Media people

Ira Glass on the death of David Rakoff

Ira Glass, the longtime host of public radio's "This American Life," has posted his personal reaction to the death of frequent contributor and sometime guest-host David Rakoff. He died of cancer Thursday at the age of 47.

David Rakoff died last night. It was no surprise; he'd been talking about it for months. He even named August as when it would happen. We've watched him get weaker and sicker. But still it's hard not to be stunned. At this moment I don't have anything smart to say, because my feelings are raw and stupid. He was my friend, our friend here at the radio show, and our brother in creating the program, making it into what it's become. We loved him. We'll miss him. We'll put some of his work on the air next week. For now, to remember him, we're posting two favorite stories. The Canadians interview was the second time he was on the show, back in 1997, fifteen years ago. In our recent cinema event, he talked about his illness and, for the last time in his life, danced onstage. We're digitizing the video and uploading it. It'll be posted here soon.

Shows links at the This American Life website.

From the New York Times obit:

Mr. Rakoff’s print essays appeared in The New York Times, GQ, Details, Salon, Slate and elsewhere. They formed the meat of his three published collections, which, besides “Half Empty,” include “Fraud” (2001), in which he chronicled, among other things, his brief appearance on a television soap opera (Mr. Rakoff was also an actor); and “Don’t Get Too Comfortable” (2005), which, as its jacket copy proclaims, skewers the American demographic beset by “the never-ending quest for artisanal olive oil and other first world problems.”

A self-described gay Jewish Canadian transplant to New York City, Mr. Rakoff was a social anthropologist of postmodern life. His research often entailed firsthand field work, as when, in pursuit of conspicuous consumption, he became a passenger on one of the last flights of the Concorde.


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