tv Book Discussion on Dead Presidents CSPAN May 29, 2016 5:15pm-6:16pm EDT
>> hello? hi. good evening, everyone. thank you for joining us here at politics & prose for our monoevenning event. before we get started, just a few quick things. one with, please take a moment now to silence your cell phones or pagers if anyone uses those still or anything that could possibly make a sound during our event. two, after her -- after his talk, mr. brady carlson has agreed to take questions, so if you could line up behind this microphone and speak clearly into the microphone, because we do have c-span filming today. so just make sure that both the audience can hear and that it can be recorded for posterity. third, after the event if you could help us out by folding up the chairs and just kind of stacking them, leaning them against the sides, that'd be great. so, yeah. i don't know how you heard about
us, but politics & prose, we try to be more than a bookstore, also a community center. we hold about 500 events a year between this location on connecticut avenue and our three busboys and poets locations atta coma, 14th and v and 5th and k. so, yeah, we have little fliers at the inknow desk, they're also -- info desk. and our recording will be both on our slate podcast and on our youtube channel in a couple weeks. so today i have the pleasure of introducing mr. brady carlson and his debut book, "dead presidents," which is a book about pretty much what it sounds like. [laughter] mr. brady carlson recounts his quest to visit as many presidential grave sites as possible, crisscrossing the country from massachusetts to california. his day job is a reporter and host at new hampshire public radio, and his radio host talent for sly humor and economy of words shines through in this
book. it's a whole lot of fun to read, being part first person travel ogg and part history book. and at times it almost feels like you're flying across hundreds of years to come face to face with the living ghosts of presidents. what i mean to say is that this book is really good. and you should all buy it and read it. [laughter] but i'll let brady take it away. [applause] >> well, thank you all so much for coming. i don't know if i could really add to that. i may just want to sit back down. thank you, jason, that was great. no, it is really wonderful to be here with you at politics and prose which is a dream come true. thank you for the nice weather. this is fantastic. i really appreciate that. it's been almost exactly four years since i dreamed this up as a project, and so getting to share it with all of you now after all this time is really
exciting. and it's also, to be frank, a relief. there's a period of time, i don't know how much you know about book publishing, but there's a period of time where your manuscript is essentially locked down no matter what happens in the world, it can't be changed until the book comes out and then you, hopefully, get to publish a second edition. and we have two presidents who are in their 90s right now. and in that period where, essential hi, my manuscript was on the dark side of the moon, i lost a lot of sleep. i'm not sure which thing worried me the most, the announcement when jimmy carter said that he had brain cancer or when george h.w. bush decided to celebrate his 90th birthday by going skydiving. [laughter] it was pretty hairy for me. i actually had somebody once say something to the effect of, well, you know, maybe your book could come out and then something could happen to one of them, and that's the extra chapter for your paperback edition, like, that's incredibly morbid if you think about it.
wow. i mean, i've got to be honest, despite the evidence that i spent four years traveling to all the grave sites of the u.s. presidents, i'm not a morbid guy. this was, for me, initially just a chance to go to see the presidents and get as close to them as you can until we figure out a way to go back in time and meet them in person anyway. i just always wanted to be around the presidents. it's a topic that has been interesting to me since i was a kid. i would take these stacks of books home from the library, and i would study up on the statistics about the presidents the way a baseball fan might look up the era for their favorite pitcher or home run and rbi totals for their favorite clean-up hitter. but the more time i spent at these sites, the more i realized that there are these connections not just about the lives of the presidents, but about their after lives. for example, there's a great quote from bill clinton who once said that being president is a lot like running a cemetery. there are lots of people under you, and none of them are are listening.
