To The Best of Our Knowledge
from Wisconsin Public Radio
The comedian Lenny Bruce had a remarkable talent for
offending people. He loved dirty words...and taboo subjects. And
his comic riffs from forty years ago can still make you squirm today.
In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the power of
words. Also, why one environmental activist took a 17-year vow of
Erin McKean is an editor at the Oxford English
Dictionary and the author of "Weird and Wonderful Words."
She talks with Anne Strainchamps about the pleasures of strange
words like "squintefego" and "limiculous."And
we hear from Steve Martin about a great dirty trick you
can play on people learning a language.
First Amendment lawyer Ron Collins is the
author of "The Trials of Lenny Bruce." He talks with
Steve Paulson about the renegade comedian and junkie who was repeatedly
arrested for obscenity. And we hear lots of Lenny Bruce, and a
bit of Bob Dylan. Also, Jim Fleming talks with Mark Dunn,
author of "Ella Minnow Pea." The book explores what
happens when individual letters begin to be expunged from the
language. It's a technical tour de force since the author labors
under the same restrictions as his characters.
John Francis was motivated by a California
oil spill to stop riding in cars, planes or trains. When he got
tired of trying to explain his decision, he stopped talking -
for 17 years. Francis tells Steve Paulson how he lived during
those years, and how the experience changed him. Francis is now
a Good Will Ambassador for the United Nations and founder of the
non-profit group Planet Walk.
Cassette copies are available
at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 03-01-05-A.
Web Extra: You
can hear Steve Paulson's EXTENDED conversation with John Francis,
the man who didn't speak for 17 years. It's an unedited
producer's cut, available only on our website.
- Mark Dunn, Ella Minnow Pea (MacAdam/Cage)
- Ronald K.L. Collins & David M.Skover,
The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall and Rise of an American Icon
- Erin McKean, Weird and Wonderful Words (Oxford)
- Steve Goodman, Talk Backwards from the album Affordable
Art (Red Pajamas)
- Wes Montgomery, D-Natural Blues from the album
"Incredible Jazz Guitar (Riverside)
- Bob Dylan, Lennry Bruce from the album "Shot
of Love (Columbia)
- Potatoes, Potatoes, from the album The Establishment
- Let's Call the Whole Thing Off, from the album
"The Complete Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong" (Verve)
- Soft Shoe, from the album "Gerry Mulligan
Quartet with Chet Baker" (Pacific Jazz)
- Show Me, from the soundtrack album "My Fair
- Hot Soup, Silence to Song, from the album "Soup
- Indiana, from the album "The Complete Aladdin
Recordings of Lester Young
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