December 18, 1998

What You Lookin’ At?

Stories about seeing and being seen. Taped before a live audience in Town Hall in New York City in December 1998, this was a co-production with WNYC New York, featuring live music by the pop band They Might Be Giants and the This American Life Orchestra.


Host Ira Glass with Cornell University Professor Richard Klein, on how seeing isn't just seeing. Seeing implies a kind of power over someone else. It's why slaves aren't allowed to look at their masters, why royalty traditionally doesn't like to be seen. (5 minutes)
Act One

American Goth

There are the people who take two hours to get dressed every day, who dress primarily to be seen, and then there are most of the rest of us. Writer Sarah Vowell decides to make the leap into the two-hours group. As part of her lifelong quest to look meaner, she takes lessons in Goth. Goth is the subculture of people who dress in lacy black clothes and dark eye makeup. (15 minutes)

Act Three

Climb Every Mountain

Writer David Rakoff travels to a place where everyone seems to be looking at him, a place where no one follows the customs people follow back home in New York City, a place called...New Hampshire. (17 minutes)

Note that many of the They Might Be Giants songs featured in this show are also on their live CD Severe Tire Damage.