: Today on Follow Friday, we're going to talk about Halloween, the Spice Girls, James Bond and his friend Chewbacca, colorized history, and which states are most under threat from Indiana. That's coming up in a minute with Eric Molinsky from Imaginary Worlds.
But first, I want to thank Jon and Justin from Transistor.fm
for backing Follow Friday on Patreon. Transistor is an independent podcast hosting company with a simple, modern interface for uploading audio, distributing your podcast, and viewing analytics. You can also make as many podcasts on Transistor as you want for no extra cost, and you can invite additional users to access the show settings, upload episodes, view analytics, and more. Check them out at Transistor.fm
[theme song]ERIC JOHNSON
: I'm Eric Johnson. Welcome to Follow Friday, a podcast about who you should follow online. Every week, I talk to creative people about who they follow, and why. This is a guided tour to the best people on the internet, led by your favorite writers, podcasters, comedians, and more.
If this is your first episode of the show, please take a moment now and follow or subscribe in your podcast app. It's free, and you'll get fresh interviews with your favorite creators every week.
Today on the show is Eric Molinsky, the host of Imaginary Worlds
. It is an incredible podcast about science fiction, fantasy, and why we suspend our disbelief. And because this is October, AKA spooky season, I'd like to strongly recommend the episode about the real origin of the Grimm Brothers fairy tales
. It will blow your mind. It's amazing.
You can find Eric on Twitter @emolinsky
and Imaginary Worlds wherever you listen to podcasts. Eric, welcome to Follow Friday.ERIC MOLINSKY
: Thank you. I love Halloween and I do a Halloween-themed episode every year. I used to try to do Halloween-themed ads if I can, but I did one episode about the creation of The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Then I did one a couple of years ago about seances. That was really interestingERIC JOHNSON
: Seances in fiction, like Ghost, or ...?ERIC MOLINSKY
: No, the kind of answers that Houdini was trying to debunk and that whole sort of Houdini versus the mediums, then talking to a guy who does a modern-day theatrical kind of "seance."ERIC JOHNSON
: Are you a fan of horror movies? Horror often gets lumped into "genre" along with sci-fi and fantasy.ERIC MOLINSKY
: I'm scared very easily by certain things. It's funny. Slasher films don't do anything for me, but I'm terrified of zombies. I cannot watch anything with zombies. Vampires are fine. I just love Halloween, because I feel like it's a global cosplay day, which is just ... the fact that people will decorate their houses, especially where I live in Brooklyn. There are lots of different places this happens, but in our neighborhood in Brooklyn, people just go all out.
I love seeing like a ginormous spider that somebody put on top of their brownstone and they cover the brownstone with cobwebs. And they'll have the body of Norman Bates' mother in silhouette. Then also seeing the kids. It's interesting, getting the pause of what characters are popular each year. It's always interesting to be like, "Ah," because that's how you know who's resonating in terms of characters. It's one thing if the studios are pushing somebody, it's another thing if you see however many of whatever out there. You're like, "Oh, that character really did resonate with kids this year."ERIC JOHNSON
: But everything is so fractured now, I bet it's getting harder to figure that out. It's not just like the choice was are you going to go as Michael Myers or as Freddy Krueger, two characters that everyone sort of knew. There's so many new outlets for horror content out there that you could have someone who's really passionate about something that's on YouTube or Shudder and you and I wouldn't even recognize it. ERIC MOLINSKY
: No. It's true. Well, the deep cut anime stuff, I never know. I know the big hits of anime, but there are just so many other just deep cuts that I have no idea. Those people I always see at Comic-Con too.ERIC JOHNSON
: For people who haven't listened to Imaginary Worlds before, talk a bit about how you decide what to cover on the show. How does the show work?ERIC MOLINSKY
: I always like to say that the show is, imagine if NPR went to Comic-Con and decided that's all they ever wanted to cover. I used to work in public radio for many years. I worked on an arts and culture show called Studio 360. And we'd cover a really wide range of stuff, and they gave me more leeway than any show could give me in terms of covering the sci-fi/fantasy stuff I wanted to cover. But it was a small area of what they wanted me to cover.
I just felt like so much of public radio, when they would cover sci-fi/fantasy, would be very tongue-in-cheek, "Well, now for a fun story about those wacky nerds who dress up in costumes..." Or, they'd have to keep reminding listeners how much money this stuff made to justify why they were talking about it on public radio.
Even with my own pieces as well, I found that my editor, even if he really liked whatever I was covering, he'd always be like, "Now, remember, there's some 50-year-old businessman driving home from work, turns on NPR, and thinks he's going to get Marketplace. And instead, you're geeking out about Battlestar Galactica. You have to justify why this is on the radio."
So, I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if I didn't have to do that?" The other thing is the conversations that the fans have are always so interesting and so nuanced and always reflect what's going on in the real world, as much as any kind of arts that I was covering beforehand. But I feel that, when it gets couched within Marvel or Star Trek or Star Wars, people that aren't into that stuff just laugh and think, "Oh, it's a bunch of nerds arguing." It's like, "No, they're talking about gender, race, representation, capitalism. They're arguing over the same things you're arguing over. It's just within a fantasy world."
And on top of that, I love all this stuff. It's been an education for me. I've almost given myself a crash course in a lot of things. There are some things I was stronger in and some things that I wasn't as strong in. So it's been interesting for me to go deep into different areas I didn't know about, and then to indulge in things I love, to keep returning back to those things in different ways.
