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Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Getting Better

About Jennifer Brea's TED Talk

Doctors told Jennifer Brea that her symptoms were psychosomatic, so she filmed herself and turned to the Internet for guidance. She describes how her online community helped her find the right diagnosis.

About Jennifer Brea

When last spotted in his indigenous habitat, John Oliver was sharing his perception of 2016 and what was to come: a dystopian hellscape.

Batman has been in need of a great unburdening. It became necessary after Christopher Nolan's trilogy posited the Caped Crusader as a hulking avatar of turn-of-the-millennium anxiety. And it grew even more urgent after the drudgery of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which was like chasing the heaviest meal of your life with a fully loaded, twice-baked potato. Over the last 50 years, Batman has crossed the spectrum from the campy, freewheeling POW! of the 1966 TV version to a grim-faced, gravel-voiced bulwark against festering corruption, urban blight, and existential malaise.

There's more than one fractured monarchy in A United Kingdom, a period saga of love, race and colonial politics set in both post-World War II Britain and a tiny African tribal nation then-named Bechuanaland. Some of this really happened: In 1947 the African country's heir apparent, Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) and white office worker Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) cross paths at a missionary dance in drab, foggy post-War London. In the film, their eyes lock across a crowded room; they bond over a mutual love of jazz; that's it, they're hooked for life.

For all the talk of Hollywood smut rotting the moral fabric of society, it's worth noting that, when the public demanded the industry embrace a franchise whose only claim to fame was smut, it chose instead to keep things squeaky-clean.

Thomas Jefferson believed cities bred sin and corruption, and John Wick: Chapter 2 offers persuasive if hallucinatory evidence that Jefferson was onto something. In Manhattan, in Jersey, in Rome, and in, um, Brooklyn, every tourist and beggar and barista and concert violinist is a potential assassin just waiting for the order to clip you in the most ostentatiously art-directed way possible.

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People have been drinking beer for a very, very long time, but it's been tough to know exactly what ancient beer tasted like.

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Willie Lincoln was only 11 when he died in February 1862 of typhoid fever. The Lincolns' third son was said to be their favorite, and after Willie was interred in a borrowed mausoleum in Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown, his father, Abraham Lincoln, returned to that cemetery several times. Newspapers reported that the president visited the crypt to open his son's coffin and hold his body.

Even if you've read the news reports or seen the horrifying photographs, it's hard to fathom the terrible extent of the Syrian refugee crisis. The United States has accepted more than 10,000 Syrians fleeing the country's civil war, but that's a drop in the bucket — millions of Syrians have been forced out of their home country, hoping other nations will take them in. Some have, some have since closed the door.

Could Scottish writer Ali Smith be J.D. Salinger's natural heir? It's not as preposterous as it sounds. Not since Salinger's plucky English orphan, Esmé, soothed an American sergeant's no-longer-intact faculties at the end of World War II has a writer so artfully and heartrendingly captured the two-way lifeline between preternaturally wise children (mainly girls) and young-at-heart gentle souls (mainly men) who forge special friendships that have nothing predatory or Lolita-ish about them.

In the Grant Park neighborhood in southeast Atlanta stands an auditorium that, for more than a century, has housed the massive oil painting Battle of Atlanta. Of late, the venue has become a construction site.

Piles of rubble mount and scaffolding extends high into the air — surrounding the large, cylindrical oil painting also known as the Atlanta Cyclorama. The panorama, which is longer than a football field, depicts scenes of Confederate and Union soldiers from the 1864 fall of Atlanta during the American Civil War.

Craig Morgan Teicher is a poetry critic and a poet. His most recent book is The Trembling Answers, which comes out in April.

America's greatest triumph is its diversity: the multiplicity of peoples, identities, and voices all gathered and vitally alive in one country. Nothing attests to this diversity more profoundly than American poetry, which elevates those voices to song. At its best, our poetry refutes hate, represents and finds harmony in difference, counters generality with nuance, and speaks out against injustice.

