Setting: a conference room.
LIZZY, Web editor for Willamette Week, MARTIN, arts & culture editor, and MATTHEW, special projects editor, sit at a table with two interns, ZACH, a native Oregonian, and WALKER, who grew up in New Zealand. LIZZY attempts to explain the cultural importance of Sarah Vowell to the interns.
LIZZY: Besides the fact that you should definitely know her as the voice of Violet in The Incredibles, she is one of the people who made This American Life This American Life. She's a writer, she's an NPR personality who…she has a really distinctive voice.
ZACH: [Distracted sounds of discovery.]
LIZZY: Stop looking at your phone! Stop playing Candy Crush and listen to me right now!
ZACH: I'm fact-checking what you're saying on Wikipedia.
LIZZY: OK, well she writes lots of books about historical figures and historical events. She's really funny and really kind of dark. One of her really great pieces on This American Life was about…well, it just had…well, I can't explain it to you, but it was really moving. She writes very moving, funny, and she's just…she's just like adorable. Oh! There's a really great clip of her on Conan on 9/11, striking the perfect balance between humor, sadness and community feeling.
MARTIN: Zach, how old were you on 9/11?
ZACH: I started fourth grade on 9/11.
LIZZY: Uuuuugh [hitting the table]. You don't understand anything!
MARTIN: So you weren't staying up to watch Conan then?
ZACH: Not that night, no.
LIZZY: Well, I just recently saw it. I didn't have a TV at that time. I was only listening to NPR. I just think she's really funny. She writes really smart things about history.
WALKER: So she's like some lady then?
LIZZY: You guys have no respect.
ZACH: I just don't know who this person is!
LIZZY: She was part of all these cultural things.
ZACH: My not knowing who she is is not a critique of her. I just simply don't know who she is.
LIZZY: The fact that none of the interns know who she is…
MATTHEW: Sarah Vowell did not endure.
LIZZY: Sarah Vowell endured!
MARTIN: She was on McSweeney's, do you guys know what McSweeney's is?
ZACH: [Uncertainly] Yes.
LIZZY: Walker doesn't count. He's Australian.
GO: Sarah Vowell is at Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., 800-878-7323, on Tuesday, Oct. 27. 7 pm. Free.