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.
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Ira tells the story of Lucia Lopez, a former gang member who would beat you up if she caught you looking at her...and how her life changed when she put herself in a position where hundreds of people were looking at her.
Host Ira Glass talks about the role of mealtime in family dynamics.
When is a chicken your friend? When is he your dinner? This American Life's former webmeister Elizabeth Meister talks with Kamiko Overs, an 11-year-old girl at the annual poultry exhibition run by the American Poultry Association in Columbus, Ohio. Elizabeth Meister is a producer with Long Haul Productions.
When Francois Mitterand knew he was about to die, he decided that the last food to cross his lips would be poultry...a tiny bird that is actually illegal to eat in France. It's a bird that, by tradition, is eaten with a napkin covering your head.
Last year, a woman named Karen Davis started a national letter writing campaign to try to get This American Life to stop the very program we are broadcasting today—the annual Poultry Slam. In this portion of our show, she explains what it is that we just don't understand about poultry, and why the whole idea of this poultry show was wrong-headed from the start.
Writer Jack Hitt talks about his daughter Tarpeley's first day in her new school. It was her first "first day" of any kind.
The first day inevitably means mistakes, mishaps, fiascos. A true story, told by a former rookie cop.
Host Ira Glass reads famous last words from Bing Crosby, Oscar Wilde, W.C. Fields, and talks about what we want from people's last words.
Writer Greil Marcus explains what rock fans use dead rock stars for.
We go through transcripts from those black box flight recorders recovered from airplane crashes to see what people say. One pilot declares "I love you" to someone, another is doing his job like always and suddenly says, "uh-oh." It's an interview with Malcolm McPherson, author of The Black Box: All-New Cockpit Voice Recorder Accounts of In-Flight Accidents.
Todd Powell won $27 million dollars from the Florida State lottery. The windfall ended his marriage.
How one woman learned to stop worrying and start spending. Liz Gilbert and her husband Michael Cooper explain how their different ideas about handling money always divided them—until they stumbled into a $10,000 windfall.
The story of a White House scandal from the year 1881. President James Garfield lay dying of a gunshot wound during that summer.
Reporter Hanna Rosen did an investigation of those new antibacterial products—the antibacterial soaps and lotions, the antibacterial pizza cutter and linen and underwear. In her article, she mocked these products as ineffective.
Germs were first understood at the turn of the 20th century and it turns out that the aesthetics of everyday life during this century—the way we dress, the way we groom ourselves, the way we make our homes—are all partly a response to this newfangled idea of germs.
When Eustace Conway was 17, he abandoned his normal life and decided to move to the woods.
Two brothers set out with a friend to cross America on horseback. They take a tape recorder with them to make a kind of audio journal of their trip.
When Larry leaves his old life behind and joins a monastery, Ethan struggles to understand his best friend's decision.
Ralph Gentles and five other people spent each summer creating a map of every crack, every depression, every protrusion, every pothole in the sidewalks of New York City. We hear why, and we hear all the things their map does not include.
Denis Wood talks with host Ira Glass about the maps he's made of his own neighborhood, Boylan Heights in Raleigh, North Carolina. They include a traditional street locator map, a map of all the sewer and power lines under the earth's surface, a map of how light falls on the ground through the leaves of trees, a map of where all the Halloween pumpkins are each year, and a map of all the graffiti in the neighborhood.
Camp kids explain how their non-camp friends and their non-camp loved ones have no idea why camp is the most important thing in their lives. Most of this hour takes place at a pair of camps in Michigan—Lake of the Woods, a girls camp, and Greenwoods, a boys camp.
Sure, kids today are sophisticated. But get them living in the woods for a few days, and they revert to some of the most stupidly primitive forms of entertainment known since the dawn of civilization.
Camp Lake of the Woods holds a fake Indian powwow during the summer. This kind of fake Native American-ness has been a part of camping in America since organized camping began a century ago.