I’ve been busy — in a good way — and I didn’t get to post last week. I spent Saturday at WHYY on a video excursion followed by some Final Cut practice. I was also heading to New York City Monday for a biannual grant review meeting, so I couldn’t sit by the live stream all weekend. It was so cold, chances are you may have gotten your public radio fix last Saturday and Sunday anyway. Now that I’m freelancing, working on the weekend is a more regular thing (and it no longer happens at my desk).*
The Dark And The Light On Weekend Edition And All Things Considered
Some of my favorite Weekend Edition Saturday moments (and possibly yours) occur during Simon Says, when Scott Simon provides his perspective on an issue. This week it’s a compelling reflection on our collective failure at institutional (or national, in this case) memory: although General Dwight Eisenhower went to great lengths 73 years ago to ensure that American soldiers and German civilians witnessed evidence of the crimes at Buchenwald so that we would ‘never forget’ the horror conceived and executed under the Nazi regime, many Americans have forgotten — and possibly never learned.
“A study conducted by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany reported this week that 41 percent of Americans and 66 percent of millennials say they don’t know about the Auschwitz death camp where more than a million Jews and others, including Poles, Roma people and gays were executed. Forty-one percent of millennials believe 2 million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust. It was 6 million. And 22 percent of millennials say they haven’t even heard of the Holocaust.”
Yom HaShoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, was observed this year from sundown April 11 until sundown April 12th. Michel Martin further reflects on the appalling study Sunday on All Things Considered with professor and author Deborah Lipstadt, exploring the danger of this ignorance. Lipstadt reminds us that Hitler was elected and notes how the Nazis slowly broke down the German democracy. Martin and Lipstadt make further connections between the recent uptick in hate crimes and antisemitic sentiment.
Thursday on The Late Show, Stephen Colbert guffawed about the “Oh My God” strategy of the White House detailed in The Washington Post article Trump chooses impulse over strategy as crises mount:
“It’s just like everybody wakes up every morning and does whatever is right in front of them,” said one West Wing aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity to share a candid opinion. “Oh, my God, Trump Tower is on fire. Oh, my God, they raided Michael Cohen’s office. Oh, my God, we’re going to bomb Syria. Whatever is there is what people respond to, and there is no proactive strategic thinking.”
I laughed with him when I watched it Friday night, but then I awoke, turned on Weekend Edition, and caught myself saying “Oh, my Gawd, we bombed Syria”. Both Weekend Edition and All Things Considered offered thorough discussion and analysis of the situation, providing a number of perspectives ranging from Angus King of Maine and Retired Admiral James Stavridis (narrow strike specific to chemical weapons use, congressional approval not especially necessary) to Eleanor Beardsley’s coverage from Paris and Ruth Sherlock’s coverage from Beirut. What seems to be consistent is the concern that there is no actual strategy for Syria other than this response to a chemical weapons attack. Both shows, on both days featured a number of segments on the topic, so it’s best to listen to the full shows if you want to grapple with this issue from the beginning: Weekend Edition Saturday, Weekend Edition Sunday, All Things Considered Saturday, All Things Considered Sunday.
On Weekend Edition Sunday, we’re treated to an optimistic segment highlighting the five-year-anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, reported by Tovia Smith. There’s a bit of a fairytale vibe to survivor Roseann Sdoia‘s story that’s definitely worth 4 minutes of your listening time.
Finally, Leila Fadel’s special series “Muslims In America: A New Generation” punctuates the weekend soundtrack with stories including Black Muslims Step Into Spotlight, Her Pro Dreams Shot, This Muslim Player Pivots To The Next Generation, A Mosque For LGBTQ Muslims, and Turning Rampant Anti-Muslim Bullying Into Teachable Moments. The project is a collaboration with National Geographic, and features stunning photography and informative graphics. Go ahead, get lost in that gorgeous story…
Continually Surfacing: ‘The Problem with Apu’ And Changing Ocean Currents On Here and Now
On Here and Now Friday, NPR TV critic Eric Deggans explains the most recent iteration of the kerfuffle surrounding “The Simpson’s” character Apu. For additional background, you can read Linda Holmes’ Monkey See blog: ‘The Simpsons’ To ‘The Problem With Apu’: Drop Dead. Deggans comments on how the April 8th episode reflects that the show has devolved, as opposed to taking the opportunity to reexamine its participation in stereotyping southeast Asians, as illustrated by Hari Kondabolu in his recent documentary ‘The Problem with Apu‘.
