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This American Life - should we seek them out?

For those of you who don't know, This American Life is a weekly radio show that broadcasts across 500 radio stations to 2.2 million people around the United States (including international online listeners). You can listen to any episode of theirs on their website once it has aired if you want to get a feel of the show. But, if you don't have the time, I'll write a brief description below:

Each episode of This American Life is one hour long features a group of stories (on average between 3 and 5) that focus on a theme, which is usually of a human interest persuasion. In their history they've focused on break-up songs, death, divorce, dementia, high school proms, adultery, the Iraq war, racism, sexism, ASMR and the the global financial crisis. If something exists, they've probably done a show on it.

Except M.E.

If you search "This American Life fatigue" on Google, you will get a few soldiers talking about their "fatigues" - i.e. their uniform - but there is nothing whatsoever about chronic fatigue syndrome. With research into M.E. gathering pace and with the public profile of the disease gradually shifting from cynicism to understanding, I believe that now would be the perfect time to write to This American Life and suggest that they build an entire episode around M.E. They rarely focus on one topic, as they tend to build several topics into a theme, but it has been known to happen and our stories would all make for fantastic radio.

For the first time, it would be us talking to the world and not having people talk for us. The amount of people suffering from M.E. in the United States makes up almost half of the number of weekly This American Life listeners - we deserve a voice and they could absolutely give it to us.

Now, I bet you are all wondering: how do we go about doing this? Would they even listen to us? Well, the easiest way would be to submit your suggestion (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/about/submissions) to their website. Each submission is read by one of the many people involved with the show, so even if our stories aren't selected they will still be viewed and stored by the creators. If enough of us send in our stories we could probably provide them with enough content to last an entire year! :lol:

They tend to like stories with a narrative, so your story could focus on your current living situation, your experiences with the illness or something like new interests you have taken up as a result of your condition. For example, I have taken to reading academic research on M.E. to better my understanding of it. Hell, even those of us who might have recovered would be welcome on the show too. Although not all of their stories have an ending, nor do they necessarily have to reach a resolution, which I imagine is the case for many of us who are still in limbo and cannot see the end of the road.

I would love to know if any of you would be interested in pursuing this, as ambitious as it may be. I live in England, which would make things slightly more complicated, but I imagine that many people on this forum live in the United States and would have many stories to tell. In the end, this project is about raising awareness of M.E. that is fair, even-handed and told by the people who matter the most: the people who suffer with it.

You can leave suggestions below in this thread, or you can send them to the following links:

(FAQ: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/about/faq/)

Submissions: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/about/submissions
Contact: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/about/contact-us

This American Life on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThisAmerLife
Ira Glass on Twitter: https://twitter.com/iraglass

This American Life on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thislife/?ref=ts&fref=ts

WE CAN DO THIS. :thumbsup:
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The recent Sense About Statistics stuff is probably a worthwhile thing to link to if you do write in. I've enjoyed a lot of their shows. Seems like they are willing to put the time in needed to get things right.


Senior Member
This American Life really sounds like the name of an emo band to me.


Senior Member


Senior Member
Columbus, GA
@Colourful Sevens Funny this came up now. I was just talking about this on another thread:

I definitely agree that it would have to be done right. Creativity, sensitivity, accuracy...plenty of landmines to undertake such a project.

Within individual stories I see themes; the athlete struggling to walk, the professional losing years of education and career achievements, the teenager whose life is severely limited before truly starting, the skeptic who dismissed the illness until it hit them or a close one, the newly ill navigating the medical circus to find a diagnosis...

Even if it was only a commercial run during May I'd love to see the narrative of ME/CFS rewritten in people's minds. In these days of YouTube there's probably an even cheaper way to reach people.

I'm rambling on...it was just a thought (for now)

@Aurator maybe "for now" just got a lot closer:rolleyes:
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