Monday, October 8, 2007

Hannibal Barca on the couch

"Why, Mr. Barca," Dr. Patrick Hunt asks, "did you have to cross the Alps?" Why did he hate the Romans? Why did he have to go around them across the highest mountains in the region? Dr. Hunt takes us from a formative experience in young Hannibal's life, through the religion and culture of the Carthaginians in order to explain. Hannibal was taught to hate the Romans with a religious fervor and induced in believing to be blessed on the mountains.

On the altar of the Carthaginian god Baal, young Hannibal had to swear he would hate the Romans throughout his life. This oath made a great impact, because Hannibal knew, normally he would have been sacrificed to Baal, as was customary. In stead he lived. He also lived as Hannibal, Chani-Baal, the grace of Baal. He lived, as it were, on borrowed time, only on the condition of hating the Romans.

Baal, was supposed to live on a mountain. He was supposed to throw lightning, Barca, Hannibal's family name. So, by the grace of his God, on a life quest to fight the Romans, Hannibal could only feel the intimate connection with Baal. Hence, if Baal was at home in the mountains, so was Hannibal. The Romans, by contrast, a propos, were not, they were plain people. Their weaknes lay from the Alps, and Hannibal felt his strength was there. He had to prove it to bout. And that is why he had to take on the Romans and he had to go the long and hard way, right through the high mountains.

Go and look for these lectures on Hannibal on iTunes U, Stanford.

David van Nuys invited by students

Shrinkrapradio's Dr. Dave took a three hour drive up to San Joaquin County in order to speak for a psychology club at the local college. He was invited there by a listener to his podcast and met with a host of some 50 students who follow the psychology courses offered. The interaction with the group was taped and brought out as an episode in the shrinkrap series. This could have been terrible listening, but not so.

It is witness to the great radio talent of Dr. Dave together with his interview skills that it is actually great to listen in on the conversations. One really feels to have been present. What is a great strength of David's is that he neither tries to impress nor please his audience. He conducts himself quite naturally and balanced making for a pleasant focal point skipping from one student to the next for a short exchange. He also has a knack for taking their point, delivering a short answer and hand a return question that is pointy and brief and inviting an answer, neither dismissive, nor short nor too lengthy.

The fact that he truly connects with his audience is shown at several points where he unknowingly touches exactly on that point that is of interest to the student. Like when he tells about child psychology, only to find out that for the student who asked the question this is exactly her main interest. He is struck by it himself and makes a remark about it, but if one listens carefully more such connection points can be detected. Hence, the show turns into an experience I am glad to have had and that underlines once more what a unique and warm podcast Shrinkrapradio is.