Cultural Conversations

Human societies are as diverse as they are similar. Through critical conversations, myths are dispelled about people and the ways they live their lives, but even more importantly everyone gains a deeper understanding of a collective human experience.

Music Reviews
3:21 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Janka Nabay: The King Of Bubu Music

Forced into exile from Sierra Leone, Janka Nabay (left of center) now makes his mysterious, mesmerizing music in Brooklyn.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 7:36 pm

Janka Nabay is the king of Bubu music. That style has old roots in Muslim Sierra Leone, but it's come to life recently in the clubs of Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as on a new album called En Yay Sah.

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The Two-Way
3:07 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Indian Parliament Adjourned After Row Over 'Coal-Gate'

India's parliament was adjourned briefly today as the opposition called for the resignation of the prime minister, saying he was complicit in what has become known as "coal-gate."

The uproar stems from an official audit issued last week accusing the government of selling coal mining rights for too low a price.

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From Our Listeners
2:24 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Letters: Duty To Warn And Hate Groups

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments about mental health professionals and their "duty to warn," and about what we know about hate groups. And we remember comedian Phyllis Diller who died Monday at her home in Los Angeles.

Politics
2:23 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Akin's Remarks Highlight Political Cynicism

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 2:55 pm

After Rep. Todd Akin's remarks about rape, the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus posed a question: "Is it any wonder Americans hate politics?" Republicans, she says, reacted just strongly enough to serve their own interests. And Democrats, Marcus argues, do their own part by driving voter cynicism.

Remembrances
2:10 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Comedian Phyllis Diller

Phyllis Diller plays peekaboo with the cameraman before the start of her television show Bonkers in 1979.
Central Press/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 2:35 pm

Phyllis Diller, one of the first and one of the few female comic headliners of her generation, died Monday at the age of 95.

Diller performed in the persona of a crazed housewife. She usually dressed in outlandish, bad-fitting clothes with her hair teased into a disheveled mop. Then she'd fire off long strings of self-deprecating gags. She was so unattractive, she used to tell her audiences, that Peeping Toms asked her to pull her window shades down. Onstage, she called her husband Fang. Diller told Fang jokes like her male counterparts told wife jokes.

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Author Interviews
2:10 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Student 'Subversives' And The FBI's 'Dirty Tricks'

Mario Savio, shown here at a victory rally in UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza on Dec. 9, 1964, was the face of the free speech movement.
AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 1:21 pm

In 1964, students at the University of California, Berkeley, formed a protest movement to repeal a campus rule banning students from engaging in political activities.

Then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover suspected the free speech movement to be evidence of a Communist plot to disrupt U.S. campuses. He "had long been concerned about alleged subversion within the education field," journalist Seth Rosenfeld tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Presidential Race
2:05 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Romney's VP Pick Puts Focus On Medicare

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 2:34 pm

Paul Ryan's controversial plan to reshape Medicare has provoked conversation, some of it confusing, about entitlement reform. Traditionally a campaign rallying cry for Democrats, Republicans seem to be putting President Obama on the defensive about Medicare and the new health law.

Sports
2:05 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Olympians Are Faster And Stronger, But How?

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 2:54 pm

The Olympic motto says it all. It translates to: "Faster, Higher, Stronger." But as athletes come up against the limits of human potential, writer Emily Sohn wondered, how do they continue to improve? The answer, she found, has to do with technology, psychology and access to a range of sports.

Education
2:05 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Economy Exacerbates College Kids' Stress

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 2:57 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. In the coming weeks, millions of college students will move into dorm rooms, make new friends and hit the books. And if that sounds pretty much like the experience of their predecessors over the years, some things have changed.

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