I had a fairly somber segment on “All Things Considered” on Tuesday–they’re doing a series of obituaries called “Lives of the Unnoticed,” and my team’s offering was about a beloved, if occasionally peevish, contributor to the travel website Fodors.com named Robespierre. (You can hear it here. It’s 4 minutes long. It didn’t air in NYC due to Chatty Cathy-ish pledge drivers.) (Another segment in the series– this one about animals who die on zoos–was really lovely; we learn that the Smithsonian National Zoo in Wash. DC brings in grief counselors for the zoo’s employees whenever an especially beloved animal dies. Great off-mic grunting.)
Robespierre’s fellow Fodorites read his posts on the site religiously, and were hugely saddened by his death of cancer this summer–even though they’d never met him, and even though some had tangled with His Robespierreness over the years. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve cried twice on hearing the piece of tape in the segment wherein one of the Fodorites tells about calling Robespierre’s wife to ask what’s up when Robespierre’s posts abruptly stopped in July. Wish I’d met him.
I got to work with the supergroovy producer Wendy Dorr, who’s done a lot of stuff for This American Life. All thanks to my former Next Big Thing colleague Emily Botein.