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Dizzy
02-23-2013, 03:21 PM
You know... I never seriously pursued this show at all and I've known about it for some five odd years.

I sampled it here and there and it all seemed like the kind of precious, bourgeois liberal programming I would expect from TED, Charlie Rose, etc. Well... I've discovered it's not. Feel free to dump a wheelbarrow full of concrete blocks over my head. I shall not dodge but endure my punishment and eventual terrifyingly painful death with a stoic resolve.

Their recent two-par (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/487/harper-high-school-part-one)t program (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/488/harper-high-school-part-two) on Harper High School and youth violence in Chicago (a very hot topic right now) is excellent. It's filled with probing, humanistic reportage and worth your attention. Criminal youth activities in Chicago (and a lot of other cities) seemed to have gotten as bad as the stuff as you see on The Wire or City of God. This program was a good stab at why and filled with amazing real-life characters.

Also, what are some other good stuff TAL offers? (I've already listened to The Giant Pool of Money .)

Matchstick
02-23-2013, 03:29 PM
Fiasco (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/61/fiasco) is my favorite episode, hands down.

Falselogic
02-23-2013, 03:44 PM
Their episode on the guy who went over to China to expose Apple is good.

Even better is the episode where TAL goes back to it after finding out parts of it are fake.

Sprite
02-23-2013, 03:51 PM
Yeah, I adore TAL, and donate to it regularly. I think it's at its best when focusing on storytelling as opposed to investigative journalism, but considering how depressingly rare the latter is today I should probably be grateful.

81 Words (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/204/81-words) is basically the best radio anything ever. TAL has a wealth of stuff from a gay male perspective, especially for a show aimed at a mainstream audience. Dan Savage's stories about parenting are the most adorable thing ever.

cool onion
02-23-2013, 10:02 PM
I sampled it here and there and it all seemed like the kind of precious, bourgeois liberal programming I would expect from TED, Charlie Rose, etc.

I think TAL makes this kind of first impression on everybody before they (hopefully) stick with it long enough to realize it's really good when they aren't inviting David Sedaris or some other idiot on to read their shitty fiction about talking animals.

Droewyn
02-24-2013, 07:14 AM
It's funny, I just started listening to all the episodes in order this week at work.

My favorite episodes have Sarah Vowell in them talking about history.

Destil
02-24-2013, 02:06 PM
Take the Money and Run (for office) (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/461/take-the-money-and-run-for-office) is eye opening.

spineshark
02-24-2013, 02:24 PM
I think it's at its best when focusing on storytelling as opposed to investigative journalism, but considering how depressingly rare the latter is today I should probably be grateful.
What about when it's both? (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/447/the-incredible-case-of-the-pi-moms)

Sprite
02-24-2013, 03:51 PM
What about when it's both? (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/447/the-incredible-case-of-the-pi-moms)
Then it's sublime.

Dizzy
02-26-2013, 05:18 AM
I listened to the Very Tough Love (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/430/very-tough-love) episode. What did some of you think of that one? I'm almost afraid of listening to anything else because I don't know how good this show can be. Liking it a lot!

Ample Vigour
02-26-2013, 07:34 AM
this american life is at its best when it manages to focus on things that are not wry liberal arts grads constitutionally unable to understand why they aren't happy

someday i hope they get julia sweeney, sarah vowell or julia sweeny adn sarah vowell talking about loneliness or maybe times they got embarassed at the farmers market so they can create a gravitational singularity composed entirely of precious

Grignr
02-26-2013, 04:36 PM
I like the show in general (I listen when I mow the lawn every week) but the ones where they team up with Planet Money to do health care (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/391/more-is-less) and insurance (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/392/someone-elses-money) and global financial collapse (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/355/the-giant-pool-of-money) stories (or just money (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/423/the-invention-of-money) in general) are really great.

Others are good conversation (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/436/the-psychopath-test) starters at work.

estragon
02-26-2013, 08:01 PM
someday i hope they get julia sweeney, sarah vowell or julia sweeny adn sarah vowell talking about loneliness or maybe times they got embarassed at the farmers market so they can create a gravitational singularity composed entirely of precious

Don't you dare lump Julia Sweeney's personal stories that go nowhere together with Sarah Vowell's funny and thoughtful historical research about pilgrims, immigrant workers in Hawaii, etc.

Wolfgang
03-01-2013, 01:16 PM
Don't you dare lump Julia Sweeney's personal stories that go nowhere together with Sarah Vowell's funny and thoughtful historical research about pilgrims, immigrant workers in Hawaii, etc.

Sarah Vowell wouldn't be pals with John Hodgman if she were that lame.