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Episode 296: Nerdist Podcast
John Hodgman returns!
Nerdist PodcastNerdist Podcast

Nerdist Podcast: John Hodgman returns!

The extremely hilarious and brilliant John Hodgman sits down with Chris talk about working in a video rental store and how dogs would use heroin, and they come up with an idea on how to never have to sleep again!

Buy John’s book That Is All.

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  1. Admittedly, I’ve gone off on people for liking the things I’ve loved since childhood, but those were people who were not kindly newb-types, with whom I’d be glad to share my joy of the thing. They were the kinds of people who come into a subculture, lay down lines of tape like in some god awful 80s sitcom, and declare, “This is MINE now!” Mine was a silly self-defense, but it’s a nerdy one, too, I guess.

    Basically, I don’t like being a dick about the things I like because I’d rather be happy about those things, but occasionally some jerk comes along and tries to lord their late-in-the-game acceptance of the thing over you.

    To state it plainly, I don’t want to be bullied on my turf!

    Is that dumb? Does that make me an asshole?

  2. Reid Nystrom says:

    George Plimpton’s Video Falconry

  3. Dante says:

    Just think of Ra’s al Ghul’s attempt to destroy Gotham as Sodom and Gomorrah.

  4. Gregory says:

    Is Zardoz the actual Argo?

  5. David W-H says:

    Just watched the tip-toes trailer, and became too annoyed to ever watch the movie. The biology nerd in me was poked by the “dilemma” of the two main characters worrying about their baby being a dwarf since all of the man’s family were dwarfs. The thing is, dwarfism is a dominant trait. If you have the gene, you are small. If you don’t, you’re not. McCoughaneys character doesn’t have the gene, so his kids won’t be dwarfs unless there’s a spontaneous mutation. (His parent’s are both dwarfs, so the probability of them having a non-dwarf child is 25%).

  6. Tom Triumph says:

    I find it funny/ironic that as Hodgman was explaining how nerds don’t need to one-up each other, he called nerd snobbery a “mostly white dozens”, to which Hardwick felt compelled to one-up him with “information jailai”. Good job illustrating the point, Chris.

    Solid podcast.

  7. JetpackBlues says:

    It’s an educated guess. She can be heard on YMIW too, and I think that gets recorded @ Meltdown too.

  8. Patty Marvel says:

    @JetpackBlues – Really? Wow, the space sounds totally different.

    Looking back two days later, my previous post looks nit-picky. Please disregard.

  9. JetpackBlues says:

    @Patty: It’s Katie. I think they recorded this @ Meltdown.

  10. Dave says:

    I have never even heard of Tiptoes until now. I feel terrible knowing about this movie.

  11. Patty Marvel says:

    Almost an hour into the podcast and I love, love, love the chatter and banter as usual, but there’s one thing that’s bothering me so much I had to pause it. I swear I keep hearing someone laughing in the background and it’s seriously distracting because it’s *JUST* loud enough to be heard but it’s coming out of nowhere and not from someone with a mic in front of them. Is that Katie? Normally the sound people are as quiet as church mice unless someone actually talking on the podcast addresses them, so this is kinda weird and…Chris, love the show, love getting the free content and will forever and always be a fan of it, but the background sound that’s coming through again and again on this episode is distracting as heck. Judging by the acoustics, this was recorded in an ordinary room rather than a soundproof studio, so that might be part of the problem.

    Please take this in the spirit it’s given…constructive criticism, like I would get from a fellow DJ if I were popping my Ps or my levels were too hot. Otherwise, great show, great guest, great conversation.

  12. Patty Marvel says:

    Late to the party, haven’t listened yet, but first had to comment on a comment.

    @DammitJan –“So I try to give the benefit of the doubt to some of the folks who at first seem like opportunistic nerds, because I know how f*cking awesome it feels to finally find your tribe after years of…not.”

