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April 5, 2019

No Fair!

Stories of very small injustices and also one very big one.

Note: The internet version of this episode contains un-beeped curse words. BEEPED VERSION.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with David Kestenbaum about his sons’ preschool. At the school, teachers — facing an onslaught of tattling from students — installed a phone dedicated to documenting their complaints. They named it The Tattle Phone, and with it, David and the teachers recorded weeks of tattling from kids in the class. David tells the story of what you discover in the recordings and what it can tell us about fairness. (12 minutes)

Hoop Reams

Writer Michael Lewis takes us inside the world of NBA refereeing. He explains how protests about unfair calls have increased in recent years. However, at the same time, hard evidence suggests referees have only gotten better and better at making good calls. Lewis says this is actually indicative of a larger trend in America — people distrusting authorities, judges and referees of all kinds. This story is a version of the first episode of his new podcast Against the Rules. (32 minutes)

The Fairer Sex

When Heidi Schreck was 15 years old she loved the United States Constitution — in part, because she believed it enshrined the idea of fairness. She traveled to American Legion posts across the country, where she competed in speaking competitions about the Constitution. She was so successful that she was able to pay for her college education with the winnings. But once Schreck was an adult, she came to several realizations about the Constitution’s shortcomings and oversights. These days, she sees it as a flawed document. All of this is the subject of Schreck’s play “What the Constitution Means to Me.” (12 minutes)

Song:

“This Land is Your Land” by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings