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To the Best of Our Knowledge: The Great American Scoundrel Radio/TV Program

To the Best of Our Knowledge: The Great American Scoundrel

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Publisher's Summary

In this hour, we needed a working definition of the word “scoundrel”. For that, we headed to lexicographer Erin McKean. She’s the founder and CEO of the online dictionary Wordnik. She was also the Principal Editor of The New Oxford American Dictionary. Steve Paulson sat down with her.

Next, we might not have the perfect definition of the word “scoundrel” but we can certainly agree on one thing – Civil War General and US Congressman Daniel Sickles was the epitome of a scoundrel. Seriously. Check out this list: murder, political corruption, affairs with queens and prostitutes… and there’s more than meets the eye about that leg he lost at Gettysburg.

Then, “Scoundrel” is such an old-fashioned word. I mean, who uses it anymore? Aren’t there any scoundrels today? We looked no further then the world of political opposition research. Shadowy political operatives who dig up the muck on a candidate’s opponents. those running for office. Adultery, back taxes, DUIs, illegitimate children… you name it and they find it.

After that, where are the female scalawags? The lady rogue? Well, Anne Strainchamps set out to find out. She called up Elizabeth Mahon, author of the blog and the book of the same name: Scandalous Women.

And finally, we found a modern-day huckster. His name is Rev. Ivan Stang and he’s the co-founder of a cult called The Church of the SubGenius. Its members worship a pipe smoking man god named Bob Dobbs and claim to be a superior race descended from the Yeti. Their theology is summed up in one word; “Slack.” [Broadcast Date: January 11, 2013]

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