This week’s shows: Green Parking and Jackson Browne

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MONDAY: Parking – “The garage of the future provides nourishment for electric cars with renewable, clean energy and smart grid technology. It is the place-making sustainable hub for car sharing and intermodality, reaching out to the street and drawing the street into the building.” That’s pulled from the Mission Statement for the Green Parking Council, a sustainable parking initiative based in Connecticut. We’ll talk about the current (and future) state of parking. And how we can make our parking garages more green.

TUESDAY: Decline (or death watch) of the Humanities. David Brooks writes: “A half-century ago, 14 percent of college degrees were awarded to people who majored in the humanities. Today, only 7 percent of graduates in the country are humanities majors. Even over the last decade alone, the number of incoming students at Harvard who express interest in becoming humanities majors has dropped by a third.”

What’s happening. Are the humanities less important when jobs are more driven by science and data? Or are they simply taught uninterestingly by tenure track professors who have embraced an impenetrable, anti-populist way of thinking and speaking?

Jackson Browne 2008
WEDNESDAY: Jackson Browne and Morgan Blake.  Jackson Browne is, well, Jackson Browne. He’ll be performing in Wallingford on July 9, and we’ll talk to him about life at 64.  Will we still be sending him a Valentine? Birthday greetings? Bottle of wine. Morgan Blake is an indy recording artists. He’ll be talking about his new record and about his sideline as an activist for artists who get played a lot on the internet and receive almost no royalties.

THURSDAY: (rebroadcast) Anarchism.  It could be mass public disorder. It could be something as simple as jaywalking. The notion of anarchism has been both a flagrant challenge to the foundations of society and a series of small actions that wrest control away from technocratic elites. We’ll talk about anarchism in history and in everyday life. Yale’s gentleman anarchist James C. Scott is featured.

FRIDAY: (rebroadcast) Scar stories. A listener named Shelly told us  this one:

“My large scar on my left wrist reminds me that it is not good to combine platform high heels, blueberry vodka and a wet dance floor. Also, the good karma of attending a charity event will not cover you for bad choices of shoe wear.”

See, that’s a pretty typical scar story, if there is such a thing. Something happened. You got hurt. It was probably pretty horrible at the time. Now it’s a little bit funny — one of the stories that life wrote on your body.

Battlestar_Galactica_-_ScarMost real life scars are less dire than the ones written into drama and fiction, where a scar usually means a deep psychic wound. There are two villains — in “The Lion King” and “Battlestar Galactica” — who are simply named Scar, as if their one defect summed up a whole being. Of course, some scars have really terrible stories behind them. On this show, funny and scary stories about scars.


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25 thoughts on “This week’s shows: Green Parking and Jackson Browne

  1. peter brush

    Today, only 7 percent of graduates in the country are humanities majors.
    That number really surprised me in its diminutive quality. It turns out I don’t know what the humanities are. The category is made up of four major majors (English, History, Languages, and Philosophy) with some minor majors like Art, Music, and Theater. Perhaps the number seems low because it doesn’t contain fields I might have assumed to have been included; Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Non-applied Math, and pure Science. Another cause of surprise may be that when I was considering higher education there had been a spike in the number of folks majoring in the humanities. (Garrison Keillor’s running joke about the impracticality of an English degree is funnier to those of us who remember the sixties.)
    But, apparently, there hasn’t been a decline in the percentage of male graduates with humanities degrees if one looks at the period 1950-2002. Any general decline is a function of a dramatic decline for women. That females moved from the humanities to Business suggests to me that in general the humanities are less popular because of the above referenced impracticality, the difficulty of getting a job in “one’s field” with a humanities degree.
    Speaking as a graduate of a “great books” liberal arts (as opposed to humanities) college, I’d note that the actual learning in humanities is probably less than the number of degrees might suggest. It used to be that colleges required students to take courses in, for example, English to get whatever degree they might be working towards. Such requirements are largely a thing of the past, even at the few colleges like Columbia that still have a “core” curriculum.
    If Brooks is right, one would expect a general decline in enrollments since the 1950s. But the long term results actually show that since 1950, only women have shown a major drop in the percentage of humanities majors. (And keep in mind that the college population has increased dramatically in this period: this is just about college students). Men are just as likely (7%) to major in the humanities as they were in 1950, although there was a large spike in the 1960s.

    1. bill cone

      colin- love your show btw, we also have a mutual friend but we never met, but i digress. First a comment about yesterday’s show, why no mention of the most important discipline with regard to making green parking: landscape architecture? Regarding today’s show on the humanities, i wanted to mention that i am involved with the design and construction of a NEW humanities classroom building at PC! they clearly are bucking the trend. i thought that was interesting.

    2. Billy Yo

      Peter; I recall (perhaps incorrectly) that teachers were excluded from the draft. Or at least exclusions applied to those who stayed in school – hence the abundance of advanced degree students in the humanities? I believe so.

      1. peter brush

        I don’t think there was such an exemption for teachers. Of course, there was deferral for students. Not sure that the spike in humanities students can be attributed to draft dodging, though, because deferrals were available to engineering guys as well as those getting PhDs with dissertations on William Blake or Fyodr Dostoevsky. Think the spike probably related to heightened cultural romanticism; Allan Ginsberg, R. Zimmerman, Reverend Martin Luther K., Summer of Love…

  2. richard

    Practical Majors are in. Society gas devalued everything else either via secular and literal readings of the world or by career economics.

    Seriously, would anyone choose journalism today after the block blogosphere and collapse of professional journalism? Communications and Marketing which focus in todays technologies are picking up steam.

  3. richard

    Undergrad majors always lag behind reality. Happens in tech all the time. The humanities? The question is whether 50 YO race, gender, and class verbiage has relevancy. Face it, most of that tripe smells like old people. Cheryl Sandberg tried to move the cheese on feminism and got pilloried by professional feminists crones. Not the first time as when Paglia and others took on academic feminism.

