Pt 1: David Frum - A conversation with David Frum, a Canadian and a former speech-writer for U.S. President George Bush, about his criticism of the Republican Party's handling of the new U.S. health care bill ... the price he believes he has paid for it and the future of conservative politics in the United States. (Read More)
Pt 2: Letters - It's Mail Day. We read some of your letters on the Catholic Church, the Arctic Council and on our special, Russia Revealed. And we also talk to comedian Guy Earle who is accused of uttering homophobic and sexist comments while he was on-stage in Vancouver. (Read More)
Pt 3: Reality Hunger: A Manifesto - What do you get when you mix a Jane Austen novel with a bit of contemporary zombie fiction? Some say it's a mess that's nothing more than glorified plagiarism. Others see a legitimate literary mash-up and the future of the novel. We talk to David Shields, a writer who has found himself at the centre of that debate. (Read More)
Whole Show Blow-by-Blow
Today's guest host was Linden MacIntyre.
It's Thursday April 1st.
Saskatchewan Senator David Tkachuk says the letter the University of Ottawa Provost sent to Right Wing pundit Anne Coulter could have come - quote - straight out of the re-education camps of Pol Pot's Cambodia.
Currently .... And on behalf of all Canadians... thank you David Tkachuk for keeping hyperbole in check.
This is the Current.
For years, David Frum has been a powerful figure in American conservative politics. He was a speech-writer for President George Bush ... the one who famously -- or infamously -- helped coined the phrase "axis of evil." He was a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Rudy Giuliani during his run for the Republican Presidential nomination. And he was a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, one of the most influential conservative think-tanks in the United States. The British newspaper, The Guardian, called David Frum one of the fifty most influential conservatives in America.
But in the last two years, Frum has been at odds with the Republican Party's leadership ... especially the extremist wing represented by commentators like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter. He alienated the right-wing mandarins even further last month when he wrote that the passing of the new U.S. health care bill was the Republican Party's Waterloo.
On the heels of that column -- and some stinging criticism from the Wall Street Journal -- David Frum announced that he was leaving the American Enterprise Institute. And now the circumstances under which he left have become a hotly debated topic among American conservatives. David Frum joined us this morning from Washington.
Thursday is mail day on The Current. And producer Dominic Girard joined our guest host, Linden MacIntyre in studio to help read our listener mail.
Arctic Council Bloc: The Arctic Ocean Coastal States is a group of five countries. It includes Canada. And this week the group held a sidebar meeting at the G8 Foreign Ministers' meeting to discuss their interests in the Arctic Ocean as global warming opens up the arctic seas. But three Arctic nations -- Iceland, Sweden and Finland -- weren't invited. They're all members of the larger Arctic Council. And they were not happy about the omission. After our segment yesterday, we heard from you.
Free Speech: Last week Ann Coulter blazed into Canada on a three-city speaking tour. And not surprisingly, sparks flew. It started at the University of Western Ontario, when she restated her view that Muslims should be banned from airplanes and suggested a Muslim student "take a camel" if she didn't have a flying carpet. And then when the provost at the University of Ottawa, cautioned her on the legalities of acceptable speech in Canada, Ann Coulter said she was a victim of a hate crime. Thursday on The Current, we parsed the antics of Ann Coulter. Our item on free speech prompted many of our listeners to exercise their right to comment.
And there is another case of free speech in the headlines in Canada this week.
Guy Earle is a comic who lives in Georgetown, Ontario. This week, he is facing a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal where he is accused of uttering homophobic and sexist comments at a woman and her same-sex partner while he was on-stage in Vancouver. Guy Earle was in Georgetown, Ontario.
Maggie Cassella is a Toronto comic who knows all-too-well how delicate the balance between free speech and inciting hatred can be. She is a former lawyer who used to practice civil rights law in the United States. Maggie Cassella was in Toronto.
Catholic Church: It has become a sadly familiar story line. At a press conference last week, stories of abuse at the Catholic School for the Deaf in Milwaukee were revealed. Father Lawrence Murphy is accused of abusing up to two hundred boys between 1950 and 1974. But what sets this story apart are the reports that Pope Benedict the 16th -- who was then was Cardinal Ratzinger -- knew about the abuses and chose to keep quiet.
Last Friday on The Current, Jeff Field defended the Catholic Church. He's the Director of Communications for the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights -- the largest Catholic civil rights organization in the United States. This segment sent many of our listeners to their computer to write in.
Russia Revealed: Our special two day series, Russia Revealed aired Monday and Tuesday. Anna Maria Tremonti took us to Moscow to the heart of a country that has undergone sweeping political changes in the last twenty years. And the political changes are reflected in the economy. At a rally of protesters, some people were nostalgic for the lost motherland -- a system they remember fondly for the fact that it took care of them. We heard two views of the changes in Russia ... from small-business-owner, Irina Antonian and biologist Maria Donchenko. Hearing their views prompted our listeners to add their perspective on nostalgia and communism.
We ended this segment with a final thought about our programs out of Russia. We featured music that was recorded in the Moscow subway system the day before the suicide attacks. And it caught the ear of our listeners so we wanted to play it again for the listeners who loved it.
Reality Hunger: A Manifesto
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
So begins Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice ... a novel almost universally acknowledged as one of the greatest in the English language.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a zombie in possession of brains, must be in want of more brains.
And so begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ... a slightly less celebrated graphic novel by Seth Grahame-Smith. It was published last year. And it blends Austen's novel with contemporary zombie fiction. It also lists Jane Austen as the unwitting co-author. It's one of the highest-profile examples of a literary mashup -- literature made by quoting, pilfering, mixing and altering snippets of pre-existing literature and anything else that can be scavenged from the entire cultural landscape. Some say it's little more than glorified plagiarism.
But David Shields says it is the future of the novel. His new book is called Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. It's a mashup itself. He mixes his own aphorisms and reflections with fragments and passages cribbed from other writers in a bid to create a literary form that is true to the unruliness of contemporary reality. The book has ignited a level of debate that is pretty much unheard of in the world of literary theory. David Shields was in Boston.
Last Word - Mash-up
We ended the program today with one more mash-up. This one isn't of a literary nature like David Sheilds'. Instead it's musical. Here's DJ Earworm ... and his mash-up of the top 25 songs of the past year ... a mash-up that speaks volumes about the rise of auto-tune.