Each week scholars explore the worlds of literature, science, the arts, politics, history, religion, and business through lively discussion with host Sarah McConnell. From the controversies over slave reparations and global warming, to the unique worlds of comic books and wine-making, With Good Reason is always surprising, challenging and fun!
Sidelines Of The Mainstream
LARP stands for Live Action Role Play. Think of it like Lord of the Rings comes to life, where you get to create your own character and wield foam swords on a mock-battlefield. But for many players, LARP is more than just fun and games - it's a lifeline to belonging. With Good Reason producer, Matt Darroch, has the story. And: Climate change, pollution, and development projects are threatening surf breaks all over the world. H. Gelfand says many surfers have taken up the mantle of environmental activism, becoming outspoken protectors of our oceans.
Later in the show: Bird watching isn’t a sport in the traditional sense. There aren’t any touchdowns or raucous crowds. But birders are no strangers to competition. Matthew Anthony charts the rise of birding as a sport. Plus: Jerry Beasely is a 9th degree blackbelt and member of the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame. From the 1970’s until 2021, he developed and taught one of the only college-level Asian martial arts programs in the country.
Put the Phone Down
Whether you’re on foot crossing the street, or behind the wheel -- there are a lot of new technologies to be distracted by. Bryan Porter says that we do not recover from looking at our phones as quickly as we think. Is your brain on the road when you are? And: Screen time is transforming children’s brains. Robyn Kondrad says there are times when it is useful, alongside glaring limitations.
Later in the show: Many of us have horror stories of how we took out extra student loans or took on a new job to pay for textbooks. Thomas Geary heard so many of those stories that he transformed his syllabus to focus on free resources. Plus: A lot of our handheld devices are fun. But they can also help us to monitor our health. Vivian Mortii is working with a team on a smartwatch app that supports neurodiverse people in being more independent.
Legacies Of WWII
In recent years, the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII has gotten more attention. But most of that attention focuses on the West Coast, California in particular. Emma Ito studied the racism and incarceration that Virginians and other East Coast Japanese Americans faced during the war. And: Japanese Americans weren’t the only immigrants persecuted during WWII–many German and Italian immigrants were also sent to incarceration camps and repatriated. John Schmitz’s own family were German Americans who lived for three years in the Crystal City camp.
Later in the show: When you think of archeology what comes to mind? Maybe paper maps and pickaxes in dusty places? Instead imagine precise instruments delicately probing what’s below the surface to prevent destruction to sacred spaces. Richard Freund uses this less invasive archeology to help tell the stories of Jewish resistance in WWII. Plus: There are some well-known violent plots by Germans designed to overthrow the Nazi regime. But what about the quieter acts of resistance? Donald Sunnen studies some of the Germans whose brave, but more conservative resistance saved lives during WWII.
The patient-doctor relationship is complicated and fraught. Patients often feel confused and talked down to, in part because doctors feel like they need to project authority. As a physician and a poet, Laura Kolbe is trying to make room for uncertainty and humility from both sides in the exam room. Kolbe’s new collection of poetry, Little Pharma, explores the messy and human side of doctoring. And: The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed so many vulnerabilities in our healthcare system, from racial inequities to provider burnout. Irène Mathieu is a writer, pediatrician, and medical teacher. She argues that poetry can be a small part of fixing those vulnerabilities.
Later in the show: What if the difference between the right diagnosis and the wrong diagnosis is whether or not a doctor thinks you’re believable? Cathryn Molloy shares why education, socio-economic status, and especially gender influence how doctors listen to and treat their patients. Plus: What happens when we empower on-the-ground healthcare workers like nurses with the ability to solve problems and make real changes in their workplace? Nursing and design thinking expert Erica Lewis says the lives of both healthcare workers and patients are transformed.
Music As Escape
Formed in the mid 1960’s, The Soulmasters was an interacial soul band from Danville, VA. Jerry Wilson and John Irby were the two African-American lead singers, and the other 8 members of the band were white. Producer Matt Darroch headed over to Danville to hear Jerry reflect on his three years in the band and what it was like touring the South during the height of segregation. And: No matter your background or where you're from, we all have that one song that eases our troubles and soothes the soul. Lisa Gilman says this ability to escape through music was a lifeline for American troops during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Later in the show: Meet Virginia Humanities’ new director of the Virginia Folklife program, Katy Clune! She says her passion for folklife stems from her experience growing up all over the world as the child of a parent in the foreign service. Plus: Back in the early 1980’s, Grace Toney Edwards developed Radford University’s first Appalachian Folklore class. She taught it for decades and when she retired, Ricky Cox took over the class until 2020. Now both retired, they reflect on some of their favorite student projects - which have all been digitized at Radford’s Appalachian Folklife Archive.
Attack Of The Zombie Crabs
There’s a parasite inhabiting the bodies of crabs, and making them infertile. Amy Fowler says that if that parasite entered the Chesapeake Bay, 90% of our crabs would be inedible. America is littered with battlefields, and abandoned forts. They’re often some of the most pristine sites of Virginia ecosystems. Plus: Todd Lookingbill is a SCHEV winner for his research on the ecological value of battlefields.
Later in the show: Scientists first noticed coral reefs disappearing in the late nineties. Now, it’s getting worse as underwater temperatures continue to rise. Researchers Nastassja Lewinski and Liza Rogers are busy testing developing solutions to coral bleaching. And: Deer enjoy forest edges. They’re away from the predators in the heart of the forest, and there’s less competition for food. But Matthias Leiu says that the lone star ticks love the forest edge, too.
Gems From the Dessert
With Good Reason finds amazing guests with knowledge, topics and opinions outside of those knocked back and forth by the usual talking heads. With Good Reason combs the desert for gems; people who should be on air but would be otherwise hidden in the sand: Mona Ternus, a veteran of several wars, nurse, and researcher explains how mothers who deploy to war can mitigate the effects on their families. Historian Cindy Wilkey recounts the adventures of the Wright Brothers from the perspective of their sister Katherine, who happenned to be their business manager. Stage and film fight director Greg Lloyd explains that the key to staging a fight scene is in the acting (or "selling") of the vicitm. Unexpected, unique insights.
conversations for the curious
i've been listening to this show for years! it covers such a wide range of subjects - you never know what you might hear about next but it's always fascinating. the host does a great job of asking the questions i want to hear answered most. great listening. keep up the good work!