Arts & Culture

This American Life Ira Glass Man-Fatuation Post: Middle School

During a time where one is so consumed with understanding their own body and beginning to understand the bodies of others, how could you possibly have time to explore the thoughts and emotions of everyday Americans a fawn over Ira Glass? Read More

By / November 3, 2011
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What kind of an 8th grade girl listens to This American Life?  I mean, during a time where one is so consumed with understanding their own body and beginning to understand the bodies of others, how could you possibly have time to explore the thoughts and emotions of everyday Americans a fawn over Ira Glass?  Well, the 8th grade girl who emailed Ira, detailing how she got made fun of for smoking, then for not smoking, then for wearing moccasins, and then for not wearing moccasin somehow she found time amongst all of this to tune in weekly to TAL.  Maybe she should be writing this column.

Well this week’s episode on middle school begins with a few different takes on the learning process for middle school-ers.  According to Alex Bloomberg of TAL fame who also happens to be a former teacher, kids are completely unable to learn during middle school due to all the previously mentioned body stuff.  A famed alternative educator believes that middle school-ers would be better off working on the beet farm with Dwight Schrute than going to any kind of conventional school.  According to Linda Pearlstein, the principal of one of the most exceptional middle schools in the country, Middle School is the “use it or lose it” time for learning.  The things you learn in middle school will stick with you for life.  Is that why I still remember all the lyrics to ska bands like Reel Big Fish and Assorted Jellybeans?

“I’m hoping nothing bad happens, no humiliation or nothing that will be a story for the next month or two.” Said the poor little kid wearing a shirt that his mom made him wear or else he couldn’t go!  GOD!  It’s going to get better kid, I promise, read a book.  Next we meet some little tease who told five boys that she might go to the dance with them.  One thing that’s quite funny, is hearing from boy to boy, how drastically their voices differ from low to high, and their words from smart to dumb.

Act II, the story of “The Mimi’s,” is sort of the movie “Heathers” just with Hispanic girls, and no murder.  Not the most compelling thing TAL has ever done, really just a story of how powerful delusion can be.  A group of Hispanic girls put on a facade of false opulence until one day they’re all forced to go out and work, the sun causing their facades to melt away, and they realize that it was all a sham.  Sort of like that movie Death Becomes Her, but again, no death.

“It’s going to be how it, like it is now, pretty much all day,” that’s a quote from a kid giving a weather report in Act III, where kids are given the opportunity to produce their own newscasts, but it ends up being a good metaphor for the episode in general.  “Middle school kids have an overconfident goofiness that can be compelling,” says Ira.

This week: an abberation!  The Tory Malatia joke about Tory being bummed that there’s no “heavy petting” allowed during HR meetings was actually quite funny.  All in all fun episode for the self centered little goof in all of us.