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Interchange – Poor Bees, Poor Birds, Poor Men: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

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Tonight we  share with you a discussion of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring I had with two scholars of Carson’s work, Lisa Sideris, Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the Director of the Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society, and Christoph Irmscher, provost professor of English and the Director of the Wells Scholars program. Silent Spring was published in 1962 and was a document of the detrimental effects on the environment of the indiscriminate use of pesticides like DDT. Carson accused the chemical industry of spreading disinformation and public officials of accepting industry claims unquestioningly. These claims, to say the least, were explosive. We recorded this conversation as part of the 2013 summer series called The Custom House and included in it are selections from the text that are read to the accompaniment of music by Early Day Miners.

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In the coming weeks Interchange will seek to explore a few topics that have breadth and depth enough to require multiple treatments to be sure we cover as many angles and perspectives as we can in order to present a more complete picture. One such topic is Bloomington’s long history of being a toxic waste dump thanks to the Westinghouse Electrical Corporation (bought and sold several times since they dumped untold amounts of electrical equipment filled with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, into Bloomington’s soil and groundwater). If you’re a dedicated listener you know that Interchange has tackled the topic in the past and you can go find those shows via our archives link at WFHB.org. How should we think about such a breach of care and responsibility? Can’t we consider that an extreme violation of the rights of those people living through that period of active contamination, but also can’t we see it is a violation against the future inhabitants most of whom, by now, either don’t know about the toxicity under our feet and in our water, or have assumed the problem has gone away. Instead, it festers.

Beyond PCBs we’ll take a look at Genetically Modified Organisms and Food Security as well as the Coal and Fracking industries. At the back of all of this is our right to know what is being done to us, to our bodies, to the world that sustains our lives, and to those new humans we bring into this land of toxic waste.

Interchange – Reading Moby Dick: Melville’s Wicked Book

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Host Doug Storm is joined by three professors of literature at Indiana University, Jennifer Fleissner, Jonathan Elmer, and Christoph Irmscher, to examine Herman Melville’s great book, Moby Dick. Each of these readers and teachers share a favorite passage from the novel and try to say just what makes them respond with awe to this novel.

Jennifer Fleissner reads Chapter 25, “Postcript.”
Jonathan Elmer reads the famous “Hotel de Cluny” passage from Chapter 41, “Moby Dick.”
Christoph Irmscher examines Chapter 87, “The Grand Armada.”

Deep calls unto deep. That is the whale song of Herman Melville who wrote to Nathaniel Hawthorne in response to the enthusiasm this friend and fellow traveller showed for his novel.

A sense of unspeakable security is in me this moment, on account of your having understood the book. I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb. Ineffable socialities are in me. I would sit down and dine with you and all the gods in old Rome’s Pantheon. It is a strange feeling — no hopefulness is in it, no despair. Content — that is it; and irresponsibility; but without licentious inclination. I speak now of my profoundest sense of being, not of an incidental feeling. (Letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne, November [17?] 1851)

Interchange – Recommended Listening: The Best of Interchange 2013

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Recommended Listening: “The Best of Interchange 2013″
Hosts and producers of Interchange chose their favorite shows out forty-Eight original programs produced by Interchange staff and volunteers last year.
Programs highlighted tonight:

W. Kamau Bell: Jokester Without Borders
The Airbrushed Woman: Feminism and Women’s Magazines
Kand McQueen: Boys, Girls, and Beyond
Christoph Irmscher: Against Complacency: Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”
Rahaf Safi and Shadi Alkattan: Understanding Syria
Fred Cate: Government Surveillance, Then and Now
Magnus Johnson and Jim Connor: Elder Heart
Ron Whitehead and Frank Messina: Carried by Poetry
Pat Kellar: The Making of Hoagy Carmichael

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