What’s become of this American life?


Often I’m unable to tune in to my favorite radio station while working in the kitchen. A few years ago, my son bought me a radio you bolt to the bottom of your cupboard. Since the apparatus is stationary, I thought I could solve my vexing reception problem by buying a cheapie at Walmart and move it move around the room. But that didn’t work any better. And I have to tell you that I have never despised the mindless trash that passes for music in America as much as I do now that it crowds out the programming I want to hear when I’m cooking or doing the dishes.

Occasionally, in frustration, I flip over to the local public radio station, whose strains are maddeningly always loud and clear. What I heard on that government-funded organ a few days ago was a thing so vile that the residents of Sodom might have torn their robes. On a weekly program called This American Life, there was a lengthy human-interest feature about a man in New York who was pursuing the personal goal of sleeping with as many women as he could in 30 days’ time. He and his fiancée would be married in a month, and they had agreed to grant each other the liberty of bedding everyone they could find until the day of the wedding.

That’s not the worst part. We know there are sleaze bags out there. The worst was that host Ira Glass, not to be outdone by anyone in fashionable open-mindedness, was as cool as a cucumber and cordial as if he were interviewing the man who cured polio.

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The ardent young betrothed who was reporting on his existential experiment mentioned one woman in particular whom he had just met and taken to dinner. He tells the radio audience that he decided he wanted to be honest. Over dinner he simply told her the whole truth—about the fiancée, about the upcoming nuptials, about the 30-day leave of absence from fidelity. He said he was surprised by the woman’s response. Rather than rejecting him, she was all the more drawn to him because of his honesty. You can imagine the rest.

Indeed, what an honest man. Good luck with that.

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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