A Point of View show

A Point of View

Summary: Weekly reflections on topical issues from a range of contributors including historian Lisa Jardine, novelist Sarah Dunant and writer Alain de Botton.

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 PoV: Adam Gopnik: The Football Fallacy Fri 17 Oct 2014 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:48

Adam Gopnik explains why the English are better at watching football than playing it and why the Americans are better at talking about democracy than practising it.

 PoV: Adam Gopnik: Dying with Dignity 10 Oct 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 10:05

Adam Gopnik thinks we fail too often to let people die with dignity at the end of their lives and believes the answer lies in showing deference. "Dignity, I think is an exceptional demand, one that depends on at least an illusion or masquerade of an anti-egalitarian, indeed pre-modern - indeed an essentially feudal sense - of deference." Producer: Sheila Cook

 PoV: Adam Gopnik: Short and Successful 3 Oct 2014 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:51

Adam Gopnik thinks there's a simple reason for the recent findings that short men enjoy stable marriages. It's not that they are desperate to please, but are desperate to prevail. "In every area of life, we underrate the merits of desperation, and persistently overrate the advantages of free choice." Producer: Sheila Cook

 PoV: Lisa Jardine: Keeping Time: 26 Sept 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 10:03

Lisa Jardine reflects on the rich history of time-pieces and the power of clocks and watches. "Each watch on display in the British Museum's Clocks and Watchers galleries speaks to me of a world galvanized by scientific innovation, whose horizons were expanding through voyages of discovery and the new objects and ideas brought back." Producer: Sheila Cook

 PoV: Lisa Jardine: Red Dress Sense: 19 Sept 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:56

This season's fashion for red prompts Lisa Jardine to reflect on the power in the past of this colour for clothes. "In Tudor England successive monarchs tried to define social status by dress ... a strict code governed the wearing of 'costly apparel', and red was one of the colours most rigidly controlled". Producer: Sheila Cook

 PoV: Lisa Jardine: The Horror of War: 12 Sept 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:39

Lisa Jardine says while documenting and commemorating the First World War we should not lose sight of its horror. "Wars are not heroic, even if they prompt acts of heroism by soldiers and civilians. Our young people, raised in a Britain at peace for 70 years, need to know that." Producer: Adele Armstrong

 PoV: Lisa Jardine: When fiction comes to the historian's rescue: 05 Sept 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:39

Lisa Jardine explores how fiction can be more useful than fact in helping us understand the past. She examines two works of fiction (a recent radio play "The Chemistry Between Them" and Michael Frayn's celebrated stage work, Copenhagen) to show how they often cast far more light on their respective subjects - and particularly the emotions and personal convictions involved - than that found in the history books. Producer: Adele Armstrong

 PoV: Will Self: Why Orwell is the Supreme Mediocrity: 29 Aug 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:54

Will Self takes on one of the nation's best loved figures, George Orwell ... and braces himself for the backlash! Producer: Adele Armstrong

 PoV: Will Self: What's Funny? 15 Nov 13 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:49

Will Self reflects on comedy, asking why we laugh and whether there's too much of the wrong type of humour in our culture. Producer: Caroline Bayley.

 PoV: Will Self: The Affliction of Consumption 15 Aug 2014 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:41

Will Self reflects on the power of modern day consumption and the effect it is having on us.

 PoV: Will Self: Believing in Beliefs : 08 Aug 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:36

Will Self argues that our modern secular brand of beliefs can't deal with the "heavy stuff" in life. Producer: Adele Armstrong

 PoV: Will Self: The Changing Nature of Utopias: 01 Aug 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:56

Will Self reflects on what the changing nature of utopias says about us, from Thomas More's sixteenth century Utopia to the recent TV series of the same name. Producer: Arlene Gregorius

 PoV: Is patriotism the last refuge of the scoundrel? 25 July 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 10:01

Republican or royalist we all need something or someone in which to invest our loyalty. Will Self reflects on what really lies behind our sense of patriotism. Producer: Arlene Gregorius

 PoV: John Gray: Believing in reason is childish: 18 July 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:14

Some critics of religion see having faith as being childish. But John Gray argues that believing that human beings are rational is more childish than believing in religion. The belief in the power of reason to improve humankind rests on childishly simple ideas he says. One of the commonest is that history's crimes are mistakes that can be avoided as we gain greater knowledge. But if history teaches us anything, Grey asserts, it's that behaviours and attitudes like cruelty and hatred are permanent human flaws. To imagine that we can become more rational is an example of magical thinking and an expression of the belief in the omnipotence of the human will that psychoanalysts identify as the fundamental infantile fantasy. John Gray believes that we'd all be better off if we saw ourselves as we are: intermittently and only ever partly rational creatures, who never really grow up. Producer: Arlene Gregorius

 PoV: John Gray: "Isis: a modern revolutionary force"? 11 July 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 10:01

Philosopher and author John Gray argues that the Sunni extremist group Isis (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) is actually more of a modern revolutionary force than a reactionary one intent on a reversion to mediaeval values. Surprising as this may sound says Gray, Isis is thoroughly modern. It's organised itself into an efficient company, and has become the wealthiest jihadi organisation in the world. And while it invokes the early history of Islam, the society it envisions has no precedent in history. Some of the thinkers who developed radical Islamist ideas are known to have been influenced by European anarchism and communism, especially by the idea that society can be reshaped by a merciless revolutionary vanguard using systematic violence. Isis is part of the revolutionary turmoil of modern times warns Gray, and until the West grasps that uncomfortable fact, it won't be able to deal with the dangers Isis presents. Producer: Arlene Gregorius


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