Wed, 15 October 2014
Patriotism, especially in America, has been framed to mean things it really isn't. Perhaps an unfair way to lead off an episode about patriotism -- especially when we both consider ourselves very patriotic. But is patriotism wrapping yourself in a leather American flag jacket you wear like a skin and singing a schmaltzy song, or is it something more? Obviously, we think it's something more, and that is what we are talking about on this week's episode.
We begin by talking about where we consider ourselves on the 1 - 100 Patriotism-O-Meter, and then we jump into the first time we remember being introduced to the idea of patriotism.
Next -- just to be clear -- we discuss the differences between patriotism and nationalism...and where we see most people actually falling.
Obviously, this episode is going to skew heavily toward America/'Murica, and we ask: "Is America more or less patriotic now than it's been in the past?"
Then we move on to bests and worsts: the worst example of "patriotism" used to push an agenda we've seen...and the best example of patriotism in action we've seen.
As "patriotic" as some think it is to only think about America, we look at the planet and ask: "Are Americans more patriotic than other countries...or less?" Also, find out what we think self-described patriots would describe as the American ideal. And what we believe is the American ideal.
We close out the episode with two questions:
So put on your American flag pants (just don't burn them, because that's more offensive than sweaty butt stank on Old Glory fabric made in China), and let us know what you think about patriotism in the comments below.
Thu, 9 October 2014
OMGTHEEBOLAISINAMERICAANDWE'REALLGONNADIE!!! ESPECIALLYTHOSEOFUSINTHEDALLASAREA!!! MEANWHILE,ISISSLEEPERCELLSAREALLOVERTHEUNITEDSTATESJUSTWAITINGTOPOUNCE!!! REPEATAFTERME:WE'REALLDOOMED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Or maybe Ebola will be contained; after all, it's been in the United States before, back when we didn't even have the technology we had today. The Islamic State isn't in your town waiting to kill you and your family. (Unless you, ya know, live in Kobani or Raqqa.) We're not all doomed; in fact, we're safer now than in any point in history. But none of that matters when people prey on sensational tendencies, all in the name of ratings.
That's what we're talking about this week: sensationalism!
We kick off the episode talking about the first sensational thing we remember in our lives, followed by discussing if we've ever been caught up in a wave of sensationalism (and if so, what it was).
Next, we move on to why sensationalism has such a strong pull on some people...and what sets those not prone to sensational manipulation apart from those living in fear.
Let's face it: most sensational stories we hear are spread by the news and other media. Is that brand of sensationalism damaging? And how has social media given rise to sensational thinking?
We're only human, and it's human nature to view experience (even wrong experience) as a form of knowledge. Looking at it that way, can people caught up in sensational news and thinking be forgiven for the fixation on negative stories -- most of which, never come true? After that, we devote a little time to asking if sensationalism can ever be a good thing.
While logical thinking can usually show unfounded fears in most sensational stories, basic logic (This; therefore, that) plays into the spread of sensational thinking. We talk about that, and then discuss some of the most humorous cases of sensationalism we've ever encountered.
We close out the show with two questions:
As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts below.
Oh yeah: a recent blog entry by Shawn about Ebola sensationalism.
Wed, 1 October 2014
Depending what you read, anywhere from 40% - 60% of Americans say they don't get enough sleep. Around the world, even in some of the most laid back countries, people say they are deprived of the sleep they crave.
Sleep...it's something we all do, and it's what we're talking about this week.
A Quick Note: While we normally record podcasts in person, this podcast was recorded online. Somewhere between the pre-show babble we usually do to almost 10 minutes into the show, the recording dropped out. Yep, for the first time in almost 90 episodes, we finally hit a problem. So just imagine the first part of this week's episode is that part you can't remember from a dream.
We start off by talking about how much sleep, on average, we each get a night. Well, we did talk about that, but it's part of the lost recording. Shawn said he gets between 4-5 hours or sleep...Christopher usually gets 7-8. From there, we moved on to how often we dream, or -- more accurately -- how often we remember dreams. (Shawn rarely remembers dreams; Christopher remembers them most of the time -- and even shared some recent dreams.)
Next, we discuss the strangest recurring dreams we've had and if we've ever used things from dreams in the stories we write. Rounding out the dreaming section, we talk about why we think we dream.
We definitely dedicate some time to lack of sleep, kicking off this section by discussing what keeps us from sleeping. We know that the recommended sleep numbers are simply that: recommendations. Find out how much sleep we each need to function regularly. Also, find out if either of us have ever had problems with insomnia.
The mind can do strange things when one does not get sleep. (We recommend this episode of Kenny vs. Spenny if you have about 22 minutes to kill.) Find out not only the longest we've each stayed awake, but also what it did to us. Then we move on to talking about if we've ever been unsure if we're awake or asleep...and if we've ever walked, talked, or done other things in a sleep state.
We close out this week's episode by discussing if we think there is more to sleeping and dreaming than just recharging the brain and body.
