Colin McEnroe

Host

Colin McEnroe hosts the daily WNPR show, The Colin McEnroe Show. He is a weekly columnist and blogger for The Hartford Courant and a contributing editor at Men's Health. He has recently concluded a series of columns for Bicycling magazine.

He is the author of three books and one play; and his work has appeared on the New York Times Op-Ed Page and in Mirabella, Best Life, Cosmopolitan, Forbes FYI and Mademoiselle. It is not his fault that only one of those magazines still exists. He frequently moderates the Connecticut Forum and teaches media studies at Trinity College. His books, columns, magazine articles and radio shows have won numerous awards, all of which are in boxes somewhere.

There are times when he still can’t believe it’s not butter. 

Ways to Connect

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Ficre Ghebreyesus and Elizabeth Alexander were born two months apart in 1962, he in Eritrea, she in Harlem. They didn’t meet until 1996. He was an artist and a chef at a New Haven Eritrean restaurant he owned with his brothers. She was a poet and professor. She had been teaching at the University of Chicago, where she had also met a senior lecturer named Barack Obama. She married Ghebreyesus. She delivered Obama’s 2009 inaugural poem. In 2012, a few days after her husband’s 50th birthday, he died abruptly. Her new book, “The Light of The World,” tells that story.

The White House / flickr

While basketball didn’t take up residence in the White House in January 2009, the game nonetheless played an outsized role in forming the man who did, according to Sports Illustrated’s Alexander Wolff, author of The Audacity of Hoop: Basketball and the Age of Obama.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Recently, a group of us gathered on stage at Watkinson School for a conversation about humor and comedy.

The conversation had two fields on inquiry. The first was the very strange business of trying to be funny as a way of putting food on the table. It's a weird job. It's not so much a matter of trying to be funny as it is of trying to figure out what's funny about the thing sitting in front of you. 

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We once did a show about beer jingles, which is a great example of how a product becomes a culture. Cereal as a culture, is off the charts. There's the box, there's the prize, there's the character, there's the jingles, there's the commercials. Most of us can probably sing some jingles and discuss favorite cereal personae from our childhoods, which makes it kind of weird when marketing experts tell us that cereal consumption is in decline.

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Warning to listeners: the audio contains some information about "The Revenant" that slipped out of one of the guests during the discussion. It could be considered "a spoiler." 

It seems only natural that Sarah Palin and Donald Trump would find one another. 

Better Than Bacon / WNPR

Quick! Name a living philosopher. Chances are if you can do it at all, you're going to say Peter Singer, Martha Nussbaum, Shelly Kagan, or Daniel Dennett. 

Dennett is probably the best bet because he plays the game at several different levels. He was known until the death of Christopher Hitchins as one of the four horseman of the atheist apocalypse. But his work on free will and consciousness have conferred a kind of celebrity on him.

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One thing we can all agree on regarding Barbra Streisand; she provokes strong reactions. Or, she used to. I don't think Millennials or Generation X and Y completely understand what Streisand was like when she was a central part of the American cultural conversation. 

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This all started with a scratchy phone message from a guy named Bobby Duley. He had been making regular visits to his mother convalescing at a rehab facility in Old Saybrook. Down the hall in one of the public rooms, he discovered a woman who was intimately involved in the civil rights marches that began in 1966 in the south.

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How disgraceful was last weekend's Cincinnati Bengals/Pittsburgh Steelers game? Well, Boomer Esiason, a former Bengals quarterback, used that word - disgraceful - to describe his old team and its fans. Rush Limbaugh, not a noted opponent of violence, used the word "disgrace" twice to describe the flagrant thuggery on the field.

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In "A Knight's Tale," Heath Ledger is invited to a dance among the nobles. He is a peasant, impersonating a noble and is anxious because he doesn't really know how to dance. His rival sneeringly asks him to show everybody a dance from Heath's homeland. What happens next is a breath-taking dance sequence in which pre-Renaissance music morphs into Golden Years by David Bowie .

Photonesta

Okay, this show comes with a trigger warning.

We're going to talk about things people eat, and some of those things are not for the squeamish. This is a conversation about disgust, and specifically, how our reflexive response of disgust may get in the way of things we probably need to think about doing.

That's Shocking!!

Jan 6, 2016
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When the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe were exhibited at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford in 1989, there were protesters on the street and lines around the block as thousands queued up to pay an extra fee to look at these pictures, which lay at the heart of a heated debate about public funding for the arts.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

I assembled seven Nose panelists and asked them to pick a topic we used during 2015 from my list of twelve.  

Of the five left over, four of them were connected to the modern cycle of internet shame: Rachel Dolezal, the NAACP official who was pretending to be black, the drunk profane kid demanding jalapeno bacon mac and cheese at UConn, the aunt who sued her nephew for jumping on her, and the dentist who sued Cecil the lion.

