The basic reaction from students is relief that they're made to read something that isn't totally dull, uppity or dreary, ... They think my writing is vaguely entertaining, which I guess a lot of their homework isn't. As Ira says, when people say This American Life is the 'coolest show on public radio' is like being called the 'coolest Osmond.' It doesn't mean that much when you're the most entertaining homework.
It was such a great time for music. Being in college radio in the '80s, R.E.M. just happened, Elvis Costello was going strong. The biggest, most famous Seattle band was the Young Fresh Fellows. Our town was halfway between Seattle and Minneapolis on I-90, and so we got tons of shows just by virtue of being the gas-money stop on I-90.
The groundswell of outrage over the invasion of Iraq often cited the preemptive war as a betrayal of American ideals. The subtext of the dissent was: 'This is not who we are.' But not if you were standing where I was. It was hard to see the look in that palace tour guide's eyes when she talked about the American flag flying over the palace and not realize that ever since 1898, from time to time, this is exactly who we are.
For Americans, Acts 16:9 is the high-fructose corn syrup of Bible verses--an all-purpose ingredient we'll stir into everything from the ink on the Marshall Plan to canisters of Agent Orange. Our greatest goodness and our worst impulses come out of this missionary zeal, contributing to our overbearing (yet not entirely unwarranted) sense of our country as an inherently helpful force in the world. And, as with the apostle Paul, the notion that strangers want our help is sometimes a delusion.