386: Fine Print

386: Fine Print

Jul 24, 2009
Stories where the fine print changes everything, whether you read it or not.
  • Host Ira Glass talks about the infamous line in the band Van Halen's contract insisting that the groups' dressing room include a bowl of M&Ms with all the brown M&Ms removed. Ira used to think this request was just petulant rock-star behavior. Then he talked to John Flansburgh, from the band They Might Be Giants—who are beginning their 40-city tour this October—and he explained why the M&M clause was actually an ingenious business strategy. (6 minutes) BusinessMusic

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  • In Tehran in 2004, Omid Memarian confessed to doing things he'd never done, meeting people he'd never met, following plots he'd never heard of. Why he did that, and why a lot of other people have confessed to the same things, is all in the fine print. This American Life producer Nancy Updike tells the story. (22 minutes) JournalismTerrorism

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  • David Rakoff tells the story of a contract between a son and his visiting mother. David Rakoff is the author of several books including Don't Get Too Comfortable. (5 minutes) FamilyFictionFunnyLegal SystemMothers

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  • Ira goes to one of the nation's great manufacturers of fine print: The U.S.Congress. He reports on a recent House subcommittee hearing on a practice in the health insurance industry—buried in that industry's own fine print—called rescission. (14 minutes) GovernmentLegal System

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  • Susan Burton rereads her parents' divorce papers—the fine print that changed her life forever. (7 minutes) DivorceLegal SystemParents

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