Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kafka on the BBC!

bbc world update

I flew out to the far remote borough of Manhattan yesterday to record an interview for the BBC! They did some really cool things with it. I had a super long conversation with one of their producers, completely without knowing that they'd recorded her 7-year-old listening to (and reacting to) our version of "The Metamorphosis" being read.

Here are the oddest things about it:

a) it was in Manhattan, not London;
b) the person interviewing me was in London, and so I ended up talking to an empty chair in a completely empty room;
c) they asked me a line of questions about what my kids thought of the book, and what other kids thought of it, and then they asked a question about how Kafka's feelings about the Austro-Hungarian Empire led to his feelings of isolation. I didn't really answer that one well. Seriously, interviews make me into a deer in the headlights! Which is really odd to say, itself. I'm not used to, you know, saying "interviews" in the plural. Or being on this side of the gun. Err, the microphone.

But the producer was wonderful and Dan Damon, the host, was incredibly nice and gracious, and asked about my other books even though the interview was over and he didn't have to at all. I didn't see the real TARDIS, but I suppose they could always invite me back one day. You can listen to the whole dang thing at this link. For the next week, anyway.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Got rabbi?

In 2002, I went on tour with this crazy Australian Jewish punk band called YIDcore. We played a Jewish punk-rock ball at Wesleyan, some New York gigs, possibly Yale?, and one or two other places. I'd always hoped they would pull me on stage to sing "Just One Shabbos" with them (editor's note: this version), which never happened, but just the feeling that it could, that it might, was incredible enough to burst my chest open.

I received this email this morning:

Found an old t shirt of yours :)

Loved it after you left it at Wesleyan and wore it to death, I now think it's time to donate to fabric recycling, unless you want it back?



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Geeks Vs. Nerds. Vs. Self Respect

Of the many reasons I love Eric Linus Kaplan, here is the most recent:

[–]Smalz22 1 point  ago
I love Futurama, its one of the greatest shows written and I thank you for being a part of that. That being said, I hate Big Bang Theory and cannot stand watching it. Most of its criticism from the actual nerd community is that its a show about geeks and nerds made solely to make fun of them, not a show for nerds and geeks that partakes in humor and inside jokes that only the nerds would understand.
Do you feel like that's an accurate criticism to have? and what do you do as a writer to make the show like that/avoid that?
[–]ericlinuskaplan[S] 1 point  ago
I don't think that's true. It is a show about scientists. We have lots of jokes that are specifically about science. I don't think "geeks" and "nerds" should call themselves that -- it's disrespecting yourself. Say that you're scholarly, or you like to read, or you don't care about fashion. I don't know that humor that only nerds would understand means. I put in jokes about Frege and logicism -- that's humor that only people who know about that might understand, maybe. But you don't have to be a "nerd" to like science. I know analytic philosophers who dress great and love sports. Why are we allowing this hostile classification to make divisions among us?

He's doing an AMA on Reddit now! Go ask him questions!

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