June 27, 2014

Human Spectacle 2014

Gladiators in the Colosseum. Sideshow performers. Reality television. We've always loved to gawk at the misery or majesty of others. But this week, we ask the question: What's it like when the tables are turned and all eyes are on you?


Ira talks to Joel Gold, a psychologist and author, about a strangely common delusion known as the "Truman Show Delusion," in which patients believe that they are being filmed, 24/7, for a national reality television program. Joel wrote a book with his brother Ian called Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness. (6 minutes)

Act One

I Am the Eggplant

Producer Stephanie Foo speaks to Nasubi, a Japanese comedian who, in the 90s, just wanted a little bit of fame. So he was thrilled when he won an opportunity to have his own segment on a Japanese reality TV show. Until he found out the premise: he had to sit in an empty apartment with no food, clothes or contact with the outside world, enter sweepstakes from magazines… and hope that he won enough sustenance to survive. (23 minutes)

Act Three

I Am Iraq, I Am An Island

In Iraq, everyone from the militant group known as ISIS to the government security forces and shiite militias have been putting on such a deliberate show. Each faction has its own videos, parades, flags, propaganda and counter-propaganda. Plus the fighting. Together they make up a spectacle the entire country of Iraq — and really the whole world — is watching collectively. (16 1/2 minutes)