"Stuck In The Wrong Decade" This American Life Podcast Review

People milling about a busy courtyard. Photograph courtesy of Wix's Public Doman Database.

Nostalgia can be an utterly powerful feeling to society. It’s hard to not imagine objects having memories attached to them. Every object you’ve ever touched has a history attached to it, and that’s precisely what Ira Glass dives into during the podcast episode “Stuck In The Wrong Decade”, a bold discussion of nostalgia and how people chase this feeling. The podcast episode divulged into how people try to compose images of themselves with objects from previous decades. I found this discussion of identity to be the most forthcoming in helping us understand the positive and negative ways we chase happiness. Sometimes it’s thrift shopping or buying use objects off craigslist…other times we turn to nostalgia through less pleasant ways. In the second segment of this podcast episode, we see a frank discussion of alcoholism and its users. People sometimes drink alcohol because they’re chasing the feelings of nostalgia. During tragedies, we often fail to see what could lie ahead of us, and instead, we look at the great memories of the past. With alcohol were able to become delirious with alcoholism and somehow blur the lines of present and past. I think this discussion in the podcast really shows how sometimes the horrors of the world make it difficult to live your truth and be happy, so instead, people choose to be numb by drinking alcohol. In addition to chasing the past, Ira Glass wraps up this podcast episode by talking about the ways men try to reclaim the past, in terms of how they talk about women, particularly with Sarah Miller’s friend Roger. Back in the 60s and 70s, there was nothing like the #Metoo movement, and men could say anything they want to women. So, Sarah’s friend Roger and Bill go on what they call “perv walks” were they basically make commentary on women’s looks as they walk down the street. I found this utterly disturbing because what kind of normal man goes about his day doing…”perv walks”. It was absolutely disgusting. I honestly don’t know what’s worse the fact that these men do this or that their female friend Sarah is okay with it, as she states “I know that some of you, many of you, maybe even all of you find this disturbing. You don't find the idea of two men walking around saying lewd things about women funny. You find it juvenile, reactionary, a throwback to a time when it was permissible for a man to say almost anything, to almost any woman, at any time, just because he could. But I don't agree. First, let me tell you why this is not horrible. None of the women they're looking at has any idea that these guys are talking about them. They never approach or touch anyone. It's not about cat-calling or looking for a reaction. They're just doing it for each other. They were even reluctant to do it with me there. But I did manage to talk them into letting me record a 15-minute perv walk.” After this particular rant from Sarah, I found myself utterly horrified because I was brought back to my earlier review of This American Life’s podcast episode called “I Like Being A Girl, Sort Of” because this “sort of” entails the disgusting ways women are discriminated against. I would not recommend this episode if you’re either A.) a woman or B.) a decent person.

To listen to this full podcast, please follow this link:


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