[laughter] so about four years ago, i decided to make this a project, and i said i'll have a look at each of these 39 grave sites -- there are actually 38 grave seitz of u.s. presidents, but grover cleveland was president on two non-consecutive occasions, so i had to visit his grave on two non-con executive occasions. and i realizeed the presidents never really quite leave us. they die, they are buried or they are entombed and they have funerals, but they have to keep working. and so i gave this period of their lives or after lives a name. it's the post-post-presidency, and it's a very, very busy time. even though they're not around to be part of it because of what we do in their honor and in their names. i mean, we are in one of the most obvious examples of that. washington d.c. we just had presidents day
earlier this month. so there are a lot of really obvious things. our money has presidents all over it. but there are a lot of less obvious examples too, a lot of connections that maybe don't come up in our wallets or in our mailing addresses, our highway system is officially named the dwight d. eisenhower system of internate and defense highways. and there's that statue in alexandria, virginia, as the start to the highway system. the man who wrote "this land is your land" is woodrow wilson guthrie. interestingly, the one person who always comes to mind as a famous person named for a president, george washington carver, was actually named for george washington. there are these serious connections and then there are ones that are just plain inexplicable, and i bring you some news from the world of commerce. there's a whole set of presidential pez dispensers so
you can open up zachary taylor's head and pull out a candy and the teddy bear named for president teddy roosevelt, and this i saw in cleveland, ohio. it's from the 19th century, garfield tea, laxative and diuretic. the slogan, flush your bowels with garfield tea. but there are some things that connect to us even today. far beyond, you know, what happened 100 or 150 years ago. we saw an example of that last year when president obama decided to change the name of the highest mountain in alaska from mount mckinley to denali. in my home state of new hampshire, we had an example of that about a decade ago when we have the presidential range of mountains, there's mount washington, mount adams, mount pierce, and some lawmakers wanted to add a mount reagan to the presidential range. there was a big debate about that. nevada had the same thing happened. there was an effort to put a
mount reagan in nevada as well. so these issues do come up from time to time. dead presidents can set trends just in the same way that live presidents can. there's the old apocryphal story about when john kennedy decided to stop wearing hatses, so did the men of america? that may not be true. but after president kennedy died and was beforelied at arlington national cemetery, the demand for people who wanted to be buried there went up so much that they had to tighten the eligibility because so many people were trying to get in that they were worried they were going to run out of space. you will often hear the names of dead presidents used to make points. you'll hear sort of in the aftermath of a president's death and funeral if that president were still here today, what if we could have a president like that in the white house again today. and not just their names. their bodies are sometimes used to prove points. two years before the civil war, a president's body was exhumed from a northern state and moved to a southern state.
be another president's body was paraded around the country just after the civil war essentially to convince northerners to treat the southern states harshly as they tried to rejoin the group to on. a third president was exhumed more than a century after his death all a basically because of a conspiracy theory. here's a short list of some of the other connections you might not have thought of. dead presidents show up in space. there are asteroids named for at least five of them. they show up in sports. i went to a town in iowa cha once a year has the distinct pleasure of hosting the national hoover ball championships. dead presidents show up in food. there's a sandwich you can get in upstate new york called the millard fill me more. and coolidge family has a cheese. dead presidents show up in music. there's a song called james k. poling, johnny be -- koch. lou reed had a song called the
day john kennedy died, and again coming back to millard fillmore. he is buried in the same cemetery as the superfreak himself, rick james. dead presidents are also connected to the "star wars" universe, and it's the final resting place of woodrow wilson. high up in the tower at washington national cathedral there is a gargoyle or technically a grotesque of darth darth vadar. all in one place. which is just about as american as it gets, right? here's why it's important to know about these things. it's not just because they're fun or because they're important to know about, you're paying for the world of dead presidents. because every single president these days is entitled to a state funeral conducted by the u.s. military. every president is entitle today a presidential library, and on each president's birthday the military holds a wreath ceremony at his grave, all of which we
pay for through our tax dollars. now, this whole crazy world starts right in this part of the country, and let me just start before i tell you these stories, be kind. if you know some of these stories as washingtonians, just tell all your friends that the dead presidents book tour after party's tonight, you know, there was this adorable guy at the bookstore and how cute it was he came to washington and explained it to us. this story really does begin, where all things begin with the u.s. presidents, with george washington. just as he set so many precedents and customs and traditions about how a president was to act, what he was to do and not to do. so, too, did he become the first dead president and create all sorts of precedents about how we're treating our former leaders after they pass on. and in george washington's case, it was maybe a little bit bigger than usual because here's someone we couldn't even wait nfl he was gone to start --
