Last school year in Chicago, 29 current and recent students of Harper High School in the Englewood neighborhood were shot. Of those, 8 students died. For one semester (five months) reporters from the NPR show This American Life
interviewed students and staff at Harper. The reporters wanted to know: How do students live with the violence surrounding them? How does the school staff deal with the effects of violence on students? The resulting two episodes of the show answer these questions (and more) in heartbreaking and surprising ways.
Part one here.
Part two here.
posted by Misty_Knightmare
on Feb 22, 2013 -
If you missed this story, you missed one of the All Time Great stories on This American Life:
A while ago, a farmer walked through a pork processing plant in Oklahoma with a friend who managed it. He came across boxes stacked on the floor with labels that said "artificial calamari." So he asked his friend "What’s artificial calamari?" "Bung," his friend replied. "Hog rectum." Have you or I eaten bung dressed up as seafood? Ben investigated. (26 minutes) Dead Ringer
. Educational and hilarious. If you prefer, the entire episode.
posted by spock
on Jan 19, 2013 -
"What facts about the United States do foreigners not believe until they come to America? In the episode "True Urban Legends
" [originally aired 4.23.2010] of This American Life
, Mary Wiltenburg asks refugees to share the rumors they'd heard about America but didn't think were true, only to discover on arrival that they were. Examples include homelessness and Christmas lights." Quora members weigh in
. [more inside]
posted by ericb
on Jun 20, 2012 -
This weekend, TAL ran an episode
on the massacre at Dos Erres
. What they didn't mention was that this happened as part of the "Silent Holocaust
" -- a "systematic campaign of genocide against the Mayan people." An estimated 83% of the massacred people were indigenous Maya
. Throughout the period of the genocide, the USA continued to provide military support
to the Guatemalan government, mainly in the form of arms and equipment, despite knowing that the Guatemala military was responsible
for the killings. Horatio Castellanos Moya
, an exiled Honduran writer, wrote Senselessness
, his first book to be published in English, based on the testimonies taken by the Catholic Church's Recuperation of History project, which led to Bishop José Gerardi Conedera
releasing the Guatemala: Never Again!
report. Two days later, he was bludgeoned to death.
posted by Felicity Rilke
on May 28, 2012 -
Many listeners have written to us since our episode about Georgia Judge Amanda Williams, asking what ever happened to her. Did she face any consequences for the things we documented on our program? Yesterday, Georgia’s Judicial Qualifications Commission filed formal charges
[PDF] against her. The twelve counts include a number of things reported in our episode: sending away inmates for indefinite detention, jailing Charlie McCullough for 14 days for exercising his right to contest a drug screen, and using “rude, abusive, or insulting language” with individuals appearing before her.
Local reporting from the Altanta Journal-Constitution. Previously.
posted by gerryblog
on Nov 10, 2011 -
19th-century newspaper ads for patented stomach cures and digestive aids [...] foregrounded mince pie as the K2 of digestive summits. But for every published warning on the dangers of mince, the newspapers published a poem, essay, or editorial praising it as a great symbol of American cultural heritage or a nostalgic reminder of mother love and better times bygone—or even, as the State of Columbia, South Carolina, asserted in 1901, a beneficial Darwinian instrument that had "thinned out the weak ones" among the pioneering generations.
So wrote Cliff Doerksen in his wonderful, James Beard award-winning article Mince Pie: The Real American Pie
. Doerksen not only gives the history of this once most American of foods, he also makes two mince pies from 19th Century recipes to see if they are indeed all that. This is but one of many great articles Doerksen wrote for The Chicago Reader in recent years (links to a selection below the cut). Sadly, Cliff Doerksen passed at the age of 47 just before Christmas
. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus
on Dec 29, 2010 -
Since the very beginning, PRI's This American Life has (every few years) commemorated Thanksgiving in the US with episodes about the exotic mysteries of turkeys, chicken and other fowl. They call it Poultry Slam
and episodes from 1995
are all available for your turkey day and I-refuse-to-even-look-at-a-Walmart day enjoyment.
posted by l33tpolicywonk
on Nov 24, 2010 -
Betting Against the American Dream
. In 2005, just as Wall Street started to get cold feet about the housing market, the Magnetar
hedge fund helped create a new wave of billion-dollar mortgage-backed securities, pushed bankers to include riskier sub-prime mortgages, and then shorted the securities, making millions when the bubble finally burst. Traders on both sides of the deals pocketed enormous fees even if their banks went under when the securities failed. Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica
, This American Life
, and NPR's Planet Money
track down some of the big winners in the housing/financial crisis. No time to read or listen? It seemed so much like a scheme from The Producers
, they even recorded a show tune to explain it all
posted by straight
on Apr 15, 2010 -
Quimby The Mouse. That is all.
I have been a Chris Ware fan since 1990. More specifically, I have been a Quimby Mouse fan since 1990. This is a video Chris put together for This American Life for their spring 2009 event. The music is by Andrew Bird.
posted by PuppyCat
on May 5, 2009 -
Confused about the banking crisis? Confused by banks in general? This American Life
's latest show Bad Bank
) is a highly informative (and entertaining) overview of how banks work, and what problems they--and we all--face in this current crisis. Produced by another great NPR show, Planet Money
posted by zardoz
on Mar 2, 2009 -
A very special 'This American Life
' about an administration with the endemic belief that laws only apply to the little people, and a limitless refusal to concede on even petty issues, no matter the costs. The highlight is about immigrant widows of US citizens (30:50). The program also discusses the constitutional beliefs of the presidential candidates. [more inside]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94
on Apr 2, 2008 -
There's an interesting piece over at This American Life
(titled "What's in number"). It touches on the previously discussed Lancet study
and gives a better explanation of the methodology use. Be sure and check out Act II, where Marc Garlasco, former chief of high-value targeting at the Pentagon, visits Iraq to see some of the actual sites he helped plan to hit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher
on Nov 12, 2006 -
After The Flood Surprising stories from survivors in New Orleans. We give people who were in the storm more time than daily news coverage can to tell their stories and talk about what they're thinking. This leads to a number of ideas that haven't made it into the regular news coverage.
The most recent episode of This American Life
is now up on their website--This American Life
is one of the best programs on public radio and this was one of their best episodes ever. It is well worth a listen.
posted by y2karl
on Sep 13, 2005 -
The Apology Line
was an art project by Allan Bridge. For 15 years, anonymous confessions were collected by an answering machine. Covered by
This American Life
, and an early Wired Magazine
article, The Apology Line predated online confessionals like grouphug.us
by over 20 years.
The resulting messages were compiled into tapes. The long out-of-print cassette The Apology Line: Uncut Gems From Year Zero (1980-1981)
is available in mp3 form: Side A. Side B.
Fascinating, funny, and disturbing, all at once.
posted by bluno
on Mar 17, 2004 -