Episode 147 : Annual Holiday Download

According to William, this is something of a tradition. So Tony talks about his holidays, the loot he scored, and the movie that changed his life forever. Then we bring things down. Enjoy!


(*=question was abridged)

Tony, Do you or the Producer use any add-ons for Cookie Clicker? — Mark McKibben*

Dear William and Tony, Do you realise how relaxing it is listening to you chat each week? — Craig


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14 Responses to Episode 147 : Annual Holiday Download

  1. jas says:

    I got a godzilla-themed present for my brother for Christmas which I really like. It’s a print of the Hokusai painting of Mt. Fuji but with Godzilla coming up around the side :).

    This was partly because I was telling a story about my brother at Thanksgiving that reminded me of his love for Godzilla. When he was 8 and I was 12, my Mom took us out to a very fancy restaurant that was in a hotel out on the beach (we lived in Florida). My brother was sulking because he had wanted to stay home and watch Godzilla. I believe he said something along the lines of he would rather have been home eating a hot-dog and watching Godzilla.

    So I said it was too bad we were there on a Saturday because actually Godzilla was the floor show at the restaurant every Tuesday and Thursday. He played the ukelele (because, you know…tiny arms). The show was a big hit, but did have the unfortunate consequence, when things ran late, of having unsuspecting hotel guests see Godzilla walk past their window as he returned home in the wee hours.

    This had no effect on my brother’s sulk, but my Mom almost fell out of her chair. (To be honest though, she had had a martini.)


  2. jas says:

    I don’t know much about the upcoming Godzilla movie so can’t really comment on the cultural appropriation level. The idea that Nature would be taking revenge for what people have been doing though is a very Japanese (Shinto) one. My taiko group was playing a number of benefits right after the tsunami and several of the people in the group who are Japanese citizens (here as students mostly) said they believed that was one of the causes of the tsunami.

    • William says:

      Right… certainly the idea of “nature striking back” fits. Most of the classic monsters of Godzilla stories fit that idea. I’d argue that Godzilla does, even, but that speaks to my point. Why does Godzilla need to be changed in any significant way to deliver this message? Why does the nuclear angle need to be removed or even downplayed?

      As it happens, last night after the podcast I was thinking that if I was making the new Godzilla film, I’d probably included a monster for Godzilla to fight, one that would represent a tsunami. I haven’t watched that many Godzilla movies, but it seemed clear to me that all of the creatures were metaphors for some concern of the Japanese people. Rodan, for instance, seemed to represent the concern about tropical storms, and perhaps also volcanoes.

      The overall point is… one doesn’t have to remove all of this from a Japanese-originated story for non-Japanese people to understand it. Better, I think, for the story to first help us understand how the Japanese see it, and then to show us that, on a more fundamental level, we’re ultimately all fighting the same monsters for the same reasons. The differences in cultures, along with being fascinating in their own right, can give us the very tools we need to reach that deeper level understanding where we discover how similar we actually are.

      • jas says:

        Yeah, that’s one thing I think that Miyazaki films do really well–they show a Japanese POV and then show what transcends a particular POV.

        Looking at the way shinto changed to something nationalistic in response to the forced opening of Japan to the West and then returned to something that is both particular and transcendent is a pretty interesting history to trace.

  3. jas says:

    I do often listen to the podcast as I’m trying to get to sleep 🙂 I usually make it all the way through though.

  4. jas says:

    My entertainment over the holidays was discovering and reading this webcomic which I highly recommend. Problem is, I’m now caught up and have to wait for MWF to read A PAGE!


  5. themagicaltalkinghat says:

    Not *exactly* germane to the conversation at hand, but it id make me think of it when I read it today:


    • jas says:

      Wow, those were pretty interesting. I hadn’t heard anything about those top 2. A couple of additions to the other stuff mentioned:

      Body norms (nudity): What a lot of Japanese people have told me is that their culture stigmatizes things about the body that have to do with germs/dirt much more than sex. Sneezing in public is considered impolite (belching is not, just for comparison).

      Consumerism: “Yojimbo” is a great movie for getting a sense of what the Japanese think about merchants and consumerism. I always think that this movie is both an homage to the West (the Western) and a kind of thumbing it’s nose at the West.

      And it’s just a great movie if you haven’t seen it. 🙂

  6. Beth says:

    William – I just got back from Japan about a week ago. As far as I could tell, there was no major cultural identity with Godzilla at this point. I think these days, Godzilla is to current Japan what Gangsters are to current Chicago. As in, people who often speak very little English and realize they know one thing about Chicago can eek out a “Chicago? Ahh, Al Cappone?? .”

    Yes Tony, I saw on my calendar (I think from State Farm), that January 2nd is a bank holiday in Scotland. January 25 is Robbie Burns night. You now have 19 days to prepare your haggis and poetry.

    • William says:

      Ah, well… I didn’t mean to suggest I know anything about contemporary Japanese attitudes towards Godzilla. The last Godzilla movie made by a Japanese company was ten years ago now, I think, so… I’m not surprised if there’s not a craze for it there these days. But none of that is really relevant to the fact that Godzilla is a uniquely Japanese icon that, in my opinion, ought not to be co-opted by a white American director for white American purposes in the guise of making Godzilla more accessible to the entire rest of the world. I think the entire rest of the world could easily handle learning what Godzilla means to Japan AND what Godzilla could mean to them. Or, as I prefer to think of it, I think they could learn what Godzilla means to them BY learning what Godzilla means to the Japanese. There’s no need to take the story out of a Japanese context — or even simply to minimize the Japanese context — in order for people to understand it and relate to it. The only reason I can think of to minimize or remove the Japanese context is “to help Americans understand it” since, apparently, it’s widely thought in Hollywood that Americans need things dumbed down and ethnocentric before they’ll shuck out money to see it. (I, actually, have a lot more faith in American audiences than that.)

  7. Mark says:

    New About: Shiney!

    Resolution: I’m going to try to get (and stay) get caught up on listening. So far, I’m on track to fail at this resolution; so basically the same as every other new year resolution. *sigh*

    Hoarding legal narcotics: Hey, get the Producer on a mike already; we definitely can’t hear her and we want to!

    Skyrim: Tony is that the PC Skyrim or some console nonsense again?

    King of Tokyo: I saw that on Tabletop and thought it looked like a great time.

    Cards Against Humanity: Meh. It’s basically an ultra-horrible, disgusting version of Apples to Apples.

    Life Changingly Bad Movie: What was the movie? I listened to that bit of the podcast multiple times but couldn’t make out the title.

    No polenta for polenta? Sounds ideal to me.

    Briar Rose: The Fox speaks softly but carries a big stick. Also the Fox hates that video and plans on biting the legs off any body who makes that lame-ass joke.

    Gojira: The SFX for the time were rather decent.

    New Godzilla Movie: I’ve not yet heard any of the director’s comments about this movie. I’ve only seen a teaser/trailer for it and that looked good. Now I’ll have to search that out so I can comment on it.

    Cloverfield: *blech*.
    Cloverfield as a US version of Gojira?: Were they high? In what sort of universe would that make any sense?

    Relaxing: Hmm, I don’t know about that. Though I will admit to frequently feeling sleepy during/after listening.

  8. Craig says:

    So perhaps I should explain why I find listening to the show relaxing. By this point I have literally listened to the two of you talk for hundreds of hours but as you said it’s very conversational with no planned topics and you drift back and forth depending on whatever is on your minds. In this regard the show is unlike every other podcast I listen to as they’re always themed and try to keep to a given topic or plan for the episode.

    Because it’s so conversational and I’ve listened to so many episodes it’s now gotten to the point where it feels like I’m just part of a regular conversation with people I know. It’s relaxing however because I’m part of the conversation but have to put no effort into it, I can just sit there (normally on the train) and listen to enjoyable banter. If I zone out I can just rewind or pause the episode at leisure.

    So yeah, relaxing.

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