The World and Everything in It - April 1, 2022
On Culture Friday, the slap heard ’round the world and Disney’s not-so-secret agenda; the new Netflix film Rescued by Ruby; and on Ask the Editor, a question about pronunciation. Plus: the Friday morning news.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!
Today, the slap heard ’round the world and Disney’s not-so-secret agenda caught on tape.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Culture Friday.
Also a new movie about rescues of dogs and their owners.
And a question about pronunciations on this month’s Ask the Editor.
BROWN: It’s Friday, April 1st. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
BROWN: Up next, Kent Covington has today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Russia yet to scale back attacks in Kyiv, Chernihiv as promised » Russian forces continue heavy shelling around Kyiv and Chernihiv after vowing earlier this week to scale back their attacks in those areas, supposedly as a gesture of goodwill amid peace talks. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:
STOLTENBERG: According to our intelligence, Russian units are not withdrawing but are repositioning. Russia is trying to regroup, resupply, and reinforce its offensive in the Donbas region.
President Biden on Thursday commented on intelligence reports that Vladimir Putin has been getting bad information from advisers and military commanders.
BIDEN: And there’s some indication that he has fired or put under house arrest some of his advisers. But I don’t want to put too much stock in that at this time because we don’t have that much hard evidence.
Intel officials say top advisers have been afraid to tell Putin the truth about how poorly things have been going.
A key inflation gauge sets 40-year high » Here’s something that will not come as news to you: Prices are going up. But the Commerce Department has new data on just how sharply costs are rising. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Federal Reserve’s favorite inflation gauge jumped 6.4 percent in February compared with a year ago with prices for food, gas and other necessities surging.
The personal consumption expenditures index saw its biggest jump in 40 years.
If you leave out the volatile prices of food and energy, so-called core inflation rose 5.4 percent in February from a year earlier.
Heavy consumer demand has combined with shortages of many goods, and other factors to fuel the biggest price jumps since 1982.
The numbers will likely get uglier in the coming months because Thursday's report doesn't reflect the fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February.
The war has disrupted global oil markets and accelerated prices for wheat and many other commodities.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Biden tapping oil reserve for 6 months to control gas prices » President Biden is trying to take the edge off of painful gas prices, by further tapping into the nation’s strategic petroleum reserve.
He announced the release of 1 million barrels per day for six months.
The release is a way to boost supplies until oil companies ramp up their own production. National Economic Director Brian Deese said he expects a significant increase soon.
DEESE: Most estimates based on commitments by companies are that we will see an additional 1 million barrels a day from U.S. industry by about the end of the third quarter of this year.
President Biden said he also wants to start issuing fines to oil and gas companies that have leases to drill on public lands but are not producing.
But critics say his policies have made oil companies reluctant to drill in some areas.
The president also announced that he will invoke the Defense Production Act to encourage the mining of critical minerals for batteries in electric vehicles. That’s part of a broader push to steer away from fossil fuels.
Biden promotes Transgender Day of Visibility, rips GOP laws » Also on Thursday, President Biden commemorated the Transgender Day of Visibility.
He announced new measures that he says will make the federal government more inclusive for transgender people.
And speaking at the White House, he slammed new laws in Republican led states, such as those that require athletes in girls’ and women’s school sports to be biologically female. He even called those laws “hateful.”
BIDEN: The onslaught of antitransgeder state laws attacking you and your families. It’s simply wrong. This administration is standing up for you against all these hateful bills.
Among the Biden administration’s new transgender accommodations will be the use of a new “X” gender marker on U.S. passport applications. That will begin on April 11th. And new TSA security scanners will be gender-neutral.
The administration is also working to make it easier for transgender people to change their gender information in Social Security records.
And visitors to the White House complex soon will also be able to choose an “X” gender marker option in the system used to conduct security screening background checks.
Storms, tornadoes rip through the South » At least 18 tornadoes ripped through several southern states over the past few days. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: A tornado killed at least two people and injured two others in the Florida Panhandle on Thursday. Authorities in Washington County said the twister destroyed homes and littered streets with debris and downed power lines.
Another tornado spotted in Louisiana on Thursday followed the same path as one last week.
Twisters were also spotted in Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, and Kansas.
And severe weather damaged buildings and knocked out power to nearly 200,000 customers in several other states from Mississippi all the way to Michigan.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Friday, April 1st, 2022. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
Let’s bring in John Stonestreet. He’s the president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast and he joins us now. Good morning, John.
JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: Good morning!
BROWN: Well, if you missed it, I’m not sure how you missed it.
Of course, I’m talking about actor Will Smith's onstage attack on comedian Chris Rock. Rock had told a cruel joke at the expense of Smith's wife, referring to Jada Pinkett Smith's medical hair loss.
People are still talking about the "slap" heard around the world, including WORLD Opinions writer Jerry Bowyer.
I thought Jerry nailed it by boiling it all down to God's word—James 3:5 “The tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire.”
Jerry goes on to say… “The only answer to a social contagion of toxic speech is a contagious outbreak of resistance to the devil. This starts with acknowledging the Biblical truth that words matter.”
Is it really that simple, John, do ya think?
STONESTREET: Wait a minute, Will Smith smack Chris Rock? I hadn't heard about that. No, I'm just kidding. Of course, everyone's heard about it, which is what makes it great for the Oscars. Because suddenly, people cared about the Oscars again. So maybe Will Smith actually made the Oscars great again. Sorry, all jokes aside, it's hard to take this as big of a story as it has become. Because it is happening at one of the annual gatherings in which celebrities congratulate themselves for being celebrities, and we're all supposed to care about it. And America really largely has stopped caring about it. And yet at the same time, what you saw, I think, in that incident was just a lot of sadness, a lot of brokenness. I mean, clearly Will Smith is not okay. I just watched King Richard, by the way, which is the film that he won Best Actor for it, he deserved it. I mean, unbelievable. Unbelievable performance. What an incredible portrayal there. And he is as talented as they get. But Jerry is of course, right. The tongue is this amazingly powerful thing. And Chris Rock’s, sharp tongue towards Jada, and Will Smith's, you know, response. And it is this thing, where we're driven as human beings by more than instinct. You can see that in this incident, that there's something about our conscience, there's something about our relationships, there's something about our loyalties and our virtues that drive who we are, we're driven from a center in a way that no other living thing is. And of course that is a contrast to what so much of the message is coming out of academia and Hollywood in the press, that we are instincts that we just live by our, you know, our sexual instincts or our emotional expressions or something like that. And this just proves that there's more to it. There's a lot of conversations to be had here. Really, I mean, I joked about how, who cares. But, you know, it really is something that points to a number of things, including, well, you know, 75 years ago, if Will Smith had not defended his wife's honor, he would have been the bad guy. But there's a long history here. You know, a story emerged from a book that Will Smith wrote, I think, in the last year or so, of a time that he remembered growing up in a home with an abusive dad and his dad punched his mom and he didn't do anything. That's a story that came out. And he's regretted that and so here, you have this idea of playing this tennis star dad who fiercely protected his girls and had a plan, you know, as the movie and, and the story goes, and the plan worked for Venus and Serena Williams, just so many things going on here. And it's hard to kind of reduce it down to one because there are so many things.
EICHER: So I’ll take the flip side of this issue, I think.
Because I’d like to talk about how big tech “slaps” people, how it uses its power to silence free speech.
It seems like we can’t go a day without another example of censorship on the part of platforms like Twitter. Take the issue of the public health official Dr. Levine who’s taken the name Rachel, a man who now claims to be a woman.
The Babylon Bee, of course, mocked USA Today for naming Dr. Levine as one of the "women of the year," so the Bee bestowed the award “man of the year,” posted that to Twitter, and promptly got locked out of its Twitter account.
So I think my question is what’s the line between calling out things that are clearly offensive, as in the case of Chris Rock, and standing up against abuses of power, as in the case of big tech?
STONESTREET: You know, I've been thinking a lot over the last couple weeks about something that I have used for years in teaching about post modernism. And of course, when we first started talking about post modernism as a worldview, and as a key to understanding our culture's 25 years ago, and things have changed, in some significant ways, but it's Frederick Nietzsche is parable, the madman, and in it Nietzche has this kind of crazy man jump into the midst of this educated elite group of Europeans and say, God is dead. And you know what that means, and goes on to spout all the various things that that means that there's no longer any up or down, we are getting colder, and it's getting darker and, and my favorite phrase is, “are we not straying is through an infinite nothing”. You know, in other words, we've lost all orientation for up and down and right and wrong. And so all that's left is outrage, and of course, Nietzsche’s parable, the madman ends with the madman saying, I've come too soon, you guys have done this, and it's coming, but you're not ready for it. And that was 120. Some years ago, he wrote that. I'm wondering if the thing that was still on its way, as he put it in the parable, the madman is now here, where we've got a culture where the inconsistencies are stunning. And just observably absurd. The NCAA during March Madness, ran a series of commercials celebrating themselves for inclusion a week after giving, especially Title Nine inclusion, especially the all the opportunities, talking about giving opportunities, two weeks after giving a Women's Championship to a man.
