Tue, 22 October 2013
Oh, hello there, you wonderful, magical being, you. What's that sour face for -- don't believe us? You are magical...and...if you have just $99.99 to spare for our 20-cassette self-help system, you'll realize your full potential! Don't buy it, and continue to be miserable: the choice is yours. Salvation is just a credit card number away...
This week, we're all about self help! Now, we should clarify that there's nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself...even pay for help if needed. It's just, if you're going to take that step, it would seem a professional therapist might be a bit better than someone making up a pile of bullshit about how quantum physics works in an effort to sell you on yet another self-help system...
We begin the episode by talking about what image comes to our minds when we mention "self help." Then, we discuss whether or not any self-help book or system has ever helped us. After that, we leap into self-help things we've been subjected to in some manner. (It's probably pretty clear at this point that we're not the biggest fans of people preying on desperate people and selling them "help" in Holiday Inns across the country. In fact, Christopher is one degree away from someone fairly well known who "helps" people, but is really just out to take people's money...so we speak from some certain experience.)
While on the subject of self help, why not talk about Scientology and other religions that are little more than a pyramid scheme? Are they really out to help people, or is it all about pushing their own agenda? On a smaller level, we ask if there are self-help gurus who actually want to help people more than they want their money. Then we ask if self-help systems have a high percentage of success, or if they are just a scheme to help those running a system make a lot of money.
Then it's time to talk about some of the more outrageous claims made in the self-help industry. You could probably call this section of the podcast, "It's no secret how Christopher and Shawn feel about The Secret!" While hammering those who know nothing about science (but use junk science to back their claims), we roll all over certain health gurus who also make ridiculous claims in their grab for cash.
But while we don't spare the majority of an industry from ridicule, we do acknowledge the marketing machines behind the self-help industry...and how they have used social media to expand their empires. After discussing how easily people are swayed by "facts" that aren't facts, we ask the biggest question of all: "Is there any value at all in the self-help industry?"
We'd love to hear what you think about self help in the comments, and...we hope this episode of Men in Gorilla Suits helps you. If nothing else, we offer it for free!
Thu, 17 October 2013
Recently, Louis C.K. was on Conan O'Brien, talking about how smart phones destroy one's empathy. We begin talking about that, asking each other if we agree with Louis C.K.'s thinking. Then it's on to the physical ways smart phones make us feel when we ask each other if we've ever felt separation anxiety when not able to use our phones.
Like it or not, the Internet (and easy access to technology) has changed the way we do so many things. We talk about why we're online and, as writers, we take a few moments to ask if online promotion has been worth it for us...or if having a "brand," "platform," whatever we're calling it this week is all hype.
Speaking of hype, a lot has been written about how always having access to information has degraded human focus. We ask if we had more focus before or after technology became such an available thing. By reading this online, it's clear that on some level, the gorilla men are okay with technology, but what technology makes us cringe? Do we feel the need to keep up with everything? Can we make it through a lunch without checking for or answering a text message -- find out!
Back to technology's physical effects...we take a few minutes to ask if checking Facebook and other things is a reflex. Do we play games on our phones, or is that the line we draw where we say, "Nope, that eats up waaaaaaaay too much time!"? Then it's on to our biggest tech weakness and a discussion if we can -- or even want to -- change it. Have we ever been so connected that technology has affected our sleep?
Thoreau had Waldon; now, simply taking a one-week social media break is cause for writing articles...we discuss taking social media breaks and ask if we could sit in a cabin all weekend without any tech. Finally, we wrap it all up by asking what is gained (and lost) by always being connected.
If you're reading this and listen to the show, you obviously have feelings about technology and the way we've all come to use it. We'd love to hear your thoughts about this episode in the comments.
Tue, 8 October 2013
Don't walk beneath that ladder, and do be careful with that mirror -- you wouldn't want to break it and find yourself dealing with 7 years of bad luck! This week, we're all about superstitions and luck!
We begin the episode asking each other if we're superstitious and what was the first superstition we remember hearing (it's probably pretty common, and we bet your mother's back was not broken by your actions on a sidewalk). Were we superstitious when we were younger? Find out! After that, we ask how our perceptions of things have changed over the years.