until he was gone to start memorializing him. not long after the american revolution was over, there was talk in the governmental circles about building a giant statue of george washington on horseback in the center of the new capital city to be a sort of large scale example to the nation. it was supposed to look, if you've ever been to washington circle, that statue of george washington on horseback, it was supposed to be like that but transformer size. and george washington was very, very nervous when he heard this kind of talk, because he remembered a time when he was in new york city, and his soldiers had heard the declaration of independence for the first time. and they reacted so strongly that they went up to a statue of the king of england and tore it down. he thought if this whole democratic experiment goes south, i don't want people pushing down my statue. he pushed to not build statues of me, thank you very much. there was one exception which is when the three commissioners who were in charge of designing what
was then known as the federal city decided to name it washington. and he let them do that not because he thought, oh, well, i should at least get one thing named after me, but because he had hired them to lead construction, and he didn't want to micromanage. so he let that one go. though if you look through his papers, he always referred to this town as the federal city. he doesn't ever refer to it as washington, which is kind of neat. so in life george washington fended off all these attempts to memorialize him before he was dead and then he died on december 14, 1799, and that's when everything started to change. well, it changed for him, first of all, for obvious reasons. he had a bad throat infection in december, and his doctors did him no favors by trying to take something like five of his eight pints of blood while simultaneously trying to get him to throw up. that did not help him. and nor did what happened next. see, washington was very clear in his will about what he wanted
after he died. for example, one of the things he specified was he did not want to be buried for at least three days because he was concerned about being buried alive. he also did not want funeral parades, riderless horses, long speeches, he wanted a simple, private funeral is services. here's what he said in his will. i'm just going to quote: it is my expression desire that my corpse may be interred without preparation. do you think he got a simple, quite funeral? no. we don't roll that way in this country. so he got long funeral parade, he wanted zero speakers, he got four at his funeral service at mount vernon. there were riderless horses and rumors that the country was short of black cloth for months after because there was so much mourning going on. for those who couldn't be at the actual funeral, they held mock funerals across many cities in the curve.
into the society it is definitely worth seeing. now at the same kind there is talk about to have george washington's actual remains that the u.s. capitol. people can come to the capital and look at the rotunda but also look down to see the sarcophagus the fold his remains. there is only one problem they did not check with the family when they came to pick up the body somebody said did you look at the will? teeseven want to be at mount vernon and left alone so they had to fill the hole they had put in the floor if you start your tour today you will start in a room called the crypt now it just pulls a lot of groups a was supposed to hold washington and while that was going on another promises then chief
justice marshall and james madison thought we have to build a great huge monument. the best. has designed the original design was the tallest structure in the world but they could not get the supplies of the marble with supplies of the marble with nor the money together in any organized fashion there would build a little the there have to stop and raise more money then build some more and raise more money. so for years and years it was a big stump in the middle of the capital city where its pc the little cows to eggs and sheep. there is a great article in "the new york times" that
they can see the stump in the middle of us city the july 1850 they held a fund-raiser as a fund-raiser was a sitting president zachary taylor. and health officials had warned people not to consider dustings analysts then so be it later she is dead. and if you have never been to the washington monument you know, that spot where the color changes that is where the stump ended in the west army corps of engineer era began in than they realize there is only one organization i can finish this.
it did take until 1885 which is more than one century later when the idea was proposed in '86 after washington died and 20 presidents. that is how long it took. into go under repair you remember that earthquake and extensive renovation many our eighth grade boys looking like the washington monument to take horrible pictures is a terrible thing san snicker to each other. have even gotten to the body and it in his will he asks please at least put my remains in the new family tomb because it is situated right by the potomac river
which was prone to flooding he was afraid of his bones washing down stream and it took 30 years to build that because now diverted was unprofitable. and all these people were making pilgrimages uninvited so by the time they did build it to the coffin was deteriorating. so those who took charge of moving his remains their product and account for this in the magazine and everything they wrote was a in passive voice so he was moved aside power and in the process a hand was laid upon his head cruz? that could not be cast.
