More Than Meets the Eye

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

On today’s show: We’ll look at the ways in which the devastating 2010 Haitian earthquake was an unnatural disaster—and at the profound economic and social injustices that made the disaster much worse. Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Egan takes your questions about her novel Look at Me, this month’s selection on our Book Club! The directors of the documentary "Mann v. Ford," tell us about a long-neglected environmental disaster in New Jersey. Our latest Backstory segment is about the cultural evolution of the gay bar. Plus, we’ll get an update on the political situation in Egypt.

Haiti After the Earthquake

Dr. Paul Farmer discusses the massive earthquake that destroyed much of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in January 2010, killing hundreds of thousands of people. In Haiti After the Earthquake, Farmer describes the suffering and resilience he encountered while treating the injured in Haiti. He explores the social problems that made Haiti so vulnerable to the earthquake—the issues he says make it an "unnatural disaster."

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The Leonard Lopate Show Book Club: Jennifer Egan's Look at Me

Jennifer Egan joins us to talk about her novel, Look at Me, the Leonard Lopate Show Book Club’s July selection. Look at Me, published in 2001, was a National Book Award finalist, and it explores the American obsession with image and self-invention. A fashion model named Charlotte Swenson suffers injuries in a car accident that leave her face so badly shattered that it takes 80 titanium screws to reassemble it. She is still beautiful but is oddly unrecognizable. Egan intertwines Charlotte’s narrative with the stories of other casualties of our infatuation with image—a teenaged girl starting a dangerous secret life, an alcoholic private eye, and an enigmatic stranger preparing a staggering blow against American society.

We hope you've been reading it! Participate in the conversation! Leave a question for Jennifer Egan below!

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Mann v. Ford

Co-directors Maro Chermayeff and Micah Fink discuss their documentary “Mann v. Ford,” about one of the worst environmental disasters in the United States, which was located just 19 miles from New York City. This toxic Superfund site is at the former home of the Ford Motor Plant in Mahwah, NJ, where thousands of cars were produced, along with toxic paint sludge, which was dumped on nearby Ramapough Mountain Indian land. This film tells the story of Wayne Mann, the leader of a small Native American community, who stands up to Ford. “Mann Vs Ford” is playing July 18 at 9 pm on HBO.

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Backstory: The Gay Bar

The gay bar has long been at the center of the social, and even political, lives of gays and lesbians. June Thomas, Slate’s foreign editor, talks about the gay bar’s history; its many incarnations and whether it remains relevant in today’s society. Her six part series for Slate is called The Gay Bar: Its Riotous Past and Uncertain Future.

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Egypt Update

Daniel Brumberg, Senior Adviser at the United States Institute of Peace and co-director of the Democracy and Governance Center at Georgetown, gives us an update on the ongoing political turmoil in Egypt as the country tries to transition to democracy.

Egypt Update

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