One of the side effects of regularly listening to This American Life is the pleasant experience of getting to know some great artists. Since it is a public radio show, sound is all that is available for the show’s producers to make a good impression and they do extraordinarily well to broadcast the best possible sounds. David Rakoff is one of the frequent writers featured in the show and his unique style in words and narration fit snugly with the core characteristic of TAL. The idea that ordinary things are interesting and that every day moments and experiences have meaning and purpose is a celebrated notion in TAL universe and Rakoff’s brooding, melancholy laced tone that brought the same weight his narrations, whether is it was about cheese grating or his long bout with cancer has always been an enjoyable experience. For some, life’s sombre moments linger for far too long and there seem tobe a lot more of those moments than other people seem to notice. For those of us, Mr.Rakoff’s works stand out as a source of anchor and, may be even, an inspiration. Last Thursday, on Aug 9, David Rakoff passed away at the age of 47 in New York City.
I had the wonderful experience of watching his last performance in front of an audience during the live TAL cinema event conducted in May of this year. At that time, the cancer treatment had rendered his left arm useless and I don’t know if there is anyone who could have made that performance more powerful than Mr.Rakoff. It is not everyday when you see someone stand up to cancer with a poignant dance in the middle of an essay reading and then return to the narration with perspiration and steely determination as the audience exploded in applause. Thanks to the Internets, we can all enjoy and appreciate it.
Thanks and good-bye, Mr.Rakoff.