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A Modest Proposal About Satire

Are our current politicians becoming satire-proof? Or has satire always merely preached to the choir? In search of answers Peter looks to the classic satire of Juvenal, Swift and the Arab-speaking world, as well as prominent current practitioners including Armando Iannucci, creator of "Veep" and "The Death of Stalin".

One House Many Nations: Building sustainable homes to solve a national crisis

On the Opaskwayak Cree Nation (or OCN), they've come up with their own home-grown solution to a national housing crisis. Paul Kennedy made a mid-winter visit to the reserve — situated at the junction of the Opasquia and Saskatchewan Rivers, in Northern Manitoba — to see community members building the first small wooden house.

A Map of the Heart, Part 2: The Icelandic Sagas

More than a thousand years ago, rebel Vikings and other settlers fleeing from Norway settled on a craggy, uninhabited island in the north Atlantic: Iceland. There they built a new world pretty much from scratch, with a new legal system, a new social order and — eventually — a new language. They also created stories about who they were. Philip Coulter time-travels into the heart of the Icelandic sagas.

This former magician uses the power of suggestions to help heal real-life disorders

As a professional magician, Jay Olson mastered the art of illusion, deception and the power of suggestion. Now, as a PhD student in psychiatry at McGill University, he hopes the skills he's used to entertain people can also be used to heal them.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

A Map of the Heart, Part 1: The Icelandic Sagas,

More than a thousand years ago, rebel Vikings and other settlers fleeing from Norway settled on a craggy, uninhabited island in the north Atlantic: Iceland. There they built a new world pretty much from scratch, with a new legal system, a new social order and — eventually — a new language. They also created stories about who they were. Philip Coulter time-travels into the heart of the Icelandic Sagas.

Ursula Johnson: A new rock star in the art world

A profile of 2017 Sobey Art Award winner, Ursula Johnson. There’s a lot of buzz around this young artist - a brilliant, dynamic, articulate and delightful Mi’kmaq artist from Eskasoni First Nation, in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Her art is stunning and thought-provoking. She is a multidisciplinary artist. Her work includes sculpture, printmaking, performance and non-traditional basket weaving.

Culture Weaponized: Shutting our mouths and opening our ears

Ali Velshi is a reporter, analyst, and self-identified "double immigrant". And he’s worried about what he calls "the growing weaponization of culture". In a talk he gave at the Peter Wall Institute at the University of British Columbia, Velshi says identity politics have splintered people along ever-narrower definitions of identity — and it's derailing America.

Creating Conscience, Part 3: A history of treating the psychopath

We're all familiar with the idea of the "bad seed". Incorrigible children and unruly adolescents who later commit terrible crimes. Over the last decade, they've increasingly been referred to as psychopaths. But unlike the way their adult counterparts are viewed, there's renewed hope that younger people with psychopathic traits can be redeemed.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

A Map of the Heart, Part 1: The Icelandic Sagas,

More than a thousand years ago, rebel Vikings and other settlers fleeing from Norway settled on a craggy, uninhabited island in the north Atlantic: Iceland. There they built a new world pretty much from scratch, with a new legal system, a new social order and — eventually — a new language. They also created stories about who they were. Philip Coulter time-travels into the heart of the Icelandic Sagas.

'A matter of life and death' - Sue Gardner on public broadcasting

In a public talk at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, Sue Gardner argues that that we’ve returned to the same set of ominous social conditions which led to the creation of public broadcasting in the first place — and that now is the time to recommit to public service journalism.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

The Restaurant: A Table Divided

There's a lot more happening at a restaurant than simply ordering from a menu and getting your food. Restaurants are sites of self-expression — spaces in which status and distinction are performed and lines between class, race, and gender are reflected and reinforced. Contributing producers Michelle Macklem and Zoe Tennant explore how we've gone from dining in to dining out, and what dining out reveals about our identities.

Making art that matters: The 2017 Sobey Art Award

Artists are our cultural seers. At the core of great art is the grappling with profound issues and ideas facing society. Paul Kennedy talks to the the finalists of the prestigious 2017 Sobey Art Award — this country’s preeminent contemporary art award, which is judged by Canadian and international curators.

What the north means to northerners

From the Blue Metropolis/Metropole Bleu Festival in Montreal, Paul Kennedy discusses the 'idea of north' with writers from Quebec's Inuit North, Denmark and Norway. They compare and contrast the north as they know it, and how they express that through their writing.

What is it about the plays of William Shakespeare that still moves us today?

When we think of the Elizabethan era — the late 1500s to early 1600s — it may be tempting to think only of Shakespeare. But he was only one of many writers, and there was a whole other world of literature and ideas, and of artists thinking and writing about the world as they knew it. This episode features a discussion from the Ideas Forum at the Stratford Festival, featuring actors and writers and directors with fresh perspectives into Shakespeare's life and times.

Fail Better: What baseball can teach us about failure and community

Baseball may have inspired more books than any other sport — but none quite like philosopher Mark Kingwell's recently published, "Fail Better: Why Baseball Matters". It's the first book-length philosophical meditation on what has been called America's national pastime. Paul Kennedy takes him out to a ballgame, and discusses everything from RBIs, to the metaphysics of failure, and how Kingwell borrowed the title for his baseball book from a work by Samuel Beckett.

