2005-04-19

Worth listening to...

This American Life — "Know Your Enemy"
Stories about trying to understand who's on your side. The Defense Minister of Israel visits would-be suicide bombers in prison, only to find out that in at least one case, he feels sorry for the terrorist. A prosecutor tries to censor a punk rock star. He takes him to court, but never bothers to listen to his lyrics. During the trial, he begins to think twice about his mission. Plus other stories.
Prologue. Ira talks to Stephen Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics, about one of the men in his book, a guy named Stetson Kennedy. In the 1940s, Kennedy, a Southerner, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. Then he leaked what he discovered in an effort to bring down the organization. One of his weapons: the Superman radio show. (8 minutes)
Act One. The Minister Meets the Martyr. In 2002, a Palestinian named Arin Ahmen was arrested for planning to become a suicide bomber in Israel. A month later, Israel's defense minister visited her in prison. Their surprising conversation was documented by a reporter for the Israeli daily, Ha'aretz. Actress Enid Graham reads the article. (17 minutes)
Act Two. I Am Curious, Jello. About 20 years ago, a Los Angeles prosecutor named Michael Guarino thought he'd make a name for himself by taking the lead singer of the Dead Kennedys to court for obscenity. He was so sure of success, he didn't even bother to listen to the lyrics. As the trial wore on, Guarino began to think twice about his mission. Reporter David Segal tells the story. (19 minutes)
Song: "I Fought the Law," Dead Kennedys
Act Three. Eight Percent of Nothing. Our program ends with a story of knowing your enemy in a more domestic setting: in a marriage. Actor Matt Malloy reads the story by Etgar Keret. "Eight Percent of Nothing" will be published in 2006 in a collection of stories called The Nimrod Flip-Out. Etgar is the author of the book The Busdriver Who Thought He Was God. (10 minutes)
Song: "Keep an Eye On Your Close Friends," The Newcomers

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