Ideas for September 2018
Monday, September 3
IDEAS LABOUR DAY LEVEE
At the beginning of every broadcast season Paul Kennedy hosts a session with contributors and producers who are currently preparing shows that are scheduled to be broadcast in the days and weeks to come. Among other topics, this year's levee will include a discussion of "memorization", and a consideration of the mythology surrounding the famous Canadian artist Tom Thomson.
Tuesday, September 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.
Wednesday, September 5
NEOLIBERALISM: Is it Ruining the World?
Deregulation. Infinite growth. Self-correcting markets. These are the hallmarks of neoliberal thinking. They're more than just assumptions about the economy. They undergird much of the most influential thinking about governance right now, and dominate political and economic thinking everywhere. The results, according to some, have been disastrous. Investigative journalist Bruce Livesey talks to four experts about the rise and continued dominance of neoliberal thought, and what it may mean for societies around the world.
Thursday, September 6
MEMORY WIPE: What's lost when we've forgotten to remember
We rely on our handy smartphones to remember everything from phone numbers to our friend's birthdays, those sleek devices serving as a type of 'external hard drive' for our memory. Contributor Jess Shane explores what happens when the art of memorization is lost.
Friday, September 7
MOST OF WHAT FOLLOWS IS TRUE
What does a novelist owe to the past? How does a writer walk the tightrope between telling a story and accurately reflecting history and geography? Acclaimed novelist Michael Crummey reflects on these questions in the annual Henry Kreisel Lecture in Edmonton, presented by the Canadian Literature Centre. Along the way, he offers some truths about Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, and, in Kurt Vonnegut's words, puts on "a suit of armour and attacks a hot fudge sundae".
Monday, September 10
CREATIVE MINDS: Can Art Speak the Truth?
Truth and lies, right and wrong. Artists — writer Salman Rushdie, performance artist Andrea Fraser, filmmaker Charles Officer, and musician Iskwé — wrestle with making moral and intellectual sense of our chaotic world. This AGO Creative Minds event was recorded earlier this year at Toronto's Massey Hall, and is moderated by CBC's Anna Maria Tremonti.
Tuesday, September 11
SHAKESPEARE ON POLITICS
Political institutions in disarray, the public being lied to, brutal behaviour on every side, narcissistic leaders -- no, not our times, but the world that Shakespeare was trying to get a grip on. What makes a tyrant, what's that toxic mix of arrogance and power-hunger, and who are the enablers that make tyranny possible? In conversation from the Stratford Festival, Stephen Greenblatt talks about his latest book Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics, a brilliant exploration of the eternal human drift toward the strongman, the bully, the dictator. No, not at all about the world today.
Wednesday, September 12
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.
Thursday, September 13
THE HARD QUESTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Consciousness has long been treated as the byproduct of biological complexity. The more complicated the brain, the more self-aware. But maybe consciousness, like space and time, mass and energy, is a basic characteristic of the universe. Maybe it exists at the molecular level. And if consciousness is all around us and through us, what does it mean for how we understand our connection to each other and the universe itself?
Friday, September 14
STARVING OUT THE RESISTANCE: Anne Applebaum on Stalin's deliberate famine in Ukraine
Paul Kennedy in conversation with historian Anne Applebaum, winner of the 2018 Lionel Gelber Prize. The journalist and academic won the prestigious nonfiction award for her book, Red Famine. It tells the story of how Stalin's collective farming policies in the early 1930s induced starvation among 3 million Ukrainian peasants. The book argues that this act was no byproduct of bad policy decisions, but instead a deliberate effort to crush Ukrainian nationalism and resistance — with repercussions that extend into our own era of Russian-Ukrainian tensions.
Monday, September 17
TAMING THE BEAST: Are violent urges part of men's nature?
And if they are, what do we do about it? How does a just society reconcile the desire for peace, with the desire, felt more often by men, to commit acts of violence? How much does nature stir boys, and men, to fight? And to what extent can they control that urge? Author Daemon Fairless takes IDEAS producer Mary Lynk on a road trip to try and unlock why some men are drawn to violence. They meet up with a science teacher, an MMA fighter, and a serial killer, who are profiled in his book Mad Blood Stirring: The Inner Lives of Violent Men.
Tuesday, September 18
PLANET YOU: The mysterious world of the Microbiome
There are trillions of them in and on our bodies. Microbes have existed on earth for more than three and a half BILLION years. Makes you wonder who is playing host to whom and whether we humans are merely vessels for these tiny survivors. They influence everything from intestinal disorders to mental health and we're only just beginning to understand their power over us. Contributor Stephen Humphrey journeys into the mysterious world of the microbiome.
Wednesday, September 19
THE SCOTTISH ENLIGHTENMENT: The invention of modern mind and culture
Approximately 200 years ago, the windswept and unwelcoming capital of a relatively insignificant northern nation became a beacon of intelligence for the world. Edinburgh, which had been ridiculed widely as "Auld Reekie" or "Old Smokey", was suddenly celebrated as the Athens of the North. Paul Kennedy walks up and down 'The Royal Mile', and through the planned streets and elegant squares of Edinburgh's 'New Town', in search of places once occupied or visited by the likes of Adam Smith, David Hume, James Boswell and Robert Burns. He visits the places where the Encyclopaedia Britannica was born, and where modern surgery was developed.
Thursday, September 20
THE LONG ARM OF AYN RAND: WHY SHE STILL MATTERS, Part 1
The intelligentsia mocked her writings and lampooned her philosophy, which she called Objectivism. But Ayn Rand's books, especially The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, continue to sell countless copies. There are Ayn Rand think tanks, academies, even dating sites. And her influence on politics and popular culture are stronger than ever. Contributor Sandra Bourque outlines Rand's improbable rise to fame and influence, and the odd Canadian connection which helped secure her place in the history of ideas. Part 1 of a 2-part series. Part 2 airs Thursday, September 27.
Friday, September 21
THE BISON AND THE "B"
It was a simple file folder, enigmatically labelled "B". But it was the key to learning how a small and little-known, perhaps even secret, society of key scientists in the federal government in the 1920s, thwarted an ill-conceived plan to move plains bison into Wood Buffalo National Park because it would have mixed incompatible species. But the "Brotherhood" did much more than that. Author and naturalist Briony Penn tells the story of the B, and how over the decades they quietly shaped how we think about nature.
Monday, September 24
Tuesday, September 25
Wednesday, September 26
Thursday, September 27
THE LONG ARM OF AYN RAND: WHY SHE STILL MATTERS, Part 2
The intelligentsia mocked her writings and lampooned her philosophy, which she called Objectivism. But Ayn Rand's books, especially The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, continue to sell countless copies. There are Ayn Rand think tanks, academies, even dating sites. And her influence on politics and popular culture are stronger than ever. Contributor Sandra Bourque outlines Rand's improbable rise to fame and influence, and the odd Canadian connection which helped secure her place in the history of ideas.
Friday, September 28
THE MARK OF CAIN: The Reith Lectures by Margaret MacMillan
We like to think of war as a temporary breakdown, an interruption in our normally peaceful existence. But what if it isn't? What if it's an innate and inescapable aspect of humanity? In her BBC Reith Lectures, historian Margaret MacMillan ponders whether we're destined to fight, and explores our very complicated feelings about war. The first lecture is called "War and Humanity", about the origins of war...and its dark paradox: that it can also bring progress.