369: Poultry Slam 2008

369: Poultry Slam 2008

Nov 28, 2008
A man in Pakistan wants to break his friend out of prison. He buys him an amulet that supposedly has the power to protect anyone from harm. But just to be on the safe side, he decides to test the amulet by trying it out first. On a chicken.
Stories about the powerful combination of chickens, faith and God in our not-quite-annual, all new for 2008, Poultry Slam. Since our first year on the air, this has been a This American Life tradition, a show about poultry for this time of year when poultry consumption is at its highest.

Special note to chicken enthusiasts: The name of this episode—The Poultry Slam—has nothing to do with slamming poultry. We are not anti-poultry. Our editorial stance is proudly pro-poultry. The show's name is a pun on Chicago's Poetry Slam.

You can see two sample pages of Nicholas Wild's graphic novel here.
  • Kathie Russo's husband was Spalding Gray, who was best known for delivering monologues onstage—like "Monster in a Box," and "Swimming to Cambodia." On January 10, 2004, he went missing. Witnesses said they saw him on the Staten Island Ferry that night. Two months later, his body was pulled out of the East River. Kathie tells the story of the night he disappeared, and about how, in the weeks following, she and each of their three children were visited by a bird, who seemed to be delivering a message to them. (10 minutes) AnimalsDeath

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Graphic by cartoonist Nicolas Wild, who was inspired by a story featured in this episode. (See his two page cartoon here). Wild draws a cartoon blog about his travels around Afghanistan for the newspaper, Le Monde.

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