[joe-frank-list] Re: RE: Ira Glass etc (Steve Schneider)

springystepps at aol.com springystepps at aol.com
Tue Feb 20 15:59:19 PST 2007

      I'm not a consistent listener of TAL, but when I do tune in I'm generally left with a "Gosh darn it, this world is crazy, but all is well and actually quite entertaining" kind of feeling.  Joe is more "God damn it, this world is crazy and good luck to all of us while He entertains Himself."  There's a clever, extroverted cheerfulness to TAL, versus Joe's nuanced introspection even on topics that appear to be very outer-directed.  TAL seems fascinated by the "what;" Joe by the "why."
     Really, the two shows are such different explorations of "this American life" that it doesn't seem quite fair to compare them.  I think Joe is pretty much going to win any contest of blown minds and dropped jaws.
-----Original Message-----
From: ghastly_fop at yahoo.com
To: joe-frank-list at armory.com
Sent: Tue, 20 Feb 2007 1:27 PM
Subject: Re: [joe-frank-list] Re: RE: Ira Glass etc (Steve Schneider)

I think you nailed it, Sam.  
I listen to TAL all the time, and I desperately WANT
to love it, or even like it.  But time and time again,
I find myself either wanting more, wanting to be
surprised and/or moved, or just being flat-out
disappointed by what I've just heard.
There's this defensive kind of smugness at work in TAL
-- a kind of "I'm better than you" smugness coupled
with a "Don't hit me!" wimpiness.

--- Sam Holland <sam.holland at gmail.com> wrote:

> I don't think Ira Glass could fairly be called
> derivative except in
> the broadest possible sense, but his show is much
> less interesting
> than Joe Frank's. I often have conversations with
> people who are fans
> of This American Life--I don't know anyone who
> listens to NPR who
> doesn't at least claim to be a listener--and they're
> always very
> enthusiastic, and they want to talk about the show,
> and talk about
> what a visionary radio producer Ira Glass is. And I
> always tell them
> that I think This American Life is boring by
> comparison.
> TAL is "safe" in the way that NPR is "safe." At
> least--and I might be
> completely wrong on this--the way I perceive it:
> that even when
> addressing dark or unsettling subject matter, I
> never lose the sense
> that I'm listening to the voice of reason, the
> authoritative tone. Am
> I talking out of my ass? And on Joe Frank's show,
> anything could
> happen. Reason is abandoned. I might be listening to
> an entire
> episode's worth of lunatic ranting. The only thing
> I'm really sure of
> is that it's going to be either sixty or thirty
> minutes long. I don't
> get that from Ira Glass. And I don't really feel
> that Glass is an
> artist so much as an editor or curator, presiding
> over the
> storytelling equivalent of Sound and Spirit.

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