In August 1966, a student and former Marine ascended to the top of the tower that housed the University of Texas' main library and began shooting at people below. He killed 14 people on the campus and wounded 31 more. Hours earlier, Charles Whitman had killed his wife and mother in their homes. He was eventually shot to death by police. A 15th victim died in 2001, from injuries sustained in the attack.

Sure, the dictionary's a resource designed to give an accurate accounting of words in all their many shapes and sizes, their definitions and their spellings. But whatever finality a dictionary's thick binding implies, it's destined to beg adjustment just as soon as it has been set, as words take shape, wither from disuse or simply fall in and out of favor.

I read it like a memoir. Like autobiography. Which, ideally, is the way it's supposed to be read, I suppose, but is also a dangerous way to let it into your head. The way it will mess with you most fully and inhabit your dreams. The Twenty Days Of Turin is a novel. There's no truth to it at all. But sometimes it doesn't exactly feel that way.

Seeing a great work of art might quicken your pulse, but now New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art is hoping you'll break a sweat, too. The Met is currently offering a "Museum Workout" — part performance, part workout, part art tour.

On a recent morning, 15 of us gather in The Great Hall before the museum opens. We line up behind two tour guide dancers — both wearing sparkly cocktail dresses and sneakers. A guy with a portable speaker stands nearby.

Painter David Hockney once said, "It is very good advice to believe only what an artist does, rather than what he says about his work." On Thursday in London, a major retrospective at Tate Britain will give visitors the chance to see 60 years of the English artist's "doings."

Oils, acrylics, sketches, photographs, smartphone drawings — Hockney has worked in every medium. He's one of the best-known contemporary artists and his works sell for millions.

FX's Legion is a superhero TV show that resists admitting it is one.

Which is both the most satisfying and frustrating thing about it.

Here's the setup: David Haller is a well-meaning guy who hears voices in his head. It's driven him to drugs, occasionally criminal behavior and a suicide attempt. (Alert TV fans will recognize the actor playing David as Dan Stevens, who was blue-eyed hunk Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey).

I was lucky enough to have a conversation with Margaret Atwood today, about the sudden popularity of her dystopian classic The Handmaid's Tale. You can hear that story here. But there was one thing that didn't make it into the finished piece — a moment when I asked Atwood what she thought the next big trend would be in dystopian reading.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Joyce Carol Oates' latest book opens in 1999 with a killing: A man who considers himself a soldier of Christ shoots a doctor who performs abortions. Over the next 700-plus pages, we see the consequences of that act ripple through the doctor's family and that of his killer.

The novel is called A Book of American Martyrs. Oates, who is outspoken about her liberal politics, spoke with NPR's Ari Shapiro.


Interview Highlights

On telling parts of the story from the perspective of the killer, Luther

In Mexican lucha libre — professional wrestling known for its masked fighters and cartoonish style — the bad guys rule. They're known simply as rudos.

"Mexican lucha libre is for rudos. We welcome any rudo who wants to come in here and be badder than the others," says Marco Espinosa, a fan, from beneath his souvenir lucha libre mask.

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There are two things viewers should know right from the start about Legion, which premieres Wednesday night on FX. One is that it doesn't look, or feel, like a drama based on a comic book — it's more like a next-generation version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, as filtered through H.P. Lovecraft or Edgar Allan Poe.

It was February 1824, and Charles Dickens was hungry. With his father, John Dickens, jailed in the Marshalsea Prison over a debt of 40 pounds, 12-year-old Charles begrudgingly quit school to work at Warren's Blacking Factory in London. His family, who was forced to move into the prison with their father, desperately needed the money; there were 10 starving mouths to feed.

Comedian and actor Irwin Corey, for whom the word "however" was the perfect opening line, has died at age 102. With an impish grin and wild hair, Corey was a nightclub and talk-show fixture who worked with stars from Jackie Gleason to Woody Allen. His admirers ranged from Damon Runyon to Lenny Bruce.

Culture Clash, Survival And Hope In 'Pachinko'

Feb 7, 2017

In fiction we seek a paradox, the familiar in the foreign, new realities that only this one particular author can give us. Pachinko, the sophomore novel by the gifted Korean-born Min Jin Lee, is the kind of book that can open your eyes and fill them with tears at the same time.

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