Episode 680: Richard Branson, the First Billionaire to go to Prom

On the Overthinking It Podcast, everybody slam: Welcome to the billionaire Space Jam.

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Matthew Belinkie joins with news of his newest moonshot project, an original animated music video to his own mash-up of WAP and the original Space Jam theme song. He tells Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather about it, and they are led to overthink Richard Branson’s mashup of himself and being in space.

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4 Comments on “Episode 680: Richard Branson, the First Billionaire to go to Prom”

  1. John C Member #

    I haven’t found the project to send me on an animation bender, yet, but it’s surprising how far a relative amateur can get, these days, in free time. I remember the days when trying to go to space without a government meant photocopying that crappy book that every public library had that was part zine, part mechanical engineering hallucination, and part Immanuel Velikovsky fan fiction.

    And I think Pete nailed it on the difference between space programs. Public space programs may have been a pissing contest to prove that one economic scheme works better than the other, but they gave back. Without Sputnik’s gloating, we don’t have the anniversary of GPS next week. Without those pissing contests, we don’t get cheap scratch-resistant lenses, foam mattresses, or many others. By contrast, this race is a pissing contest between people who none of us care about, and they’re giving back…I think maybe SpaceX relinquished the copyright under some early photographs? They’re solving problems that have been solved before, without putting incidental technologies up for grabs.

    The new Space Jam movie is, of course, the best time to dredge up Rachel Bloom’s pre-Crazy Ex-Girlfriend song about the original. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty07rKxRRpM It, and the interview that YouTube will probably recommend are well worth the time. And if “if Looney Tunes can play basketball, who says I can’t quit drugs?” isn’t an apt metaphor for billionaire vanity projects, I don’t know what is…


    • Margo #

      The term “pissing contest” is apt when one looks at the design of the Blue Origin rocket. Because when comparing Billionaires in Space (which is now a thing) aesthetics is clearly the most important consideration. Using this metric Virgin Galactic is the winner because a triple-fuselage space plane looks really cool.


      • John C Member #

        True, it does seem like Branson might be the least interested in overcompensating for some insecurity. Actually, even the other company names (Blue Origin, Breakthrough Starshot, and SpaceX) seem rather desperate to be “cool” or virile in some way, whereas Virgin has always accepted the lame jokes.


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