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Should I feel guilty about liking Hamilton? Why aren't we talking about our impending death by Yellowstone? Should I be saving all my burrito money for the economic apocalypse? And more!

 Intro (00:00)

Hank: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John.

John: Or as I prefer to think of it, Dear John and Hank.

Hank: It's a comedy podcast where me and my brother John, we answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon. Hey John! How ya doin'!

John: I'm doing fantastic because of the news from AFC Wimbledon. I just can't get over it, Hank. But otherwise, I'm well. It's a gray cloudy day here in Indianapolis after several beautiful days in a row, but I am happy. My heart is singing. How are you?

Hank: I'm good. We are having weather that could be described as Taylor swiftian (John chuckles) and I'm sad that we have to be inside recording the podcast right now because I just want to be romping around in the meadows, potentially just yanking dandelions out of my yard because they are very happy. Very happy dandelions. I feel like all the rest of the plants must look at the dandelions and feel really lazy. All the plants out there just being like, "I'm gonna do my thing. I'm gonna flower one time and maybe make a seed." And dandelions are like, "Hey, by the way, we're going to do that seventy-five times between the moment there stops being snow on the ground and well into when there starts being snow on the ground, in the winter."

Dandelions, they make me feel lazy and I think all the rest of the plants probably feel the same way and I feel bad for all the rest of the plants who feel lazy because they're looking at dandelions. 

John: I don't think plants have those feelings. I am, however, impressed about the success of dandelions, so much so that I wonder why we have relatively so much plant biodiversity when you think the dandelion would've taken over completely.

Hank: (laughs) Why are there any other plants? I feel this way about pigeons and dandelions, that we kind of like, we hate them, because of their success. And I think that we should log them, and be like, "What remarkable- Well done adapting to the weird world that we have created as humans with all of our lawns and all our buildings and you know, making it work." the wonderful, generalist species of dandelions and pigeons and humans, we have a lot in common. 

John: No, I agree. The only reason that we have so many pigeons and dandelions is because we have so many humans. So, uh. Why, why why do we complain about these species for which we are responsible? 

Would you like a short poem for the day?

Hank: Let's do it! Is it about, is about pigeons?

John: It's not about pigeons, Hank. But, it is about feathers. 

Hank: Oh, okay. That's close.

John: We've actually had this poem before on the podcast, Hank. But, I'm in such a good mood and I can't think of a better situation in which to read this poem, often known as "Hope is the Thing With Feathers" by the brilliant Emily Dickinson.  "'Hope' is the thing with feathers-

That perches in the soul-

And sings the tune without the words-

and never stops - at all-  

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard

And sore must be the storm-

that could abash the little Bird-

That kept so many warm-

I've heard it in the chillest land-

And on the strangest Sea-

Yet - never - in Extremity,

It asked a crumb - of me."   "Hope is the Thing With Feathers," also known as Poem 314 by Emily Dickinson. Hank, have you ever noticed how hope really is the thing with feathers? How, just when you think it's been extinguished it flies up and l-leaps in front of you?

Hank: Uh... I mean, that doesn't feel like so much the case for like, Dag & Red fans right now.

John: Ha ha ha ha ha. Oh God, I do, I do feel terrible for Dag & Red fans. The recently relegated Dagenham and Redbridge, nobody really knows for sure what Dag and Red stands for, Hank. But, let's move on to some questions from our listeners before we get to the news from AFC Wimbeldon. But I, I, Hank. I just have to say really quickly that the fact that you're able to name a league 2 team - although, not going to be a league 2 team next year - uh, other than AFC Wimbeldon fills my heart with joy.

Hank: Well, also I want to say that, uh, my club Stevenage, um, which is because that's where they're working on part of the Mars mission that the ESA is doing, is probably not gonna get relegated, but only barely!

J: I didn't know that you had a League 2 team. Are you a confirmed Stevenage fan?

H: Yeah, we talked about it on the pod.

J: Well first off, I just want to say, thanks for that fantastic draw yesterday against Bristol Rovers, that was tremendously important for AFC Wimbledon's future.

H: Yeah we talked about it on the pod. Stevenage is the place, is the town, where they're working on the ESA ExoMars mission. Or part of it, anyway. And so I decided to have my own League 2 team and they are currently, I think, fourth from last. Is that good enough, John?

J: That's just good enough to avoid relegation. Hank, this is coming ever closer to me living my true dream which is to have a podcast with you entirely devoted to 4th tier English football. Or possibly 3rd tier English football depending on how things go. But that's for later in the show. For now let's get to some questions from our listeners.

 Question One (5:08)

H: Alright John, we've got a bunch. What do you want to start with? Do you want to start with this one from Rachel?

J: No, it's too stressful. Let's do that one second.

H: Okay, what do you want to start with?

