Dan and Morgan continue their conversation and go to some serious places while discussing the state of things and how we’re going to have to change to deal with the coming challenges we face as a species. Also, does Ron Perlman’s character have a camelback for his crotch?
Dan Winburn: Hello, Space Cadets! This is The Expansing. Thanks for joining us for part two of our discussion about dropping rocks, where we talk about the new movie Don’t Look Up, the book The Hammer of God and The Expanse. While I was editing this episode, Don’t Look Up who was actually nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture. So it seems like no matter how you feel about the film, maybe it was a good idea for us to talk about it. Things get a little heavy this week, but I promise it’s worth it. So hopefully you stick around to the end, and join us again next time when we get back to our regularly scheduled programing…
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D: This appeal to authority, peppered throughout not only the movie appropriately so, but also our culture where we will appeal to authorities while denigrating authorities that say things that we don’t agree with personally. And the peer review process is simply the idea of having like more than one person look at something, another set of eyes to make sure you didn’t miss anything obvious or to make sure that you’re being honest. Like, the Christian religion tells us that we’re all flawed, we’re all sinners, we’re all destined for hell unless we redeem ourselves. That’s a major part of of the imbued message within the religion, and when people who claim to be that say things like, ‘Oh, well, look at this rich person, how great they are,’ this prosperity, gospel—
Morgan Wilson: The prosperity gospel, yeah.
D: —and this great man will you think he’s not a sinner? Do you think he’s perfect? They they want to idolize this king figure.
D: And whatever they say, we’ll be safe and we’ll be fine. And it’s this really frightened, immature way of thinking when most societies that have genuine longevity are social tribal societies that have councils and things where everybody gets together and talks a little bit.
D: And maybe there’s one person who’s nominally nominally in charge, but it’s not like a dictatorship. Small groups of humans don’t work that way, because if one person fucks up, everyone dies.
D: That’s why it’s dangerous. And when you get into evolutionary thinking, if you go too far down the extreme specialization path, you become actually quite fragile.
M: Obsolete, yeah.
D: And if anything goes wrong, you, you shatter. So the idea of spreading out knowledge and authority to everybody in the group so everyone can see what everyone’s doing and say, ‘Wait a minute, this data seems to conflict, that data’ that is essential to finding the truth of reality.
M: One guy says that vaccines cause autism. One guy.
D: One guy, Andrew Wakefield.
M: And then upon peer review, hundreds of other physicians and scientists said, ‘Nope, all of this is bullshit.’ He you got busted hard. And yet here we are still now with hundreds of thousands of people believing what this one guy said—
M: —because he said it first and everything else got shut out because the peer review process is slow.
D: And he said it with an emotional appeal.
M: Yeah. It’s not it’s not an emotionally exciting experience to like slowly wait and compile data. Being an alarmist to serve your own agenda, will achieve it.
D: Peer review is like the scientific version, I think of measure twice – cut once.
D: Right? Which is the most common sense.
M: But it’s more like measure 180 times.
D: Sure, sure.
D:But it’s just the idea of don’t just take the first thing, like—
D: —everybody like, look at it a couple of times before you actually decide this is true, before you decide it’s okay to proceed. We, we are confident, right? [laughs]
M: But the most important part of this process, because it’s already been proven clinically, that groups of people are better at solving problems than a single person.
M: A group of people can crowd well, crowdsource and arrive at an average that is more precise than a single person.
D: Well, more accurate.
M: More accurate, sorry. The problem is putting the right information in front of people to look at.
D: And individuals are very good at making decisions.
D: But not being right.
M: Or having opinions.
D: Everybody’s got an opinion.
M: But your opinion might be based on something that’s completely inaccurate. That is obviously the big exclamation point. You know what I mean? To this whole film. We talked about that, the correlation with The Hammer of God. Like, I know we’ve talked about it before, but Arthur C Clarke came up with this idea that we should have a literally a planetary defense society. You’ve read the book more recently at this point, and I have not researched this, so I might be slightly off, but he wrote a book called Rendezvous with Rama—
M: —in, I believe, the seventies.
M: And it is about what we believe is a comet, but is actually an intergalactic space vessel. This was at the time that the information about the I guess it’s called the KP boundary now?
M: KPG. This line that’s in the the ground swale of every part of planet Earth that proves that, yes, an asteroid did hit at this point and caused an extinction level event. That was not published yet, but that was being worked on?
D: The paper came out in 1980.
M: Okay. So Rendezvous with Rama was I believe ’73 or ’76? And he invents something called Space Guard, whose only job is to look for comets and figure out how to destroy them. And then because of that people read the book and they were like yeah we should have a Space Guard. And they made a Space Guard. And then when he wrote The Hammer of God in ’93, he referenced it—
D: He still called it Space Guard.
