Friday, May 15, 2009

May 18-22 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: (I’ve reverted to referring to myself in the third person): Certainly Reza Aslan, very slick, very smart, very articulate and, I venture to say, one of our most trusted interpreters of Muslims and Islam. But, scholar of religions though he may be, he really goofed right at the end of Wednesday’s show when he misquoted Jesus in that much misunderstood line, “I come not to bring peace but a sword.” Jesus was a reformer, not a militant. Almost everything he said was intended as a spiritual message. The Christian gospel was spread not by the sword but by the blood of the early Christian martyrs, the “the seed of the Church.”

Monday: Going Back to Cuba: For decades, Cuba has been a place we were only allowed to imagine, but now, with small cracks in the formidable barrier between us, we find ourselves with a lot of catching up to do. So did journalist Carlos Frias, the American-born son of Cuban parents who went to Cuba for the first time in 2006 and wrote about his impressions in the memoir, Take Me With You.

Tuesday: Memoir as An American Art Form: I went to hear Natalie Goldberg read from her latest book about memoir writing, Old Friend From Long Ago, when she was at Border’s in Madison a short time ago. Natalie used to be a regular on my old show. When she talked about memoir as an American cultural phenomenon I knew I just had to bring her on Here on Earth. She’s my old friend from long ago, and once you hear her, she’ll be yours too.

Wednesday: Evicted From Eternity: Have you ever lived in a place you loved and thought you knew, and then gone back years later only to find it completely changed? That’s what happened to me when I revisited Trantevere, the oldest neighborhood in Rome where I lived for a year in 1968 when the little boys were still playing marbles and peeing in the street, just as they had been doing for thousands of years. How could it change? Harvard historian Michael Herzfeld wrote about the people of Monti, another Roman neighborhood that has undergone the same gentrification in his book with the soulful title, Evicted From Eternity: The Restructuring of Modern Rome.

Thursday: Taqwacores: Muslim Punk Rock: Michael Muhammad Knight is known as a provocateur, a rebel, and a heretic among many American Muslims for his book, The Taqwacores, which describes a group of Muslim punk-rockers living a religious yet fiercely individualistic lifestyle. The book gained notoriety as it went viral and inspired a movement. We’ll talk with the man himself, a convert to Islam who grew up as an Irish Catholic.

Friday: In Praise of Fat: People who have been listening to me for a long time know my iconoclastic streak. So when I heard that there’s a new James Beard Prize winning cookbook by Jennifer McLagan called Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes, I jumped. It has a picture of one of the fattiest lambchops I’ve ever seen on the cover.


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