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May 10, 2023 38 mins
We pride ourselves on being grounded, rational beings, but flitting amongst us is a mystery: the Tooth Fairy. This flying piece of folklore is alive and well in the 21st century, handed down to kids in whatever way their parents see fit.  In this episode, with the help of Tinkerbell, Santa Claus, and some savvy humans who are trying to exploit this strange creature’s untapped intellectual property, we’ll explore the origins of this childhood ritual, its durability—and its remarkable resistance to commercialization.  This podcast was written by Willa Paskin, who produces Decoder Ring with Katie Shepherd. This episode was edited by Jamie York. Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Thank you to Charles Duan, Jim Piddock, Purva Merchant, Hannah Morris, Laurie Leahy, Torie Bosch, and Rebecca Onion. Also, a big tip of the hat to Rosemary Wells, the dental school instructor who in the 1970s began exploring the Tooth Fairy’s, ahem, roots . Much of Wells’ work is out of print, but you can find one of her pieces in a collection called The Good People: New Fairylore Essays. If you haven’t please yet, subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, sign up for Slate Plus. You’ll be able to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads—and your support is crucial to our work. Go to www.slate.com/decoderplus to join Slate Plus today. Decoder Ring is now available on YouTube. Listen here: https://slate.trib.al/ucMyTst Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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