  4. richard

    Feminism. When classes became an exercise in psychology and the students audited the patient/professor over beers to diagnose their underlying trauma and relationship failures.

    Susan Fsludi’s take:

    Faludi has criticized the obscurantism prevalent in academic feminist theorizing, saying, “There’s this sort of narrowing specialization and use of coded, elitist language of deconstruction or New Historicism or whatever they’re calling it these days, which is to my mind impenetrable and not particularly useful.”[13] She has also characterized “academic feminism’s love affair with deconstructionism” as “toothless”, and warned that it “distract[s] from constructive engagement with the problems of the public world

  5. peter brush

    Or are they simply taught uninterestingly by tenure track professors who have embraced an impenetrable, anti-populist way of thinking and speaking?
    There is that.
    Starting in the sixties, when everything else started, the folks in charge of the humanities have become anti-humanist, relativists, nihilists. In the fifties you could attend Cornell and take a English lecture from V. Nabokov. Now you are likely to get a lecture from some half-baked, post-structural, careerist PhD.

  6. richard

    Young women figured out the way to equalize disparity is to take high paying careers and challenge men on their turf. Math and Sciences and Management and Finance. Next of that whiney Emily Dickenson or Sylvia Plath stuff. Love them both but the ivory tower isn’t a solution. Its a means to an end.

    1. Cynical Susan

      Still think he’s Mark Twain, Billy Yo? D’you think Twain/Clements hated women this much?

      1. Billy Yo

        Richard is getting theoretical on us today. And this was not Mark Twain’s strong suit.

        Mark Twain is not always funny. But his is known to jump out from the bushes when you least expect it. Richard will do like wise – when he is ready.

      2. Billy Yo

        Cynical; I don’t think he disparages women. He is just expressing social commentary. Be honest, we had and continue to have at many higher learning centers a Woman’s Studies department. And why no Men’s Studies department?

        Do you think us men know enough about ourselves and each other to not need an advanced degree in man junk?

        Well, do you?

        1. Cynical Susan

          Perhaps you haven’t been around this blog (and others) long enough to see his extreme anti-feminist anti-female commentary.

          As far as Men’s Studies: since most of history is of men’s actions and men’s writings, it seems to me that Women’s Studies have been an effort to catch up, to show that half the world’s population hasn’t totally been hidden away even though efforts to that effect have been made.

          1. peter brush

            Women’s Studies have been an effort to catch up, to show that half the world’s population hasn’t totally been hidden away
            I think you’re right, Cynical. Probably as good as any explanation for why it, and all the other victim group Studies are crumby, pseudo fields. I trust you’re not paying student debts related to tuition for such phony programs.

          2. Billy Yo


            Using the same reasoning, do you also feel the same about African American studies? Native American Indian studies? How about Jewish studies? What I am suggesting is that of course, there are legitimate studies not unlike Women’s studies, and these studies may not be on par with the natural sciences. But they are areas of study. You sound like my old man who once said to the effect that the search for truth in found in the lab, then art and other similar non lab studies are, in your word, pseudo.

            The argument is reduced to whic area of study ranks higher on the totem pole. Saying it is pseudo show insecurity on your part. It’s a feel good statement at best.

  7. Cynical Susan

    No Peter, I’m so old that when I went to school history and literature had only been made by white men.

    1. richard

      It still is cynical. The feeble thrashings of women are still not of merit. Taylor Swift or Kanye for relevancy? Kanye’s millionaire pissing and moaning about race is topical in a Jar Jar Binks kinda way of faux protest. Taylor is just another broken heart.

      1. Cynical Susan

        Ah yes, Swift, exactly whom I was thinking of. Or ….. not.

        Flail away, Richard, flail away.

    2. peter brush

      when I went to school history and literature had only been made by white men
      Women’s studies, also known as feminist studies, is an interdisciplinary academic field that explores politics, society, media, and history from women’s and/or feminist perspectives. Popular methodologies within the field of women’s studies include standpoint theory, intersectionality, multiculturalism, transnational feminism, autoethnography, and reading practices associated with critical theory, post-structuralism, and queer theory. The field researches and critiques societal norms of gender, race, class, sexuality, and other social inequalities. It is closely related to the broader field of Gender studies.

  8. richard

    The Wendy Davis feminists chanting “Hail Satan” in Texas today while calling for “abortion on demand through all 9 months”.

    so refreshing. None of that “open and affirming” Christ crap. Outright rejection of the Religious Right. No stupidly heretical attempts to rewrite the Bible and pretend they are visionaries with a whole new bible full of abortion and LGBT marriage rights.

  9. DrHunterSThompson

    To witless:

    Oh my, how thou commenters bore, huh? Wow.

    Jackson Browne? Could be your best guest ever, we shall see. I hope you talk song writing, though the truth about Daryl Hamnah would be hip as well.


    1. peter brush

      You sound like my old man who once said to the effect that the search for truth in found in the lab, then art and other similar non lab studies are, in your word, pseudo.
      For coffee in Connecticut I would go to Middle Ground Cafe in Stafford Springs, if you ever find yourself in eastern Connecticut it’s one of the few safe havens from Dunkin Donuts. In Kansas City I go to the Filling Station, mostly for the juice. I like a dark dark chocolate. That Mast Brothers chocolate is pretty great.

      While I lived in Connecticut I would see deer pretty much every day, as well as Coyotes, Foxes, Owls, wild turkeys, barn cats, I’ve never lived so rurally – it was pretty great.

      1. Billy Yo

        … And don’t ever pass through Nashville without stopping at Jack’s barbecue on Broadway.

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