Dole, Robert — Homosexuality and Schizophrenia

In honor of LGBT Pride Month, this edition of Radio Curious discusses one man’s personal experience in recognizing his homosexuality. Until the mid 1970s many people considered homosexuality to be a mental disorder and/or a crime, as it is still in some personal and political belief systems. Homosexual people sometimes were housed in mental institutions, given medication and suffered an array of treatment methods, including shock therapy and other forms of behavior modification.

Professor Robert Dole, our guest in this edition of Radio Curious, was one of many individuals subjected to behavior modification. In his book, “How to Make a Success of Your Schizophrenia,” he explains how the “treatment” he endured as an attempt to alter his homosexual preference made him schizophrenic. His personal memoir describes his experiences growing up in the 1960s as a gay man, his institutionalization at the McLean Hospital in Massachusetts, the insanity that consumed him as a result of his treatment, his self-led recovery, partially based on a spiritual experience, and his subsequent extraordinary life in academia.

Professor Dole, who is fluent in seven languages, teaches English as a Foreign Language at the University of Chicoutimi in rural Quebec, Canada, where he has lived for 30 plus years. He is the author of several books including, “The American Nightmare.” Robert Dole and I visited by phone from his office at the University of Chicoutimi on November 4, 2011 and began our conversation when I asked him to describe the schizophrenia he experienced.

The books he recommends are: “The Death of Ivan Ilych,” by Leo Tolstoy and any book from Stefan Zweig. 

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Cohen, Helen & Lipman, Mark –”States of Grace:”  Difficult to Imagine – Impossible to Comprehend

On May 21, 2008 Dr. Grace Damman was crushed in a head-on collision on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.  Her abdominal organs were shoved into her lung cavity and her bones and muscles were extensively injured. 

A practicing Buddhist, Dr. Grace engaged her spirituality to survive this crisis, heal and accept the new terms of her life.  Three years and 15 surgeries later, Dr. Grace Damman became the Medical Director of the Pain Clinic at San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital where she had previously worked as a physician for 18 years.

“States of Grace” is a documentary film about Dr. Grace Damman, produced and directed by Helen Cohen and Mark Lipman, our guests on this edition of Radio Curious.  We visited by phone from their home in San Francisco, California, on May 16, 2014, and began our conversation with Helen Cohen describing her friend, Dr. Grace.

The films Helen Cohen recommends are “The Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “Guest of Cindy Sherman.” The film Mark Lipman recommends is “Sherman’s March.”

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Rosenwasser, Penny — From Fear to Love: A Judaic Perspective

When Penny Rosenwasser, our guest in this edition of Radio Curious, was a child in the suburbs of Virginia, people sometimes said, “You don’t look Jewish.”  She replied, “Thank you.” 

Her book, “Hope into Practice: Jewish Women Choosing Justice Despite Our Fears,” delves into the Jewish experience and its rich yet tragic cultural history. She explores internalized oppression and ways to face fear with a positive outcome, and describes steps to embrace who we are as a means to create a world based on love, tolerance and justice.

I spoke with Penny Rosenwasser from her home near San Francisco, California on May 5, 2014.  She began our conversation by describing a major theme of her book.

Penny Rosenwasser will be speaking in Redwood Valley, on May 18, at 4pm at Kol-ha-Emek 8591 West Road. Call 707 468 4536 for details.

The book she recommends is “The Colors of Jews: Racial Politics and Radical Diasporism,” by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz.

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Thomas, Sam — Midwives and Murder

The rather fascinating tale of midwifery and murder in York, England set in the mid 1640s is the topic of our conversation with Sam Thomas, author of “The Midwife’s Tale,” and “The Harlot’s Tale.”  While researching English history for his Ph.D. thesis, Thomas happened on to the Will of Bridget Hodgson, a midwife.  A fictionalized version of her life forms the basis for Thomas’s mystery series set in York, in which Bridget Hodgson is the protagonist.

Our conversation with Sam Thomas, recorded by phone on December 27, 2013 from his home near Cleveland, Ohio, where he teaches high-school history, begins with his characterization of York, England, in 1644.

The books Sam Thomas recommends are “An Instance of the Finger Post,” by Iain Pears, and “The Lock Artist,” by Steve Hamilton. 

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DeWitt, Jerry — From Pentecostal to Atheist Part Two

This is the second of two conversations with Jerry DeWitt author of “Hope After Faith:  An Ex-Pastor’s Journey From Belief to Atheism.”

In our first visit, Jerry DeWitt talks about his childhood experiences that led him to be a fundamentalist Pentecostal preacher.  His website is an interesting source with links to the curious conundrums fomented by religion. 

In this conversation, recorded by phone from western Florida on December 13, 2013, we begin with Jerry DeWitt’s process of coming out as an atheist, after twenty-five years as a fundamentalist Pentecostal preacher. 


The books Jerry DeWitt recommends are those that “show the human side of renowned ‘non-believers,’” written by Richard Dawkins, Carlton Pearson, Michael Williams, Dan Barker, and/or Daniel Dennett.

