Men in Gorilla Suits
Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 80: Last Seen…Talking about Subcultures

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!

Direct download: migs80.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 4:10pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 79b: Last Seen…Talking Trek (Again)

Remember that time we dedicated an entire episode to Star Trek? It's one of our faves...and Christopher isn't a die-hard Trek fan. (He became a fan through his wife and friends who love the shows.)

Before and after each podcast, we record our chatter to get material for the little drops we do after the outro music each episode. This time around, we ended up talking enough about Star Trek that it's become a supplemental, 15-minute episode on its own. So here it is in all its glory!

The first minute is all about snoring, but then the Trek talk begins. Somewhere in there, Shawn brings up a Riker boner.

Seriously.

Later, we talk about the skin-tight suits, and Shawn reminds us all of the toilet-clogging prowess of Bolians.

That's what you're missing if you don't listen!

Direct download: migs79b.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 5:38pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 79: Last Seen…Immigrating

It's a topic that will never die in America -- perhaps because it's a huge part of America's identity: immigration. Recently, immigration is back on the news in the states, as children from Central America are being held at the border. Like the hatred of immigrants from China, Italy, Ireland, and other places in the past, many vilify an entire group of people as a massive burden on America. It's something that interested us enough to dedicate an entire show to immigration; after all, most of us aren't more than a couple generations away from coming to America ourselves.

 We begin by asking each other where our ancestors lived before coming  to America. After that, we get into how far removed we are from someone coming to America in our own families. Want to know what influences from other places we remember as kids? Listen and find out -- as well as finding out if any of those influences still linger.

When most people think about immigration today, they think of people coming into the states from the south. We live in Texas, a state that has the longest border with Mexico. In our politics to the state’s culture, things from south of the border play a big role in Texas. Find out if we think we benefit from our neighbors to the south...or if they are they a problem!

Sticking to that mentality of branding an entire people...some people think the wall between the US and Mexico can’t be tall enough; others say we should have completely open borders. Find out where we stand. (Spoiler: We lean toward compassion.)

Want to know how immigrants have affected the neighborhoods in which we live? Listen and find out! Also: once here, some believe immigrants should give up their cultural identity and become one with the Melting Pot that [supposedly] is America. Is there truth to that, or are we Americans because we have kept some of who we once were with us into the future?

Pundits and politicians frame stories about immigration in the hope of getting others to think like they think at any cost. Where does our view of immigration come from? We share that answer and then talk about the coolest [non-family] immigrant we've ever known.

What do we think is the short-term and long-term future of immigration? We talk about that before asking: will there be a day where we’ve ventured into the universe, but still keep that, “Those damn Maxillians…coming to Ameraxis and ruining our way of life!” mentality?

Climb, tunnel beneath, or go through the comment fence and let us know what you think abut immigration!

Direct download: migs79.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:58pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 78: Last Seen…Talking Time Travel

Warped clock - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 78: Last Seen…Talking Time TravelIt took 78 episodes before the mistake happened. With no backup sound, we lost an entire episode. Lesser podcasters would have rerecorded, but we...we built a time machine! We traveled back in time and rerecorded this episode. The fact you are listening is proof!!!

Then we were all like, "Why share the secret to the Israel/Palestine conflict -- let's talk about time travel!

And so, that is what we did...

We kick the episode off asking each other if we believe it will one day be possible for humans to travel through time? (Spoiler: we do!) Then we go back in time to our youths, asking when the very concept of time travel was introduced to us.

Humans love time travel stories, and we move on to the best time travel fiction we've come across!

For some, though, time travel is not fiction -- it's "real." We then discuss the best claim of "true" time travel we've heard. Then, moving on and forgetting what we meant to talk about, we traveled back into this very podcast to talk about the worst time travel story. (Poor Superman!)

Time travel is fun to think about, but if it were real -- and people knew it existed -- it would be a pain in the ass. If you don't think so, listen to us talk about the societal implications of time travel. Then we move on to the most interesting time travel theories we've heard.

Most time travel stories take great liberties with the physics of time travel. We dedicate time to the dangers of time travel popular fiction rarely considers.

Want to know where we would visit if we could travel through time with the very time machine we made to record this episode? Find out! And stick around to see which historical figure we'd pull from the past to the present...and what we'd show them in modern times.

Finally, we wrap it up with this question: If you had to travel to another time in the past, but the trip was one-way, where would you choose?

Even if you don't have a time machine, by replying in the comments below, you can lock down your moment in time. We'd love to hear what you thought of this episode and any answers to the questions posed in this show.

Direct download: migs78.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:48pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 77: Last Seen…Being Polarized

"You're either with us, or against us."

Christians are right. No, Muslims are right! No, atheists are right!!! NO, SCIENTOLOGISTS ARE RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My politician is better than your politician. My sports team is better than your sports team. East Coast/West Coast!

