Word of Mouth 2.25.2012
In a down economy, most folks are happy to find a crumpled five-spot in a pair of old jeans, or turn in their saved quarters for a dinner out. Not David Wolman. David is a contributing editor at Wired Magazine, and author of the new book, The End of Money, which explores the notion that everyone might benefit from a cash-free world.
Two weeks ago, Florence Green -- the last known surviving veteran of World War I -- died. She had been a waitress in Britain’s Royal Air Force. The story of the war that was to end all wars survives in historic accounts, novels, poems and pictures. Millions of British and American viewers recently got a glimpse of the battlefield on PBS’s popular Downton Abbey.
The prevailing historical narrative is that the trenches were slaughtering troughs and that The Great War was inevitable…a percolating crisis waiting for a catalyst….we learned in school that the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June of 1914 was the spark that ignited war in Europe. Jack Beatty explores new scholarship to offer contrary views. “Historical inevitability is a doctrine for history without people,” he writes in the introduction of The Lost History of 1914, the book chronicles some largely forgotten events and players that could have derailed war, and argues that trench warfare saved lives. Jack Beatty is news analyst for NPR’s On Point, and author of The Rascal King and the Age of Betrayal.
Revulsion kept early humans from eating spoiled meat, or snuggling up to people covered with oozing sores. Today, some cultures prize cheeses writhing with maggots, or drink liquor made from fermented saliva. This is not a trick to get you to “eeewww” but a way to evoke the visceral nature of disgust, which as Rachel Herz found, is powerful enough to convict suspects, incite genocide, and make us writhe and wretch within seconds.
Rachel is an instructor at Brown University and expert on the psychology of smell and emotion. Her new book is “That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion.”
Fondly described as Talladega Nights meets Catcher in the Rye, the new film Racing Dreams chronicles a year in the life of three 'tweens' who dream of becoming NASCAR drivers. They compete in the "little league" of professional racing, the World Karting Association’s National Pavement Series.
All three have the will and skill to become pros, depending on how they do in their year on the circuit. We talk with filmmaker Marshall Curry about his award-winning doc. It premieres on PBS's POV series tonight.