If I hadn’t known better I would have had a major crush on Ira Glass, more on the intellectual side. This American Life is by far one of the most engaging and warm radio shows I have ever heard. TAL is genuinely interested in people’s lives and experiences of all kinds and let those folks speak up while for instance many stories on Opras’ cry-sofa sooner or later become a story about one person – Oprah.
Pechorin, the main character of the Russian classic short novel by Michail Lermontov “A Hero of Our Time”, writes in his journal: “The history of a human soul, be it even the meanest soul, can hardly be less curious or less instructive than the history of an entire nation – especially when it is the result of self-observation on the part of a mature mind, and when it is written without the ambitious desire to provoke sympathy or amazement.” TAL story tellers manage to maintain a level of self-detachment that would make any aspiring reporter drool with envy. The stories are like crispy on the outside but dreamingly soft on the inside cookies. (In comparison, Ophra’s mushy-sofa-stories are more like blobs of dough, spreading out, filling in the space around.)
One thing, though: the frames make Ira look like Claire’s father in Heroes and even my cats think the man IS creepy.
Ira, you and your American life are always welcome into my ears and into my heart.
I am fascinated though by how people on TAL conveniently happen to have audiotapes of their lives at their disposal. I don’t know anyone who goes around recording conversations.
Or DO I???