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Many of our ideas about history are drawn from historical fiction. 

Who, for example, is Thomas More? Is he the tragic hero of the play and movie, "A Man For All Seasons"?

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On the surface of things, there would seem to be little connection among the following: two small daily newspapers in central Connecticut, the wealthy owner of a multinational casino and resort chain, the Chinese crime gangs known as triads, and the sale of the largest newspaper in Nevada to an undisclosed owner. But they do all fit together somehow

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It's a yearly tradition: Jazz critic Gene Seymour releases his list of the best jazz albums of the year, and musicians Jen Allen and Noah Baerman gather 'round the table with their own picks. If you're buying a last-minute gift for a finger-poppin' hep cat, this episode will solve your problem.

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Vin Baker was an Olympic basketball player and four-time NBA All Star. The journey from University of Hartford to professional basketball got him rich quick, but it was a lifestyle he couldn't keep up with.

Baker's struggle with alcoholism is well-documented, as is the fact he blew through $100 million. He lost his home and restaurant.

newsarchive.medill.northwestern.edu

The New York Times  and Washington Post are adding new forms of address and pronouns for people who haven't chosen a single gender. Research indicates that ending a text with a period seems insincere. Dictionaries are throwing open their doors and letting in all kinds of slangy words that have been living on the internet. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

I first met cartoonist Bill Griffith back in the 1980s. I arranged for us to tour a Boston-area Hostess Twinkie plant, which sounds like a weird first date but makes perfect sense if you're familiar with his creation "Zippy the Pinhead," an unwitting surrealist who swims happily through a sea of taco sauce, processed cheese and, well, Twinkies.

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Jonathan Franzen has become that rare American author whose life and moods and sulks make news. From his friendship with David Foster Wallace to his fractious encounter with Oprah Winfrey, Franzen may have become America’s most visible intellectual. All that puts a lot of pressure on Purity, his newest novel. We’re experimenting on the show with a new book club format, asking three Connecticut literati to read and discuss the book.

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Bob Woodward thought he knew everything about Watergate. Then Alexander Butterfield, now in his late 80's, told him there were other stories never spoken of. Woodward focuses on these stories in his latest book on the Watergate scandal called The Last of the President's Men. This hour, we hear from the legendary Washington Post journalist.

Also, the Wesleyan Argus faces an uncertain financial future. In September, the paper published an op-ed criticizing the "Black Lives Matter" movement. The backlash now threatens funding for The Argus next year.

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Philippe Petit made his walk between the towers of the World Trade Center over 40 years ago. He stayed up on that wire for 45 minutes, made 8 passes between the towers, got down on his knees, and he even laid down on it! But it's more than that one feat - it was a placeholder for a much broader philosophy of risk and creativity, and evidence of who the man really is.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

I first met cartoonist Bill Griffith back in the 1980s. I arranged for us to tour a Boston-area Hostess Twinkie plant, which sounds like a weird first date but makes perfect sense if you're familiar with his creation "Zippy the Pinhead," an unwitting surrealist who swims happily through a sea of taco sauce, processed cheese and, well, Twinkies.

Ed Lescoe/Hartford Times / Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library

As deputy mayor of Hartford, Nicholas Carbone was a blend of old and new -- a bare-knuckles, lapel-grabbing pol wrapped around a dreamy urban visionary.

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Hunter S. Thompson was one of those writers whose lives start to matter more than their art. From almost the beginning, life and art were intentionally interwoven. Thompson's outsized appetites for drugs and food and stimulation were set into his hyperbolic prose. The story of the wrier was the story of the story. He was hardly the first to do it, but he did it in a fashion that made both the lifestyle and prose of Norman Mailer seem comparatively restrained. 

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“Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people's vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.'' Those, of course, are the immortal opening words of Janet Malcolm’s book-length essay, “The Journalist and the Murderer.” 

@darth/twitter

Last week's Republican debate created chaos on the internets:  Trump insulted Fox's Megyn Kelly, which naturally led to ladies live tweeting their periods at the wanna-be President. And a new slang was born: "Cuckservative."  

This hour, we'll talk about Ben Rothenberg's Serena-driven body image piece, and the stir it caused. Mark Leibovitch's peice on

Once upon a time Nancy Butler lived in the Beltway and used her MBA to secure a high paying job with a defense contractor.  But Butler had considered herself a devout Christian since the age of 9, and something about a job with a company that made torpedoes started to bother her. So she left and embarked on a journey that included mission work in Asia and enrollment at Yale Divinity School.

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In some ways, the 'bro' is not new. He's there, for example, in Philip Roth's "Goodbye Columbus" as Ron Patimkin, the big athletic empty-headed brother of Brenda. 

What's different is that in the 1960s, it seemed fundamentally untenable to be Ron for an extended period of time. Ron only really made sense as a college athlete, and now he's stuck with a bunch of mannerisms and interests that seem vaguely out of place.

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