"Unconventional Wisdom"Jad Abumrad, Robert Krulwich, Baratunde Thurston, Roopa Vasudevan, and Mike Yung
This episode was originally taped at a live show on October 21, 2016 (Brooklyn, NY)
In this special election episode of Live Wire, Radiolab hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich provide a cautionary tale of civic strife, comedian Baratunde Thurston speculates how the election has come to this divisive point, coder and artist Roopa Vasudevan explains what social media can show us that the polls can't, and subway performer Mike Yung demonstrates why his powerful voice went viral and reassures us that “A Change is Gonna Come.”
Jad Abumrad & Robert Krulwich
Okay, you know these guys. Jad Abumrad and Robert Krurlwich are the hosts of Radiolab from WNYC Studios, a radio show and podcast about curiosities. Somehow they manage to find the most curious stories and make them even curiouser. Not only has the show won them two Peabody Awards; it’s inspired us want to know more about things like the biology of sleep, stochasticity—the science of random variables, and to better understand just exactly what color is.
We doubt you’re unimpressed but we’ll continue. The MacArthur Foundation awarded Jad a Genius Grant in 2011. He’s reported stories that have appeared on Studio 360, Morning Edition, All Thing’s Considered and Democracy Now! He’s the first result when you google to the name “Jad.”
Don’t forget Robert--a radio and television journalist, and the former science correspondent for NPR. His work has appeared on everything from Nightline to NOVA. The New York Times put it best when they said that he’s “the man who simplifies everything without being simple.”
These guys are the studs of science, the radicals of radio. Why are we even typing when they need no introduction?
Baratunde Thurston is our comedian and cultural critic of the future, and he’s doing just what the job title implies: helping envision a better future through dialogue, comedy, and wit. Thurston is the New York Times bestselling author of How to Be Black, a collection of essays that are both hilarious and critical commentary on mass-media’s unending racism, and monochromatic portrayal of black culture in America. He co-founded Cultivated Wit - a comedy/tech incubator that brings comedians, programmers and designers together to make and break zany products. He built the digital departments for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and the Onion. He’s been on and hosted no fewer than a bajillion TV shows and podcasts including the Our National Conversation About Conversations About Race, which he co-created. The man knows how to get real and how to get real funny. He’s our future, and the future is bright.
Roopa Vasudevan is here to explain us to ourselves. An artist, creative coder, and researcher, Vasudevan is out to trace all the digital bread crumb trails we leave behind our most unthinking actions to figure out why we did what we did. Spooky, right? We think so too. Her most recent project, #Bellwether, is an exploration of Twitter data from the 2016 primaries that debuted in Cleveland during the RNC and is on its way to a show in Brussels. Her previous work has been exhibited internationally, featured by Reuters, Slate, The New Yorker blog, the FADER, Hyperallergic and more. She is currently an Arts Professor at NYU Shanghai and is making the journey back to New York to cast her absentee ballot in person and chat with us about how we really feel about this election. We’re hoping she can explain some of our choices to us, but also hoping she stays away from our Google search history...
Pitchfork calls Mike Yung “the viral singer that time forgot.” Caught on video this past fall belting the Righteous Brothers’ classic “Unchained Melody” in the New York subway, Yung returned to the front of a lot of people’s minds. The video of his incredible voice went viral, getting Yung a lot more attention and a lot more invitations to late night shows, like this one with James Corden. Yung’s got a voice to move mountains, and he’ll be with us at Littlefield. Doubt we’ll forget.