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MLA Full: "Foreign John Green Books and the Ultimate Concern." YouTube, uploaded by vlogbrothers, 20 March 2010,
MLA Inline: (vlogbrothers, 2010)
APA Full: vlogbrothers. (2010, March 20). Foreign John Green Books and the Ultimate Concern [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (vlogbrothers, 2010)
Chicago Full: vlogbrothers, "Foreign John Green Books and the Ultimate Concern.", March 20, 2010, YouTube, 03:38,
In which John Green discusses a few of the foreign editions of his novels Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns, all while discussing the idea of an ultimate concern, including the question of whether and how it is possible to live by the utilitarian values advocated for by many nerdfighters.

And there is a brief mention of boobs.


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A Bunny
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Good morning Hank, it's Friday. I didn't sleep much last night, so if it's okay with you, let's meet on the floor.

Uhh, that's better. Hank, here I am nestled among author copies of my books in foreign languages. Like this is Looking For Alaska in Japanese.

Right, so Hank, but anyway this week we've been discussing Ultimate Concerns, and I've been fascinated to read thousands of comments from Nerdfighters talking about what they think their Ultimate Concerns are, whether they think they should have an Ultimate Concern, or whether there should be a single priority that is prioritized above all others.

La Face Cachée de Margo. I think that means the, ugh the funny face of Margo. I got a 1 on the French AP exam.

I did think it was interesting that you said that you would fight and die and fight to recreate the Library of Alexandria, which by the way is a great idea, if only we could die or fight to make that happen. I think your point about the Library of Alexandria though is exactly why it's useful to think about Ultimate Concerns. It's because it tells you what you value. You would die to recreate the Library of Alexandria because you value knowledge and information and the availability of information to all.

Here's something that's weird, Hank. The German covers of my books always have feet on them. Looking for Alaska, feet! An Abundance of Katherines, feet! Margos Spuren, feet! Girl feet this time, but still feet!

A lot of nerdfighters in comments said that their Ultimate Concern was saving lives, or preserving life, or preserving quality of life in other people. That sort of a utilitarian world, you and we often hear that the role of people in other people's lives should be to create the greatest good for the greatest number of humans. Which is a totally legitimate value system, except that none of us actually lives by it.

In Serbian, my name is Dzon Grin.

The thing is, Hank, if you truly feel like your life is no more valuable than the lives of others, there are lots of things that you can sacrifice in order to improve the lives of others. Here's an example of our kind of universal failure to be truly utilitarian: people traditionally give much more money to fight diseases that their friends and family get, than they'd give to fight diseases that are the biggest public health threats. Like, for example, because breast cancer is a made of suck disease that attacks one of my very favorite organs of ladies and is also affected several members of my family, I give money to breast cancer research. And I'm statistically more likely to give money to fight breast cancer than I am to say, fighting cholera, even though cholera is a bigger public health crisis that kills more people younger.

Mmm, hello big eyed Italian girl. Hank, quoted on the back of the Italian edition of Looking for Alaska is one of the most popular quotes from the novel. "Immaginare il futuro sa di rimpianto" I don't speak Italian. "Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia". And the great thing about that quote is that I didn't think it up. It was said to me by Sarah on our first date. We were sitting across the table from each other at this sandwich shop and she said, "Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia", and I said, "Haaaaaa! I must marry you."

So I think we all end up privileging those who are close to us over those who aren't, but I think we also end up privileging the threats that are close to us over the threats that aren't. Which is why, Hank, I'm so impressed by your far-sighted Ultimate Concern.

This is the Mexican edition of Looking for Alaska, and I think it's my favorite one, because it's got this labyrinth in the A and then the inexplicable shoe. Ooooh, inexplicable shoe. You're probably a metaphor but I don't understand you.

Hank, there's this great Nigerian writer who once said "you can make your children safe in the world or you can try to make a world safe for children". And what I've enjoyed so much about this week's conversation between you and me and among all of Nerdfighteria is talking about how we are going to strike that balance between making us feel safe in the world and trying to make a world that's safe for all. I'll see you on Monday.

Hey Hank, did you know that I can speak Polish? Buszujacy. W. Zbozu. 21. Wieku. In Polish, Hank, that means this book is better than 21 regular books.