Built around the innovative vision of Ira Glass, this program documents and describes contemporary America. Using radio monologues, mini-documentaries, “found tape,” and unusual music, it is radio storytelling at its best.
Ira admits there is a question he’s wanted to know the answer to since he was a kid in Hebrew school: Why is it that Jews don’t sacrifice animals anymore? Especially since the Old Testament is so clear that God wants it? Ira talks to religious studies scholar Jonathan Klawans to find out. Jonathan is the author of a book covering this subject, Purity, Sacrifice and the Temple.
Act 1: Seper Fido
Susan Orlean tells us about the moment America asked untrained household canines to make the ultimate sacrifice: to serve in World War II. Susan talks to Gina Snyder, who remembers being a teenager when her dog Tommy joined the service. And Susan digs into the national archives to learn the fate of other dogs that fought on the front lines. A version of this story appears in Susan’s book Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend.
Camas Davis tells a true story about a rabbit kidnapping that saves some rabbits' lives, kills those same rabbits' babies, and leaves students in a Portland rabbit-butchering class scratching their heads.
Act Three: Human Sacrifice
This American Life producer Nancy Updike reveals to Ira the staff’s concern about his dog, Piney.