It's just hard to know where this begins. So I don't know that we have a way forward here, Nick, unless we can find some sort of fixed orientation point for what's right and what's wrong, what's good, and what's bad, what's up, and what's down. What's noble, and what's toxic. And right now, we don't have any of that.
EICHER: I’m sure you heard about this one. I want to play the audio of a video that’s going around from the investigative journalist Christopher Rufo, somehow he obtained video from a Disney zoom call, which has Disney creators bragging about how they insert all kinds of gay propaganda into Disney entertainment products. You’ll hear executive producer Latoya Raveneau talking about how she—her words—adds “queerness” to children’s programming, and nobody stops her. The audio’s a little digitized, but you’ll catch the drift. Have a listen:
RAVENEAU: Our leadership over there has been so welcoming to like, my like, not-at-all secret gay agenda. And so like I feel like I felt like it was I mean, like, maybe it was that way in the past. But I guess like something was to happen in the last like, like, they were turning it around. They're going hard and then all that like momentum, but I felt like that sense of I don't have to be afraid to like, let's have these two characters kiss let's in the background. Like I was just wherever I could just basically adding queerness to like, if you see anything queer. But like, I just was like, no one would stop me and no one was trying to stop me.
Hm, more “likes” in there than a Tweet from the cool kids. Anyway. Again, that’s Latoya Ravaneau, a Disney producer talking about how she and others have put in place a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda”—her words—and how she’s regularly, again, her words, “adding queerness” to children's programming.
STONESTREET: Yeah, I mean, you know, this is an example is anybody really worried about Disney not saying gay. I mean, that they've been saying it nonstop, you know, for years now. And as we saw in the video there, the plan is to say further. And then, you know, this is the thing for all those that have, you know, reacted back and saying, oh, you know, you parents are taking it too far. You know, we're coming after your kids, how ridiculous! Like they're coming after kids! But you know, what that video made clear is that the biggest and most popular franchise for distributing entertainment to children has an agenda has a gay agenda, a gay and transgender agenda. They have that. That's not you know, it's not question it's like, you know, people saying all these parents are going to the school boards overreacting when we have videos of school board members and teachers saying this is what we have to do. And parents need to, you know, stay out or keep them out or you know, whatever. It is time for parents to protect their kids. It won't do us any good to call a bunch of concerned parents, or concerned Christian leaders extreme for pointing out what's actually happening. And right now the Christian community is so intent on rooting out people who were too supportive of President Trump that anybody else who calls out anything is too extreme on another side. This is an agenda that's actually happening, and it's going after our kids, and it's grooming to join a cause that should be considered child abuse by any other name. And I think my guess is, we're going to see it's about time for the Biden administration to start rolling back some of the regulatory things that were put in place by President Trump and issue their own regulatory administration rules out of HHS and other things. And we'll see that this agenda actually has a place in the state, as well as in entertainment and commerce. That's my guess.
BROWN: John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast. Thanks, John.
STONESTREET: Thank you both.
NICK EICHER, HOST: A group in Scotland just constructed a record-breaking hotel! But you probably wouldn’t want to stay there.
There is no running water or electricity. In fact, there are no beds!
That doesn’t sound like much of a hotel, but that’s because it’s not designed for humans.
A Guinness World Records representative presented the plaque to the Highland Titles conservation group.
AUDIO: It gives me great pleasure to say you have officially achieved the Guinness World Records title for the largest insect hotel!
That’s right, a hotel for bugs. And I don’t think it’s one of those “Roach Motels," you know, where the bugs check in but they don’t check out?
This particular place took a team of people six months to construct.
It’s 7,000 cubic feet of masonry bricks, bamboo canes, tree branches, forest bark, and strawberry netting.
It doesn’t sound very appealing, but if you’re an insect, it’s the Waldorf Astoria!
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, April 1st. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Rescued by Ruby.
If you’re looking for something to watch for family movie night this weekend, reviewer Sharon Dierberger has you covered.
SHARON DIERBERGER, REVIEWER: Rescued by Ruby may not make next year’s Oscars, despite good acting. But it’s a winner that parents can feel comfortable gathering the whole family to watch. It’s rated G. I actually did a double-take when I saw that. Netflix plugging a G-rated movie? That’s a happy—and unexpected—surprise. Not one you see on many streaming platforms lately.
And it’s based on the true story of a rescued shelter dog. She, in turn, does her own rescuing. Although this film has the good-vibes feeling common to other pet stories, it’s not sappy or overly-sentimental. Its surprising twist near the end will have you checking Google to make sure it’s true. It is. And nope, it’s not like the ending in Old Yeller or My Dog Skip. Thank goodness.
