Tag Archives | thoughtcast

Spring Fever

This time of year, when the relieved earth shrugs off stale dirt and dead leaves, it pauses, recalling. Then, as it lets out a long, low breath, it slowly releases moisture, a glut of color. Everything is growing.

But only for a spell, for soon enough the earth will turn, and then the relentless heat will shrivel these green thirsty things, and the ground will grow hard, and withdraw again.

Click here: to listen (2:40 minutes).

Posted on April 24, 2017 in a new podcast, Front Page, WNYC TV
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Revered New York Review editor Robert Silvers, R.I.P.

Note: this interview has been picked up by the public radio station WGBH, in Boston, and its sister stations WCAI and WNAN.

Robert Silvers (credit Melanie Flood)

The venerable New York Review of Books was launched amidst a newspaper strike in the winter of 1963, and has continued unabated ever since. Devoted to intensive and nuanced coverage of politics, the arts, literature, science (and now movies and the Internet!), the paper, as it’s called, is considered to be the premiere journal of the American intellectual elite.
Robert Silvers, its longtime editor, who shared the post with Barbara Epstein until her death in 2006, spoke with ThoughtCast in the WNYC studios in New York.

Click here: to listen (40 minutes).

Note: Scott McLemee, who writes the Intellectual Affairs column each week at Inside Higher Ed, contributed an excellent question to the interview – thanks!

Posted on March 23, 2017 in a new podcast, Front Page, History, Ideas, Literature, Politics
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Paul Pascarella – An Artist of the Mesa and the Mountain

When I interviewed Paul Pascarella, back in the 90s, I confess he was kind of a friend. Which made following him around with a camera in his Arroyo Seco studio a lot smoother than usual. It’s not easy to gain this access, to watch an artist at work, especially if you’re trying to record each idea as it hits the canvas. The act is extremely revealing.

Perhaps this is why Paul doesn’t stick with his “work-in-progress” for very long. The hands-on phase of this WNYC TV story is relatively brief, followed by a show-and-tell of various examples of his work. Paul has always been a flexible artist, never adhering to just one style. He is, I think, a happy painter, not one gripped by terrors in the small hours, or as they used to say, existential dread.
And who can blame him? He lives in apparent freedom in Taos, New Mexico. As you will see, it’s a spectacular spot, one many famous painters have discovered in the past – Agnes Martin, Arthur Dove, Georgia O’Keefe, Marsden Hartley, Rebecca James, Andrew Dasburg. The list continues. Perhaps it has something to do with the huge spaces and the limitless light.

For an audio version of this story, click here: to listen. (4:42 mins).

Posted on October 3, 2016 in a new podcast, Art, Front Page, WNYC TV
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Andres Serrano @ The New Museum of Contemporary Art

Andres Serrano: Works 1983-93 opened at The New Museum of Contemporary Art in Soho in early 1995. It was a mid-career retrospective, and I went there to interview the controversial artist for the PBS station WNYC TV. His infamous “Piss Christ”, among other ecclesiastical subjects, was prominently featured, as well as images of Ku Klux Klan members, and dead bodies photographed in a morgue.

Today Serrano continues to exhibit his work in group shows, but he seems to have calmed down a bit. Some subtler photographs taken in Cuba may seem to be a good deal humbler, but I personally find them to be quietly beautiful. In recent years, Serrano has also taken affecting portraits of New York’s homeless, in order to increase awareness of their circumstances.

For an audio version of this story, click here: to listen. (3:50 mins).

Posted on August 28, 2016 in a new podcast, Art, Front Page, Religion, WNYC TV
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A Prior Republican Presidential Debate

There was a time when Donald Trump, and the less sensational but still controversial Ted Cruz, did not dominate the discourse and depress the hopes of the Republican Party establishment. Back in 2000, there were 6 candidates to pick from, and none of them prompted calls for a contested convention. Even so, these six seemed like quite an odd bunch at the time, and they took their place on stage in Durham, New Hampshire for an influential Republican Presidential Debate only weeks before the first-in-the-nation primary on February 1st. This was the first time citizens cast their votes in a primary for the future President George W. Bush.
Let’s rewind the tape, and take another look. (NB: click on the link just provided, NOT on the images.)
georgeWbush This January 6th debate was moderated by Tim Russert, the host of NBC’s Meet the Press, and featured Arizona Senator John McCain, conservative political activist Alan Keyes, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, publisher Steve Forbes, Christian pro-life spokesman Gary Bauer and George W. Bush. As things turned out, Bush fared poorly in New Hampshire, and lost the primary to the “straight talk express” candidate John McCain, who pushed for campaign finance reform.
jennyrepdebate1 I participated in the debate as a correspondent for New Hampshire Public TV, and was able to ask McCain, who was campaigning to clean up Washington, a question about his influence as chairman of the FCC.
So — let me ask the same questions I posed in my Democratic Presidential Debate post: In taking a look 16 years after the fact, how does it seem to you now? Quaint and out of date? Does it hold hints of what was to come? What should we have done differently that might have made the future a better place?

Posted on March 18, 2016 in a new podcast, History, Politics
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A Prior Presidential Primary

Back in 2000, before we’d ever heard of Al Quaeda, Abu Ghraib or ISIS, we somehow managed to survive a Presidential Primary season with our national dignity relatively intact. Those were however less traumatic times. Do you know what we were worried about back then? Whether or not our computers would implode when their 1s and 0s flipped over to face the new century. Good old Y2K. How innocent we were back then.
But — it could be argued that this same Presidential race and its hotly contested aftermath, oh so indelicately umpired by the Supreme Court, was the spark which lit the fuse that hurtled us down the path to our current predicament.
So let’s rewind the tape, and take another look. (NB: click on the link just provided, NOT on the images.)
AlGore New Hampshire is always the first state to vote in the primaries, and the millennial year was no exception. It was scheduled for February 1st, 2000, and was less than a month away when a Democratic Presidential Primary Debate took place in Durham, New Hampshire, pitting Vice President Al Gore against former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley. The January 5th debate was moderated by ABC TV’s Peter Jennings. I too was a participant, as a correspondent for New Hampshire Public TV.

jenny:dems So — in taking a look 16 years after the fact, how does it seem to you now? Quaint and out of date? Does it hold hints of what was to come? What should we have done differently that might have made the future a better place?

Posted on February 25, 2016 in Politics
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