A young Belfast woman talks frankly about life with ME (or chronic fatigue syndrome) in the first half of the show. She discusses how the illness arrived, how it induced swearing and rattiness from her, and what the trade-offs have been. Also: whether she wants people to push her in the wheelchair, her plans for family or nunhood, and how she’s found men look at women in a chair.
In the second half, foster mother Susan Hagan talks about all the babies that have come in and out of her home. She, along with her husband and family, has been fostering newborns for the past seven years through a Pittsburgh agency. The babies stay for a weeks or months, and Susan describes what life with them (and without them) is like — including the health concerns, naming choices, attachment issues, and relationships with birth and adoptive parents.
Episode 27 has Graeme Watson talking about the philosophy of happiness and the politics of well-being. He’s finishing his PhD in political theory at Queen’s, examining different approaches to achieving happiness and how politicians (especially those in the UK) have brought the notion from twee to power.
Graeme discusses the ascendancy of the notion ‘Well-Being’ into a watchword of Tony Blair’s New Labor and David Cameron’s New Tories, as well as predictions that it will be one of the ‘Big Ideas of the 21st Century’. He explains how the personal is being made political and how the consumer industry of happiness is feeding into a new kind of politics — attracting Middle Class Lefty Guardian Readers, among others.
Plus, Graeme offers some visions of our coming post-human future, his low-grade hedonism, some secrets to happiness, and his planned cult.