Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff: Episode 178: Whoops! Democracy!
February 19, 2016 11:21 AM - Subscribe

There’s a rat looking at us and a hawk flying overhead as Ask Ken and Robin fields a Michael Shreeves question on making familiars narratively satisfying. Our lead time prevents the Politics Hut from engaging in prognostication, so instead we step back to look at ways of understanding this most chaotic and suspenseful of US primary seasons.

Among My Many Hats goes for the gold as Ken tells us about his treatment of alchemy in the latest Ken Writes About Stuff. Then we discover the role Ken’s Time Machine played in keeping the United States as a two-party country, by request of Adam Waxman.
posted by graymouser (4 comments total)
This episode is a bit of a groaner if you don't know Ken's politics in advance, so it's worth emphasizing - Ken Hite is a Republican and most MeFites will disagree significantly with him, but this Politics Hut is pretty harmless for it.

I really liked the bit about familiars, the ideas of playing them and also of having things like a cat's impulses to snatch at mice were interesting and good high fantasy concepts.

Ken's Time Machine was a real snoozer, boiling down to a little lecture about how obvious a two-party system is in the US. One of the weaker installments in recent episodes and a clear abuse of time machine privileges.
posted by graymouser at 11:30 AM on February 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Agreed about the episode, but I was still surprised that Hite is a Cruz supporter (as far as I could figure out some of the caveats around it). I would have thought he would be lamenting over Kasich's lack of success or something. Also, in the case of Kasich, Ken and Robin, particularly Ken, continue their frequently off pronunciations of other languages/names. I'm still surprised that Ken can write a whole book about the Nazi occult and pronounce the "ie" in German as aɪ (e.g., pronouncing "Riese" (giant) as "Reise" (trip/travel)).

The lecture about the historical necessity of the two-party system reminded me of the negative reviews of Kenneth Hite's "Complete Idiot's Guide to US History".

The familiars stuff was good, but I expect that it's completely possible that this could happen at the table in result. The alchemy self-promotion was interesting enough too.
posted by Gnatcho at 8:44 AM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Ken Writes About Stuff is constantly almost tempting me to buy a subscription but never quite gets there. If they had a bundle Ken and Robin Write About Stuff I might think about it.

The pronunciation thing bugs me only because they never seem to correct themselves, or even take the one minute it requires to figure out how to pronounce things given the existence of the Internet. They like talking about lots of people and places in Europe so it's really unfortunate that they utterly cannot pronounce words from any continental European language.
posted by graymouser at 6:42 AM on February 23, 2016

The familiars stuff was quite good. The politics hut was... less so. Hite, like a lot of autodidacts, is pretty blind to the way that his selection of readings deforms his analyses. And the Time Machines where we discover that The. Way. America. Does. It. Is the. Best Way. of All! are the second worst kinds of Time Machines. (The worst being the ones where Right Wing Death Squads get laid at the door of Leftists, who, apparently, should have just waited for the rising tide to lift their boats or something. They have to stop accepting right-wing slowballs from the peanut gallery.

I have been fairly impressed with the KWAS installments. They are not always great, but they are almost always worth reading, and at $2US and change per installment, it's hard to go too wrong.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:24 PM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

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