With Good Reason Radio

With Good Reason: Conversations with university faculty about a world of ideas, hosted by Sarah McConnell. Since 1993, heard weekly on public radio in Virginia, DC and online at withgoodreasonradio.org. From VFH Radio at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. This Blog: Musings/Wanderings/Discoveries by With Good Reason staff. Follow goodreasonradio on Twitter
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In 2007, filmmaker Werner Herzog dedicated his documentary Encounters at the End of the Worldto Roger Ebert. At one point during Herzog’s commentary track, he calls Ebert “a warrior of the cinema.” Ebert responded to the compliment in a letter to Herzog.

My favorite part of Ebert’s letter:

I believe you have never made a film depending on sex, violence or chase scenes…You have avoided this content, I suspect, because it lends itself so seductively to formulas, and you want every film to be absolutely original.

You have also avoided all “obligatory scenes,” including artificial happy endings… And you don’t use musical scores that tell us how to feel about the content. Instead, you prefer free-standing music that evokes a mood: You use classical music, opera, oratorios, requiems, aboriginal music, the sounds of the sea, bird cries, and of course Popol Vuh.

All of these decisions proceed from your belief that the audience must be able to believe what it sees. Not its “truth,” but its actuality, its ecstatic truth.

You can read all of Ebert’s letter to Herzog here.

- Heidi


Still from Encounters at the End of the World

(via cinephilearchive)

Winnie Cooper helped write the Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem! And other amazing women in STEM. 

Creating a language without words?  We may be radio people, but it’s cool … we’re not threatened.  This looks awesome.

The Intel Science Talent Search has been around since the 1940s—this year’s winner was a 17-year-old girl who built a laboratory underneath her lofted bed.  ”I actually sleep on my algae’s light cycle.”

Listen to historian Sevan Terzian talking about the history of the talent search on With Good Reason http://snd.sc/YkwPY9

Sister Rosetta Tharpe became really popular in the 1930s and 1940s with her gospel recordings—a unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and early rock and roll. She was the first superstar of gospel music and was an early influence on Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Johnny Cash. Chris Kjorness plays some of her groundbreaking recordings and talks about her legacy.

The American Civil War has produced a number of mythical characters. Perhaps there are none like the notorious Champ Ferguson, a Confederate guerrilla who claimed to have killed over 100 Union soldiers and sympathizers. Brian McKnight (University of Virginia’s College at Wise) says Ferguson was both a skilled fighter and a ruthless murderer who exploited the war for his own financial gain. McKnight is the author of a new book called “Confederate Outlaw: Champ Ferguson and the Civil War in Appalachia.”Also featured: When the Civil War ended, Confederate veterans and their families were faced with rebuilding their lives—while also coming to terms with defeat. Jeffrey McClurken (University of Mary Washington) is author of a new book that’s being called the “most complete community-based study of how Confederate veteran families adjusted in the postwar South.” And: Producer Kelley Libby takes a look at the ways Americans commemorate the Civil War—including podcasting. Civil War experts Chuck Ross and David Coles (Longwood University) are producers of “That A Nation Might Live,” a podcast that recounts the events of the Civil War week by week for five years.

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Give peace a chance.  Teaching kids about peace might be just as important as reading, writing, and arithmetic.  Elavie Ndura-Ouedraogo (George Mason University) believes peace-building should be a part of school curricula and is using her country of Burundi to show how such programs can work.  Also featured: A game that encourages students to change the world.  Elementary school teacher John Hunter has created what he calls his “World Peace Game,” and it asks students to solve everything from oil spills to insurgencies and border disagreements.  With Good Reason visits a class.  And also featured: Refugees founded this country, but historically America has had a complicated relationship with its refugee population.  The Displaced Persons Act of 1948 codified our commitment to help refugee populations – from Cuba, Vietnam, and elsewhere.  But since then, David Haines (George Mason University) says, the American people have been both generous in their welcome but at times also disinterested and hostile.  Haines has three decades of experience in refugee research and policy and is the author of a new book, Safe Haven?

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Why do we dream and what do our dreams tell us about what’s happening when we are awake? Richard Bargdill (Virginia Commonwealth University), interprets some of the most common dreams we have, explains why some dreams are recurring and discusses what our dreams are trying to tell us.  Also featured: Understanding what makes us shy.  Shy kids have an early predisposition to anxiety, which can lead to clinical anxiety. Koraly Perez-Edgar (George Mason University), says shy children tend to be biased toward interpreting benign events as threatening. 

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At the height of its popularity, an estimated 12 million listeners were tuning in to each episode of The Lone Ranger. The success of the radio serial was largely the result of clever marketing and licensing by the show’s creator, George Trendle. In a forthcoming book called Selling the Silver Bullet, media professor Avi Santo (Old Dominion University) explains how one man’s vision became a widely recognized trademark.

Also featured: Western culture reveres science. But scientists have long been portrayed in film and fiction as sinister, ruthless, dangerous, or mad. Think: Dr. Jekyll. Chemistry professor Leanna C. Giancarlo (University of Mary Washington) challenges these portrayals. By looking at the role of language and myth-making, she explains why negative stereotypes of scientists persist.

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Award-winning poet Sonia Sanchez is a pioneer in founding black studies in academia. In a literary career that spans more than 42 years, Sonia is most often associated with The Black Arts Movement. She is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, as well as numerous plays and books for children. Sonia recently headlined a weeklong poetry seminar presented by the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University. Dr. Brenda M. Greene, who has followed Sonia’s career for more than forty years, lectured at the event. Brenda is Professor of English and Executive Director of the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York.

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