this american life
this is an age of great interest in american society. as the country stands at the cusp of witnessing the rise of a new political administration, eyes are on trained upon every development, within and without. this is no surprise, considering that this is the country that emerged from the cold war as the sole political and financial superpower on earth. a country whose actions spell significant implications for the rest of the world.
while its dominance has in recent times been challenged by the rise of china and india, only the foolhardy would be hasty in writing off america as a ‘has-been’. the truly wise will realise that few times in history has america stood at such a pivotal point. while there are those who bemoan the callousness of america’s foreign policy at present (read: iraq and the middle east), there are many developing countries that still benefit from substantial american investments. the world in general is entangled in a love-hate relationship with this country, and the often precarious tangos that result are unsettling, though enthralling.
apart from the political landscape at home, great upheavals are taking place down at the grassroots level. arabs continue to suffer discrimination in the backlash resulting from 9/11. religion is experiencing a ‘revival’, especially among the evangelical movement, which subscribes to what can only be described as an almost ‘militant’ form of christianity. healthcare woes, brought to national consciousness in the wake of hilary clinton’s unimpressive healthcare proposal, continue to plague the country, with none of the political forerunners proposing a feasible solution.
there is perhaps no better way to understand a society other than reaching deep into its core, stripping away the illusions projected due to whatever motivation, examining the raw grit of downtrodden existence and working your way up. this is precisely what ‘this american life’ – a programme produced by the chicago public radio – attempts to facilitate. each approximately 45 minutes to an hour long show features stories in 3 ‘acts’, bound by a common theme, that provide an insider’s look into the american life through personal anecdotes, reports of correspondents, as well as the commentary of host ira glass. be it stories about superintendents of old new york buildings or retailer gap’s impact in countries like cambodia and vietnam, they are sometimes humorous, sometimes bittersweet, but always informative. underpinned by award winning research and writing, ‘this american life’ is definitely worthy of the attention that it is receiving on the online radio circuit.
‘this american life’ by the chicago pubic radio can be downloaded from the website www.thislife.org. it is also available as a podcast on itunes. simply enter ‘this american life’ in the itunes store search field.
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