M: Yes! But at that point it was a real thing that existed. Because he…
D: Yeah, I, I haven’t read Rendezvous with Rama, but I did pick up on that little bit. I was like, ‘Ah ha, that’s cool.’
M: It’s amazing. Arthur C Clarke is a treasure. This man has contributed so much to science in general. I have a collection of his nonfiction science essays. He’s that good. Like, he came up with the idea for communication satellites he’s one of the that those are the people that we should be revering—
M: —on the level of the Elon Musks and the Steve Jobs is like, we need to put Arthur C Clarke up there.
D: We as a society need to adopt like some sort of hall of fame of people as opposed to being like, this one guy is just the best at everything. Stop doing that. There’s there’s billions of people. There are billions of us. Do you think that’s the best guy? Like the best one?
M: Yeah, I believe the Planetary Society does have some sort of tribute to Arthur C Clarke because he did co-narrate several Apollo missions, and again, he did develop Space Guard. But The Hammer of God was a twin orbiting asteroid. Right?
D: It was sort of peanut shaped. So it’s.
M: Yeah. And then it splits in to two?
D: When it broke it, you know, one went one way, one went the other.
M: So this is really exciting. Space Guard is actually a collection of different agencies that look for comets and try to figure out how to deflect, destroy or potentially mine. That could be part of our future. They launched I think two years ago, one year ago? They actually launched the very first probe to a dual orbiting comet to kind of like practice—
M: —this technology. And it’s going to happen this year. 2022.
D: Oh, awesome.
M: Isn’t that amazing that… like, we live here now! [Dan laughs] This is incredible. So please keep the planet alive long enough to get one. I want to get this. I want to be able to live in the peace of knowing that we’re not going to be obliterated by an asteroid.
M: We could mine it. Yeah. We could go get all the gold and diamonds and shit. Go ahead and make Elon Musk richer. I don’t give a fuck. I’d still want to get to that future. [Dan laughs] We could solve all of humanity’s problems.
D: We just got to…
M: We got to keep this planet alive long enough to do it. We’re so close.
D: I honestly, I feel like we need to do a lot more towards figuring out fusion. I know that people are working on it. We’re—
D: —just baby steps little by little by little, closer and closer.
M: Well China, China made an artificial sun?
D: Yeah, they’ve been doing some pretty impressive stuff lately with, with controlling plasma.
M: A friend of mine is a science teacher, and she was one of a handful of science teachers that was selected to go to CERN.
M: A couple of years ago, and she actually physically went to CERN.
D: That’s so awesome.
M: I know. Like, God, it’s all here and it’s beautiful. We have speculative fiction, like, Don’t Look Up, which is sort of dystopian, but we also have Arthur C Clarke. You know, we have all these great ideas in the world, and then we have people that are making these things happen.
D: And then people like Holly Thomas. Would you like to hear a little bit of an excerpt from a CNN Opinion piece that I stumbled upon?
M: Yes. Yes.
D: So I was just looking up on my phone. I was just trying to look up a character list so that I didn’t make some dumb errors, although I already did. And I stumbled upon a piece by Holly Thomas, who is a writer based in London, morning editor at Katie Couric Media and this is published on CNN as an opinion piece. It says, “Don’t Look Up, makes one critical mistake.” So I was like, oh, interesting. What do you suppose they’ll say?
M: Yeah, lay it on me.
D: Hmm. So the first complaint they’re making is about Meryl Streep being in the movie at all. I guess. Because she had some maybe not very productive opinions a few years ago, and she was yelling about Trump like…
M: Oh, shut up.
D: But this is this is really great. Quote: “The movie’s heavy handed premise is that a huge comet is on a collision course for Earth. But the corrupt, self-absorbed president played by Streep and the evil media are choosing to ignore the danger because they believe they might be able to profit from it.”
M: Uh, The evil media?
D: [sighs] Basically, no one’s portrayed as evil in this except maybe the billionaire.
D: He might be the only one that would be portrayed as truly evil, because Meryl Streep’s character is just a politician. Like she’s just… Anyway…
M: Side note, on his portrayal of being the only, quote, “evil character,” there was one thing that really needled me, which was he’s describing mining this comet for the resources is like ending poverty on earth. And and he says, I don’t remember the exact quote, but he’s like, and we’ll walk through the pillars of something into a glorious golden age. And that is a reference to something in the Torah. I can’t remember what they were specifically, but it is a reference to the fact that he might be Jewish.
M: And I did not like that.
D: I didn’t catch that at all.
M: Yeah. I just that just kind of popped back into my brain.
