June 28, 2007

What's Next?

What's Next?

So what should we do with the website?

Here are some of the ideas we’ve had in-house:

* Chris and Mary could keep blogging, updating you with their exploits, their ideas about the next project, and every now and then, a recorded interview. We know we’re all going to miss sending links around and having a story meeting everyday, so we’d like to figure out a way to share that here, too.

* We could invite 5 or 10 tried and true community members to start writing posts and start their own threads on the site.

* We could invite 5 or 10 of our favorite bloggers and guests to do the same.

Other ideas?

Related Content

  • orlox


    5 or 10 true members able to start a thread. Way to open up Open Source.

    Even in the final gasps, you guys just don’t get it.

  • Yes, Chris and Mary, keep interviewing and keep blogging.

    Continue to have a story meeting everyday, or per some new schedule, 2x week perhaps? Hold the story meeting via conference call, implement certain controls that permit the calls to be effective and productive.

    Invite “members of the community” to not only “start threads” but to produce content. Create an entirely new “community member” status (something like Associate Producer). Invite these new “members” to join the conference call. Make the transition from a hierarchal-centralized to open-distributed production.

    Yes, invite certain favorite quests to contribute as well.

    Make the transition from “program” to “platform”, this I believe is the key “growing” ROS, the required metamorphosis. Empower your community beyond the comment field. Embrace true openness. Surrender some “control” in exchange for something unimaginably more vital and valuable, the opportunity to access the unfathomable potential (and richness) of the field, the genius of interconnectedness (inter-net, inter-networked).

  • You need to be to conversation what flickr is to photos. what amazon is to books. what ebay is to merchantables . what craigslist is to stuff

    and you can get there from here, unless you lack the passion, desire and imagination for the journey. If that is true, then again I say thank you for what you have done, it was truly an enjoyable ride! and if something else is to emerge, I will be here to enjoy that too. con mucho gusto.

  • flow’s on the right track, but is missing the point.

    Open Source the whole concept. As in, really open source the whole concept. Figure out some way to host audio, and let the users rip, mix, and burn new content.

    There are good show ideas still on the backburner, and you’ve established a brand with at least a little bit of credibility. It may have died as a paying gig, for the time being, but, like Firefly, there are a host of fans out there who can keep the meme alive. Open up the podcast RSS feed to shows created by us.

    Chris and the rest have shown demonstrated how to create the best talk show on radio. LEt’s see if the community has learned from the masters.

    Here’s hoping that someone at ROS bought a winning powerball ticket, anyway.

  • livender

    Sell it to Soros. Ask him to fund this insane menagerie.

  • mynocturama

    Any mention of Firefly will bring me in. Is Captain Mal available to kick some ass, clear the air, and get things started?

    Don’t have much in the way of comprehensive detail to offer, but I’d say, for now, do all you can to open up Open Source. Have the site, during this hiatus/hibernation, as open as possible for members. Whether this is implementable with the current coding/design, I’m really not sure. All I know is that the site itself ought to be kept alive, vital, and the best way to do that is to open it up bottom-up to the community, especially since, as Bill said, it’s not, for the time being, a paying gig for ROS staff. Though this, of course, would have to be carried out with some sense of organization in mind.

    By the way, Orlox – Greta’s header was just a suggestion, to start the discussion. Let’s cool it and get constructive.

  • I think we are essentially on the same page Bill_Jankowski with repsect to our vision, but how do you monetize it? How do you build the bridge? How do you get from here (a company rich with intellectual and creative resources yet cash poor) to where you want to be?

  • I think in addition to the “Additional Exploits of Chris & Mary”, opening up the blog in a semi-moderated fashion to passionate reader/contributors would be cool. The problem is that without a staff, moderating the mess could be a nightmare so some sort of reader-driven moderation may be in order.

    Also, let’s start building this place out for ’08. Maybe the wiki can be jumpstarted as well.

  • I also suggest placing this thread under the “warming up” header. Schedule a “show” on the subject. Inspire us with some conversation. Bring in the voice of experience, of insight, of wisdom. Give us something to coalesce around. Lets sort through the possibilities and get as much input as possible.

  • hurley

    Seems to me your only error in this venture was not to raise enough money to carry it forward, and how can you fault yourselves for that? I can’t speak in an informed way to the internet aspects of what flow and others propose — apart from ROS and a few other sites, the internet still an adjunct to the rest of what I do — but over-emphasis on the web-aspects of ROS risks obscuring the show’s more traditional appeal, which for me stems from the content of the show itself, which in the end is largely based on Chris’s abiding, old-fashioned book-learning and all around liberal — if not secular — humanism. You need that sensibility, otherwise you’re all those negligible things you’re not, if you follow. However, why not take advantage of all the intelligent and impassioned people here, figure out how they might produce low-tech shows while you’re taking a breather. Allow me to start my very own Pitch A Show thread:

    — Potter on Israel

    — Herbert Browne on something to do with trees (remember those visionary posts about changing the climate in Chile?)

    — Nick on his evolving grand synthesis. He may never get there, but I’d be happy to mark his progress.

    — Peggysue and katemcshane on anything, but maybe on what seems their shared expertise, small bookstores.

    — OliverCrangle’sParrot on fruit and nuts.

    And so forth. There are any number of others here that I’m sure could do wonderful things in this vein. I gather the technology is out there. Any thoughts?

  • rahbuhbuh

    as long as this hinges on the audio, maybe not Radio Open Source, but Audio Open Source, this can and should survive. If Open Source becomes a blog, then it’s just another blog. Another web magazine like Slate or NYtimes.com’s editorials does not really need to exist.

    If ROS opens itself to user content, turn it into the audio equivalent of McSweeney’s DVD series Wholpin. They find interesting video material and collect it under the trusted (to some) McSweeney’s header. Not all the content is McSweeney’s original, but approved.


    Combine NPR’s “best of _____” (cars, books, politics) podcast series with listener contribution similar to what Vocalo is doing. Perhaps add a little Story Corps regimentation and Transom’s “how to” guides. But, keep the trusted editorial tone and interviewing we dedicatedly listen to.

  • Wow.

    5 or 10 true members able to start a thread. Way to open up Open Source.

    Even in the final gasps, you guys just don’t get it.

    Given the current arrangement of the site, I don’t think they could give thread writing rights to more than a handful of folks. But, if ROS were to revamp the site in the next few months and implement a dKos or MyDD type diary system where people could vote and comment on their own posts. These posts would show up in a different feed, unless they were promoted to the front page.

  • Sutter

    I know I’ve said things like this before, but I’d try to take the whole concept “open source”: Bring the community into the rethink. Lay out the financing issues in as much detail as possible, talk with us about what has prevented deals from being finalized, and let us all think together about what this looks like next. Open source works. Not just for software but for law and for public policy and — I hope and think — for figuring out just how to make this thing succeed.

    Also, one totally sui generis request: Chris did a fantastic interview with JK Rowling around the release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. If there’s any way to get her back, either before or after the release of the final volume, that’s an interview I would love to hear.

  • Potter

    Another Wow! about all the energy here.

    Some of you are miles ahead of my ability to digest. I agree Hurley, the lack of funding, not the inherent worth or quality of the offering is forcing the change. I wish I knew the particulars- perhaps there is more to it. Why, for instance, didn’t “powers that be” then help find the money to keep it on the air.? WGBH, PRI, etc. What changed the potential backer’s mind?

    Flow is blowing my mind a little and other comments in that vein. I need to get it. Again- there are a lot of ideas here and if next week is going to be a continuation of last minus the airtime and regular schedule with more participation it could be very interesting.

    The promised improvements to this site seem more important than ever and will be necessary to it’s continuation and success. A moderator or blogmeister- someone “there” behind the counter is important. Chris and Mary are at the heart of it though.. their sensibility, direction and involvement will as before- be critical.

  • orlox
  • Bay

    I don’t have any ideas for you chris. your show was perfect. it was not sensationalist or pandering for support like the major news shows.

    since this is public, I’ll comment to those who might be visiting who haven’t followed the show.

    the formant of this show like larry king, except that the topics for each show are suggested by listeners online prior to air. the shows forums allow for the public and staff bloggers to dig up enormous amounts of research about the topic to craft the show around.

    the result is, that when the show starts, the moderator – christopher lydon, has a wealth of pre-interview research done collectively with the public, so the choice of guests, the segues and the questions are incredibly well focussed.

    the result is an interview that sounds preternaturally intelligent and incitefull. It’s modern, smart journalism that uses the power of the internet and the pulbic to create some of the best brain food ever created.

