What do we do when we muse discursively on a topic? Do we reach a greater understanding of the world? Of ourselves? Of the suppurating boner we get when we tell the girl in the check-out line at Trader Joe’s the big word we looked up from the New Yorker? I mean, The Believer.

(“Hey! ‘Postlapsarian.’ That make you wet!? Wha- Ah! No! Don’t take away my organic soy tandoori coconut chicken sticks.”)

People, in the main, don’t seek introspection. They seek the immediate gratification of a sentence directly expressed, and not the turbid waters of distilled genuine experience. Can’t they understand nothing can be conveyed intellectually unless it’s by an oblique music or movie quote? Also, they don’t appreciate a throbbing phallus jammed into the duodenum. Philistines.

From WBEZ Chicago, it’s This American Life, distributed by Public Radio International, I’m Ira Glass.

This week, the new American pastime: football. How did this come about? From whence did it come? Whither is it going? Did the twee novels we read not foretell such an phenomenon?


What do we talk about when we talk about football? Is the obsession a byproduct of our collective impetuous mindset? A Jungian desire for contact, kinetic energy… coherence? Freud said sometimes a cigar is just a cigar but he’d know for sure that Chris Simms is gay.

Now, football is something embraced by mainstream culture, therefore we must approach it leerily and with skepticism and superciliousness. To do otherwise wouldn’t be fake-edgy, pseudo-intellectual and above-it-all.

(A music overlay of Boards of Canada’s “Turquoise Hexagon Sun.”)

Chapter 1 this week features Sarah Vowell talking about presidential assassins for 30 minutes. She may, at some point, compare Charles Guiteau to Jerry Rice, so don’t switch over to that Sigur Ros record just yet.

Chapter 2: David Sedaris pays a visit to Wes Welker’s dungeon school for cock-tickling gimps on the campus of Texas Tech and finds a way to make a cleverly worded reference to Jabberjaw and his wacky experiences learning French with his male partner in Paris. That is to say, Sedaris’ experiences, not Jabberjaw’s.

Chapter 3: A perfunctory attempt at engaging with real life folk. For authenticity’s sake, we even let slip a few colloquialisms and sly references to the Iraq War. We’ll explain to an ice cream man and an illegal immigrant the parallels of Faulkner and Jon Gruden. How devilishly informal and prosaic. I’ll end the segment with an interview with Dave Eggers, who will be amused that I’m even asking him about something as mundane as football. He’ll remark that there should be a team in Africa.

We hope you’ll stick around.