This American Life

‘This American Life’ Video Series Kicks Off by Helping a Couple Say “I Love You” — After Eight Years

In honor of Valentine’s Day, This American Life has teamed up with Brooklyn filmmaker Bianca Giaever to make an adorable video, the first in a collaborative series called Videos 4 U. Giaever’s short film “The Scared Is Scared” went viral in 2012 for its quirky aesthetic and sneakily masterful storytelling and editing. In Videos 4 U, Giaever helps a stranger say something they’ve been having trouble sharing with another person, via a custom, high-production short film. Warning: it would take a heart of stone not to find this incredibly heartwarming. … Read More

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‘This American Life’ Episode Humanizes Internet Trolling as Only Radio Can

Just about every writer whose work is posted on the Internet has to deal with the bane of the comments section, but for Lindy West, a former Jezebel staffer who currently writes for publications like GQ and The Guardian, the comments section has become a war zone. She’s candid and funny, unafraid to criticize rape jokes or explain how airlines discriminate against fat people, and her fearlessness has made her one of the most notable voices on the Internet. … Read More

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Sundance 2015: Tig Notaro’s Charm and Insight Save a Formulaic Documentary

PARK CITY, UT: On August 3, 2012, stand-up comic Tig Notaro stepped onto the stage of Los Angeles’ Largo and gave an instantly legendary performance. It came at the conclusion of a three-month period in which she was diagnosed with a dangerous bacterial infection, lost her mother unexpectedly, and was diagnosed with breast cancer. The cancer news came about three days before the performance, and it was a breaking point; suddenly the series of tragedies became funny, it was just so over the top. She greeted the audience with a warm, “Good evening. Hello. I have cancer. How are you?” And she proceeded to execute one of the most breathtaking high-wire acts in stand-up comedy history. Suddenly, she was dying — and a star. … Read More

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What Do We Really Know About Hae Min Lee, ‘Serial’s’ “Beautiful” Dead Korean Girl?

Like countless other obsessed fans of Serial, the addictive true-crime podcast where This American Life host/producer Sarah Koenig investigates a murder, I was first drawn in by the dramatic possibility Koenig presented: Adnan Syed had been wrongfully accused and imprisoned for killing his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. With each episode, Koenig circles around the case. She paints a vivid portrait of Adnan’s life, presents conflicting reports of the events of the day Hae was killed, the strange turns of police investigation, missteps made by Adnan’s defense lawyer, and an entire episode devoted to Jay, the former friend whose testimony cemented Adnan’s fate. … Read More

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Are Women Still Being Preached Archaic Ideals About Prenatal Health? : Links You Need to See

Today is Veterans Day, a holiday that is too often only superficially acknowledged through nationalistic brouhaha. What get overlooked are the lived experiences of actual veterans, many of whom return home with intense post-traumatic stress disorder and few resources for treatment. In “The Agony and the Ecstasy: The Quiet Mission to Fight PTSD with MDMA,” Motherboard writer Brian Anderson details the efforts doctors Annie and Michael Mithoefer are taking to treat PTSD among veterans using small amounts of ecstasy in safe, controlled environments. Although the piece is from 2011, Motherboard has reposted it because — unfortunately — the urgent need for PTSD-treatment in the veteran community is huge. … Read More

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“They’re People Like You and Me”: Talking With Debut Author Diane Cook About Short Story Collection ‘Man V. Nature’

In Diane Cook’s daring debut story collection, Man V. Nature, mothers lose children only to find them again, leaving both irrevocably altered; men cast adrift on a lifeboat suffer mid-life crises; and young, wild boys fight for survival in an untamed forest of obstacle courses. Each beautifully rendered story is full of peril and, often, tenderness, featuring regular folks attempting to navigate their uncanny worlds. Layered with pitch-black humor, each story is a fight for survival, and together they feel like notes sent from the edge of a place just familiar enough to rattle you and just strange enough to catch you off guard. Writer Karolina Waclawiak, also familiar with the edge of the surreal in her books How to Get Into the Twin Palms and the forthcoming Invaders, talked with Cook, a former producer for This American Life, about what went into writing Man V. Nature. … Read More

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“Do It Now”: Ira Glass’ Comforting, Terrifying Advice for Journalists

Earlier this year, the radio classic This American Life moved away from its longtime distributor, Public Radio International (PRI), to an independent model. Ira Glass, the show’s host and producer, has been doing more rounds in the press of late, discussing where the show is after 17 years, and where he is at this point as a journalist. The takeaway from the New York Times profile earlier this month was that Glass is, literally, dancing as fast as he can, working as both professional talking head (the bulk of his income comes from speaking appearances) and as the soul of a really good radio show when he’s not harboring dreams of Broadway. Whew! … Read More

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