TLS Podcast Picks: The Rise and Fall of Tuna; Shakespeare’s Impact; Gay Marriage

Recommended podcasts:

  • How Shakespeare Changed Everything,” KERA Think (Aug. 22, 2012). This is one of the most fascinating interviews I’ve heard in some time—with Stephen Marche, author of How Shakespeare Changed Everything, which details the amazing influence Shakespeare has had on our culture. Interviews with such knowledgeable scholars highlight how great it is to have a society of 7 billion people that can afford to support scholars who can devote such depth to specialized topics. This interview is just a delight to listen to; I have the book on my to-read list. The main libertarian takeaway is some of the examples given to how Shakespeare’s plays have been reworked and remixed over the ages in various contexts. (I touch on some of this in posts in the tag Everything Is a Remix.)
  • The Rise and Fall of an Improbable Food,” KERA Think (Aug. 23, 2012) A very interesting interview with Andrew F. Smith, author of American Tuna: The Rise and Fall of an Improbable Food. The story is absolutely fascinating: about how tuna went from basically trash-food status with zero percent market, to huge popularity in just a few years in the early 1900s; and then how its popularity increased even more when there were other food shortages during WWI; then how production was hurt when 600 of the tuna boats were pressed into service during WWII and many Japanese-American fishermen were put in concentration camps and other tuna fishermen put into the Navy; how the mylar bags were adopted in part to avoid import tariffs; how the US government encouraged the tuna industry in other countries, in Japan and South America, after WWII in part because of shortages it has imposed by previous policies, leading ultimately to the devastation of the American tuna industry. Utterly fascinating interview. And it highlights the tragic effects of and distortion caused by state intervention in the market.
  • Why the GOP Should Embrace Gay Rights,” (Aug. 22, 2012). A short interview with David Lampo, publications director at the libertarian Cato Institute and the author of the new book, A Fundamental Freedom: Why Republicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians Should Support Gay Rights. “Despite the influence in the party of social conservatives and the Religious Right, Lampo argues that if Republicans actually followed their own rhetoric about limiting the size and scope of government, they would be able to attract gay and lesbian voters who otherwise vote Democratic. An active member of Virginia’s Log Cabin Republicans, Lampo believes the party’s acceptance of marriage equality is inevitable given the huge social gains gays have made in recent decades.” For my own take on why libertarians should support gay marriage, see my post California Gay Marriage Law Overturned: What Should Libertarians Think?.
  • Update: see also Wendy McElroy, “The Art of Being Free,” CSPAN-2 (July 14, 2012). A discussion at Freedomfest with the iconic libertarian feminist author of The Art of Being Free.