The Nose

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Today on The Nose, we begin with an essay, "Faking Cultural Literacy." Writer Karl Taro Greenfeld said, "It's never been so easy to pretend to know so much, without actually knowing anything." We pick topical, relevant bits from Facebook, Twitter, or emailed news alerts, and then regurgitate them.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Can the culture of one nation ever understand that of another? Critics say Fox's newest reality show in which 12 witless contestants believe their in a fight to the near death for the attention of England's Prince Harry. "I Wanna Marry Harry" is said to represent a new low in reality television.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

You may have forgotten Monica Lewinsky, but she has not forgotten you. She's back with a Vanity Fair interview that re-ignites the whole debate about her.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This was a week when Connecticut professors got rambunctious, when pine tar was discovered in places it shouldn't have been, and when President Obama played soccer with a robot. I can't guarantee which of these things will make its way onto our weekly pop culture roundtable, The Nose, except definitely the professors.

This one from UConn mocked and challenged the arguments of a creationist, and this one from Eastern was caught railing against Republicans, calling them "racist, misogynistic, money-grubbing people" and saying colleges will close if the GOP takes over the Senate.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Scientists say the papyrus that mentions a wife of Jesus is not a forgery. Stephen Colbert will take over when Letterman leaves. I'm not saying the two things are connected, but maybe our weekly culture roundtable The Nose will find a common thread.

It might seem like a small thing - the departure of Stephen Colbert from his late night role in which he depicts a strutting, preening, right-wing media star. In the last analysis, who cares who takes over the Letterman show?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The original Carl Sagan "Cosmos" was at least  partly a response to the Cold War. Its message: "We're such little specks, can we embrace our common destiny and get along?"

You could look at the movie "Noah" and the remake of "Cosmos" as two manifestations of an odd phenomenon. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A hilariously fussy hotel manager with a taste for the high life is wrenched from his gay surroundings by the specter of war and a false murder charge. That doesn't sound terribly funny, but it's the premise for "The Grand Budapest Hotel," the latest Wes Anderson movie. Our Nose panelists all went to see it, and it will be one of our topics on this show.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

President Obama has consistently refused to be a panelist on The Nose, but his appearance this week on "Between Two Ferns" with Zach Galifianakis has given us new hope!

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Can great television be as satisfying as great literature? On today's Nose, we'll apply that question to HBO's True Detective. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last Sunday, we took a road trip into New York City, but before we left, I read Beth Boyle Machlan's New York Times essay about the joys she sometimes gets driving with her kids, and surrendering their collective eardrums to the serendipities of commercial radio. She learns some of their songs, they learn some of hers... Everybody gives up some of the fierce control we all maintain these days over what we call our "playlists."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

While tying together all the stories for today's session of the Nose, I keep hearing (in my mind) Charlie Seen say, "Winning!" We have a lot of stories about how people who try to win, often by following the logic of a game out to its extremes.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Today on the Nose, we'll discuss one of those eruptions that happen in the digital world -- a frenzy of discussion and expressions of outrage over an essay on the site xojane, by a writer who tried to describe her reactions, as a skinny white woman, to the way she thought a heavyset back woman was reacting to her in yoga class.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It was a fertile week for topics, but here at The Nose, we've boiled them down to four.

First, the decision by NBC to capitalize on its live Sound of Music ratings hit with a revival of the live TV Peter Pan. No cast has been announced yet, so that allows us to do some "dreamcasting. "

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Today on The Nose, we'll talk about this relatively insignificant bit of Rush Limbaugh peevishness, and the degree to which each of us thinks he or she has (informally speaking) patented something: a word, a phrase, a style we've made our own.

Also, Adam Platt's decision to dispense with the fiction that he, as a restaurant critic, is anonymous. It's not exactly the same as claiming to create, but Platt is talking about the anxiety of influence in a different way. How can one do "pure" work? 

MN National Guard / Creative Commons

It's 10:30 on a Friday morning, which is kind of "zero hour" for me to figure out the final order of topics for The Nose, our weekly culture roundtable. Maybe I can straighten out my own thinking and give you a window on our process in the same big gulp. 

The show, if you missed it, is here. But people often complain they can't write down the endorsements. 

