51% Show #1270

Nov 15, 2013

Are we ready for a woman president? Also on this week's 51%,  a collection of personal essays about a city that's hard to let go.

The speculation is well underway about the 2016 presidential race – with Hilary Clinton keeping her options open as others say she's the obvious Democratic nominee.  But it was a rocky road during her last campaign, with the press and analysts criticizing her hair, her clothes, her personality – remarks we just didn't hear about male candidates. So what's it going to take to get a woman elected as the leader of the US? Are we just not ready yet? Writer Marianne Schnall asked dozens of people, from politicians to political activists, and put their answers into a book called What Will It Take To Make A Woman President.

Credit Electronic Frontier Foundation

  One thing a US president now has to deal with is the question of security versus ethics. The revelation that the US has been spying on the private cell calls of world leaders led to some pretty embarrassing high level conversations – and a consideration of banning such spying in the future.

Secret recordings have been used as weapons in political campaigns. But does anything go – particularly in the media? Do public officials have a right to privacy or is the value of the information such recordings bring to light outweigh that right? It's a question considered by the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

Coming up, an anthology of essays about loving and leaving New York. And what is it about those essay collections that we love so much?  

  Joan Didion's essay, “Goodbye To All That”, was the inspiration for a collection of essays about the joys and pain of living in New York City – and why it's so hard to leave. Collected by NYC expat Sari Botton, it's a love song about a difficult romance – nothing about loving New York is easy. Botton is the editorial director of the TMI Project, a non-profit organization that offers memoir and writing classes to people who have stories they need to tell. She talks about the differences, and the similarities, of collecting stories for very different kinds of projects.

Sari Botton is the editor of Goodbye To All That – Writers on Loving and Leaving New York.  It is published by Seal Press.  

And finally, a couple of New York memories.  When I was a kid, my grandmother used to take me to Horn and Hardart in New York City. If you never went to an automat, it was like the food of the future in the  early sixties. Everywhere you looked was tile, formica and clear plastic. Picture a big, clean cafeteria crossed with a vending machine.

Automat, 977 Eighth Avenue, Manhattan
Credit New York Public Library

 89 year old Hilda Baumol of Battery Park City, Manhattan, remembers the automat and a memorable (and long-gone) New York City restaurant chain, Childs. It's part of a collection of audio essays called Forgotten Foods of NY.

And we finish the show with 68 year old Christina Lam of Chinatown, Manhattan. She grew up in Hong Kong and moved to New York to work in a garment factory on East Broadway. She remembers how hard it was to adjust  to American food.

These Forgotten Foods of NY interviews were compiled by producer Anne Noyes Saini.

That’s our show for this week. Thanks to Katie Britton for production assistance.  Our theme  music is by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio.  Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock.