Comments by John Biewen

Comment for "RN Documentary: A Christmas Edition of The Stars of Music with Gary Goldschneider and Dheera Sujan"

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Review of RN Documentary: A Christmas Edition of The Stars of Music with Gary Goldschneider and Dheera Sujan

The confluence of music and...astrology? OK, you tell yourself. Don't rush to judgment. You listen as the host introduces her guest, the "pianist and astrologer."

The guy is highly engaging, and he talks mostly about Christmas carols and the history thereof while sitting at the piano and playing illustrations of his points. He pops around from Mahler to Mel Torme to Schubert to the Beatles. Thankfully, perhaps, astrology comes up only a couple of times. "Some people believe [Jesus] was a Pisces." I, for one, did not know this.

Host Dheera Sujan does a fine job. There's plenty of interesting stuff in here for people who like smart talk about music. I'm still not sure what astrology is doing in this radio show, but hey. 'Tis not the season to get snarky. It's a good show for Christmas, especially for music stations. Astrology aside, I would call this program "St. Paul Sunday-esque." And that's a compliment.

Comment for "NCPR's Jackie Sauter on "The Future of Public Radio" -- on ThoughtCast!"

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Review of NCPR's Jackie Sauter on "The Future of Public Radio" -- on ThoughtCast!

Public radio listeners tend to be interested in talk about the media, and about public radio in particular. So even though this piece could otherwise be seen as extreme inside baseball (come to think of it, that sounds like kind of a fun game), your listeners might like to hear it. It's one in a series of interviews that Jenny Attiyeh recorded at the annual Public Radio Program Directors' meeting a while back -- interviews about the future and direction of public radio and its online iterations. In this one, Jackie Sauter of North Country Public Radio talks about the plea from listeners for new and fresh stuff and about the ways public radio stations are (or will be) experimenting with the Web to create conversation and "participatory democracy."

These pieces might work during a pledge drive, or in connection with any sort of show about public radio, or as a series of their own.

Comment for "Asia-AIDS"

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Review of Asia-AIDS

This is a two-minute voice wrap report from an international AIDS conference in Japan. It outlines concerns among experts that AIDS infection rates in some Asian countries, which were already high, could be exacerbated by the 2004 tsunami and its aftermath. The information, though important, is delivered in dry and abstract terms by the reporter, interrupted just once by phone tape of a United Nations official. That said, the report does have a news peg, with the two-year anniversary of the tsunami coming up December 26th.

Comment for "The Gastronauts"

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Review of The Gastronauts

Nicely done. A small group of adventurous eaters who can also talk engagingly about their hobby. A story about a search for live octopi. A meal scene; in this case, some relatively approachable-sounding Croatian vittles are on the menu. Sly, leisurely music sets the mood. At the end, folks say good night and go home. A tasty concoction, on the whole. I can imagine a station running this piece as a set-up for a show about food or eating.

Comment for "Alan Dershowitz on the doctrine of preemption, the Hezbollah and the 'war on terror' -- on ThoughtCast"

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Review of Alan Dershowitz on the doctrine of preemption, the Hezbollah and the 'war on terror' -- on ThoughtCast

A smart interview with the always-interesting and hyper-articulate law professor. The conversation starts with Dershowitz's proposal, from his latest book, that nations (including the U.S.) acknowledge they sometimes use torture in the face of terrorism--and that the president sign off on any use of torture. Dershowitz insists his point is not to legitimize torture but in fact to lessen its use by making leaders accountable--as opposed to the status quo, in which many nations use torture but simply deny doing so.

The interview goes beyond legal questions to topics like Israel's strategy (military and public relations) in fighting its enemies. Dershowitz is thoughtful enough, and Jenny Attiyeh's questions are knowledgable enough, that most listeners will go along.

Comment for "The Thanksgiving Hour from Hawaii with Don Ho (Canadian version) -- For United States Use Piece no. 14938 w/5mn Newshole - OR 15070 with bonus feature" (deleted)

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Review of The Thanksgiving Hour -- 2006 from Hawaii with Don Ho --- CANADIAN VERSION -- Use Piece no. 14938 for Alaska & Mainland US (deleted)

So you think all public radio sounds the same? That it's a bunch of knowing, Starbucks-slurping yuppies "looking down their noses while talking through them"?

