So happy to learn that Ira Glass is bringing This American Life to the BBC. The Guardian seems to think that a reference to Ira Glass taking Ecstasy was was the headline. But the thing about TAL and Ira Glass is the program’s transcendence of the medium. The fact that it is more than just a radio show allows it to expand beyond the realm of radio and indeed beyond “American Life”. Ira Glass crafts stories which help us understand the world by connecting us deeply to the experiences held by other human beings.
There are stories that change the way I see stuff, like the Harper High School story. I didn’t really understand what it was like to live in a neighborhood like that, or be a kid like that. One of the things we learned is that every kid in the school is in a gang. The nerd kids are in a gang. The drama kids are in a gang. Before I read that series, and this is kind of ugly to say, but I would think, ‘Well, if they got shot they’re a gang kid … that’s a bad kid.’ I don’t feel that any more at all. Those of us who don’t live in neighborhoods like that, we’re so dumb.