Episode 103: The Infallible Wikipedia

The Overthinkers tackle listener feedback, including hot button topics like religion, class, and Star Trek.

Matthew Wrather hosts with Natalie Baseman, Peter Fenzel, and Mark Lee to answer listener voicemails, touching on topics such as Star Trek, the meaning of names, Priest and Christianity in Japan, how things become sacred and why we care, and the social implications of accents.


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9 Comments on “Episode 103: The Infallible Wikipedia”

  1. fenzel #

    The ship I’m thinking of in the podcast is the Stagazer, not the Pegasus. The Pegasus is both aspirational and commemorative, but it is aspirational from the standpoint of the past. The Stargazer is also somewhat aspirational, but from a more humble, younger place — fitting for the ship that catapulted Picard into being the man he became.


  2. cat #

    Part of me wants to suggest that we all leave questions about accents for future listener feedback podcasts because it is always hilarious. The other part is content with just saying, “Great overthinking this week” and asking whether ustream has been completely abandoned and will be replaced.

    Another win for Natalie. I love that there’s someone on the podcast who will bring up ANTM.


  3. Matthew Wrather #


    You’d think it would be easier. It actually turns out to be pretty involved record both sides of a VoIP call, monitor the incoming side, and broadcast both sides with video out to a third party, and involves the use of two software “patch bays” (LineIn and Soundflower for OS X, in case you’re interested). Add to that the fact that the Ustream interface is written in Flash, which is a crappy platform and prone to crash, and it just stopped working at a certain point.

    The overthinkers are not universally in love with the livestream. Neither is the audience, for that matter. On the one hand, it can make the show more lively and interactive — it’s like having instant listener feedback in every show. On the other, it’s distracting and can be annoying to the regular downloaders (whose number is orders of magnitude greater than the livestream watchers) to have to sit and listen to a bunch of talk about the livestream or chatroom, which they have no context to appreciate.

    If we can solve some of the technical hurdles, it could conceivably come back. At the moment, though it’s not exactly dead, let’s say that it’s on indefinite hiatus. :-/


  4. Judah #

    So it turns out that listening to the Star Trek ship name discussion is an enormous nerd test. Every time someone said “Yamamoto” instead of “Yamato,” my blood pressure shot up. I would not have guessed that I was that vulnerable, so feel free to shout “Neeeeeeeeeerrrrrd!” at me.


  5. Martin #

    Pegasus is the second Battlestar in Battlestar Galactica.


  6. Matthew Wrather #


    That was probably all my fault.

    Don’t feel bad at all. If there’s a safe place to be a nerd, it’s this web site.


  7. RiderIon #

    One thing that didn’t get brought up with Christianity in Japan are…weddings. (Granted, I haven’t finished the podcast, I’m about 40 minutes in) Japanese girls grow up dreaming of having western style (i.e. Christian) weddings. There’s a lot of factors behind it as it’s viewed as modern, it’s much less expensive than a traditional Japanese wedding and it’s a much shorter affair. Traditional Japanese weddings (to my understanding) take about 3 to 4 days depending on size of the families involved and the neighborhoods they live in. It surprises how much the imagery of Christian weddings show up in Japanese media, particularly children’s programming.

    …Uh oh. I can feel the wheels in my brain turning.


  8. DaveMc #

    Re: accents, a couple of links that might be of interest:

    First, an article in The Guardian from February 2010, in which the author argues in favour of just dropping the attempt to have actors speak in accents that are not their own (because the results are so often grating rather than great):


    Of course, the author went on to be interviewed on the CBC, and lost all credibility in my eyes by describing Hugh Laurie’s American accent on “House” as dreadful:


    The accents interview is first up in the podcast.

    I mean, come on, there are legitimately bad accents out there on stage, in film, and on television, but I’m pretty sure that most viewers of House are startled to learn that Hugh Laurie is British (unless, of course, they’ve had a proper grounding in the classics, like Blackadder).

    Apart from this bizarre lapse, I agree with her central point, or at the very least I don’t understand why people insist on inserting fake accents where they’re not required. The last season of “Heroes” made the actor Robert Knepper have an Irish accent for no compelling reason, and I think he struggled with it — why not just admit that you found an American actor for the role, and have him play it as an American? (The character lived in America, and seemed to have grown up there … why in the world did he need to be Irish? Weird.) For that matter, I’d be perfectly happy with a British-accented Dr. House, but I suppose they figure that this would throw the Sherlock Holmes ancestry of the show into too-sharp relief.


  9. Timothy J Swann #

    Hey guys, started writing a message this morning that my computer decided to eat… thanks so much for overthinking my question, it was as usual most unexpected in its direction and informative.

    For Mr. Wrather, I might note that although I did progress from a more regional to a more RP accent, that was more environmental than by choice (I don’t have to put on any accent), or else by not being able to pick out of a blend – my parents have mild Worcestershire, quite rural, I was born in Nottingham, (so ought to sound Nordic-influenced like Robin Hood), but grew up in working-class, industrial/mining the Black Country, then at school in very similar Birmingham (the infallible wikipedia can tell you a lot about these dialects) – and I was pretty RP before going to Oxford, now I’d say I’m bordering on actual posh, with some rather annoying mannerisms from American TV.
    I may be affected by recording a message to Americans, as Charlie Brooker describes here http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/14/charlie-brooker-bp-oil-spill it seems to be something that pushes us towards RP (or maybe also towards our British regionals).

    For Ms. Baseman, I was not expecting America’s Next Top Model… but that’s the joy of Overthinking. I will have to see what happens when the British incarnation starts here soon.

    For Mr. Fenzel, then clearly I have lost my identity and adopted a new one, but again, it’s significant that it’s not by choice. I probably wouldn’t fit in with my primary school friends, they’re not a group that I could easily identify with. But part of that might just be my voice – it cuts both ways, right?

    And you guys have terrible British accents.

    @DaveMc – I think it might be a matter of ethnicity – there is a set people group of Irish Travellers, but then, there must be carnies who are just American as well…


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