    It’s made me look forward to my drive home each day and now it’s hitting the skids. what you all were doing here was working. it’s what I’ve hoped to find when I want to expand my horizons. it’s what journalism should be.

    how can fox news continue while this show closes? radio open source needs a patron, public or private, it doesn’t matter as long as they stay out of the way.

    ask rupert murdoch. perhaps he has learned that it’s time for him to ballance out his kharma.

  • Ben

    Is there any chance of at least cleaning up and producing the remaining shows in the warming up column during the summer? Just curious.

  • livender

    “As some day it may …

    I’ve got a little list —

    I’ve got a little list

    Of radio programs that never would be missed —

    that never would be missed!

    Chris Lydon’s closed source is at the top of that list,

    at the top of that list.

    Off with his hat, off with his microphone,

    I got a little list, I got a little list…..

    and never shall you be missed!”

  • livender

    Closed source as unfunny sit com.

    What is the perfect ending for a dumb program? How about this:

    “Speak the truth, but leave immediately after.”

    The problem with Chris is that he is like a bad penny that will always come back. As to speaking truth, that is not in him.

  • dr_quackenbush

    chris lydon’s radio programs are wonderful and amazing!

    as far as financing/underwriting the program, may i suggest

    enlisting the support of various successful hedge fund

    managers? james simons, paul tudor jones, george soros,

    jim rogers, david shaw, etc. all of these guys are really,

    really smart and have broad interests. why waste your time

    with typical corporations if you don’t have to?

  • livender

    “…as far as financing/underwriting the program, may i suggest

    enlisting the support of various successful hedge fund


    Ha, ha, ha, the anti-Capitalists want to leech off the Capitalists.

  • piker

    perhaps its a vast right wing conspiracy bound to disable public radio from speaking truths…..educate yourselves about the recently cancelled “humble Farmer” program on Maine Public Broadcasting Network, and reflect what’s going on here………keep your eyes and ears open folks, or we’ll just be talking amongst ourselves……….

  • Bobby

    You realize, livender, it’s people like you who keep the bell curve employed. So, stop feeling sorry for yourself! You DO have value after all 🙂

  • livender

    The Bander-Log fight back.

    Hey Bobby, you ain’t supposed to believe in the bell curve, bro. The bell curve is racist don’t you know. LOL

  • livender

    btw: bobby I am employed. What about you? How is the welfare office.

  • livender

    Piker “perhaps its a vast right wing conspiracy bound to disable public radio from speaking truths…..”

    Yea, from boring the rest of us to death. You guys don’t believe in truth anyway, remember? It’s all a matter of point of view, of perspective; it’s all relative.

    And Chris was one of the most boring radio hosts on planet earth. No wonder he got fired.

  • herbert browne

    My oh my… there’s barely a corpse- and the radio flies are a-buzzin’ ’round already… but I guess you gotta do Something, when your belly’s full of potential maggots…

    (summertime… and the livender’s easy…) ^..^

  • DerekBlackwell

    This is a sad day. It was so refreshing to find a truly interesting discussion show in the vast sea of blandness into which NPR has devolved. I’m aghast ROS has come to an end. I’d like to know more about why this short sighted and cowardly decision was made.

    I agree that ideally ROS should continue as online audio in some way but please don’t give up on radio. I think radio will still be vital for the next ten years at least and will continue to reach those who most need to hear shows like this (are there any?).

    I tip my hat to Chris and company.

  • Bobby

    I didn’t know a bell-curve COULD be racist, livender 🙂 Perhaps you could mentor him. Maybe take him to the zoo, or help him with his homework. (I have a suspicion he’ll be good at statistics) It really doesn’t matter what you two do so long as you make a connection. Because the truth is, livender, I bet he’s never experienced love and affection. Why, just imagine how you would have turned out had your father not been in your life. Like that time he said, “I’m proud of you, livender! Other kids would have quit after the third attempt. But not you, son. You stuck to it. And now look. You’ll never have to repeat the 2nd grade again!” or “Seventeen years old! Wow! You know your old man was almost TWENTY before he stopped wetting the bed!” Now run along, livender, and be that one constant in bell-curve’s life 🙂

  • After sleeping on it, I would like to revise my earlier position regarding ROS. I suggest a small private placement (something like 20 units @ 35 k) to net ROS the bridge funds needed to regroup and continue as a web community that produces a daily hour of radio.

    However, revising the business model to make this offering palatable to investors is critical. I suggest a hybrid model that combines non-commercial subscriptions, value-added premium services, a basic advertiser-supported “free” service and merchandising. In other words, I will pay you to turn the advertisers off when I visit your site, while other may prefer to have their browsing sponsored by advertisers.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the many comments (hurley, et al.) concerning the value of programming produced by Chris and his dedicated and capable staff, and yet feel that a gradual movement towards more “openness”, a distributed-leveraged production model and a paradigm that integrates and embraces more Internet logos would yield dividends and add value in the long run. In other words, can ROS find and develop 6-12 other quality “hosts” to be mentored by, and produce content with Chris and his team?

    Post-funding, ROS should, I believe, continue to produce “a daily hour of radio” for syndication, however, the possibilities for gradually expanding the audience are many and include netcasting and satellite. Now the revenue possibilities begin to expand as well.

    Where there is communication with insight and wisdom and inspiration there will be an audience. If the communication is consistently insightful, wise and inspirational, there will be goodwill. Where there is goodwill, energy will flow. Where energy flows there is currency. You can pay your bills (and provide a ROI) with currency.

  • Please say it ain’t all over for the Radio portion of the show.

    Would that Soros could fund it. Or Warren Buffet. Even Jimmy Buffet! Bill Gates!

    Anyone know any Universitys out there who could step up?

    The world needs Chris Lydon. There is no better interviewer on radio or television.

  • deblev

    Noooo!!!!! Please don’t go. I feel like I’m losing Christopher Lydon all over again. It was hard enough the first time. If I had known there was a chance of this, I would have signed up sooner, blogged with you more often, tried to raise money. Why…. (she wailed). Maybe it doesn’t have to end. Please send email if there is anyway that loyal fans can help. Open Source is so brilliant (and in short) you guys ROCK!


  • livender

    ” Noooo!!!!! Please don’t go. I feel like I’m losing Christopher Lydon all over again. ”

    Ha, ha, ha,

    As this website makes clear Chris Lydon’s show was a cult rather than a program that explored ideas fairly and disinterestedly.

  • wellbasically

    It would be utterly conventional and therefore completely rational to assume that a fair and disinterested exploration of ideas equals more conservatism. I hope I’m wrong in assuming that, because it would be really dull.

    After listening to the show on new community, I believe that is the wrong way to go because it is just a matter of dilution. I would group the show around a more coherent center that is also willing to bounce ideas off opposition. So possibly establish a center around Camille Paglia (as just one center of many, please) in which her diverse fans consider new ideas.

    The idea is to have as the center of your community somebody who has done real work which brings together a variety of political views for instance who agree on something which does not necessarily confine them to left or right. Then they shake out predictably, but at the center is a coherent shared belief.

  • Potter

    The appeal is the community and the sadness is not only about the loss of a great radio host, producer (their connections and sensibility) and wonderful bright energetic young staff. If you read the messages, we have come to know each other and there is a gathering here- a community of people who are having, or aiming to have, an open intelligent conversation in a civil way. Pick the topic. It could be anything. Driving around today I felt how much I have been enlarged by this whole virtual community experience in a way that the old Connection with it’s callers ( that I loved) did not do for me. The vital element in this iteration is the community. The sadness is to feel the end of that… perhaps.

    In the two years in two instances, that I recollect, commenters have been barred with reluctance because they would not, after much coaxing and forgiveness, conform to the informal, then formal guidelines. It’s interesting that we have a new name appearing here at this junction whose messages sound like someone who has been spurned.

    I have asked for these posts to be deleted but I would not be surprised if everyone at ROS is gone for the holiday. In the meantime I hope we will ignore.

  • LIvender

    As this website makes clear Chris Lydon’s show was a cult rather than a program that explored ideas fairly and disinterestedly.

    I never got that, personally. What hooked me as a listener were the shows with Niall Ferguson; Lydon has his biases, he let Ferguson speak for himself and made the show the better for it.