J: Let's start with this question from Dom who asks, "Dear John and Hank, John you're a self-proclaimed Hamilton fan, and I am too, but I'm conflicted. I feel like history shouldn't be viewed as a narrative composed of great individuals but rather of complex communities, societies, and ideologies. Of course some great individuals must be individually highlighted, but shouldn't that be as a bigger raindrop in the storm? Although entertaining and educating, do you feel that Hamilton is a protagonist-dependent view of history and if it is, is that good or bad? Love the podcast, never missed an episode." Thank you Dom.

H: Oh Dom.

J: Hank, this is a great question.

H: Well I think that what Dom dislikes is stories. We gotta have protagonists! Right? We've got to tell stories about history.

J: Eh, we do have to have protagonists within historical narratives, but we don't have to hold up the idea that individuals are largely responsible for making history, which is something that Hamilton does. Just because, there could be a massive chorus of thousands of people singing in the background representing some large body politic and there isn't. I don't mind that because the music is so great and also because the way of looking at history while it is sort of great-man history, feels new and fresh and excellent.

H: Right. I think that Hamilton is primarily a story, not primarily an educational enterprise.

J: Yeah but I guess the way that we tell our stories, particularly when it comes to history, shapes the way that we think about what humans do and why.

H: Yeah I often just think that stories are more shaped by, so stories shape, but first stories are shaped. Stories are shaped by the kind of story that people want to hear and those are the stories that we end up celebrating, because they are exciting to us, and it is a problem that we have as our world gets bigger and each of us individually starts to feel smaller, that we tell these big stories about these big people who have out-sized impact on the world or sort of are the only ones who seem to have any effect on the world in our storytelling. I feel like it's the structure of how stories have to work, but because we tell these big global stories now. Like Steve Jobs didn't just change my life, he changed everyone's life, and everybody has to use an iPhone -- not everybody has to use an iPhone, but there are iPhones all over the world now. And so there's this massive change that has occurred and you could say the same thing for Henry Ford. But by making it global, it makes each individual person feel so much less significant, because all of our stories become not important unless they're global. And even telling a story about a great person who had a tremendous effect on their local community always feels kind of empty and not as epic as could be because we have these great epic global tales they we can tell now.

And I feel like it makes-- I feel like normal me and everyone feels like a little bit less appreciation for the things that they do and I have started to think more and more about the appreciation deficit and how we are worse and worse at giving each other credit for the things that we all do to make the world a better place.

J: I agree with you in some ways, although I have to say that there are stories that are written about people who heroically choose to tread lightly upon the Earth, including for instance The Fault in Our Stars, which is pretty much what that book is devoted to in its entirety.

H: Sure, sure. Go ahead and take some credit there.

J: My point was more that like that's more of that's part of a much larger genre of books that celebrate sort of low-impact lives.

H: And that they do do well.

J: But I don't really buy the argument that we have to be globally appreciated to have enough outside outside appreciation to keep going. But, I don't know, I guess you do, and that's okay.

H: I don't think-- I think we get enough appreciation to keep going. I just think that there's less appreciation for all of us who make it work than there used to be. And I want to live my life in a way where I do my best to appreciate all of the people who make my life better and who make the world better in my normal life. And I feel the more that I appreciate other people, the more I feel appreciated.

Because if I see the work that is done, even by someone who isn't there, like if I walk in a new park that's just been made, and I didn't see the people who made that park, and who planted those trees, and laid down the grass, but I know that those people happened, that they were there, and that they made my life better. And I want to appreciate them, and that makes me feel better about the world. It makes me feel like people are out there appreciating me and that we all work together to make the world work.

 Question Two (10:55)

J: On that, we agree. I just don't think there's anything particularly new about that. Let's move on to another question. This one is from Chelsea, Hank. She writes, "Dear John and Hank, I was in a meeting this morning with my boss and a bunch of higher up clients. I am but a plebeian marketing coordinator. And they were all talking about how economists are saying America's debt situation is pointing us toward an economic depression even more severe than the Great Depression around the year 2031. This is the first I'd heard of such a prediction, and in addition to furious Googling, I figured I'd ask the leading experts on the American economy, John and Hank Green. Is this a thing I should be actively worried about? Should I be saving all my burrito money in preparation for such a cataclysmic event?"

J: Well Chelsea, if such a cataclysmic event were to come, the goodl/bad news is that all of your burrito money would be worth nothing, so you might as well just spend it on burritos now.

H: I also want to say that Chelsea said "the leading experts on the American economy, Hank and John Green." And yet you even switched it there!

J: Well, I believe that this podcast should be called Dear John and Hank, and I believe that when people refer to us, they should refer to us as John and Hank. By age, not by alphabet.

H: This is hilarious to me, to a certain extent.

J: This question is absurd on so many levels. The idea that like a bunch of people in a room know what is going to happen to the American economy in 2031 is itself fascinating to me.

H: It really is. Around the year 2031? It's gonna be amazing when 2031 rolls around and the American economy collapses and everybody can throw this podcast back in our face, but like, that's ludicrous.

