- uploaded: Dec 10, 2012
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Date: 12-09-12Host: Ian PunnettGuests: Timothy L. O'Brien, Raymond Benson, Bill Wasik, Monica MurphyIan Punnett (Twitter) was joined by author Timothy L. O'Brien, who discussed the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the culture of that period in American history. "What surprises me is how little is really, truly modern in our lives," he said of his research into that era. To that end, he noted that debates over presidential authority, the power of the business class, and issues surrounding race, gender, and immigration existed following Lincoln's death and remain holy debated to this day. On the Great Emancipator, himself, O'Brien marveled that "there's a lot about Lincoln that actually does live up to the myth," unlike many other historical figures who have become immortalized over time.While John Wilkes Booth is forever vilified for his role in the assassination, O'Brien detailed some of the key players who also played a role in the plot unfolding. One such character was Mary Surratt, the woman who owned a boardinghouse where it is believed the assassination was planned and who was hung for her role in Lincoln's death. Although O'Brien conceded that Surratt likely withheld information about her knowledge of the plot from authorities, he suggested that her son, John, who fled the country following the assassination, likely played a more pivotal role in the event.O'Brien also discussed the relationship between Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd, as well as her life following the assassination. He lamented that Mary Todd has seemingly been "brutalized by history" and treated as a caricature by historians. O'Brien attributed this portrayal to Mary Todd's penchant for visiting seances in the hopes of communicating with her late husband. "She was desperately searching for some answers and some support," he observed. Additionally, O'Brien defended Mary Todd against the frequent historical depiction that she was an unhappy spouse, noting that the former president had his own personal issues, such as depression. "I don't know how easy he might have been to live with, himself," O'Brien mused.Behind BondIn the first half hour, James Bond novelist, Raymond Benson, shared his thoughts on the new Bond film, Skyfall. "It pushes a lot of buttons in a lot of people," he said, "it's certainly the best Bond film they could have made in the year 2012." To that end, Benson pointed to the "legacy of Bond" and how, over the years, the style of the films have evolved with each actor who played the legendary spy as well as the mood of society at the time. During his appearance, Benson also talked about how his book, The Man with the Red Tattoo, inspired the creation of a Bond museum in Japan "dedicated to the novel."RabiesIn the second half hour, journalist, Bill Wasik, and veterinarian, Monica Murphy, discussed the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies. Noting that the disease has been recorded in historical accounts dating back to the origins of human writing, Wasik surmised that the terror associated with rabies lies in the fact that it can be seen passing from animals to humans and often originates from domesticated dogs. Since the overt symptoms of rabies may not be visible in animals infected with the disease, Murphy warned that "any wildlife that's acting strangely" should be a sign to call authorities for help. Coast to Coast AM is a North American (U.S. and Canada) late-night radio talkshow that deals with a variety of topics, but most frequently ones that relate to either the paranormal or conspiracy theories. The program currently airs seven nights a week 1:05 a.m. -- 5:00 a.m. Eastern Time (10:05 p.m. -- 2:00 a.m. Pacific Time).Originally created and hosted by Art Bell, as of 2012 the program is hosted on most nights by George Noory. According to estimates by Talkers Magazine, Coast to Coast AM draws approximately 3 million listeners, making it the most listened-to program in its time slotFormat and subject matterThe Coast to Coast AM format consists of a combination of live callers and long format interviews. The subject matter covers unusual topics and is full of personal stories related to callers. While program content is often focused on paranormal and fringe subjects, sometimes world class scientists such as Michio Kaku and Brian Greene are featured in long format interviews. Topics discussed include the Near-death experience, climate change, cosmology, quantum physics, remote viewing, hauntings, contact with extraterrestrials, psychic reading, metaphysics, conspiracy theories, Area 51, crop circles, cryptozoology, Bigfoot, the Hollow Earth hypothesis, and science fiction literature, among others. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the events of that day (as well as alternate theories surrounding them) and current U.S. counter-terrorism strategy have also become frequent themes.