Check out this piece of work. The Star-Spangled Banner *and* America the Beautiful. Turkey jokes, punctuated by gobble-gobble sounds. Lists of the various dates on which Thanksgiving has been celebrated--in the U.S. and in Canada!--all read over the looped sound of crashing waves (the show is coming to you from the shores of Waikiki, after all). "Valuable prizes," the phrase uttered without a trace of irony.

Oh, and Don Ho.

Public radio like you've never heard it before. I'm afraid, though, that except for a few Lawrence Welk fans in the audience, most folks won't want to hear it like this again.

Comment for "Under the skin at the Museum of Verterbrate Zoology"

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Review of Under the skin at the Museum of Verterbrate Zoology

This piece is filled with moments of description that, um, appeal to the senses, and all of them. Dried chipmunk carcasses hanging "like beef jerky." A meal of beaver (cooked with beer and worcester sauce) that tastes like swiss steak, not chicken. The peeling off of a chipmunk's skin "like taking off a sweater." Mix in flesh-eating beatles, "brain juice," and the smells of death so powerful they cling to clothes and skin, and you're likely to find yourself engaged and entertained, as I was, or lunging for the off switch.

I suspect many stations will find the piece too long. But if you've got space for a good, meandering science feature that mentions maggots and bloated bodies and brain juice, this is the piece for you.

Comment for "Embarrassed"

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Review of Embarrassed

When you see that a piece "uses spoken word as an element of musical creation," you (at least I) expect to hear something abstract--the phonemes of spoken language employed as musical notes. Instead, in ths striking short creation by David Grimes, you get a piece that's simultaneously music and punchy political sermon. Mario Cuomo is (was) known as a powerful orator, a man who spoke in almost musical cadences--especially in his historic 1984 address to the Democratic National Convention. But you've never heard him like this.

For lots of stations, this piece will have two huge strikes against it: it's artsy *and* polemical. But call it a new kind of radio commentary and run it. Anyway, I'd recommend giving it a listen.

Comment for "War and Medicine: Reflections of Battlefield Healers"

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Review of War and Medicine: Reflections of Battlefield Healers

It's a good and worthy idea: to glimpse our current wars through the eyes of military doctors and nurses. The piece is straight acts and trax, based on interviews with several military health workers home from Iraq. There are compelling if predictable moments. A surgeon describes needing to live with triage choices he made when faced with a large number of badly wounded troops. A nurse tells of feeling sad when thinking of the loved ones of a soldier who's just died in front of her.

The report is at a calm remove from the reality of U.S. medical centers in Iraq and so, inevitably, it feels a bit dry. And the piece could have benefited from more direct writing at times, for example when the reporter refers to the arrival of a bunch of bloodied soldiers at an operating room as a "mass casualty situation." But "War and Medicine" has strengths and would make a good insert for many stations.

Comment for "Part three: Anne Strike"

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Review of Part three: Anne Strike

This is a smart, well-meaning endeavor: Feature people with disabilities talking about their struggles for acceptance in their professions and in (British) society. In this piece, Anne Strike, a model who uses a wheelchair, and others in the advertising business talk about the barriers facing people with disabilities in that business.

I'm afraid I can't find much to say about the content of the piece because it's seriously marred by poor production values. The interview with Anne Strike was recorded over a very noisy phone line. (Some EQ might have improved it.) The host's voice is far louder than all the others. The pacing is clunky. No, it's not all about pristine production, but in this case the poor recording and mixing really do get in the way of a good story.

Comment for "RN Documentary: A Conversation with James Meek"

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Review of RN Documentary: A Conversation with James Meek

This is fine, smart radio, heady in the best sense. Through readings and conversation with the author, we enter the world of James Meek's novel about ideological extremists in the bleek landscape of Siberia. Meek has fresh and thought-provoking things to say about men and women (getting obsessed over abstractions tends to be a guy thing), about the American view of history post-9/11 (why should everybody assent that the world has changed because an awful act of violence struck Manhattan and Washington for a change as opposed to, say, Grozny?), and about the job of the fiction writer. Meek argues that what separates good novels from bad is not the quality of the writer's imagination but his or her willingness to tell the truth about human nature.

To Meek, that truth is as dark as a Siberian winter. The piece should come with a warning for the feint of heart in the audience. It includes a reading from the novel in which a character describes in careful, calm detail the slicing off of his penis by ideologues.

