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Listening to America with Clay Jenkinson

Listening to America aims to “light out for the territories,” traveling less visited byways and taking time to see this immense, extraordinary country with fresh eyes while listening to the many voices of America’s past, present, and future. Led by noted historian and humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson, Listening to America travels the country’s less visited byways, from national parks and forests to historic sites to countless under-recognized rural and urban places. Through this exploration, Clay and team find and tell the overlooked historical and contemporary stories that shape America’s people and places.
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Now displaying: July, 2023
Jul 31, 2023

This week, Clay Jenkinson’s conversation with Listening to America’s Enlightenment correspondent David Nicandri after viewing the blockbuster film Oppenheimer. How close did the film stay to the historical record? Was the characterization of Oppenheimer both accurate and compelling? Why does Lewis Strauss (Robert Downey, Jr.) play so large a role in the film? Will the film be remembered in Hollywood history? Why is the film rated R? Is Christopher Nolan’s depiction of Edward Teller an allusion to Stanley Kubrik’s Dr. Strangelove? Do the four narrative strands of the film hold together? What is the significance of the argument of the film that, once you create nuclear devices, they are sure to be used in the next existential world crisis?

Jul 25, 2023

This week, Clay Jenkinson's interview with the Thoreau of Great Salt Lake, Scott Baxter, about the possibility that the lake will die well before it dries up entirely. Baxter has spent decades monitoring the lake as its levels diminish thanks to over-allocation and more recently the prolonged drought in the American West. With his future son-in-law, Baxter circumnavigated the lake several years ago. The toxic dust that is exposed by declining lake levels represents a respiratory problem for the citizens of the Wasatch Front in Utah. That dust finds its way to the snowfields in the mountains east of Salt Lake City, damaging the ski industry and causing the snowpack to melt sooner than ever before. This interview is part of Listening to America's Water in the West initiative.

Jul 18, 2023

This week, the second of a two part conversation between Clay Jenkinson and Lindsay Chervinksy on the life and achievements of John Quincy Adams. The little known sixth President is so interesting that Clay and Lindsay decided to do a second Ten Things program about him. Did he have a sense of humor? Could he relax? What kind of First Lady was Louisa Adams? Was Adams a true abolitionist or did he prefer caution to a bold assault on slavery? Why did he dislike Thomas Jefferson so much?

Jul 10, 2023

This week, the first of a two part conversation between Clay Jenkinson and Lindsay Chervinsky on the life and achievement of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States. Adams was perhaps the greatest Secretary of State in American history. He had a rough one-term presidency, but then he won a seat in the House of Representatives that he retained until his death in 1848. He was one of America's greatest opponents of slavery.

Jul 4, 2023

This week, Clay Jenkinson talks with David Horton of Radford University in Virginia about the artificial intelligence revolution. Where are we with AI and where are we headed? What is the future of privacy? Is it possible to regulate AI? Will the machines terminate us as a slovenly, irrational, and wasteful species? Will we live forever or at least another hundred years? What will universities do now that ChatGPT is rocking education? Meanwhile, Clay asks ChatGPT to write an essay condemning Jefferson for slavery and another defending him.

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