Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ira Glass v. Lleyton Hewitt

This American Life, 10 years into into its career, still manages to stay pure, mostly; and mostly smug-free. I attribute this to the simplicity of their form. They let people talk and talk and keep on talking, with a very keen, sympathetic ear for the innately dramatic stories that people will tell about themselves and the things to which they are closest, as long as you treat them like you would treat your grandmother's favorite emerald earrings. Then they underscore it with music that is too good and too well-timed for you to resist being made vulnerable to these stories. Today they really outdid themselves with an up-to-the-minute episode centered on Katrina and those that were caught in its unimaginable vortex of inhumanity of every conceiveable kind and the way that people are forced to overcome such absurd obstacles; or else deal with the consequences of being brutally betrayed by all those who are being paid to protect you. If you can find it in the schedule of your local public radio station, well, it won't kill you to miss it of course but it won't kill you to set aside an hour for it either. I believe you can download it from their website but it does seem to cost some money to do so.

It does not paint a pretty picture of what the power of a few does to the way those few treat the powerlessness of the many. And they don't even focus on Bush/FEMA et al (though they do not fare well here, of course). We get to hear about how ugly was the behaviour of the National Guard, and those that worked to protect their precious white suburbs from being turned into "another Superdome," not allowing blacks to cross the Ponchartrain Expressway into safer, drier Gretna. And we learn about police flatly lying to groups of people asking for information, lying just to get them to go away. Much of one of the stories on the TAL episode is contained in a post here.

(Edited for addition: in case you don't get to listen to this show, I just want to also mention that there is made mention in this episode, by one of those "evacuated" to the N.O. Convention Center, that it was not at all simple to dismiss the rumour that was running rampant throughout the "evacuees:" that the government was attempting a sort of passive-agressive genocide in order to rid themselves of what looked like an insoluble problem, the problem of what to do with tens of thousands of angry, dehydrated, poor, homeless African-Americans. And further into the show, an eighteen-year-old "evacuee" describes the sort of hallucinations brought on by dehydration. And further-More, the fact that I capped off this post with a U.S. Open Tennis update... well, please forgive me, the two of you who have actually read this far.)

And I have to break in here and just get this out of my system: Andre Agassi continues to do heartstopping things, especially when they count. 3rd 5-setter in a row and he looks like he could go out and whip Federer with his own day-glo bandana right here and NOW. The U.S. Open has been better this year than any in memory and it is a welcome relief. And here's to hoping Lleyton Hewitt loses again. How is it Aussies seem to come by "asshole" so easily? Now I have a couple Australian friends, and they are not assholes, but Lleyton Hewitt I cannot abide. Here is some evidence. For more evidence, just google "Lleyton Hewitt asshole". And for more evidence, go here and try not to vomit on your keyboard.


At 4:29 PM, Blogger dc nahm said...

I'm not mad

At 5:51 PM, Blogger stark pimp said...

one down...


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