#546 : January 30, 2015
This American Life host Ira Glass was never into William Burroughs. Didn't get why people love his writing so much. Then he heard this radio story that changed all that, partly because it wasn't very reverential about Burroughs. For Burroughs 101st birthday, we hear that story. A bleeped version of this episode will be posted here.
#545 : January 23, 2015
The Internet is the one place where it’s safe to say whatever you want — nobody will know it’s you. But the same protections that make commenters invulnerable are what make the Internet scary — even downright dangerous — for the commented upon. In this week’s show: what happens when the Internet turns on you?
#544 : January 9, 2015
Can other people's expectations of you alter what you can do physically? Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller of NPR's new radio show and podcast Invisibilia investigate that question – specifically, they look into something that sounds impossible: if people’s expectations can change whether a blind man can see.
#543 : December 26, 2014
As New Year’s approaches and people are contemplating things they want to change about themselves, we have stories of people trying to wake themselves up, shake up their own lives, or wake up others. Including the story of a company – or maybe it's a movement – called WakeUpNow.
#542 : December 12, 2014
Stories about people feeling lost and trying to figure out how to move ahead: two brothers take a doomed road trip through through Mexico and a couple from radically different backgrounds draw up a contract for their unlikely romance.
#541 : December 5, 2014
Every day we make mistakes, and most of the time we just ignore these failings and move forward. But every so often, there is one that makes us pause and take notice. This week, people struggling with those regrets — big and small — that take root and have to be dealt with.
#540 : November 21, 2014
Stories about people and places that are fronting in order to hide the truth. We visit a bizarre store in Milwaukee called Fearless Distributing, government checkpoints scattered on highways out west, and a front in a doctor's office.
#539 : November 7, 2014
Most of us go from day to day just coasting on the status quo. If it ain’t broke, why fix it, right? But when routines just get too mundane or systems stop making sense, sometimes you just have to hold your breath…and jump. This week, stories of people who leap from their lives, their comfort zones…even through time.
#538 : October 17, 2014
Stories of schools struggling with what to do with misbehaving kids. There's no general agreement about what teachers should do to discipline kids. And there's evidence that some of the most popular punishments actually may harm kids.
#537 : October 3, 2014
Baltimore, 1999. Hae Min Lee, a bright teenager disappears after school one day. Six weeks later her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed is arrested for her murder. He says he's innocent — though he can't remember what he was doing that afternoon. But someone can. A classmate at Woodlawn High School claims to know exactly where Adnan was. Trouble is, she’s nowhere to be found. This week features a pilot of our new podcast, Serial, hosted by Sarah Koenig.
#536 : September 26, 2014
This week, an unprecedented look inside one of the most powerful, secretive institutions in the country. The NY Federal Reserve is supposed to monitor big banks and prevent another financial crisis. But when Carmen Segarra was hired, what she witnessed inside the Fed was so alarming that she bought a tiny recorder, and started secretly taping. ProPublica reports.
#535 : September 19, 2014
This week we bring you little-known and surprising stories of how all sorts of institutions began. An updated version of a 2009 episode.
#534 : September 12, 2014
We take it for granted that the majority calls the shots. But in one NY school district, that idea — majority rules — has led to an all-out war. School board disputes are pretty common, but not like this one. This involves multimillion-dollar land deals, lawyers threatening to beat up parents, felony criminal charges, and the highest levels of state government. Meanwhile, the students are caught in the middle.
#533 : September 5, 2014
Starting a business is not for the self-doubting. Or even usually the self-deprecating. The first thing you have to sell is yourself — like dating, but with a greater chance of landing in debt. Alex Blumberg tells the incredible, sweat-stains-and-all saga of a man fumbling through starting a new business, and the man is: himself. Plus, new stories from Mike Birbiglia and Love + Radio.
#532 : August 15, 2014
When Jonathan Goldstein was a kid, his father gave him a book that promised to teach you how to shoot mental laser beams, win the lottery, move solid objects with your mind, make others obey your command – all through the use of mental power and magic words. This week, he revisits the book to try to unlock the secrets within. And we have other stories where people recite words that have the power to change their lives, with no magic or mumbo jumbo at all.
