Episode #943

Election, Magic, Kaufman

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Studio 360 Episode 943, Election, Magic, Kaufman Sarah Vowell (Bennett Miller)

Kurt explores how today’s candidates borrow their strategies from magicians, hit TV shows, and Puritan theology. With writer Sarah Vowell and actress Sarah Jones, who describes how “sounding black” may have helped Obama. Plus, screenwriter and director Charlie Kaufman; his new film is “Synecdoche, New York.”

Sarah Vowell

The Puritans came to America full of ideals and lofty aspirations. Four hundred years later, candidates like Sarah Palin still sing their tune. Writer Sarah Vowell, author of the new book The Wordy Shipmates, says we could learn a thing or two from these politicians ...


Larry O'Donnell

A political analyst for MSNBC, Larry O’Donnell has worked for Daniel Patrick Moynihan and wrote for the TV series “The West Wing.” O’Donnell tells Kurt about how this fall’s debates echoed the fictional ones he wrote years ago.

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Sounding Black

Black is not just a skin color; it’s a quality of voice. Sarah Jones, the Tony Award-winning performer, talks with linguist John McWhorter about what it means to sound black today. They look at how Barack Obama has used “blaccent” to drive audiences wild. ...

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Charlie Kaufman

The screenwriter behind “Being John Malkovich” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” makes his directorial debut. In his new film “Synecdoche, New York” the protagonist turns all of New York City into a theater production. To understand the city as a stage, Kurt ...

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Magic Politicians

A good magic trick isn’t just a trick – it’s a story wrapped around a trick. Magicians distract their audiences with professional smooth talk called patter, and it sounds eerily similar to what politicians deliver in debates and on the stump. Magicians Steven Cohen,


Design for the Real World: Elephant and Donkey

Kevin Kallaugher, better known as KAL, has been the cartoonist at The Economist for 30 years. He explains how the donkey and elephant came to represent the parties, and charts their evolution in our culture. Produced by Gretta Cohn.


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