June 25, 2007

Best of ROS

Best of ROS

Newcomers to the site often ask where to start listening, so it’s high time we compiled a Best of ROS series. Send us your top ten lists; we’ll add ours too and archive the popular consensus as a series later in the week.

To start you off, here’s OliverCranglesParrot‘s list:

Top Ten ROS Shows (which goes to eleven, ‘cus it’s like spinal tap)

1. Convergences.

Breathtaking. Illuminating. Radio’s manifest destiny, IMO. Absolutely the best radio I’ve heard in a long time, outside of Joe Frank. Wonderful Guests. Mr. Weschler, Joel Meyerowitz, and Richard Taylor.

2. Convergences.

This was actually multiple shows in one composite show. I especially enjoyed the John Berger Bonus Interview.

3. Economic Hit Men.

Great topic. Great guest in John Perkins. The right amount of skepticism and thinking-on-the-spot from Chris and ROS. The blog was hopping.

4. Lawrence Wilkerson.

This was quite a show. Metaphorical bombs were dropped by an ex-high level state department official. One for which as an Iraq war dissenter I needed to hear, chiefly: There was no way this administration could or would accept anything short of boots-on-the-ground as a viable measure of Iraq’s WMD capacity.

5. Ground Hog Day (GHD I: February 1st, 2006; GHD II: January 30th, 2007).

Perhaps this is my generation’s Woodstock.

6. Plamegate: The Libby Trial.

Chris and team ROS were superb. Just made it past the Ellington show for me.

7. Ellington, Newport and the American Century.

It’s the Duke. Need I say more? Stanley Crouch was wonderful, as were all the guests.

8. The History of Utopia.

Riveting from the moment it was posted on the website. ROS as Utopia, or media oasis.

9. The Democrat’s New Reading List.

The new day has dawned…which will look like many previous days. Wonderful round-table discussion. With a bonus.

10. Moby-Dick, Cheney, et al.

11. Samba School.

My cats went nuts with confused cosmic paralysis…they couldn’t move away from the radio during all the samba stuff. It’s the only time they’ve listened to ROS. The only time I’ve seen them this mesmerized was watching a hockey game.

Honorable Mentions, but definitely not also-rans:

Requiem for Darfur, The Death of Anna Politkovskaya, The Ecstasy of Influence, Thucydides: Ur-Historian of the Ur-War, Samuel Beckett: Nothing Funnier Than Unhappiness, A Museum Tour with John Updike, Harold Bloom: Jesus and Yahweh, Is God in Our Genes?, Chowhounds, Spring Cleaning.

OliverCranglesParrot, in an email to Open Source, February 14, 2007.

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  • Sutter

    Some of my favorites, off the top of my head (sorry for the shorthands — is there a way to link to a plain-vanilla list of episodes, to jog our memories?):

    Post-9/11 Literature

    Transcendental Women

    The Death of Anna Politkovskaya

    Juan Cole’s “Iran’s at the Center of it All” Theory of Mideast Conflict

    Thomas Ricks and Noam Chomsky on Iraq

    Peter Hessler on China

    And I have a very special place in my heart for “The Democrats’ New Reading List.”

  • Dora

    1. Emerson Redux and 2. Transcendental Women

    The two best shows you’ve ever done. Christopher is truly in his element when talking about Emerson.

    3. William James: Son, Brother, Hero

    I love Richardson’s citing of this James quote: “It may be that we are in the universe as cats and dogs are in our libraries.”

    4.Thucydides: Ur-Historian of the Ur-War

    The perfect historical lens through which to view our nation’s current dilemma.

    5. Shakespeare and Power

    Perhaps I shouldn’t choose this as I pitched it. But I desperately wish you’d do more shows on literary topics, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this one.

    6. Chalmers Johnson and his “Nemesis”

    A companion to the Thucydides show.

    7. Economic Hit Men

    A companion to the Chalmers Johnson show.

    8. Don Quixote at 400

    Please do more shows on literary topics.

    9. Moby-Dick, Cheney, et al.

    Please do more shows on literary topics.

    10. At Dinner with David Halberstam

    All the problems with contemporary journalism diagnosed, if not solved. Elegiac and bittersweet.

    Now, the worst show: Christopher Hitchens. Why? I think again of William James–specifically James’s insistence that rejecting anything was the death of an intellectual. Indeed, Mr. Hitchens.

    The best show you haven’t done yet: an hour with Marilynne Robinson.

  • The show that got me hooked was Moby Dick Cheney, et al. And I tend to gravitate towards the more literary shows, too. Some other personal favorites: Libraries, Ellison, Hip Hop, Camus’ The Plague, all the Paglia shows, Major Jackson, Surveillance, The Death of Cursive, The Great American Novel, William James, and my favorite show of all time, Zizek. Oh–the Ecstasy of Influence. OK, I have to stop. There are a lot of shows before summer of 2006 I still haven’t listened to (sorry), so you long time listeners are going to have to fill in the gaps!

  • Sutter

    Oh, I also remember really enjoying “After 9/11: The Long View.” http://www.radioopensource.org/after-911-the-long-view/ Schama and Wilentz were wonderful, and did a great job of elucidating a key point lost on the current administration — namely, the distinction between “democracy” and “liberal democracy.”

