Arts & Culture

The Ira Glass Infatuation Post/This American Life Roundup: Origin Story

It’s a fine week for the Hamptons, which is where I’m guessing Ira slipped away to as they replay the infatuating episode, Origin Story. I’m confident that while he’s working on his tan, the lessons from this week’s relic show … Read More

By / July 28, 2010

It’s a fine week for the Hamptons, which is where I’m guessing Ira slipped away to as they replay the infatuating episode, Origin Story. I’m confident that while he’s working on his tan, the lessons from this week’s relic show will prove valuable to us, PRI’s ehn-pea-army of lovers.

Starting off, Ira lists off some idea machines that have made me hot for ages—HP’s garage engineers. With Dan Heath, our MIA host derives a hotpothesis about what makes successful beau entrepreneurs great. The garage? Non…try working as a peon in your industry of choice and progressing from there. If you’ve got the driving passion and ideas that most people don’t, getting in and up is more feasible than expected, which is starting to sound more like a Viagra commercial than I expected. Rawr.

At any rate, it seems popular to exaggerate the origins of one’s greatness, painting a canvas with the chemicolors of picture-perfect dreams. This desertion of reality shouldn’t be punished too sorely. Of the disappointment, Heath says, "While it feels like a little bit of a let-down to realize that this dinner party story was not the whole truth, I feel it’s a little bit unfair to expect more than the creation of Youtube from them." Touché.

Act 1: His talents are only exceeded by his omnivorous ego

Sarah Koenig’s father is an entrepreneuring idea-machine who lives without credit for his contributions to humanity by way of 1960s copywriting. In questioning his motives, I wonder what it is that pushes him to set the record straight about his contributing role to several origin stories? Fame? A righted historical record? Legacy? Most probable underlying cause is a mad man’s heathenistic quest to impress a special lady friend. Cherchez la femme.

Dad Julian Koenig on being sullied by his partner George Lois’s claims to fame on several allegedly false accounts: "George is a talented storyteller with a vivid imagination. The only thing that would exceed it is the truth." Although I am with him on truth chasing and justice-inducing, perhaps the sacrifice of one’s sanity, attention, talents (and thus good-in-bedness) for the contextually small endeavor is not worth it, similarly to an escort on a chase for her lost glass slipper left in Berlusconi’s limo. Forget it.

Mr. Koenig says, "Advertising is built on puffery, and at heart, deception, and I don’t think anyone can go proudly into the next world with a life built on deception." Using the deceptions of the past to cradle the vengeance of today? Sounds epitomically Walter Sobchak (fuck the truth, blame it on Nam). And there’s something warmly traditional about a Chicago native corrupting the facts for the rest of us.(A girl gets used to getting lied to and craves fantasy worlds over daylight at times)

Act 2: There was nothing in there about secret equipment

Speaking of deception, Ira invites us into another world of secrets (dream come true). A 1953 Supreme Court case is discussed concerning faulty origins of a law passed that constricts disclosure of details related to potential top secrets. It reminds me of the game of never-have-I-ever that went seriously awry post too-much-exposé—I could see the beauty of pinky-promising never to play that game again, but maybe not at the cost of forelorn widows and lack of closure for families of murdered soldiers. Truth or dare lives on.

Act 3: It’s going to get made and it’s going to be dirty dancing too.

Public radio  hunks unite! Peter Sagal of Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me and Ira discuss the origins of "the worst sequel evermade," aka Sagal’s original screenplay. Could anything be worse than your golden, substantive tour de force that combines political insight and cinematic integrity being raped and pillaged of any depth and converted into something so fluffy that it’s Ron Jeremy’s best friend? Sure, you could have gone broke instead. I am so turned on by the purity of this entrepreneurial spirit, I’m beginning to think soirees with the ibankers have been getting to my head.

Act 4: The idea that you could hate your name seemed like one more baffling thing about America

Origin stories are so overrated, especially to an immigrant kid with an identity crisis. Avert your gaze from the pseudonymed Jewkrainian and regard "Bill Clinton’s seven-year-old brother.:" Through interviews with foxy-minded Mary Wiltenburg, Egay (7yo existentialist) reveals confusion rooted in his immigrant experience. "Where are you from" lines of questioning force him on a track of self-discovery that scream future-ubermensch.

Perhaps it is wise to take on an Ionesco mantra in deducing the worth of factual origin stories: "Explanation separates us from astonishment, which is the only gateway to the incomprehensible." I have no choice but to continue in my surreal state, with Ira as my strongest compass amidst the haze of misleading leaders and Russian spies.

Missing the man with a plan, here’s to him: