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The Committee for the Proper Use of Senseless Violence

by Lawrence Bush   LAST NIGHT I WATCHED Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation (2016), which tells the story of Nat Turner’s 1831 slavery rebellion in Virginia. The film is soaked through with the intense physical, sexual, and spiritual violence of American slavery — the nearly four-hundred-year-old tradition of American slavery — and it inflamed me. […]

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David Rakoff’s American Life

David Rakoff, a Canadian-born gay writer who was a regular contributor to National Public Radio’s “This American Life” and published three bestselling volumes of essays, died at 47 on this date in 2012. Rakoff’s grandparents fled Latvia and Lithuania for South Africa at the turn of the 20th century; his parents left South Africa in 1961 and moved […]

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The Master of Radio Drama

Norman Corwin, one of the most popular radio writers during the Golden Age of radio drama in the 1930s and ’40s, was born in Boston on this date in 1910. Corwin brought culture, historical consciousness, and progressive patriotism to the airwaves, with such radio plays as  Spoon River Anthology (1939), We Hold These Truths (1941), […]

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July 28: Margot Adler’s Airwaves

Radio journalist and Wiccan priestess Margot Adler died at 66 on this date in 2014. A graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, Adler took to the airwaves first on Pacifica in Berkeley and in New York, where on WBAI she reported on social movements and created two talk shows, Hour of the Wolf and […]

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January 14: Nina Totenberg and Esther Kartiganer

Two important Jewish women in broadcasting were born on this date: National Public Radio’s Supreme Court correspondent, Nina Totenberg (shown at left), born in New York in 1944, and 60 Minutes producer Esther Kartiganer, born in Berlin in 1938. Totenberg’s scoops have included Anita Hill’s accusations against Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, which led the […]

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OpEdge: Are More Cops Getting Shot?

by Marc Jampole A RECENT NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO (NPR) broadcast put the lie to the Big Lie that protests in the wake of police killings of black citizens in Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore, New York, and elsewhere have led to a significant uptick in violence against police across the country. The reasoning is a bit absurd. […]

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December 23: Harry Shearer

Harry Julius Shearer, who since 1989 has provided the voices for Mr. Burns and his assistant Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, and numerous other characters on The Simpsons, was born to Jewish immigrants in Los Angeles on this date in 1943. He was a child actor on The Jack Benny Program, in the films […]

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March 3: This American Life

Ira Glass, the host and creator of National Public Radio’s “This American Life,” was born in Baltimore on this date in 1959. (His mother, Shirley, is a psychologist whom the New York Times has identified as the “godmother of infidelity research.”) A graduate of Brown University, Glass began at NPR as a 19-year-old intern and […]

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