Arts & Culture

The Ira Glass Infatuation Post/This American Life Roundup: Family Physics

Much of the puppy love that we Ira groupies feel derives from his persistent loyalty to logic, truth and goodness. Categorized similarly as Anderson Cooper in the minds of many American current event junkies, these Cary Grants of media provide … Read More

By / September 8, 2010

Much of the puppy love that we Ira groupies feel derives from his persistent loyalty to logic, truth and goodness. Categorized similarly as Anderson Cooper in the minds of many American current event junkies, these Cary Grants of media provide a valuable service to their peeps with grace, charm, and openness. But what happens to that loyalty when truth and goodness collide? This standstill in the morality of public communication discloses a sort of Aristotelian Golden Mean in which a balance of extremes is found. Choosing goodness over truth ensures survival and eudaimonia at times, and destroys it at others. So, in choosing to serve his loving listeners, Ira is way good, giving, and game in pulling some strings for her pleasure. In this week’s repeat episode Family Physics, TAL gets down theoretically, figuring out the chemistry of love through the hard sciences. "Physicists hate it…when we nonscientists take scientific laws and principles intended for a very different purpose and context and apply them to ourselves and our petty little relationships with each other." As Copernicus put it, "Mathematics is written for mathematicians." Oh, but how we like to exploit. In the name of love, sacrifices are made and reality checks suspended for future ecstatic revelations. Succumbing to the charms of a strumpet, Ira protests, "They’re asking for it. The Mediocrity Principle prances into the lives of us nonscientists all provocative with that all-provocative name and we’re not supposed to give it a second glance?" All good men fall.



Act 1: So I used to sneak around, and the easiest way I could do that is make sure other white girls were around

Cris Beam uses Occam’s Razor to conceptually explore the simplification of relationships. Specifically, the family life of Mrs. Paladino who did the simple thing expected of her as a young cheerleader: to sleep with the basketball team. Befriending, hooking up with, and advocating for African American peers, A-squad said, "For me it was seeing a different culture. These gals grew up differently than I did…and of course being the liberal that I was then, this all felt right." Promiscuity with mother-approved beaus and the black men she craved had her asking Maury-style baby-daddy questions in the end. Perhaps it’s at this point that the Razor should have been applied to shave off the social bullshit imposed by suburban Chicagoans. Instead, the Paladinos found it much easier to raise a black baby white and not talk about it for decades.

Considering recessive genes, David Senior imagined Moors, Sicilians, and olive recessiveness to explain away what he saw. Unaware of his roots despite its obviousness to others, when Dave Junior was finally welcomed in the loop, "He actually felt grateful she’d waited" as he felt it preserved their nuclear family lifestyle. Living in a dream, who could blame the sacrifice of truth in attempts at family togetherness and preserved love? It follows the same reasoning behind a girl wanting to be lied to by a short-lived fling: the surreality contains hot ideals, riches, and excitement absent from reality that make for a steamy mindfuck. However, it’s a real commitment to build a life upon Dalinian dreamscapes. Best not to aim for Palin-level oblivion.

"Ive had a lot of time to think about it since then. And I think what’s interesting is that…if they have a belief system that they put together and they built a life on that belief system, its very hard for that to be changed by facts."


Act 2: So now I was to be frozen in time in an act of subservience. To Boris Yeltsin.

Like a faroff satellite stuck in a force field, Jon Ronson orbits his bizarre family as they traject into the obscene. Ronson, who you may recall last as the sexy-minded author of Men Who Stare at Goats made into the 2009 film starring sexy-bodied Clooney and Bridges, in this saga is approached by the fam to participate in a grand family portrait to be hung in their hotel featuring not only family members but also famous people, dead or alive. "I felt silence on the other end of the phone trying to let the incredibleness of this proposed project sink in."

"Don’t you think this would come off as a little self-aggrandizing?" asked Jon of his father. But I understand the parents’ trajectory completely: once something larger than life grabs you so strongly that self-sacrifice is no longer an issue, you can’t help but go with it, like a bee taking a cold shower for the good of the queen’s kids.

God save the queen, as the appalling outcome is summed up best in one episodic line: "He turned my mother into Woody Allen–that’s kind of humiliating in itself, that the easiest brush over would render her into Woody Allen."


Act 3: And while no one knew exactly what I was up to, it was pretty clear that something was going on.

A stranger to censorship, David Sedaris can turn any little thing into a gem, like a take-along leisurely catheter, as Ira imperfectly applies to it the law of conservation of energy and matter. You boys are so bad.

"Thanks, Stadium Pal!" cries Sedaris as he waxes poetic about the indestructibility of matter, namely his hot fluids. Proving this law further is the trajectory of ex-HP CEO Mark Hurd’s own hot fluids that should have destroyed him, but only displaced him as new co-President of Oracle. Funny, maybe applying science to petty relationships isn’t so misleading after all.