The Devil’s in the Details

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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Banners outside the Time Warner Arena, where most of the Democratic National Convention events take place. (Jody Avirgan / WNYC)

We’ll get an update from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. A former movie star from Hollywood’s silent era talks about a documentary about her career; she’ll be joined by the film’s director. Language columnist Ben Zimmer talks about the YOLO phenomenon and other new slang. Errol Morris discusses his investigation into the still controversial case of Jeffrey MacDonald, who was convicted of murder in 1979 and is in prison today.

Baratunde Thurston on the Democratic National Convention

WNYC Special Correspondent Baratunde Thurston, author of How to Be Black, gives us an update of the events in Charlotte.


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Jonathan Capehart on the Democrats' Message

Jonathan Capehart, of the Washington Post, talks about what we've heard from the Democratic National Convention so far.

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"Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room"

Diana Serra Cary, who is believed to be the last remaining major film star from Hollywood’s silent era and is the subject of the documentary “Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room,” joins us along with the film’s director, Vera Iwerebor. Peggy-Jean Montgomery was a hugely popular Hollywood star, earning $1,500,000 a year by the age of 6. But by the age of 11 her money had been stolen and squandered by her family. Six decades later, she reinvented herself as Diana Serra Cary, a film historian and advocate for laws protecting child performers. "Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room" is screening at MOMA September 5-9.


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Ben Zimmer: YOLO

Ben Zimmer, language columnist for the Boston Globe and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and, talks about the YOLO phenomenon and other new examples of youth slang. He wrote about it in his Boston Globe column.

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Errol Morris on A Wilderness of Error

Errol Morris has been investigating one of the most notorious and mysterious murder cases of the 20th century, the case of Jeffrey MacDonald, a Green Beret doctor. He was accused and convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and young daughters in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 1970. Morris’s new book A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald shows us that almost everything we have been told about the case is deeply unreliable. It’s a careful, thorough investigation that looks at the myth surrounding these murders, and is a meditation on truth and justice.

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A First Person Account of the 1924 Democratic National Convention

It’s not every day that you get to hear a first-hand account of what political conventions used to be like when a floor fight an expected part of the proceedings. On today’s show, Leonard spoke to Diana Serra Cary, who had been a child star in Hollywood during the Silent Era. Now 93, she was hired by the Democrats as a kind of mascot to appear alongside Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the 1924 Convention. Hear her describe the chaotic scene on the floor that she saw, far different from the carefully choreographed events we see today.

Diana Serra Cary Talks About Attending the 1924 DNC



Guest Picks: Errol Morris

Filmmaker and author Errol Morris was on the Leonard Lopate Show to discuss his 20-year investigation into the case against Jeffrey MacDonald, who was convicted of killing his wife and daughters in 1970. He also told us about his love surfing bull-dogs. Find out what else Errol Morris is a fan of!


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