Episode #936

Con Artist, Iron Fists, Talib Kweli

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Studio 360 Episode 936, Con Artist, Iron Fists, Talib Kweli From literary forgerer Lee Israel’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me? Memoirs of a Literary Forger” (Simon & Schuster)

Nothing is quite as it seems. Kurt talks with Lee Israel about her new memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me? about her years forging letters by famous writers. Steven Heller shows us how the 20th century’s towering mad men -- Hitler, Stalin, Mao -- were masters not just of terror but of successful branding. And we’ll take a surprising look at another aspect of Mao Zedong’s rule: he wrote classical poetry like a bourgeois reactionary.

Lee Israel

The biographer comes clean about her years as a literary con artist. Lee Israel was a pro at digging up letters by famous writers like Dorothy Parker and selling them for a good profit. It turns out that Israel was the one writing them. Kurt ...

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Propaganda R Us

In Iron Fists: Branding the 20th-Century Totalitarian State, Steven Heller describes how four famous tyrannies (the Nazi party, Stalin, the Italian Fascists, and Mao's Communist Party) used architecture and design for propaganda and control.

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Mao the Poet

Mao Zedong believed in the radical transformation of every aspect of Chinese life. "Art" under Mao meant extolling the glories of communism.Sarah Campbell discovered a strange footnote to Mao's biography: he was a poet, and not altogether a bad one –- but he might have ...

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Postcard from Pyongyang

Guy Deslisle was a rare foreigner working in North Korea -– he lived there for a few months in 2001 doing animation work. He recounts his experience in the graphic memoir Pyongyang. From monuments to lapel pins, Delisle describes how the faces of Kim Jung ...

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Listener Challenge: Name that Sound

We reveal Bernie Krause's mystery nature sound. Kudos to listener Dustin O'Neill of New York City.

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Talib Kweli

Before this election, rapper Talib Kweli (like one-third of Americans) didn’t vote. But that doesn’t mean his music isn’t politically engaged. His latest record, Ear Drum, is full of socially conscious lyrics that buck trends in hip hop.

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Bonus Track: "Country Cousins"

From Talib Kweli's album Ear Drum (Warner Bros / Wea).

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Remembering the Trailer King

The king of Hollywood voice-overs, Don LaFontaine, died this week. In an interview from 2001, LaFontaine reveals some of his trade secrets. Produced by Steve Nelson and Kerrie Hillman.

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