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: Sarah Dunant: Heavy Weather 21 Mar 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 10:06

Sarah Dunant compares our reaction today to climate change with responses in the seventeenth century to extreme weather.

 PoV: Sarah Dunant: The Time Warp: 14 March 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:50

Sarah Dunant reflects that today's harsher judgement of some of the sexual behaviour prevalent in the 1970s springs in part from the freedom forged in that decade. "Without the seventies, we would never have had the debate, the public awareness, the sense of outrage or even the occasionally blunt tool of the law to judge the present and the past." Producer: Sheila Cook

 PoV: Roger Scruton: Free the Schools: 07 March 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:57

Roger Scruton believes the way to improve our schools is through tapping into the time and talents of middle class volunteers. "The philanthropic middle classes, who created our education system and made it one of the best in the world, have been for too long excluded from it". Producer: Sheila Cook.

 PoV: Roger Scruton: Our Love for Animals: 28 Feb 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:37

Roger Scruton thinks we get our priorities wrong when we favour pets at the expense of wild animals. "We must recognise that by loving our pets as individuals we threaten the animals who cannot easily be loved in any such way." Producer: Sheila Cook.

 PoV: Roger Scruton: United We Fall: 21 Feb 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:45

Roger Scruton argues for a voice for the English in the debate over Scottish independence. "As an Englishman I naturally ask why my interests in the matter have never been taken into account." Producer: Sheila Cook.

 PoV: Adam Gopnik: Money Matters: 14 Feb 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:45

Adam Gopnik explains why he thinks the pictures on our banknotes matter. "The iconography of money is more than just decor - it displays the true convictions of the commonwealth that intends to support its value." Producer: Sheila Cook.

 PoV: Adam Gopnik: Twitter Free: 07 Feb 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 10:08

Adam Gopnik explains his indifference to Twitter and social media."After the introduction of a new device, or social media, our lives are exactly where they were before, save for the new thing or service, which we now cannot live without". Producer: sheila Cook

 PoV: Adam Gopnik: Why Sportsmanship Matters: 31 Jan 2014 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:59

Adam Gopnik reflects on the nature of sportsmanship ahead of the American Super Bowl following controversy over a player's supposedly unsporting comments.

 PoV: Adam Gopnik: Self Drive Manhood: 24 Jan 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 10:07

Adam Gopnik hails the development of the self-drive car as the way to rescue his male identity after years as a non driver. He also muses on the need for such cars to have "ethical engines" capable of moral judgements. Producer: Sheila Cook

 PoV: Adam Gopnik: Sex and the French: 17 Jan 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:53

Adam Gopnik reflects on the attitude of the French to the sex lives of their statesmen and gives his opinion that the price of privilege is prudence. "Puritanical societies are less morally alert than ones like France that aren't, because the puritanical societies have the judgments prepackaged and their hypocrisies, too. Instead, in France, the moral rights and wrongs, I've learned, are adjudicated case by case." Producer: Sheila Cook

 PoV: John Gray: Unknown Knowns: 10 Jan 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 8:59

John Gray reflects on "unknown knowns" - what we know but prefer not to think about, whether it's the truth about the invasion of Iraq or the failures of the financial system that led to the banking crisis. "We humans are sturdy and resilient animals with enormous capacities of creativity and adaptability; but consistently realistic thinking seems to be beyond our powers." Producer: Sheila Cook.

 PoV: John Gray: The Perils of Belief: 03 Jan 14 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:22

John Gray reflects on the damage that can be caused by evangelical belief in a religion or in a political idea. "Whether they are religious or political, evangelists seem to me a blight on civilisation. For them as for those they persecute or bully, belief is an obstacle to a fulfilling life." Producer: Sheila Cook

 PoV: John Gray: Two Cheers for Human Rights: 27 Dec 13 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:21

John Gray gives only two cheers for human rights. We are in danger, he argues, of turning them into a "comforting dogma through which we try to escape the painful dilemmas of war and politics." "Rather than thinking of rights as a militant creed that can deliver the world from its conflicts, we should recognise rights for what they are - useful devices that quite often don't work".

 PoV: William Dalrymple: Islamo-Christian Heritage: 20 Dec 13 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:21

In the week when Prince Charles speaks out against violence against Christians in the Middle East, William Dalrymple says it's time to remember the "old and often forgotten cohabitation of Islam and Christianity". "Christmas time is perhaps the proper moment to remember the long tradition of revering the nativity in the Islamic world. ...There are certainly major differences between the two faiths, not least the central fact, in mainstream Christianity, of Jesus' divinity. But Christmas - the ultimate celebration of Christ's humanity - is a feast which Muslims and Christians can share without reservation." Producer: Sheila Cook

 PoV: John Gray: Why Dickens Endures: 13 Dec 13 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:53

John Gray gives his own theory for the cultural longevity of Charles Dickens, celebrating his view of life as a theatre of the absurd. "Dickens enjoyed human beings as he found them: unregenerate, peculiar and incorrigibly themselves." Producer: Sheila Cook.


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