IDEAS for December 2017
Friday, December 1
CHANGING THE WORLD BY EATING BETTER
Michael S. Carolan is the author of No One Eats Alone: Food as a Social Enterprise. In a public talk in Toronto in the autumn of 2017, he made a provocative argument: if we change our relationship to food — how's it's made, distributed and even consumed — we will change our relationships with each other, and maybe open up the possibility of creating a better world.
Monday, December 4
THE ENRIGHT FILES
Our monthly Monday night feature with Michael Enright, host of The Sunday Edition, in conversation with some of the most original and influential thinkers of our time.
Tuesday, December 5
PRECARIOUS WORK: The disappearing company job
For most of the 20th century, everyone, from the janitor on up to the CEO, was employed by the company. But now large corporations are outsourcing work to small companies. For workers, this means lower wages, less benefits and an intense widening of the income inequality, with radical financial gains to the top one percent. A lecture and interview with scholar and former Obama appointee David Weil. His latest book is called: The Fissured Workplace: How Work became So Bad for So Many and What can be done to Improve it?
Wednesday, December 6
BORGES' BUENOS AIRES:The Imaginary City
The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges was profoundly shaped by the city he grew up in — Buenos Aires, and the city plays a major role in many of his stories. One of the great experimental writers of the 20th century, Borges believed that a story is just a doorway into a world larger than itself, that the act of reading is an essential part of both the making and the meaning of the story; and the writer and the reader are in a great river, together. For Borges, the bars, clubs, libraries and streetcorners of his beloved Buenos Aires, were all portals for the imagination, rabbit-holes to puzzling, dreamlike worlds, alternative realities. Philip Coulter goes on a walking tour of Borges' Buenos Aires in the company of the celebrated writer Alberto Manguel, who used to read to the blind Borges as a teenager, and who, like Borges before him, is now director of the National Library in Buenos Aires. Part 2 airs Wednesday, December 13.
Thursday, December 7
CHAOS AND CONTROL
A parent's fear. A child, coping. The movements of language. The final stops of life. These are the ways that some top Canadian writers — 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. They'll talk about where their imaginations travelled, from the most intimate moments of family life, to the largest of cultural questions. Featuring talk and readings from writers Hiro Kanagawa, Cherie Dimaline, Richard Harrison, and Oana Avasilichioaei. Presented by IDEAS and CBC Books, with the Canada Council for the Arts.
Friday, December 8
THE ENDURING POWER OF "THE STRANGER"
It's been 75 years since Albert Camus published L'Etranger, usually translated as The Stranger or The Other. It continues to be the most translated book from French into English, quite a feat for an author who came from an illiterate family and who was struck with tuberculosis at a young age. Given how intense questions of "the other" are across the globe — who really belongs and who doesn't — Camus' book is even more relevant than ever. Radio Canada producer Danny Braun traveled to the United States, France and Algeria — where the book is set — to explore the enduring impact of L'Etranger.
Monday, December 11
CONSERVATIVE WITH AGE: Why your political stripes change over time
"If you're not a socialist at 20, you have no heart; and if you're not a conservative at 40, you have no brain." The saying has been around since at least the late 19th century, and it's not entirely clear who coined it. But the fact that it's still in circulation today says something about the way many of us do become more conservative as the years pass. Producer Peter Mitton explores why this tendency exists, and what it says about the way we acquire our political beliefs.
Tuesday, December 12
THE PROPER ROLE OF SCIENCE
The Harper government muzzled scientists. Donald Trump's administration is now doing the same. But a better relationship between science and government is possible. Sir Peter Gluckman is the Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. This episode draws on a conversation he had with host Paul Kennedy and a talk he gave organized by Canadian Science Policy Centre, and hosted by the Institute for Science Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa. His point: science's proper role is to help decision-makers make informed decisions.
Wednesday, December 13
BORGES' BUENOS AIRES:The Imaginary City
The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges was profoundly shaped by the city he grew up in — Buenos Aires, and the city plays a major role in many of his stories. One of the great experimental writers of the 20th century, Borges believed that a story is just a doorway into a world larger than itself, that the act of reading is an essential part of both the making and the meaning of the story; and the writer and the reader are in a great river, together. For Borges, the bars, clubs, libraries and streetcorners of his beloved Buenos Aires, were all portals for the imagination, rabbit-holes to puzzling, dreamlike worlds, alternative realities. Philip Coulter goes on a walking tour of Borges' Buenos Aires in the company of the celebrated writer Alberto Manguel, who used to read to the blind Borges as a teenager, and who, like Borges before him, is now director of the National Library in Buenos Aires.
