FROM Geoff Boucher
How do our Superheroes define us? Kids and delayed adolescents aren’t the only Americans drawn to Superheroes in comic books and multiplex theaters. Serious scholars are studying the mythological archetypes that get contemporary audiences to spend so much money. Out of all the available archetypes, which ones are going out of style—and who’s most likely to make a comeback? Students of cultural archetypes say that superheroes rise and fall in popularity according to the needs of their times. Batman’s been very big since September 11th—the angry avenger who’s willing to bend the rules in order to get things done. Is it time for a change? Options include the empowered underdog, like Spiderman. Or the Trickster represented by Iron Man. Is Superman just two squeaky clean for a comeback? What mythology will most appeal to American audiences in an era of economic uncertainty and political polarization?
Dixie Chicks Find Vindication, Take Home Five Grammys Two weeks before the Iraq invasion, the Dixie Chicks' lead singer Natalie Maines told a London audience, "We're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." The group was banned on country radio. But that was then and this is now. Last night the Dixie Chicks won all five of the Grammy Awards for which they were nominated. Their big hit, " Not Ready to Make Nice ," is an unapologetic response to Maines' comment about President Bush. We hear more about the politics of pop music from Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times .
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.