Dying Influence and The Value of College

What will influence look like in 2020? And what’s so valuable about the institution of college? [20:28]

This week, Joey and special guest host Hawa talk about American Meme, status, "piercing the veil," the recent admissions scandal, German craft schools, and meritocracy. They don't talk about their SAT scores.


NYTimes: the college admissions cheating scandal.

Hasan Minhaj on college admissions.

"Trigger Warning with Killer Mike"

Neighbors and Becoming Old

How does one be a neighbor? And when are we old? [18:56]

This week, Joey and Aaron talk about segways, friendship, moving in, being old longer, feeling old younger, and Boston Dynamics' Spot. They don't talk about the sheer quantity of fence types we missed: electric, wrought iron, pool, chickenwire, garden, vinyl panel, the list goes on.


Vox on Housing and Adult Friendship.

See the headless dog robot for yourself.

NYTimes: being "The Elder" and the retreat for dealing with becoming old.

Cancelling Artists and Social Media

When should we "cancel" an artist? And how long should we put up with the negatives of social media? [18:57]

This week, Aaron and Joey talk about Michael Jackson, redirecting royalties, Picasso, Facebook moderators, flat-earthers, and internet librarians. They don't talk about how "cancelling" by this use has not yet made it into Merriam Webster.


Clips from Leaving Neverland (and presumably, much more to come on the internet).

What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men? Claire Dederer on the Paris Review.

The Verge on Facebook content moderators.

r/eyebleach for your eyebleaching needs.

Generational Softness and Sensing Luxury

What makes a generation "soft"? And what makes something luxurious? [18:36]

This week: Joey and Jess and special guest commentator Camille talk about adversity, erring on the side of caution against abuse, NBA contracts, fine leather goods, stopping time, and instagram-worthy icecream. They don't talk about the technical cut-off year for being "Millennials."


That original HuffPost article on Amy Klobuchar.

Another plug for Jonathan Haidt and his book The Coddling of the American Mind.

Internet Attribution and Smart Homes

What are the new rules of attribution in the age of the internet? And when will smart homes be smart enough?[17:47]

This week, Joey and Aaron talk about the creative commons, remix culture, /r/ Showerthoughts, Janet, Hue lights, and the Guster meow mix. They don't talk about how /r/ Showerthoughts might just as well be another name for our show.


The Grey Album, by DJ Danger Mouse, for your listening pleasure.


Ask your Janet to play the Guster Meow Mix.

Baking and Legal Sports Betting

What makes baking special? And what could happen now that sports betting is (mostly) legal? [22:22]

This week, Aaron and Joey talk about anxiety, chemistry, grandmas, predictive markets, Sir Francis Galton, and Mary Berry. They don't talk about which of Mary, Merry, and Marry sound the same.


The Atlantic on anxiety-baking.

More on prediction markets.

Predict it.

Wiki's bio on Sir Francis Galton.

Professional Risks and Horror

Why is it so hard to take professional risks? And what will happen to the horror genre?? [23:11]

This week, Joey and special guest host Osei talk about 'Oumuamua, tenure, risks and happiness, UFOs, the Golden Record, and Black Mirror. They don't talk about their up/down votes on Bandersnatch.


The scoop on 'Oumuamua.

NPR: The story of NASA engineer Bob Ebeling and the space shuttle challenger.

Wild Prognostications: A Special!

What's to come in 2019?

This week, a special top of the year episode! Aaron, Joey, and Jess talk about their wild prognostications, involving Trump-era art, provenance in retail, the next fad diet, the next Facebook, brand values, and unicorns. They don't talk about what kind of animal Gritty is.

The Fiji water PR stunt that began with the Golden Globes.
Pew on Americans and Facebook as of 2018.
The Gillette ad: "The Best Men Can Be."
Vice on Japan's mascot game.
Chairs and Facebook.

Financial Independence and Bests Of

Why hasn’t the FIRE movement taken off?
Special Guest, Kelly

And what's the point of Best Of Lists?

The Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) subreddit.
We only scratched the surface of understanding the FIRE movement: the 1998 Trinity Study that kindled the craze, the 1994 Bengen article that inspired Trinity, and an essential primer on the 4% spending rule from VTSAX's own parent, Vanguard.
Aaron's go-to budgeting tool, YNAB.
A few best-of lists we like: the best innovationsthe best photos, and the best of everything.