The Enright Files: Conversations with some of Ireland's finest writers

If any nation punches above its weight in literature, it might be Ireland -- a small island nation that has produced four Nobel Prize winners in literature and countless other poets, playwrights and novelists of international renown. On this month's edition of The Enright Files, conversations with some of Ireland’s finest writers about the art of fiction and a literary sensibility that is both universally resonant and discernibly Irish.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Paul Kennedy's profile of Montreal's Little Burgundy

As part of ongoing IDEAS coverage of work-related mobility issues throughout Canada and around the world, Paul Kennedy profiles the Montreal neighbourhood of "Little Burgundy". For much of the 20th century, this vibrant, overwhelmingly black community was home to many of the railroad porters who worked on coast-to-coast trains for both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific. By definition, their job description required them to be "away from home" for two weeks at a time.

Award-winning authors on balancing chaos and control

A parent's fear. A child coping. The final stops of life. These are the ways that some top Canadian writers — all winners of 2017 Governor General's Literary Awards — addressed our challenge to create an original piece of writing on the theme of “chaos and control”.

Revisiting Glenn Gould's revolutionary radio documentary, 'The Idea of North'

Fifty years ago in his landmark documentary, "The Idea of North", Glenn Gould used a technique he called “contrapuntal radio.” Today, Mark Laurie reinterprets the technique to explore the landscape of the pianist’s life – and his ideas about music and radio.

A politically incorrect debate about political correctness

Does 'political correctness' actively impede free speech, open debate and the exchange of ideas? Or does it create a more just society by confronting the dominant power relationships and social norms that exclude marginalized groups? In a Munk Debate, bestselling author Michael Eric Dyson and journalist and commentator Michelle Goldberg argue that political correctness promotes diverse societies and social progress, while renaissance man Stephen Fry and controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson contend that it throttles free thought and divides society.

Foreign Policy + Feminism = ?

Foreign policy is usually defined in "masculine" terms: arms trade, intervention, war, sanctions, and MAD (mutually-assured destruction). But what would international relations look like if food security, family planning, and workplace equity were also centre pieces of foreign policy? Four women — all with experience in foreign policy — explore possible answers to these questions. Moderated by Eva Salinas, Elmira Bayrasli, Lauren Dobson-Hughes, and Lamia Naji were featured in a public forum held at Ryerson University in April 2018.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

The Paris Riots of 1968, Part 1: A failed revolution that changed the world

Students taking to the streets to protest — it looked like a simple thing, fifty years ago in May 1968. But it proved to be the spark that started a conflagration. Thousands of demonstrators turned into hundreds of thousands, barricades were built, cars were burned. It was a political crisis like no other — and then it evaporated. It's been said that the "revolution" of 1968 failed. But it was a failure that changed the world. Part 1 of a 3-part series.

Nine minutes that changed the world

In 1876, the poet Stéphane Mallarmé published a poem entitled "The Afternoon of a Faun". He doubted anyone could set it to music successfully. But composer Claude Debussy did exactly that. The music runs only about nine minutes long, but it helped give birth to the modern era as we know it.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Paul Kennedy's profile of Montreal's Little Burgundy

As part of ongoing IDEAS coverage of work-related mobility issues throughout Canada and around the world, Paul Kennedy profiles the Montreal neighbourhood of "Little Burgundy". For much of the 20th century, this vibrant, overwhelmingly black community was home to many of the railroad porters who worked on coast-to-coast trains for both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific. By definition, their job description required them to be "away from home" for two weeks at a time.

The Paris Riots of 1968, Part 3: A failed revolution that changed the world

Students taking to the streets to protest — it looked like a simple thing, fifty years ago in May 1968. But it proved to be the spark that started a conflagration. Thousands of demonstrators turned into hundreds of thousands, barricades were built, cars were burned. Then the workers joined in, and by the middle of May 1968, most of France was on strike. It was a political crisis like no other — and then it evaporated. It's been said that the "revolution" of 1968 failed - but it was a failure that changed the world. Philip Coulter went to Paris to talk to some of the people who were there in May 1968.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

The Restaurant: A Table Divided

There's a lot more happening at a restaurant than simply ordering from a menu and getting your food. Restaurants are sites of self-expression — spaces in which status and distinction are performed and lines between class, race, and gender are reflected and reinforced. Contributing producers Michelle Macklem and Zoe Tennant explore how we've gone from dining in to dining out, and what dining out reveals about our identities.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

The Paris Riots of 1968, Part 1: A failed revolution that changed the world

Students taking to the streets to protest — it looked like a simple thing, fifty years ago in May 1968. But it proved to be the spark that started a conflagration. Thousands of demonstrators turned into hundreds of thousands, barricades were built, cars were burned. It was a political crisis like no other — and then it evaporated. It's been said that the "revolution" of 1968 failed. But it was a failure that changed the world. Part 1 of a 3-part series.

This former magician uses the power of suggestions to help heal real-life disorders

As a professional magician, Jay Olson mastered the art of illusion, deception and the power of suggestion. Now, as a PhD student in psychiatry at McGill University, he hopes the skills he's used to entertain people can also be used to heal them.
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How Martin Luther invented the modern world

It has been 500 years since Martin Luther supposedly nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. There's no proof he ever did that -- and it may not matter. We're still living in the aftershocks of the religious, political and social revolution that he began.