Monday, May 5, 2008

This American Life - The Weiner Circle

I don't know if anyone else is a fan of This American Life, but I love the radio show and I just got around to watching the first season of the television show that was on Showtime (and is premiering it's second season on May 11). If you don't know it, apparently someone on the O.C. described it as "Is that that show by those hipster know-it-alls who talk about how fascinating ordinary people are?" and, with a dismissive snort, "Gawd!"

I was watching the final episode of the first season, titled Pandora's Box, and one of the segments was on The Weiner Circle, a hot dog stand in Chicago.

Warning: There is very explicit language in this clip.

It's a restaurant where the servers are deliberately rude to you - but not in a sly in-joke way like some restaurants do it. They stay open late and sell hot dogs to drunks. I'd be rude too. The customers often swear right back. People go there precisely for the atmosphere because it's fun, in a way. However, as the clip shows, often times customer comments goes waaaay beyond fun and becomes offensive.

I have no problem with people swearing at each other, as long as it's done in a fun spirit. However, this fun spirit can get taken advantage of and ruined for everybody because of assholes.

The segment shows two different examples of customer-employee interactions. One's done in fun and one is basically a pack mentality, hate-filled, racism, misogynistic free for all that in any other circumstances would be called out as verbal abuse (not that this isn't). It's as if people go there because they can't say their hateful words anywhere else and be tolerated. This does not, in any way, contribute positively to the issue of the hypersexualization of African-American women at all. So thanks, jerks.

Anyway, check out the clip.

1 comment:

La Pobre Habladora said...

Wow. That clip was painful to watch.

The radio show has made me flat-out cry more times than I can count. Sometimes it's funny - others it just opens up stuff about our society that I wasn't trying to see. And I guess that's a good thing, but it can be really uncomfortable, even demoralizing. There are a couple of episodes about life in prison, in particular, that have made me feel different about our society.

The show looks just as powerful. I guess this means I'll have to finally go check it out.