    Oh, sweet and sour Cthulu, THIS. First, I heart the internet SO much because it brings far-fling tribe members together (just used e-mail this morning so one member of the Nerdist community could meet up with another at SF Sketchfest). Feeling “tribeless” can be pretty lonely and to learn there are other people out there who, for example, listened to Kate Bush in high school instead of Bon Jovi or Journey like all your classmates did, is SUCH a relief. You don’t feel so “weird” or “out there.” As for “passing” in mainstream society, EVERY social minority has members who have tried to pass in some way just to get through life with minimal hassle. Doesn’t matter if it’s the nerdy kid who hides his Star Trek fandom so he doesn’t get shoved into a locker or the fair-skinned African-American passing for white so they can get a better job or the gay kid trying to “act straight” to avoid crap from their family, we ALL want to fit in somewhere, we ALL want to NOT be hassled. I had lunch today with an atheist couple I got to know through CFI and we were talking about the Christmas decorations we were surrounded with and how we’re not the types to demand they not be in the public square precisely because we’re VERY much a minority in a country where most businesses give employees a paid vacation day every December 25th. It’s no biggie, really, and there is such a thing as picking your battles. That’s not being cowardly or insincere or whatever you want to call it, that’s just getting by in a sometimes unforgiving world.

  13. Phil says:

    A BOY AND HIS DOG is one of my favorite flicks, but as far as post-apocalyptic flicks, I’ve always loved THE ROAD WARRIOR and that Richard Stanley flick that took forever to come out on digital media, HARDWARE. I saw it back in the day and never since. I have it sitting on my shelf, but just haven’t been in the mood to go there again yet.

    As far as Mel Gibson, as kooky and controversial as he is, I still enjoy his movies, especially the ones he’s directed. As for the Foster/Gibson thing… she has her own weirdness. It’s just not as a out there as his shit. But she’s extraordinarily private about everything in her life. Possibly brought on by the Hinkley thing. I mean, hell, not to bring up the Reagan shooting again, but she’s unfortunately tied up in that thing as well. And think about all the fucked up movies she did prior to that. She’s had to embrace really adult content at a young age.

    Nerd on nerd violence? Yup. Well, maybe not violence, but you definitely see a bullying mentality amid the group. It was funny that I was just having this conversation with the girlfriend person a few days ago. I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t even part of the nerd sect of society because I liked other things more than STAR TREK, STAR WARS and all-around genre flicks. Sometimes I feel that pack mentality when I express utter disinterest in the Christopher Nolan Batman films. And even WALKING DEAD. I don’t love it like other people love it, but I still watch it. I understand why people like them, but I don’t feel an obligation that I need to. And sometimes, I feel that a lot of nerds are shepherded into trends when there are other like-minded friends loving the same thing. And I guess that’s why I was always on the outs with today’s so-called nerd culture.

  14. John in Ohio says:

    You, too, Chris Hardwick!

  15. John in Ohio says:

    John Hodgman talk pretty–me like very much.

  16. RG says:

    Totally. It seems the intent is equally positive.

    And I’ll say to anyone else: as in any case of using words to describe human beings, use them responsibly and know what you’re saying… analyze, don’t dismiss.

  17. Tzvi says:

    RG, in details we disagree, in broad strokes we agree. I just always prefer specifics. Punks listen to punk rock. Cycle dorks, love their bikes. Art kids make pretty things. Fashion nerds wear cool clothes. Sub categories exist, and all have their own weirdness and scenes.

    ultimately it is a non issue.

  18. Josh P says:

    Very nice long post I am very interested in reading guys!

  19. RG says:

    And I realize, that undetermined definition is part of why what I’ve said may hit some the wrong way… I don’t mean hipster as an insult, just as a group of shared interest. “Scene kids” would work, but technically means something more specific now (screamo/hardcore kids and whatnot).

    Honestly, comparing the two, I HATE the shortsighted nitpickiness of some nerds, and LOVE the ability of many “hipsters” I know to appreciate things for what they are. Just a FWIW.

  20. RG says:

    In our retrospective understanding of the psychology of past figures, is anything really based solely on expression, or aren’t we inferring a lot? One has to presume certain things in order to get to their core . . . all presumptions are ultimately dispelled or confirmed, if an understanding is reached. My reasoning is, believe the expressed, but why stop there? (*as long as one isn’t basing any active prejudices on such presumptions*)

    I agree that the etymology of hipster is totally fubar, and I, too, take issue with its synonimity with “elitist asshole,” because I know plenty of the former (or, let’s say, “scene people”) who aren’t the latter.

