What were we wrong about this week? So, so much! I’m pretty sure I missed some, but there were lots of little claims we made that were just as wrong as could be. Let’s begin!
1. What is the name of the actor that plays Jaime Lannister?
2. Is Nikolaj from Denmark (like Hamlet?)
Yes! He is, as his name and this magazine cover reveal, a Euroman.
3. Okay, so we talked about the movie Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which is a great flick! Highly recommended!
Regardless of how how highly I recommended it, however, we got nearly everything we said about it wrong! The novel is written by John le Carre, not Ken Follett. This is John le Carre:
This is Ken Follett:
They’re slightly different. Ken Follett is famous for writing spy novels, such as the one we mentioned in the episode: Eye of the Needle.
We… well, I was wrong about so much! I got it so wrong that even Ken Follett is disappointed in me.
4. Has Gary Oldman won an Oscar?
No! Which is a crime of epic proportions He’s only been nominated once, which was for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. How he wasn’t nominated before is a mystery. He’s been nominated once in thirty years, Jennifer Lawrence has been nominated 3 times in four years. WTF?
5. Is Ralph Fiennes from England or France?
He’s from England, thus making the pronunciation of his name all the more flummoxing.
6. The Protean Farce
Okay…so… I used the word “protean” without 100% knowing what the word meant. Then Adam talked about the mutant Proteus without 100% knowing what happened to the character. The Greek God Proteus was thrown in there eventually too, because what’s a complete breakdown of all our credibility without a reference to Greek mythology?
So what does “protean” really mean? Did Proteus kill himself or get killed by a metal-clad mutant? Well…
protean - readily assuming different forms of characters; extremely variable
This meaning is taken from the Greek god of the sea, who was a shape-shifter. I was using it in a sense more fitting to Draconian, i.e. something or someone extremely harsh.
Adam was both 100% wrong and 100% right. Proteus was killed by Colossus… and Proteus did commit suicide. He was killed by Colossus first, then a few years later his dispersed energy was brought back together but it was unstable and he chose to dissolve again.
The latest episode referenced the enduring and oft-referenced metaphor of infinite regression. It is an extension of actual myths from China and India, as well as North American Northeastern Woodlands cultures such as the Lenape and Iroquois.
Usually remembered from the climactic expression, “It’s turtles all the way down!” the anecdote is often presented as a dialogue between a scientist and person of faith. I first encountered it probably in the essay “Thick Description: Towards an Interpretive Theory of Culture" by Clifford Geertz.
In Geertz’s account, the protagonist are an Englishman and an Indian:
But I may also have heard it from Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. Hawking told it as follows:
A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s tortoises all the way down!”
Those are the only two sources that I have read myself, but it has popped up in numerous places over the years:
1974 - Collection of Essays - Broca’s Brain by Carl Sagan
1967 - Linguistics Dissertation - Constraints on Variables in Syntax
by J.R. “Haj” Ross
1905 - Oliver Corwin Sabin - Bishop of the Evangelical Christian Science Church
1854 - Story told by Bible skeptic Joseph Barker about a rival who was a preacher
As well as in other forms:
1882 - Essay - As “rocks all the way down” in Rationality, Activity, and Faith by William James
1838 - Newspaper Submission - As “rocks all the way down” in Unwritten Philosophy
1779 - Philosophical Work - As infinite elephants, once again attributed to India, in David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
We talked a little about the genius songwriter of the Pogues. Adam’s favorite Christmas song is Fairytale of New York, but he didn’t know too much about the man singing in it.
Of course, the first thing we had to get out of the way was Shane’s legendarily bad teeth:
Which started off bad…
And never got any better…
But it’s okay, he’s made some adjustments in his life…
We also talked about his first brush with fame, as a Clash show in 1975.