University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

IAS Thursdays: Peter Shea discusses Katrina Vandenberg’s Bat

Taking Anna to the Zoo: Going to the Same Place A Lot, and Then Writing About What Happens

Peter Shea, Creator of The Bat of Minerva, discusses Katrina Vandenberg and John Reimringer.

Download as: audio, podcast video, or original.

vandenburg reimringer

Writers Katrina Vandenberg and John Reimringer frequently take their young daughter Anna to the Como Zoo and Conservatory. Katrina is working on a book about a girl named Anna, somewhat older than her daughter, who also frequently visits that zoo. We will think together about the many dimensions of this project.

Peter Shea is a philosopher who is the creator and producer of Bat of Minerva, a cable-tv interview show.


“One early model for the Bat: Bill Moyers’ World of Ideas. Its goal: to get ideas into circulation, presenting them humanely, slowly, and personally – with their most articulate representatives as spokespersons. I tried to do exactly that, at the beginning. In this series of interviews, the intention is just reversed. I want to know how ideas and ideals are taken up, as plants take up nutrients from the soil, as tissues reach out to the bloodstream for particular items.

Most ideas pass you by. Most of the ideas on your bookshelf, in your newspaper, even in your conversation pass you by. They aren’t for you right now. How some item becomes timely, relevant, possible, and beguiling – able to cross over the blood/brain barrier into action – that’s our topic for these discussions. Jesus, as he spread ideas, knew that place matters. Most environments are hostile to anything new; in the parable of the sower, he tells mostly how the seed dies. So, part of our thinking has to be: “how’s the soil?”

University people have to care about how ideas are taken up, in the long term, because, if ideas die when exposed to real life, what we do is stupid.”

This event occurred Thursday, March 13, 2014, at 4:00pm in 125 Nolte. It was rescheduled from Dec. 4, 2013.


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