Comment for "Bombarded By Abominable Lies"

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Review of Bombarded By Abominable Lies

This interview was recorded during the height of the recent Israeli attack on Hezbollah and Lebanon. It begins as an analysis of the Israeli-Lebanon relationship and the reasons for the latest crisis, but this conversation is ultimately about something much broader and more controversial. Both the interviewee, journalist Charlie Glass, and host George Kenney, a former U.S. foreign serviceman, offer a sharp critique of Israel's policies and of U.S. support for the Jewish Sate. Kenney calls the Israeli bombardment of Hezbollah, after its kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and the firing of rockets into Israel, outrageous. Glass sums up Israeli policy since the earliest days of Zionism this way: "More land, fewer Arabs." The two men agree that Israel has gotten away with unjust policies toward the Palestinian people for decades thanks to the unquestioning support of the U.S. government and to the systematic failure of the mainstream U.S. news media to tell the Middle East story accurately.

It would be easy to dismiss this as a one-sided rant by two guys with a common ax to grind. Too easy. Glass was the Chief Middle East Correspondent from 1983 to 1993, among other mainstream reporting jobs. Kenney was a tenured, career State Department official who resigned in 1991 over U.S. policies in Yugoslovia. Their perspectives on the Middle East conflict, especially Glass's, whether fair or not, come across as sincere and based on years of close observation of the facts on the ground.

It's unfortunate, in the end, that Kenney doesn't adopt a more neutral host's posture. I understand that Kenney has created an online opinion-based program and he's not trying to be Robert Siegel, but there's a cost. If he challenged Glass from time to time and avoided pitching in his own opinions and saying things like, "I think you're right," more public radio stations could justify running an interview like this. On just about any station it's legitimate to air the strong opinions of a guest; when the host joins in, that's another matter. As it is, the interview should be of interest to stations that are comfortable with a political slant. For those stations this program will remain timely for quite awhile.

Comment for "This I Believe - Aldous Huxley"

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Review of This I Believe - Aldous Huxley

This essay from the original This I Believe series makes good radio on a couple of levels: as a valuable audio artifact and as a timeless snack for thought. You can't have too much crackling, 50-year-old tape on the radio. (OK, maybe you could overdo the archive thing, but it would take some doing.) And this is Aldous Huxley, one of the leading intellectuals of the past century, in his own voice. His reading is ponderous and his writing a bit dense, but Huxley's 1951 statement is provocative and certainly relevant today. My favorite lines: "Men have put forth enormous efforts to make their world a better place to live in. But except in regard to gadgets, plumbing, and hygiene, their success has been pathetically small." In the end, this public intellectual argues for a spiritual path to a better human existence.

So much of what's on the radio--yes, even public radio--is rightly forgotten as soon as the sound waves pass away. Here's five minutes of radio worth chewing on.

Comment for "Kinvara: A Spirit of Place"

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Review of Kinvara: A Spirit of Place

What's not to like? It's an important and almost universal story: a community with a rich past wrestles with how to choose its future in the face of new wealth and development. The story is told in the beautifully-recorded voices of Irish villagers and through Frank Brownings always smart and engaging writing. For all its familiarity in the abstract, this story is filled with details and twists that make it absolutely fresh: the woman with the thatched-roof cottage, the fiddle music, the Persian Jewish "blow-in" violin maker. A town faced with the choice of becoming a "dormitory town" or a "Disneyland of Irishness" instead chooses music. A lovely story, musically told. Highly recommended.

Comment for "Roosters vs. Developers"

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Review of Roosters vs. Developers

Here's a news feature telling a man-bites-rooster story. A farmer whose family has been raising chickens in this spot for generations suddenly finds himself the target of people in new nearby housing developments who want to stop his roosters from crowing. Sounds like a story with pretty good radio potential.

The piece is well-written and lays out the issues, and of course we get to hear some well-mic'd roosters. But the feature could have been livelier with a bit more effort. We don't hear from anybody who actually objects to the squawking birds. Telling us that many locals have passionately defended the farmer and that the rooster issue has become the hot topic at local barber shops and coffee houses, the reporter sets us up to expect tape. "Most people just shake their head and laugh," says the narrator. "Others are more animated." But do we hear those animated folks? Nope.

Comment for "RN Documentary: Zeeland '53"

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Review of RN Documentary: Zeeland '53

With the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina upon us, it's worth remembering that far more deadly natural disasters have struck elsewhere in the world. When the sea rolled over the dykes of Zeeland, the Netherlands, in 1953, more than 1800 people died.

