loader from loading.io

Episode 122 - Plant Folklore (Bring Us a Shrubbery!)

Squaring the Strange

Release Date: 05/29/2020

Bonus Episode - Rumor Roundup! show art Bonus Episode - Rumor Roundup!

Squaring the Strange

This is a bonus episode (free to all, as I'm not clicking the box that says "charge patrons for this creation"), wedged between episodes 126 & 127, in which we chat about recent rumors--often intersecting with Covid fears and the existential threat of "stranger danger," where people see child-trafficking in otherwise mundane happenings. In addition to other issues the current pandemic is exacerbating, our societal tendency to form and spread rumors is certainly in high gear during this time of uncertainty.

info_outline
Episode 126 - Strangeness Set in Stone: Mysterious Statues show art Episode 126 - Strangeness Set in Stone: Mysterious Statues

Squaring the Strange

With statues in the news lately, we decided to take a tour of the stranger side of statues. From graveyard figures that walk around when you're not looking to spooky statues that can't be photographed. Myths involving statues coming to life, or people being turned to stone, reach forward even to our most recent pop culture. Ben recounts cases he investigated of miraculous "weeping" statues, and then we cover statues as guerilla art pieces that appear overnight as publicity stunts and political statements.

info_outline
Episode 125 - Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's Covid-1999 show art Episode 125 - Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's Covid-1999

Squaring the Strange

Heard about the college kids intentionally trying to infect themselves with Covid--even throwing parties and betting money on who can catch it first? We sure have, and it provides an intersection of folklore, moral panic, media literacy, and helpful versus harmful "public awareness" that we (meaning Ben) love to dissect. Why has the rumor taken off, and is there anything to it? We also take a look at other disease legends, such as alleged HIV "bug chasers" Rolling Stone (mis)reported on in the early 2000s.

info_outline
Episode 124 - Antifa as an Emergent Panic show art Episode 124 - Antifa as an Emergent Panic

Squaring the Strange

After some discussion on a few current events that resulted in quick debunkings, Ben, Pascual, and Celestia take a close look at what could be real-time formation of a social panic. Antifa has all the hallmarks of a propped-up paper tiger used by some as a political tool, and by others as a social boogeyman. We look at the coverage, the rumors, the Trump tweets, the implications, and the real statistics. How has the reputation of this nebulous non-organization caused harm?

info_outline
Episode 123 - Snuff Films with Erik Kristopher Myers show art Episode 123 - Snuff Films with Erik Kristopher Myers

Squaring the Strange

We are joined by filmmaker and encyclopedia of weird film knowledge Erik Kristopher Myers to discuss "snuff films," a convergence of conspiracy thinking, moral panic, urban legend, and actual film trivia. We examine pretenders to the genre, from the Manson family to Faces of Death to Cannibal Holocaust. Have any real snuff films ever been uncovered or investigated? What factors play into our belief in, and fear of, these monstrous commodifications mortality? And how have moviemakers capitalized on them?

info_outline
Episode 122 - Plant Folklore (Bring Us a Shrubbery!) show art Episode 122 - Plant Folklore (Bring Us a Shrubbery!)

Squaring the Strange

We chat a bit about various news, including the passing of physicist Peter Brancazio, who explored popular sports illusions, and Ben's recent outreach project attempting to get answers from the "Plandemic" filmmaker. Then our main segment covers a veritable salad of plant-based folklore. From very old tales to modern misconceptions, we touch on the ancient Greek dryads and related myths, how to safely dig up a mandrake root, and whether or not houseplants purify the air.

info_outline
Episode 121, Noah Nez, Native Skeptic show art Episode 121, Noah Nez, Native Skeptic

Squaring the Strange

First we touch on "Plandemic," then we talk "murder hornets" with Heidi McMaster, an invasive species coordinator. Noah Nez, who blogs as the Native Skeptic, opens up on a variety of topics: the noble savage trope, crown dancers, clowns/tricksters, and the co-opting of native traditions in cryptid pseudohistories. The varied nature of native legends makes for an easily misinterpreted, commodified, and exploited landscape. From herbal remedies to horror films to Skinwalker Ranch, we see what we can learn.

info_outline
Episode 120 - Emery Emery on Science Friction show art Episode 120 - Emery Emery on Science Friction

Squaring the Strange

First, Ben, Celestia, and Pascual discuss a few pandemic-related things that set off some skeptical alarms over social media this past week. Then we are joined by comedian and film editor Emery Emery to talk about his project with Brian Dunning. With the help of many science communicators and experts (Ben himself among them), Emery and Dunning have crafted a documentary called Science Friction, revealing the myriad ways experts have been misrepresented by producers of questionable documentaries.

info_outline
Episode 119 - Poll Lotta BS show art Episode 119 - Poll Lotta BS

Squaring the Strange

Ben came up with this title and we are just so darned proud of him for coming over to the pun side of life. We chat about various Covid-related topics and then dive into examples of bad or misleading polls. First we cover a few harmless topics, like beard sexiness or beer preference. Then Ben dissects some bad reporting on polls that relate to much more important topics like discrimination or the Holocaust, and we see that learning how polls can be misrepresented is a vital part of one's skeptical toolbox.

info_outline
Episode 118 - Our Third Anniversary! (While Sheltered in Place) show art Episode 118 - Our Third Anniversary! (While Sheltered in Place)

Squaring the Strange

For anyone who has been craving an episode with far less research, facts, or formality, this is the episode for you! Ben, Pascual, and Celestia, reflect on their various circumstances during the coronavirus national emergency, and then we talk about this, our third year in podcasting. We dish on past guests and future guests we have in the works, answer a couple of listener questions, and Ben quizzes Pascual about the finer points of air guitar. Enjoy the podcast--it's almost as fun as other people!

info_outline
 
More Episodes

We chat a bit about various news, including the passing of physicist Peter Brancazio, who explored popular sports illusions, and Ben's recent outreach project attempting to get answers from the "Plandemic" filmmaker. Then our main segment covers a veritable salad of plant-based folklore. From very old tales to modern misconceptions, we touch on the ancient Greek dryads and related myths, how to safely dig up a mandrake root, and whether or not houseplants purify the air.