Thursday, November 12, 2015

Entitled Opinions

I only discovered this program recently, while reading about their interview with the author, Marilynne Robinson. [LINK]  The full name of the show is "Entitled Opinions (about Life and Literature)" It's a 1-hour "literary" talk show. It has the kind of audience where you can make a clever aside about Ralph Waldo Emerson and they will know what you're talking about. I'm imagining it's a subset of core NPR enthusiasts but with fewer hipsters. More here.

The program is hosted by Prof. Robert Pogue Harrison, the Rosina Pierotti Professor in Italian Literature at Stanford University in the Department of French and Italian. (Rosina Pierotti is an endowed professorship.)  So how literary is it you ask? I'll list off a few recent episodes:
  • Ruth Starkman on Aristotle, friendship, and virtue ethics
  • Hans Sluga on his book Politics in Search of the Common Good
  • Thomas Ryckman on Einstein
  • A Monologue on Lightness and Heaviness in Art
  • Paul Rabinow on Foucault and "the contemporary"
  • Jessica Merrill on Russian Futurism
  • Mark McGurl on Fiction-Writing Programs in the Postwar Era
  • Grisha Freidin on Leo Tolstoy
The programs discuss broad themes like money, ethics, and art movements, but also specific public figures, authors, and revisit classic novels. Harrison's metatext has gotten so meta he's been interviewed about interviewing by both  the Ideas program on CBC Radio One, WBUR On Point, and on the Lunch Special Show at KQED. The show has been running since 2005 but has only aired 150 episodes. More here.