This historical documentary is well crafted. It weaves together lots of first-person descriptions of the terrible event (bless those English-speaking Dutch) with archival radio broadcasts and evocative sound, including much use of ominous ocean waves.

I suspect it will be tough for program directors to justify running this half-hour piece on a European event that, 53 years later, will be news to most U.S. listeners. It's a judgment call as to whether the story told here is compelling enough to be of universal interest. This is, in any case, a quality piece of radio.

Comment for "Voice of the Troubles: 25th Anniversary of the Irish Hunger Strike (Cutaway)"

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Review of Voice of the Troubles: 25th Anniversary of the Irish Hunger Strike (Cutaway)

This powerful piece begins with one man's story of his brother's death by hunger strike, then evolves into a broader meditation on the soul-destroying pain of a long-running violent conflict. The strength of the piece is in the voices and the facts they carry: plainspoken Northern Irelanders telling of their lost loved ones.

One quibble: the piece would be even stronger without some of the bits of narration, which admittedly are very few and spare. The last couple of musings on the nature of conflict feel overwritten. But that's a minor gripe. At a time when Americans are killing and dying everyday, it's moving to hear these voices from another of the globe's trouble spots, one fortunately making fewer headlines these days.

Comment for "Black Mesa: Coal against Water"

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Review of Black Mesa: Coal against Water

Here's an interesting question for station programmers: to run, or not to run, news stories that openly express the views of, and in fact are produced by, advocacy groups. For most "mainstream" public radio stations, it's not a question at all. This is a report on a water pollution issue by "NRDC's Dan Hinerfeld," meaning, I guess, that Mr. Hinerfeld works for the National Resources Defense Council. For stations that maintain basic standards of journalistic independence, it would be no more appropriate to air this report than to run a piece on the Brady Bill by a correspondent from NRA Radio.

That said, for stations with a clear political identity and an audience that expects as much (such as Air America, which airs the environmentalist-funded Ecotalk show for which this piece was produced), this is fair game. Stylistically, this is a news-magazine-style piece. It explores allegations that a company is polluting an important (and, to Native Americans, sacred) acquifer beneath the Hopi and Navajo reservations. It's an important story, clearly told. Not surprisingly it suffers from being one-sided. We hear only from a former Hopi leader and one of the reporter's colleagues at NRDC, though we're told that federal regulators and the accused corporation declined to comment.

Comment for "Now He's 64: A Paul McCartney Appreciation (29:00 or 16:00)" (deleted)

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Review of Now He's 64: A Paul McCartney Appreciation (29:00 or 16:00) (deleted)

Its good to know what this piece is not: a documentary about Paul McCartney the man. That's just as well. Producer Ingles also declines to enter the old Paul vs. John debate or even to acknowledge that Paul often gets little respect from music aficionados and Lennon fans in particular. (For that matter, I don't believe Lennon's name comes up.) What this piece is: a simply constructed, straight-ahead musical appreciation. Writer Richard Goldman guides us through Sir Paul's music, points out what makes the ex-Beatle distinctive, and praises McCartney (vintage McCartney, that is) as a bass-player, vocalist, and songwriter. Goldman does allow, wistfully, that McCartney hasn't made much good music since 1976.

Along with small bits of Goldman, we hear substantial chunks of Beatles and Wings songs--most familiar, a few obscure. Goldman makes his case convincingly (mostly), and often engagingly. I'll never listen to "For No One" again without hearing that b-flat in the walkdown. (Just listen and you'll know what I'm talking about.)

John and George earned their admiring retrospectives by dying young. It only seems fair that Paul should get one while he's very much alive. His 64th birthday is a plenty good excuse.

Comment for "Under Curfew"

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Review of Under Curfew

War News Radio is an ambitious student radio project that has justifiably earned the attention of the national press. Under the guidance of longtime public radio guy Marty Goldensohn, Swarthmore students pick up the phone (or the 'net-based Skype) and report on the Iraq war in this weekly half-hour show.

In this installment, we hear newsy pieces about U.S. counter-insurgency efforts and the recent uprising in Ramadi. And in a particularly fresh and touching report, Elizabeth Threlkeld tells the stories of two young Iraqi women who had plastic surgery. One thought her nose was too big. The other had her nose blown off by a U.S. missile during the battle for Baghdad in 2003.

Yes, this is student radio, in large part an educational experience for its participants--and obviously a very good one. But these students are writing and voicing their pieces with skill. The biggest weakness of War News Radio is that it's done over the phone from Pennsylvania--although, let's face it, as Iraq becomes more and more dangerous, Baghdad-based reporters are increasingly reporting from the safety of their rooms, too.