somebody did it. nonetheless they manage to make a successful transfer with one caveat that want to was to a small to fit in the sarcophagus they did not measure and then at some point somebody took off part of it as a souvenir and had to build a larger urban monument around it. they got all figured out. now burden has had 80 million visitors with presidents and kings and queens and dignitaries. it can take a house to work and sample some of the whiskey that was distilled
using his actual recipe and now it is to appoint a national treasure movies you can do the neck -- the nicolas cage. [inaudible] which is fascinating if you do that and i highly advised that you do listened closely because i am pretty sure you can hear the sound of george washington and rolling over in his grave of over the all the things we have done to him i said before he set precedents so what is it or the customs that have come up? first whether they wanted not to make large expensive monument said take forever and we argue about them in the open a lot of coffins and a lot of presidents
bodies, all lots, thievery and bad behavior but we get right in the and. look at the timeline of dead presidents george washington by 1799 then not another one intel 1826. i have a theory john adams and thomas jefferson immediately successors were convinced having seen what happened to their predecessor they wanted to avoid becoming dead presidents as long as possible. thinks are coming. five. [applause] >> and do you have a story
to tell us about the amazing beautiful semicircles of columns that marks the demise of parting? >> my first harding question. this is fantastic is a buddy remember that warren harding was a president of the united states? he is on the list warren harding is like marion of the president's. i think he has one of the most beautiful tunes it is a circular said of called the citizen very in ohio which is a small town. he died 1923 i didn't get to write a lot about this but it took a long time to raise the money for those columns because after he died
relearned more about what is going on in his white house with the drinking and gambling fathering children with a woman that was not his wife and his carousing and the teapot dome scandal and at that point the worst thing in the president had been involved with so as a more revelations came out with his death the less people wanted to give a giant memorial in his honor in his home town so calvin coolidge his successor and vice president does some fund raising them that tapers off then herbert hoover canceled some events for the association but then they finally get it built and then there was an article in "life" magazine in the '40's and the memorial was still brand-new when he is barely gone i remember the caption and it
says at the bottom not many people go there now like it had been for decades it was brand new in there already ignored him by happy to report when i was there visiting his grave they have found a new use for that beautiful monument where all the kids to go to high-school take their prom pictures the most scenic spots that they could find i stop by to take a few pictures icl leno would pull up with all these kids then they stopped in posen wave and go to prom. >> great talk. overall percentage rise how many presidents have quiet
grave sites and how many are grand with memorial style and does that match with their desires? >> i don't know if i know the percentages but quite a few have relatively small tombs it would surprise you like theodore roosevelt on long island and lyndon johnson you would expect to have the enormous taxes sized is just another stone in the family plot but for johnson wanted was a library which he did get in there was an interview iran but the architect of the johnson library in austin, texas on campus than they said describe why it is so big intends stories high? they said he wanted to have a very manly presidential library so that is what he got but his to lose the exact opposite he just
wanted to be buried in the family spot next to the river it adds an flow some of the earliest presidents washington and adams and jefferson have a nice final resting place but surprisingly to that used to be the model as private citizens as they no longer belong to the countries of the final resting place would reflect that but it changes into a big ways during the victorian era because that wasn't the fact of life but the aesthetic a really big tomb became much more prevalent especially with assassinated president's grant's tomb is the biggest just with the size it is the largest but makemie's feels like a planetarium on the top of the hill so it is like if
you were seeking a jedi you would go up the hill and garfield who died at the height of the victorian era he has a death castling is current gigantic in on the outside there is a relief from the different stages of his life from an educator civil war, government, laying on his deathbed they actually made a point to put that up there to show him in agony and on the inside this could be the worst although maybe awesome but there is a mural of the assassination inside his tomb so there is a picture of garfield walking to the train station he
knows what it's about to go down garfield doesn't see it so you look at this and what did garfield ever do to deserve this in dignity thrust upon him? i visited there the week after i spent some time in the los angeles area to see nixon and reagan i am sitting on a plane to come back to hampshire getting emails cindy to hear what happened to garfield's to? so they had gotten drunk broken and stolen the commemorative spoons on display encased and it is like we have reached a peak garfield in dignity the worst possible thing if he had known what was coming.
