Shakespeare, icons, archetypes, current affairs (and riots)

Two great programmes on BBC Radio 4 today, Mon March 16th. There is stuff about Trump and Twitter Spats, American history, the role of popular movies in political or philosophical discourse or not, and an astonishing tale of the Astor Palace Riot in which Shakespeare and 'The English Actor' was responsible for the deaths of 31 rioting commoners at the hands of the US militia.

A Sense of Direction – BBC Radio 4

Very interesting radio show, particularly for any outdoor educators. It explores animal and human ability to sense direction and evidence of magnetic sensitivity in the brains of animals and whether it is present in humans. Our brain can sense magnetic fields but this is reduced by radio signals. Whether this sensitivity allows some people to sense north is not yet proven. But anecdotal evidence suggests that they are but only in times of physical stress, ie when the cognitive function is compromised by fatigue or stress. This could be interesting to people doing extreme sports, or undergoing rigorous activity needing a sense of direction ie lost on an expedition. It also confirms that when lost we walk in circles.

Dresden – 75 years on

A very interesting episode of this excellent radio show on BBC Radio 4. Touches on how geography, namely East Germany before the wall came down, still influences German politics today. Also bits about the idea of transnational nationalism (ie fascism in cyberspace) is a result of this history. Good stuff about art and how it also becomes politicised, for good or ill. Lots of resonance with current rise in populism and what is happening to art in Poland under a populist government. (see my Flipboard magazine for more on this.)