Friday, November 02, 2007

Ira Glass and This American Life

I am now officially addicted to "This American Life" on NPR. Actually don't listen to it on NPR (I think it's on Sunday afternoons?). What I am addicted to is listening to archived episodes from their website while I am working. Earlier this week, I was flipping through the huge repository of music files my company IT dude keeps out there "on the G drive". I discovered 8 files of "This American Life" and was enthralled all day with stories of the Little Mermaid voice mail message, the policemen and the squirrel, Music Lessons, and something witty by David Sedaris (per his usual). I had to crank up the volume so I could hear it over the photocopier, and not miss a single line. The remaining days this week I went to their website and started at the top of their "Favorites" list, listening to about 5 hours of shows each day. These stories have a way of sticking with you long after you listen to them. They are food for thought, an expansion of a viewpoint, an mini-education you would not normally receive, narrated by Ira Glass, whose voice can soothe me through any stress, with sound bytes and interviews with everyday people. Some of them cause my eyes to get dewy, some make me laugh out loud (I had only one co-worker walk in while I was laughing and wonder why. Unfortunately it was something vulgar that David Sedaris had said and I could not elaborate.), and all make me wish I was listening alongside another person so we could discuss the shows. Because I don't have an office-mate, however, I did discuss one of the more child-friendly topics with V, because I knew she could relate. From the "Cruelty of Children" episode:
Author and kindergarten teacher (and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient) Vivian Paley tells the story of an experiment she conducted in her classroom to make children less cruel to each other. She instituted a rule: "You can't say 'You can't play.'" In other words, if two children are playing, and a third child comes over and wants to join them, they can't tell him or her to get lost. They can't reject him or her. This is the cause of unending pain in most classrooms and playgrounds. The experiment was a remarkable and immediate success.
So now I am interested in reading Vivian Paley's book regarding this experiment. V acted as though it made total sense when I explained it to her.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Years ago, I bought a negative scanner (a scanner for negatives, not a scanner that complains all the time), and I would scan my photos whilst listening to hours and hours of This American Life. What an amazing gem. Squirrel Cop, The Little Mermaid, Doug the babysitter. Great stuff.