D: I’ll have to check that. Notwithstanding the fact that the media wasn’t the thing that was evil, it was more just like these people don’t know how to process this kind of information. This is the wrong pathway to take, but also that they’re ignoring the danger because they don’t take it seriously. But moving on, quote: “As Don’t Look Up would have it, the biggest problem facing the world is that the gullible public and greedy elites keep refusing to listen to the clever scientists.” End quote. Um, that’s not the message of the movie.
D: At all. It’s, it’s something that’s happening in the movie. But the clever scientist, number one, it’s not that they’re clever, it’s that they—
M: No they’re not.
D: —discovered this thing. It’s just math that, they’re observing things. Anyone else in the world who had been in that telescope looking in the spot that you’d been looking would have found it. She didn’t find it because she was clever. She found it because they were taking pictures and she noticed a change. That’s it.
D: That’s how you find them. It’s not remarkable. Like, it’s cool and lucky for her, but it’s pure luck if a scientist discovers an object like that. It’s not because they’re doing something better. They’re smarter than the guy next to them. Right? It’s not. That’s not it at all. And the point in the movie is that no one’s listening to anyone. No one’s listening to each other at all, and there’s no human communication.
M: Yeah, the public is not gullible.
D: The scientists aren’t really listening to the politicians because they’re not really understanding what the politicians are. Their friend, I forget. Oh, no, not their friend. The the director?
M: Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe.
D: Oglethorpe is the only one who’s who understands the political aspect. But he’s not really doing anything either about it. He’s not putting his foot down. He’s not going and talking to someone saying, No, seriously, this is different than everything else I’ve ever come to you about. He fails utterly too. And he’s also the one at the end who says, “We tried so hard.” And I my reaction was, ‘Did you though? did you really try as hard as you could have?’ Like, I know that that’s—
M: I think they tried as hard as they could have.
D: a pleasing things to say, for sure. Yeah. Okay. [laughs]
M: I think that’s what it was, was like these characters are just like existing as themselves, and they’re not really thinking about their place in history until it’s too late. Because anyway.
D: Quote: “As counterintuitive as it may sometimes seem, to win people over, science must remain apolitical.”
M: [scoffs] It is, yeah. When people go, hey, climate change exists. That’s not a political position, you morons. Hey, an asteroid exists. That’s not a political position.
M: Yeah, the Earth is round?
D: Right. But, but, but also in the movie, there is nothing political about what the scientists are doing. The only people making it political are the people in power. Those are the people who are making it political.
M: Yeah, and actually, the only the only part of the storyline where politics actually plays is when she talks about the midterms there’s no other reference to political affiliations or political agendas as far as this will help us achieve legislation.
M: Do you know what I mean?
D: I mean, it’s obvious that they’re they’re using it as a Trump analog. Right?
D: That’s obvious to anyone who watches it. But they don’t actually say anything like that in the movie. What they do is present a reality, and you’re the one who gets to judge what’s what’s right or wrong about this movie. It actually doesn’t tell you for sure who was right. Theoretically, the mining plan might have worked, right? They might have been right about that. The only thing that shouldn’t have been done on their side for sure was turning around when they already were sending a mission, because it’s like, well, you could have diverted it and then then gone and mined it.
M: Yeah, I will say…
D: Why would you just turn around? That’s absurd. That was the most absurd moment in the whole thing.
M: Yeah, that, that was a beautiful scene with the launch at what looked to me like Cape Canaveral, which I have seen, you know, many—I lived on the Space Coast for like eight years. And it is glorious.
D: Almost as glorious as Ron Perlman’s dick tube that came out of the space suit. [Morgan laughs] Did you did you catch that shot?
M: That was a zipper.
D: I don’t think so.
M: I’m pretty sure because it’s a zipper. It goes both ways and it has a string attached to it. So you can see it looks like, to me it looks like a white tether that connected to ends of the zipper that goes from the front of the suit.
D: Oh, that’s possible.
M: You might be right. I might be wrong.
D: We’ll have to go look.
M: Okay. I would prefer to believe that he has like a little CamelBak connected to his penis.
D: Ron Perlman, though. Oh, man, I loved him.
M: Oh, he was great. “To all the gays down there.”
M: Like, they’re from a different generation.
D: [laughs] The man, I loved it. The guy that was clearly about the same age as Ron Perlman said that!
M: Yeah, maybe older. [both laugh]
D: And the General, Oh and the General just, just stealing stuff. That was love. I loved that. That was such a nice little—You don’t know who anyone is really underneath.
D: Like, he’s. He’s clearly a sociopath. Like, he’s doing this because he enjoys it. Like, there’s. He’s like a klepto in a way.
D: Like, he he gave her free snacks.
