May 5, 2000

Mob Mentality

The pleasure of being in a rampaging, angry mob...and the terror of being in a rampaging, angry mob.


There's a TV ad so popular in Canada right now that people chant it in bars, stand and cheer it in theaters and at hockey stadiums. The ad taps into our desire to be part of a mob...and provides a safe way to do it, without fear. Host Ira Glass talks with the vice president for marketing for Molson's beer, which made the ad. (4 minutes)
Act One

Among The Thugs

Writer Bill Buford reads from his book Among the Thugs. In it he sets out to try and understand the soccer hooligans who were rioting in ways large and small on a regular basis after soccer matches. It's a remarkable book—in turns funny, and then horrifying. By the time Buford's done, you understand that the thrill of being in a violent mob is as hardwired into us, as basic to us as a species, as the ability to love. (18 minutes)
Act Three

The Hissing Of Winter Lawns

What happens when a crowd converges over something they strongly believe in, for weeks, and months, in front of television cameras that never go away? To what degree does that change the character of being in a crowd? A few days before Elian Gonzalez was seized by Federal authorities, reporter Alix Spiegel went to the lawn of his home, where activists camped out 24 hours a day. (14 minutes)