Arts & Culture

The Ira Glass Infatuation Post/This American Life Roundup: “Life After Death”

  This week’s TAL, Life after Death, explores the guilt that dwells in the unconscious of the innocent, even if logic grants them amnesty.  All we have is now, so let’s jump right into it. Act 1: Innocent drivers realize … Read More

By / September 22, 2010

 

This week’s TAL, Life after Death, explores the guilt that dwells in the unconscious of the innocent, even if logic grants them amnesty.  All we have is now, so let’s jump right into it.

Act 1: Innocent drivers realize they are at the mercy of the universe

Ira airs the surviving side’s account of a fatal car crash that many of us listeners considered back in 2007 to be the most intimately human account on TAL. Narrator Darin Strauss’s book released this week, about the accident and his life with a stranger’s ghost, spanks the crap out of his illogically guilty ass. “Before the accident, I hadn’t been so introspective; I had nothing to be introspective about.” We should all be so lucky to be stricken with a case of reality, having to go off autopilot and reflect. While some girls can just blow-and-go scot-free, others end up with a sore of a sentence that will induce similar reflection.

Like this act’s Bambi title that Ira provides at the story’s end,  drivers asleep at the wheel can alter their actions to remedy future messes, while the innocent must face the ambivalence of the universe. Leaving it up to an apathetic force is somewhat disheartening, and can leave you as frazzled as a boy in love with a stripper. C’est la vie, say the heartless French who don’t want to work and just want to smoke.

Act 2: I still can’t see cutting Dominique

It’s something we can relate to, normal people scaring us and pissing us off to misanthropic extremes. While it is neurosis that fuels Woody Allen-style loathing (such as his new flick You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger—oh baby), for Soldier John, ex-bandgeek, now veteran with PTSD, it’s a battle to keep himself sane in a warless city, while keeping others safe from him.

After cutting his girlfriend Dominique and her grandmother in the midst of his children, he has no recollection of the postwar ordeal. With a city full of veterans trained as killing machines and reintroduced into the fairytale land that is Chicago without enough taxes put toward tools for readjustment, it’s just one more reason to say, “Fuck Daley.”

“Sometimes I feel like I deserve this, not being in jail, but being tormented every night,” says John. The guilt remains despite the formalities, just like all us jaded honeys feel post-Yom Kippur atoning.