War News Radio is worth a listen. It would make a terrific addition to any college or university station.

Comment for "LaPorte, Indiana"

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Review of LaPorte, Indiana

The Long Haul Productions team has created a striking innovation, the "music story." In this case, the producers use interview tape, and a song written just for their piece by a LaPorte-born songwriter, to explore the inherently visual (old photographs of regular people) through sound. We hear the subjects of photos talking, sometimes poignantly, about the circumstances in which their images were captured many years before. A photo editor who compiled the photos into a book reflects on the questions and imaginings that arise when you gaze at an old photo and don't know the people in it or their story. And Ted Quinn's laconic song winds through the piece at a slant. He muses on how his life would have been different had he stayed in LaPorte instead of leaving to grow up elsewhere. It's an admirable experiment executed with a skillful touch. The piece would work especially well on a slower-paced arts or weekend show.

Comment for "Tracking"

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Review of Tracking

This piece does what youth/teen radio does at its best. It takes an issue that affects young people and give us a fresh, bracing look at it through the eyes and experience of a teen. We hear a bright girl bravely exploring her own story, approaching her own teachers and asking things like, "Did you see potential in me?"

Tracking is a familiar phenomenon in schools, especially big urban high schools. It's tempting to see it as a necessary evil. After all, a lot of kids just don't care or aren't ready to do high quality schoolwork, right? Jaimita's story could make a person rethink that complacent idea. How many students have their aspirations prematurely killed through tracking? For that matter, how many are put in non-college tracks simply because their school's college-track program doesn't have room for them?

Highly recommended for any magazine show or to kick-start a discussion on high school in general or tracking in particular.

Comment for "Inside Al Jazeera and Arab TV News Centers"

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Review of Inside Al Jazeera and Arab TV News Centers

This is an intelligent, well-produced look at the expanded role of independent news media in the Arab world. Parts of the report seem to retrace things we were hearing anew several years ago--the rise of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya in a region dominated by state-run media, and the familiar arguments about Al Jazeera's anti-Americanism and alleged bias in favor of Al Qaeda. But the piece updates the story in interesting ways. Al Jazeera now has sports and children's channels and a C-Span-like channel that covers live political events in the Middle East. (That's the one I'd like to see--with subtitles, please.) Many other media outlets are springing up to compete. And Al Jazeera appears to be moving toward Western standards of journalism as more of its staffers gain experience working for Western news organizations. I would have liked the piece to go much further inside these media organizations and to give us fewer talking heads characterizing them, but on the whole this is a worthwhile piece for a news magazine.

Comment for "US Army Theater"

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Review of US Army Theater

It's wartime and there's lots of reporting being done about military matters, but not enough that treats military people as complicated, thinking human beings. Here's a well-produced feature about soldier/artists: a touring Army theater company doing theater "by the soldier, for the soldier." And guess what: these actors, performing for their comrades at bases around the world, are putting on an edgy play about Vietnam vets coping with amputations and other battle scars. It's easy to imagine that such a play is not only relevant to its audience but deeply helpful to them--a chance to process questions that soldiers are bound to be carrying around: How will I cope if I'm badly wounded? How will I respond to my family and other civilians when I return from combat?

What might come as a surprise to listeners is that the Army sees the value of its people exploring such questions through art and has created a means for doing so. Producer Adam Allington does a nice job of letting the soldiers talk--those in the theater company and their characters in the play. This is a strong piece that would work well in any arts or news magazine show.

Comment for "Crossing East: Frontier Asians - Program Two"

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Review of Crossing East: Frontier Asians - Program Two

This is historical documentary radio at its best, a program that adds considerable richness to our familiar picture of America's frontier West. It offers intimate storytelling about important Asian immigrants, people who helped build the West and held prominent places in their communities, but whom we haven't heard about before--at least I hadn't. Their stories are placed in the context of sweeping history: the waves of Asian immigration and the far eastern events that prompted folks to leave Asia for America. Dmae Roberts uses all the tools: original writings by her historical characters read by actors; interviews with experts and historians; music; recorded sound; and narration by herself and George Takei. Roberts is a treasure and she's given us one here: an ambitious series of documentaries exploring and honoring the contributions of Asian-Americans. Stations everywhere should run the series. This hour in particular is a winner for any station from the high plains to the Pacific.

