This is a reaction to @theGBBpodcast, which I listen to regularly. I first thought about tweeting at Jamie and Justin, but as it turns out, there is too much to say for 140 characters. And that’s not a bad thing, actually. So I decided to write something here, because why not. Alright, so here we go:
Dear Jamie and Justin,
you don’t know me. But I have the feeling that I know you. Sounds familiar? Indeed, you said it yourselves recently on one of your episodes. Well, at least we’ve had some kind of contact on twitter …
So let’s change that first part; here is a little bit about me: I am a geekdad myself. A theoretical physicist by training and dad of two, six and two at the moment. I love science and the way it helps me understand what’s going on around me, be it in terms of nature or people or whatever. But, as the two of you can imagine, I love my kids and my family even more.
I’ve been a listener of the GBBP since Jonathan Frakes linked to it, more specifically to his episode, on twitter. So this was my entry into your world of interviews and people. By the way, it’s still one of my very favorite episodes, without a doubt. In general, I like the point of view that you guys are after, namely people’s creative processes and where they come from. I think it usually brings out a lot of interesting talk, with a good bit of it also inspiring and/or touching. So I’m glad I did all that listening.
Catching up with The Great Big Beautiful Podcast
Since my “entry-episode” I had caught up and listened to the earlier ones as well. I got somewhat behind in the late summer of last year. Then, I wasn’t commuting that much anymore, but now I’ve caught up, again. In particular, my recent catching up included a few episodes from before the US election to the present. Listening to the intros and outros with the knowledge of what had actually happened in November was intriguing at first and changed in quality later. Personally, I wasn’t bothered or annoyed by you both voicing your opinions. Mainly, that’s because a lot of people feel, let’s say, “uneasy” about this new situation, and I’m one of them.
[Edit: I added a few more links to episodes since I published this, like the one coming up here:]
Then I was listening to episode 116 of the GBBP (Jamie Broadnax) when I realized something regarding the sometimes political intros. In this particular case, you guys were saying how you didn’t want to be political, but you couldn’t help it and this seemed to be the case for everyone these days. I understand the rationale about keeping the podcast about things geek. However, I disagree about how that means not to be political.
Geekdom and politics: my point of view
So, here is why I think it makes sense to be political and also discuss this on a geek podcast. If being a geek is how I’ve heard Wil Wheaton define it (correct me if I’m wrong), then it is about the things we love the most, no matter what we love, but how we love them.
[Edit: I’ve realized in the meantime that it was Wil’s GBBP episode (Nr. 35) where I heard him say that. However, I have to apologize for the misquote, since he was specifically talking about being a nerd, not a geek, in that interview. It seems that have much to learn, because I don’t understand what the difference is, although it appears to me that the difference in usage may be up to the preference of the person using either term.]
A Geekdad is a Geek for his kids
Since you are dads and so am I, we know that we love our kids more than anything. So it is natural to worry about the circumstances of their (future) lives that are threatened in any way. If I think about what and who could ruin my kids’ future by doing whatever destructive, I easily get worried or angry or both. And that’s probably why a lot of people, as you described it, these days can’t help but talk about the situation or organize to help change it, or whatever.
Now, in terms of a geek podcast, I believe there are excellent opportunities to geek out about what matters most to us and to our children in this situation by talking to scientists. I thus encourage you to think about this and, if it feels right for you, reach out to political scientists, historians, sociologists, and/or scientists from similar fields. I can well imagine that they have something insightful, clever, inspiring, and touching to say about their personal story and the current situation. And yes, there is quite a bit of creative process in science 🙂
The content of a geek podcast
But don’t get me wrong: If you reply to this and want to say, hey that’s nice and all, but in fact, it’s none of your business, I’ll accept that as an answer, because you’d be right, it isn’t my business, it’s yours. It just pains me to hear you guys apologize for something that seems natural to me. You’re my buddies, remember 😉
[Oh and while we are at it, I encourage you to talk to scientists more often. An excellent example was Neil deGrasse Tyson, but remember your recent talk to Nicole Perlman, who mentioned her particular contacts with scientists during her work. So there certainly are easy opportunities in this direction, even if you’d like some connection to your usual content.]
Ok, if you’re still reading this, thank you. It isn’t meant as a presumption, just a suggestion. Anyway, I’d be really curious to know what you think about this.
All the best, Andreas
P.S.: Keep up the good work!