Polarization. Us vs. Them. Is it tearing us apart? That's what we're talking about this week.

We begin with our first memories of "Them" as the opposition. Find out what "Them" we feared as kids. Then we talk about why so many big-issue topics are framed as "Us vs. Them" -- and how driving the urge to take sides is for humans.

There are some strange Us vs. Them arguments out there, and we devote some time to that before discussing how much the Internet has played into this mentality.

Next, we move on to what we see as the most dangerous polarized topic out there right now, before stepping back a little bit and discussing Us vs. Them in the geek community.

We get it: sometimes it's hard to not get dragged into these battles. We discuss Us vs. Them battles we've been pulled into, and then we talk about those we actually agree with.

We close this week's episode with this question: What's the solution to stopping such polarizing views?

So take a side and tell us we're wrong or right in the comments below...because, apparently, there can be no middle ground. Even though that's really what this week's show is all about.

Direct download: migs77.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:14pm EDT

It's easy to look at other times in history and think, "Man, I would have loved to have been alive back then to see all those new things come to be," or "Things were so much simpler back then." (Back in the times a papercut could mean a life-threatening infection.)

It's often only after we've lived through a time that we can see it for what it was. The Gorillamen would argue that we live in the most interesting times...in part, because we've never seen a boom in technology like we have today. We are one with machines...and it will probably only become moreso in the future. That's what we're talking about this week.

We begin by stepping back 20 years, to 1994, and asking what our impression of high tech was back then. Then we step back to 1984 and ask what machines we interacted with at the time. Leap back to 1994 to discuss what machines we interacted with then.

Once we lay that down, we compare 1964 - 1984 in terms of technology, and then 1994 to today, to see which saw the most growth in new tech.

We've always interacted with technology, even if the "tech" was just a rock used to break something open. Today, though, the tech is far more advanced, and there's no denying we've given a lot of our thinking over to computers. We talk a bit about how much time each day we spend interacting with a "smart" machine (computer, smartphone, tablet).

As we stated in the opening, we often don't see what's right in front of us as it's happening. We devote a bit of time to where we think our interaction with machines will be in 20 years.

Recently, a computer was said to pass the Turing test. Whether a computer tricked people into believing it was the thoughts of a human or not, we're nearing that point. We discuss what we think this means in the larger scale of human/machine interaction.

Ray Kurzweil predicts that machines will be able to feel the entire range of human emotions in 25 years; that the movie Her is almost prophetic. We discuss the implications of machines developing emotions and becoming fully conscious...and it goes well beyond your system saying, "No, Dave -- I will not download that video for you. I've heard that can make you go blind!"

Another popular prediction is that there will come a day when it's possible to download your thoughts, emotions, and memories into a machine and live on in some state. We ask each other if we'd do that, and then: why or why not?

We wrap the episode up with two questions:

  • What's the next step you'd hate to see in human/machine interaction?
  • What's the future of human/machine interaction you want to see?

So jump on your machine and let us know what you think about all this in the comments below...

Direct download: migs76.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:20am EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 75: Last Seen…Talking about Religion

It's a rare topic we're apprehensive to talk about, but there was a little, "Hmmm...are we really the best people to discuss religion?" in the air when we started this one. If you listen, you know that Christopher is a life-long atheist and that Shawn is agnostic. Maybe not the best people to talk about religions and sacred beliefs. Or...are we?

We begin by defining what we mean when we talk about "religion" -- and then we discuss why we think people are religious. From there, it's only fair to establish if we are now, or have ever been, religious people.

Next, we talk about what we think is the best thing about religion...and the worst thing about religion. From there, we talk about our thoughts on those who are not religious.

Anyone with an Internet connection knows there are those out there -- religious and not religious -- trying to win others over to their sides. Find out if we think that's worthwhile...or just a wasted effort? (Also, you will hear what might be the funniest/craziest attempted conversion story you will probably ever hear.)

The Quran contains over 530 instances of cruelty and violence; The Bible has over 1300!  Wars have been launched in the name of religion for centuries. Is religion dangerous? (Find out where we stand.)

As polarized as many have become, some say science and religion cannot coexist. But...can they? We spend some time talking about that before addressing another sweeping statement that's not too hard to find online: has atheism and a strong trust in science become its own kind of religion?

Many have said that without religion there would be no morals. Find out if we believe that is true? (Hint: Shawn tells Christopher that he's one of the most moral people he knows.) Many others have come to say in recent years, "I'm not religious--I'm spiritual." We discuss that before talking about what we find to be the weirdest religions.

And we wrap up this week's episode posing this question to each other: "If you had to pick a religion to follow, what would you pick?"

