245: Allure of the Mean Friend

245: Allure of the Mean Friend

Sep 5, 2003
What is it about them, our mean friends? They treat us badly, they don't call us back, they cancel plans at the last minute, and yet we come back for more. Popular bullies exist in business, politics, everywhere. How do they stay so popular?
  • We hear kids recorded at Chicago's Navy Pier and at a public swimming pool, talking about their mean friends. Host Ira Glass interviews Lillie Allison, 15, about the pretty, popular girls who were her best friends—until they cast her out. (5 minutes) ChildrenFriendship

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  • Jonathan Goldstein interrogates the girls, now grown up, who terrorized him and his classmates years ago in school—and finds they can be just as scary as ever. Jonathan Goldstein is the author of the novel Lenny Bruce is Dead. (18 minutes)FriendshipTeenagers
    Song:
    • "Hello Goodbye", The Beatles

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  • In which we conduct a little scientific experiment—on tape, with hidden microphones—about whether niceness pays. We wire two waitresses with hidden microphones. They're superfriendly to half their tables; and aloof to the other half. They examine their tips to see which generates more profits. Thanks to owners Jason Hammel and Lea Tshilds and the staff at the Lula Cafe in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood. (10 minutes) Food/Drinks/CookingRetail/Commerce
    Song:
    • "Untied", Tallulah

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  • A case study in every word from a friend meaning its opposite. An excerpt from the short story "The Underminer." A book based on the story is forthcoming from Bloomsbury USA. The story was written by Mike Albo and Virginia Heffernan. (4 minutes) FictionFriendship

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  • An excerpt of Bernard Cooper's story about the bill he got from his own father, for the entire cost of his childhood. Actor Josh Hamilton reads. The story first appeared in Los Angeles Magazine and will be in Cooper's forthcoming book The Bill From My Father. Bernard Cooper is the author of several books, including Truth Serum: Memoirs and Guess Again: Short Stories. (19 minutes) FathersPersonal Finance

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