Shows: October 21, 2008

Photo for '<I>Personal Days</i>: A Novel by Ed Park'
Ed Park

Forgotten Issues: Obama and McCain on Asia

For the second installment of our series on the forgotten issues of the presidential election, we look at foreign policy. In two weeks, American voters will choose either John McCain or Barack Obama to spend the next four years determining the country's course of action on two wars, an increasingly precarious political situation in Pakistan, and the continued growth of China as a world power. What can we expect from each candidate's administration in Asia? We will speak with scholar Chalmers Johnson, a noted foreign policy analyst and specialist in Asian politics.

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Korean Workers Fight for a Union

Since July 2005, workers at the Kiryung Electronics factory in Seoul, South Korea have endured lockouts, surveillance, physical beatings, and a culture of violence in their struggle to organize a union. The predominantly female, subcontracted workforce manufactures radio receivers for Sirius Satellite Radios. A delegation of Kiryung workers travelled to New York last week to publicize their struggle and demand a meeting with Sirius executives. We hear from a rank-and-file worker about the ongoing situation at the factory.

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Personal Days: A Novel by Ed Park

In Ed Park's office satire Personal Days, a guy named Jack goes through a backrub phase--that is, he starts offering all his cubicle-mates backrubs each day, to the increasing discomfort of everyone, who take to calling the unwanted massages "Jackrubs". Jack is just one of a host of characters who will be familiar to all of us who toil in offices--now a majority of U.S. workers--despite the fact that Park never divulges the name of Jack's workplace, nor the nature of the nameless office's business. Park's new novel is laugh-out-loud funny, but it also conveys the alienation, banality, and rank absurdity of cubicle culture in a downsizing time. ED PARK joins us to talk about his serio-comic "layoff narrative".

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