Whether he’s lancing boils, getting crabs from thrift store pants or sitting in a hospital waiting room dressed only in his underwear, one thing is clear: David Sedaris is not shy about sharing those embarrassing, cringe-worthy incidents that members of the general population tend to save for diaries or therapists. In his sixth collection of essays, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Sedaris continues to bare his body and soul, detailing the aforementioned boils and crabs, as well as an uncomfortable incident in which he accidentally spits a lozenge into the lap of his seatmate on an airplane. Though some critics have questioned the strict veracity of his essays, defenders maintain that even if Sedaris stretches the truth, a certain degree of exaggeration is expected in humor. In a 2007 Washington Post article defending the humorist, Peter Carlson writes, “Did Mark Twain fudge facts about how far the frog jumped?” While his magazine pieces do get fact-checked, Sedaris points out, he agrees with Carlson. For a humorist, he says, “it comes with the territory. I exaggerate about how much I exaggerate. If someone nags [in real life], in my writing they nag nag nag.” Sedaris lives in France and England with his partner, Hugh Hamrick, and is a frequent contributor to This American Life, Esquire and The New Yorker. His previous books include Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.
ALSO, Anton Corbijn‘s acclaimed 2007 film, Control — based on the life of post-punk musician Ian Curtis, who killed himself in 1980, at age 23 — won a trio of prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, and took home a range of other international awards. The movie, which was Corbijn’s first feature, has just come out on DVD. Curtis was vocalist and lyricist for Joy Division, an influential post-punk band. He and Corbijn met each other when the filmmaker, who’s also a photographer, was shooting photos of the band.Corbijn, who’s also directed music videos for bands including Depeche Mode, Nirvana and U2, talks to Terry Gross about Curtis, about making Control, and about his varied career.
In his new book, Pakistani journalist AHMED RASHID says that the United States may have won a war in Afghanistan, but is losing the peace and the “war on terror.”
A correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the New York Review of Books, and the Nation, Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid has been covering the politics of Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in particular, for more than 20 years. His number one New York Times bestseller Taliban has been translated into more than 20 languages and his book Jihad was a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. Descent into Chaos provides a clear-eyed analysis of the crisis in Pakistan and the renewed radicalism threatening Afghanistan and the West. Listen to this show via Real Audio | mp3
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ahmed Rashid speaks at 7 PM tonight at the Free Library (Highly Recommended)
The Science of Play
Why do we play, an activity that is, by its definition, without an immediate objective? Does play serve an important purpose in humans and in other animals? The science of play draws from the work of neuroscientists, evolutionary biologists, ethologists, and psychiatrists, among others, and many researchers are studying the appearance of play behaviors in other animals in an attempt to understand what role it may play in brain development. 10 PM TONIGHT ON WHYY