From Our Listeners

Letters: Papal Coverage, 'Hummingbird' Archetype

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Audie Cornish and Melissa Block read emails form listeners about papal coverage and the "hummingbird" archetype on television.


It's time now for your letters.


BLOCK: Yesterday, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires became the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, Pope Francis.


Throughout the program, we brought you that news and analysis about where he might take the world's largest church. Here's what some of you thought of our extensive papal coverage this week.

BLOCK: Please, enough already of papalpalooza(ph), writes William Karrels of Port Washington, Wisconsin.

CORNISH: And Paul Scheele of Oneonta, New York, echoes that sentiment: Enough, enough, please. Good grief. How much pope news do you think we need? You sound like flacks for the Roman Catholic Church.

BLOCK: Kenneth Hutchison of Gaithersburg, Maryland, sent these thoughts: The vast majority of people are not Catholic. And he adds: The majority of people disagree with what any pope says, and consider all popes to be out of touch with society. Five to 10 minutes would have been enough time to spend on the subject.

CORNISH: Earlier this week, I talked to Emily Nussbaum, a TV critic for The New Yorker. She's noticed an emerging female character archetype: the hummingbird.

EMILY NUSSBAUM: These are characters who are very tightly wound, highly ambitious, anxiety-provoking for the people around them and also for the audience watching the television show. But at the same time, they're highly idealistic. They're very, very driven.

CORNISH: My conversation with Nussbaum sparked an online debate at, about which TV characters were or weren't hummingbirds.

BLOCK: But Nikki Freeman, of St. Louis, writes this: I find this story offensive and extremely off-putting. Describing women who are smart, driven and stressed out as irritating and agitated only reinforces outdated 19th and 20th century ideas of female hysteria.

CORNISH: Then there was this, from a listener named Lisa Lee. She writes that when she heard Nussbaum's interview, quote, "a light bulb went on when I realized that co-workers may perceive me as a hummingbird." And she signs off: flapping my wings in Norfolk, Virginia.

BLOCK: Well, flapping or not, we appreciate all of your comments. You can write to us by visiting, click on contact us.

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