Tag: Christopher Lydon

John Updike Interview on The Connection

A Conversation with John Updike

John Updike’s Rabbit, Harry Angstrom, has been powdered ashes in a Bakelite box for more than ten years now. But the faithless old ne’er-do-well and charmer, downhill all the way from his high-school basketball days, has magic yet to conjure with, from the grave, in the fifth Rabbit novel about Updike’s American times. There’s no halo over the self-centered old showboat–who his son Nelson thought was “narcissistically impaired.” Yet there’s more than just the aura of memory around Harry: he’s a real ghost, clicking off practice chip shots under Nelson’s window in the gray-blue moonlight….

Rabbit’s still bugging Ronnie Harrison, whom he beat out in basketball and in the bedroom game-no matter that Ronnie has married Rabbit’s widow. In “Rabbit Remembered” he has dispatched from the grave a real daughter Annabelle that almost nobody new he had as an emissary and a balm for the world he left behind. Rabbit lives this hour on The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)

Guests:
Author John Updike. His new book is entititled, “Licks of Love: Short Stories and a Sequel, ‘Rabbit Remembered.’”

you can listen here: The Connection

Saul Bellow Interview on The Connection

Saul Bellow’s “Ravelstein”

“Saul Bellow is on every critic’s top ten list. John Updike has called him our best portraitist, he is a mentor to the British writer, Martin Amis, and his Chicago has become as familiar as Joyce’s Dublin. He has received three National Book Awards, the Pulitzer Prize and, in 1976, the Nobel Prize for Literature. You could read Bellow’s new novel “Ravelstein” for clues about his real life friendship with Allan Bloom, the controversial and flamboyant author of the 1992 bestseller, “The Closing of the American Mind.”

You could also read it as a Saul Bellow meditation on friendship, writing and dying. Abe Ravelstein is a larger than life philosopher at the University of Chicago, who chain smokes, lives extravagantly, and is as much of a gossip as he is an intellectual. Before Abe dies, he asks his friend, Chick, to write his biography. Saul Bellow’s “Ravelstein,” on this Connection.”

The Connection, Hosted by Christopher Lydon

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Ron Rosenbaum on The Connection (audio)

Ron Rosenbaum is the Edgy Enthusiast at the New York Observer, the journalist who’s made a beat out of his own obsessive passions and interests now for thirty years. If there’s a common thread that runs through The Simpsons, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Nabokov’s “Pale Fire,” Edith Wharton, Jorge Luis Borges and Mystery Science Theater 3000 it’s that Ron Rosenbaum finds it brilliant, beautiful or redemptive.

He’s a close reader of Shakespeare and the Bible and this summer’s Survivor series; a lover of classic films, epic poetry and borderline bad pop music. He writes and reports only as a rationale to read more and plunge further into his labyrinth of oddball ideas, conspiracy theories and misconceptions about the world.

It’s Ron’s world and welcome to it. The Edgy Enthusiast Ron Rosenbaum, this hour on The Connection.
(Hosted By Christopher Lydon)

Guests:

Ron Rosenbaum, Editor and Author of the NY Observer’s Edgy Enthusiast.

The Connection

Comeback Cities

 You remember all those gallows jokes about American cities-like: will the last person out of Cleveland please turn out the lights. And then things got worse-if you went by the numbers and the conversational pall around the basket case of urban America. The white folks left, and middle-class black folks, too; and jobs and business. One of the best of the big-city mayors Ed Rendell of Philadelphia said the cause was lost, because the doctor wasn’t treating a bullet wound; he was confronting rampant cancer, without resources.

So the cities were left for dead, and guess what happened? Paul Grogan says they got vastly better and will get better yet-on the strength of poor-people’s markets and politics, on the further fall of crime rates, and the bust-up of the top-down bureaucracies running public schools and public housing. The really promising secret is that, as the man in Chicago said: “people like it here.” Comeback Cities are this hour on the Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)

Guests:
Paul Grogan, author of “Comeback Cities”

George Lakoff and Christopher Lydon discuss the embodied mind on The Connection

TheConnection

Brain Science, George Lakoff says, is overturning twenty-five centuries of Western Philosophy. The most basic philosophical ideas, ideas about truth and beauty, events and causes, mind and self, justice, morality, and what it means to be human, all are under siege today. Cognitive Science, according to Lakoff, is discovering that thought is mostly unconscious, abstract concepts mostly metaphorical, and that the mind is not just in the body, it is of the body; not separate from it, as in the old image of the ghost in the machine.

What all this means to Berkeley’s George Lakoff is that Plato, Descartes, and Kant were fooling themselves into thinking that they had constructed Great Philosophical Theories with something like pure reason. Their ideas, says Lakoff, are no more than elaborations of metaphors deeply rooted in our humanity that are probably oversold as universal truth. George Lakoff’s Philosophy in the Flesh is this hour on The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)

Guests:

George Lakoff, Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, author of “Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being” and “Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought.”

Check it out at The Connection Archives