Thursday, December 14
HOW TO SAVE AN ISLAND: Film-makers and Fishers in Fogo
Fifty years ago, while the rest of the country was celebrating Canada's Centennial, the friendly folks on Fogo Island — most of whom were fishers — were ordered to abandon their homes and resettle in larger communities on the larger island of Newfoundland. Memorial University's Extension Department invited the National Film Board of Canada to visit Fogo, and interview people about their future. At the end of what is now called The Fogo Process, they voted to stay put, form a cooperative, and take over the fish plant. It became a model for alternative democracy around the world.
Friday, December 15
DEMOCRACY IN THE DIGITAL AGE: How does a free press survive the monopolies of the web?
The internet began with great hope for democracy. Disruptions caused by social media movements seemed to be dismantling corrupt institutions. But the web no longer feels free and open, and the disenfranchised are feeling less optimistic. That is a topic that concerns Digital Media and Global Affairs expert Dr. Taylor Owen, who delivers the 2017 Dalton Camp Lecture in Journalism. He argues the reality of the internet is now largely one of control, by four platform companies (Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple) worth a combined 2.7 trillion dollars — and the impact on democracy is troubling.
Monday, December 18
JOURNALISM IN THE AGE OF FAKE NEWS
Established news media no longer have the monopoly on how we consume our news, and "fake" news is proliferating. Now purveyors of false news are saturating social media, emboldened by a US president who regularly derides mainstream journalists as creators of fake news. In a panel discussion at the Banff Centre, journalists ponder reporting in an age where political leaders attack them to discredit their work.
Tuesday, December 19
PLAYDOH'S REPUBLIC: Children As Natural Philosophers
Why were we born? Is life just a dream? What makes something wrong or right? Children often ask questions like these — sometimes to the exasperation of their parents. But children really want to know why the world is the way it is. And they want to know how we know. Maybe that's because they're open, curious and inquisitive — they're natural philosophers. In this episode of IDEAS, the Big Questions — and even some attempted answers.
Wednesday, December 20
WILLY SHAKES: Fanboy
Shakespeare's plays just beg for repurposing; great icons of literature like that are just too tempting. Conor McCreery is one of the creators of Kill Shakespeare, a graphic novel series that "plunges Shakespeare's characters into weird and wonderful adventures that Shakespeare didn't quite think of"; Mya Gosling is the artist behind Good Tickle Brain, "the world's foremost and possibly only stick-figure Shakespeare comic" an online web comic that (among other profound things) retells the plots of Shakespeare's plays in three panels. A conversation from the 2017 Stratford Festival about the funny side of serious.
Thursday, December 21
RETURN TO NORTH: The Soundscapes of Glenn Gould
Glenn Gould's landmark documentary, The Idea of North, first aired on IDEAS fifty years ago. In his boldly experimental program about the Canadian north, the pianist used a technique he called "contrapuntal radio", layering speaking voices on top of each other to create a unique sonic environment situated between conversation and music. CBC contributor Mark Laurie talks to four people who knew Gould intimately, and adopts Gould's contrapuntal technique to explore the landscape of Gould's life — and his ideas about music and radio.
Friday, December 22
INSOMNIA AND THE GENUIS POETS
Scientists still don't fully understand why and how insomnia strikes. But the beginnings of the answer may be found in the works of those who first wrestled with the disorder frankly and openly: the poets of England's Romantic era, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Their lyrical accounts of "anguish and agony," of the "unfathomable hell within," inspire PhD student Katie Hunt to tie together lines of poetry with scientific research on sleep... to reveal how our concept of insomnia evolved, and how the poems still have power to open our minds.
Monday, December 25
Tuesday, December 26
SAILING ALONE AROUND THE WORLD
In 1895 a retired Canadian sea captain set off to sail alone around the world. It had never been done, and it took Joshua Slocum three years, but the book of his adventures made him famous. Since then, fewer than 200 people have sailed in his wake and two of them are also Canadian. IDEAS contributor Philip Coulter explores this greatest challenge sailors set for themselves - possibly the greatest of all human challenges.
Wednesday, December 27
THE GODFORSAKEN SEA
"Below 40 south there is no law; below 50 there is no God." The Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica is the most dangerous and least understood of our great oceans. A few solo sailors and a historian join Philip Coulter on a radio expedition to find out about those giant waves and fearsome storms, and what happens to people who go to the loneliest place on the planet.
Thursday, December 28
Underwater explorer Dr. Joe MacInnis makes a pilgrimage to the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton, on remote South Georgia Island, in the extreme South Atlantic Ocean. In so doing, the first person to dive under the North Pole, pays homage to the man who completely dominated South Pole exploration.
Friday, December 29
WORDS ABOUT WAR: The Peter Stursberg Foreign Correspondents Lecture
As Chief Foreign Correspondent for the BBC, Acadian journalist Lyse Doucet has covered conflicts and disasters around the globe. She was recently honoured by Carleton University's Journalism School with the first annual Peter Stursberg Award, which commemorates CBC's legendary frontline reporter during World War II. She presents a lecture about war journalism, and responds to questions from Paul Kennedy, in front of a live audience at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.