Well, this is not armchair anthropology, but there are so many good reasons to watch / listen to these programs I have to listen to them. They are all a wonderful mix of satire, social commentary, fact, fiction and the occasional fiasco.
From Public Radio International: Listen to “This American Life” from WBEZ in Chicago. Each program is a series of stories around a particular theme. They often include conversations with the people that were involved in the particular story and their different points of view. They are full of emotion, humor and a little uncomfortable to listen to at times. But its not just the stories, they also get to the essence of the theme, for example last weeks theme was Fiasco’s and just what is a Fiasco and why are they often more interesting what was supposed to actually happen.
On Discovery Channel: Watch “Dirty Jobs” to see the joys of participant observation at its most basic. Mike Rowe, the host of the show goes all over the country spending a day doing other peoples jobs and in fact often getting dirty as promised. He goes off to make cheese, plant taro root, and clean sewers all with varying degrees of competency. What I like about this show is it does not pretend to be anything more that what it is: a brief look into one portion of someone’s life.
On the Travel Channel: “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” he is New York chef that gained fame outside of the food world with a book called “Kitchen Confidential” about the goings-on behind the scenes at those restaurant you waits months to get a reservation at. On No Reservations he eats and chain smokes his way through a host of countries and showing that to fall in love with the food is to fall in love wit the country.
None of these people are anthropologists or make any claims to be doing anything but telling an interesting story about real people and real emotions. Listen to and watch these programs and you will get a lot of food for thought.
Blog Disclaimer. I will often go back to entries to make edits or clarify points. If I am changing my point of view, that will be a new entry.