Wallance a lawyer with the international law firm Kaye and Scholer.

Road Trips and the American Imagination

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Out “On the road,” generations of Americans have sought what Jack Kerouac called “the pearl,” that shiny little piece of wisdom polished by dust and gravel and pavement.

The American road trip has become a modern day Manifest Destiny, a paved rite of passage, a journey across what Steinbeck called this monster of a land. So the myth goes, to experience America, to truly understand America, one must be behind the wheel of an automobile.

Whether it’s John Steinbeck in his make-shift truck camper or Thelma and Louise claiming the highway for women, the road trip has become, or perhaps has always been, an American ritual of discovery of self and country, New York to LA, mountains, deserts, and oceans. Adventure, nostalgia and speed.
(Hosted by Dick Gordon)


Jonathan Lethem, author of five novels, including “Motherless Brooklyn” and “Amnesia Moon”

Timothy Conley, chair of the American Studies Department at Bradley University

Tim Cahill, ubiquitous travel writer

and Cameron Tuttle, author of “The Bad Girl’s Guide to the Open Road.”

The Mosquito

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Call it a steamy summer ritual: She slips over the back fence at dusk.

She sees you, catches your scent, touches you lightly and probes your skin, finding exactly the right spot. She presses her lip down, in a moment of excruciating anticipation. Before the victim is aware, two serrated cutting blades slice the skin, snicking their way into the flesh. The search is on for blood, the blades cut left and right until finally they puncture a vessel, and then our lady is completely still. She draws deeply, satiating her sanguinary lust.

As much as all this sounds like outtakes from another Sharon Stone film, this incident happens all the time. It’s happened to you, and it’ll happen again. We’re talking about mosquitoes, spreaders of disease, tormentors of armies, humanity’s perennial pest and deadly foe.
(Hosted by Dick Gordon)


Dr. Andrew Spielman author of “Mosquito” and Dr. Paul Ritter of the Center for Disease Control.

Nickel and Dimed

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The tech-boom of the 1990’s made America the richest country in the history of the world. Rich enough, one might think, to spare a few crumbs for the poor.

Politicians celebrate the lowest unemployment rate in years, touting strong wages and low inflation. But to Barbara Ehrenreich, the front-page news of stock market glory and slim welfare rolls wasn’t telling the whole story: She wondered whether seven dollars an hour, or 8 or 9 for that matter, would really be enough to live on, never mind invest in the next dot com IPO.

So for three months, the social critic and writer put on aprons and gloves and Walmart nametags, living in motels, trailers, on handouts and fast food, trying to get by on low-wages in boom-time America.
(Hosted by Dick Gordon)


Barbara Ehrenreich, author of “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America”

and Tony Horwitz, Wall Street Journal reporter and Pulitzer Prize Winner.

The 70's

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To hear some tell it, when America finally woke up and smelled the seventies, something stank.

Gone was the sweetly perfumed peace, love, and understanding of prosperous post-war America. Gone, too, was the fresh-faced idealism and clean-cut complacency of a million year book photographs. In their place: Disillusionment with big government, big enterprise, and big institutions; dissatisfaction with the status quo, and a disturbing rise in crime, inflation, and mistrust. By the time The Exorcist was nauseating movie-goers and Tony Orlando and Dawn were singing about yellow ribbons and oak trees, the American landscape was littered with the political detritus and lingering shock of Kent State, Vietnam, Watergate, double digit inflation, war in Cambodia, and the Arab oil crisis. And that was only 1973.

The seventies. Considering their political, social, and economic legacies.
(Hosted by Jacki Lyden)


Bruce J. Schulman, author of “The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics”

and David Frum, author of “How We Got Here: The 70s: The Decade that Brought You Modern Life — For Better or Worse.”