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5.02.16: Velvet Rope Economy, Detecting Treasure, & Family Farm Fetish

Stanley Zimny via Flickr CC

On the Titanic, metal gates kept the unwashed from the upper crust - today's cruises offer high-rollers seclusion using key cards and velvet ropes.Today, travel perks in the new Gilded Age.

Then, from Little House on the Prairie, to the pastoral scenes printed on butter packages,  Americans tend to think of the agrarian past as wholesome and simpler . But, the real family farm has not always been pure or pretty.

Plus, Sean Hurley searches for buried treasure with a group of metal detectives.

Listen to the full show. 

Velvet Rope Economy

A typical Norwegian Cruise Line package gives you a week on a floating resort with four thousand other people also soaking up the sun and loading up at the buffet line.  If you're willing to pay more - a lot more - you can opt for white table cloths, a private pool, and round the clock butler service in The Haven, a "ship within a ship" reserved for the upper crust.

Income disparity may have people riled up in the political sphere, but catering to the 1% is increasingly profitable for the travel and tourism industry. With wealth disparity in America greater than any time since the Gilded Age, comes a gulf in experience befitting that era.

Nelson Schwartz covers economics for the New York Times' Business Section - that's where we found his article "In an Age of Privilege, Not Everyone is in the Same Boat."

Velvet Rope Economy

The King of the Rings

The arrival of spring in Martha's Vineyard means the start of another season at the Flying Horses Carousel. Built in 1876, it's the oldest of its kind still operating in America. Tourists come to catch the famous brass ring, but Islanders play a different game and getting crowned "king of the rings" is no easy feat. Producer Jonathan Earle has more on a local past time that takes quick fingers and years of practice.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

Detecting Treasure

Here in New Hampshire, when the weather heats up it's time to go hunting for hidden gems.  NHPR's Sean Hurley visited New Hampshire's largest metal detecting event and has the story.  

You can listen to the full story again: Hunting For Treasure at N.H.'s Largest Metal Detecting Event

Family Farm Fetish

The family farm is an American idyll stretching from Pilgrim settlements to Little House on the Prairie to countless commercials of tractors thrashing through a sunlit field. They're the stuff of campaign commercials - symbols of honest, hard-working, conservative values for the right, and the values of localism, and hand hewn sustainability venerated by the left. 

Gabriel Rosenberg has a more complex view. He is an assistant professor of women's studies at Duke and in an article for Boston Globe Ideas, he points to the racism, dispossession, poverty, morbidity and complex sexual relationships that are part of the nation's agrarian traditions.  

Family Farm Fetish


Nuyorican Bicycle Clubs in Brooklyn

The Schwinn bicycle has a rich history in New York's Puerto Rican communities. In many of these enclaves, you'll find members of riding clubs showing off their stylish vintage bicycles, decorated with chrome, car horns and flags - a tradition that dates back to the beginning of Puerto Rico's mass migration to the US in the 1950s. Producer Jack D'Isidoro brings us the history of Puerto Rican Schwinn clubs in New York. 

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

We Want Your Pitches

We've been working on an idea of an episode all about how books get made - from the first kernel of an idea, to selling the idea to an agent or publisher, to self-publishing to who writes those blurbs on the back of the final copy.

We need your help and your book pitches.  I'm borrowing the format from the New Hampshire Writers’ Project you send us a short pitch for the book you're working on or dying to write - novel, non-fiction, memoir, fantasy, whatever - and we'll submit it anonymously with an agent from the Zachary Shuster Harmsworth publishing house.

Remember, a good book pitch is succinct, attention grabbing and makes you want to keep reading. With that in mind, we want your pitches. Email your idea in 150 words or less to: wordofmouth@nhpr.org.  Put “book pitch” in the subject line. 

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