J: Yeah that's ludicrous. I mean for context, 15 years ago, which is how far away we are from 2031, I remember saying to my friends "why would you ever send a text message, you could just call." I also remember saying to my friends, "why would I want my email on my phone?"

H: I tell this story a lot, John, about the time we were offered a free camcorder from Sony, that would record in HD, and that we responded to them "YouTube will never be in HD."

J: Yeah, why would anyone want to watch YouTube videos in widescreen? I believe that was the text of our email response. To summarize, Chelsea, no one knows what's going to happen in 2031.

The United States has a lot of debt. The amount of debt that we have actually isn't very important-- again, please bear in mind that Hank and I are not economists-- but the percentage of our debt to GDP ratio, the size of our debt as compared to our GDP, our Gross Domestic Product, like the total output of the economy, that is considered a kind of more important number than the number of dollars debt itself. And our debt-to-GDP ratio is high, isn't that that high.

But most importantly our debt is very very inexpensive. Like right now, it's essentially free for the United States to borrow money because people are anxious to buy Treasury Bonds, because they feel that they are a very safe investment. So we can basically borrow as much money as we want for free. Now that obviously comes with its own dangers.

The only real risk to the American economy from our debt is if our debt becomes more expensive to service. So like if the interest rate were to go up, which can happen very suddenly, and can sort of spiral. That's what happened in Greece for instance, and in Ireland, is that the amount of interest that you have to pay to borrow money starts to rise and then you have to borrow yet more money to pay these higher interest loans. That would be a problem for the United States economy. There is no evidence whatsoever that that is about to happen or indeed that it'll happen in 2031.

I think that there are legitimate concerns about our debt-to-GDP ratio right now, but we don't spend that much to  service our debt compared to what we were spending ten years ago or thirty years ago. So it's not something that I worry about at night, and I don't think that you should either.

H: Yeah, I spent a bit of time looking into this recently because I was thinking of making a video on it then gave up. But the reason I gave up is I read a bunch of different articles from a bunch of economists that worked at a bunch of large well-known American universities, and they all disagree with each other. And that made me feel like "oh no one knows how this works." And they're trying to figure it out, and it's a thing that experts think about, and that people who are good at this will have important discussions about, but it is not a thing that some muckity-mucks in a room know better than the leading economists at Harvard or MIT. And both of those people disagree with each other a great deal about whether American sovereign debt is a good thing or a bad thing.

 Question Three (16:00)

H: I got another question, John. It's from Rachel. Rachel asks, in all caps, "DEAR HANK AND JOHN, WHY DOES WRITING IN ALL CAPS FEEL SO INTENSE. LIKE I'M YELLING AT YOU RIGHT NOW. WHY."

J: Rachel, I actually remember when all caps became like yelling to me. So it was a specific time in my life, it was the summer of 1993. Hank, do you remember, was it a similar time for you?

H: Uh, I don't remember this, no.

J: So I don't know if there's a history of all caps writing being seen as screaming, but certainly when I joined the internet in the summer of 1993, was the first time that I'd seen all caps writing being used to intimate screaming or intensity. And I remember reading it at first and thinking "this is silly, they're just writing differently, it doesn't sound like screaming at all." And then slowly over the course of the summer, I was part of this huge message board on CompuServe, over the course of the summer reading everybody's forum posts and writing my own, I found myself writing in all caps when I was screaming, I found myself reading other people's capital letters as screaming. So much so that today, or even I remember a few years ago, Hank, before our grandmother died, our grandmother only sent emails in all caps. She didn't have the ability to turn off the caps lock on her keyboard...

H: I think that it helped her see all the words.

J: Probably. Yeah so she would write us these very sweet emails, but to me it would just be like "I AM VERY PROUD OF YOU FOR YOUR BOOK LOOKING FOR ALASKA I THINK IT'S WONDERFUL." That's my answer.

H: I think it's super interesting we can convey all of this extra information with text, and we have to find new ways of doing that. Like I am the kind of person who constantly puts emojis in my emails, because I want it to be very clear when I'm saying something that I think is a sad thing, a happy thing, a sarcastic thing, a winky face thing. I'm trying to pack in and load in as much information as possible. Because when we're talking as people, we have lots of different ways of showing how we feel about the words we're saying, which we don't have in text.

And so we've developed all of these new cool ways of conveying that information, but different people read it differently, which means you sometimes have to be careful when you are sending people emails who are different ages than you, or have different backgrounds than you, because the culture of how to use the words, like how to use the tools that we have on our keyboard, which is a limited set of tools to convey information accurately, is different. So I will often send an email and then I'll get a response back from someone who's significantly older than me that will be kind of defensive, I'll be like aw I did that thing again where I thought that they were going to understand what I meant, and they didn't.

