Thu, 13 November 2014
A guy in a pickup truck drove up to Christopher and a couple friends at their high school in the 80s. This is what he said:
Everyone shook their head.
Everyone was stunned by the stereotype, and the guy drove off.
Whether it's a drunken Irishman, a pasta-slinging Italian, or a cartoonish Native American mascot, stereotypes continue to live on. And that's what we're talking about this week.
We kick off the episode with the first stereotypes we ever remember hearing. From there, we jump to the most damaging stereotypes we've ever heard, before talking about if we've ever heard a stereotype that was proven right.
Next, we talk about where stereotypes come from, and why many have a need or compulsion to stereotype certain people. We also spend a couple minutes discussing if we've ever found stereotypes to be useful, and then pick a few groups we could be safely classified into and talk about how well we conform to the stereotypes of those groups.
Find out what the oddest stereotypes we've ever heard are -- and if there was any merit to them.
In the final stretch of this week's episode, we talk about how damaging stereotypes are...and why they continue to endure. Then we finish by talking about if we consider ourselves stereotypical in any way.
We'd love to hear your tales of stereotypes: the strangest stereotypes you've heard, whether you've found certain stereotypes to be true...anything you want to discuss down below in the comments.
Thu, 6 November 2014
Guess what? One day, you will die.
Shawn will die; Christopher will die.
It's such a cheery little topic, we decided to talk about death this week!
We begin by talking about our earliest memories that life one day ends -- and what caused that realization for us. Then we jump to discussing if we've ever been present when somebody has dies...and how it affected us.
Death can come slowly or instantly, and the way it hits people can vary. We dedicate some time to that before moving on to a short question: are you afraid to die?
Next, we take on the roll of a psychic and predict the ways we think we will die. Keeping the snowball of happiness rolling, we ask each other if we've ever thought about taking our own lives and...if we could find out when and how we will die, would we want to know?
As serious as death is, sometimes the way people die is strange...even funny. We talk about some of the stranger and humorous ways we've heard about people dying and then talk about movies.
Death is often the focal point of stories because we've all experienced someone dying. We talk about the best movies deaths we've seen. (We'd love to hear your answers in the comments below.)
There are usually rituals after someone's passing. We ask each other if there's a proper way to mourn one's death, and then talk about what we believe happens to us after we die.
We close out this week's episode by talking about what we would do differently with our lives if we found out we only had a year to live.
As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about death and this episode in the comments.
* * *
Well, with that death talk out of the way, something more lighthearted...
This episode is a Skype episode because...Shawn is in London.
Why is Shawn in London?
Look at the photo below...
Tue, 28 October 2014
Were it up to Christopher, this episode would be titled "ALL HAIL, BENDER, SUPREME ROBOT OF ALL ROBOTS!!!" but Shawn wouldn't go for that. So instead, this week...we'll talk about more robots than just Bender.
(Shawn can bite Christopher's shiny metal ass!!!)
We begin this episode talking about the first time we can remember seeing a robot -- fictional or otherwise. Then it's on to, "What's the first thing that pops into you head when you think 'robot?'"
But robots aren't always cool. We talk about the most upsetting development in robotics -- real or fictional...and then we discuss the best robot in the realm of fiction.
("ALL HAIL BENDER!!!")
Oh yeah...and the crappiest robot in fiction or the real world. Poor sad, stupid robots we don't like...
(Yes, there was something in the 80s far worse than Alf!)
The future is always a moment away, so we take some time to talk about what uses for robots in the future make us a bit uneasy...and then we talk about if we think we'll see sentient robots in our lifetimes.
As always, we wrap it up looking forward with a glint of optimism in our eyes (Take that, Skynet!). We close out this episode with the best possible future of robotics.
(Oh yeah, Christopher totally forgot a couple other fave robots: Daft Punk!)
We'd love to hear what you meatbags think about our robotic overlords in the comments below. Remember: the machine is watching...and it does not take kindly to criticism!
Thu, 23 October 2014
It's happened to us all: it's like any normal day until...we do something that embarrasses us. Most people we know laugh off embarrassing moments, but some people can't let go of being the center of attention -- if even for a moment. This week, we're talking about the good and bad parts of embarrassment!
We begin this week's show by talking about the first times we remember being embarrassed about something. Then: find out if we embarrass easily today...and what does embarrass us.
If you've ever wondered what the most embarrassing moments of our lives were, listen in. After that, we talk about why some people handle embarrassing moments well, while others become self conscious...even spiral down into depression and self-deprecating behavior over embarrassing moments.
We devote some time to how pride and shame can factor into embarrassment, and then talk about how destructive an embarrassing moment can be for some. Also: can embarrassment ever be a good thing?
Sometimes, embarrassment is a matter of perception. Find out if we think most embarrassing situations merit the concern some give to the feeling, or if we're our own worst enemies in the way we perceive our not-so-wonderful moments in life.
Different people can become embarrassed about different things. Find our how cultural differences play into what some end up embarrassed about. Sticking to that thought, we chat about how reaction to an embarrassing moment can affect those witnessing the event.
And we close it all out with this: How can one overcome embarrassment?
We'd love to hear your views about embarrassment in the comments below.
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.