Then we get a little more specific: can superstition be a low-level mental illness, like a mild obsessive-compulsive disorder? Or is it just a thing people do? What influence do different cultures have on superstitions (we give examples we've seen). Then...we move on to luck!
Find out if we consider ourselves lucky people and if there are ways to avoid "bad luck." Is bad luck just a person's lot in life or can things be done to make our own luck?
We close with the silliest superstitions we've ever heard and answering this question: "Who's the most superstitious person you know?"
So avoid the black cats, pick up a penny, and listen to this week's show! (And let us know if you have any superstitions in the comments.)
Tue, 1 October 2013
We're loading this week's show (all about art) a little early. The episode begins by asking the question: what is art? Is writing, photography, film, and dance art? What about video games? (Okay, so those specifics come a little later in the episode.) After establishing what art is, we discuss our earliest memories of art, including the first great works of art we ever saw.
After that, we get into actually creating art. Does one have to be creative in order to make art? Can art be taught? What's more important: creativity or ability? Then it's back to specifics: who are some of our favorite artists? What are our favorite works of art? What's the strangest art we've ever seen?
Then we stroll through the modern art gallery of the mind, asking if modern art deserves the reputation it gets from some people -- and we ask if art critics are good or bad for art? We wrap it up chatting about what we think art will be like in 100 years.
We'd love to hear who some of your favorite artists and works of art are in the comments!
Links to some of the artists and works of art mentioned in this episode:
Thu, 26 September 2013
What compels some people to never leave their hometown, while others crave a nomadic life without a home the moment they can take off on their own? That's how this episode begins; find out where the Gorilla Men fit into that spectrum. Hometowns are common things for most of us, but some people move about or travel so much, answering "Where are you from?" is difficult. We discuss that for a bit before traveling to our next point: the benefits of travel...
Are there benefits to traveling even a little bit? How about traveling a lot? Obviously, there are -- and we discuss them...but we also discuss the drawbacks. Then we get personal as we talk about other countries we've visited and the most interesting places we've seen in our travels. Of course, as writers, we take a side trip into this question: can writers believably set stories in places they have never visited...and how writers can go about doing just that. Then we hit the road!
The Great American Road Trip: we're biased when it comes to road trips -- we love them! Christopher goes as far as making the argument that there is no shame in not having seen many different countries when there is so much to see in the states. We talk about road trips' effect on our writing and reminisce for a moment about the best road trips we've ever taken.
Then it's back to the big, wide world as we discuss our dream destinations and places we'd love to visit that would make others say, "You're crazy for wanting to go there!" Finally, we wrap it all up by discussing our favorite places to travel.
We'd love to hear your dream destinations or favorite trips in the comments!
Wed, 18 September 2013
This Just In: the apes behind Men in Gorilla Suits are talking about the news this week!
Breaking Story: Men in Gorilla Suits ask, "When did the news become interesting to you?" Then those nutty monkeys talk about whether they prefer their news televised or if they'd rather find it online. They also ponder this: "Has 24-hour cable news added to the news or damaged it?" This pundit says it's all about money and is clearly right because the Gorillamen ask what influence advertisers have on the news -- and whether it's good or bad?
"LIBERALS!!!" (Calm down, Tex!) Does the word make your flesh crawl, or are you one of them? ("Serpent!") Doesn't matter; all that does: "Is there a liberal bias in the news?" And...what effect have pundits had on "news"? Also: is news from other countries better?
These days, news travels faster than ever. In a rush to be first with a story, do news stories suffer? If so, how? Then: "Social media as news — accurate or not?"Why share actual news online when you can share...MISERY!!! Interviews with grieving families, court cases that have no real effect on your life, and sensational stories you'll forget by next week -- is that news, or just a sensational grab for ratings? (Probably pretty clear where the Gorillamen stand on this one-- watch out for their hurled poo!)
But "the news" is really an easy target. Is the news to blame for the shift it’s taken, or are we the problem?