J: These days Hank I only write emails in emojis. I don't use the letters on the keyboard anymore, I try to only use image-based things so that people have a good sense of what I mean. And with the variety of emojis available to us these days, you don't even need text anymore. Text is dead. My new novel is going to be written entirely in emoji.

H: Well hopefully-- is it going to be very long?

J: Oh it's going to be extremely long, are you kidding me? Yeah, no, it's going to be 700 pages.

H: Oh wow.

J: I've been working on it for five years, what do you think I've been doing all this time?

 Question Four (19:51)

J: Hank, we've got another question here from Megan, who writes "Dear John and Hank, recently for my college geology class we studied super-volcanoes and every since I've been extremely terrified of the thought of Yellowstone destroying our country and covering it in deadly ash." Oh Megan, truly a woman after my own heart. "The most alarming thing about this is that Yellowstone's eruption could happen any time and yet I've never heard of any sort of emergency plan shared with the population of the US regarding what to do in this kind of natural disaster."

H: (cackling) Haha, yeah that's 'cause there's nothing you can do!

J: "Do you think the US needs to prepare its citizens for the possibility of the supervolcano or do you think this would just cause an unnecessary state of panic?" This is a great question Megan. I don't think it would cause an *unnecessary* state of panic, I think it would cause an appropriate state of panic. The problem is, telling the citizens of the United States, in the event of a Yellowstone supervolcano, accept the sweet embrace of death is not a particularly encouraging message.

H: So first of all I want to take issue with one of Megan's points, which is that this could happen at any point. It couldn't. It couldn't just happen right now. A supervolcano eruption would have a lot of serious signs that it was going to occur.

We couldn't stop it once we knew it was going to happen, so we would have years of data, looking like there's a dramatic increase in geologic activity at Yellowstone. We wouldn't be able to do anything about that, we would just know that suddenly there was a lot more activity. There is not a lot of activity at Yellowstone right now.

What you would see is like, you would see rising in the ground, like quick, like meters per day of the ground rising, and that would happen for quite a while before the eruption itself happened.

J: Now when you say quite a while, do you mean long enough for us to establish a colony on Mars, or do you mean like a few weeks? I mean like between those two things. Like probably, like if you get to see that level of geo-- you don't even know if it's going to happen, it could rise and then fall back down again. But if you did see that you might thinking like, okay, there could be something serious that might happen within the next year, within the next decade, within the next hundred years. But we're not seeing anything like that.

J: Okay Hank, if I can just stop you real quick. Would this end all life on Earth? Or would it just end like human life in the United States?

H: It would not end all life on Earth, definitely. It probably wouldn't end all human life, and probably not all human life in the US. It's just one of those situations where you're going to have a lot of people die. The carrying capacity of the Earth will go way down.

J: Where should I move in the event Yellowstone starts rising and falling meters per day. Should I move to Australia? Should I move to Hawaii?

H: I think you're pretty good where you are. I mean, you'd be better off in Australia for sure. I mean Australia's pretty much the other side. But the problem is you want to be in a place that's warm.

J: Well as it happens, Australia's lovely.

H: You don't want to be anywhere that's cold. But it's not gonna happen, and our guesses are that these things happen on the orders of hundreds of thousands of years. And so it's very likely that a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption is more than ten thousand years away, which is, we've got other things to worry about in that time.

J: Oh yeah, we're never going to make it ten thousand years.

H: But in general, dealing with a disaster is pretty much the same with every kind of disaster, unless you are right on top of the supervolcano, which I am. In which case dealing with the supervolcano disaster is just suffocating in your home.

J: It's just a very short term problem.

 Question Five (24:04)

H: Yes. I've got another question, John. It's from Gwendolyn.

J: I'm glad that we went to that extremely dark place, Hank. It wouldn't have felt appropriate to get through a podcast without it. Alright, what's Gwendolyn's question?

H: "I"ve known for a while that I would be leaving my job to stay at home, but now that it's obvious that I'm pregnant, people are starting to ask me if I'm going to come back after the baby, which I am not. As this is my second child, I'd hoped that people would just assume I was staying around this time, and not ask. As it is, I've panicked and started to lie to my coworkers saying that I'm planning on coming back. I haven't yet told my boss that I won't be coming back. I'm planning on staying for another three and a half months from now, and I don't feel like it would be professional to tell anyone else before I told my boss."

J: It's also not professional of people to ask, by the way.

H: Yes. "In the meantime, what do I tell people? I don't want to lie, but it's not time to tell everybody that I'm leaving yet. Also when is the right time to tell the boss that I'm leaving? I know that two weeks is the professional minimum, but it doesn't seem like that's nearly enough time to start even thinking about a replacement." I'm coming at this as a boss, not as an employee. And I don't know your boss, and I don't know your work environment, and I don't know your coworkers and such. But when one of my people is leaving, I want to know as soon as possible. And I don't see a ton of drawbacks to that. You might spend more time training your replacement and you might get loaded up with some extra work so they can be ready for you to leave, but I think it's important to leave on good terms and preserve that relationship if it's ever necessary in the future, and get those good recommendations or whatever. I don't think there's a reason not to be honest at this point--

J: Uh, I think there's a reason not to be honest. I strongly disagree with you. H: Yeah yeah, okay, you go John. If you live in a Right to Work state, and you say "I'm not planning to come back after I have this child," and I take my twelve weeks of FMLA time, if you have outstanding sick leave or whatever, in some states they can just fire you on the spot. So that's why you don't say.