M: The power move.
D: And charged her for it, just because he could. Just because he’s like that his the thing he does, it’s buckwild, like, that was so good.
M: And then her being hung up on it. So every, every moment of her free time, she’s like, ‘I don’t why would he? He knew I was going to find out,’ like.
D: Oh, Timothèe Chalamet, I really liked his character too, because he’s, they make it clear that he’s religious. But it’s not weird. They don’t he’s not pushy or anything about it’s just his thing. And even says, like, he was raised evangelical, but he came to it his own way, which is really, a really mature way for a movie that’s clearly not pro religion to approach someone like that.
M: Yeah. And even ending the movie…
D: And then he gets to be the one. Yeah. He he’s the only one in the scene. At a certain point who’s kind of smiling because for him, this is like…
M: Because he can find his peaceful center.
D: Yeah. He’s finding peace. He’s, he believes in God. So he’s he’s feeling peace at the moment.
M: And he leads everyone else to it.
D: Yeah. He realizes he can help.
D: And he’s one of the only ones in the moment when they’re all freaking out. He’s smiling. It’s like the happiest he’s ever been in a way, because he’s got this girl that he feels this huge connection to and he’s…
M: They just got engaged.
D: This is almost the happiest he’s ever been, and he gets to be the one that brings them to some peace—
D: —at the end, even though they’re not necessarily they specifically say, like, they’re not even they don’t even know how to make a prayer anymore. They’re so non-religious, and they all just accept it. They’re not saying they believe in God all of a sudden, but they are finding joy in peace in what he is giving to them.
M: Yes. And as someone who is areligious I didn’t find that moment to be preachy, heavy handed at all.
D: No, not in the slightest.
M: Because it’s playing against a montage of all life on Earth and human accomplishments and like just the breadth of humanity. And it presents it as a way of like, religion as a source of comfort and a way to try to find understanding and meaning in this world is a beautiful aspect of human creation and ingenuity. And it it is something that may be in the whole scope of what we’ve done on Earth should be celebrated. We have beautiful imaginations. We have a need to make sense of the world around us and to find some kind of order within the chaos of, of an incomprehensible existence where a comet could come out of nowhere and destroy everything. And we have to find a way to make sense of that somehow. Because we’ve got these big, beautiful brains.
M: And I felt like that was more of a moment of celebrating all of human accomplishment and religion being one side, one facet of that. Yeah, I didn’t think it was saying that like prayer was the answer.
D: I mean, isn’t it just the way that they could find peace.
D: That was all it was, even for him. He accepts that this is happening after he said ‘God wouldn’t do that.’
D: ‘If God wanted to destroy the world, he would just do it.’ And well, first of all…
M: He did.
D: This might be “The Hammer of God.”
D: But he isn’t distraught. He sort of realizes that he’s wrong up on the rooftop with her, and he sits down and prays, which for a second felt like that was the moment they would part ways or something because he was going to turn towards God. But then he didn’t. He’s just, he made his peace with how he was wrong about what God’s plan was. And then he said, ‘There’s this beautiful woman that I, I want to be with. So I’m going to have both things.’
D: ‘I’m going to accept that I was wrong, give thanks and move on.’
M: And they all they all got what we all want, which is to spend our lives, the rest of our lives with the people we love. And they do just kind of blink out, it’s fast. And that is maybe the most comforting thing about the movie is it’s a good way to go.
D: I really like some of the scenes, like the guy beating the drum in the mountains—
D: —while the meteorites were flying down and setting everything on fire, but I hope that not as many people would run, you know, because don’t. There’s no point. [laughs]
D: Just take that one last good deep breath and maybe try and smile because it’s going to be fast.
M: Well, even…
D: It’s got to be fast. You can either be sitting there on your butt having a good sit, or you can be running in terror. And either way, it’s, it’s going to be quick.
M: Well, we all have that drive for self preservation and even people that accept or are ready for death will still, you know, that that evolutionary thing will kick in and…
D: Yeah, oh yeah. If someone’s like stabbing me or a rock falling on my house from that, I can see from above, I would probably panic and run. But if for the last six months they’ve been saying, ‘Hey, comet coming.’
D: ‘Bigger than the dinosaurs. Comet coming.’
M: So I was watching. I watched it and my daughter was with me, but she was reading a book. She wasn’t totally invested in the movie. Towards the end, she started to pay attention a little bit. And at one point she goes, “Wait, could this really happen?” And I paused the movie and I was like, “Well, do you really want to talk about it? Because you can.” And I explained to her that when the Earth was young, yeah, it was being absolutely peppered by asteroids, but it was because the solar system was new. We developed an atmosphere which burns up a lot of smaller objects. Anything that’s under like 140 kilometers wide, you know, what I mean?
