In Plato’s Republic, he argues that when a democracy has ripened fully, a would-be tyrant often seizes the moment and takes over. Has the United States gotten to that point? And Republican presidential candidates have consistently grumbled about the state of the U.S. economy, but in California, unemployment is way down and the economic growth is outpacing the national economy. How will the candidates adjust their messaging for California voters? Then, it turns out that winning the Biggest Loser does not necessarily result in a happy ending. After that, we’ll explore great TV music in this golden age of television. And finally, Press Play producer Matt Holzman takes us to Cal State Fullerton where organ transplant recipients break a Guinness World Record.
FROM THIS EPISODE
In Plato’s Republic, he argues that when a democracy has ripened fully, a would-be tyrant often seizes the moment and takes over. Has the United States ripened to that point and is that an explanation for the popularity of Donald Trump? Andrew Sullivan ponders this in a New York Magazine article titled, “Democracies End When they are Too Democratic. And Right Now, America is a Breeding Ground for Tyranny.”
Andrew Sullivan, Senior Editor, The Atlantic
Donald Trump and the other two Republican candidates were in California over the weekend. In a speech at the GOP convention, Ted Cruz tailored his message to California Republicans by talking about the Delta smelt and the state’s tough environmental regulations. But, nationally, the candidates’ messaging has consistently included criticisms of President Obama’s economic policies. But in California, the unemployment rate is only 5.4 percent and the state’s economy is expected to grow faster than the national economy this year. So does messaging on a trainwreck economy that’s worked so well elsewhere in the country land with California audiences?
For more than a decade, contestants on The Biggest Loser have transformed their bodies – and bared their souls – for TV audiences. In season after season, they’ve competed to lose weight through a combination of diet, exercise, therapy and sheer willpower, with phenomenal results. But once the cameras stop rolling, can these weight loss celebrities keep the weight off?
Kevin Hall is a scientist who sought to find out, so for up to six years after Biggest Loser Season 8 ended, he followed its contestants, measuring their progress. What he found was that their experiences on the reality show did not ultimately end well.
Gina Kolata, New York Times
The Game of Thrones theme has spawned a million earworms, and it’s just one theme indicative of the current golden age of original television music. As shows on the small screen become more cinematic and productions more elaborate, television producers have enlisted composers to create original scores to match. For our weekly TV roundup, we’ll speak to a TV music expert about the best television music from Mission Impossible to House of Cards and Empire.
Jon Burlingame, professor of film and TV scoring at USC’s Thornton School of Music.
Every year, thousands of people get together to celebrate organs – kidneys, hearts, lungs, livers. They are transplant recipients and doctors and the families of donors and they converge on Cal State Fullerton to raise money and awareness for organ transplantation. This year, the annual event added something new: setting the official Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of organ transplant recipients in one location. Our producer Matt Holzman was there as a participant.
Press Play producer Matt Holzman and his sisters, Janet,
Lisa and Stefanie have all had kidney transplants.
Cristina Conlon is an official adjudicator with the Guinness Book of World Records.
Press Play producer Matt Holzman was one of 314 people
participating in the Guinness World Record for "the largest gathering
of organ transplant recipients in one location."
More From Press Play with Madeleine Brand
Does copyright law cover graffiti? Clothing company H&M did a fashion shoot in Brooklyn featuring models standing against a gray wall painted with black waving lines. The graffiti was the work of an LA-based street artist, who wanted compensation. H&M responded by filing a lawsuit against him, then dropped it a few days later.
Taylor Mac takes on U.S. history in 246 songs, two dozen costume changes Taylor Mac will perform his “24-Decade History of Popular Music” starting Thursday in LA. It’s divided into four shows on four separate nights. It’s about this history of oppression and activism in the U.S. -- from 1776 to present day.
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