Nostalgia and the NFL

What do we lose when we lose nostalgia?

What is going to replace the NFL?

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.
Minnie Riperton's Lovin' You in full.
The study around how different cultures understand time.
Jonathan Haidt's Big Think video.
Get your copy of SLIMED: an oral history of Nickelodeon's Golden Age.
The TMZ Sports video that did in Kareem Hunt.
Evidence that of the top 50 rated shows on television, 37 were NFL games.

Deprivation, Excess, and Disney Princes

What’s the role of deprivation in a time with so much excess?

Why are Disney princes so lame?

The dopamine fasting video from Joey’s feed of science videos.
The hedonic escalator is actually a hedonic treadmill.
A 2019 list of America’s Most Sinful Cities (which we misread mid-show, so please take a closer look than us! We highly recommend reading the methodology.)
That Wall Street Journal article on the Modern Princess Problem.

Relatable Music // Meaningful Work

What makes music resonate?

Why is meaningful work so popular in today’s economy?

For all the songs referenced through the first conversation, we made a playlist jam-packed with nostalgia, disco, and middle-aged saxophone.

The Soul Glo song from Coming to America.

A brief synopsis on silver coiffed Eric Erikson’s stages of pyschology.

That article Aaron' mentioned from The Outline on Red Dead Redemption 2. Now say that five times fast.

Celebrity // Moonshots

Is it fair that celebrity culture is derided when sports culture is glorified?

Do big brands have a responsibility to help solve societal crises we’d typically rely on the government to address, like climate change?

Canelo Alvarez indeed receiving the highest paying contract in history: $365M. And no, even Lebron’s Lakers deal can’t compare, coming in at a cool $153M.

Though it’s hard to nail down precisely, we know pretty confidently that Jeff Bezos is trampling the billionaire competition, even next to compatriots Gates, Musk, and Zuckerberg. Also yes, Apple is valued at over a trillion. But no, $1T doesn’t equal $1T potential dollars in space rockets: costs are indeed a thing.

Oh, right, yes, Elon Musk is having a total meltdown.

That doesn’t mean that the rich can’t move the needle. Consider how The Giving Pledge signatories donate a majority of their wealth to charity, and generally, the wealthy seem to be more generous than ever.

Speaking on OP influence, the election is in two weeks, but what Ilana meant by Tay Tay getting people to vote: Taylor Swift single-handedly swayed voter registrations in Tennessee.

Experts // Awards Shows

What does becoming an expert look like in a world with limitless access to information?

What will replace the award show in the American cultural imagination?

Shay Mitchell gives us the perfect example of unicorning. Also, it may be a sign we’ve hit peak unicorn when people apply a beauty product called Unicorn Snot to their faces.

You too can make like Joey and learn about the Black-Scholes model.

The full version of that masterclass with Pharrell and Maggie Rogers at NYU.

American Idol came out in 2002. For sure. And now you must relive that classic Kelly finale performance.

All of the Chuck Klosterman books, including X, his latest. Chuck, if you’re listening: Sylvain Labs is a big fan. Also, see for yourself the diversity of the New York Times Bestsellers.

The Moonlight moment and Lemonade moment that lost Aaron on awards for good.

Joey knows his food supplier conferences. Expo West, ladies and gentlemen.

We have no agenda to push any products or brands on our listeners. Aaron is just really THAT into the new Tomb Raider game on PS4.

Some data vis about the gap between Rotten Tomatoes Critics scores and Audience scores.

Drag Culture // Movie Sequels

Can drag culture survive the mainstream?

How and when should we be making sequels of movies?

Sadly, Con Con is not actually a thing. But Comic Con happened over the weekend and they had a pretty dramatic “photo-booth.”

The latest viewership ratings of RuPaul’s Drag Race are astounding. Also, a brief history of ball culture.

For you New York listeners, no we aren’t the only ones with Alamo Drafthouse. Thanks, Texas. For those who haven’t been, get yourself to one ASAP with a large bowl of popcorn to share with exactly no one.

Joey quoting Matt Damon quoting movie studio heads when people stopped buying DVDs and they lost half their revenue.

Also, Joey and this list of 44 movie sequels and reboots.

That Godzilla trailer Aaron talked about that doomed the film:

A take from Time on why we have so much Spiderman (and why the latest was arguably destined to be better than its predecessors).

The “sistory” of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.