Jump to content
πŸ”’ The Earwolf Forums are closed Read more... Γ—


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Benjaminjb

  1. Benjaminjb

    Episode 143 β€” Gameface

    Hey Thomas, I wrote a real long post on the dork thing and I thought you did a nice job summarizing, so thanks for that. and Matt, I really wasn't trying to bait you--I really believe that you came off jerky and incoherent on the "Don't be a Dork" episode. If someone goes to a drum circle with a keyboard, that's fine--but if someone goes to the library rather than the big college game, they're acting inappropriately? Also, it was unclear: I don't want to be on Case Closed because I wrote a big-ass post on the subject already. Also, this is a real dumb topic to get sucked into. As always, I enjoyed the show.
  2. Matt, I am ready and willing to debate you about the whole "dork" thing, partly because your examples are incoherent, but mostly because you end up sounding like a jerk about that. The worst part is, I get what you mean about the person who has a specific idea about what's the right way to have fun or to do something and how annoying that can be when you don't share that idea. A dumb, but clear (hypothetical) example: It's boardgame night at the Besser-Schneider household and you two are playing Scrabble. You just want to spend time with your wife, while she wants to play Scrabble seriously. You're just joking around, not taking the game seriously--but she really wants to play the game and makes sure that you're playing according to the official Scrabble rules. In that scenario, she's a dork, which is a bad thing to be. But also, in that scenario, you're also being kind of a jerk. I'm not entirely sure what to call you here--a flake? The point is, you are both ruining each other's nights because you have different and inflexible ideas of what boardgame night is about. So, yes, being a dork is bad, but so is being a flake. You're both equally at fault here, right? Now take this (hypothetical) scenario: a bunch of people come over for boardgame night, but it's really just an excuse to hang out with some friends that you don't get to see too often. But Danielle still really wants to play according to the rules. And so she keeps badgering people to play in her dorkish way, which kind of ruins the mood for everyone there. In this scenario, you all had a clear idea of what would be fun--hanging out with each other--but one dork just wouldn't let people alone. In that scenario, it's clear that the one dork is making everyone else's life a little less pleasant. We could flip that around: everyone came over to play seriously, but one person insists on getting drunk and having their own kind of fun. That person's the asshole, right? Do we agree so far? When a group of people get together for a reason, someone who intentionally comes over to do the opposite is kind of an asshole. Now let's get to your examples: 1) Bringing keyboards to a drum circle: it could be a funny sketch--but everyone else in the group agreed about what they were doing there. The guy with the keyboard isn't some brave protester speaking truth to power. He's just being kind of a dick. 2) Getting high at a wedding: The guy who pissily says "come on guys" is a dork since, as you said, you're being discreet and not really getting in any one's way. We're agreed on that. But if you were to light up in the middle of the wedding ceremony, that would be you being an asshole. I mean, you're at a wedding, so I assume you're wearing a suit or dressed somewhat nicely? Because we all kind of agree that there's a way to behave. By going to the wedding, you've sort of already agreed to the rules of the wedding. [Note: edited this example slightly for clarity.] 3) Going to the library during the big game: And here's where I think you're being really kind of a hypocrite unintentionally: when you say "go to the fucking game... show your spirit" you sound like a big old dork. Because you're saying "there's a right way to have fun on game day." You're telling people that your idea of the way to behave is the right way. Now wait, before you try to accuse me of hypocrisy, here's where I would agree with you: if someone went to the game and played distracting music--or even sat in a very visible spot reading Proust--that person would kind of be a jerk. Because everyone else came to the game to have a good time; so going to the game to conspicuously not have a good time is bringing a keyboard to a drum circle. You might argue that going to the library is a form of visible protest, so it is kind of like bringing a keyboard to a drum circle--except, of course, you can see how it's not. I mean, if you agree to go to a drum circle or a wedding, you agree to a set of social norms and behaviors for a little while. And if you go to the big game, you also agree to that set of social norms. But there are bigger, multi-headed institutions where agreeing to one aspect doesn't mean agreeing to all. If you go to college, you're not signing on to everything about that college, anymore than you moving to Texas means signing on to everything about Texas. (I'm especially concerned about this point because I'm an atheist living in Texas, in a small city with a lot of churches. But just because I moved to a very Christian city doesn't mean I've suddenly signed on to all of that. Similarly, if you go to a big sports school, it doesn't mean you have to love sports.) 