I don’t remember what I used to think of this song, but a few years ago I saw Silence of the Lambs for the first time. This was something I thought I would never do because for a very long time in my life I was painfully averse to anything deathly or scary, especially movies, and I was under the impression that this was the scariest of all scary movies. Turns out, it’s mostly just incredibly, deeply, marrow-curdlingly creepy. I had never eaten fava beans before but I’m not sure I could stomach them now. Also: this song. Like I said, I don’t know what I used to think of it. But after that scene where what’s her face is driving home at night, in the dark, alone in her car, thumb-drumming on the steering wheel and singing along to it, and Buffalo Bill (do you even know his name, or his game, at that point? I don’t remember) is clearly creepin’ on up behind her in his creeper van—that is where my mind goes when I hear this song, now. And on one hand, it’s great. Driving alone and singing along to whatever’s on the stereo is actually one of my favorite things in life, and seeing that character in that movie have that kind of moment with this song made me love the song, or made me realize I already loved it. But also now every time I hear it, like I did today when I was running errands at lunch and it came on my car radio that miraculously decided to start working after a while of not working, and was still stuck on 97.1 THE RIVER, ATLANTA’S CLASSIC HITS from last time it was working, I am overcome with this total cloud of sickly dread and this OH MY GOD, GIRL, DR. VAN CREEPENSTEIN BACK THERE IS GOING TO KILL YOU, TAKE YOUR TOM PETTY CASSETTE AND GET OUT OF THERE, LIKE SERIOUSLY, YOU COULD MAYBE GUESS HOW HORRIBLE YOUR LIFE IS ABOUT TO BECOME, BUT YOU WOULD BE OFF BY ABOUT 5000% (IT WILL INVOLVE LOTION IN A BASKET) (ALSO A DUDE WHO WANTS TO MAKE AN OUTFIT OUT OF YOUR SKIN) (SORRY FOR THE SPOILERS BUT THIS IS YOUR LIFE) (ALSO ONE DAY YOU WILL END UP ON GREY’S ANATOMY) (YEAH SORRY ABOUT THAT, BUT SERIOUSLY, DON’T GET IN THAT VAN). And that lasts for three minutes, or however long, and then an Aerosmith song comes on and I become filled with a different kind of bad feeling entirely. 

“So they reinvent a fake history for ourselves that doesn’t deal with the complexities. And I think in some ways that’s what the south and the upper Midwest have in common is that there’s a delusion at work about who we were. And that’s why we have a hard time about who we are. So that the kind of self congratulatory history that passes for heritage keeps us from seeing ourselves and doing better.”
Ira Glass: I have such a weird mix of feelings about this, because I simultaneously feel terrible, for you, and also, I feel lied to. And also I stuck my neck out for you. You know I feel like, I feel like, like I vouched for you. With our audience. Based on your word. Mike Daisey: I’m sorry.”

This American Life | #460: Retraction

This is how to make mistakes.

My favorite episodes of This American Life, because this is a question I sometimes get asked

And by “sometimes” I guess that shakes out to maybe just twice in the last few months? Once was Dave just now and I kind of brain-dumped on Twitter, then realized perhaps it would be helpful and /or benevolent to collect them all in one place. (I always assume everyone listens to the show already but obviously this isn’t true, but either anyway it’s basically just one of my favorite things, and has been very important for me as A Writer, so anytime you want to talk about it with me, just go for it.)

First, my favorites as of 2009, compiled in a list for Paste. Recordings for Someone (specifically, the insane Little Mermaid story) was the first episode I ever heard, in reruns sometime around 2006, so I like to suggest that as a starting place if you’ve somehow never listened. Oh and I think Notes on Camp was the first one that made me cry.

Recent favorites (which I’ve heard via the iPhone app, which is excellent and very much worth whatever few dollars it costs—you can stream every single episode ever for free once you buy it!) include Back to Penn State and The Incredible Case of the P.I. Moms

I also really love Georgia Rambler from 2010. And Trail of Tears, which is just an hour of Sarah Vowell tracing her Cherokee ancestors’ path on the Trail of Tears (including an amazingly hilarious and righteously angry stop in my hometown) and which aired in 1998, I just heard for the first time recently and may be my all-time favorite.

All this was prompted by my exhortation that if you own stuff, you should probably listen to the most recent episode, which is, frankly, gutting.

(via nprfreshair)

Can someone please edit this image so that the “deal with it” sunglasses drop down over her face? I don’t have those skills or I would do it myself! INTERNET? PLEASE? SOMEONE?