    But it still has some meaning, even after imploding on itself; when I say “hipster,” my only concrete claims *are* the expressed things (and a few observed things which many hipsters may not be willing to admit, and which I wasn’t willing to admit when I was more active in a scene, but observed nonetheless). And that’s why I don’t mean the meme-idea of hipsterdom; I mean things like an interest in art, music, and community . . . which often leads to parties . . . which often leads to crazy drinking. There also lots of socially-anxious people who succumb to scene pressure, especially at a younger age, and that’s true of many social groupings… but I think there’s something to the particular way it happens with SOME so-called hipsters, in opposition to their own introversion or insecurity. Don’t get me wrong; some are just extroverts with a particular set of interests, and I wasn’t entirely referring to those people.

    So, yes, “hipster,” as it exists in the common lexicon, is meaningless; it requires a definition to be given at the time of its use by any individual who uses it. Still, it’s IN the lexicon, and a hundred years from now, it will mean something… I say, why not study it now, so that its final definition at least has a modicum of accuracy? That means continuing to study and observe the unexpressed things within that phenotype, rough though its borders may be.

    (though, to responsibly think that way, you also have to be ready to observe things about groups of people without forming prejudices about individuals, which is something I can do. Admittedly, not everyone can)

  21. Tzvi says:

    Wasn’t responding to you RG, I understood where you are coming from, though honestly call bullshit on the cynicism thing. I have been accused of being a nerd or a hipster my whole life. It’s silly. I’d rather be defined by the content of my interests, than the presumption of my intentions with my interests.

    If are to attempt the nere impossible task of generating a taxonomy of culture, it should be based on expressions and not the presumed reason for the expression.

    I grew up in Minneapolis, supposedly one of the most hipster places, and everybody I know who is labeled hipster, seems to just be super into their particular things but because it is associated with hipsterism they are labeled such. Worse yet they accuse other people who have identical interests, because they assume that the other has some cynical reason to be excited about a thing. Or that there is some illegitimacy to enjoying things simply because all the people you love and admire do.

    it’s crap. The hipster label is a bad one because the term itself is in effect a reverse quantum suicide, any working definition works only so long as no particular individual is observed. As two folks claiming ironic interest, doesn’t that just sound like insecurity hiding behind a cliche meme.

  22. RG says:

    “Other-Making,” as in separating people by labels? You might have missed the part where I said that I personally have been, at one time or another, both hipster and nerd. I say “they” for compositional purposes (maintaining scientific distance).

    These particular social labels aren’t created so as to lump people in unfairly; as someone else mentioned, they’re a phenotype. Labels create themselves from a set of observable shared behaviors. They’re not absolute, but there is data, should anyone care to go collect it.

    If I’m misreading sarcasm, sorries.

  23. Tzvi says:

    Nerds, hipsters, other making is fun and always productive forever.

  24. RG says:

    @Sean: Wrong franchise… next time it’ll be John Hodgman Forever.

  25. Sean says:

    What happened to Hodgman Strikes Back???

  26. RG says:

    Not to drag it all back to hipsterism versus nerdism, but something just big occurred to me as I read somebody’s nitpicky comments about the Hobbit:

    One thing hipsters understand which nerds could learn from: auteur theory. Now, I’m talking hipsters who understand art and creativity… not just assholes who say they liked things before they were popular. Those aren’t hipsters, really… those are just assholes.

    But hipsters go see bands, arty movies, and the like, and they don’t walk out saying, “Well, it was SUPPOSED to be this way, but so-and-so interpreted it all wrong…” because of auteur theory, which relies on one maxim: the measure of success in a piece of art is how well the artist managed to create what he/she set out to create. Success is based on the auteur’s personal endorsement of the piece, because you can ALWAYS learn something from a well-formed idea, and that’s the most important thing. Many hipsters I know understand that, having a somewhat better connection to abstraction and art for its own sake.

    Nerd life goes against this somewhat, and that’s where lots of the negativity comes from: Nerds take such close possession of the things they like, that they measure success by personal fulfillment… and thus wind up consistently disappointed. There are millions of nuanced criteria which one might look for in a movie/book/comedy routine/whateva, and when a nerd only considers their own personal taste and ignores what a creative work says about the person creating it, there’s much less to be gained.

    It’s a bit of a selfish way of consuming things, but then again, that’s the nature of escapism, which we have a major monopoly on. Still, it might soften the disappointment a bit to legitimize auteur theory in the nerd mind, and realize that it’s not harmful to just see something for what it is and not necessarily expect personal satisfaction.