    My own ox was not gored but rather explored well in the ‘What to do next in space’ show. My CEO was allowed to speak his bit and to participate.

  • livender

    “The idea is to have as the center of your community somebody who has done real work which brings together a variety of political views for instance who agree on something which does not necessarily confine them to left or right. ”

    This basically doesn’t apply to Chris Lydon, does it, well?

  • livender

    “I never got that, personally. What hooked me as a listener were the shows with Niall Ferguson; Lydon has his biases, he let Ferguson speak for himself and made the show the better for it.”

    He didn’t do it with the show on Camus and most others that I heard driving back from work. After a while he just got to be soooooo predictable that it any other radio station was better than this one.

  • livender

    “The appeal is the community and the sadness is not only about the loss of a great radio host,…

    This Potter Stutter has posted on other forums.

    Great radio show hosts don’t get fired as often as he does.

    The guy is a phony and you guys need to get a life.

  • “get a life,” says the person who spends his/her waking hours in the comments of a blog post about a public radio show.

    Back on topic, however, let’s build weekly ‘shows’ where a guest host (from members, invitees, Lydon) crafts a post on the blog based on the conversation in the comments. Also, people can call in to record their thoughts and the guest host weave audio links in to the post. Just a rambling thought, but I am thinking more along the lines of a wikiRadio show- or rather, truly, a blog post with a audio show.

  • wellbasically

    Well I have always liked Chris Lydon and I think he could perform as I’ve outlined above. I think he’s been generous in letting others take the lead. I don’t even know if that would make a successful radio show, I just know I’ve been in an online community that grew up around a person who could attract a variety of people who could then argue about ideas.

    Even that site had people who were absolute nothings who yapped at the heels of the person who had accomplished something, just desperate to get noticed. They’d get a line of comment from their anti-hero and then spill out ten paragraphs of anger in response.

  • crimsongirl

    What!!??!!?? I am listening to the episode about endings of TV series and it turns out Radio Open Source is ending, too! I just registered so I could express my sadness.

  • rahbuhbuh

    ROS on a budget.

    option for listener audio input in conjunction with the blog commentary:

    set up a cheap voice mail account (whether aphysical answering machine or some web-merged service like odeo) for listeners to call in recording verbal comments or readings of relevant material. more controlled than on-air call-ins, with less work on the production end using less expensive equipment. this can replace some of the legwork previously done by a team of producers making call after call. a blogger in chief monitoring the site (volunteer, part time, or rotational), another producer sifting through the audio for salient bits to follow up later. pieces can be spliced into the broadcast/podcast in preproduction.

    manage the stories on deck the same way you would multiple accounts on the phone line:

    “to comment on ‘the newest nixon’ airing August 3rd press 1, for ‘Global Warming: Wind Power’ airing July 29 press 2, etc…”

  • livender

    Hey Devan, I”l be delighted that when this forum shuts down.

    I am only posting now because the stupid Lydon cult kept sending me emails asking me for money.

    Get, had they not asked me for money and had they not told me they were going out of business I wouldn’t be here posting.

    In any case I am delighted that this place is BUST!

  • I am only posting now because the stupid Lydon cult kept sending me emails asking me for money.

    Hunh. I didn’t get any email. I’m jealous. Unless you’re making it up in order to be an ass.

    What is your problem, livender? Did Mommy not pay enough attention to you when you were a child?

    If ROS is bothering you, ignore them.

  • Sutter

    I just had an idea that is so obvious I really wish I had thought of it sooner.

    During the summer hiatus, is anyone up for a virtual book group on Emerson’s First and Second Series of essays? We could work out a schedule and discuss one or two of the essays every week. They’re available in numerous editions, and for free on the web. Chris and Mary and the ROS crew could participate, moderate, whatever.

    This seems like a fun way to keep the brain running in a manner thay pays tribute to ROS’s values and interests. Plus, it will better equip us all to interface with Chris when ROS or its next incarnation rises again.


  • Love the book group idea, Sutter!

  • mynocturama

    I second Sutter’s suggestion. A schedule should be set up soon though to read through the essays. It would be an excellent and appropriate use of the site, for sure.

  • Bobby

    Count me in too, Sutter. When is the first meeting?

  • Sutter

    Thoughts on how I’d see this working follow. Please feel free to “open source” this by criticizing, elaborating, and improving on my ideas.

    1. We boil the list of 20 essays in the two series down to something more manageable, given that summer schedules are often not conducive to tons of heavy reading. We could do this by sticking to the first series (12 essays) or by figuring out somehow which 10 or 12 are the best.

    2. We discuss one essay a week (though of course discussions can continue past the allotted week, just as they do on the site now).

    3. Individuals sign up to sponsor particular discussions. Sponsorship involves a commitment to draft a lead post for the item, which would contain some combination of (1) the sponsor’s own thoughts on the essay, (2) some questions to get the discussion started, (3) links to relevant materials/”extra credit” readings, etc.

    4. Someone at ROS posts the sponsor’s article on Monday mornings (or some other regular morning).


  • lostsa

    Only started visiting this site a few weeks ago, just to see it hit by this…crisis. Kinda feel like I stumbled in at the wrong time.

    Anyway, here’s the opinion of a new guy who isn’t a genius intellectual or anything, for what it’s worth: I’m not entirely sold on the ‘openness’ thing. One thing that I liked about this place was that the viewers got ample opportunity to make themselves heard, but at the same time they were not in full control. It seemed organized, and like it had direction. It would be tragic to see this site get messy as lots of people post threads/shows of their own. And from what I gather reading above, Chris Lydon seems to be an important reason why most people love this show. While I don’t mean to say I don’t have faith in this community, surely if others tried to carry on the show, it just wouldn’t be the same. And so, I’d vote for only the first bullet point (/asterisk) in the top post, and add that I prefer the traditional radio-style thing to these ultra-modern unrestricted wiki things that are sprouting up all over the net. But like I said, I’m new here, so please forgive me if I misunderstood anything.

  • Bobby

    I like the idea, Sutter. I may as well admit to the world now: I’ve never read Emerson’s essay (I’m sorry, Mr. Hoge! Maybe we did read them in English). I’d be more than happy to sponsor an essay(s) (depending on how many people sign up), however, I would appreciate it if I could sponsor the 3rd or 4th essay. I’ve already started to search the web for the essays, but if someone knows a place where they can be found, I’d appreciate the link 🙂

    When you say someone at ROS will post the sponsor’s article, Sutter, I didn’t realize anyone would be home…at least consistently. Sorry, but I’m still just a little confused/shocked at ROS closing shop so fast.

  • Potter

    I read The Plague for the show and I thought we should try it again. So I thought a book discussion would be interesting.

    Allison prompted me to read the intro to Naguib Mahfouz Miramar. Of course Emerson is always good to read and I would love to read or re-read any of his essays that you decide to discuss. I have so many things I would like to read inspired from previous shows that it occurs to me that maybe some of you do too. In that case we can just go back to that thread and continue on.

  • Potter

    Welcome Lostsa…

  • bft

    Just one.

  • so, I haven’t weighed in on ideas about going forward or what do with the site during the hiatus. My mind is wild with ideas, but I wanted to see what others were thinking.

    It seems to me that on the web site side of things, there is a middle ground between this completely anarchical model being suggested and the more closed top-down model that currently exists.

    With a forum, the forum administrator can make different parts of the forum private. Some parts be be set up so that all users can create topics. While some can be closed and only moderators can create topics.

    If the uppermost board was semi-closed so that only ROS staff could create topics, then another board was reserved for community generated topics that had been reviewed as high-quality (by staff or a community review process or something) and then a third board that was more of a free-for-all, you could maintain a quality control over the most prominent content which acts as a model and the foremost experience for site visitors, while encouraging content generation by the community. From that point, the organization could determine how much more open-sourced it really wants to be and open things up gradually. (I have lots of thoughts about how to be more open-source whilst establish a level of quality and maintaining the prominence of the inimitable style of Chris.)

    Anyway, that’s my 2¢ about how to begin to move on from here. Someone posted a link to simplemachines.org which is the forum software I use for my community. It could be as simple as keeping this blog as the front page and having a link to the forum for user-generated content. A larger migration to a more technically flexible site could then happen over time, while the community was able to keep some energy alive on the forum.

    I can help with setting this up, if needed.