>> is jefferson's burial in monticello? >> it is. the interesting piece about that is monticello, the property is run by a nonprofit foundation except for the family burial ground which is still controlled by the descendants of jefferson. the reason that matters is because there is a group of people who say we are descendants of jefferson by the way in saudi having us and they are not officially recognized by the family even though they are officially recognized by monticello's you have read this agreement at the property over who was part of the jefferson family because the official family still does not recognize the
headings descendants they're not eligible to be buried in the family plot every so often you will hear of an effort to bring back a group into the fold. just one more example of how the issues come up even from hundreds of years ago still matter today. great question. spec colleges in the jefferson cemetery? i did not looked close enough to be sure i will look when i go back. >> dimension in zachary taylor are there any other strange causes of death? >> other than garfield whose doctors did more damage than the bullets ever did the legend has it that harrison died because he stood out in
the cold during his inaugural address without a hat and coat and spoke before two hours a did read the entire vote -- entirely inaugural address to put me to sleep but did not kill me it is still the record address it is long even for that number of warda goes by very slowly lot of talk about the pros and cons of using veto power and then when he turns back to the tale of history then roman history and daniel webster from my home state managed to call off the you wanted to call off the you wanted to mention but still not research recently that says people should look at the water system at the time because three presidents who
die with a 10 year period it could easily be attributed to the terrible conditions of the water and sewer system at that time but even knowing that there still people that talk about harrison this is why you put a coat on when you go outside. [laughter] although i did realize the 50th anniversary of the kennedy assassination -- assassination so they were showing clips of the inaugural address and i figured out uncalled can get in texas? apparently it cancel i was wearing not nearly enough and i was freezing outside listening and thinking they're going to turn into harrison what happened to me in 30 days? [laughter] >> about the rumors of parting being poisoned?
this seems to be a tradition of presidential libraries but did that start with johnson? or whoever? >> though rumors of harding being poisoned he had a tradition to assume that every president that dies in office was done by a nefarious leaning so they tried to murder him because of slavery era zachary taylor that is why he was exhumed in the 1990's and 1991 just to check with the story of parting is one of the best-selling books that cannot after he died to suggest his wife found out about his extramarital affairs and had poisoned him and that was a best-selling book and was almost
certainly rumors to get book sales i wish i thought of that but the public ate it up and some of the hurting papers were burned by his widow which did not help the case for pros have persisted supposedly even after franklin roosevelt died hughes said there are so many great different stories of roosevelt some said the soviets killed him some said it was the inside job some said that actually he faked his death and was living in upstate new york adjusted want to be president anymore so the stories crop up but as far as a presidential library the first public one came from strengthen roosevelt who proposed the idea of a taxpayer funded
library while he was still president which going back to this model as a private citizen who has great power for a short period of time than returns that idea is so low though controversial in low though controversial in the 40's partly it was public works project to make some jobs also ave because he was a quarter and wanted a place he could store all of his stuff but not just in the national archives because presidents have egos and want to be remembered and fondly in the way they would like so all that goes into the presidential library so lawmakers approved for every president since and included hoover who was still alive at the time so he has a taxpayer
funded library but that is the change because more or less up until that point president's left touched to us to make up the decisions of the wood shaped their legacies they would maybe put their handout but now it is partly tax payer funded library to put their message out there and give their perspective and they would love that not all historians with love that some critics say we're underwriting president's telling us how to remember them but we do see over time many libraries have a lot more balanced with the roosevelt library just went under a large renovation and qc all kinds of exhibits about the
japanese internment and his extra marital affairs than the decision how he handled the zero vs. you do see them change over time but the best part not that they have a treasure trove of documents and they do but because they collect everything and thrown nothing out so they have the weirdest tough the roosevelt library has a head in the shape of the sphinx the lyndon johnson library has a joke telling robot there was a get well racoon at the richard nixon library said to him after he had the stroke that killed him thought that would pull him out and also has the famous
picture of when he met to tell this at the white house there is a life-size version there is so many great things and for read the weird stuff is where i go first but maybe that is just me. >> i always wanted to visit the sites i thought it would be interesting and is close as i could get to meet them in person and i did not know for years ago when i said i would do this how it would turn out but there is a series of the males of stranger who thought my idea sounded interesting contacted an agent who contacted me who helped me write a proposal then be which shop to publishers who then got me together and
they'll let me carry out the ventures always have a contact for on your web site division never know. but because presidents are scattered throughout the country but they are clusters in ohio and virginia in the northeast and in the d.c. area so i would take us a trip to see all in one part of the country then go back home and process and do some follow-up other than that a lot of nights and weekends for the day job. . .
