A flute player breaks into a British museum and makes off with a million dollars worth of dead birds.
"Since everyone around here thinks I'm a queer anyway."
"Nobody'll ever change my mind about it."
"If anybody could find it, it would be me."
"Tedious and brief." [more inside]
We return to Greece with stories of people trying to move on with their lives in whatever way they can. We meet a couple who fell in love even though they weren't expecting anything like that to happen, and even though her family didn't approve. We also meet a shopkeeper in a camp who's running what amounts to a cigarette charity. INTERACTIVE TOUR [more inside]
This week, a story about doubt: how it germinated, spread, and eventually took hold of an entire community, with terrible consequences. A collaboration with The Marshall Project and ProPublica.
Forget the easy way. This week, stories about people who come up with very innovative...and unusual...solutions to their problems. Including the story of a young voter who defies political categorization.
Often we see someone's situation from the outside and think we know exactly what's going on. This week This American Life gets inside and find out just how much more interesting the reality of it is, including a teenaged girl who records a remarkable story about the boyfriend who abuses her, and why it's so hard to break up with him. (trigger warning for depictions of domestic abuse)
A father constructs an elaborate fantasy to occupy his 12 children, and a woman finds herself sucked into a world of make believe that we almost never get to see inside. [more inside]
For July 4th, a story about someone who's desperately trying – against long odds – to make it to the United States and become an American. Abdi is a Somali refugee living in Kenya and gets the luckiest break of his life: he wins a lottery that puts him on a short list for a U.S. visa. This is his ticket out. But before he can cash in his golden ticket, the police start raiding his neighborhood, targeting refugees.
Stories of people who are tied together, but imagine radically different futures. In one case, a movie star and her ex-husband plot against Kim Jong-Il. In another, a woman stalks her doppleganger. And sometimes, one bed is the basis for an entire relationship, even for a man who almost never sees the person who shares his bed.
We tend to give credit to those who stand by their beliefs. But sometimes it requires even more courage to change them. This week, stories of people reconsidering how they really feel about their enemies, their homes, and themselves. We also talk to a girl named Zalena, who finds herself in a pretty unexpected place.
There's a program that brings together kids from two schools. One school is public and in the country's poorest congressional district. The other is private and costs $43,000/year. They are three miles apart. The hope is that kids connect, but some of the public school kids just can't get over the divide. We hear what happens when you get to see the other side and it looks a lot better. (Beeped version) [more inside]
This week, stories of people who are in put into positions they're completely unqualified to handle ... but who try to make it work anyway. Including one story of a tough group of soldiers who attempt to save lives through the power of show tunes. [more inside]
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. [more inside]
Alex Blumberg is a former producer for This American Life and Planet Money. Last year he founded Gimlet Media, a podcast network, and hosts its first show, StartUp. “When someone starts talking about something difficult, when they get unexpectedly emotional, your normal human reaction is to sort of comfort and steer away. To say, ‘Oh I’m sorry, let’s move on.’ What you need to do, if you want good tape, is to say, ‘Talk more about how you’re feeling right now.’ It feels like a horrible question to ask. It feels like you're going against your every instinct as a decent human being to go toward the pain that this person is experiencing.” Thanks to TinyLetter, Lynda and Alarm Grid for sponsoring this week's episode. [more inside]
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?
The Invisibilia preview roadshow continues! 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. [more inside]
In this Pop Culture Happy Hour extra, Linda Holmes talks with Gene Demby about the podcast Serial, a spin-off of This American Life. They'll discuss the podcasts created to discuss Serial and why listeners are picking apart episodes as if it's True Detective.
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.
Anybody interested in doing a FanFare for serial? We can pretend that it's a TV Show.