  • I too loved the Convergence show. I felt like that one lit up parts of my brain in a new way. I also loved the Transcendental Women, Samuel Beckett and the Jazz shows. The thread I think I had the most fun participating in was the one on Global Hip-Hop.

  • rahbuhbuh

    not a simple ranking of shows, but grouping into reasons they were the best.

    Katrina in ways we didn’t hear it anywhere else:

    Craigslist and Nola.com: Information as News

    To Rebuild or Not to Rebuild?,

    Rather than just remembering someone, legacy analysis and recollection:

    Carrying the Torch for Jane Jacobs

    Ralph Ellison’s America

    At Dinner with David Halberstam

    The Death of Anna Politkovskaya

    The Murrow Era

    Eloquent fluff:

    A Bespoke Tailor. Online.

    Passion: Candy

    Understandable theory on things I normally don’t understand:

    A Tale of New Cities

    China vs. India — The Next 100 Years

    The Holy Grail of Physics

    Current events at the time, with a different view:

    Gold Rush for Financial Information

    France: The Sarko vs. Ségo Prism

    The Optics of This War

    Shows which I had high hopes for, but kind of floundered whether due to less engaging guests or too much “isn’t it great that _____?” and “remember ______? that was cool.” without the questioning and nudging I normally appreciate in ROS:

    The New Age of Old Age, Passion: Libraries, The History of Utopia, The Spread of HIV in Africa, Anthropomorphism, Doping: Better Sporting Through Chemistry?, What Should College Teach?

  • tara

    I’ll put in a vote for the show on Ethiopian jazz. Loved hearing the Ethiopian master and the American master talk together about this amazing music. It’s changed my record collection forever!

  • Potter

    There are some shows that I have not listened to yet that I have high hopes for but here are the ones that stood out for me- and I have restricted myself to the 24 best ( in no particular order with the exception of number one which was my number one) refusing to have to weed further from the 183 that I have on my playlist- I am sure I left some others out that I loved equally- ie I loved the Therimin show- not on my list:

    1. Le Jazz Hot

    2. Emerson

    3. Philip Roth

    4. David and Goliath

    5. No Artist left Behind

    6. Torture 6/23/ 05

    7. Transcendental Women

    8. Andalucia

    9. E.O. Wilson on Darwin

    10. Orwell

    11. Spinoza

    12. Joan Didion

    13. Barenboim

    14. Major Jackson

    15. Sonny Rollins

    16. Donal Fox

    17. Bug Week Part 2 Heinrich

    18. Don Quixote`

    19. Major Jackson

    20. China Migration

    21. William James

    22. Refuge in Fiction: Youssef ( Lebanon) and Keret(Israel)

    23. Camille Paglia

    24. Ralph Ellison

  • Potter

    Sutter makes an interesting point- unless you collect the shows on a playlist for instance- how can you remember? Perhaps there should be or is an index here?

  • walkerhenry

    To a newcomer who want to know what ROS provides that makes it unique and necessary, I’d recommend going to the “Series” box at left and clicking on “Military POV.”

  • patsyb

    Transcendental Women, Emerson Redux, Samuel Beckett — so textured and layered and evocative. Hessler on China, The Ecstasy of Influence, Orwell Revisited, Covergences — critical issues captured diagonally, as it were. Thought-provoking shows all of them. Thx!

  • Tisha

    Donal Fox:Bach to Monk. Alvin Epstein on King Lear, Neo-Conservatism: the Last Throes?, Passion: the Theremin, Bach’s Chaconne, E. O Wilson: Darwin etc., The First Neo-Cons and “The Last Mughal,” Making the Rounds with Seymour Hersh, Orwell Revisited, Morality: God-Given or Evolved.

    I found your programs on Emerson and friends and the women in that group very edifying but I grew up in England so don’t feel quite the visceral connection I would if I’d grown up here. Anyway, much thanks for so many marvelous programs!

  • ooh. Seeing others’ lists makes me realise I have missed some I shouldn’t have. I’ll fix that. Before I name some of my favourites, I’d like to say that what I love best about ROS and what I tell people when I tell them about it, is that ALL the shows are good. You may not *think* you’re interested in Hawthorne or baseball, but wait and see… you are.

    Ok, so without polluting my choices by looking too closely at the other lists first, and in not particular order, I loved loved loved hearing Philip Roth, loved the show about Nathaniel Hawthorn’s circle, the Moby Dick show, loved the one recentlyish about libraries. The miscellany one, too. oh! Thucycides! That is probably my number one favourite.

    I don’t think you have had Malcolm Gladwell on the show- but he would make a fab guest.

  • tbrucia

    Perhaps not the BEST show, but the one that influenced my life the most was the one (about three years ago!) about Second Life. It propelled me into a strange and challenging ‘New World’. Bizarre as it sounds, I’ve made friends in Second Life unlike folks I meet in ‘real life’. And I have met ‘real life’ with folks I met there… I’ve helped folks there (see a doctor about your feelings of depression; even if you have no insurance, you can get meds); I’ve been helped by folks there; I’ve learned a bit about scripting, building, finance, etc. there. I’ve discovered a wealth of websites there, and shared others. I’ve even (sadly) learned an online friend in London was killed in a construction accident, and that another has a genetic form of incurable anemia 🙁 And I’ve had ‘lovers’ there! Some have moved on, and others have moved into roles of platonic friends…. And all this incredible adventure because of Chris’s show on Second Life…. THANKS, CHRIS!