On Air, and on Error: Ira Glass on Being Wrong
Every episode of the radio show This American Life has, host Ira Glass suggests, "a crypto-theme." There's whatever the story appears to be about -- the financial crisis, evangelical Christianity, cryogenics -- and then there's what it's actually about. And what it's actually about it, as often as not, wrongness. Check out my interview with Glass over at this blog's temporary home on Slate, where you can hear him discussing a wide range of error-related subjects -- from David Sedaris, Roland Barthes and Freud to what happens when journalists get it wrong, why it took him ten years to stop being incompetent at his job, and why you shouldn't feel up girls in front of their parents.
Okay, maybe you don’t have strong beliefs about the “right” way to load a dishwasher, or about your sweetheart’s propensity to do it “wrong.” In that case, either you are unusually saintly or (like me) you don’t own a dishwasher. But you almost certainly get involved in domestic disputes about who’s right and who’s wrong all the time; we all do. Although interpersonal arguments can have a number of causes – from serious and painful breaches in trust to the fact that we haven’t had our coffee yet – an impressive number of them amount to a tug-of-war over who possesses the truth. We fight over the right to be right.