April 13, 2001


Stories that make us cringe, and an investigation into just what, exactly, makes some stories capable of forcing this physical reaction out of us when other stories don't. We hear tales of personal humiliation, romance gone wrong, and people who profoundly misjudge how they're perceived by others.


Host Ira Glass talks to two different people who have stories they just can't get over...stories that make them cringe...and stories from which we can glean what makes a cringe story different from other kinds of stories. (8 minutes)
Act Two

M*a*s*h Notes

Ira reports on a week he spent on the set of the TV show M*A*S*H in 1979, supposedly to do a story about the program for National Public Radio. He was 20 years old. He didn't know what he was doing. This week, he listened to the tapes for the first time in over two decades, and found much to cringe at. (7 minutes)
Act Four

Cringe And Purge

A lot of stories from your life, the more you tell them, the less power they have over you. But cringe stories often don't seem to lose their power over time. Every time you remember, you cringe. Bruce Jay Friedman reads his story "Humiliation," from The Collected Short Fiction of Bruce Jay Friedman, about someone who gets obsessed with a decades-old cringe moment...and decides to do something about it. (15 minutes)