H: Oh, so you're saying there would be maternity leave that would not get paid because she's not coming back?

J: Not just maternity leave, but potentially if you say I'm looking forward to working for another three and half months before my maternity leave and then don't come back to work, they could say don't come back tomorrow.

H: Ah, well, then that would depend on how much you trust your boss and the relationship you have with them.

J: Yeah, I would think, my answer would be, when people ask if you're coming back to work, you can say the truth, which is that you don't know. Because who knows? You might not know. You think you know, but like the future is unpredictable. It could be that you have this second child, and like three weeks after you're like "man, I can't wait to go back to work." So just say you don't know, that's what I would do.

H: Yeah, and there's nothing wrong with changing your mind and there's nothing wrong with, even though you've made up your mind and you've lied, there's nothing wrong with lying again and saying "oh, I changed my mind and I thought that I was going to come back, but it turns out that my husband and I, or my partner and I, or I, have figured out that it's feasible for me to be not coming to work, and I'm going to do that instead."

J: I feel like, Hank, sometimes you have an exceptionally rosy and optimistic view work life because you never had a job.

H: Right and because the way I run my office is extraordinarily loose.

J: It's weird, it's like uncommon. I just think, don't always listen to Hank when it comes to questions about work, because his advice can be kind of doubly dubious, although it's my possible that my advice is dubious too, and you're protected by some federal nondiscrimination law when it comes to that stuff. I'm not sure, I'm not an employment attorney. But in general I'm just a big fan of saying "I don't know" to pretty much any question that I'm asked, except that now that I think about it I am a professional answer-er of questions on this very podcast.

H: We should probably say-- J: I almost never say-- H: --"I don't know" more on the podcast, and yet here we go, giving that dubious advice.

J: It would be a better and also shorter podcast if we just answered every question with just "huh, interesting question. I don't know."

H: We should probably pick one question per podcast to be like, and we can do it in harmony like (singing) "I don't know!"

 Commercial Break (28:50)

J: Today's podcast is brought to you by not knowing. Not knowing, it used to be a popular thing but in the age of the internet apparently everyone knows everything all the time, including when the world is going to end. 2031, look forward to that greatest depression.

H: This podcast is also brought to you by that global economic collapse of 2031. Predicted in a room by a bunch of people who are not economists.

J: What do you want to bet most of those people were dudes?

H: I was gonna say dudes, but I didn't.

J: Today's podcast is also brough to you by the musical Hamilton. The musical Hamilton, tickets available now. Just kidding, they aren't. They definitely are not.

H: And finally this podcast is brought to you by John's pure emoji next novel, it's 700 pages of emojis, and he's been working on it for five years. It's gonna be a work for blinding genius that will take the world by storm and no one will ever think that he's completely lost his mind.

J: Truly blinding genius too because it's hard to read that many emojis right in a row. H: I believe it. I also want to say thanks to our, in real brought to you by news, thanks to our patrons over at where you can go and support this podcast directly if you want to. If you don't want to, you can just go there and enjoy some of the content that we put up to help you understand more about Mars and AFC Wimbledon mostly.

 Question Six (30:18)

H: Alright John, we've got another question. We're gonna keep doing that. This one's from Beth, who asks "Dear Hank and John, do you know how I can explain to my cat how inconvenient it is when she goes pee in my backpack? That would be super helpful."

J: Uh, you know, I've been waiting to say it Hank, and I get to say it right now: I have no idea.

H: You just don't make anything in your house look like a litter box. It can look nothing like a litter box. Make sure that nothing looks anything like place and keep the litter box clean and stand your backup up, close it, put it on a thing. You cannot explain to cats how things go. But I've had my cat pee in my backpack. It's happened. But she hasn't done it in years because I stopped leaving it open on the ground looking like a litter box. And I can imagine her like getting in there, being like "this is a nice shape", and then like squatting on down, doing her thing, looking off like thousand yard stare, and just letting it fly-- and I still use that backpack, John. I still use that backpack.

 Question Eight (31:25)

J: We have another question, this one is from Caleb who writes "Dear John and Hank, my name is Caleb" -- I already knew that Caleb, it was right there in the intro, but that's okay--

H: Is it Ryan? Are you sure it's not Ryan?

