11.02.15: Extreme Do-Gooders, #BadFluAdvice, The History Of Presidential Debates

Nov 2, 2015

They say charity begins at home - but can altruism go too far? Today on Word of Mouth, a look at the complicated motivations behind the actions of extreme "do-gooders", and the strangely hostile reactions they sometimes face from the world around them. Plus, a historical look at presidential debates: Brady Carlson talks about how and when they became influential parts of the process, and remembers some noteworthy zingers and gaffes from decades past. 

Listen to the full show


Extreme Do-Gooders

If someone offers to donate a kidney to a stranger, should we be impressed - or concerned?  Larissa MacFarquhar, staff writer for The New Yorker, profiles extreme "do-gooders" in a new book called Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices and the Overpowering Urge to HelpIn this interview, she talks about the strange, sometime hostile reactions faced by those who exercise high levels of altruism. 

#BadFluAdvice

A lesson in why not to take medical advice from a celebrity Instagram account: In this interview, Alexandra Sowa, a clinical instructor in medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, explains why "sweating it out" is not a good treatment for the flu, and offers some practical tips on what to do if you do come down with influenza.

Presidential Debates Through History

Have there always been debates? And is there any precedence for such a large field of hopefuls in the race for the nomination? NHPR's Brady Carlson discusses the history of presidential debates and shares a few memorable moments from past match-ups.

Hip Hop Takes the Podium

When you think debate club, hushed rooms, suit coats, ties, and Alex P. Keaton-types may come to mind, but there’s a completely new style of debate emerging on college campuses, and it’s attracting a fresh set of young voices. State of the Re:Unionand producer J.P. Davidson bring us this story.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.