  • Hey, Potter! I don’t know the book Miromar. Is it any good? I’ve only read the Cairo Trilogy, starting with Palace Walk.

    I will say that for a current choice we need to stick with a book set in a culture more familiar to us. I would want someone from Egypt, or an expert on Egyptian culture/literature for a discussion of a Mahfouz book, for instance. To this day, one of the challenges of taking that book in deeply is that I don’t know the culture well enough to suss out humor and subtle statements. The beauty of having ROS behind discussions is that we get to hear from people who can help us sort these things out. (It was great getting to hear directly from the author of “Bastard of Istanbul”, for instance.

    Again, just my 2¢. I’m happy to read and discuss anything. But I do like the symbolism of reading Emerson (which I must confess to not having read, as well!) I have thought off and on about asking Chris where to start.

  • Henry Shepherd

    livender, there are plenty of tangible and coherent things to discuss and even gripe about concerning Open Source. We would all benefit from straightforward comments and criticism. Please, share your opinions about aspects of the show that you didn’t like. Get as specific and unvarnished as you need to. Chris, Mary, the rest of the crew and the supporters on this site are wise enough to realize that this project needs re-evaluation if it is going to be re-started. But if all you want to do is dance on our grave, then you are distracting us from what should be a productive, honest, and creative process.

    I have no authority, obviously, and I’m sure I’ve earned your scorn. It deserves to be said, even though the crew would not stoop to say it, that we won’t be cowed by ugliness.

  • lostsa
  • zeke

    I really liked Sutter’s idea about an online reading group starting with Emerson. Count me in. Emerson, as Chris never tired of pointing out, was the paradigmatic American thinker. Reading him more closely would be a fitting way to continue the kind of thinking this radio show/blog stimulated for so many of us.

  • Potter

    Okay- so Sutter suggests we either go in order or pick out a few from each series. If you or I have read any already, it would be great to read again- or for the first time. I find that as I I bring something new or different to what I read as I move through life.

    I have a very old copy of Emerson’s essays- both series in one volume. it’s yellowing but not yet brittle. Grosset and Dunlap. Cost me $2 years ago in a used bookshop. I’d love to drag it around with me this summer. The first essay “History” starts intriguingly enough:

    There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same.

    All individual men- meaning all men and women. Of course. Emerson goes on in the masculine. This morning this bothers me. I am going to get past that- real quickly.

  • Thanks to Sutter for taking the lead. Reading Emerson is a simple but brilliant idea! I want to add, too, that reading Emerson should aid us in finding solutions to our current challenges. Emerson is not just about feeling good and having positive thoughts—he’s about taking action: “give me health and a day and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous” and “do your work and I shall know you,” he says. And, remember, Emerson was never only a writer; he was firstly a speaker and lecturer. (Long gone are the days when America’s scholars were active publicly).

    To perhaps point out the obvious, Chris has been our Ralph Waldo for these last few years. Now we are all faced with the prospect of having to be our own Emerson, which is precisely what Emerson wanted from us in the first place. (In our isolation, it feels more like Thoreau at Walden Pond!) So my question to Potter and the others who participate—count me in—is: what to do with our readings of Emerson (and the James’s, Melville, Twain, Fitzgerald, Ellison, Dostoevsky, Cervantes, and so many more)?

    How to move from reading to practice?

    Am I the only one who feels that current challenges facing ROS is symbolic of a variety of contemporary problems?

    Finally, what I think we all want (and what ROS largely gives us) is a voice. ROS represents us. The good news is that ROS has “primary sources” (see the above partial list of authors) we are free to use.

    So, anyway, I’m not leaving. I’m staying. I’m convinced this is not the ending, but the beginning. Sutter: call the roll.

  • Bobby

    Thanks for the links, lostsa! And welcome aboard! I’m a newbie as well, i.e. been listening to ROS forever, though just recently began to leave comments 🙂

    Andrew, I could almost hear the “ever onward” music playing as I finished reading your last line above 🙂 General Andrew Kinney, having just quoted Emerson to his troops who lost a dear friend days before, watches them rise to their feet, and, after they line up, yells, “Sutter! Call the roll!” Then, in grand chorus, the troops shout, “Here, Sir!” For they know a new day has dawned! Or something like that 🙂

    Meanwhile, in what ways, Andrew, do you feel the changes facing ROS are symbolic of contemporary problems?

  • For those of you geeks who might want to create podcasts out of the “Sutter Sessions” or other new shows: http://revision3.com/systm/podcasting … at least skip to the end to see how Leo Laporte does his call-in radio talk shows from his house.

    Here is a snazzy portable mp3 recorder for $124 that will even let you snap a few photos for the blog: http://www.sharperimage.com/us/en/catalog/productdetails/sku__TM416

    Get a good mic, edit in garage band or audacity, makes a simple RSS feed, and post it all to some low cost web hosting company.

  • Jesse Finfrock

    I just registered so I could post my saddness at the ROS hiatis. bummer. this is my favorite radio show (with the possible exception of This American Life – but they’re so different you can’t really compare…).

    Thanks for all your work chris and the team!

    Hmm – Apparently Livender is not very smart.

  • I wanna know who this Livender is. If he’s an avid commenter here suddenly, he should update his profile, tell us more about himself. This is my real name Livender, what’s yours?

  • OH.. and as for ideas, how about doing a weekly web-cast, to keep the ball rolling… I think whatever the future, you want to keep this community and biulding on it for the future. With a laptop and some simple hardware you can produce it anywhere. I think if you throw away the public radio “model,” imbrase the high quality low cost production techniques that technology has made avaiable, you could make.. something interstesting, and somewhat easily. Take those lemons and make lemonade! Find the future of pod-casting and web-casting and make the jump. I’m affraid that if you let the ROS site dangle all summer, it will wither, try to keep something going.

  • Potter


    Welcome to all those who have decided to post for the first time…. you will not make more mistakes than I do.

    I agree that we need to focus our discussion on Emerson but I don’t know what or how. I have started “History” the first lecture/essay and have to say I am getting tremendous pleasure from it. It’s all of 39 pages long in my book but each sentence is potent. I read such things slowly putting the book down to chew on it…so I am glad to get a little head start. To any who are hesitating- stick your toe in.. you might get hooked. Emerson is an instant friend.

    In the late sixties I was part of a community in Roxbury that adored Emerson. We published an “underground” newspaper during those days and Emerson, I think it was a silkscreen portrait, took up one cover.

    One of the first shows Chris did was on Emerson, obviously a very strong influence; there are three pages of Emerson references on this site. This was a 4th of July special back in 2005. How apropos to bring it back at this time. I think the production, the audio, is outstanding. The thread has few comments.

    It’s called Oh Yeah. Emerson.


  • szuhwa

    i’m another long-time listener and newly mobilized commenter. just wanted to add my vote for the summer Emerson discussion idea, which can also serve as an experiment for the listener-run thread or other proposed model.

    want to echo another idea proposed earlier: I’d be curious to learn more from the ROS team on the details of operation and past fundraising successes/failures in order to chip in on what changes are necessary from an operational standpoint and also conceptual framework (balance between totally open, hierarchy-free content and moderated radio show, for example.) a show on this would also be very interesting for furthering the thread of OS-philosophy/applications.

    i only listen to the show as a podcast because i live in a small city in france, but even in this format, i hear and appreciate the show’s connection to radio and its live audiences. it would be too bad for ROS to give up its broadcast, public forum function, which, i believe, is essential its character, and very distinct from the self-selected internet community.

  • nother

    szuhwa, where have you been all our lives! You are the future! If Mary and Chris get back on the air, they will need people like you, in small towns in France, and Botswana, and Kentuky, to listen to the podcast and write, and write, and write.

    What changes do you think are necessary, what is your ideal “balance?”

  • nother

    Thank you for that reminder, Potter – that link is a keeper. Chris and Bob are marvelous, they make me want to run outside and kiss the leaves.

    They mention the sacred words of Emerson, who sounds like he is talking to a future blogosphere:

    “There is no more important moment than right now, there are no greater people than you.”

  • I’d like to volunteer to join the hiatus team as a business development resource. I have an extensive background in business development, including Internet related concerns. From my perspective what ROS needs is a business model that is self-sustaining. I’m not talking about creating a profit, just paying the bills and keeping the programming flowing. Any financial resource generated in excess of operating requirements should be re-directed to empower the community.