"What's that? Some people avoid the news entirely?! HERETICS!!!" The Gorillamen talk about the movement to avoid the news. (Can you imagine that, avoiding the news? It's rumored one of the Gorillamen didn't even know about the Navy yard shooting that had the nation saying, "Oh, you wacky Mondays...does 12 dead even count as a mass shooting anymore?")
Really, it all comes down to this: does the news actually affect us, or is it presented in a manner to make us believe it does?
Is the news even important anymore?
If you don't listen, clearly...you don't want to be informed. So listen to this week's episode and express your rage, thoughts, or anything else you feel in the comments below. Because these days, the news is interactive, and even the slack-jawed knuckle draggers have a say!
(Views expressed are those of an unseen narrator and do not reflect those of Men in Gorilla Suits.
Thu, 12 September 2013
This isn't a boring history lesson, or an episode chock full o' trivial things like, "Hey, did you all know the first person to kill at the Battle of Hastings -- in 1066 -- was a juggler?" (<----- That's for real, right there! Don't mess with jugglers!) This episode is about our relationships with history. What many deem to be a boring subject really isn't when you consider how much the human mind lives in the past, whether it's a head full of nostalgia or thinking about your place in the universe...that's all history!
We begin the episode with a bit of personal history, discussing the first time we remember even thinking about the topic. Also, who (or what) got us interested in history? With that beginning, we move on to our favorite periods of American history and world history. Many "man on the street" interviews make it look like Americans know very little about history...we spend some time discussing if that's true before moving on to what history even is.
History takes hold more when it's presented as a story rather than a bunch of dates and events we must commit to memory. We talk about how this affects our perception of history, and then move on to how history is covered: is history really written by the winners, or are there places one can go to find all sides of a story? What are the best sources for understanding history -- and what are the worst? Where do we go when we're in a mood to take in some history? We close it out with the best representation of history -- and the worst -- we've seen in popular media.
If you're a history buff, we'd love to hear your thoughts about history...and if you think history is just a boring subject, we just might change your mind...
Wed, 4 September 2013
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Wed, 28 August 2013
Reality TV: people seem to love it or hate it. People also seem to forget how long it's been around...and that even its critics have probably enjoyed some kind of reality programming. This week, we're all about versions of reality on television that succeed and fail, often in very strange ways.
We start out talking about early shows we recognized as "reality" programming before talking about the opposite ends of the reality TV spectrum. Is reality TV legitimate, or is it just lazy TV? We discuss the shows that have pulled us in, and those so bad, we were almost turned off to the medium entirely. We talk about the character of reality TV -- those we've loved, and those we loathed. The part that surprised us both: does reality TV have value? The answer may make you think twice about knocking reality TV and realizing it's like anything: there's good and bad and everything in between...
We'd love to hear about which reality TV shows you've loved, and even those you've hated...
Wed, 21 August 2013
In a time when smart phones and TV screens are everywhere, it can seem so hard to focus. This week, we discuss why people seem to yearn for these kinds of distractions in their lives and what they can do to regain focus on the things that matter to them. How has technology of all sorts made it easier than ever to procrastinate? Do programs and apps meant to keep people offline and away from distractions really work? If not, what can people do to keep their priorities before them?
The more we use quick and satisfying technology like social media sites, text messages, and email, the more we physically rewire our brains to crave more instant gratification. How do we wire our brains to focus on the things that matter in our hearts more than playing rounds of Words with Friends or Candy Crush?
Some people have gone as far as saying distractions have robbed us of our culture -- we address that and how it's really all a matter of priority. After discussing distractions in the workplace, we talk about ways people can focus more. As writers, we talk about how we focus on something as big as novels in an age of distractions -- and how those tips can carry over to anything people do.
We spend a bit of time talking on the power of solitude...how being alone and free of distractions for long periods of time leads to wonderful things! After that, we ask what's more important: focus or action...before finally wrapping it all up by asking if focus, priority -- or something else entirely -- is the most important thing when it comes to getting things done?
We're almost to our 30th episode. Without focusing on priorities, we'd have never gotten this far.