Monday, November 05, 2007

Nerdy Public Radio

I first grew suspicious of this little Big Ten town when I realized that there's no dedicated NPR FM station. Every morning at 8:00 the soothing liberal voices were shoved aside to make way for classical music. I love classical music but I need about 20 minutes of safely faceless voices in the morning before I can stand to make eye contact with anyone. Thank goodness I found an AM station hidden away.

I was pleased to fire up the radio late last week and find a rerun of a Terry Gross interview with Patton Oswalt and Brad Bird. I love Patton Oswalt's comedy.

Responding to one of Oswalt's bits about the recent trend in Black Angus restaurant commercials Gross asks Bird why the bit led him to cast the comedian as a rat with a refined palatte in the animated movie Ratatouille. (This segment begins around 5:20 into conversation.)

Bird: Uh you know I don't know. I think it was the passion that I (laughs) ...that I was responding to more than anything else. The fact that he could get so wound up about the know Patton also talked about how he just loves know and...and

Oswalt: Yeah...

Bird: The weird thing is is I didn't really grok that Patton was a foody that was just one of many routines I...

Oswalt: Did you just say grok?--He just said...

Bird: --Grok. Yeah that's a Steve Jobs word by the way.

Oswalt: You call me a nerd and you said grok?

Gross: It precedes...

Bird: Hey that's a Steve Jobs word and I learned it from Steve Jobs

Gross: It precedes Steve Jobs. Isn't that...isn't that from like from Vonnegut or something? Is it...

Oswalt: I think it's Heinlein.

Bird: I don't know. Steve used it and...

Gross: No...oh it's Heinlein...Heinlein. Robert Heinlein. Yeah.

Oswalt: Oh I just nerded-out again.

Bird: [whiny voice]You out-nerded me. yes...

Oswalt: [whiny voice] It's Heinlein not Vonnegut. Excuse me. No're wrong.

Bird: [whinier voice] Yes...isn't that Lovecraft? [normal voice] ...yeah. No I actually heard that from Steve Jobs. So...yeah. OK so Steve uses that word.

Oswalt: Oh. OK. Good.

Listen to the podcast. It's hilarious. Some observations:

Penultimate) It's a fun little bit of light antedating. They go back to and settle on the accepted origin of the word in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. Interesting that along the way Bird first appeals to Jobs as a reliable legitimizer of the word. As if he's not powerful enough. It's all done tongue in cheek. Good times.

This is a good laugh they have at the expense of the cool reputation lexicographical linguists have been working to establish. (For more thoughts on "lexicographical" and nerdiness see Erin McKean.) Even amongst linguists antedating is getting a little geeky. Just take a look at some of the recent ADS-L discussion.

Ultimate) I didn't mistakenly transcribe an extra is. Bird uses an ISIS formation early in this segment.

1 comment:

  1. Not sympathizing with liberals as I probably should, I've discovered that my favorite talk radio comes on after Rush Limbaugh on 890AM out of Chicago: The Roe Conn show.

    It's funny; I recommend it even to misanthropic leftists who are addicted to caffeine. The best part: it's on from 3:00pm-7:00, so it'll go perfect with your morning coffee.


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