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Act One: Psycho Dabble

From London, TAL contributor Jon Ronson tells the story of a man who has spent more than a decade trying to convince doctors that he's not mentally ill. But the more he argues his case, the less they believe him.

Act Three: Fly Girl

Jon Ronson has been working on a podcast for over a year that traces how one man changed the porn business, when he applied modern internet technology — keywords, search-term optimization — to porn. One big obvious consequence of this is that so much pornography is given away for free, people who make porn videos have a much harder time making a living.

Act One: My Friend The Extremist

Several years ago, before most of us paid much attention to the name Osama bin Laden, Reporter Jon Ronson spent a year following around a Muslim activist named Omar Bakri, who called himself bin Laden's "man in London." At first Ronson thought Bakri was on the "them" side of "us and them." But then Ronson got to know him, and changed his mind. After September 11th, he had to change his mind again.

Prologue

When we started putting together this week's show, we assumed we'd be using the phrase "tarred and feathered" as a metaphor for when someone is publicly shamed. We didn't think we'd find a story about someone being literally tarred and feathered, especially not recently.

Act Two: The Plan

American cities have gone through a massive wave of gentrification in the last few decades. To some people, it's not a natural ebb and flow of the real estate market, but a plot, by rich, mainly white people, to take over the neighborhoods of poor, mainly black people. This American Life producer Jon Jeter reports on how, in neighborhoods all over the country, the plot has a name, "The Plan," and most people you talk to know about it.