4) The secret show and people feeling ripped off: I don't blame you--yes, when someone asked if you wanted to do the "secret show" and you weren't sure what they meant, you could've asked; but also, the organizers could have told you. This would seem to be one of those cases where some communication about what was expected could've solved the problem (much like hypothetical boardgame night could be saved if you and Danielle talked about what you wanted from it). But that doesn't mean that the audience-members who were upset didn't have a right to be upset--depending on how the show was advertised. I mean, if I hear the UCB is going to be performing and I get to the theater and you guys are putting on interpretive dance, I'm going to feel a little misled, just as if I had gone to see the Cubs and they were doing improv. This doesn't really have to do with dorks vs. flakes directly, though you can see how it revolves around some of the same issues of expectation and communication. Like I said, I'm ready to argue with you about this on air sometime, though really it would just be me reading you this long comment. In conclusion, when is boardgame night at your house and what game should I bring? Because I really don't want to be here in Texas much longer.
  3. I think Randy Cohen substantially agreed with my posts in the previous episode's thread; but I wish he spoke to the Twitter vs. podcast aspect. That is, if you're sitting next to a racist yelling at Jackie Robinson, you can yell at that guy right there (Twitter). Why do you need to get that guy on your podcast? Or again: if you can't get Shapiro or Broussard, don't debate average joe on the air. Did anyone else note that Broussard also condemned pre-marital sex among heterosexuals, i.e., the way just about everyone does it? There's a fun discussion waiting to be had.
  4. I think you sound like you're having a fun time yelling. But I don't have a fun time when I listen to you yelling at or over a debate opponent. Sure, but the internet version of the alley is called Twitter. You're confusing "a brawl in an alley" with "a brawl in the front window of Macy's." Go, kick ass on Twitter for good--you have not just my tacit support but my occasional participation.* Alley ass-kicking doesn't need a podcast audience. But I'm looking forward to what Randy Cohen has to say. *Seriously: I once wasted a morning yelling on Twitter at a conservative science fiction author who thought Biden was a shitty Catholic because he didn't enforce Catholic-teaching on non-Catholics.
  5. Hi Matt, I want to discuss the idea of bullying, but first: a) I like your comedy; and b ) I like your politics, which I substantially agree with; and c) I think comedy is a great way to deal with serious issues. That said, your "Case Closed" as currently run doesn't work for me. Again, because I like lists: 1) Most of the time, I think, people say all sorts of shitty stuff on the internet because it feels like a context- and social-free environment. So, yeah, most of the time you deal with serious issues, the people who you get to come on the show are going to start back-tracking because you're presenting feedback. That's fine and may change one guy's mind either substantially ("I never thought about it that way") or trivially ("I got a little carried away, I shouldn't have said that particular thing")--but don't kid yourself that you're engaging in a far-reaching debate by presenting one guy with feedback. 2) I find these segments bullying because you get to frame the debate by introducing the subject and you also seem to enjoy the conflict more. So even when I agree with you (which is pretty much always), I still find myself wishing you would stop seeming like such a yelly jerk. 3) Even if you're not being a jerk, you're engaging in textbook "punching down": by-and-large, the people you debate aren't in your weight class when it comes to public speaking; and if you do manage to get one guy to agree with you for as long as this debate goes on, what does that matter? Does that guy have a large twitter following? Is he going to go out and start talking about how he was wrong? Maybe and maybe that helps progressivism a little. But that seems pretty little to me. 4) I'm going to call slight bull on this because I had the same feeling once. Around 2007, I started hanging out at some conservative websites because I couldn't believe anyone with the brainpower to continue breathing would still support Bush and want McCain over Obama. I started going because I was just interested in what they were saying. That lasted maybe an hour because I couldn't believe the ridiculous lies and terrible logic that was in evidence and I had to start commenting. I stopped being a neutral anthropologist, just interested in what people thought and became an engaged partisan. If you want to know what people think, then ask them without trying to convince them. If you really want to crush them (as you said you do), then you have to drop any pretense of neutrality. So here's my thoughts on some ways to improve "Case Closed": I) Just ask people what they think without trying to crush them. I think this might lead to better improv scenes actually, because right now you (and your guests) already tell us all about your feelings before the scene and then the scene (sometimes) merely rehashes what you just said. Or... II) Get serious ideological partisans to debate, either you or some champion. I'd love to see David Brooks arguing against Paul Krugman, and then for you to do improv on that. If you can't get Ben Shapiro (whom I hate--he's one of those guys that makes me less proud to be Jewish), then don't debate anyone. If you wanted to, you could just talk to us about the news (Jason Collins came out, some response has been positive, some negative) and then do improv. No need to make me feel personally bad for you bullying some guy who I don't agree with.