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SPAM: How the American Dream Got Canned

SPAM: How the American Dream Got Canned

Press Release ·

The Experiment, the podcast from WNYC Studios and The Atlantic––named one of the Best Podcasts of 2021 by Apple Podcasts, Mashable, SiriusXM––is kicking off 2022 with “SPAM: How the American Dream Got Canned,” a three-episode series looking at the complicated, glorious, problematic, globe-trotting history of SPAM.

Beginning Thursday, February 3, “SPAM” considers the ways in which this humble food product became a symbol for the American dream and ultimately found itself at the heart of a story about labor, community, and how we work that resonates deeply with present-day concerns.

Co-reported by The Experiment host Julia Longoria and producer Gabrielle Berbey, “SPAM” starts in the Philippines, where American G.I.s first disseminated cans of SPAM, and ends up in Austin, Minnesota (aka “SPAMTown USA”), where SPAM employed generations of meatpackers and tore the town apart.

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“A story that started with the simple question of how SPAM became a beloved staple in my Filipino family led our team into the history of one of the most fundamental arguments we still have today about work, dignity, family, and identity,” said Berbey. “Each person brings their own memories, emotions, and feelings to this really simple food; it’s the ultimate Rorschach test for American ideals.”

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The Experiment
The Atlantic and WNYC Studios
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