Lessons from a Former Failed Bid for the Presidency?

The press barely noticed former New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith’s bid for the presidency in 2000, so entranced were they over the newly candid Arizona Senator John McCain as he crisscrossed Bob Smith’s state in the “Straight Talk Express.” But McCain fever was quickly quenched by the more conventional conservatism of Texas Governor George W. Bush once the race headed south. And what became of the dogged Republican Senator Bob Clinton Smith? Well, he hung onto his seat till 2003, in his own unique, aw shucks fashion.

When you watch this ThoughtCast interview, you’ll form your own impression of a candidate who didn’t make it — and you might also come away with some interesting hypotheses on how US Presidential politics has evolved (some would say devolved) since the turn of the century.

Click here: to listen (4:43 minutes).
 

Posted on November 23, 2017 in a new podcast, Front Page, Politics
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Al Gore, Reconsidered

Now that we’re faced with Al Gore’s Inconvenient Sequel, it is tempting to ask, again: What if he’d actually won the Presidential election back in 2000? Remember when the century turned, the chads clung and hung, Florida was in Republican hands, and the Supreme Court ended up deciding the race in favor of the fortunate son of a former president? How many wayward chads would it have taken to give us 4 years of Al Gore, the “beta male” who wore sweaters in heather hues, and spoke calmly about the calamitous state of our global environment? For one thing, I don’t think we’d have pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord. But what else might have — or not have happened?

I had the chance to interview the Vice President for NHPTV in the autumn of 1999, prior to the New Hampshire Presidential Primary. Little did I know of what was to come, or I might have asked somewhat different questions.
I remember it was colder out than it looked, and Gore nursed a cup of coffee throughout the interview, while attempting to come off as well … approachable, like his two chief Republican opponents: the easygoing George W. Bush and the jubilant John McCain, who at the time was touring the state in his Straight Talk Express. More on that in the next post.
But in the meantime, let me know what you think of Gore, back in the Twentieth Century, before our continuum got torqued!

Posted on August 6, 2017 in a new podcast, Environment, Front Page, Politics
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The Hunt for Art Fakes with Tom Hoving

The inimitable Tom Hoving discusses art forgeries, and how to spot them, on ThoughtCast!

Tom Hoving, former director of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, speaks with Jenny Attiyeh (reporting for WNYC TV, now off the air) about his book – and his career – spotting, and yes, falling for fakes.
False Impressions: The Hunt for Big-Time Art Fakes tells the story of many famous frauds, some of which made their way inside the daunting doors of the Met, the Getty and elsewhere, before being unmasked. In the process, Hoving sheds light not just on the rarefied world of high priced antiquities, be they fair or foul, but on his own mercurial personality.

Posted on May 23, 2017 in a new podcast, Art, Front Page, WNYC TV
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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, 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.

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, WNYC TV
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