Episode 554: Was Ja Rule Vaccinated?

On the Overthinking It podcast, we tackle the Netflix Fyre Festival documentary, and reflect on how we handle things that don’t go right.

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Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather board the boat that never makes it to the Bahamas as Matt’s ski vacation unintentionally becomes a metaphor for the disastrous Fyre Festival.

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6 Comments on “Episode 554: Was Ja Rule Vaccinated?”

  1. John C Member #

    I was going to point out that Fyre seems a lot like crowdfunding campaigns, where each customer basically needs to act like a product manager and judge whether the project is reasonable and the team able to do it. But, then I realized that the dropping costs of production and loose regulation in newer fields means that it’s pretty much the entire economy: Is that milk really organic? Does that web browser really protect your privacy? Does that massive online retailer treat its employees well? Is your medication untainted? Does this island vacation avoid mediocre people peeing on tents?

    And if you add in the products that are actually spying or experimenting on you or perhaps wanting your money to not go to parent companies who are doing things you don’t approve of with their profits, selection becomes even more complicated.

    And the funny thing about the mention of “The Secret” is that I have family that’s big on the…franchise, maybe? Anyway, I was forced to sit through the book’s video adaptation or companion or whatever it is, and the anecdotes literally fell into two categories. On the one hand, there were normal people who needed money, did their thing, and had the brilliant revelation that people owed them money. On the other hand, there were internet marketers selling e-books about internet marketing who wanted to buy something big, so they…sold a new edition of their e-books to their pre-existing mailing list of gullible saps. Amazing that we live in a world where “use the resources you’ve been sitting on” is advanced enough technology to be considered magic.


    • Three Act Destructure #

      I wonder if there’s a legal reason for this. Is it no longer false advertising if The Secret never directly tells people that their method spontaneously generates money?


      • John C Member #

        That’s a good question, but my suspicion is that “The Secret” is really just a stock self-help trope dressed up as mysticism so that it doesn’t seem so obvious. I mean, you COULD write about getting what you want through the Law of Stating a Goal, Taking Inventory of Your Resources, Creating a Plan, and Executing Said Plan, but nobody would spend money on that…

        But yeah, not overstating their results is also reasonable. And a third possibility would be that the only people who could give them legitimate testimonials were people who had easy means of raising money.


  2. Ben Adams OTI Staff #

    “Ja rule, at the music festival trade conference, when the walls fell.”


  3. Ben Adams OTI Staff #

    Your question about how the experts at the music festival trade conference should have reacted to Ja Rule’s outlandish proposal is a good illustration of an asymmetry that’s kind of the flip side of the Dunning-Kruger effect: really smart experts know they might be wrong, so when they hear something like Fyre festival, they say “That sounds impossible, but maybe they know something I don’t.”

    That dynamic played out to some extent w/ Theranos, at least according to the book Bad Blood: biomed experts heard about the device and said “That sounds impossible, but they haven’t released the design, and lots of important people are signed on, so maybe they know something I don’t.”

    Meanwhile grifters, charlatans, and know-nothings are perfectly happy to promise the moon to anyone who will listen.


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