J: Some people say Caleb is the new Ryan. "My name is Caleb and I, comma Caleb, feel kind of odd in nerdfighteria because I identify as a Republican." That's a weird sentence, "I identify as a Republican." I think you can just be a Republican. I don't think it has to be an identity. "And I'm a theist, more specifically a Christian. I don't agree with the views they" -- I guess "they" is nerdfighteria -- "and a lot of times you have. I however really enjoy your work and your drive to promote your beliefs, even if they don't line up with me." I don't feel like I'm trying to promote atheistic beliefs--

H: No...

J: ... Hank, as I am quite a religious Christian and do go to church and stuff. Anyway, "I get enjoyment out of the things you create, which is why I listen to Dear Hank and John in the first place." Dangit! I didn't say "Dear John and Hank." "How do I go on enjoying what I like in a community that is always wanting to "set me straight?"

H: Yeah I mean that last part I definitely feel ya on. And I don't know. This is liberating, John. I love our new podcast!

J: "I don't know" is the great, "I don't know" is the new... I don't know either.

I definitely understand that idea that any time you say something, you're surrounded by people who are trying to set you straight, and that can be very frustrating. I feel that online a lot, like whenever I say for instance that I am a Christian, lots of people come in to tell me that the idea of God is ridiculous. Which, obviously, I'm aware of that. It's not like they're breaking news to me.

But I do think it's very important to remain open to other people's ideas, and it's very important to be able to listen and understand where people are coming from. So I guess I try to take it as an opportunity to listen to someone who is different from me and learn from them and in that process try to think about how I can participate in more civil discourse.

So for instance I have a really good friend who is supporting Donald Trump for president, which is something that I totally disagree with, right? Of the people running, Trump is definitely the person I would vote for last, and possibly of all the people in the United States. And so it's a really interesting opportunity for me, though, to listen to them talk about why they support Trump, what they feel Trump represents for them, or the positions that he represents that reflect their positions. And of course it turns out to be a lot more complicated than my initial repulsion would have me believe. So I think there's some benefit in the act of listening even if sometimes it feels like everyone is trying to set you straight. 

H: I mean it's hard because this is more than just somebody expressing their opinions, it's somebody trying to tell you why you are wrong. So being empathetic in that situation is harder. But like we are in such a mess, and I don't know that this is unique or anything. But when a person who is on the internet all day inside their filter bubble hears that like you're a Republican, their thoughts are not going to be accurate because they have spent the last, like their whole life on the internet exposed to only the most extreme viewpoints and lots of stories that misrepresent, that are sometimes manufactured, just to create that sharper divide between our two main political parties.

And so I think that a lot of people don't really know what these things represent on either side and it is very frustrating, and I honestly think that it's very complicated, there is no one thing that either of these ideologies represents. Every person has a different perspective. And it's sort of ludicrous that we work so hard to try to put every American into one of two boxes. Or three if you count independent. And four if you count non-voter. I do think this is difficult, and I return to the fact that I just don't know.

J: I mean the only other thing I would say about this, Caleb, is that you have to not view the "other" monolithically, right. Like you can't view nerdfighteria as monolithically liberal when it definitely isn't, I mean you are not the only Republican in nerdfighteria. You're certainly not the only Christian. There's this habit of saying well every thing, every community on the internet, or every community, or every thing fits in one of these two boxes, especially in American discourse that has anything to do with politics.

Either the conservative box or the liberal box. We even actually do this with sports, right? Like we all know that NASCAR is Republican, but what does that even mean, right?

Like NASCAR isn't Republican, NASCAR is a matter of cars taking right turns, possibly left turns, I don't have a very good sense of direction. So we politicize things that have nothing to do with political life in the United States, and so I would ask you to try to be careful not to do that and not to apply political labels and political readings to every facet of your life.

 Question Seven (37:51)

H: We've got another question. It's from Sam. It's a little bit easier I think, but maybe not. He asks "Dear Hank and John, I fell in love with a TV show. Now that show is unfortunately finished, but I think of it fondly, and as such I find myself wanting to own that show, but was aghast to find that a DVD release is not planned anytime soon. I was devastated to realize that I could never own the show I so love, except I can, I can very easily buy and download the entire season legally and watch it whenever I want to, but for some reason that doesn't feel to me like owning it. There's nothing physical that I can call mine. Do you have any advice, dubious or otherwise, as to how I can shake this mentality that I don't own what I can't see or touch?"

J: Sam, the object is dead. There are no more objects. Let us disavow all objects and live only in non-physical space.

H: Let us praise the electrons that make up the things we own and do not own.

J: Let us escape our bodies entirely and live only inside of cyber-spacial existences.

H: The only way to protect ourselves from the scourge of super-volcanoes and coming economic collapses of 2031.

J: Yeah, I mean basically what Sam is saying is "I want a DVD, so that the American economy can collapse in 2031, and then in 2032 there can be a super-volcanic eruption." I don't want to over-read Sam's question but I think that's what Sam is saying. I mean, I go through this a little bit with books. Like I love physical books. I'm just an absolute sucker for them. I understand that there is no way of justifying my love of the physical object, but I still love it. But we are all going to have to become accustomed over the next few decades to having fewer objects in our lives. And I think in the long run that's probably good.

