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November 7, 2008

Who Do You Think You Are?

This week we bring you stories of privilege and the lengths some will go to to maintain it. In one story, a woman fights—on tape!—with her city's parking enforcer about playing favorites.
And in honor of the late Studs Terkel, we bring you a special collection of stories from his Hard Times radio series; the haves and the have-nots talk about life during The Great Depression.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to Kathy from Hoboken, NJ, who has become obsessed with people who get away with parking violations in her town—where parking is scarce and parking laws are enforced vigilantly. Except when they aren't. (5 minutes)
Act One

Hard Times

Studs Terkel, the Chicago reporter who recorded oral histories of ordinary Americans, died last week. We assembled a collection of his work from his Hard Times radio series, in which people talk about their experiences during the Depression—how everyone simultaneously became poor, regardless of their class. (32 minutes)

You can listen to more of Studs Terkel's work here.

Act Two

What A Difference An Election Day Makes

Ira talks to Rev. Donald Sharp, of Faith Tabernacle Church in Chicago. Reverend Sharp, who is black, served in the segregated armed forces during World War II. Now, he sees Obama’s election very differently than his children and grandchildren do. They're ecstatic, while he can't shake his suspicion that racism will persist in this country. (6 minutes)
Act Three

Putting The Cart Before The Porsche

Sara was raised in a fancy suburban neighborhood with strict parents who liked to flaunt their wealth—with his and hers Porsches, for instance. But when Sara was 12, her mother and father sat her down in the den with her siblings, and told them that their father had done a terrible thing, and their lives were about to change forever. Sara told this story at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York. (12 minutes)