Monday, April 23, 2012
Documentary filmmaker Ben Anderson was in our studio Monday where he discussed his takeaway from the front lines in Afghanistan. In his reporting, Anderson shadowed three different battalions of NATO forces over the course of four years. He documented his experiences in his new book, No Worse Enemy, which draws from the more than 300 hours of footage he captured during his time there. Much of that footage was even used in a documentary he produced for HBO in 2010, The Battle For Marjah.
Both documentary and commercial filmmakers have used our ongoing conflicts in a number of feature films released in the last few years: Stop Loss, The Hurt Locker, No End In Sight, In The Valley of Elah, Generation Kill, Green Zone, and Lions for Lambs all centered on the operations in Iraq. But The Battle for Marjah is one of only a few films that focus specifically on Afghanistan (Sebastian Junger and the late Tim Hetherington’s chilling documentary Restrepo is another).
This got me wondering about our relationship with Afghanistan in cinema. Recent films about the Iraq War have largely been box office blanks, even the ones that were well reviewed—Bob Tourtellotte wrote about this on Reuters' Fan Fare blog. Has that kept studios and filmmakers from focusing on the important subject of Afghanistan? Are there films about Afghanistan worth looking into that we’ve missed? Do you think filmmakers will revisit the subject in years to come?
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The 2012 Pulitzer Prizes were announced on Monday, and a few of the winners have been on the Lopate Show discussing their work.
John Lewis Gaddis won for his biography George F. Kennan: An American Life. Kennan set the strategy of containment that defined U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union, and was an architect of the Marshall Plan. He discussed Kennan's life and influence of Kennan with Leonard in December.
Stephen Greenblatt's book The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, also won. He was on the Lopate Show in December talking about how a nearly forgotten manuscript by the Roman philosopher Lucretius sparked the Renaissance and changed the world.
Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan, and Chris Hawley, of The Associated Press, won for their investigation of a New York Police Department surveillance of mostly Muslim neighborhoods. Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman were on the show in February to talk about investigative reporting.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Ever day on the Leonard Lopate Show we learn something new and surprising. Here are some highlights from last week:
How to throw a knuckleball: dig your fingernails into the ball behind the horseshoe, then release it at the exactly perfect moment to keep it from spinning. How to catch knuckleball: Some say the best way is to wait until it stops rolling and pick it up.
Monday, April 09, 2012
And start reading his novel Open City and leave a comment or question for our Book Club discussion on May 7.
Friday, March 16, 2012
The top object in our countdown is perhaps the most accidental of New York icons. In its heyday the Anthora cup, with its crisp blue and white Greco design, was the way you drank hot beverages on the go. But, as Leonard pointed out, sometimes the coffee itself wasn’t always that great. Oh, the power of nostalgia. (continue reading)
Friday, March 16, 2012
It might seem odd that our listeners chose an object that hasn’t been used in New York City for nearly a decade as number two on our list. But as Robert Del Bango of the New York City Transit Museum told us, it’s actually “a very smart object” to tell the story of New York. (continue reading)
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Eating outside has always been a part of the New York City way of life. “The early colony was downtown,” Fabio Parasecoli of The New School told us. “Food had to be brought to southern Manhattan from the nearby farms.” Often, that food was sold and consumed on the street. (continue reading)
Monday, March 12, 2012
Our listeners chose the lowly oyster—not the exalted bagel— as the only edible object on our list of ten items which define New York City. In a number of ways, the rise and demise of the harbor oyster is the story of the city itself.
“The history of New York is the history of gobbling up everything,” Mark Kurlansky, author of The Big Oyster explains. “When there was deer and elk and lynx and all sorts of things on Manhattan, people ate that stuff. The wild fruit trees that once covered New York are all gone too. It reaches the point where the one natural resource that’s left to eat are oysters.” And by most accounts, early New Yorkers ate oysters by the bucketful. They were harvested by the Lenape Indians and loved by the Dutch and British colonists. The bivalve was once synonymous with New York City. “Today, people come to New York and take in a Broadway Show—it used to be that people from all over the world would come here for the oysters,” Kurlansky said. (continue reading)
Monday, March 12, 2012
This object is an example of New York’s past colliding with its present.
“We’ve never seen a boat like this before,” Warren Reiss a maritime historian and archeologist at the University of Maine explained. “There are a number of things about how this vessel was built that we are still scratching our heads about.” Reiss was the principal investigator of a ship the New York Times dubbed the “S.S. World Trade Center.” “We don’t even know if it had one mast or two,” Reiss said. (continue reading)
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
It was slightly surprising that Frank O’Hara’s 1964 collection Lunch Poems came in at number six on our list, but it turns out to be a very good way of looking at New York City. As NYU professor Lytle Shaw, author of the book Frank O’Hara: The Poetics of Coterieexplains “Lunch Poems is a condensed and highly accessible book that is smaller than a subway map.” That feature makes it easy to take the book anywhere. Shaw described it as having the potential to “acclimatize you to the things New York has to offer.” (continue reading)
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Federal court papers that were unsealed on Tuesday revealed that six suspected hackers who are affiliated with Lulzsec, part of the hacking collective Anonymous, had been arrested. The papers also revealed that one of them, Hector Xavier Monsegur, had pleaded guilty to 12 counts of criminal hacking and had been working as an informant for the FBI.
You can find out more about how Anonymous and LulzSec organize and carry out their attacks by listening to Leonard’s interviews earlier this year with Quinn Norton, who’s covered Anonymous for Wired Magazine’s Threat Level blog.
Monday, March 05, 2012
The seventh object on our list violates the central rule of our contest that it “must be able to fit in a museum”—but just this once we’ll make an exception. Richard Haw, a professor at CUNY and author of the book, Art of the Brooklyn Bridge: A Visual History, told us that the bridge is a particularly good selection for this project. “It helps illuminate different parts of the history of the New York: political, economic, demographic, social, transport, technological, literary and artistic.” (continue reading)
Friday, March 02, 2012
The Wall Street sign is the first object on our list that is central to both the long history of New York City and the current moment. William D. Cohan, author of Money And Power told us “You can not overstate Wall Street’s importance from either a literal or symbolic point of view. It’s not up there with the Statue of Liberty, but it’s a symbol of what America is all about. That’s why there is so much disappointment about their behavior over the last few years.” (continue reading)
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Who knew so many of our listeners were geology enthusiasts? Or that, to use a pun Leonard would probably dream up, they really know their schist? Charles Merguerian, chairman of the Geology Department at Hofstra University, seemed surprised and then pleased that New York City bedrock made the top ten of our list. He said “People always ask: What came first the chicken or the egg? But the answer is rocks. Rocks are so fundamental and basic to us and our existence that there is a natural tendency towards wanting to know about them.” (continue reading)