Peter Fenzel and Mark Lee overthink nationalism at the Eurovision Song Contest and Simon Pegg’s controversial comments on geek culture.[audio:http://podone.noxsolutions.com/launchpod/overthinkingit/mp3/otip360.mp3]
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Great job, guys. Ironically, it’s always a pleasure to miss a podcast because I get so much out of listening to an episode.
Including the opportunity to provide a “well actually.”
Charles Baudelaire was a 19th century French poet, author most famously of Les Fleurs du mal.
Jean Baudrillard was a 20th century French social theorist, notably an analyst of post-WWII society, economics, and mass communication, and author in the 80s of Amérique (which I mention mostly because it’s the work of his I know best).
Is there a way Russia could win back support during Eurovision in the near future without a regime change?
I feel like I for one would have been much less hostile toward Russia’s entry if it hadn’t been so glaringly hypocritical – a song specifically about loving peace and harmony, which as Mark points out on the podcast was selected by some organization connected with the current Russian government, which at the same time is illegally occupying territory and supporting a civil war in a neighboring country. If next year’s entry has lyrics about, like, young lovers or driving fast cars or something, I think they could win me back.
It wasn’t Russia that orchestrated a violent far right coup of Ukraine democratic government. It wasn’t Russian politicians, NATO, and CIA heads meeting with the coup government, or making promising during the coup. It wasn’t Russia ignoring democratic referendums, or people being burned alive, or journalists and politicians being cleansed.And it’s not Russian ambassadors taking selfies as jeeps and military aid are loading off cargo planes.
Ukraine is what, the 50th country invaded or overthrown by US warhawks since WW2? Just cut the red baiting and russophobia.
“So… where to start.” -Mark Lee
Overthinking It in a nutshell.
Is it true that people overthink culture more? Or is it that podcasts and think pieces are more popular? It seems we are falling into the same trap that Simon Pegg did, but it does feel true.
When I was in high school, I ate up those Whatever TV Show and Philosophy books because that was the main way to get pop culture overthinking. Now, I’m buried in think pieces and recaps but I inevitably see comments like “why are you being so critical of this show. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.” Is all this really a deeper level of thinking about pop culture or is it fans engaging in a different way? It feels like a false distinction, but I feel the need to draw the line between the critical thinking and the fan who wants to be serviced. OTI does a great job bridging the gap (better sometimes than others) between the two, but there is still quite the divide out there.
I guess what I’m getting at is: are we really thinking at a deeper level or are we taking this conversations to the ‘net instead of having them in our living rooms?
Oh, I’m so behind on the podcast.
After following all the OTI videos and the 5 hour viewing party I think I’m Eurovision-ed out for this year. What I will say is that I came home and added the songs from Belgium, Spain, Slovenia, Norway, and Russia to my Spotify playlists. I did not add Sweden’s winning song.
Loved this podcast, and found it super interesting.
Although, I have to admit I read Pegg’s criticism, particularly his follow up blog post differently than you guys did.
To me, he was rather than bemoaning the idea that popular entertainments in general are getting more infantilized, but that geek entertainments are being co-opted for the purpose, whereas traditionally, they have been used as a vehicle to explore higher concepts. He does actually explicitly point out The Winter Solider as a “The Sky is not Falling” counter example.
Put another way, he doesn’t think that geek entertainments are necessarily infantile, or bad (as he says…hey, it’s me), but he’s bemoaning a perceived trend within this “genre.” (For lack of a better term).
Additionally, as huge a fan of Pete as I am, I found his commentary on Pegg’s point of view (re: efficacy, causes and caring) very frustrating in this case (although huge props on the very salient point that big budget special effects do well in an international marketplace).
Perhaps I’m biased, but I felt like Pegg was coming from a humanist place. A place where although the experience of day to day lives visa vi corruption (as the most dramatic example) is probably small, but as an aggregate, top down view, is probably pretty harmful to the general welfare of the human race. Surely, those who benefit from graft are tacit (and potentially active) supporters of it, but a more humanist perspective would probably always determine that it’s probably not in the general best interest.
Additionally, I felt Pete was dismissive of the long term awareness of a problem as contributing to a solution to the problem over time. That is to say that no, an individual thinking about economic inequality versus going to see Avengers is not going to solve the problem. However, if a group of people (let’s, for shorthand, call them the 99%) aren’t thinking about the status quo, and ways in which they are disadvantaged within it, then it will be easier for that status quo to continue, in the vested interests of the group who benefits from them. (ala, 1%). This is all simplified, because this comment is long enough, but I think you get the point.
I do want to mention, its possible to walk and chew gum at the same time, that is, go see the Avengers, and think about economic inequality, but, once again, we’re talking about long term aggregate effects.
And so, I would like to leave with a quote that I find sums all of this up and I think Mr. Pegg would agree with from Ursula K Le Guin
“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in..the art of words.”
Most notable about ALL of this, the important missing context, is that Simon Pegg is right now going through the process of writing (Or more accurately, and pointedly RE-writing) Star Trek 3, aka Star Trek beyond, so he is most assuredly wrestling with the role of science fiction films and their greater place in cultural and political commentary, using a brush from one of, if not the most influential works/bodies in that field. So there’s that.
Also, Overthinking it rocks!