H: Right. To me there's something different about a book and a DVD. Because a DVD is a digital file on a disc, and it might as well be on a hard drive somewhere. Like, there's no difference from that-- well, okay I'm going to back up.

J: I don't agree with you at all by the way.

H: I disagree with myself too. I have argued myself out of this position. I will say this though. I will change my tact, and say that there's a difference in that I'm never not going to be able to read a book.

So I have a book on my shelf, I'm always going to be able to read that book, unless there's a fire. But if I don't have a DVD player anymore, which I literally don't because it used to be in my laptop, and I got a new laptop that doesn't have a DVD player, then I can't watch those DVDs. Like, I have a bunch of DVDs and I can't watch them.

Because I don't have the system.

J: I know, you have to spend $19 to acquire a new DVD player. I mean, I guess I kind of agree with that point, Hank. But physical books are just digital files that are printed differently. So I don't know. Can we move on to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon and just accept that DVDs are going to have a declining role in our lives, even though--

H: I agree, but I want to tell Sam. Like, getting to the root of Sam's issue is you've got to figure out how to apply ownership to the idea of the thing, and not the physical thing itself. And to me that's about understanding that owning the thing was never about owning the physical thing, it was always about paying people for the work that they did to create it and creating an economy that supports the creation of good things. Like the thing you were buying was never the disc, it was always the intellectual property, and you're still doing that. And I think understanding that is-- like, it's less viscerally human, it's an abstraction, but it was always the case that you were never buying this, what was probably a 50 cent thing. You were buying the thing that existed on it.

 Response (42:00)

J: I agree. Before we get to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon, very quickly, one response. This is from Jane, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I'm sitting listening to your podcast, #43 Gotta Be Kitten." By the way Hank, I do not approve of that title. "And I do believe you owe me an apology. I'm on episode 13 of the first season of Gilmore Girls, and you just spoiled the whole thing for me. I understand the show is a decade old, but I am 16. I couldn't have possibly watched, understood, and/or enjoyed the show before now, and now you've spoiled it, and this is a great tragedy of life. Please contemplate your contribution to the ruining of my life. This will suffice as an apology."

H: I love it.

J: "I love the podcast, I've been listening since the first episode, thanks for the dubious advice, but no more spoilers." I'm sorry Jane. I'm sorry not least because just now in this very reading of your comment, we've probably caused some people to go back and listen to episode 43--

H: More carefully.

J: --new spoiled, who otherwise never would have been spoiled. So I'm doubly sorry, Jane. Our bad.

H: Yeah, I didn't think about it.

J: There's nothing but dubious advice and spoilers in this show.

H: I initially wanted that question for John to not get what the question was, and for it to only be a joke for people who had seen that, but he figured it out. Then I forgot to think about the fact that we were doing-- anyway, I do apologize for having ruined your life. And I confirm and I affirm that I have indeed done that. And we are going to have to move on now. Very sad.

 News From Mars (43:45)

J: Okay Hank, what's the news from Mars?

H: Okay, well, you want me to get this over with quick, because I assume there's some big news from AFC Wimbledon.

J: That's right.

H: Well the news from Mars is that China, who, they have a space agency, it's a sort of arm of their military, and it's very secretive, has recently been changing its tact, and instead of just like suddenly launching missions, and people being like "did China just launch a space mission?" they're being a lot more public and have confirmed that they are working on a lunar mission a while ago, and just recently in an interview the head of China's space agency confirmed that they want to be on the surface of Mars with a rover by 2021, with that launch happening in 2020.

Which is very exciting to have another entrant into the exploration of Mars, and I'm happy to have China doing that. And sort of feel weird about it because I feel weird about China and how China operates as a country, but there is this interesting thing where space exploration for a lot of different reasons that are mostly un-pure, is a thing that countries do and generally they do together and work together on because it's so expensive, and when one country has a problem, other countries want to come in and help them despite any kinds of political disagreements that those countries have. So I am excited for that even though I feel peculiar about China as a country. Complicated feelings.

J: Yeah I'm not gonna try to get into the complicated world of Chinese politics. I will just note that I'm excited that there's going to be a second minivan on Mars.

 News from AFC Wimbledon (45:48)

AFC Wimbledon, Hank. America's favorite League 2 football club, ahead of Stevenage--

H: Probably true. Probably true.

J: AFC Wimbledon, the greatest 4th tier football club in the history of, not just England, but the universe... Since I last shaved, Hank, AFC Wimbledon has won four consecutive games here at the very tail end of the League 2 season.

H: Somebody recently commented on a Vlogbrothers video, "John now has two puffs."