Ruby, who’s part border collie, part Australian shepherd, definitely needed rescuing. Multiple families tried to adopt her. Each one returned her because of seemingly incorrigible behavior. She’s hard to control, loves to dig holes, and keeps running away. But shelter trainer, Patrica, loves her. She’s desperately trying to find Ruby a home before she has to be put down.
Patricia: It can take a while before someone as loyal and loving as a dog can commit to someone new. Nobody’s given Ruby that chance.
Shelter manager: Pat, come on.
Patricia: One more day. I’ve got people I can call. Please.
Manager: You have until the end of the day. But the vet comes at seven.
The film is every bit as much about Rhode Island state trooper Dan O’Neil as it is about Ruby. We meet O’Neil as he’s polishing his shoes, adjusting his uniform, and donning his tall trooper hat. He’s constantly moving: Doing laps around his patrol car instead of sitting in it, fidgeting with a widget, or tapping his foot.
His dream is to be an officer on the K9 rescue team. But he’s failed seven times. With one opportunity left, he wants to try again. First, he must convince the team’s commanding officer to give him another chance:
O’Neil: You do this because you care about people, sir. The same as me. You want justice. You want endings to stories. Sometimes happy endings. Sometimes just closure.
Commanding Officer Zarella: The department has no money for new dogs. The German Shepherds we use come from Czech Republic or Germany and cost over $10,000 each. I know how much you want this. How long you’ve waited.
But O’Neil isn’t deterred. He’s determined to find a dog—forget an expensive German Shepherd. So he heads to the shelter. And guess which dog interests him.
Shelter worker Patricia somehow fails to mention Ruby’s less endearing qualities:
[Dog kennel barking, whimpering, clanking.]
Patricia: [chuckles] This one just gets to me.
O’Neil: How old?
Patricia: A little more than a year. [dog whimpering]
O’Neil: laughs. Smart?
Patricia: Half border collie. There’s one named Chaser on YouTube that knows the names of a thousand objects.
O’Neil: You think he could be a K9 dog?
Patricia: SHE could be anything.
When O’Neil brings Ruby home, we start to realize these two have an awful lot in common. They’re both just a wee bit…ahhh, hyperactive?!
O’Neil’s wife makes the same observation after he can’t bring himself to give Ruby up, despite his unsuccessful attempts to harness the dog’s energy.
O’Neil: I’m sorry Mel. I couldn’t take her back to the shelter. I…She loves it here. She wants to be our dog.
Mel: I know she does.
O’Neil: You do?
Mel: I realized something.
Mel: She reminds me of you.
O’Neil: Of me? I’m nothing like her.
Mel: You are—You’re always busy, always enthusiastic, going a mile a minute. Maybe all she needs is routine. Unconditional love….And a crate.
The film portrays a wonderful picture of a supportive family. O’Neil has a loving, patient wife, Melissa, who’s a third grade teacher. And they have a precocious young son. When Mel learns she’s pregnant again, she and O’Neil celebrate the new life.
The film also gives a nod to homeschooling. After Ruby fails canine class, Mel reminds O’Neil he didn’t do so well in a structured classroom environment either.
Melissa: Homeschooling would have appreciated your differences, your energy, your passions. Encouraging your strengths instead of always focusing on your weaknesses, with lessons tailored to you.
The light bulb goes on and they decide to homeschool Ruby.
O’Neil: Your mother’s a genius!
Training kids and training dogs do have similarities—although you might choose a different reward for your kids than Patricia suggests for Ruby.
Patricia: Raw hot dog. She will do anything for raw hot dog. I…I should have told you.
O’Neil: Raw hot dog. Alright. Good. Uh, yeah. That’s all I needed to know, so uh, thank you, thanks. [Exits. Pause.]
Patricia: The taller the hat, the closer to God.
Good casting helps make this already authentic story feel real, as well as engaging. Grant Gustin has just the right amount of earnestness to be believable—and likable—as Dan O’Neil. And Kaylah Zander is a great match as his wife, Melissa.
Ruby is played by a real-life shelter dog almost euthanized for bad behavior. The casting crew rescued her in the nick of time, and trained her in just six weeks. She even had an understudy, rescued from the pound with her.
It’s satisfying to watch a movie you hope will be good, that keeps being good—rather than taking an R-rated turn—or conversely, serves cheese with those hotdogs. No cheese here, just a rewarding way to spend your evening.
