John Siracusa and Merlin Mann try to figure out exactly how they got this way.

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#90: Cargo-Cult Thoreau

November 1st, 2018 · 98 minutes

This week kicks off with some Dear Evan Hansen talk, and Merlin admits he still hasn’t earned the second act. This leads John to interrogate this odd affliction of Merlin’s. Both hosts finally address how, whether, and when they commit to the full consumption of cultural products. Why does John so often stick with the whole season of a C-plus TV show, and when does Merlin know he’s ready for the second half of a given Broadway hit?

This leads to a broader discussion of what gets you hooked on, especially, a TV show. Is it the world, the rules, the mood, or what? Sometimes, we just want to spend time in a world with our friends.

Merlin finally asks John to explain his fondness for apocalyptic literature and media. Is it the desperation, the canny resource management, or just the lighter traffic and dearth of meetings? This goes to interesting places as your hosts recount growing up in the long shadow of imminent nuclear annihilation and terrifying epidemics.

Naturally, this takes the discourse toward generalized anxieties, grave money concerns, and the neural rewiring that remains years after the animating experiences that first made us so broken.

A chaste new society is pondered and provisionally named.

(Recorded on Tuesday, October 23, 2018.)

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