  • I’m looking forward to reading Emerson

  • Many hands and hearts and minds generally contribute to anyone’s notable achievements.

    Walt Disney

  • As usual I have to mention myself… Ill be doing my podcast that has long been influenced by the work and spirit of open source… all summer long, as I have since 2004. So umm.. keep blogging.. point to the work of others. (if it is mine, great, not I actually mean podcasters and media workers in general)

  • sorry for the bad sentence up there… I mean that plenty of people out there are podcasting in ways that are in line with the values of open source… link to them.. talk about them.. even if it is only in text.

  • Regarding the comments made by bicyclemark:

    1. Strategically, I think they point in the right direction to the degree that it represents a mode of production that introduces a critical leverage point for ROS, a distributed-open network of production resources

    2. are in perfect harmony with the original vision as stated in the ROS introduction: “we’re a web community that produces a daily hour of radio.”

    3. maintains the consistency and integrity of ROS programming by having Chris and Mary and team continue as the synapse between “the cloud” and “the airwaves”.

    ROS mines the Internet for content suitable for broadcast and re-purposes it for ROS distribution. The “web community” continues to play the critical roll of providing story ideas, pointers to interesting sources, vital feedback and perspective.

    Now a producer like bicyclemark has an added incentive to integrate formatting and content consistent with ROS principles in hopes that their programming will be re-purposed for ROS distribution, or at least treated favorably on the blog.

  • Sutter

    I’m glad to hear others are interested in the Emerson idea. I also have not read the Essays. Absent some easy way to choose the best of the lot, I’d propose just going through the First Series. I’ve listed them below, with dates for each (sequential Mondays, starting with next Monday). If people want to just “call” them for sponsorship purposes, I will maintain and post a list…

    I’m happy to “call” the first one, History, unless Potter or someone else would like to grab it.

    History July 9

    Self-Reliance July 16

    Compensation July 23

    Spiritual Laws July 30

    Love Aug. 6

    Friendship Aug 13

    Prudence Aug 20

    Heroism Aug 27

    The Over-Soul Sept. 3

    Circles Sept. 10

    Intellect Sept. 17

    Art Sept. 24

    For easy reference, links to these essays are available here: http://www.emersoncentral.com/essays1.htm

  • Hey, Bicyclemark made me think. Now that open source it without it’s radio “head,” perhaps we can take the the many voices concept of the commenters and apply it to the “head.” What I mean is, have the best of a bunch of podcasts dicussed here, maybe a seperate section if the show does ever come back. Sort of a best of podcasting go-to place. Take the best of other podcasts with the ROS spirit and feature them here. For participation or discussion.

    How about podcasting highlights from the original ChristopherLydon.org over the summer?

    If there is some sort of ROS volenteer force that keeps the hiatus fires burning, let me know how I can help. If it seems hopeless from the radio end, and Chris and Mary do find “their next thing,” then I think the site can go on in the spirit of ROS, perhaps in the way I suggested above, or any way it can, any other ideas? Every end is a begining. If you wave goodbye long enough, you’ll eventually start waving hello.

  • Bobby

    LIT2201: Survey of Emerson’s Essays. Prof. Sutter RM: ROS

    July 9th – September 24th


  • Potter

    I am fine with the plan-

    Sutter what do you mean by “call” in this application?

    Are we going to discuss/comment? Would someone begin a focus? Would it be better perhaps to just read and see what pops up in anyone’s mind and comment- see if that sparks discussion?

    If so where do we do this? Barring a new thread I suggest the Emerson thread.

    Since I assume most of us lead busy lives and this is not something to zip through the pace seems fine. If not we can complain and adjust.

    Ideally- it would be great to have a different thread for each essay so that people can catch up and add to it w/o disturbing the order or the timing.

    Assuming the website stays the same and someone in charge of the site will do this for us, this is what I would ask for. This could be a new section on the right or left (bottom) “Listener Created” or ( instead of “in house”) “Out Sourced” or “The Out House” 🙂 or “Listener Sponsored Topics: Emerson Series”

  • I “call” Friendship. And am happy to help figure this thing out as we go! I’m so glad to see the usual posters are still here, too. Thanks for the gracious comments, Bobby. Concerning my comment that ROS’s problems are symbolic of larger contemporary problems–no doubt I was exaggerating. Still, it’s frustrating that a quality program has struggled to find funding while there is so much drivel on “talk radio.” But, wait, I must check myself–I did call for Friendship, after all! Nice suggestions, Sutter, on the new section titles–I like “Out Sourced.” Still, I can’t help but feel that the teacher has left the classroom and that the students are now attempting to teach themselves.

  • Sutter

    Potter, by “calling” I have in mind “signing up” to draft a lead post for the essay. (I am hoping that the ROS folks will either post these for us or give us the keys to the castle so that we may do so, not inconsistent with the third bullet above.) I don’t envision a strong “discussion leader” role — just a commitment to provide some thoughts, questions, and/or links to relevant materials. In other words, a perspective to stir the pot a little bit.

  • Potter

    Stirring the pot means preparing and writing. For me it’s going to be as I go along. if I call for something that means I have to hurry up and read ahead to post a lead essay- even if I have read (say Self-Reliance, which I have) I would want to read it again to refresh my head. I am concentrating on “History” at the moment. So for me I would rather see how I go before I commit.

    Behind the scenes on ROS was the preparation for however long.

    Andrew Kinney- remember that these threads, many of them were very lively because of discussion that we generated beyond and besides what producers had written for a lead. There was no teacher, there was preparation and knowledgeable guests. And after the teaser and question, then we’d often be off on some tangent that interested us. Many times the show would be different, or the show would change. So now there is no show, just comments. In a way it’s very Emersonian-to allow your own responses and reactions. (Aha- Self-Reliance)

  • mynocturama

    Just wanted to say, I first came across the name “Christopher Lydon” while searching for Emerson related media on the web. So the Emerson idea, I think, is just about perfect.

    I’m pretty familiar with most of the essays, though there still are some I haven’t yet read. And this forum would be as good an occasion as any to finally get caught up.

    Also, if I may, I’ll throw in my thoughts about the reading schedule for the first series of essays. In case some don’t have the time to read through all the essays, I’ve always considered the first three, History – Self-Reliance – Compensation, as forming a sort of core, opening the series. So if one essay per week proves to be too fast for decent, deep discussion, or too much to keep up with, with schedules and all, a good first goal might be, say, to tackle the first three essays in the first month or so of the forum. This, hopefully, would allow time for thoughts to germinate and to generate discussion.

    All this depends, though, on a site administrator setting up separate threads, which I do think we need for each essay. The Emerson show from a few years ago that Potter references could serve as a place to start, if anything. And, just for disclosure, the longer, rather bloated post/essay for that particular show was actually written by me. It was my first post ever on the site. Needless to say it isn’t very conversational – the haze of writing academic essays still hadn’t, and still hasn’t really for that matter, cleared from my eyes. That was my only substantial post under that member name. I then forgot my password, and decided to start afresh anyway. So there you go.

    I’m excited about this. But we need new threads, to signify the start of something special. As far as writing something up for History or for any of the essays, to kick-start discussion, count me in. Sutter, have you had any contact/feedback from someone at ROS? Again, we need space on the site for this. And the sooner the better.

  • mynocturama

    Oh – and I consider The Over-Soul and Circles as something of a pair as well. But this could just be whim (a key word in Self-Reliance, btw) on my part. And these five essays of the first series, the first three plus the pair above, are, from my sense of the general literature, the more widely referenced of the lot. If that means anything. It doesn’t really. I guess I’m suggesting, if the entire series turns out to be too hefty, focusing on those key essays. But, you know, just having written this, I find myself disagreeing with myself – an Emersonian feeling if anything. I remember reading a recommendation, in an intro for the essays, that they be read in order. So let’s be bold and go for that.

  • I’m very excited about our Emerson exploits.

    Only, I don’t have any of his writings. Do you guys have a recommendation for a particular publication? Does it matter?

    Also, once I’ve skimmed them, I’ll call one as lead poster. (It will be an interesting exercise for me. I struggle to be concise.) I might just have to call “Circles”. It seems a bit foretold…

    Thirdly, if we ROS staff, for some reason, can’t give us threads for these, I could set up a forum and we could post links here. I could do my best to make it look visually like this site, so that they feel related (with ROS permissions, of course!)

