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60 Segments




A Conversation with "A Couple of Blaguards"

Scholar Frank McCourt and his brother, actor Malachi McCourt, grew up poor in Ireland before finding success in the United States. Both brothers were voracious readers and were able to find success without a high school education. They wrote and perform together in a new, autobiographical play.


Imagining Ludwig Wittgenstein

Bruce Duffy substantial debut novel is about the real-life philosopher, who wrote little about his own life. Book critic John Leonard says it's astonishing--and never reductive.


Tribute to "The Prisoner."

Television critic David Bianculli looks back at "The Prisoner," the British mystery and adventure series about government agents, brainwashing, Number 6, and the omniscient globe that prevented escape from the island prison. The series celebrates its 20th anniversary this week.


An English Examination of Small Events

Film critic Stephen Schiff says that the World War II-themed The Dressmaker masterfully follows in the European tradition of what he calls "intimate filmmaking" -- something no American director has yet been able to replicate.


Mrs. Miniver's Past Acclaim Overshadowed By Present-Day Criticism

Critic Ken Tucker reviews the Oscar-winning 1943 film, which was credited with galvanizing support for the Allies during World War II. Contrary to some contemporary attitudes toward the movie, critic Ken Tucker says Mrs. Miniver critiques, rather than celebrates, bourgeois life.


Soul Music with a Stiff Upper Lip

Rock critic Ken Tucker considers the recent trend of British bands taking their cues from American soul music, with varying success. Recent examples include songs by Simply Red, The Pasadenas, Boy George, and Fine Young Cannibals.


American Attempts at Anglicism Gone Awry

Language commentator Geoff Nunberg says that Americans who incorporate British English into their speech and writing often use words and expressions incorrectly. For instance, most people don't understand that "shall" and "will" aren't interchangeable.


The Bungled Anglicism

Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg examines the epitome of Americans trying to cop some highbrow British style, using the word "shall" when they mean "will."


Jingoism's Ties to Wartime and Colonialism

Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg on the jingoistic language of the Gulf Crisis. That style of discourse is closely linked to pro-war sentiments during the period of British colonialism.


Journalist Bill Buford Discusses Soccer "Hooligans."

Journalist Bill Buford. He traveled for eight years with "soccer thugs" -- England's hardcore soccer fans known for their violent outbreaks surrounding England's soccer games. Buford witnessed "lads" urinating on fellow spectators, commuter trains being demolished, a pub being robbed, and saw stabbings. He wanted to understand the violence that has caused many deaths (including the death of 66 fans asphyxiated in a crush of people trying to get out of a stadium in Glasgow in 1971).


Socially Conscious Film Director Ken Loach

Loach was a member of the British "Free Cinema Movement" of the '50s -- which was committed to dealing with issues of the working class and lower-class of British society -- and he was a pioneer of the doc-drama of the '60s. His film "Cathy Come Home," about a homeless mother, aired on the BBC, created a scandal, and forced a public debate about the homeless in London. His latest film "Riff-Raff," about construction workers, is his first comedy.


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