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A Point of View
A Point of View
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qng8

Weekly reflections on topical issues from a range of contributors including historian Lisa Jardine, novelist Sarah Dunant and writer Alain de Botton.


The Assault on Reason
December 2017

"It's not merely facts that are under assault in the polarised politics of the UK, the US and other nations twisting in the winds of what some call populism" writes Zia Haider Rahman. "There's also a troubling assault on reason".

ritarian tendencies know that warping the facts is only a start. "Warping reason and logic and clarity of thought is the holy grail".


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



A Folder Called 'Hope'
December 2017

"On my computer", writes Zia Haider Rahman, "I have a folder of exchanges with organisations and corporations, a folder called 'Hope'". Zia describes the letters he's written to some of Britain's foremost institutions on their lack of diversity. He says empirical research of cognitive scientists points ever more clearly to the immense difficulty of changing minds.


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



Macbeth and the Insomnia Epidemic
November 2017

Will Self reflects on the epidemic of sleeplessness. He explores the "heady cocktail" of modern life that's keeping us awake and argues that we all need the imaginative sustenance of dreams.


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



Mass Myopia
November 2017

Will Self on how wearing glasses has become something that is entirely unremarkable.

"Nowadays the acquisition of glasses", he writes, "is simply another opportunity for the conspicuous consumption we've all become so very expert at".

But he says there are drawbacks to seeing too clearly. He suggests that a National No Glasses Day might be an idea "so we can all wander about the place in blurry bliss".


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



The miserable pantomime of contemporary British vegetarianism
November 2017

"As the years have passed", writes Will Self, "so gnawing on a bloody piece of cow rump has come to seem, to me, more and more...well, vulgar".

Via Leviticus and Arcimboldo, he charts his conversion to vegetarianism. And he explains why it's not just personal morals that are "propelling me headlong towards the horror of Quorn"!


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



Men Against Women
November 2017

Will Self says we need creative solutions to end institutional misogyny and abuse.

"Rather than addressing - as parliamentarians currently are - the business of shutting the stable door after the stallions have run amok", he writes, "we should be thinking about how to keep it closed in the first place".


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



Ode to Space
October 2017

Will Self on why he loves space….

From childhood dreams of being "strapped into the command module of a Saturn 5 rocket about to blast off from Cape Kennedy" to contemplating 1000-million-star mega-clusters in the sky today, Will describes why space is - for him - "both sublime and restful".


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



I hope this email finds you well...
October 2017

Mary Beard ponders why email is governed by so few rules and conventions.

"Fifty years ago, when I was at high school", Mary writes, "we spent many hours learning how to write a letter".

She wonders why no one today seems to be teaching the art of writing a persuasive email.


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



The Battle for Free Speech
October 2017

Andrew Sullivan says a type of "cultural Marxism" is sweeping through American universities. Conservative ideas, he says, are increasingly being banished from campuses and free speech is seen as a delusion.

"It's an ideology that is fast resembling a new religion".


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



The Apocalypse Hasn't Happened Yet
October 2017

Andrew Sullivan says Donald Trump is teaching a generation that the key to advancement in society is to bully, lie, slander and cheat. He examines the long-term effects of the Trump Presidency.

"It may be that in the future", Andrew writes, "his appalling conduct will mark a cautionary tale - and future candidates and presidents will learn not to follow in his steps".


An audio podcast in MP3 format.


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