because i read all the books as everybody else that has to be the presidents read i had the conventional understanding of who george george washington wasn't abraham lincoln and who all these people were. i would say garfield is one that resonated with me because he's almost completely forgotten. i almost remember one of those kids guide to the presidents where they would say their
names, parties and their term in office and accomplishments and under james garfield's accomplishment is said, and this wasn't the only thing listed to come assassinated by a deranged office seeker which is true but how depressing is that. that book i read through that probably four or five times and she did a great job of characterizing what a neat individual he was and how much potential he had been inhabited for the doctors he probably would have lived a. i come from the generation who did not i don't remember the kennedy assassination. that was before my time i just remember what it was like to live through that.
kennedy was one of the hardest presidents to write about because he is so well-documented and there is tens of thousands of books about the john f. kennedy. but i had to do is look was look from a completely different angle. they've done a lot of commemorating of the assassination of john f. kennedy because why would you. it's all eyes on us for the last time with the people who experienced the assassination first-hand still around to commemorate it. the reason it continues to resignation with us is for a lot of reasons. among them was a essentially good branding and they don't want to say that christ played played that the kennedys did a
phenomenal job of creating the idea that these are people that matter to us in the short period of time when they proposed the idea it wasn't the obvious choice to. it was still a large scale but not within the abraham lincoln gravitas that he ended up getting it he could have made a case and a pretty convincing one at that point. does the diet of merit that and does it turned out the public thought he could and it's fascinating a lot of that is because the kennedy family did a really good job of framing his presidency and legacy in a way that hit home personally not just that he was a political figure or anything like that but
he was one of the great people of history. it's the case that most don't make which is that his ideas live on in the eternal flame. no other president has an eternal flame they look backwards. it struck me how much went into that that's fascinating because it seems when you think about it now you think it's a natural thing. but it felt so natural and i think that was the genius of everything that went into that and has gone into the memorializing that we have done that it was done deliberately deliberately put it all feels so natural. not everybody can say that he.