  • Sutter

    I doubt it matters very much, Allison. We’re fortunate in that the Essays were written in English, so there’s no problem of alternate translations. There could be differing versions floating around — I’m not expert enough to know — but I assume they’re all close to identical.

    For what it’s worth, I picked up the Library of America paperback edition (you know the ones — black, with a thin band of red, white and blue stripes across the front) on Friday (before making this suggestion — the idea came to me while I was staring at my new book). I chose this edition mostly for aesthetic reasons — I like the format, the look of the volume on the shelf, the size of the typeface (a big deal for me), etc. I can’t seem to find it on Amazon, so it could be out of print.

    You can get more bang for your buck here, but the book was a bit too large and the type a bit too small for my taste: http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Writings-Emerson-Library-Classics/dp/0679783229/ref=sr_1_1/002-3560076-6469631?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1183398199&sr=8-1. And there are significantly cheaper mass-market paperback editions, e.g., http://www.amazon.com/Selected-Writings-Emerson-Signet-Classics/dp/0451529073/ref=sr_1_1/002-3560076-6469631?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1183398262&sr=1-1.

  • Potter

    I am turning the pages carefully in my yellowing used edition- I love the oldness of it. I also have a very old copy of “The Conduct of Life” and the essays in that one are also intriguing:

    Fate, Wealth, Culture, Behavior, Worship, Considerations By the Way, Beauty, Illusions, In Praise of Books.

    Excuse me I am drooling.

    I am getting such pleasure out of reading “History” and will finish today. Then I will start “Self-Reliance” for a second read through. I gave my little “Peter Pauper” edition of it to my son when he graduated years ago. He was more touched by that than any other book I gave him over the years. I may call for that but if any of you want it- go for it. Actually I prefer no responsiblity or pressure thus am happy with a slower and pared down undertaking as suggested by Mynocturama.

    I also wanted to say something to Andrew Kinney regarding his remark about this being a classroom without it’s teacher. There is no better teacher than Emerson himself. He is a wonderful teacher in that he will keep trying to make sure you understand his drift. He makes the same points over and over from different angles, giving such inspiring examples that you want to go off on tangents in your thoughts.

    Also I think that you could take one sentence or one paragraph and go on about it.

    Regarding Chris’s enduring enthusiam and deep love for Emerson, for me it’s an example of a sensibility, positive and centered, focussed on what endures, what helps us get through, what raises or helps raise consciousness.

  • Potter

    Thank you to Sutter for the suggestion- if I did not say so already.

  • mynocturama

    The essays are available on the web. I’d recommend http://www.rwe.org for authoritative texts, though the website is a little clunky.

    I’ll toss in my hat to write a header for History, unless anyone else is especially partial to it. Potter – did you say you were leaning towards History or Self-Reliance? But it may still be a bit early to settle on these things, before getting a definite go ahead on setting up separate threads.

  • Sutter

    Potter — my pleasure!

    Mynocturama: Let’s proceed for now on the assumption that we’ll be able to get the thread. If come Friday we’ve yet to hear from anyone related to the show, we can make other arrangements, even if we just jump around on other existing threads (History = Moby Dick, Cheney, et al., Self-Reliance = Transcendental Women, etc. etc.).

  • szuhwa

    thanks to nother for your welcoming remarks. again, can someone fill us in on the talk of the people in public radio? where do they see this medium going? what are their considerations and reservations when it comes to embracing ROS?

    as a listener, i would like to see Radio Open Source venture more boldly into the territories it straddles: the “radio” needs to be more “radio” and “open source” needs to be more “open source.” this is only possible by letting the two realms, the two communities, continuously nourish each other. my hunch is that the ‘radio’ part has not moved as far ahead as to effect a paradigmatic shift. ROS has not fully exploited radio’s potential both as a public forum of live audiences or its sonic possibilities. as far as ‘open source’, i agree it’s still too top-down, in the technical details of the blog as well as the content. a little irreverance for the given order and a small revolution are perhaps called for…

    (after all, i’m writing from the small French city of Besançon: the birth place of Victor Hugo, the Lumière Brothers, as well as the seat of the former LIP watch factory – the accidental self-management experiment by workers after striking and taking over the factory, with the famous slogan: we manufacture, we sell, we pay ourselves!)

  • Sutter

    I will “call” compensation.

  • mynocturama

    Just wanted to add that you can save the essays as PDF files from the http://www.rwe.org site.

  • tbrucia

    Why is ROS going off the air? Because it did not develop enough audience. Period. It was not lack of quality content. It was not because it ‘got boring’. Sometimes decisions are made that are hidden from general view. When ROS lost the Washington and New York markets, it was obvious the show was in trouble. A glimmer of light was the MacArthur grant. Then the loss of the Boston market and the end of the PRI distribution outlet. We’ll never know all the ins and outs of what the analyses were behind their loss of confidence. Those of us who participated obviously found value here — but the vision never ‘caught fire’ and spread. Perhaps the timing was off (five years ago? five years from now?). But right up to the end ROS has been both informative and mentally stimulating in a very positive way. Unlike the New York Times Abuzz site which disintegrated in a very messy debacle (characterized by extremists taking the blog over to spread hate and venom) ROS performed admirably right through to final curtain. For those who have forgotten the Beatles, Richard Nixon, Steve Jobs, George Allen, etc. there ARE successful revivals. Frankly, I’d like to see a Charlie Rose interview with Chris where they could discuss the future of ‘intelligent analysis programming’. In a world of incredible change, nothing ever suprises me. Even as ROS passes away, something very cool (unknown to us) is probably brewing elsewhere, and I hope Chris is ‘in on it’. Good luck, good guys!

  • tbrucia

    Incidentally, I’ll always remember ROS as the door that opened Second Life to me…. I jumped in there, and have found a place as wonderous (to me) as 1977 when I first saw a personal computer, or 1981 when I first engaged in email conversation, or the 1990s when the first graphical browser opened up the World Wide Web… Thanks, ROS.

  • Potter

    Mynocturama- I said I was leaning towards Self-Reliance (because of the time frame mostly) but I have not “called” for anything.


    We’ll never know all the ins and outs of what the analyses were behind their loss of confidence.

    I just listened to Tom Ashbrook’s program (WBUR) subject “Conservative Talk Radio”. I am deeply disgusted. He played some excerpts that he later identified as “mild” which knocked my socks off. What is going on is unbelievable- the demagoguery, the libel, the meanspirited trash.

  • tbrucia

    Potter: It always feels strange to visit Tokyo, where people are civil, discourse is polite, and good manners are considered very important. It’s a lot like America in the 1950s (at least in the Northeast where I grew up). The trajectory America is following is very disturbing. I’m frankly very glad my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson are there, and not over here. No, Japan is far from perfect, but demagoguery, libel and meanspiritedness over there are NOT mainstream, but still considered out-of-the-mainstream behavior. Given Japan in the 1930s and Japan today there is hope for America, but I no longer have 70 years to see it happen…. 🙁

  • I call Heroism.

    Also, in terms of format, until we can start some threads on the blog, I’ve set up a space on the ROS wiki for the Emerson project.

    I’ve listed all of the shows with links to blank pages that we can edit as we go along. Also, I’ve tried to point to the show “hosts” that I could find skimming here. Please fix the references if I got them wrong or just totally missed you.

    If you’ve never used mediawiki before, here is some help on editing.

  • Sutter

    I’ve corresponded with the ROS folks, and Chris has asked the staff to see what can be donw about getting us some new posts. (Chris also wants to participate, which is of course great!)

  • Sutter

    Thanks for your work on the Wiki, Emmett!

  • Sutter

    I think mynocturama called History above. I’ll take on “Compensation,” as reflected in the Wiki.

  • mynocturama

    Thanks Emmett for setting up the Wiki. Though, honestly, I hope we find a home here on site for the discussion. But if that doesn’t work, I think the Wiki is the best option, rather than using old show threads.

  • Bobby

    Thanks, Emmett, for setting up the wiki page! I’ll sign up for The Over-Soul.

    Allison, isn’t that nice of Emmett? Now, instead of creating the forum, you can spend that time knitting each of us our own wool afghan with our name and the complete essay we chose to lead embroidered in silver thread 🙂

  • Yes, bobby. As father just wrote to me, “Knitting a different kind of yarn.” Yippeeeee!!!

  • that should be, “my father”…..

