Sunday, May 29, 2011 | Categories: Episodes
McGill Four - If you subscribe to the popular theory that Canada's young people are apathetic, cynical and perversely indifferent to their country and its politics, you haven't met the McGill Four.
They are four young men and women, history and poli sci students who caught the crest of the NDP wave in Quebec in the May 2 vote and suddenly found themselves as full-fledged Members of Parliament.
They are bright they are enthusiastic. And they are already working for their constituents.
There have been a lot of jokes and cartoons about their youth, and yes one of them cast the first vote of her life.
But beyond the banter, you can tell from their voices that they are coming to Ottawa to work and work hard.
So as Parliament returns this week, I sat down for a conversation with the McGill Four.
That's in our First Hour.
Read more about hour one here
Coming Home - Our documentary this week tells the story of Jacob Davis Mendelow.
As soon as he graduated from high school in Toronto, Jake enlisted in the United States Marine Corps for deployment to Iraq.
He returned wounded in body, mind and spirit. But he hung on to the threads of his new life.
Jake now spends a lot of his time speaking to students, police, social workers and others about post traumatic stress disorder in returning vets and what can be done to help them.
Producer Cate Cochran brings us Coming Home in our Middle Hour.
Read more about hour two here
Butterfield Brothers - In our Third Hour another foursome---of quite a different kind.
The Butterfield brothers are four of the most dynamic and talented musical performers and composers in the country.
But they are not a quartet, working together. Each is special in his own special way.
They are also irrepressibly outrageous.
Interviewing them is like trying to put socks on an octopus.
But Michael tries in Hour Three.
Read more about hour three here
Elsewhere in the program: some thoughts on Dylan at 70, a new look at Lawrence of Arabia and some great music to ease you from May to June.
Michael's EssayIn this week's essay, Michael muses on Bob Dylan's 70th birthday.
They are known as the "McGill Four" - a quartet of university undergrads elected to the House of Commons in the NDP wave that swept across the province of Quebec in this month's election.
Unlike other numerically named groups of the past - like the Chicago Seven or the Birmingham Six, for example - they're not student protesters or accused pub bombers. In fact, they were alll full-time students in their very early twenties until they became full-time federal lawmakers in their very early twenties.
Next week, they will formally take their seats in the House, but this morning we've crammed them all into our studio in Ottawa.
Representing Chambly-Borduas is Matthew Dubé, former co-president on NDP McGill and president of the Quebec Young New Democrats. Mylène Freeman, also a co-president of NDP McGill, is the MP for Argenteuil-Papineau-Mirabel. The new MP for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles is twenty-year old Laurin Liu, who was co-president of the youth wing of the Quebec section of the NDP. And last but not least is Charmaine Borg, the federal MP for Terrebonne-Blainville and a former co-president of the NDP club at McGill.
Music - Madeleine Peyroux
Here's Madeleine Peyroux with Bob Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go."
We got lots of mail in response to Michael's comments about chickens and eggs, our piece about the green streets of New York and Michael's interview with Measha Brueggergosman.
At seventeen, Jacob Davis Mendelow confounded his family and friends when he joined the US Marine Corps - enlisting in the toughest-of-tough frontline divisions - the infantry.
Jake is Canadian...a middle class kid raised in Toronto. Both his parents are left-of-centre.
His mother, a Social Work professor, has roots in the peace movement. His father, an aerospace expert, is a volunteer spokesman for Al Gore's Climate Project. And his younger brother is gay, vegan, and an environmental activist.
So, understandably, Jake's decision was a shock.
But he wanted to be like his hero, General Romeo Dallaire, and to become a soldier seeking peace in war zones.
The minute he graduated from high school, with his parents' consent, he left for Parris Island, South Carolina - and boot camp.
And that's when we first introduced him to you. Our producer, Cate Cochran made a documentary about Jake in the spring of 2005.
Jake deployed, twice, to Iraq. He embarked as an innocent - and returned home shell-shocked and seriously injured.
Many of the guys he'd met on his first deployment were dead. He himself was ricocheting off the walls with PTSD - post traumatic stress disorder.
Jake tried therapy but it made things worse. And then his mother had a brainwave.
She invited him to talk to her social work students - about the unique needs of veterans with PTSD. The presentation was therapeutic for him, and was enlightening to a new generation of social workers. It gave them a unique perspective from the frontlines-- exposing the mind-set of military men with serious problems. And, in the process, Jake began saving his own sanity.
We caught up with him at a talk at Humber College in west end Toronto . There were about 30 young men and women in the classroom, including his mother.
Jake arrived with props - shards of shrapnel from his wounds, war ribbons, and a shattered breastplate from his uniform.
This is Cate Cochran's documentary, Coming Home.
Lawrence of Arabia
For most of us, he looked like Peter O'Toole. We think of him as Lawrence of Arabia, and imagine him dressed as a Bedouin Chief leading an army of Arab warriors mounted on camels fighting fierce battles in the middle of deserts. He was, he is, the embodiment of the romantic hero.
And for the most part that isn't wrong. Ned Lawrence, as family and close friends knew him, is one of those odd figures in history where the truth is stranger than the fiction and the facts are much more powerful than the hype.
Thomas Edward Lawrence, born in 1888, knew early on that he wanted to be a hero, that he wanted to change the world and that he wanted as much as possible to be his own man. That he accomplished all that while still in his twenties and well before his untimely and early death at age 47 just adds to the mystique of the man.
If it isn't enough that T.E. Lawrence was responsible for drawing the map of the present day Middle East, or inventing the idea of guerrilla warfare, or writing one of the great books of the 20th century, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom; Lawrence has a grip on the modern day imagination that just won't loosen.
Every decade brings its own interpretation of Lawrence and his life and times and every decade tries to pin down this enigma of a small man who accomplished great things in a manner that ultimately remains inexplicable. But the mystery of Lawrence doesn't stop the flow of explanation and the tide of interpretation.
This year, it was Michael Korda's turn to tackle exactly what Lawrence means to us all. Korda, an accomplished writer and publisher, has been trying to figure out Lawrence for decades and has just published Hero, The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia.
Michael Korda was at his home in upstate New York.
Beyond the Fringe
Of course many others held different views of T.E.Lawrence. From the 1964 satire Beyond the Fringe, here is playwright, novelist and Lawrence watcher Alan Bennet.
There's a Yiddish proverb, "Men tracht und Gott lacht" which translates, roughly, as "Men plan and god laughs."
The sentiment of that proverb was in clear evidence in what you'll hear this hour.
We spent months corralling our guests - the boisterous, bodacious Butterfield brothers.
They're four members of a family of talented Canadian singers and musicians and composers...but they're on the road most of the time. Separately.
So it took almost two years to get them all together - we virtually stalked them until we had a date...and it was a go.
And then we got them into studio... plans were carefully laid to have them sing - and talk about their lives.
What happened wasn't what we expected... what DID happen though, was such fun that we're sharing it with you.
This is our interview with the very talented and accomplished Butterfield brothers: Benjamin, Christopher, Peter and Philip.