Seventy years ago, in the middle of World War II, a couple of hundred miles north of Toulouse, Claude Lanzmann was a high school student — and an assimilated French Jew. Every day he faced the risk of arrest.
When Lanzmann was a teenager, both he and his father independently joined the Communist Resistance. He writes about that in his newly translated memoir, The Patagonian Hare.
Tayari Jones has written for McSweeney's, The New York Times and The Believer. Her most recent book is Silver Sparrow.
Like many Americans, I have been glued to the television eager for details about the tragic murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. I am not sure what I hoped to discover, as each new piece of evidence is more disturbing than the last.
Few 20th century thinkers predicted the 21st century era of social media and the Internet better than Marshall McLuhan. Beginning in the 1960s, the Toronto-based philosopher and scholar began to theorize about how television and radio were changing society, creating what he termed the "global village."
What makes people creative? What gives some of us the ability to create work that captivates the eyes, minds and hearts of others? Jonah Lehrer, a writer specializing in neuroscience, addresses that question in his new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works.
Lehrer defines creativity broadly, considering everything from the invention of masking tape to breakthroughs in mathematics; from memorable ad campaigns to Shakespearean tragedies. He finds that the conditions that favor creativity — our brains, our times, our buildings, our cities — are equally broad.
From its start in the late '90s, Zieti faced tough odds. Arranging gigs in Abidjan, Ivory Coast was a high-risk, do-it-yourself affair for the band. And that was before the country underwent a military coup, a rigged election and a brush with civil war. Zemelewa was recorded by 15 musicians in four studios on two continents. For all that, you can sense the band's solidarity, as if merely making this record was an act of resistance.
When Philip Seymour Hoffman took the stage on March 15 in the new revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, he became the fifth actor in 63 years to walk the boards of Broadway in the shoes of the blustery, beleaguered salesman, Willy Loman. In the last six decades, each incarnation of the play has resonated with a new generation of theatergoers.
Call it an accident of the calendar: two pairs of filmmaking brothers both opening movies on the same weekend, both films about the awkwardness of growing up. Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a post-mumblecore slacker comedy from the Duplass brothers, Mark and Jay. The Kid with a Bike is a Belgian slice-of-life drama from the Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc.
This week, along with the nearly 1,000 stories that were submitted to weekends on All Things Considered's writing contest, Three-Minute Fiction, there was a letter from 11-year-old Kahlo Smith of Felton, Calif.
James Mercer's distinctive voice and earnest songwriting have always been at the heart of The Shins, but these days they are the band's only constant. Port of Morrow, the group's new album and its first in five years, finds Mercer leading a completely new set of musicians.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. We now know the name of the American soldier who's in custody for killing 16 Afghan civilians last weekend. NPR has confirmed he is Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State. And for more, we're joined by NPR's Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman. Tom, the name has been withheld now for nearly a week since that shooting happened. Why is it out now?
Redistricting is forcing a handful of congressional incumbents of the same party to run against each other in primaries. On March 6, Rep. Marcy Kaptur defeated fellow liberal Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich in Ohio.
And next Tuesday, two conservative Republicans square off in Illinois.
The scene is the newly drawn 16th Congressional District, which covers mostly rural territory in the northern part of the state, curving around the suburbs and exurbs of Chicago, from the Wisconsin border north of Rockford to the Indiana border east of Kankakee.
Today, flying is like riding a bus. But it wasn't always that way. Vaulted from the sands of Kitty Hawk and freed from military exigencies by the end of World War I, aviation soared into the 1920s and '30s on a direct course to tomorrow. Here are three flyers who not only helped open the skies, but also brought literary gems back from the cutting edge of progress, from a time when flying was the most exciting thing in the world.
A former Rutgers University student was found guilty today on 15 counts, including a hate crime. Dharun Ravi face charges related to spying via computer while his roommate had an intimate encounter with a man. The roommate, named Tyler Clementi, committed suicide soon afterward. The court case centered on tweets and a digital cache of texts and instant messages. Nancy Solomon of New Jersey Public Radio tells us about the verdict.
