Episode 62: Necessary But Not Sufficient

The Overthinkers answer your calls and emails.

Matthew Wrather hosts with Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, John Perich, Ryan Sheely, and Jordan Stokes to answer your calls and emails. Topics include invisibility, Paradise Lost, John Hughes and Race, our small-minded American chauvinism, science in the media, and the meaning of Meta.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment, use the contact form, email us or call 20-EAT-LOG-01—that’s (203) 285-6401.

Download Episode 62 (MP3)

10 Comments on “Episode 62: Necessary But Not Sufficient”

  1. pave #

    re: scientists
    what about the big bang theory. sheldon is definitely the main protagonist. also back to the future. and twister. definitely twister i think. choc-a-block full of scientists. bill paxton’s girlfriend is totally the odd one out there.


  2. pave #

    ooh i should finally do the lattitude and longitude thing!
    12.9371627,77.6163803 :)


  3. Bianca #

    -Favorite Labor Pop-culture Reference: Gung Ho (1984)
    -Favorite Meta Pop-culture Reference: Using the VHS video of Spaceballs: The Movie to find Lonestar et al., in Spaceballs: The Movie.
    -You guys should totally have a rotation of tokens to round out your white, American male discussion. Particularly if he/she is able to pick the topic of discussion.
    -Favorite Scientist as a Protagonist Pop-culture Reference: Real Genius (1985)…make popcorn, not war!


  4. Gab #

    Manual labor is important because it keeps the infrastructure our civilized society rests on afloat. If we didn’t have people scrubbing toilets and putting our gadgets together, we’d either do it ourselves or it would never get done. It takes a lot of effort for me to open iTunes to my podcast page and turn your podcasts on, you know, but without the blood sweat and tears it costs me and the other loyal listeners, you’d have no audience. ;p

    What time *do* you gather for the podcasts?

    _Divine Comedy_= insurpassable/unsurpassed, maybe? The heavy influence it still has on Christian mythology and imagery is incredible- many think of it as actual Church doctrine and not just a long-ass poem by an Italian dude complaining about the contemporary politics going on.

    Re: science- I think what’s really going on with bad guys as scientists all the time is that the problem is science in the wrong hands. The science itself isn’t the bad guy, it’s the guy getting his hands on it. Of course, this creates the stereotype that the only people *getting* their hadns on it are crazies, but still. Perich, you bring up a valid point in relation to this- rarely is it about the methodology, it’s about how the results are used and abused. But it (as in abuse) doesn’t happen every time. What about _Contact_, for example? Admittedly, I’ve only seen the film, but I think it portrays science itself in a very positive light (and I’d argue this one actually shows the process of discovery positively, too), as well as the main characters that are also scientists: it’s when the science gets in the hands of the politicians in the movie that things go sour.

    Oh, sorry, I’m in Walla Walla, WA right now (46N 4’3.486″ x -118W 19’23.2284″)- I spend vacations in Vegas, where I grew up, but I work for the school district I volunteered in while a college student here.

    One of Filter’s albums was called “Title of Record,” so that’s meta, yeah? Bianca brings up “Spaceballs” and, come to think of it, Mel Brooks goes meta quite often in his movies- and it seems to work usually. The only instance I didn’t really think was funny I can recall is the part in “Men in Tights” where the camera breaks Marion’s window (but part later where Achoo says, “Hey, it worked in ‘Blazing Saddles,'” totally makes up for it).

    The cake is a lie, Fenzel, the cake is a lie.


  5. Dan From Canada #

    You had said that there are no heroic scientists in popular culture except insofar as they do what jocks or military leaders or Will Smith tells them to do…

    Wouldn’t it be fair to say that Will Smith in I Am Legend was himself both the hero -and- the scientist?

    I mean, he may have meta-ordered himself to try and find a cure, but he definitely is a scientist and the hero.


  6. Sylvia #

    Favorite Labor Pop-culture Reference: The music video to Jimmy Barnes “Working Class Man”


  7. fenzel #


    Good call – although Will Smith does a lot of pull ups and has a lot of shirtless cheesecake time for a scientist. It’s pretty clear they intend for him to be seen as at least half-jock.

    Also, if I Am Legend followed its proper/original ending instead of the awful bullcrap ending they saddled it with, the question would be much more ironic and interesting to discuss.


  8. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    @dan and fenzel – Yeah, I Am Legend clearly wants to have its cake and eat it too. He’s supposed to one of the world’s top virologists before the outbreak. But at the same time, he’s a high ranking officer in the army (he’s a lieutenant colonel). This puzzles me. I’m sure the army DOES have scientists, but I feel like the top virologists would be working at a university, or at the Centers for Disease Control. If I had to guess, I’d say the filmmakers wanted to make the action elements of the movie more plausible, so they made him a soldier. Even if that makes the science parts of the movie less plausible.

    And I agree that the ending to the movie is a crying shame. I really enjoyed it, up until the last five minutes. I’ll still watch it if it’s on TV.


  9. Bianca #

    Oh, I forgot my coordinates: (48.7192 N, 2.2506 E)

    @Belinkie, I haven’t seen or read I Am Legend, so I don’t know what his situation is…however, if one is militarily inclined to begin with then it’s not too unusual because the military does try to make use of their best minds. They’ve got an enormous budget and would ultimately prefer to work with one of their own. It’s one of the reasons why the military academies are so academically competitive and most astronauts are officers with PhDs. Additionally, with ROTC programs, it’s not that unusual for someone with an advanced degree to achieve a ranking like Lt. Colonel. They’ve got the brains and plenty of time for training. If one is already a soldier and express an interest in pursuing an advanced degree in a useful field, they will bend over backwards to help you out.


  10. Dan #

    Favorite Labor in Media: “Workin’ In a Coal Mine” by Devo, as used in “Heavy Metal”

    Favorite Meta: The passage in “Illuminatus,” by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, where it starts negatively reviewing itself.


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