A Point of View

A Point of View

Weekly reflections on topical issues from a range of contributors including historian Lisa Jardine, novelist Sarah Dunant and writer Alain de Botton.

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Recent episodes (10)

  • The Power of Art - 23 Jan 2015

    Fri, 23 Jan 15

    Duration:
    10 mins

    AL Kennedy reflects on the importance of the beauty and creativity of art to sustain the human spirit.

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  • AL Kennedy: Language and Listening: 16 Jan 15

    Fri, 16 Jan 15

    Duration:
    11 mins

    AL Kennedy reflects on the importance of learning languages and listening to one another. "More words give me more paths to and from the hearts of others, more points of view - I don't think that's a bad thing." Producer: Sheila Cook

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  • Adam Gopnick: Charlie Hebdo 09 Jan 15

    Fri, 9 Jan 15

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Adam Gopnick reflects on the Charlie Hebdo massacre. "The notion that what some have called France's 'stark secularism' - or its level of unemployment, or its history of exclusion, that imposed invisibility - is in any way to blame or even a root cause for this, depends on being ignorant of the actual history of France." Producer: Sheila Cook Editor: Richard Knight

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  • AL Kennedy: The Pursuit of Happiness: 02 Jan 15

    Fri, 2 Jan 15

    Duration:
    11 mins

    A L Kennedy reflects on what it means to pursue happiness in a world where "not having enough money can be utterly miserable" and indulging our desire to acquire is also unsatisfying. The answer may lie in seeing that happiness is, "not so much a condition as a destination - it can inspire journeys ...better made in company". Producer: Sheila Cook.

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  • David Cannadine: Monarch's Message: 26 Dec 14

    Fri, 26 Dec 14

    Duration:
    11 mins

    David Cannadine reflects on the history of the Queen's Christmas message. Following the success of the first broadcast in 1932 by Queen's grandfather, King George V, "what had begun as a one-off innovation soon became an invented tradition, and there can be no doubt it brought the king closer to his subjects than had been true of any monarch who had gone before him." Producer: Sheila Cook

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  • Roger Scruton: Art: The Real Thing: 19 Dec 14

    Fri, 19 Dec 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    In the last of his three talks on art, philosopher Roger Scruton looks at the real thing, as opposed to cliche or kitsch. We must ignore the vast quantities of art produced as commodities to be sold, unlike symphonies or novels that cannot be owned the way a painting or sculpture can be. Real art has to have lasting appeal, he argues, and for that it needs three things: beauty, form and redemption. It takes immense hard work and attention to detail, but then it can give meaning to our modern lives, and show love in the midst of doubt and desolation. Producer: Arlene Gregorius

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  • Roger Scruton: Kitsch: 12 Dec 14

    Fri, 12 Dec 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Philosopher Roger Scruton looks at kitsch in the second of his three talks on art. Kitsch, he says, creates the fantasy of an emotion without the real cost of feeling it. He argues that in the twentieth century artists became preoccupied by what they perceived as the need to avoid kitsch and sentimentality. But it's not so easy. Some try being outrageously avant-garde, which can lead to a different kind of fake: cliche. So a new genre emerged: pre-emptive kitsch. Artists embraced kitsch and produced it deliberately to present it as a sophisticated parody. But is it art? Producer: Arlene Gregorius

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  • Roger Scruton: Faking It: 05 Dec 14

    Fri, 5 Dec 14

    Duration:
    11 mins

    Philosopher Roger Scruton reflects on the difference between original art that is genuine, sincere and truthful, but hard to achieve, and the easier but fake art that appeals to many critics today. He argues that original artists from Beethoven and Baudelaire to Picasso and Pound tower above those contemporary artists whose less arduous to create pieces only peddle fake emotion. Artists like Damien Hirst try so hard to be challenging, that causing shock or offence becomes their main motivation. But by focusing on avoiding cliche, they end up being examples of cliche themselves. Producer: Arlene Gregorius

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  • John Gray: Thinking the Unthinkable 28 Nov 14

    Fri, 28 Nov 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    John Gray argues that "thinking the unthinkable" as a way of making policy does nothing more than extend conventional wisdom to the point of absurdity and fails to take account of the complexities of reality. "Capitalism has lurched into a crisis from which it still has not recovered. Yet the worn-out ideology of free markets sets the framework within which our current generation of leaders continues to think and act." Producer: Sheila Cook

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  • John Gray: Dostoevsky and Dangerous Ideas 21 Nov 14

    Fri, 21 Nov 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    John Gray points to lessons from the novels of Dostoevsky about the danger of ideas such as misguided idealism sweeping away tyrannies without regard for the risks of anarchy. "Dostoevsky suggests that the end result of abandoning morality for the sake of an idea of freedom will be a type of tyranny more extreme than any in the past." Producer: Sheila Cook

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