Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lately Heard on the Radio

Just thought I’d put up a few audio-links to some interesting items I’ve been hearing on NPR (a.k.a. “People's Republic Radio”) and Boston's WBUR the last couple of days.

Shortly after hearing that Boris Yeltsin passed away yesterday, I was subsequently saddened to hear that journalist, war-correspondent, and author David Halberstam was killed in a car crash at the age of 73 while he was on his way to conduct an interview. It just doesn't seem right that a man who'd put his life on the line in the jungles and rice paddies of Viet Nam should go out that way at that age. There is a real dearth of authentic, skilled journalists out there of the old school, and Halberstam was one of the best there ever was. His passing, coming within a year of the death of Ed Bradley, is a huge blow to the profession. As we can see clearly now, the kind of journalism that we were used to seeing from these two was greatly missed in the broader journalistic sphere during the run-up to the Iraq War.

Halberstam Dissected America, Good and Bad

Speaking of war correspondents, here is an interview with Bob and Lee Woodruff about their book In An Instant, which chronicles former ABC News anchorman Bob Woodruff's difficult recovery from a traumatic brain injury that he suffered when an IED went off next to an armored vehicle he was traveling in while on assignment in Iraq.

A Conversation with Bob Woodruff

The next one might seem on the surface to be a strange choice to put on this website... I'm not sure how other people feel about Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Back in her hey-day, my friends and I always considered her to be a somewhat comical figure, while at the same time we marveled at her ability to to land such a high paying gig without having to do any real work. I found this interview fascinating, though, because I learned a few things about her that I didn't know before, such as the fact that she escaped from Germany to Switzerland while most of her family perished in the Holocaust, that she was trained in Israel as a sniper for the Haganah , and was seriously wounded in the 1948 war. I was also interested to hear her opinion about the differences between the puritanical attitudes and the Judaic attitudes towards married sex.

Dr. Ruth on Sex, Humor and Happiness

Finally, here is a piece that resonates well with Anne and I. We live in a modest, modified Cape house on one decent though not extravagant income in a town full of super-high achievers and conspicuous wealth. On more than one occasion we have run into friction, whether in regards to school or sports, with other parents regarding either our kids or someone else's "little precious". It seems as if everyone here has a "gifted" child, or would at least like to think so. I can tell you, it can get wearisome, very wearisome, the way our large but unspectacular family can at times be treated like white trash around here. I don't short-change my kids and their abilities by any means, but this is really starting to wear on us all. In this essay, Ayelet Waldman talks about how all of us have visions of having the gifted, extraordinary child, but sometimes have to come to grips with the fact that they, as in the case of most of us, may in fact be merely average. After all, that is what "average" means.

In Praise of Normal Kids


cowboyangel said...


What happened? We don't get any posts for a long time and then - boom! you're writing a whole book. V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N? I gotta come back and read your pieces on blackwater and JMT.

Interesting we both posted on Halberstam. He was definitely a great example of what a journalist can be and do. One of my colleagues was telling me how he and his friends back in the early 60s were really angry at the NYT for supporting the war in Vietnam (surprise), but they loved reading Halberstam's articles, and he could see the change taking place in the editorial section as Halberstam's stories became more and more impossible to ignore. A real testimonial to having an impact.

I like the NPR links. Have to check them out later.

crystal said...

I like Dr. Ruth :-)

Jeff said...

Hi William and Crystal,

Yeah, that was a bit of serendipity on Halberstam. I very nearly put up the same photo as William did. He will be missed.

I guess I can't help but to get sort of a laugh out of Dr. Ruth too.