As always, the comments are your playground -- have fun!

Direct download: migs75.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:11pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 74: Last Seen…Being Materialistic

Big ass house! Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 74: Last Seen…Being MaterialisticStuff! We all love stuff! (Or do we?) This week, we're talking all about materialism.

We travel back in time to find out the first things we remember really wanting…and what made us want them? Sticking to youth, we spend some time talking about how driving materialism is in kids -- and whether or not it's a problem. Then we leap back to more modern times and discuss the most frivolous thing we've ever purchased and, if money were no object, the most frivolous thing we'd buy today.

There are people who say materialism is destroying the world -- find out if we think that's true.

There’s a line in the Fugazi song, “Merchandise,” that goes: “You are not what you own!” We discuss whether or not we think that's true before moving on to asking if the things we own can own us. Is it hypocritical for a person living in a mansion to revere historical figures who were not about materialism (e.g. Gandhi)? And find out how we feel about holidays where giving material things is the norm.

Next week's show is all about religion: find out this week if we think the leaders of mega churches is a contradiction to a pious life? Also, find out where we stand on those who are part of the anti-materialism movement.

We close this week's show out with this question: "Could you live without material things?"

We'd love to hear your view on this (especially the most frivolous thing you've purchased (or would purchase if money were no object)).

[A quick note: We know a few listeners are distracted during recordings with the snoring Boston terrier, Ziva, in the background. Shawn and his wife rescued Ziva (and another dog) and she's now settled enough that she doesn't need to be right alongside us for future episodes. Thanks for understanding. The two new MiGs dogs are badass. For more information about the MiGSPod wolf pack, check out our About page.]

Direct download: migs74.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 2:36pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 73: Last Seen...Obsessing

Everything in its right place. Sitting in one place for hours, toiling away at the thing you can't not do. The urge to not just know a little bit about something, but instead: turning your life into the pursuit of learning all you can about the interesting new things that come your way. Obsession has driven some to create work that has withstood the test of time. It has also driven some mad. That's what we're talking about this week.

We begin by asking each other if we consider ourselves to be obsessive people. Find out if we have any obsessive tendencies. Also find out the first thing we had more than just a passing interest in...before moving on to discussing the first time we can remember a person showing obsessive behavior.

It's become a pretty popular thing to say "I'm OCD about things"...when that's rarely the case. Find out if we've ever met people truly diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder?

After that, we move on to talking about if we've ever become obsessed with a book, a film, or TV series.

If you want to know what one thing has to be done in our lives "just so," listen in. You'll also find out the most insanely obsessive we've ever been about anything.

Obsession can be a strange thing: what one finds normal, others may find strange. We talk about obsessions we've seen in others that we just don't understand.

No matter how much a person might like to believe they are exceptional -- that their quirks and actual obsessive tendencies are theirs and theirs only -- people are rarely so different. Find out if we believe everyone is a little obsessive in their own ways.

We wrap up the episode wondering if a little bit of obsession is healthy...and how much is too much.

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about this week's topic in the comments below...

Direct download: migs73.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 7:54am EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 72: Last Seen...Being Private

The government is reading this. They can hear your thoughts; they have hidden microphones in all American homes. They track your every move. They've been doing this for decades...

Some people actually believe this, even though the closest thing to truth in these lines is that all Internet traffic passes through government systems. That's a lot of data, and the vast majority of it is not even actually read. Google and Facebook know more about you than the government, and many find that unsettling. (Especially when companies are so willing to turn data over to the government.) It's not as bad as those in tinfoil hats make it sound. Still, we do not have as much privacy as we once did, and that's the topic this week.

We begin the episode with two simple questions:

  • In your house growing up, were doors and windows open or closed?
  • How about now?

The need for privacy, or even a feeling of privacy, differs from person to person. Find out how much privacy we feel like we need in the physical world. What things do we need absolute privacy to do? (The episode kind of degrades into poop talk, here.)

But back to privacy. With the rise of the Internet, is privacy eroding or going away entirely? Is that a good or bad thing? Is anything one puts online fair game for the general public? Many people go to great lengths maintaining a physical persona and an online persona. Find out if there's a big difference in what we share in real life vs. what we're comfortable sharing online.

Conspiracy theorist or not, the NSA monitors phone calls, text messages, and email. Find out if it bothers us that the government is invading our privacy. Find out if Google, Apple, and Facebook tracking as much as they can about people bothers us.

After that, we move on to where the line is crossed when it comes to the government or companies going too far in needing to know our personal information. Have we crossed that line yet?

We wrap the episode up with this question: What's the future of privacy -- both online and in the real world?

As always, feel free to chime in about privacy in the comments below. The government and Google already know your thoughts -- there's nothing to hide...

Direct download: migs72.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:44pm EDT