September 20, 2009: Discussion about 'Paranoid Politics' - Crisis Communications - A Look at the life of Samuel Johnson - A Tribute to Mary Travers (Doc)
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Hour 2: Crisis Communications - Mistakes and missteps become public almost instantly in the internet age and reaction can be quick and harsh. That's when individuals and organizations seek help from communications experts people trained in media management and massage.
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Hour 3: Samuel Johnson: A Life - In the 200 years since, Boswell a legion of biographers has taken a crack at trying to understand and explain this master of the English language with his odd physical appearance and extremely strange habits. The latest and most highly praised effort comes from the pen of Peter Martin - scholar, teacher, critic and author of Samuel Johnson: A Biography.
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Elsewhere on the show - Karin Wells went to Niagara on the Lake, in search of the 'whys' and 'wherefores' of the Coward resurgence. Her documentary is called Designed for Living; A tribute to Mary Travers; and In the Footsteps of Barefoot Moe, Frank Faulk's documentary about one Toronto man who lives a shoeless existence.
Michael Enright's Essay
Howard Sapers, the Correctional Investigator of Canada reported last week that, "the risk of prison suicides remains in his words unacceptably high."
According to Michael the delay in this realization about the prison system in Canada has come at a high cost. That was the topic this week in Michael Enright's essay.
Forty five years ago, Harper's Magazine published a ground-breaking essay, which was written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Richard Hofstadter. It was the fall of 1964. Barry Goldwater had beaten out the more moderate Nelson Rockefeller for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. And Hofstadter believed that the right wing forces behind the Arizona Senator represented a disturbing and dangerous trend in American politics. Hofstadter was describing the angry and often hysterical tone of the political discourse of the day.
But with armed protesters at healthcare meetings, questions about the citizenship of the President and discussion of "death panels" in the maintstream media, what Hofstadter wrote has a chilling echo that seems to be getting even louder in 2009. Harper's has called Hofstader's essay one of the most important and most influential articles published in the nearly 160 year history of the magazine.
Hofstader titled his essay, The Paranoid Style in American Politics.
Mistakes and missteps become public almost instantly in the internet age and reaction can be quick and harsh. That's when individuals and organizations seek help from communications experts people trained in media management and massage.
Three experts in the field of crisis management joined Michael in studio for the show, Susan Reisler, Bob Ramsay and Frieda Coulburne
Designed for Living - Documentary
In the summer of 1930, T.E. Lawrence's Lawrence of Arabia went down to the Phoenix Theatre in London and watched a rehearsal of Noel Coward's play Private Lives.
Coward was up on the stage in a silk dressing gown with his cigarette holder completely in charge. He was the star. He had written the play, written the music. He directed the production.
Lawrence wrote to his sister afterwards and said he found Coward "a hasty kind of genius".
That hasty kind of genius dominated theatre for half a century.
Noel Coward wrote over 50 plays, a dozen musicals, hundreds of songs. He painted. He wrote a novel. He kept a diary. Then there were the letters - one a week for 50 years to his mother; chatty letters to Virginia Woolf; Winston Churchill; David Niven; tips on writing plays to Harold Pinter and warm loving letters to "the family", as he called his close friends. He perfected the art of being famous.
When it all got to be too much, he would get on a ship and wander, often by himself, around the world.
Noel Coward, elegant and witty, epitomized the English theatre of that time. But fashion in the theatre changes and Coward fell from favor in the 1950's.. He was called superficial, condemned as irrelevant, written off for not having enough to say.
Well, sometimes it takes a while for things to sink in.
This past spring Blithe Spirit was revived on Broadway - Angela Lansbury won a Tony; a movie of Easy Virtue came out; Andre Previn premiered his opera based on the Coward movie Brief Encounter and this summer the Shaw Festival is presenting the 10 one-act plays that Coward called Tonight at 8:30. This is the first time they have been done as a package since Coward's original productions.
Karin Wells went to Niagara on the Lake, in search of the whys and wherefores of the Coward resurgence. Her documentary is called Designed for Living.
Listen to Hour Two:
Samuel Johnson: A Life
Three hundred years ago on September 18th, the man who coined those phrases, Samuel Johnson, was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire England. A sickly son of a bookseller father of mixed fortune and a mother who married below her class and lived a hard life steeped in religious obligation, all the early indicators led everyone to believe that he would amount to little. But at the same time everyone acknowledge he was some sort of genius.
In the end, the genius assessment would win out. Dr. Sam would prove to be adept at all kinds of writing: Journalism, Church Sermons, Essays literary and political, biographies, poetry and drama.
He is probably most famous as the creator of the modern English dictionary, his annotated works of William Shakespeare and for the truly encyclopedic work, Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets. But what has kept him alive in modern imaginations is the stuff of his life. When James Boswell set out in the late 1700s to write, The Life of Samuel Johnson he not only captured a genius in full flight, a master of wit and wisdom, but he also set a new standard for biographies.
In the 200 years since, Boswell a legion of biographers has taken a crack at trying to understand and explain this master of the English language with his odd physical appearance and extremely strange habits. The latest and most highly praised effort comes from the pen of Peter Martin - scholar, teacher, critic and author of Samuel Johnson: A Biography.
Peter Martin was in a BBC studio in Oxford, England for the show.
Mary Travers Tribute
Folk group Peter, Paul and Mary with their hit, Leaving on a Jet Plane. It featured the voice of Mary Travers, who died this week at the age of 72.
When we were trying to choose a song to play in her honour, a disagreement broke out over which of Peter, Paul and Mary's hit songs best summed up her talent and contribution to music. Fisticuffs almost ensued. So we compromised and decided to play two songs. We chose the group's iconic protest song, If I Had a Hammer.
In the Footsteps of Barefoot Moe - Documentary
Like most of us Mauricio Morales, has a favorite style of footwear. In his case, its "Pied Plain Air", feet in fresh air -- Barefoot.
At least until the first snowfall, Mr. Morales goes almost everywhere naked - from the ankle down. Barefoot Moe -- as he likes to call himself -- has been going shoeless for more than twenty years. He's passionate about its joys and benefits. And he boasts that in all those years his feet have not suffered an injury.
It might be tempting to dismiss Mauricio as a guy who is "short a few shoes in the closet". But we're talking about a forty year old man who runs his own successful graphic design business. And - if the Internet is any indication - Mauricio is not alone. A Canadian group called Living Barefoot gets over 30,000 hits a month on its website. And "Being Barefoot", a Facebook fanpage, has over two million enthusiasts.
This morning, Mauricio Morales bears his soul -- and his soles -- to Sunday Edition producer Frank Faulk, who cast aside his own shoes and joined Mauricio for a walk around Toronto. Here is, In the Footsteps of Barefoot Moe.
Listen to Hour Three: