A new podcast from Leland Cheuk and myself, in which we discuss films, TV, books, comedy, culture, technology, and the (purported) decline of civilization.
With the popularity of Watch Dogs, Halt and Catch Fire, Silicon Valley, and their ilk, Leland and Paul discuss the rise of the coder as a hip cultural figure — rebel hackers, iconoclastic visionaries, and brogrammer entrepreneurs. How did people staring at a terminal embody the most relevant cultural figures of our time? And do pop culture portrayals of rebel hackers bear any resemblance to reality?
Books! Paul and Leland chat about the legacy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, as well as what they’ve been reading, including Lawrence Wright’s Scientology expose and the Pulitzer-winning novel The Goldfinch. Also covered: devil-worshipping rocket engineer Jack Parsons, character-driven science fiction, and why the web browser fails as a reading device.
In this episode, Paul reports back from SXSW — what it’s like to be an attendee who lives in Austin, how SXSW differs from other tech conferences, and how it serves as a microcosm of the cultural and economic bubble the tech industry exists within.
Leland and Paul discuss critical consensus, and what it means when we don’t enjoy cultural works as much as everyone else does. How do cultural works become critical darlings? Are we settling for mediocrity? Are we suffering from social media-fueled groupthink? Or have our intrepid hosts simply grown too old and jaded to experience joy?
In the inaugural episode of EGAD!, Leland and Paul chat about Spike Jonze’s HER: the film, how its vision of artificial intelligence compares to other fictional, real, and hypothetical AI’s, foul-mouthed chatbots, and they imagine if George Saunders or Rod Serling had punched up the film’s script.