Want to talk about your weird dreams, how long you've been awake at one time, or any other sleep-related thing? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below.
Wed, 24 September 2014
"The Internet is good for funny cat videos, Facebook, and email, but really -- that's about it."
Some go as far as saying it's all just a big waste of time; that we'd do well to get rid of the whole thing.
People who say things like this are only looking at a facet of the Internet/World Wide Web, though. The Internet has changed our way of life, and we argue that -- even with all the fighting and trolling going on out there -- it's become vital to the existence of developed societies...and just might help remote areas become more developed.
[This episode, obviously, is released online...and because of some plumbing fun at Shawn's place over the weekend, it was also recorded online.]
We kick it off by talking about when we first started using the Internet. After that, we devote some time to what our tech lives were like before logging on to the World Wide Web. And we wrap up the opening section by discussing how the Internet has changed our lives.
Connectivity to the Internet has been around long enough in popular use, now, that there are generations that never knew a life without it. We talk about how the lives of those raised on the Internet differ from the lives of young people before the Internet.
Right now, the FCC is considering allowing providers to control the speed at which customers have access to the Internet. We talk a bit about Net Neutrality before revealing our favorite -- and least favorite -- things about the Internet.
Next, we talk about the Internet at its full potential before discussing just how important it is in our lives -- and even how important it is to society. If the Internet suddenly went away, what effect would that have on us all?
We close out this episode asking each other what we think the Internet will be like in 2020...and beyond...
Another nice thing about the Internet is the ability to have your say. We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Wed, 17 September 2014
Ah, those were the days...
You remember them, the days when everything was better than it is now! Better music, better movies, better everything.
Or...is the lens of nostalgia a great big liarhead? That is the topic of this week's episode of Men in Gorilla Suits!
We start with a not-so-simple question: Why are people so damn nostalgic? Then we moved on to asking what triggers nostalgia in the Gorillamen. But that's not enough; after that, it's on to the bigger triggers of nostalgic feelings.
Nostalgia is something we all engage in, but have you ever wondered if there were benefits to being nostalgic? At the same time, where is the line: can nostalgia actually be damaging?
Christopher saw a quite that interested him:
Agree, or disagree? Find out what we think. Also, find out how much nostalgia factors into our lives.
After that, we move on to talking about the strangest things we've seen people become nostalgic for.
Music, ah -- music! What is it about music that seems to closely tied to nostalgia...and why are even the most terrible songs we heard as teenagers still powerful in some way? We dedicate some time to that before moving on to talking about why we seem even more nostalgic than our parents' generation, which was far more nostalgic than our grandparents' generation.
Does nostalgia serve a purpose to the aging process? Find out what we think, before we wrap it all up with what we think children born today will be nostalgic for one day.
We'd love to hear what triggers your nostalgic tendencies in the comments below.
Tue, 9 September 2014
That's what we're talking about on this week's episode of Men in Gorilla Suits.
We begin by talking about the first friend we remember having and how old we were when we found that friend. Are we still in touch with our first friends -- find out! Also, find out who we have been friends with the longest.
Friendship can be a strange thing, with people who don't seem similar forming life-long bonds -- while some who seem totally alike having brief friendships. It made us ask: What makes people become friends with each other?
Sometimes friendships end; most of the time, just drifting apart. What causes people to lose touch with each other? We discuss that before moving on to whether or not it's harder to make friends after high school or college...and our experiences with making friends.
Find out if we make friends easily and if we've ever lived with a friend -- and how sharing space affected the friendship. Then we talk about the friend we could spend the rest of our lives living with if we were not married and decided to have a roommate.
It doesn't hurt to have a lot in common with your friends, but it's not always necessary. Find out if the friends we have are generally people we have a lot in common with...or if differences make the friendship.
We close out this episode discussing whether or not friendship is a human need, or something people can get along without.
As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about this week's topic in the comments below.
Thu, 4 September 2014
Don't let Shawn and Christopher singing part of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird" scare you away from this week's show. This week is all about cover tunes, so singing just had to happen.
(Yes, there is more than just "Freebird." You'll get bits from these Neil Diamond tunes: "Sweet Caroline," "Coming to America," and "Turn on Your Heartlight." Shawn busts out "Let's Stay Together," by Al Green, and Christopher impersonates Jello Biafra doing "Viva Las Vegas." Shawn gives us Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay," and we both sing a line from the dreadful "Pina Colada Song." Also, hear Shawn do James Brown's "Living in America" and "Get Up (I Feel Like a Sex Machine).")
Now that we've scared you away, on to the show description...
We begin by talking about the first cover tunes we ever heard and then go into the appeal of cover tunes.
Some say cover bands just copy and make money from other artists. Is that true; do they deserve the bad rap, or can a good cover band capture an experience that may be too expensive or no longer possible to attend? Is it smarmy to make money from another artist's work?