Here's one more piece of legal news. The U.S. Supreme Court will make same-day audio available of the upcoming arguments on the health care overhaul. The court says it's responding to extraordinary public interest in the case. Here's NPR's Nina Totenberg.
Alain de Botton is the author of Religion for Atheists.
A survey published in the U.K. in January predicted that within 20 years, the majority of the British population will define themselves as having no religion. In the British isles, religion has become something of a sideshow, even a joke. Remember that this is the land that gave us The Life of Brian. Even the BBC has caught on with a satirical series called Rev., about a hapless comedic clergyman who has no faith but has a strong inclination to be good.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Goldman Sachs is once again defending itself against allegations that the company makes money by putting its own interests ahead of clients. This time, the accusation comes from one of Goldman Sachs' own.
Greg Smith, a Goldman employee in London, resigned publicly today on the op ed page of the New York Times. He wrote that the bank's culture is toxic and its employees talk callously about ripping off clients.
Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 8:10 pm
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
Last night, Newt Gingrich placed second in both the Alabama and Mississippi primaries. He remains in a distant third when it comes to delegates, but he too is turning his attention to Illinois. He's there campaigning today. Last night, Gingrich laid out for his supporters what's next for the campaign.
The Federal Reserve has released the results of its much-anticipated stress test of the nation's biggest banks. The Fed says most of the nation's 19 biggest financial institutions passed the tests, although four did not. To find out what this means, we turn to NPR's Jim Zarroli. Jim, first, why is the Fed running stress tests? What are they supposed to show about the banks?
The documentary Bully follows several middle- and high-school students who are different, awkward or for some other reason the targets of bullying. One of the kids at the center of the film is Alex, from Sioux City, Iowa.
In the film, Alex, a small boy, says people think he's not normal, and most kids don't want to be around him. And some kids at his school, or on the school bus especially, make his life miserable.
Director Lee Hirsch says Alex immediately struck him as someone who was having a hard time — and no one seemed to notice or really care.
As part of a new campaign, dozens of citizen groups around the country are searching voter registration lists, looking for problems.
They're also training poll watchers to monitor this fall's elections.
Leaders of the effort — spawned by the Tea Party movement — say they want to make sure that elections are free from voter fraud. But critics say it's part of a campaign to suppress the votes of minorities, students and others who tend to vote Democratic.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. If you've been listening to the soundbites from the campaign trail lately, you'll have noticed all the talk of grits and deep fried food. Well, today is Southern Tuesday. Republicans in Alabama and Mississippi are voting in their primaries. Hawaii and American Samoa are also holding caucuses. The question is whether these elections might be the long-awaited turning point in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
This incident and others are causing a lot of debate in the U.S. about why we remain in Afghanistan. Is there something yet to be gained there, or has the U.S. squandered any goodwill that it had? Might it be best to pull out sooner than planned, as some Republican presidential candidates are now advocating? Well, today, President Obama said he stands by his Afghanistan policy.
More than a decade ago, an album came out recorded mostly on cassette in a house, never released on a major label — and until last month it had been out of print for almost that long. When Noel Gallagher of Oasis heard it, he declared it "amazing," and The Guardian called it "the best album The Beatles never recorded."
We're going to learn more now about the alleged shooter and what the incident might mean for U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. I'm joined by NPR's Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman. And, Tom, the sergeant has not yet been named, but you have been finding out some more details about him. What have you learned?
Critic Tom Moon reviews two contrasting perspectives on the intersection of jazz and gospel music. Multi-instrumentalist Don Byron has just released "Love, Peace and Soul" featuring his New Gospel Quintet. Also out is a set of duets between the late pianist Hank Jones and bassist Charlie Haden, titled "Come Sunday." Moon says the two projects reimagine old-time religious tunes in surprisingly different ways.