[joe-frank-list] Ira Glass etc

Steve Schneider scs1 at theavocadopapers.com
Sun Feb 18 12:49:47 PST 2007

Re the last few posts about TAL and Ira Glass: This American Life is a
fantastic show.  I don't know what "edgy" even means (or "abstract," for
that matter); what I do know is that, like Joe Frank's work, TAL is
ground-breaking radio.  But they're utterly different!  I have never, once,
sensed that Glass was trying to emulate or rip off JF.  TAL seems to me to
be essentially a magazine: two, three, or rour features reported on by
various producers, with the occasional fiction thrown in (e.g. D. Sedaris
reading a short story).  JF's shows are simply nothing like that, and I'm
referring to any of his formats: the "reality" shows such as the Karma
series; the improvised, highly edited radio dramas; the fictional
monologues; the non-fictional monologues such as "No Show"; and so on.
I have seen Glass credit JF at least twice (which is nice, although I'm not
entirely sure that he owes much artistically to JF).  When JF has mentioned
Glass, there has been a tinge of annoyance or jealousy, and frankly I'm not
sure why.  As far as the "God, I really hate David Sedaris and Ira Glass,
those two miserable geeks, those wretched freaks.  They should move in
together, adopt children, leave the country, maybe go to mars. What do you
think?" quote, which I believe starts off the women-police-officer show: are
we really supposed to take that 100% seriously?  Especially in a show
devoted to getting a rise out of people and especially women (by suggesting
that women are not fit to be police officers)?  In another, he complains
about the phenomenal (by public-radio standards) success of TAL, but in that
piece, he seems to me to be complaining mostly about the lack of support
that his show gets (from KCRW, I guess).  I've never sensed any real
animosity towards Glass from JF.  With most of JF, a lot is open to
interpretation, of course...
Look, I basically spent half of 2004 and most of 2005 working through the JF
shows -- to the extent that I didn't even read many books during that time.
I must have listened to some of the shows 30 times.  I'm a huge admirer.
But only on a JF mailing list could Ira Glass be seen as a sell-out, or as
being too mainstream.  (Not that this post is, necessarily, saying that, but
I've seen a lot of bitterness directed towards Glass -- which is funny: I
doubt there would be any of that were it not for the coincidence that IG was
an intern for JF long, long ago).
I guess what I'd like to know is, what do people think that Glass "stole"
from JF?  What things?  Specifically?
-- Steve.


From: joe-frank-list-bounces at armory.com
[mailto:joe-frank-list-bounces at armory.com] On Behalf Of billmilosz at aol.com
Sent: Sunday, February 18, 2007 3:20 PM
To: joe-frank-list at armory.com
Subject: [joe-frank-list] Ira Glass etc

Ira Glass' venue "This American Life"  is now also going to have a TV
program as part of the franchise....
Glass' program is less edgy, less abstract and often not as personal as
Joe's, that may account for it being apparently more popular.

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