March 9, 2007

By Proxy

Stories of proxy fights, proxy arguments, and proxy situations of all kinds.


This American Life producer Nancy Updike talks with a man, Eric Molinsky, about a weirdly heated argument he got into with a good friend, over corporate tax loopholes. Midway through, they both stopped to think: Why were they getting so upset over an issue they didn't really care about that much? And then they realized: Eric's ex-girlfriend was a political activist, and Eric's friend's ex-boyfriend was a hedge fund manager. Eric and his friend had had a 20-minute proxy argument on behalf of their exes. Host Ira Glass also talks about how a lot of his opinions about TV are just proxy opinions that he holds on behalf of his wife. (5 minutes)
Act Two

Kill The Messengers

Basim, an Iraqi national, worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Army. He talks with host Ira Glass about the time he had to purposely mistranslate in order to keep a situation from turning violent, as well as the day interpreters became the prime targets for insurgent assassins—even more prized than American soldiers. (22 minutes)

Act Three

Redemption By Proxy

Robert (pictured) had a bad reputation as a kid who didn't do his schoolwork and had little respect for adults. But his best friend, Lilly (holding picture), thought he was misunderstood. After Robert died, Lilly decided to step in and do for him what he could never do for himself: Tell people how great he was. And also tell his teachers how much he'd appreciated their efforts, even though he'd never shown it. Eve Abrams, one of Robert's former teachers and a freelance radio reporter in New York City, tells the story. (12 minutes)