D: Uh, Meters.
M: Meters, sorry, [laughs] kilometers. Anything that’s under 140 meters.
D: We are extremely fucked if in 140 kilometer rock comes this way.
M: It’s like the moon. And I explained to her that like, you know, even the asteroid belt, Jupiter has this immense gravity. The sun has an immense gravity, and it kind of traps things. Anything that enters the solar system typically will get trapped between them and it will become part of the asteroid belt and occasionally one of them will get flung off and it’ll come towards Earth. And the they’re usually pretty small and we don’t worry about them too much. And even the one that did kill the dinosaurs, it didn’t kill everything it’s why we’re here, because we evolved from these tiny little raccoons that lived in trees [both laugh] and could handle…
D: More like shrews.
M: Shrews. Yeah. Well, Cimolestes, to be precise, I believe. But that yeah, of course, it’s always possible, but it’s extremely unlikely. And because we know that it’s a possibility we’re already trying to preemptively come up with ways to avoid it. ‘So please don’t freak out.’ [both laugh] Like, please stay calm. And she was like, ‘Meh, okay.’ And really wasn’t that bothered by it. And I was really worried that this movie would make—because they already know kids are growing up with the threat of nuclear war and North Korea and like the Nazis are back and and they’re all freaking out.
D: And climate change is very much on their radar. They know.
D: The kids that I ran into the last few years, a lot of them assume that they barely have a future, that they—
D: —know that things are going to go bad within their lifetime, and that maybe society will collapse. A lot of them are very resigned to that idea or just sort of, it’s just part of their worldview. Like they just think that’s going to happen. Like that’s they’re mentally, they’re prepared for it in a way.
M: Yeah, I really feel…
D: But they’re also really angry because they feel like this is everybody else’s fault and they’re not wrong.
M: It is.
D: Because yes, it is. It’s previous generations fault. It’s no one individual person’s fault. So, don’t get mad if you’re listening. But yeah!
M: I, uh, really feel for these kids.
D: It was because of previous generations, whether you want to call it fault or not, they caused it.
M: Yeah. These, these kids are they’re growing up in a time where climate change is, we have no idea what’s going to happen next. We really don’t know how bad it’s going to get. We just know that it will get bad and kind of in the same way with social media, we don’t know where technology is going to take us.
M: Don’t Look Up is certainly one speculative a dark satire version of where this could take us, but also The Expanse, you know, because in The Expanse, they do respond to climate change, too late sure, but you that’s part of the opening credits as you see them reacting, using the technology to keep humanity alive beyond this earth that we’ve destroyed. And we do turn Mars. We try to turn Mars into a garden and we try to survive on, you know, rocks. In zero-G, floating in the outer, you know, reaches. That is, as tense as the show is, a very optimistic view of where this connectedness will take us.
D: It’s optimistic because the alternative is, it doesn’t seem optimistic, but it is because realistically, like you said, we’re already at a major tipping point where no matter what we do the next century is going to be…
M: Dramatically different.
D: It’s going to be a different kind of place.
M: Yeah, we have no idea. We have no way of guessing.
D: It might be mostly fine in terms of like just human civilization enduring, but it is accepting of that fact while also saying, ‘But yeah, we figured it out.’
D: ‘We got there. Yeah, like we got out of it.’
M: And the reason I, I suggested we do this and we talk about Don’t Look Up and The Hammer of God and The Expanse is because, now that you’ve read The Hammer of God, you can see how Arthur C Clarke, who was a fiction writer, was able to change the trajectory of like human scientific innovation and progress, just by imagining things. And something like Don’t Look Up, it might not be the best film ever made. [Dan laughs] It might not be on the level of like a Schindler’s List as far as a piece of art, but it does have the ability to touch people. And I think that we need more of this speculative fiction and science fiction.
D: I’ve been thinking lately that satire might need to die, because a lot of the satire that’s out there is far too subtle. Thinking about our generation, especially growing up or not growing up,
but, you know, during college and all that, watching things like Stephen Colbert when he was in character and it being utterly hilarious, but there being large swaths of conservative people who didn’t realize and—
M: Didn’t get the joke.
D: Didn’t get the joke. That they were being made fun of, I feel like a lot of things I see now that are satire are really dangerous because they don’t, I’m not sure everyone realizes that satire.
M: Well, I don’t think it’s our responsibility, our responsibility to even consider those people.
D: It’s not.
M: If you, if you can’t figure out that Stephen Colbert is, had a character, a caricature, in fact.
D: [laughing] Yeah, it’s…
M: That he eventually dropped because he said ‘This might not be good.’
