Episode #1523

The Great American Reset

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Friday, June 06, 2014

They Might Be Giants at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival They Might Be Giants at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival (Jordan Curet)

This week, Studio 360 visits the Aspen Ideas Festival — it’s like summer camp for some of the world’s most influential people. 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.

(Originally aired: July 17, 2009)

They Might Be Giants but They Live in a Dump

The band They Might Be Giants channels the spirit of pre-crash Wall Street in an anthem of deflated expectations.

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Forever Young and "Older"

The baby boomers thrived in the “me” decade and made greed good. Their relentlessly self-centered outlook set us up for economic calamity. Might the crash and its aftermath be their last chance at shaping up?

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Susan Orlean Still Doesn’t Want to Go to Law School

Susan Orlean has made it, by all measures — a staff writer at The New Yorker, she’s written bestsellers and even had one of her books, The Orchid Thief, turned into a Charlie Kaufman movie. But her pragmatic father always wanted her to have something to fall back on.

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Things We Don’t Say

Language is supposed to help us communicate — but some empty phrases just get in the way: 'it is what it is,' '(blank) is the new (whatever),' 'no worries.' They Might Be Giants has a list of sayings that have totally jumped the shark.

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Give them Zip Lines, They’ll Invent Jetpacks

Inventor and MacArthur “genius” Saul Griffith has some ideas about how to get kids hooked on science by making it actually fun. Hint: A chemistry set isn’t going to cut it.

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How to Write a Bestselling Novel: Don’t Have a Baby

Curtis Sittenfeld wrote literary bestsellers like Prep and American Wife, but having a baby brought her daily writing routine to a halt. Now, instead of being an observer of life, she feels more conspicuous than ever.

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The Coyote and the Grasshopper

During the Great Recession, Americans, like Wile E. Coyote, looked down and noticed we ran out of cliff a while ago. If we’re going to pick ourselves up, it’s going to take hard work — not a quick call to the Acme Corporation.

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