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Click here to listen to part one.

 

 

DeWitt, Jerry — From Pentecostal to Atheist Part One

The freedom to think and the freedom of religion are constitutional keystones and givens in the United States.  However, when those freedoms lead a Pentecostal pastor to come out as an atheist, he is shunned by some and praised by others.

Jerry DeWitt, whose ministry began when he was seventeen, is the author of “Hope After Faith:  An Ex-Pastor’s Journey From Belief to Atheism.” He’s our guest in this two part conversation about his 25 year dialogue with faith, his early beliefs, his evolving skepticism and his embrace of free-thinking humanism.

As it is for all of us, early life experiences are most often taken for granted and form the basis by which we compare subsequent experiences and develop new understandings. 

So when Jerry DeWitt and I visited by phone from western Florida on December 13, 2013, we began the first part of our conversation with a description of his early childhood.

Jerry DeWitt’s website provides information about his book and links to the resources and topics discussed in our program. 

The books Jerry DeWitt recommends are those written by Joseph Campbell.

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Click here to listen to part two.

Binder, Mark & Freund, Hugo — Latkes & Turkey: A Holiday Special

The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah which means “dedication” in Hebrew, commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. It begins every year on the 25th day of Kislev and usually falls in November or December.  The Jewish calendar is based on lunar cycles, and Hanukkah, often called the Festival of LIghts always starts five days prior to the last new moon before the winter solstice.

Thanksgiving is a celebration common to cultures and religions world wide, often after harvest.  It is held in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November which. 

In this the Hebrew calendar year 5774 and the Gregorian calendar year 2013 these two holidays converge with Thanksgiving falling on the second day of Hannukah.  Thus some people will eat latkas, also known as potato pancakes, with turkey and/or stuffing. 

In this edition of Radio Curious we combine two archive editions and tell the story of two very fun holidays.  We start with our 2011 conversation with Mark Binder, author of “A Hanukkah Present!” followed by a 2002 conversation with Professor Hugo Freund about the history of Thanksgiving in the United States.

We begin with Mark Binder explaining the purpose of telling stories around Hanukkah.

We continue with a 2002 visit about the roots of Thanksgiving with Sociology Professor Hugo Freund recorded in a noise hotel lobby at the American Anthropology Association in New Orleans, Louisiana.  

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Luke, Gregorio — The Day of the Dead

Most countries in the world send ambassadors to talk about and promote what their country is like and to carry on political affairs between and along other nations.  These ambassadors often have assistants known as “cultural attaches.”  They bring and share their nation’s culture, history and the folklore with their host countries. 

The cultural event known as Halloween in the United States is celebrated annually on November 1st as the Day of the Dead in Mexico and other Latin American Counties.

In 1997 Radio Curious invited Gregorio Luke, the cultural attache from the Republic of Mexico based in Los Angeles, California, to our studios when he was the Consul for Cultural Affairs. His job at that time was to broaden the Mexican cultural presence in the United States.

Our conversation began when I asked Gregorio Luke to describe the cultural gaps he sought to bridge in presenting Mexican and to tell us about the Day of The Dead.

The book Gregorio Luke recommends is ”The Crystal Frontier,” by Carlos Fuentes.

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Benally, Leonard — A Navajo Elder Remembered

In this edition of Radio Curious assistant producer Christina Aanestad speaks with Leonard Benally, a Dine’ elder. Dine is the indigenous name for the Navajo people. Leonard Benally lived in an area called Big Mountain on the Navajo and Hopi reservations close to the Arizona-New Mexico border. He died on October 11, 2013 from cancer.

In the 1970′s a Hopi – Navajo land dispute erupted on Big Mountain; some claim it was devised to move the Navajo out of the area because Peabody Coal wanted the coal rich land below their feet. As a result, an estimated 20,000 Dine’ were displaced. A few hundred remain to this day-refusing to leave. Leonard Benally was one of them.  

In August, 2012 Leonard Benally agreed to talk about his life.  He began the conversation by describing the boarding schools he was forced to live in, as a child, one being the school for Navajo children in Tuba, Arizona.

Leonard Benally recommends people listen to XIT an indigenous rock band from the 1970′s. This conversation with Leonard Benally was recorded in August of 2012 and first aired on Radio Curious in October 2013.

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Leinen, George — A Mortician’s Philosophy

Continuing our series on the funeral industry in the United States we visit with the owner of a mortuary in a rural northern California town.  As professionals describe their work and philosophy, George Leinen, owner of Empire Mortuary in Ukiah, California since 2000,  joins us in this edition of Radio Curious to share his thoughts and experiences.  We discuss funeral industry trade associations, business practices in some sectors of the industry, and how our guest’s philosophy evolved.

In this program, recorded in the studios of Radio Curious on September 21, 2013 we began our visit when I asked George Leinen to describe embalming,  what it is, and why it’s done.

The book George Leinen recommends is “The American Way of Death,” by Jessica Mitford.

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