Hello, Zoners! Welcome to a new week of wonderfulness.There’s a lot of politics coming to the ‘Colbert Report’, wth Cornel West, Ron Reagan, and Chris Matthews all slated to visit; Ms. Turkle will bring science, psychology, and technology to the mix and she is the sole guest never to have previously appeared on either The Daily Show or the Report. I had fun looking back at the old videos, and I hope you will too.
January 17th: Sherry Turkle
How does our online communication affect the way we relate to each other in real life? Are today’s youngsters losing the ability to deal with each other face to face? How can living in a cyberworld help and harm us? Those are just a few of the questions tacked by eminent sociologist and author Sherry Turkle. Turkle, the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT, also founded the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. Her numerous books include Psychoanalytic Politics: Jacques Lacan and Freud’s French Revolution, about the influential psychologist whose reinterpretation of Freud’s work pretty much transformed postmodern theory; Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet; and her most recent work, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, published just this month.
Ms. magazine named Turkle “woman of the year” and Newsweek listed her as one of the “50 for the Future: the Most Influential People to Watch in Cyberspace.” Enjoy this interview with her from PBS’s Frontline. She has some fascinating things to say, especially about children’s use of cell phones in the wake of 9/11 and how a virtual online Iraq is helping soldiers recover from post-traumatic stress. You can also follow her on twitter— and if you’re interested in knowing her favorite bookmarks, check them out here.
Fract: She has been called “the Margaret Mead of digital culture.”
January 18th: Cornel West
Oh, I’m looking forward to this! Just a day after we honor Martin Luther King, Stephen hosts one of America’s most renowned African-American scholars. Because Princeton professor Cornel West happily and knowledgeably discourses on almost any subject under the sun—and writes as much for popular magazines as for scholarly journals—he is that rare academic who has become a household name. In fact, in light of Stephen’s discussion with Bernard-Henri Levy last week, West proves it IS possible for America to have a “public intellectual,” and that is exactly how West refers to himself on his website.
And because this is his third visit, he is officially a friend of the show! He last appeared in October 2009 to discuss his autobiography, and as you can see, he’s a consummate performer who had Stephen in stitches. In 2010, West published his autobiography, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, A Memoir, and his most well-known work is probably the bestselling Race Matters. There are also numerous book-length studies devoted to him, including Cornel West: A Critical Reader, edited by George Yancy.
Fract: In 2001, West had a very public dispute with Lawrence Summers, then president of Harvard, where West taught at the time. Summers criticized West for being too involved in his (usually more profitable) extracurricular activities, and of missing classes, which West denied. Not long after, West resigned his position at Harvard and moved to Princeton.
January 19th: Ron Reagan
To mark the centenary of President Reagan’s birth, Ron Reagan has just published a new and much talked about memoir, My Father at 100. The most discussed advance revelation—which many of us suspected from President Reagan’s constant confusion of reality and scenes from the movies —is that the family was concerned about the President’s mental health several years before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This, just to be clear, was when Reagan still held office and was making life-and-death decisions about the nation. No diagnosis had yet been made and much less was known about the disease at the time.
This is not the first time that Reagan has written on his father: he penned a rather lovely and touching short piece for Esquire about the first time he beat his father in a race across the pool and for the same magazine wrote an article called “The Case Against George W. Bush.” Reagan also appears frequently on MSNBC to discuss politics and has hosted several radio shows. Despite his father’s conservatism, he is decidedly liberal, as well as a declared atheist.
Ron Reagan is no newbie to TCR; he previously appeared in November 2006 to discuss his support for stem cell research—and mess up Stephen’s hair!
Fract: Ron Reagan once danced professionally with the Joffrey Ballet. I worked backstage for the company as an intern just prior to his arrival, and I know he was well-liked by the other dancers. Time magazine said that his parents had not seen any of his performances, except for once at the Metropolitan Opera House. (Since the Joffrey never had a full season there, I am presuming they attended a gala at which the company had a minor part.)
January 20: Chris Matthews
Host of MSNBC’s Hardball, as well as The Chris Matthews Show, Matthews has worked on the staffs of four members of Congress and served as a speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter. He even ran for office twice (in Pennsylvania), but didn’t win either time. As a print journalist for various San Francisco-based newspapers, Matthews covered some of the major stories of our time, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, South Africa’s first post-apartheid elections, and the Good Friday Peace Talks in Ireland.
Fract: One of his in-laws was recently arrested in an 8.1 million dollar pot bust!
Who are you most excited to see? Let me know!
Happy viewing, everyone.