Why should(n't) we dig up Shakespeare?

Yesterday morning, I talked to Bob Rivers on his eponymous radio show at KJR-FM in Seattle about Francis Thackeray's plan to exhume Shakespeare and learn more about his health, cause of death, and possible drug use.  The show's production assistant described the show to me in the 20 seconds before I went on the air as "like a combination of NPR, The Daily Show, and Seinfeld."  Tall order, guys.

You can listen to their banter on Tuesday morning about the story by downloading the mp3 file here, or by clicking play below.  It's the first 12 minutes or so.  I hadn't listened to this before I talked to them, so I hadn't heard their pun on my last name.
June 28, Part 2 of Bob Rivers Show - 

And then you can listen to my Wednesday morning interview by downloading the mp3 file here, or by clicking play below.  It's the first 9 minutes or so.
June 29, Part 2 of Bob Rivers Show - 

Shakespeare's tombstone at the Holy Trinity Church,
Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, England
Not being familiar with the show, I also hadn't prepared any stunningly witty repartee, and I was actually surprised by "If you could dig up anybody, who would it be?"  In all my years studying skeletons, no one has ever asked me that variation on the ol' living-or-dead dinner party question.  And the last question was, in retrospect, I think supposed to be a joke, but I took the opportunity to talk about evolution in modern humans.

This was my first experience talking to a public wider than my 180-student intro class or the audience at a conference.  Lesson learned: it's hard to not use a placeholder while you think about your response, especially over the phone and on the air, but don't overuse "uhm."


Anonymous said…
You sounded great -- calm and intelligent and unflappable. Bob Rivers also sounded like an intelligent and interested radio host, not out to create sensationalism and he actually seemed to know a bit about the scientific goals of anthropology.
Thanks! I have to admit I was surprised by how knowledgeable Bob and his co-hosts were about the topic. But perhaps that's because I'd assumed the show was more morning-zoo-crew and less NPR-ish.

Popular Posts