#531 : July 25, 2014
There is a special comfort that comes from knowing someone's got your back. You can do things that just weren't possible before. You take huge risks, including some that aren't necessarily advisable. This week: stories where one person's powerlessness is transformed when they discover they have backup. And we see what happens when that backup goes away. Note: This episode contains un-bleeped curse words. BLEEPED VERSION
#530 : July 11, 2014
Stories of meddling, snooping, and just getting way, way up in other people's business. A cellphone hidden in a bag of chips starts a messy turf war between the FBI and a local sheriff; and a surprising handbook lets us peek into the secret world of professional cheerleading. Plus: Studs Terkel.
#529 : June 27, 2014
Gladiators in the Colosseum. Sideshow performers. Reality television. We've always loved to gawk at the misery or majesty of others. But this week, we ask the question: What's it like when the tables are turned and all eyes are on you?
#528 : June 20, 2014
Our most ambitious live show ever! (get the video!) We pulled together a massive team of theater pros at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Opera House – nearly 50 singers, actors, dancers and musicians. The result? Journalism turned into a Broadway musical (the cast album is here), into opera. Mike Birbiglia, Sasheer Zamata, Stephin Merritt, Josh Hamilton, Lindsay Mendez, Lin-Manuel Miranda and others.
#527 : June 13, 2014
Flipflops, u-turns, changes of heart, about faces. Completely changing our position — sometimes it can be our best move, sometimes it can be our worst. Either way, it's usually complicated. This week we bring you stories of people who go one way, and then, for what ever reason, turn around and go the exact opposite direction.
#526 : May 23, 2014
You've been seeing yourself, getting to know what you look like, your whole life. So why is does it often take an outsider to see things about you that are obvious, and set you straight?
#525 : May 9, 2014
Stories of people coming to terms with being in serious trouble. They need help. Figuring out how to get it, that's another problem.
#524 : May 2, 2014
Your waitress. Your colleagues at work. Your doctor. Maybe even your parents. They’re all high. All the time. That’s what it feels like anyway. This week, stories in which drug use and daily life intersect – and in which people get high in secret and then do their best to function in the non-high world. Also, we hear some “I Was So High” stories from our very own listeners.
#523 : April 25, 2014
It is a peculiar feeling to know with certainty that something big is about to happen to you. This week we watch people go right up to the edge of inevitable change. We hear from preteens about the terrifying knowledge that puberty is about to happen...any minute now. And true to the death and taxes saying, we found it unavoidable to include a story about each one of those things.
#522 : April 11, 2014
This week, stories of people being threatened and punished with public shame. Including the story of someone who was literally tarred and feathered. It happened a lot more recently than you'd guess.
#521 : March 28, 2014
They're small. And they're cuddly. But sometimes it feels as though our babies were replaced with demon replicas — controlling, demanding, or just downright awful. This week, stories of infants and children who dominate the adults around them with their baditude, or whom adults have painted with the "bad" brush from early on. We also ask the question: at what age does badness begin?
#520 : March 14, 2014
There's lots of ways we define where we're from. And whether we're proud of it, or ashamed of it, love it, hate it, miss it or are trying desperately to get back to it — where we're from is always a big part of who we are. This week, stories of people who are, in good ways and bad ways, coming to terms with the places they call home.
#519 : March 7, 2014
Last May, a weird story made the news: the FBI killed a guy in Florida who was loosely linked to the Boston Marathon bombings. He was shot seven times in his living room by a federal agent. What really happened? Why was the FBI even in that room with him? A reporter spent six months looking into it, and she found that the FBI was doing a bunch of things that never made the news. Her Boston Magazine story.
#518 : February 14, 2014
Mike Anderson was 36 years old, married, a suburban father of four. He owned a contracting business and built his family’s modest, three-bedroom house in St. Louis from the ground up. He volunteered at church on the weekends and coaches his son’s football team. All pretty normal, right? Except for one thing … which surfaced one day last summer.
#517 : January 31, 2014
It's January, and freezing outside. This week 5 stories from the sunny beach! Including David Sedaris telling us how losing a sister in 2013 prompted a family reunion, and an impulse buy of a lifetime — an oceanfront cottage big enough for all of them.