Whom would you like to interview?

Question: Whom would you like to interview?

Peter Gomes: Well this will sound very strange coming from an arch-Protestant, which I am. But I would be intrigued to talk with the Pope. And why would I want to talk with old Red Socks? Because the Pope is a man of vast learning, vast influence, and profound passions. And whether I like him or not, or like everything that he says or not, he has attracted the imagination, as his predecessors have, of millions of people. And there has to be something there that could be of good use. I would like to have an hour off record in a private room with the Pope. I find . . . I think he would be an interesting person. I might turn out terribly disappointed at the end of it. But I’m not so sure. I think I might be greatly enlightened by that. It’s hard to think of anybody else, quite frankly. I can’t think of a single political leader with whom I would want to spend five minutes, with the possible exemption of Nelson Mandela, with whom I spent more than five minutes in this very room. I can’t think of anybody who’s running anything at the moment that would keep me particularly interested in talking with. And the other sort of people that I would want to talk to, alas all day . . . I mean I’d love to talk to T.S. Elliott. I would . . . I think I would find Shakespeare an interesting person with a slightly jaundiced view of the world which I share. I would enjoy that. I think that I would like to . . . I wish I had known Franklin Roosevelt. I regard him as one of the great heroes of the 20th century church. Churchill, another great figure. Alas, I cannot think of anybody else.

Recorded On: June 6, 2007

T.S. Eliot and the Pope.

Participatory democracy is presumed to be the gold standard. Here’s why it isn’t.

Political activism may get people invested in politics, and affect urgently needed change, but it comes at the expense of tolerance and healthy democratic norms.

Photo by Nicholas Roberts /Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Polarization and extreme partisanships have been on the rise in the United States.
  • Political psychologist Diana Mutz argues that we need more deliberation, not political activism, to keep our democracy robust.
  • Despite increased polarization, Americans still have more in common than we appear to.
Keep reading Show less
Image source: live.staticflickr.com
Surprising Science
  • Australian scientists found that bodies kept moving for 17 months after being pronounced dead.
  • Researchers used photography capture technology in 30 minute intervals everyday to capture the movement.
  • This study could help better identify time of death.
Keep reading Show less

‘I’ll have what she’s having’ – how and why we copy the choices of others

The choice of flavor may be up to you, but the number of scoops will depend on your friends.

Mind & Brain

Imagine you're dining out at a casual restaurant with some friends. After looking over the menu, you decide to order the steak. But then, after a dinner companion orders a salad for their main course, you declare: “I'll have the salad too."

Keep reading Show less