M: ‘It might not be good to make a mockery of this.’ And it was not because he thought that people were misinterpreting his character. It was because he said ‘Maybe it’s not okay to make a mockery of something that is so fucking deadly serious.’
M: People like this should not be laughed off.
D: Right, that’s…
M: So I’m not going to make a joke of it anymore.
D: That’s kind of what I’m trying to go for, where that feeling—
D: —pops up a lot when I see satire that I think is fucking brilliant. And but then, this little voice in my head—
M: It defangs…
D: —saying, this worries me a little bit. Now. You know?
M: Yeah, it defangs the real villain of the story.
D: Right. But something like this—
M: You know what I mean?
D: —is really, really well constructed because there are moments, especially with Leo DiCaprio’s performance and Jennifer Lawrence, where I was almost having a panic attack, watching them, you know, as someone who has suffered from anxiety and has had a panic attack, just watching how nervous they were, dropping their notes, like just shakily, trying to light up you know—
D: —some weed because, ‘Oh, my God, the world’s going to end.’ That kind of satire where they’re, they’re satirizing climate change and the authorities and their responses by hiding the true culprit instead of just satirizing the behavior. You know what I mean?
D: Because when you just satirize the behavior by playing a character for laughs, that’s when I think it becomes this sort of more dangerous thing.
M: She says very plainly in the movie, ‘Can you just stop being so pleasant? Can you stop making a joke or making light of this? Maybe this is something that should be serious and it should be terrifying. And you should take it seriously.’ And if you watch the movie and you don’t get that message… at, sorry, I don’t know, maybe we just shouldn’t care about you. Like, you know, I don’t think we should be playing to the lowest common denominator here as far as people’s intellect.
D: No, and I think that this, this kind of satire is satire that can work.
D: That could change someone’s mind because they’re really genuinely trying to draw a line between—like there’s a one scene at the end towards the end with the rally. And the one guy actually does look up.
M: Yeah, and he goes, ‘Whoa, what is that?”
D: And he sees in his face the thing—
M: Too late.
D: —and it’s true. And it’s too late. But he does see it. That message is not shoved in anyone’s face. It’s just like, ‘Hey, what if you’re wrong?’ And then you turn around and realize you’ve lost everything and you can’t do anything about it. And that’s happening now with COVID and it’s going to happen with climate change if we don’t stop it. ‘Cause there are so many people it’s so sad that that we’ve got these dark corners of the Internet getting pleasure from story after story after story of people begging to be vaccinated because they’re dying in a hospital bed and it’s too late. And that’s the guy turning and suddenly seeing the comet in the sky and realizing that he’d been lied to. Don’t do that with your life.
D: You know, this is real. Just that’s not really a movie. It’s it’s real. And—
D: —and it’s perfect because a comet could hit. [laughs] So it’s it’s satirizing climate change and COVID and all that, but it’s also using something that could really happen too, you know, so.
M: I will admit that I do delight to a certain degree in anti-vaxxers who, on their literal deathbeds, have a change of heart and are saying, I wish I’d gotten the vaccine you know, I just, I felt like I was being forced to do it, so I didn’t want to do anything I was being forced to do. And the truth is, the government has not forced you to do anything. You held on to your just rugged individualism in the face of—
M: —reality until the bitter end. And I do delight a little bit in that.
M: However, I think all human life is precious. I don’t wish death on anybody. I just wish that the people that do have that change of heart would speak openly.
M: You know, you’ve already exploited your reach to further your agenda to tell people not to trust the vaccine. I think you do have a responsibility to tell people that you were wrong, and we don’t have enough people willing to do that.
D: Yeah, that’s that’s one of the biggest things I’ve tried to work on as an adult human being, just as becoming a better person, which should be everyone’s goal, no matter how great you are. Uh…
M: And we’re great!
D: And I’m, I’m amazing. But, uh, I really, really, really make it my goal to say out loud, I was wrong when it’s—
M: it’ll change your life.
D: —when I can see that I’ve been proven wrong. Like, I try to think scientifically. I try to go by evidence in front of me, in evidence that I can research. And if someone holds up a piece of paper that says the thing you believe based on this, that’s that’s not true. And it’s like evidence that can be pointed to, seen, untouched, peer reviewed. I make it a point to go, well, I was wrong about that. Better stop being wrong. And that’s the only way I can be less wrong is by admitting when when it happens.
M: If I can, you know, leave this whole conversation on it on any now, it would be this one, which is that I think it’s not just about admitting when you’re wrong about information. It’s about your willingness to be humbled.