  • Bobby

    About 1 AM this morning I printed out Emerson’s History essay and crawled into bed. It’s now nearly 6:30 AM; my highlighter, after making a smart ass comment that it would’ve made more sense if I’d printed the essay on yellow paper, is now on the phone yelling at his union rep; I’ve got carpel tunnel from all the cutting and pasting from the twelve web pages opened on my computer (most of them attached to a name in the essay – still not sure if Asdrubal is Hasdrubal Gisco, a Cathaginian general; Hasdrubal Barca, Hannibal’s brother; or none of the above. Does anyone know?); and the “Pound Plus” Trader Joes’s chocolate bar on my desk is half gone! This is ridiculous 🙂

    Thanks again, Sutter, for the Emerson idea! However, if you see a yellow highlighter walking down your street, you may want to lock your door 🙂

  • Sutter

    Bobby, I did notice a sketchy-looking highlighter milling about at our local Independence Day celebtration, now that you mention it. He was spending most of his time with a surly Bic Rolling Writer and a menacing fountain pen.

  • Potter

    My method is strips of post-its. I have pink strips and green strips. The pink is for Amen! right on! brilliant! wow! The green is for whaaaa??? On the side fountain pen & paper. No chocolate bar on the side-just a dictionary.

  • Bobby


    The conversation, no doubt, went something like this:

    Highlighter: “I’m a highlighter! HellooOOoo! I highlight words! This guy painted

    14 !@#$ page with me!”

    Fountain P: “That’s terrible.”

    Highlighter: “Terrible? It’s F-up is what it is!”

    Bic: “Fireworks. Aren’t they purdy?”

    Highlighter: (rolling his eyes) “Why do I even bother? Yo! Barmaid!”


    I shall give the Post-it notes a try. Fountain pens are awesome! I once bought one for my step-father. Didn’t give it to him, though, after he refused to allow me visitation rights 🙂 Insofar as dictionaries go, have you read The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the OED? It’s a fun read!

  • Wow! lots going on on this thread. I just read over it (pretty quickly just now) and would love to participate. I’ve just printed out Emerson’s Essay on Art and am trundling off to bed highlighter in hand.

  • The Emerson idea was a great one. Thanks Sutter. I’ll call Art. After trundling off to bed with the essay I had to keep getting up and grabbing this or that Art Book until I finally fell asleep in a more of a nest than a bed. I will happily write a lead-in post and find appropriate links. For the Art essay especially it would be great to be able to include images if that will be possible. I confess I have not read Emerson’s essays either and love it that I will be reading them and sharing them with you all this summer.

    (Potter, yes, I too have decided to forgive Emerson his 19th century habit of consistantly using the male pronoun for what should obviously be gender neutral humanity and even for using “effeminate” as a derogatory term. But I do think it is OK, perhaps essential, for us to notice this).

    Looking forward to continuing the conversation.

  • Emmett, thanks for putting together the Wiki – It looks great. I am a wiki novice and was checking it out (hope I didn’t mess anything up) – Thanks!

  • mynocturama

    Any news on new threads being set up on the site?

  • Sutter

    No, but I will ping the ROS people again…

  • lostsa

    So it’s the 9th – are we supposed to start today? Exactly how’s this going to work, I mean using the wiki and stuff? The link above for help on editing just returns me to this page. I don’t really know how to use wikis for a discussion type of thing, and I’m sure (or I hope) I’m not the only one.

  • Potter

    I have completed the first two essays. There is a lot to discuss or simply comment on.

    I too am not sure how a wiki form is supposed to work for us here. I do not see anything up there yet except Emmett O’Connell’s ( that’s four sets of double letters!) reference list.

    We could just go ahead a try it but I am not sure it is right for this– is it?

    To tell you the truth I think the wiki would be a good addition to a discussion that begins here. One reason is that the issue of how to use the wiki is a stumbling block for those who would otherwise join more easily or directly as they came to check the site.

    Optional and hopefully not annoying- an email could be sent out to those who are registered.

    Anyway- this plan would mean setting up 12 threads, one for each essay- and maybe one more for Emerson in general ( or maybe we could ressurect the “Oh Yeah Emerson” thread from July 05 with few comments on it).

  • Potter

    One good thing about the wiki is you can edit out your mistakes.

    By the way- there was an interview that Chris Lydon did with Harold Bloom “Culture Gods from Emerson to Bloom” that I would love to have access to. As linked on the Ellington show, it is no longer available to those not registered at Harvard ( or so it seems).

    See the reference here: http://www.radioopensource.org/ellington-newport-and-the-american-century/

  • Sutter

    I just got an e-mail from Mary, who says we can email her the write-up (at least for this week) and she’ll set up a thread. Mynocturama, do you want to send your write-up to her? She’s Mary@radioopensource.org.

  • mynocturama

    I’ll do that. Expect it soon.

    Let’s get this party started. Or kickin’. Whatever.

  • OK, I’m off to the beach with the History essay in my basket.

  • Hey potter,

    I’ve never actively participated in a Wiki, either. I just learned that you have to log in to see how things work. If you log in and then click on the “History” topic, you will see tabs at the top of the page. One of them is “Discussion”. I put a test post there to see if this is where we get started. I think it’s hard to tell how it will work when it’s empty.

    I know there was talk of a thread going up on this site, but I don’t see it yet and the wiki could be an interesting thing to check out. (Especially with that editing feature!!)

  • Potter

    Allison- I participated in the election wiki for a bit. (I see the little toe you stuck in…) I did not mean to suggest that I had not but I think from the posts here and the emptiness there that there may be a reticence to using it, another step for folks who drop by who might be interested, though I agree we should try.

    Still it would be good to have a thread here on the home page- maybe an Emerson all-purpose one.

    I have not called for “Self Reliance” though I am working on something that I may put up. (Do I sound too over-confident?) I

    If others are like me- then it takes some time to keep sinking into the groove while going about other business.

  • I hear you, Potter. I guess I was noting that nothing had happened over here. We were supposed to start the discussion on History Monday, so, we’re behind schedule already. I tend to agree that a general Emerson thread here with a link to each essay on the wiki would be good. This way, we only have to ask ROS staff to make one effort and we can keep the ball rolling from there.

    I have to admit, that never having used a wiki, I do wonder how the dialog will flow. I guess that will be part of our little experiment.

    I printed the first essay out last night and only read one page before getting interrupted by my daughter. But my very first thought was, “How Jungian!”

  • mynocturama

    I got word from Mary that threads will be set up here on site. I’ll be sending her the “History” header no later than tomorrow (7-12).

  • Potter

    Allison and all- Some thoughts:

    I have a problem with the “hurry up already” feeling which stems from the schedule that was published above. On the other hand if we don’t have some sort of schedule it won’t happen. I would rather that Mynocturama post when he feels he has something, after all it’s the first and was due immediately.

    I have been working on Self-Reliance and I have to remember it’s not a doctoral dissertation but I keep getting deeper and deeper. After all it’s something just to start us off in discussion. I must remember that. But leading a discussion is more than a casual reading. So maybe this could take longer than one every week, beginnings and ends, but I see, a rolling, ongoing thing as we get some good discussion ( hopefully).

    I welcome the opportunity to do this. I have never belonged to a book club ( don’t intend to) but Emerson is so special and we have a good group and a way to hold things together.

    If Mary sets up 12 threads we will have the advantages I describe- but also the disadvantages of not being able to modify our posts ( and ongoing problem). All the more reason to have something more worked on.

  • Potter

    an ongoing problem 🙂

  • mynocturama

    OK – I’ve emailed in my writeup. Hopefully this will get up and started soon. Sorry about any delay on my end.

  • I agree, Potter. Don’t want to create a “hurry up” ethos. Balancing that feeling with one of an excited, “let’s get this going!” I, too, have never belonged to a book club. Also, I was a computer science undergrad who managed to avoid literature. So, I had some excellent high school education in a very affluent CT town that hired Yale professors as our teachers, and have done a little philosophy and literature, but certainly don’t feel at all prepared for analyzing, interpreting, whatever it is you do in this kind of discussion.

    Diving in blind…..

