Port-au-Prince, Haiti earthquake aftermath

Aid (FYE #4)

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Giving aid to nations and people who desperately need help has been an American staple for more than a century. Yet in 2013, aid has become more beholden to red tape and incompetence than ever before. This week, we go to Staten Island to talk with the organizers and volunteers of Occupy Sandy to find out how they helped people when others could not and get a sense of their philosophy. We talk with Jonathan Katz, the only full-time American journalist stationed in Hatii during the 2010 earthquake and reveal how billions of dollars given by Americans to help the impoverished and the homeless ended up in the wrong place.


4b

The Very Mass of Facts

On June 5, 1947, Secretary of State George Marshall said in his speech that “the very mass of facts presented to the public by press and radio make it exceedingly difficult for the man in the street to reach a clear appraisement of the situation.” But here at Follow Your Ears, we’d like to give a shot. (Beginning to 1:35)


4a

Occupy Sandy — Aid to Staten Island

Occupy Sandy emerged in the aftermath of last year’s hurricane. Aid wasn’t moving fast enough. So Occupy Sandy stepped in and has been hard at work ever since. We made a visit to Staten Island to spend some time with some of the people behind this relief effort. We chronicle the origins of Occupy Sandy, its philosophy and functional ethos, learn how volunteers juggle their time, and peek in on a “data entry party,” where hard won and carefully collected data from a neighborhood canvassing campaign is being placed into a computer so that other individuals and organizations can find new solutions. (1:35 to 14:26)


4c

Haiti — The Truck That Went By

Jonathan Katz was the only full-time American correspondent in Haiti when the devastating earthquake hit in 2010. His new book, The Big Truck That Went By, documents what happened in the quake’s aftermath and reveals how, despite $15 billion in donations, the aid didn’t always find its way to the people of Haiti. We learn discover how aid has greatly harmed the Haitian health services infrastructure, reveal how Bill Clinton’s best intentions are often guided by inflexible neoliberalism. (14:26 to end)

Loops for this program were provided by Joe Funktastic, hamood, The Psychotropic Circle, and builtmymusic.

Categories: Follow Your Ears

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Cycles (FYE #3)

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This week, we examine cycles. Are our lives and our culture locked within cycles? Are we aware of it? Should we be aware of it? Or is there a certain folly in paying too much attention? Our quest for answers has us talking with bike shop owners and a Finnegans Wake reading group. We reveal how Raiders of the Lost Ark caused two teenage boys to become consumed by a relentless cycle of remaking the movie they loved with limited cinematic resources. We also talk with Scottish novelist Ian Rankin about how he returned to Inspector Rebus and got caught up in cycles he couldn’t quite describe and Lesley Alderman, the author of The Book of Times, who shows us how being aware of time doesn’t necessarily preclude you from finding enticing new cycles of existence.


3a

Like Riding a Life

We begin our investigation into cycles by wandering around Brooklyn on a cold Saturday afternoon talking with various bike shop owners about how the cycles of life relate to their passion for bicycles. Our gratitude to Fulton Bikes, R&A Cycles, and Brooklyn Cycle Works for sharing their thoughts and feelings, which range from calmness to restrained anger. (Beginning to 4:11)


3b

Commodius Vicus of Recirculation

Every month, the Finnegans Wake Society of New York gets together in a Spring Street apartment and reads aloud a page of James Joyce’s cyclical masterpiece. And then they discuss the page, whatever theories they can find, for about two hours. Organizer Murray Gross tells us why it’s important to slow down. Other members tell us how they became unexpectedly married to the book. (4:11 to 10:09)


3c

Standing in Another Man’s Cycle

Are cycles a red herring? I spoke with the novelist Ian Rankin to get more answers. Rankin’s latest book, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, marks a surprise return to the Inspector Rebus series, which Rankin had closed out in 2007 with his 17th Rebus novel, Exit Music. Somehow Rebus eluded retirement and manged to cajole Malcolm Fox, the protagonist of Rankin’s new series, into the mix. This seemed as good a time as any to press Rankin on whether he’s caught in a pleasant cycle. Our side trips in this conversation include consideration of Anthony Powell, the A9 Motorway and its homicidal possibilities, Skyfall, 20th century policing instinct, and how men in their sixties get into fistfights. (10:09 to 40:15)


3d

Pardon Me, Do You Have the Time?

We meet Lesley Alderman, author of The Book of Times, a collection of time-related data that will make your more conscious of the clock than Christian Marclay. But we learn how being aware of the time doesn’t mean you can’t find enticing new cycles hiding behind the corners of your complex existence. (40:15 to 45:51)


4e

Raiders of the Lost Remake

It was 1982 and three twelve-year-olds in Mississippi decided to remake Raiders of the Lost Ark. This was before the Internet, before the movie had been released on VHS. These kids had to hustle. What they did not know was that their ambitious project would take up their next seven summers. They would grow up making this movie. We talk with Chris Strompolos, who starred as Indiana Jones in the remake, and Alan Eisenstock, author of Raiders, a new book documenting the remake. Was all the fun and youthful ingenuity a mask? Can a cycle of remaking beget a new cycle of remaking? (45:51 to end)


Photograph by Steven Sebring.

Loops for this program were provided by Psychotropic Circle, DextDee, and HMNN.

Categories: Follow Your Ears

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Guns, Part Two (FYE #2)

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Last week, we examined the Second Amendment’s history and the seductive allure of guns. This second of our two part program includes our efforts to contact the National Rifle Association, reveals how gun-related crimes have affected human lives, and shows how a flood of affordable large magazine semiautomatic pistols altered the course of American history.

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2a

Thank You for Calling the NRA

The NRA, along with other pro-gun organizations such as Pink Pistols, refused or didn’t bother to answer our requests for interviews by telephone, email, or Facebook. In an effort to get somebody from the NRA on the record, we contacted the NRA Member Services hotline and had a very strange conversation. (Beginning to 7:12)


2b

The Night the Sky Opened Up

On October 28, 2000, three days before Halloween, Sezin Koehler was out for a night on the town in Los Angeles. But what she did not know, as her best friend Wendy Soltero rolled up in her car, was that the sky was about to open up. Koehler reveals the little discussed pain of living with the consequences of a gun-related murder and talks about how she’s still coping more than twelve years later. (7:12 to 27:25)


2c

The History of the Glock

To understand how handguns with large magazines have become a greater part of American culture, we spoke with After Paul Barrett, assistant managing editor at Businessweek and author of Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun. Barrett discusses Gaston Glock’s parallels with Samuel Colt, reveals how Glock’s savvy marketing strategies were used to cajole city police departments, how gun manufacturers exploited the grandfather clause of the 1994 assault weapons ban, whether Glock feels any remorse, the 2005 ban on civil lawsuits against gun manufacturers and suppliers, and the NRA’s failure to compromise on any issue. (27:25 to end)


Loops for this program were provided by Exoflex and JoeFunktastic.

Categories: Follow Your Ears