J: I do, I do. I also want to shave, I just can't. So I've talked in past podcasts about our victory over Wycombe, and Plymouth, and then AFC Wimbledon faced Crawley Town.

In the 88th minute it looked like it was going to be a nil nil draw, the darkness was descended, it seemed certain that Wimbledon would slip out of the playoff spots, down into 8th or 9th or possibly even 10th place, but then then substitute Adebayo Akinfenwa, the largest, strongest, most beautiful football player alive today, scored a looping header of a goal. Victory was ours.

And then just yesterday as we're recording this, AFC Wimbledon played already-relegated Dag & Red, Dag & Red will finish at the bottom of League 2 and will spend next season in the semi-professional National League, out of the Football League sadly, and AFC Wimbledon scored two goals. They won two-nil thanks to the hard work and goal-scoring boots of that man, the Montserratian Messi, Lyle Taylor.

It was such an exciting game, I listened to it on Radio WDON. It was really great, it was really great. I'm so thrilled. AFC Wimbledon, Hank. Now they have four games remaining, almost all the other teams in League 2 have just three games remaining, and Wimbledon are sitting in seventh, the final playoff spot, four points ahead of eighth place Wycombe, and five points ahead of ninth place Cambridge United. Also sitting on five points back are Exeter City and Leyton Orient.

So it's still a somewhat crowded table, but AFC Wimbledon have a game in hand. If they win two of their last four games, they will definitely qualify for the playoffs. I won't lie, Hank, that means if they qualify for the playoffs, they have a 25% chance of going to League 1, but a 50% chance of playing in the playoff final at Wembley Stadium, and I am properly dreaming. I have googled airplane tickets, I am ready to purchase them-- by the way, you're welcome to come. (Hank laughs) That wasn't a joke.

H: Well, I'm not going to.

J: It's just as well, Stevenage won't be in the playoffs. I am so excited, this season... it's difficult to describe how unlikely this is, because of course this is the first year we've been doing the podcast, but just two seasons ago Wimbledon had to win on the last day to avoid relegation, or I guess three seasons ago, so it's just a phenomenal situation, and I'm so so excited. It's just crazy. Hope is the thing with feathers.

H: I'm very pleased. And I want to ask, what I think is an important question not only for AFC Wimbledon but also our careers on YouTube. If they go to the playoffs, does that mean you're gonna like not shave for like months?

J: Well Hank, if they don't win all four of their final games, and end the season with 8 consecutive wins, are you asking me if I'm going to shave before the playoffs? Of course I'm not going to shave before the playoffs, they will have won eight straight games since I last shaved. I will however shave if they lose one of their last four games.

H: Okay, okay. Well let me just tell you. I'm hoping for that. But only because I want you to shave, and I don't think it will mean that they won't be in the playoffs, and I don't think they can get into that top three definite-ends-up-in-the-thing.

J: Yeah it's gonna be very very hard to get in that top three, even if they won out, they would only have 80 points, and right now the third place team has 77, and a superior goal difference, so it's probably not gonna happen. But that said, I still want them to go into the playoffs. If they make it to the playoffs, on good form and everything and having won a bunch of games. So whatever it takes, I'm happy not to shave. I do have to drive the Pace Car at the Angie's List Grand Prix here in Indianapolis, the big road course race on May 14. And in a perfect world I wouldn't have to do all of the press with a massive shaggy beard, but whatever. I'm happy to do it.

H: Well. Is the playoff thing like "I can't cut any of these hairs" or "I can't shave?" Like could you give yourself a nicer looking beard, is that allowed?

J: Well Hank, obviously I don't know, right? So that's the whole problem. I don't know which part of my beard is causing AFC Wimbledon to win, so I can't mess with any of it.

 Outro (51:22)

H: Okay, that makes perfect sense, John. What did we learn today?

J: Well we learned that I am a little bit superstitious.

H: That's true, we did learn that. We learned that you are never buying a physical item, when you're buying a piece of media.

J: And of course we also learned that the world is going to end, but probably not in our lifetimes due to a Yellowstone supervolcano. eruption.

H: And finally we learned, of course, that John and Hank Green, despite the fact that we answer questions for like an hour every week, do not know! We don't know.

J: We know essentially nothing. God our advice is so dubious, especially in this episode, and I apologize to everyone to whom we gave dubious advice, for just the sheer dubiosity of it all. But thank you for listening. You can write us with your questions at, also your corrections, your complaints about us spoiling Gilmore Girls for you.

Anything that you want., or you can use the hashtag on Twitter #dearhankandjohn, I'm @johngreen out Twitter, Hank is @hankgreen. On our preferred method of social communication Snapchat, Hank is hankgre, I am johngreensnaps. Our theme music is by Gunnarolla, this podcast is edited by Nicholas Jenkins, our hardworking intern is Claudia Morales, Rosianna Halse Rojas helps with questions.

Thank you again for listening, and as we say in our hometown...

Both: Don't forget to be awesome.