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
YUVAL HARARI: Lessons for the 21st Century
International bestselling author Yuval Harari explored human prehistory and history in Sapiens. In Homo Deus, he explored our future. And now, in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, he explores our collective present. Yuval Harari is a rare breed: an academic historian with a massive global following, whose admirers include Bill Gates and Barack Obama. He talks to Paul Kennedy about the revolution humankind is about to go through: the convergence of artificial intelligence and biotech — and what it may mean for all of us.
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
A MATTER OF LIFE & DEATH - Sue Gardner on public broadcasting
In a public talk recorded at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, Sue Gardner argues that that we've returned to the same set of ominous social conditions which led to the creation of public broadcasting in the first place — and that now is the time to recommit to public service journalism.
Thursday, September 20
BIOCENTRISM: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death
Paul Kennedy has his understanding of reality turned-upside-down by Dr. Robert Lanza in this paradigm-shifting hour. Dr. Lanza provides a compelling argument for consciousness as the basis for the universe, rather than consciousness simply being its by-product.
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
MEETING OF MINDS: Ken Dryden & Steven Pinker
When NHL legend Ken Dryden was about to publish his book, Game Change, he got in touch with Harvard psychologist and linguist, Steven Pinker, who was about to publish Enlightenment Now. Their common ground: what does it actually take to change someone's mind? Pinker also happens to have grown up in Montreal, and idolized the former Canadiens goaltender. The two talk to Paul Kennedy about the relationship of rhetoric and reason.
Tuesday, September 25
SHAKING THE SNOW GLOBE
When writer Michael Pollan took a psychedelic drug he saw himself burst into …a pile of post-it-notes. His ego had dissolved. In his recent book, How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan explores how psychedelic drugs have been used to enhance spiritual experiences and treat many conditions from depression to anxiety.
Wednesday, September 26
NEOLIBERALISM: Is it ruining the world?
Deregulation. Infinite growth. Self-correcting markets. All are hallmarks of neoliberal thinking. But 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 asks four experts about the rise and rule of neoliberal thought, and what it may mean for societies around the world.
Thursday, September 27
A MODEST PROPOSAL ABOUT SATIRE
Are our current politicians becoming satire-proof? Or has satire always merely preached to the choir? In search of answers, Peter Brown looks to the classic satire of Juvenal, Swift and the Arab-speaking world, as well as prominent current practitioners including Armando Iannucci, creator of Veep and The Death of Stalin.
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.