M: And humility is one of the many things that only like humans really feel, we’re pretty sure. And it is a blessing. It is a gift to be humbled. And I think that we should all go out of our way, personally, I’m not a spiritual person. I’m not religious. But I do think that it is good for your soul to find ways to be humbled. And that could mean standing in the majesty of like mountains at sunrise and just marveling at this earth that we live on and whatever it is, find a way to see your place in this world and our connections to each other and really marvel and respect that.
D: Yeah. Make your best effort to not be the smartest person in the room.
M: Yeah. Because there’s more to life than being…
D: I don’t I don’t want to be the one. I want to learn more. I want to grow.
D: I don’t want to be the smartest person in the room because that’s—
M: And I—
D: —that’s a lot of responsibility, quite frankly.
M: And I also I also want to die with a light soul, you know, like if it’s if the Egyptians are right and they weigh your heart against a feather at the end of your life, like, I want my heart to be light. I don’t want to carry the weight of needing to always be right and win every argument, that is so pointless and frustrating!
M: That is a horrible way to live. I don’t want to live in suspicion of the people I care about. I don’t want to live in jealousy over my living situation and who has it better than me. I want to be happy with what I have and who I am blessed to have in my life and saying that you’re sorry, saying that you were wrong. That is such a big part of like finding that peace and the fact that people can’t do that at something as basic as facts.
M: It is what makes this feel so bleak because we we can’t treat each other with respect we can’t treat this earth with respect. We don’t even listen to the experts.
D: And it’s the same thing with teaching, with, with being a parent. It’s really helpful with your relationship with those under your charge. Whether that…
M: Being a mother has taught me to say, I am sorry so fast. I apologize immediately.
D: Yeah, if you tell it, because a ten year old child knows when they’ve been wronged. A four year old child knows when they’ve been wronged. But if you tell a ten year old that you were wrong and that you’re sorry and and that adults make mistakes—
D: —and the only way that they can move forward is to address them and then repair them—
D: —and try to find the real, the correct thing to do. And admit that that the child understands that mistakes happen but that doesn’t mean that suddenly this person’s worthless, that this person doesn’t know what they’re doing. Admitting you’re wrong doesn’t mean you don’t know what you’re doing, you know?
D: It just means you were wrong about one thing.
M: You can…
D: Most of us are right about most things, because if we weren’t, we’d be dead.
D: You know? Human life is complex now, and I’m right about almost every decision I make day to day because I live through the day. But I know how to—
D: —you know, drive a car and make my own food and repair electronics and make podcasts and all that. That’s a lot of stuff to keep track of. And I do most of it just fine. [laughs]
M: Yeah, you’re really, you’re right about everything until you’re wrong.
M: And then you’re wrong in such a big way. [both laugh] You now looking at looking in your at your child and just saying like, ‘We all have our bad days. I am sorry’. And like asking them for grace, like, ‘I, I fucked up. I’m sorry. I yelled at you. I’m sorry I didn’t pay attention. I’m having a moment.’
D: ‘I’m sorry I fucked Cate Blanchett.’
M: Yeah. [laughs] Yeah! ‘I had a moment of weakness or doubt or fear. Or anger, and I just need your grace and forgiveness in this moment and an and in return, I will give it to you.’
M: You know? And we don’t even do that for our own kids most of the time. We expect and demands perfection. And like you said about Jon Stewart, “I’m not going to be your monkey.”
M: You don’t owe anybody shit. You don’t owe, you don’t owe anybody a performance. A lot of these people that want to keep you running in circles when you’re just you’re trying to have a rational argument or rational conversation or change their mind, and they want to, like, incite you, to work you into a frenzy where you’re constantly chasing these little, like, misdirects—
M: —that they keep throwing in the way like little, you know, banana peels. You don’t owe them that effort.
M: You don’t. You’re allowed to not get swept up in the stream. Maybe that stream of progress is taking us somewhere bad. And that’s why I wanted to compare this movie against, you know, everything else that we’ve been talking about. Like the book, The Hammer of God and and The Expanse.
D: It was wild, everyone should watch it.
M: Yeah, it was worth a watch.
D: It’s an important, I, it’s cliched to say this, but I think it is an important movie.
D: It’s very of our time. I wish it had come out five years ago [laughs], but—
M: Yeah, I don’t think it could.
D: —but a lot of , yeah, I don’t think most of the political problems would have landed in the way that they did. Again, none of this is about who’s right or wrong. It’s about if we’re facing a problem together, we have to be able to say we’re facing this problem together.
D: It will affect all of us. Like, who cares who’s right if we’re all dead? That that doesn’t make any sense. But that’s what we’re doing. And it’s, I think, super important that it came out when it did. And I hope everybody gets to see it. Do you even feel like, does this count as Science Fiction?
M: Yeah. No, no, I think well, there’s like Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction, and they often cross strange.