  • Bobby


    Don’t worry about not having done much philosophy. In fact, consider yourself lucky. As one who majored in it, I concluded a long time ago that philosophy is nothing more than crack 🙂 You take a naive freshman, give him a little logic – start off with the easy stuff 🙂 – and as his guard begins to dissipate, you nonchalantly mention the Ship of Theseus, i.e. does an object retain its identity through time, and when he’s totally confused, you introduce him to epistemology (how do you know you know?). And after he’s THROUGHLY whacked out, you hand him a diploma. Congratulations! Your head is full of questions that have no answers, and you now owe $50,000 in student loans! 🙂

    On a serious note, I’ve always thought if I were the devil, and wanted to divide God from his creation, I would introduce Philosophy to the world.

    I am glad to hear Potter remind us that this is not a race; there is no final we need to study for. It’s safe to say, however, everyone is excited to get started! Thanks, mynocturama, for sending you write up on History. I’m eager to read your thoughts/views, as well as everyone’s responses/point of view, etc. Just please, PLEASE, no one use words like Metaphysics, Epistemology, paradox, etc.:)

  • Potter

    From some of the discussions we have already had it is intimidating because I know there are folks milling around here who do use those words and use them well or seemingly knowledgeably and I have been thankful for wikipedia and the dictiionary. Over the last several months, before I close my eyes ( which is a bad time for this) I have been listening to a lecture series on Greek philosophy (on and off) to review the beginnings and I find it fascinating.

    We should start with ourselves though- which is where everyone has to start, including or especially the greats. Years ago I discovered that I am most comfortable with simple language and simple thoughts. When ever I am presented with something that seems complicated or dense I try to prune it down to something clear and essential. On the other hand as I get older I find I am losing my vocabulary- so I welcome the challenge of words – ones that I knew and forgot from disuse or new ones. I love it when a writer uses an uncommon word and then fortifies that meaning by repeating the idea in another way. Emerson does a lot of that I find.

  • oh dear, I’m afraid I do use the word paradox. I simply encounter so much of it in life and have learned that you have to accept it often. I’m not sure how it might come up for me in these discussions, but I have been fairly warned….

  • As an Art student who was forcibly dragged through philosophy I do appreciate straightforward language. I’ve never belonged to a book club. With the essays, I started with the one on Art. I got though that one pretty easily with plenty of ideas, possibly because I am used to reading dense philosophical stuff about Art. Reading the History essay I confess I find the reading a bit on the chunky side for a semi dyslexic visual slow reader yet I am determined to struggle through. I don’t mind words like “Metaphysics, Epistemology, paradox, etc” what slows me down is when words get strung into sentences that are laced around in a baroque macramé. The blessing with these essays (if I can tell by having read 2 of them) is that they are short enough to bite into and chew on until you find that nugget of nourishment.

  • allison… life is so filled with paradox it is hard to avoid.

    Bobby I do agree with you that philosophy is quite possibly Satanic. I noticed that in”western” philosophy there are very few women. My theory is that women just don’t have that kind of time (and apparently many of these european men didn’t have much in the way editors). ;^)

  • Bobby

    Oh dear. Look what I started 🙂 Okay, I confess that I bashed philosophy, but I am glad I majored in it. It’s definitely is/was a marathon for the mind. If anything, it taught critical thinking, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful. I should mention that Matrix came out halfway through the major, so at least our class discussions were. . . less tedious 🙂 “You remember that scene. . .well it’s kind of, sort of, like that!” 🙂

    PEGGYSUE!!! I, me, Bobby, the oldest, yet least mature of three siblings, he who writes dialog for stuffed animals, was going to point out life is filled with paradoxes! (which is what makes it so interesting/enjoyable) I can’t believe you stole my line you……you embezzler! May Starbucks infest your island! LOL 🙂 When we finally meet, I’m now forced to give you the silent treatment for 12.5 seconds! That’s final 🙂 Haha! Grrrrrrr!

    I noticed Mary just put up a link for our Emerson essays! Yippee!

    Allison! You job is to count up every word one of us uses that is over 3 syllables! For each word you find, we send you a quarter. And he/she who uses the least amount of “big” words keeps the money at the end of each essay discussion! Sound like a plan? Yes, yes, you get to keep the interest as payment 🙂

    I reread “History” last night! Okay I read the first few paragraphs, and concluded there are a weeks of discussion right in those first 3 + paragraphs! Conclusion: this is going to take longer than a week per essay…..which is fine with me 🙂


    There’s a book called A Passion for Wisdom: A Very Brief History of Philosophy. It’s by Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins. It’s very good!

  • Bobby, I think there could be quite a discussion on just the first SENTENCE of the History essay!

  • Bobby

    I’ll be the judge of that, peggysue. Let me see here: There is one mind common to all individual men. Okay, so maybe you’re right! smartypants 🙂

  • Bobby

    Out of curiosity, has anyone ever finished a novel by Umberto Eco? If you did, what’s the secret? I’m getting ready to start The Island of the Day Before….for the THIRD time.

  • Bobby, I loved The Name of the Rose. Haven’t read anything else.

    I recently read The Bastard of Istanbul. (inspired by the ROS interview…..) It took me several starts to stick with it, but in the end I was stunned and would read it again. Good luck….

  • My trick with Eco has been to read him in French. And to think of his work as that of a semiotician. I really enjoyed Foucault’s Pendulum and I didn’t dislike the Island of the Day Before. But I prefer Eco’s more academic work though I disagreed with several points of his analysis in Opera Aperta.

    Maybe you just don’t like his style, which means you shouldn’t feel forced to read his work.

    Do you like Borges?

  • bft

    I read both The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum. And finished both, though I can’t say I remember how either ended. My impression is that Eco wanders around astonished at the things people will believe, and ultimately paints a picture of how they smash into each other. Borges, in contrast, creates narratives that follow specific ideas directly to their consequences. There, I didn’t say “paradoxical”!

  • Bobby


    Thanks for the words of encouragement! (The Battle Hymn of the Republic begins to play) “Onward! Forever onward! Word by word! Independent clause by independent clause! We shall conquer! We will attack each page with purpose, and measure our progress by the chapters which litter the streets. (Are your eyes tearing up yet, Allison? Feeling patriotic? 🙂 ) And at the end, we shall stand together and dare the man they call Eco to write another! And which time, our comrade, Alexandre Enkerli will turn and say, “Actually, Mr. Eco has written many books. Here, I have a few I’ve already read. They’re mostly in French, though.” That’s when Allison gives him the most evil stare, while I begin my days as an alcoholic, and walk the streets mumbling, “They’re mostly in French, though!” LOL!

    Alexandre! We must meet some day. I would like to talk to you about Eco and semiotics. I have (and have made multiple attempts at reading) Eco’s Serendipities: Language and Lunacy, and Kant and the Platypus: Essays on Language and Cognition. Insofar as me not liking his style, I’ll have to disagree. The truth is every time I start reading him, I end up having to look something up, which ultimately distracts me, and I start reading something else. I swear you have to have a Ph.D. in This, That, and Everything else to actually read the guy 🙂 If he has kids, I bet they have “daddy never has time for us” issues. Just where does he find time to do all his research on so many topics. No, I can’t say that I’ve read Borges, though, after reading about him, I will definitely put him on the list! Thanks Alexandre. Thanks for making me have to buy more books, and look up more stuff! Now the laundry is going to have to wait ANOTHER day 🙂

  • or, just wait till the movie comes out ;^)

  • Bobby

    Here are the lines from that movie, peggysue:

    Darth Vader: “I am your father, Luke.”

    Luke: “Well. . .I guess it’s not THAT bad, is it?”

    Umberto Eco: “But I am your adopted father.”

    Luke: “NoooOOOOoooooooo!”

  • W.M. Palmer

    As Eliot wrote, “Not with a bang but a whimper.” The disintegration of the follow-up threads to the hiatus makes one wonder if Emerson was the right focus – as opposed to current happenings, or a project such as distilling themes from the show’s shows. My analysis is that Lydon, as an “ecstatic,” is, in some ways, tied to a passed era – what has force these days is methodical analysis (arguably, as B. Russell would have said, due to “chemical imperialism”).

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  • TimBurns

    Why is the “Warming Up” section empty? What about the election? What about AIG? Devoted ROS podcast subscribers eagerly want to know what is Chris Lydon going to do this Fall.

  • sully75

    I just really miss the old show. I caught it towards the end of its glory but have exhausted the archives at this point. The things I miss are a subject wrung out in an hour, the randomness of the topics on all kinds of things I never thought about, the variety of guests. I guess maybe that’s not possible right now but I sure do miss it. Recently relistened to the Chaconne episode, which prompted a fascination with the piece and a desire to play it someday.

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