[inaudible] >> if you're going to go big on something like that, you're not going to go over to the james buchanan memorial, or you. but isn't it funny how these things all have these connotations that build up over time if all of a sudden the monument is built for one purpose and that being part of the rivalry. that's fantastic. it's the 100 years of kennedys next year and rising but he apparently stayed in touch with a number of people in ireland the people in ireland after he took the trip there me for months in the four months before he died and a number of them announced almost immediately that they would be coming to washington and when the french
president felt he had to do something good that kind of sealed the deal. >> i don't want to make this sound crass but they made it something that people who are watching on tv could feel personally invested into which is fascinating even the fascinating thing is that things that went wrong, went right so for example there's the famous playing of taps where the fifth or sixth note cracks or they didn't quite play and the note and there's all these commenters but said it was like the nation's grief because when somebody gives a speech or sings a song and they lose their composure that's what it sounds like or they were out of control and they said well this horse is wound up because he feels so
horrible and i go in on a happier note. there's quite a few of the stories about animals. blackjack is a great example of a. he was known for having the first celebrity presidential dog lady boy, and when he died in the newspaper articles are told about the saddest thing you could think of in regards to the presidential death there were newspaper articles about there was one member of the white house contingent but couldn't understand why the presidents carter wasn't driving back up to pet him and give him doggie treats. he couldn't understand where he was and why he wasn't coming back to the white house for someone who heard about this horrible situation wrote a song trying to explain to the president's dog would have
happened. it talks about he is present in heaven now you just have to understand. presidential grief and monuments and memorializing goes into the world of pets which is so beautiful and american and to bless us for it. and all of you for coming out. thank you. this is so great. [applause] if you could sign here. >> this is book tv on c-span2 is television for serious readers here's a quick look at the lineup for this evening. beginning at 7:30 p.m. we will
discuss how it's become the hot spot for global innovation and on our "after words" program at 9 p.m., we talk about the changing face of america's working class and she's interviewed by the host amy goodman. at 10 p.m. it is a book release party for the book more humane designing a world where people come first. mr. helton is a former senior adviser to the british prime minister david cameron. 10:30 p.m. from the claremont college, jonathan on his book artists under hitler and we rather hitler into the rabbit at 11 p.m. with a look at a smallpox epidemic that hit boston in 1721 that led to the first use of inoculations to spread the growth of disease. that all happens tonight happened tonight on c-span twos book tv.
>> at a university in the western world not just the united states if you believe god created heaven and earth and is the source of power shall now shall not murder not just reason you are considered a dummy and the foolishness, and that truly is foolishness in the people that i've met a come of it is now taken as a given that if you believe something like that, you are intellectually suspect is that that's what happened. >> when you say you know somebody that's spiritual but not religious -- [laughter] i have done hours of radio just on that subject. it is with all respect to the people who say it, it is meaningless. it means i count her in a
sophisticated manner. that is the code word. it doesn't mean anything named spiritual but not religious. if you have no religion, what you have, spirituality, that you believe that flowers are beautiful, you believe that animals are loving, what does it mean? i know for the individual making it means something that without religion, without a code, religion gives you a code and a set of beliefs you at least have to grapple with them. remember israel which is the founding group of the old testament means struggle with god. and i take that seriously as a believer. if your neighbor had pancreatic cancer in 32, the whole country called north korea pushes a
human concentration camp the way people live their come of a hundred million of world war ii. i want the atheists to understand you have to struggle with god, too. it's not enough. i was invited to the great credit the biggest atheist group in the u.s. as far as i know. they invited me to their annual convention which was to their credit to debate their head of the existence. at one point i looked at the audience who were completely come out by the, by the way, decent to me and i can't complain at all they were just fine but i said to them in one moment would you raise your hand if you have ever seen a child porn or listened to a mozart
symphony or have seen a van gogh painting or a sunset and said it's hard to believe that happen on its own maybe there is a god not one hand went up and i looked at them and said. have you ever seen a deformed baby and vow to god raise your hands everyone would have. we struggle more than you atheists do and you think you are the questioning one's. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. booktv takes hundreds of programs around the country all year long. here's a look at some of the events this week. tuesday at politics and prose bookstore in washington the former state department official
on america's role in the world since 9/11. we will stay in the nation's capital wednesday where the former administrator of the white house office of information and regulatory affairs examines the star wars movies can teach about presidential politics, economics and the law. thursday the founder and editor of national affairs with his plan for a more united and prosperous america from the manhattan institute in new york city. also that today we are in baltimore for the actress diane's talk about undocumented immigrants in the u.s.. her parents and brother were deported when she was 14-years-old. she's been named the ambassador for citizenship and naturalization by the white house and next sunday we are live with the alive with the author and publisher on in-depth who will take your questions and comments about his many books. that's a look at some of the programs we are covering this weekend many of thar