June 13, 2014

180 Degrees

Flipflops, u-turns, changes of heart, about faces. Completely changing our position — sometimes it can be our best move, sometimes it can be our worst. Either way, it's usually complicated. This week we bring you stories of people who go one way, and then, for what ever reason, turn around and go the exact opposite direction.

Correction: In the original broadcast of this episode, Joe Richman in Act One incorrectly stated that Nathan Bedford Forrest was the founder of the Ku Klux Klan. The audio and transcript have been changed to reflect that Forrest was the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, not the founder. We apologize for the error.


Host Alex Blumberg talks about New York City’s long-standing ban on ferrets. And how, after years of forbidding them, the city is now poised to lift the ban. You’d think ferret proponents — there are ferret proponents — would be really really happy. You’d also be wrong. (7 minutes)
Act One

Seeing the Forrest For the Little Trees

Alex Blumberg takes us to an American classroom where students are reading a classic, The Education of Little Tree, by Forrest Carter. The book is marketed as a simple homespun autobiography of a Cherokee orphan. But Radio Diaries' Joe Richman explains that the book is not at all what it seems. The origins of the heartwarming tale of respect for nature and tolerance, are actually filled with hatred, racism and lies. (31 minutes)

This story was produced by Joe Richman, Sarah Kate Kramer and Samara Freemark of Radio Diaries with help from Nellie Gilles, Deborah George, and Ben Shapiro. Here's the Radio Diaries podcast, where people can hear the original non-narrated version of this story.


“Tennessee” by Ron Taylor
Act Two

Unsafety Exit

Chana Joffe-Walt tells the story of a teenager named Michael. Like a lot of teenagers Michael decides to follow his dreams — and that to follow his dreams, he’s going to need to make a total change. He does that. And then, like so many of us when we’re teenagers, Michael decides after a lot of trouble, that it was all a big mistake. He need to reverse his reversal. A double 180. That’s when things get complicated. (11 minutes)