Let me go first because my endorsement was rushed at the end. I endorsed this (older) book as a nice gift for someone who loves jazz standards and the American Songbook. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Here are the topics for The Nose today -- and this week we had to throw out a lot of perfectly good ones because there were so many:

We pretty much have to tackle the controversy around Duck Dynasty. One of the real life characters in the reality TV show gave an interview in which he aired his strong religious views, which included multiple denunciations of homosexuality as a sin.

Chion Wolf

Today, on The Nose, well we can't entirely ignore the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, but the subject is so vast we can only break off one little part. We're going to focus on an essay by Adam Gopnik and published in The New Yorker a couple of weeks ago. Gopnik probes the question of exactly what changed as a result of the crime and its murky aftermath. 

Chion Wolf

Here's the plan for The Nose today. We'll begin with a widely discussed column by Richard Cohen of The Washington Post who took an odd detour from a discussion of Chris Christie's national electoral profile and suggested that conventionally-minded people have to repress a gag reflex when confronted with the sight of an inter-racial couple, specifically the new first family of New York City. 

Last minute update: I'm fascinated by this article from this morning about Jacqueline Kennedy's pink suit -- maybe as a way in to a larger dicussion about this moment, about the way 11/22/63 is back and being re-processed through the lens of 2013. But I'm not sure the panel will go for it. 

It's 5:30 pm on Thursday, and I have so many tabs open on my browser I think Chrome could just implode, taking us all with it. This is not unusual as we get ready for The Nose, a weekly cultural roundtable. We look for a certain kind of "talkable" item, and finding them can be tough.

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On The Nose this week, a viral video musical tribute to Chinese food triggers cries of racism, a father welcoming his fourth daughter into the world, and opens up a can of complicated thoughts about that. And we talk about the time we walked in the shoes of the opposite sex. Listen to our weekly culture panel live from New Haven on WNPR.

New York Times Connecticut restaurant critic Rand Cooper endorsed Staropolska in New Britain, where one can drink Bison Grass Vodka and eat bigos (pictured).

Chion Wolf

A popular video this week was a highlight reel of Stephen Colbert being unable to stay in character as a pompous, self-pleased right wing blowhard. Instead, Colbert is swept up in the hilarity of the material. One of his adorable tricks is to hide the lower half of his face behind something, allowing us to see only his laughing eyes.

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We're in New Haven today, and The Nose, our weekly culture panel, wants to talk about the hazards of 3D movies and the increasingly competitive world of Halloween costumes. And because we're in New Haven, we'll turn our attention to a couple of prominent stories down here. One of them -- not for the squeamish -- is the Poopetrator, a laundry prankster who has created such a national stir that even the official account for Clorox bleach is tweeting about him.

Chion Wolf

As Slate embarks on a quixotic search for the "most beautiful woman in the world," The Nose will examine how feminine beauty plays a role in American politics. Earlier this week, a U.S. Representative from Indiana dissed a CNN anchor saying, "You're beautiful, but you have to be honest."

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What can a sandwich say about a relationship? It turns out, a lot. What very well may have been an inside joke between a young couple turned into a controversial essay by New York Post writer Stephanie Smith this week. 

Smith's tips on wooing her man via meat and bread featured such gems as:

Assuming that the above does not refer to a dermatological problem, I'm guessing it might instead be one of the typical calls or emails I get every Friday from somebody who heard about something vaguely interesting on the Nose but didn't write it down. It's usually one of the endorsements. 

This the internet sensation endorsed by Theresa (who also endorsed apple fritters).

Chion Wolf

Come on, you must be outraged about something! These are the headlines: "Rich Manhattan moms hire handicapped tour guides so kids can cut lines at Disney World." "Dave Chappelle's Hate-On For Hartford Called 'Sad,' 'Asinine.'" "No Exception For Newington Veteran Being Evicted For Smoking." 

Chion Wolf

We have in the works, for next week, a show about J.D. Salinger, the American writer most at odds with his own greatness. 

Little did we suspect that Dave Chappelle, the comedian most at odds with his own greatness, would come to Hartford and have peculiar and very contrary experience with the audience here and create a national stir by his refusal to perform for them.

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