The Hollywood Blacklist and the Classic Western ‘High Noon’

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, as anti-communist sentiment gained ground in the United States, paranoia and persecution swept through Hollywood. The House Un-American Activities (HUAC) began interrogating filmmakers and actors, accusing them of being communists or communist sympathizers. The president, Congress, the courts and the press all played a part.
Many who appeared before the HUAC were put on a blacklist that made it impossible for them to work in show business. Among the blacklisted was screenwriter Carl Foreman, whose 1952 classic western ‘High Noon’ is seen as a parable about the toxic political climate of the time.
Glenn Frankel revisits the film — and Foreman’s experiences testifying on Capitol Hill — in his new book, also called ‘High Noon’. “The blacklist movement stems out of a backlash by people who felt they want to get their country back,” Frankel says. “In those days it was [from] communists, and Jews and liberals. Today you might say it’s Islamic terrorists and undocumented immigrants.”

Fresh Air | 21st February 2017

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The Pull of Putin

Why do populist politicians across the West want warmer relations with Russia? Tim Whewell travels from Russia to America and across Europe to unravel the many different strands of pro-Moscow thinking. Donald Trump is just one of a new breed of Western politicians who want warmer relations with Vladimir Putin. Most Western experts say that’s dangerous: an aggressive Russia is plotting to divide and weaken the West. But Trump and others seem to have tapped into a popular desire to reduce tension and discover what Moscow and the West have in common. Could Moscow now lead a “Conservative International”, promoting traditional social values and national sovereignty around the world? On the right, some see Russia as a spiritual beacon. Others, both on the right and left, simply think the threat from the East is much exaggerated – and are warming to Russia as a protest against the Western establishment. Maybe it’s time for a new way of understanding relations between the old superpowers.

BBC Radio 4 – Analysis | 16th February 2017

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A Brief History of Failure

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal,” said Winston Churchill. The American satirist Joe Queenan disagrees and rails against the very idea of failure. His sharpest attack is reserved for the supposed romance of defeat. From Braveheart in Scotland via the heretic Cathars in France to the pretend soldiers in Virginia still re-enacting the American Civil War, Queenan explores whether there may be something noble about losing a war.
“I’m in the south, at one of the many re-enactment battles of the American civil war that go on every year. Thousands have turned up to re-fight a war they lost. We don’t do this in the north – it would be odd, and divisive, perhaps even inflammatory. But the memories of a conflict that took place over 150 years down here – they don’t go away.”
Contributions from classics professor Edith Hall; historian Geoffrey Regan; writer Armando Iannucci; former political correspondent and Strictly star John Sergeant; plus music from Laura Marling, Viv Albertine of the Slits and rock and roll’s greatest failure, John Otway. Produced by Miles Warde.

Archive on 4 | 14th February 2017

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Is Talent a Thing?

Is the concept of talent so ill-defined as to be useless, when hiring people? Entrepreneur and author Margaret Heffernan argues that we need something new, as good grades and top degrees have proved no guarantee of high performance in the workplace. She talks to the recent head of HR (or “people operations”) at Google, the pioneer of the concept of a “growth mindset”, and the academic who found people’s intelligence increased over the course of the 20th century. She also hears about other measures like “grit”, “cultural fit” and how to interview people to find the candidate who is best for the job and the company, rather than the one you like.
Produced by Arlene Gregorius

BBC Radio 4 – Analysis | 13th February 2017

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Usonia 1 – Budget Housing Proposition by Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright was a bombastic character that ultimately changed the field of architecture, and not just through his big, famous buildings. Before designing many of his most well-known works, Wright created a small and inexpensive yet beautiful house. This modest home would go on to shape the way working- and middle-class Americans live to this day. And it all started with a journalist from Milwaukee.

99% Invisible | 7th February 2017

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Uncovering Wall Street’s Biggest Insider-Trading Scandal

The investigation of billionaire hedge-fund trader Steven A. Cohen. Sheelah Kolhatkar, the author of “Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, And The Quest To Bring Down The Most Wanted Man On Wall Street,” discusses her findings in how Cohen’s hedge fund, SAC Capital, acquired enormous wealth by using illegal methods, black edge, and how common such practices are on Wall Street.

DAVIES: You tell this book in part through the experiences of the FBI investigators and other government investigators. And you describe how when they started listening to conversations of people in hedge funds and traders and they talked so casually about trading this illegal inside information, it made them wonder – does everybody do this? Is this just the way it is? You worked in a hedge fund early in your career. Did it seem that way to you?

KOLHATKAR: …(Laughter) SAC Capital. But yeah – in fact, at the time, you end up in these jobs and whatever’s going on around you just seems normal, and you don’t even necessarily know to question it. And it was only later, looking back on what I had done earlier in my career as a hedge fund analyst that I realized sort of what it was. I was trying to get edge, too. I spent my days trying to sort of analyze our different investments and get information about them. I certainly didn’t venture into any areas that would’ve qualified as black edge, for example, but I didn’t really know the difference. And it was generally understood that you wanted to get the best intelligence that you could.
Illustration: Le reve by Picasso, bought by Steven A Cohen for $155m

Fresh Air | 7th Febryuary 2017

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Trump’s Road to the White House

Investigation of how Donald Trump defied expectations to win the presidency. Through interviews with campaign insiders, the film based podcast examines how Trump rallied supporters and defeated adversaries.

“The only thing that is predictable is the unpredictability of Washington, D.C. from this point forward,” says Republican pollster Frank Luntz.

Frontline | 6th February 2017

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