M: Um, I do think this, yeah, this falls pretty squarely into Science Fiction because it could absolutely happen.
D: Especially because of the ending.
M: Yeah. And then the technology could exist. And I do think that maybe mining asteroids is going to be a part of if we make it that far, that is going to be part of how we replenish resources.
D: Yeah, I don’t know, people kind of pooh-pooh that idea or act like it’s about money and it’s not necessarily about money. So like, if you found an asteroid that was just full of cobalt, right?
D: You want to go get that if you can because cobalt—
M: Raw aluminum.
D: —mining cobalt is incredibly dangerous and destructive. So if you could just find a big rock of it somewhere in space and just grab it—
D: —that would be incredibly useful to us.
D: And it would cut down on pollution big time. It would be an important discovery or even gold. Gold’s a very useful metal. It’s not just about it being cool, and we use it for money and stuff, but it’s actually very useful as a material. But we don’t have that much of it.
M: Until we figure out alchemy.
M: We’re limited.
D: Alchemy is build a sun and then you can make gold. That’s how you do it. [laughs]
M: Well, China is almost there. What? What if that happens dude? Oh, my God.
D: Fusion would change everything.
M: So this actually just popped into my head. But in The Expanse, Anderson Dawes was talking about burying his sister in a bauxite mine that they discovered. And bauxite is the raw form of aluminum. And refining bauxite into aluminum is such an expensive and labor intensive process, which is why we recycle cans.
M: Because recycled aluminum can be instantly turned into more aluminum. But raw bauxite takes so much effort. And how many people do you know, actually recycle their cans?
D: I mean, I have an entire garbage can—
M: Well, you do.
D: —full of cans because I—
M: You do.
D: —smelt a little with like I cast things.
M: And I actually appreciate that when you come to my house, you do leave your cans rinsed next to my sink rather than putting them in the trash, I appreciate that. [Dan laughs] But I mean, I mean, how many people do you know that actually pay any attention to recycling?
D: How many—
M: We will run out of aluminum.
D: How many cities are actually recycling properly as well? You know, like there’s a lot of—
D: —nonsense going on with that, but…
M: We’re already running out of the parts to make microchips to put in key fobs for cars.
M: Yeah, it is not just about money. It is kind of about keeping humanity alive.
D: Yeah. And we’ve got to build ships and such. The Earth has only so much of that.
M: And that solar of shields?
M: That just unfurled on the James Webb, I believe is solid gold, is it not?
D: Yeah, probably. Yeah.
M: Yeah. We need gold for those spaceships.
D: It’s super useful.
M: Yeah. So if we want to have all that, we got to keep all this.
D: That’s plenty of material. So please go watch Don’t Look Up.
M: I’m excited for this to drop. [Dan laughs]
D: I was. I mean, I’ve been thinking about it all day. Like the movie, like little things keep up.
D: I’m probably going to have to watch it again anyway. If only just for Ron Perlman’s dick tube
M: I’ll put $5 on it’s a zipper tether.
D: I just loved also him being, like, ‘Uh, getting close separation, can we keep comms mission specific?’ [laughs] It’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, all right.’
M: He’s like, ‘All the Indian, you know, the elephants and the boner, why don’t you guys ever teamed up? That would be cool.’ [Dan laughs] Like, how incredibly tone deaf, yeah.
D: Oh, man, I loved it.
M: Are you going to do an official outro?
D: Uh, yeah. I guess. If you want to talk some more about how all politicians are bad and doing the wrong thing, you should follow me on Twitter at @DanWinburn. But if you don’t want that, you should follow the show @TheExpansing, because that’s—
M: Shit, you can call me at home. [laughs]
D: That’s usually. That’s usually funny stuff. And like, Sci-Fi related or whatever. So do that. Uh, give us money. That’s also neat, so we can keep doing the talking parts and follow Morgan also. She’s on things.
M: Yeah, Instagram and Facebook. It’s just my art. So @LuxNovaStudio.
D: “It’s just my art.” She always says “just my art” as though it’s not…
M: And my, like, amateur modeling photography…
D: As though it’s not awesome art.
M: ….I, my travel blog.
D: Go buy her art. [Morgan laughs] With cash. Only cash, plastic…
M: Or crypto.
D: Ah, you take crypto?
M: No. [laughs]
D: You don’t?
D: You’re all like, ‘Oh, let’s join the future blah blah blah blah blah.’
M: No, everyone else can, not me.
D: Go watch Don’t Look Up. Go read Hammer of God. Go watch The Expansing, oh, wait, go listen to The Expansing again and then go watch The Expanse. That’s what the TV show is called. Not the thing I said. Bye!