Monday, September 19, 2005

This American Disaster

I just got back from a weekend away with the family. Before I left, I loaded a bunch of episodes of my (and Frances') favorite radio show, NPR's "This American Life" (WBEZ, Chicago) onto the iPod to listen to in the car while Liam was asleep in his car seat. I swear if we could pump this radio show into the houses of the so-called "Red States", the people of this country might start to understand what it really means to be an American. Each week's show is based on a theme and has stories from people around the country as told by those people coaxed on by the show's amazing host/producer Ira Glass. Anyhow, Ira Glass has this incredible way of getting stories out of people in a relaxed, courteous, non-confrontational manner and then puts the stories together that are always poignant, and often ironic, unbelievable, and/or downright hilarious.

One not-so-hilarious but quite thought-provoking episode was 9/9's "After the Flood" that Frances and I listened to last night on the way home from Tahoe. The personal accounts from the Katrina hurricane and aftermath helped me really understand what people were going through on an extremely personal level. Most unbelievable was the story of the Gretna police department turning away throngs of would-be evacuees at gunpoint from the bridge connecting New Orleans to Gretna, a small town on the other (non-flooded) side of the Mississippi. I was also incredibly moved by the "Social Studies Lesson" from a poor New Orleans 18-year-old in rebuttal to Bill O'Reilly's outrageous post-Katrina conclusions.

I can't wait to listen to this past week's episode (9/16 "This Is Not My Beautiful House") on the displaced hurricane evacuees.

"This American Life" is on the Bay Area's KQED 88.5FM every Saturday at noon (or check your local NPR schedule). I listen for free online on the "This American Life" website:

Downloads also available for purchase at

Ira Glass for President!!!


Grey said...

I agree about This American Life. Did you hear that they are going to have a TV show? They were giving away previews of it as a gift for pledging to KALW. It'll be on Showtime, so maybe it will get into a few red state living rooms with any luck.

and another thing said...

This American Life is also on KALW, 91.7, on Sundays with a rebroadcast on Fridays, both at 1pm. Gotta promote the 'other' local public radio station.