Jonathan “Smokey” Baer is an Associate Producer at NPR. He shares this remembrance of a magic moment he shared with Margot reporting on the Hutterite community in Connecticut.
I’ve worked at NPR for many years so I knew Margot when she started here, but we only worked closely together on one piece. This one, from 1988, was broadcast that winter on Weekend Edition Saturday. It’s the story of a Christian community who live communally in Connecticut, the Hutterites. How people live with and express their spirituality was always an important theme in Margot’s work and this piece is a wonderful example of that.
The piece is seventeen and a half minutes long—-something you don’t hear on NPR much these days, but a risk we were willing take given the complexity of the subject and Margot’s sensitive and deft treatment of it.
I recall we spent two days at the community and, at the end of a long first day of recording, we’d arranged to interview a few of the community members in a small room in one of the large houses, which served as home for several families.
When we arrived, the room was packed with many people, more than we’d asked to sit down with. But others had heard about the reporter who was asking some members to talk about their community. Communal living, being what it is I suppose, several people had come, not to speak really but to be a part of the interviews, bear witness in a sense. We made no effort separate the members, those we’d invited to join us and those who just wanted to be there.
The section of the piece which is taken from those interviews begins about at about 10 minutes and 30 seconds into the story. We spent about a half an hour in that room, these committed communitarians and Margot, asking about what commits them to their life.
I remember, after the interviews were over, marking that reel of tape, “Magic.”And, as we left Margot and I glanced at one another and acknowledged with that glance that we’d just experienced something remarkable.
There are moments in radio when all the artifice of the medium falls away and we’re left with pure expression. Margot could create those moments. She does here. And I will forever be indebted to her for having been a part of it.
It could all be completely innocuous, but it does not change the fact that a Virginia State Senator’s resignation has caused the balance of power to shift to the GOP, who have promised not to expand health care to potentially 400,000 low income residents in Virginia.
Some of the episodes haven't been showing up on my podcast lately - I missed all of the show with Emma Thompson last week, and haven't gotten anything so far this week. Is there a glitch in the system that you can see, or are others having this problem? Or is it maybe just me?
No, it’s not just you. We’ve had a glitch with our podcast but our tech wizards at NPR are on it. In the meantime, we’ve been adding our podcasts manually every day so you can still get them. Just be sure to check back and refresh and they should be coming in, albeit slowly.
Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for listening!
From an interview with designer/artist/soul searcher Elle Luna:
So I was using Uber all the time in San Francisco, even though I hated the design. And then I went to the Crunchies awards ceremony and at a post-ceremony event, where I was in a ball gown, I saw the CEO of Uber, Travis…
Feels like we still have a ways to go as a society as a whole (childcare, healthcare), especially as Congress wastes time trying to win political points supposedly trying to repeal what little health care reform Americans finally got.
America is definitely not friendly to families or women or fathers who want to be with their children……yet.
Actually, our foundational copyright laws have barely budged since the rise of the internet. And this is a problem, since some of the biggies were written to accomodate the quirks of a world full of player pianos. Literally. Going through the layers of American copyright law is like doing…
Here, put this bandit hat on.: ‘Gif’ or ‘Jif’ brought to you from a Linguistics major
Typically a g sounds like a j before an i or y. Sometimes a g can sound like a j in front of an e, but it has many more exceptions. Your brain just automatically does it at this point. Don’t believe me? How do you pronounce general? gypsy? giant? george? ginny? gelatin? gymnastics? germ?…
But this point is good, right? “In the nineteen-seventies, after all, airplane crashes occurred with disturbing regularity. Today, they are extraordinarily rare; there hasn’t been a fatal airliner crash in the United States in almost four years.”
James Surowiecki examines Boeing’s decision to outsource the construction of its 787 Dreamliner planes:
…getting the company to commit to a major project like the Dreamliner took some doing. “Some of the board of directors would rather have spent money on a walk-in humidor for shareholders than on a new plane,” Aboulafia says. So the Dreamliner’s advocates came up with a development strategy that was supposed to be cheaper and quicker than the traditional approach: outsourcing. And Boeing didn’t outsource just the manufacturing of parts; it turned over the design, the engineering, and the manufacture of entire sections of the plane to some fifty “strategic partners.” Boeing itself ended up building less than forty per cent of the plane.
This strategy was trumpeted as a reinvention of manufacturing. But while the finance guys loved it—since it meant that Boeing had to put up less money—it was a huge headache for the engineers.