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The Forum
7 Feb
Listen to the programme

A conceptual meeting point for this week's three ideas, by Emily Kasriel
The Forum, the BBC World Service programme which boldly crosses boundaries: scientific, creative and geographic, presented by Bridget Kendall.


Psychotherapist Susie Orbach argues that as our body becomes something that can be manufactured and modified at will, rather than something given to us at birth, more and more of us find imaginary faults in our bodies and demand they be 'fixed'. She says that now, for the first time, the ideal body is not that of a real, natural person but of a digitally enhanced, surgically adjusted non-person, which exists only on the marketeers' computers but which millions of women throughout the world are trying to emulate with their real bodies.

Lessons from history are something many people are pondering as they survey the world's plummeting economy. But Canadian historian Margaret Macmillan warns that too much faith in history can lead you down a dangerous blind alley. History, she says, is useful and enjoyable but should be handled with care. So pick your analogy carefully and be wary of making judgements with hindsight.

American writer Tom Perrotta finds that in a diverse, mobile, 21st century society, it's easier to offend your neighbour than you might think. Both protagonists of Perrotta's new novel, The Abstinence Teacher, manage to offend a large part of their respective communities, without meaning to, or even realising what they're doing. And Perrotta also discovers that the new Culture Wars in modern US suburbia are producing rich material for a contemporary novelist: for a start, 21st century rebels are not who you first think they are.

Listen to the 60 Second Idea To Change The World

Each week one guest presents an idea to enhance the world. This week Tom Perrotta advocates a yearly Grievance Day and Apology Day. On Grievance Day, anyone can complain about a grievance which they suffered to the person they see as the perpetrator. The ?victimiser' has the right of reply, but only after three months have elapsed: that's when Apology Day would be. Would this ritualised ?air-clearing' be useful or would it turn us into a universe of whingers?

Your comments...

This idea may have simplified the character of man too easily and it may even have forgotten the vice and stubbornness of man. A day when everybody could complain would only bring out some ppl who don't even understand what their problem is! And I believe there is a bigger number of these than those who target properly their complaint at. Yes, the fear of giving wingers a day to annoy others is roused with Tom's idea. but the necessity of a particular day? Should'nt we be able to do so by ourselves?

Listening to todays programme on the dangers of history Ms Macmillan should remember that people of my age (70+) both here and other British Empire countries were fed The Glories of the Empire and stories of the Great achievements of made. How the British and Canadians (For her benefit) fought in places all over the world From Europe (twice) to outposts in Afghanistan or Far East. Boys books were full of Adventurers overcoming Black tribes in Africa to stories like 'The Four Feathers' in India

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