I’m Sharon Dierberger.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, April 1st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Up next: Ask the Editor. Here’s WORLD Radio Executive Producer Paul Butler to answer one of your recent questions.
PAUL BUTLER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR: A few weeks ago, Theresa Hollinger sent us this question:
LISTENER: I was wondering if you could clarify something for me, the pronunciation of the capital city of Ukraine: is it Kiev, Kiev, or Kyiv? I’ve heard all three pronunciations used on your podcast and being a lover of language I would love to know what the correct pronunciation is.
It’s a straightforward enough question, but the answer isn’t quite as simple as it seems. Anytime we try to pronounce a name from another language, it requires a little interpretation. Added to that, there’s some political history that plays into how to pronounce Ukraine’s capital city. So, I asked a few of our reporters to help answer your question. First, correspondent Jill Nelson:
JILL NELSON: There are two slightly different ways to pronounce the capital of Ukraine: one is Ukrainian and the other is Russian. About 30 percent of Ukrainians speak Russian, but Ukrainian is the official language and is spoken by the vast majority of people.
After the Russian takeover of Crimea and Donbas in 2014, Ukrainians really pushed for acknowledgement of the Ukrainian spelling and pronunciation of their capital city. The Associated Press and others, including WORLD, officially made that change in 2019.
So here’s Kostya Farkovets saying both the Russian and the preferred Ukrainian pronunciation of their capital:
KOSTYA: It used to be Kiev; That’s from Russian. In Ukrainian it’s pronounced harder: Kyiv.
English speakers might struggle with that a bit, so most simply say “Keev.”
BUTLER: That’s helpful, but let’s be honest, we all know someone who pronounces our own home town’s name a little differently than everyone else—I didn’t want to rely on just one answer.
So I asked WORLD’s European Correspondent Jenny Lind Schmitt to see what she could find out.
JENNY LIND SCHMITT, REPORTER: Like most Americans, I grew up pronouncing the large city in the region of Ukraine as Kiev. But at that time, it was under the domination of the Soviet Union. And most transliterations into the English language followed the Russian pronunciation. After Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the government started changing geographic signs to spellings that aligned with the Ukrainian language instead of Russian. Since then, official English transliterations have slowly followed suit. But most Americans didn’t notice until this year.
On Monday I met Nadia Huk, who’d just arrived in France from the city in question, seeking refuge from the war. She’s a professional legal interpreter, so I decided to ask her.
NADIA: I would like to tell you about the right pronunciation of the name of the Ukrainian capital. It was founded by three brothers and their sister. Kyi, Shchek, and Khoryv, and their sister Lybid. And the city was named after the eldest brother Kyi. And that’s why the name of the city is Kyiv…so the correct transliteration should be K-Y-I-V...
BUTLER: Theresa, you specifically asked about Kyiv, but perhaps you’ve also noticed that there are other names and places we’ve started to say a little differently. I thought before wrapping up, Kent Covington should offer just a little explanation from our newsroom style guide.
KENT COVINGTON: Sometimes we will hear a place pronounced a little differently by a credible source, for example, the State Department or another network like the BBC. And that causes us to investigate. And sometimes, we determine that we’re using the most accurate pronunciation.
However, we do still Americanize the names of places. For instance, we say Mexico, not meh-he-co.
But when it comes to a person’s name, our newsroom policy is to try and get as close as possible to the way that person says their name. Sometimes I try and fail miserably! But I try.
One example would be the president of Ukraine. Many might simply say vuh-loh-duh-myr. But as I understand it, the most accurate pronunciation is Voe-loh-DEE-myhr, emphasis on the third syllable. So, again, sometimes we try and fail, but that’s what we endeavor to do.
BUTLER: So Theresa, I hope that helps. Thanks for the question. I hope you’re satisfied with the answer!
I’m Paul Butler.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Time now to thank the team that put this week’s programs together:
Mary Reichard, Kent Covington, David Bahnsen, Collin Garbarino, Kristen Flavin, Anna Johansen Brown, Josh Schumacher, Jenny Lind Schmitt, Lillian Hamman, Whitney Williams, Onize Ohikere, Jenny Rough, Janie B. Cheaney, Bonnie Pritchett, Emily Whitten, Cal Thomas, John Stonestreet, and Sharon Dierberger.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Carl Peetz and Johnny Franklin are the audio engineers who stay up late to get the program to you early! Leigh Jones is managing editor, and Paul Butler is our executive producer.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
The Fifth commandment: Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
Remember to worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ this weekend, and Lord willing, we’ll meet you back here on Monday.
Go now in grace and peace.
WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.
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