In bad weather news, something there’s been plenty of lately, ocean currents in the Atlantic are slowing down. The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), which exchanges warm water from the bottom of the ocean with cold water from the Arctic, is the weakest it has been for at least 1,600 years. David Thornalley of University College London speaks with Here & Now‘s Lisa Mullins to explain why the system has been disrupted, the last time it happened, and how it’s related to the warming of the planet.
Fun On Science Friday
Ryan Mandelbaum, science writer at Gizmodo, chats with Ira about hunting for planets and axions. They also mention efforts to use the rules of quantum physics to create truly random random numbers — a conversation touching on entanglement that will probably blow your mind — it blew mine; I thought it was just me, but sure enough, host Ira Flatow was “mind blown” as well.
The featured segment, How To Talk With Aliens, debates several questions about extraterrestrial life, most importantly, the ethics of attempting to communicate with other civilizations. The conversation with Kelly Smith, Sheri Wells-Jensen, and Jacob Haqq-Misra ranges from suggestions to send the most simple signal possible (binary code or a string of prime numbers) to whether these attempts might endanger humanity on Earth.
Maggots! — They will eat anything, which means we could probably use them — says science. Humans may be able to resolve a number of food waste problems by using maggots, and Dr. David Hu, associate professor of mechanical engineering and biology at Georgia Tech explains with a video.
…To The Choir Goes Reveal
The first thing to mention about Sunday’s episode of Reveal is that The Center for Investigative Reporting raised the bar for content strategy by experimenting with choral singing to highlight diversity disparity in Silicon Valley. As someone who recently worked for an IT company and volunteered on the diversity and inclusion team, I really appreciated this unique structure and innovative method of storytelling for such an intense topic. If you have the time, it’s worth an exploration of this collaboration with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in California and the team at the Center for Employment Equity at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as a deeper glimpse at the facts.
Reveal provides its own short summary of the show, including who did all the work, so I won’t repeat it here; you can also read the full story about Tesla and it’s inaccurate injury reporting (a collaboration with KQED) if you want to see all the graphics, data, and photos. Finally, ‘What women of color in the tech industry want‘ expands on the excerpts from Sunday’s episode.
In Today’s Workplace, Try Not To Die
The most important takeaway from ‘Welfare, tax day and how to be an umpire’, this week’s Marketplace Weekend episode, is that “workplaces account for the fifth leading cause of death in the United States” according to Stanford business professor Jeffery Pfeffer. The segment ‘Choose a job you love and you will never have to … die prematurely?‘ highlights Pfeffer’s book “Dying for a Paycheck,” and the fact that stress due to economic insecurity and lack of control over our jobs both contribute to the “about 120,000 people die in the workplace each year in the U.S.”. If you don’t have time to listen to the full show, it’s worth taking six minutes to hear how a supportive work environment could mitigate the health risks of working in today’s economy.
That’s it for this weekend’s fix. If you got outside as much as I did on Friday and Saturday, it’s likely you needed this. Sunday I was covering an exhibit opening with Philadelphia Contemporary at Lemon Hill mansion, so I did miss quite a bit, but I trust that you’ll catch up on your favorite weekend shows if you haven’t already. If you have anything I missed and you’d like to share, please do so.
…until next week…
I am not an employee of NPR, PRI, or APM, or any of their partner stations. I’m just a public media junkie who likes to share. My content is original, and is not endorsed or promoted by NPR or its partner stations.