May 25, 2001

Golden Calf

Stories of people worshiping false idols, and whether that's always a bad thing.


Host Ira Glass talks to Bible scholars Paulene A. Viviano of Loyola University and John Spencer of John Carroll University about the story of the golden calf in the book of Exodus. It turns out that in fact there were Israelites who did pray to golden calves, and that the Bible was the scripture of their rivals in Jerusalem. (7 minutes)
Act One

Bowing Before The Famous

One way to measure the faith—the good old-fashioned faith—that people put in celebrities is to examine what people ask of them. Ann Hepperman has a story that gives a rare and vivid glimpse of what people want from celebrities...or anyway, what they want from country legend Willie Nelson. Thanks to all the people who called Willie Nelson and gave us permission to broadcast their answering machine messages to him. (18 minutes)

Act Two

Thou Shalt Worship No Other Trousers Before Me

If you're in thrall to a pair of pants, is that such a bad thing? Ira talks to Kate—who invested her hopes and dreams in a pair of favorite trousers—and her husband Joel, who thought she was nuts. (12 minutes)

Act Three

Don't Have A Golden Cow

You can't do a radio show about worshiping false gods without a story about money...or real estate...or hipness. Fortunately for us, Iggy Scam supplies a story that's about all three. It's the story of a couple trying to cash in on the San Francisco real estate boom, without the greatest success. (17 minutes)