Ok, so the radio idea I mentioned in my last post. This is a work in progress, and believe you me, I am open to suggestions of any and all sorts. Here's my plan. The world is huge, right? It's huge and diverse and has fascinating histories of all sorts, so wouldn't it be cool to learn about some of the coolest stuff on the planet? People all over the world spend their professional lives digging up obscure things to write dissertations, articles, and books about, and the vast majority of those dissertations, articles, and books sit on shelves and collect dust, except when some other person researching an obscure topic reads them to further their own work. All in all, it's a great big world of knowledge that nobody outside the ivory tower is actually learning, and that is just plain wrong. Because while each individual article or PhD topic might sound a little abstruse ("Notes on a Balinese Cockfight," anyone?), when you take the time to ask a few questions, it often turns out to be fascinating, informative, and widely applicable to the world we live in today.
Here's an example: my sister Umulu wrote an honors thesis in college called something like, "Changing Concepts of Time in Post-Bolshevik Russia." When she first told me her topic, my initial reaction was, "Gawp. What the eff does that even mean? No, never mind, don't tell me, it sounds boring." Well I couldn't have been more wrong. It was fascinating. I just had never thought about what it might mean for an agricultural society to be forced - literally forced by a powerful central government - to make a rapid shift towards industrialization. Their concept of time, which previously had revolved around seasons, cycles, and circadian rhythms, became immediately subject to factory whistles - minute and second hands on a clock. In short, looking at thematic portrayals of time in literature, periodicals, propaganda, and art illustrated a greater point about how Russian peasants acclimatized to rapid industrialization and profound social change. Or, if that doesn't tickle your fancy, I have a friend that's studying astrology in 16th century Mexico, and another that's writing about PIRATES!
So that, in a nutshell, is what I want to do. I want to find people that are researching cool ideas in history, anthropology, art, musicology, science, etc, and interview them. Nobody is going to read their dissertations, but if I can get them to simplify the ideas, take it out of academic jargon and just talk about it in every-day normal human language, wouldn't that be cool? We could talk about their research process, future plans, and how the whole shebang applies to modern life. What an amazing way to learn!
So here's where I need your help, if help you are willing to offer. I'd like to know the following things:
a) Whether the idea sounds good, or like a giant snooze. If it sounds like a giant snooze, how could I make it more interesting?
b) What should I call the program? I had an early plan to call it "Shit You Didn't Know About Places You've Never Been," but then I realized you can't say "shit" on public radio, so there went that idea. I also toyed with calling it "A Great Big World," or maybe, "The Continued Adventures of A Great Big World." Or... yeah. That's all I've got for now. Help?