Episode #1132

The Great American Reset

Originally aired: July 17, 2009

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Friday, August 06, 2010

Studio 360 Episode 1132, The Great American Reset They Might Be Giants, live on Studio 360, at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival (Nuala McGovern)

This week, Studio 360 looks for ways to use the economic crisis to our advantage: think of it as the Great American Reset. In a show taped live at 2009's Aspen Ideas Festival, the writer Susan Orlean remembers the optimism of her late father, who came of age during the Depression. The band They Might Be Giants has a warning about dangerous fads. And inventor Saul Griffith explains how to get kids excited about the future again.

"We Live in a Dump"

The band They Might Be Giants kicks off our live show at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival with this song that recalls the pre-crash mentality.

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Forever Young

Kurt Andersen notes that his generation, the baby boomers, have never stopped embracing their inner child. Fad-happy, spendthrift, and impulsive, America followed their lead. Could the recession be a last chance to grow up?

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"Older"

They Might Be Giants reminds us that we're not getting any younger.

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Susan Orlean

Even after she had seven books to her credit (and was the subject of a movie starring Meryl Streep), Susan Orlean endured a piece of familiar fatherly advice: go to law school, in case writing "didn't work out." Practical but always optimistic, her father came of age during ...

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"Careful What You Pack"

There's trouble around every corner, in this song by They Might Be Giants.

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They Might Be Giants: Watch What You Say

The members of They Might Be Giants have started keeping a list of meaningless phrases that prevent real communication. "It is what it is" — what does that mean, anyway?

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"Why Does The Sun Really Shine?"

The original lyrics came from the encyclopedia, but facts change. They Might Be Giants stay current on their astrophysics.

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Saul Griffith

In an age of hyper-specialization, Saul Griffith is an old-school inventor. A MacArthur "genius," his work includes a new way to manufacture eyeglasses, kites that generate power, and rope that knows how much weight it carries. Griffith explains how to get kids fascinated by science: promise ...

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Curtis Sittenfeld

The writer of American Wife and Prep thought she had the secret formula for getting work done: she didn't live in New York, didn't write a blog, and didn't have kids — until her daughter was born. She hasn't written a word of fiction since.

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Grasshopper and Coyote

In the 1990s, Kurt says, Americans were like Wile E. Coyote, headed across the mesa at maximum speed. And then we looked down. But there's hope at the bottom of the cliff.

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"Spiraling Shape"

"Nobody knows what it's really like, but everyone says it's great": a cautionary tale from They Might Be Giants. Don't believe the hype.

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Reset

Kurt's book, Reset: How This Crisis Can Restore Our Values and Renew America, hit bookstores right after the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival. Find out why the current economic crisis is actually a moment of great opportunity to get ourselves and our nation back on track.

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