MTV had a hit with its show, Unplugged -- in which bands played acoustic sets. It's common for a cover band to take a louder song and turn it acoustic. What is it about going acoustic/unplugged that just seems to work with many cover tunes? Is it really as simple as shifting a loud tune soft, or a soft tune loud -- or does it take something more to do a great reinterpretation of a song many know and love?
YouTube has made it very easy for bands to gain attention through cover tunes. Find out our thoughts about covering songs to bring attention to yourself.
Can a cover tune be better than the original? We sure think so -- and we share the tunes we believe have achieved this. Then: a 60-second lightning round in which we name all our favorite cover tunes. After that, we discuss songs that we feel could never be properly covered or reinterpreted.
We wrap it up with two questions:
We mentioned that we'd post a link to the song Christopher wants to hear covered. Here it is, Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks - "Lock Up Your Daughters"
Not a cover, but the mashup of Justin Bieber and Slipknot we mentioned.
We'd love to hear which cover tunes you think are good, bad, and ugly in the comments below.
Wed, 27 August 2014
This week, we're talking about addiction.
We begin by talking about the first time we became aware that addiction was a thing. Not necessarily that it was good or bad -- just that it existed. From there, we move on the the first addict we ever knew.
We then discuss if either of us have ever faced an addiction -- and if so, have we overcome them?
When people hear the word "addict," their minds usually go to someone using very hard drugs. We ask this: is "hard drug" addiction really any different than more common addictions, like alcohol, cigarettes, or caffeine? Can someone use a hard drug recreationally? What makes some people addicts, while others can use for a while and then move on?
We often talk about media on the podcast; this week we ask how addiction is portrayed in the media: better, worse, or the same as real life? After that, we wonder if there is such a thing as a functional addict.
Non-substance addiction also hooks some people (things like shopping, television, gambling, etc.). Are those things as damaging as substance abuse? Next, we talk about the commonality among addicts.
We wrap it up with a short, but serious question: is there an answer to addiction?
As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about this episode in the comments below!
Wed, 20 August 2014
Christopher thought for sure that a show titled Generations would result in Shawn spiraling into Star Trek talk, but somehow we avoided that. Instead, we spent an hour talking about generational differences -- mainly focusing on Millennials, Gen X, the Baby Boomers, and our grandparents' generation. Truly an episode that has something for everyone.
We kicked it off by asking which generation we consider ourselves to be part of...as well as some of the traits of the generations. From there, we talked about how our generation differs from our parents' generation and our grandparents' generation.
While there have always been differences with each new generation, there was a time when those born of the generation before were not too much different: they often listened to the same music, had the same goals, and just did what those who came before them did. Somewhere along the way in the 1900s, that trend changed. We devote some time to discussing what influenced those changes.
It seems inevitable that there comes a point in one's generation where they look at those behind them, shake their heads, and shout, "You damn kids get off my lawn!" (Okay, maybe just metaphorically.) Ours is a generation that seemed to swear we would never do that, but a quick scan of Facebook reveals we're becoming "those older people." We ask if the pull toward becoming a curmudgeon is natural as we age and...if we feel ourselves becoming crusty old men before our time.
After that, we talk best and worst: best and worst traits of our generation, our parents' generation, and our grandparents' generation.
There is a generation nipping at our heels: the Millennials. We devote some time to discussing if they deserve the bad rap they get (coddled, no attention span, wanting to be praised for ordinary tasks), or if that's just an unfair perception of other generations on them. Continuing the Millennials talk, we move on to what we think are the best and worst traits of Millennials.
It's not uncommon for an older generation to look down at the generations after them and say, "They're just not that bright..." Looking at reality television, people attached to their smart phones, and other distractions, many say we are getting dumber as a species. Is that true, though?
We wrap up the episode with this question: "What do you think the generation being born right now will be like in the future?"
As always, we'd love to hear what you think about this topic. Have your say in the comments below!
Wed, 13 August 2014
Ask many people what constitutes a subculture, and some will say people on the outskirts of society. But...just by listening to this episode, we'd argue that you're part of a subculture. Despite all the talk about podcasting being mainstream, it still hasn't broken through. It's still its own little thing.
If you like a particular style of music, attend a specific kind of church, work at a certain kind of talent...you're probably part of a subculture. So what is a subculture? We begin this week's episode discussing exactly that.
From there, we move on to discussing if we consider ourselves part of a subculture -- and if so, which ones? After that, we talk about what happens when a subculture becomes mainstream. Does a subculture inherently lose something when it becomes widely embraced?
We take a step back to discuss the first subculture we remember seeing and then move on to the subcultures that interest us the most. Are there any subcultures we just don't get? Listen and find out! Also: Are the subcultures of youth today really different than they've been in the past?
We dedicate some time to what draws people to subcultures, before discussing if subcultures can be damaging -- even dangerous -- to their members. After that, we talk about subcultures that don't exist that we'd like to see.
We close out the episode with this question: "If you had to live the rest of your life surrounded by only the members of one subculture, which one would you choose?"
Take part in podcasting/blogging subculture and leave a comment below!