Saturday, March 27, 2010

Save The Day

I like to listen to This American Life while ridding my bike on the weekends. My usual ride is from our house in Noe Valley to Ocean Beach to fly my kite. Last weekend I decided to ride the Marin Headlands. It was a beautiful day, and I don't need any excuse to cross the Golden Gate Bridge on a bike. The episode of TAL that I listened to was called "Save the Day" and is by far my favorite so far.

I especially enjoyed the second chapter, the life raft game. If you are like me and majored in the humanities at a liberal arts school, and like me you feel this was incredibly valuable and worth while, you may also feel the occasional angst that the life raft game is designed to address. The game is sponsored by a liberal arts college, and each year a member of the various academic departments argues to the student body that if the students were on a life raft, the only survivors on the planet, with one seat left, it should go to a member of their department and no other. There is also a devil's advocate, who argues that none of the departments should receive a seat, and the students should go it alone. Each of the departments used humor and silliness to attempt to win the contest through popularity, while the devils advocate offers a passionate defense of the liberal arts more generally. You will have to listen to see how the students vote.

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