There are many versions of the so-called "Proust questionnaire," which is meant to tease out a portrait of a person based on hopes, dreads, likes and dislikes.
I just filled out one on the website of Vanity Fair, a publication which has put many hundreds of famous people through its own version of the Proust questionnaire. The site crudely analyzed my answers and suggested the people I most resembled were Dustin Hoffman and James Brown -- but the former much more than the latter.
Newsflash -- on this show Garrison Keillor threw cold water on his much-publicized earlier statements that he would retire from PHC in 2013.
You can hear him say, on the audio here: :"I’m starting to doubt that myself. I’ve been thinking about it, thinking: what else would I do? And I can’t come up with anything….If I didn’t do it I would wind up in a tiny walk-up apartment with a couple of cats."
The question is bubbling up right now because Texas governor Rick Perry wants to stop participating in debates. In fact, he told Bill O'Reilly, “These debates are set up for nothing more than to tear down the candidates. So, you know, if there was a mistake made, it was probably ever doing" a debate.
Are we all entitled to a few blind spots? If so, one of mine is newspapers. I keep thinking somebody is going to find ways to improve them and make them thrive, even as the evidence of my own eyes suggests the opposite.
Today on The Nose, one of our panelists is Susan Campbell from the Hartford Courant. A few weeks ago, she shuttered her blog on the newspaper's web site. And this week, her colleague Helen Ubinas announced that she's leaving.
Even though I deplore what he said about President Obama on Fox & Friends and even though he seems, in general, like kind of a deplorable person, I kinda wish everybody would reconsider the idea of dropping Hank Williams Jr. from Monday Night Football's opening. There's some ethos of excess and yahooism that Hank captures perfectly, and, really, here at NPR, we've learned some hard lessons abou tossing people named Williams aside just because they said something stupid on television.
For The Nose, we try to round up a posse of ideas that reflect the serious and playful sides of the week in culture. And culture has been unbusually giving this week. We're just getting to know Rick Perry, a guy who has already (kind of) threatened the Fed Chief, said there are some gaps in the theory or evolution, declared climate change and a non-issue and, well, he's just getting warmed up.
Sports and superheroes have certain elements in common. Maybe I just want to think that because today we're going to talk about superhero movies like the Green Lantern and the Spider-Man Broadway musical.
This week a feud erupted between Hartford Courant columnist and blogger Rick Green and Frank Harris, a Courant columnist and chairman of the journalism department at Southern Connecticut State University.
Should we even talk about Charlie Sheen on public radio? As an essayist in Slate pointed out this week, public radio listeners tend to write letters of complaint when NPR covers Justin Bieber, Ken and Barbie, Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, rappers, Levi Johnston, Mel Gibson, heavy metal or sports.
The movie that had the biggest impact on the Academy Awards over the last ten years is one that did not win best picture ... or even get nominated - it was "The Dark Knight," Christopher Nolan's 2008 Batman movie that was shunned in 2009.
Twenty or 30 years ago there was a Doonesbury strip featuring the president of Walden College and a rich uncle pennybags donor who wanted to give the college a new gym or fieldhouse. And the president tried, gently and awkwardly, to nudge the rich man toward the idea of a new African American Studies Center which the college actually needed. The last frame was the rich guy in full tantrum mode, fists clenched, screaming "I WANNA DONATE A GYM!"
This weekend, anybody famous who isn't on the Mall with John Stewart and Stephen Colbert will be in Connecticut instead. Or maybe both places at once. Glenn Beck will be in West Hartford. Barack Obama will go through Bridgeport. And Bill Clinton will visit the University of Hartford.