Comment for "Rethinking AIDS Treatment: The Brazilian Model (encore edition)" (deleted)

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Review of Rethinking AIDS Treatment: The Brazilian Model (encore edition) (deleted)

This half-hour show is good radio. It includes two fine pieces from Brazil by Reese Erlich. The first 20-minute report is a solid and smart exploration of Brazil?s successful efforts to contain the spread of AIDS. Unlike the United States, Brazil provides free treatment for all HIV-positive patients. It does so, in part, by making its own anti-retroviral drugs and driving a hard bargain with the multinationals to buy their drugs at below-market prices. We also hear how grassroots groups play a key role by educating sex workers and other HIV-positive people to seek the free treatment. The point is clear: Why can?t the richest country in the world run an anti-AIDS campaign as progressive and efficient as Brazil?s? It?s an eye-opening piece on one of the many social issues going under-reported in a U.S. media landscape dominated by war and national security issues.

The show?s second report from Erlich, a profile of Brazilian musician Seu Jorge, is equally well-done.

Comment for "Be A Man"

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Review of Be A Man

This piece bills itself as humorous and "This American Life-esque." I've noticed what seems to be a fairly widespread idea out there: that if you tell a first-person story and mix it with hokey music, you're doing a TAL-style piece. TAL at its best uses fresh situations and surprising twists to cut slantways across expectations and remind us that the world is endlessly complicated and interesting. I'm sorry to say this piece does none of the above. "Be a Man" begins with the most familiar of tropes: a bookish guy who isn't handy but feels he should be. He resolves to take on a home improvement project but in the end decides he's not up to it. That's it. I'd like to say that despite providing no surprises the piece offers an enjoyable little journey, but, for this listener, anyway, it doesn't live up to its "humorous" billing, either.

Comment for "American Jews in the IDF: One Day at the Border Crossing"

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Review of American Jews in the IDF: One Day at the Border Crossing

This is a worthwhile piece, a story about one "minor incident" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The storyteller, an American Israeli Defense Force soldier, inconveniences, humiliates and probably frightens a couple of Palestinian civilians, a father and son, by holding them at a checkpoint to relieve his own boredom. He later regrets his actions and writes about the incident in his hometown Jewish newspaper, prompting responses of denial that even such a routine act of dehumanization could happen in the Israeli occupation. The soldier's monologue is placed over accompanying music. This by-now-familiar device is effective, though at times the music gets monotonous and could stand to change or go away. The piece may not be easy for stations to place, given its length. It could work as a set-up to a talk show about the Middle East conflict or the Israeli occupation.

Comment for "Our Ocean World: March 20-24, 2006" (deleted)

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Review of Our Ocean World: March 20-24, 2006 (deleted)

These short , informational radio nuggets are slickly-produced snapshots of things happening in our oceans--or, more precisely, of human efforts to learn about, teach about, or protect our oceans. Each 90-second piece features a host/narrator, theme music, sounds (such as seagulls or clicking dolphins), and a telephone soundbite or two. It's not for everybody, and some public radio types are likely to find the host too commercial-sounding for their tastes. But these brief pieces provide a valuable reminder about the natural world and our connection to it. For stations on or near the coasts, especially, who might be looking for a regular insert in their schedule that has geographic relevance to their audience, it's worth giving this series a listen.

Comment for "Women Rising VI: International Changemakers - Whistleblowers" (deleted)

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Review of Women Rising VI: International Changemakers - Whistleblowers (deleted)

This half-hour show features interviews with three women described as whistleblowers. The term is used loosely in the case of Cindy Sheehan, who made worldwide headlines by challenging President Bush near his Crawford ranch after her soldier son was killed in Iraq. Sheehan did not reveal inside information about government wrongdoing. She did, however, take a brave and unusual step for an aggrieved military mother in becoming a high-profile antiwar activist. Here, Sheehan speaks calmly and at length about her motivations. The other two women featured here, Leuren Moret and Sibel Edmonds, are former government employees who made accusations about undisclosed radioactivity at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories and about illegal activity by the FBI, respectively.

The show is a forum for these women, not a critical examination of their claims. That approach seems appropriate in Sheehan's case; she is expressing *opinions* about an increasingly unpopular war. It seems odd, though, when, for example, Moret claims the government retaliated for her accusations by trying to kill her and kidnapping her daughter. It's not that this is unthinkable, but such a claim does demand some evidence or at least a raised eyebrow.