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Word of Mouth 12.15.2012

Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

An anthropologist embeds herself with hackers. Santa opens shop in Hooksett. A Hobbit scholar explains why Tolkien fascinates. Women comedians find success on through podcasts. And the very interesting history...of boredom.

Part 1:

The 1995 film “Hackers”, a young Angelina Jolie and baby-faced Johnny Lee Miller star as digital rebels dressed in a punk aesthetic with the power to takeover anything that dares to exist on the internet.  Nearly two decades later, it’s clear that that hackers can’t be identified by dress, ethnicity, or any other one specific trait, but evidence of their presence and power in our increasingly digital world is everywhere. 

Gabriella Coleman is an anthropologist at McGill University in Montreal, and author of the book Coding Freedom:  The Ethics And Aesthetics Of Hacking As part of her studies, she lived with a tribe of San Francisco hackers for three years and joins us now to tell us about her experience.


Credit Adam McCune for NHPR

Been to the mall lately? If so, you’ve probably seen a long line of nervous kids waiting a turn to sit on Santa’s lap and give him their Christmas wish list. There’s another place in New Hampshire where kids can visit Santa Claus, though a bit off the beaten path. It’s arguably even more magical, with not a tearful tot in sight.

Word Of Mouth contributor Adam McCune bundled up his own kids to take us on this radio field trip just a wee bit south of the North Pole. Check out a gallery of photos he took here.

Part 2:

Corey Olsen, English Professor at Washington College and author of the book “Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit”, discusses the lasting appeal and tonal evolution of the classic children’s novel.


Credit Sonia Blanco via Flickr Creative Commons

2012 has been a fantastic year for funny ladies on television. Comedians Chelsea Handler, Whitney Cummings, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler and Joan Rivers all star in their own shows. A number of lesser known laugh-out-loud women are reaching new audiences with self-produced podcasts, and networks are paying attention. 

Jean Railla, a writer and cultural observer based in New York City tells us more.

Part 3:

We spoke with Linda Rodriguez McRobbieabout the history of boredom. Not surprisingly, scientists avoided studying the subject until the last century.  Studies suggest that boredom can lead to depression and other adverse health conditions, even death.

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