The show itself is about a half-hour every other week. And like I said, it has that public radio sound; me as the narrator, interviews that are edited with narration, music clips, that kind of thing.ERIC JOHNSON
: Well, I love Imaginary Worlds. It's an incredible show. Everyone should go listen to it. But for now, let's find out who Eric Molinsky follows online. You can follow along with us today. Every person he recommends will be linked in the show notes and in the transcript at followfridaypodcast.com.
Eric, before the show, I gave you a list of categories, and asked you to tell me four people you follow who fit in those categories. Your first pick is in the category someone you just started following, and you said Postmodern Jukebox, which is on YouTube @postmodernjukebox
. They're also on Twitter
@pmjofficial, and you can find their music on Apple Music, Spotify, and more. I'm pretty sure I had seen one of their videos before and I loved it, but then I forgot to subscribe, and kinda forgot they existed, so first off, thank you for resurfacing Postmodern Jukebox into my life. Explain what they do. ERIC MOLINSKY
: Yes, resurfacing something that was huge five or six years ago, that for some bizarre reason, even though I'm online all the time, I don't know how I missed Postmodern Jukebox. I feel like talking about them now is like, "Have you heard of Serial? I wonder who the real killer was."ERIC JOHNSON
: "Have you heard of Homestar Runner?"ERIC MOLINSKY
: Anyway, I discovered them during the pandemic and when I was just very sad and depressed and I think pre-vaccine days, when I was almost never leaving the house. I seem to be the last person on earth to discover Postmodern Jukebox and I just fell in love with this thing.
Basically, what they do is that they take contemporary pop songs, and re-imagine them as songs from other eras. They do an incredibly good job of figuring out wherever you would put that song, and in some ways, you almost realize, "Oh, that's actually what that song really is at its heart. That actually is the genre it was. It just got updated to our contemporary."
They've discovered that most rap songs, for some reason, work best in a 1920s style. And there's a Gangsta's Paradise that just is hilarious. There's also an Ice Ice Baby that's really funny too.
There's also a Bad Romance that's a Gatsby-style swing with tap dancing. Wayne Brady does Thriller as a 1930s Cab Calloway song. And you're like, "Oh my God. That is what Thriller is. It's totally a Cab Calloway song." You can imagine Betty Boop. Then they did the Spice Girls' Wannabe as an Andrews Sisters song.ERIC JOHNSON
: Wait. Andrew Sisters, what does that mean?ERIC MOLINSKY
: Oh, you don't know what The Andrews Sisters are? They're like the original girl group from the 1940s. You've heard of the Andrews Sisters. They sang in this incredible harmony.
I went through a big 1940s phase once. I don't know. It was this stupid hipster phase I went into, but anyway, there's some amazing 1940s music. The Andrews Sisters had this incredible syncopation between them. You've heard them. Once you hear it, you're like, "Oh, yeah. That's the sound of the girl group of World War II." So they have the Spice Girls re-imagined as the original girl group and it's brilliant. It's totally brilliant.
And the amazing thing is these songs almost never sound anachronistic. That's what blows me away. They do a little costuming, even though it's obviously people now dressed up in... It's like if you go to a Gatsby party, you never think, "Oh my God, I feel like I'm in the '20s." You're more like, "Well, I guess you've dug that out of your closet. It looks pretty good."ERIC JOHNSON
: Have you seen the Old Town Road video they did? They re-imagined it as a bluesy, I guess from the 20s, and they hired, I think, a Broadway singer, someone who's been on Broadway and who's been a proper blues singer to do it. And she is incredible. Honestly, I might prefer it to the original. And then I scroll down and Lil Nas X himself is in the comments saying, "Wow, this is great."ERIC MOLINSKY
: Oh, you're kidding. It's amazing how many times I'm like, "That actually holds its own." It's not like, "Oh, ha-ha. They redid that song in this other genre." You're like, "Oh my God!" And for some reason, it just brought me so much warmth and happiness and joy, especially in the second half of 2020. 2020 was rough as it is, but the second half of 2020 was really rough. What got me through it was Postmodern Jukebox.ERIC JOHNSON
: How did you discover them? Were you just looking for channels like this that were providing a twist on music? Was it an accidental stumbled-upon-it-somehow?ERIC MOLINSKY
: I stumbled upon it. I love surfing YouTube. I know people get creeped out by algorithms that know them really well, but I'm like, "Please, get to know me. Why else would I waste my time on your site if you don't?" And YouTube knows me so well; it's just like, "Why, yes, I did
want to watch that scene when Scotty met Picard on Next Generation. How did you know?" It's weird how it seems to always know what I'm in the mood for.
Sometimes, I love that can surf YouTube for a while. It just popped on YouTube one day. I don't know why. You know what I think it was? They did the theme song of Pinky and the Brain as a 1940s kind of swing, which it really is. That actually is what it is.
And they got the two original voice actors of Pinky and the Brain to appear. It was done in a fake nightclub, and they were just in the background as waiters. And I didn't even notice them until the camera then zoomed in on them. They did their characters, but as if they were human waiters. Then they zoomed back out, and then the woman continued with the theme song. I think that's how I discovered them initially.ERIC JOHNSON
: Oh my gosh. I'm wondering about the use of anachronistic music in movies and in TV shows. Does that pull you out of something when you're watching something and the music sounds inappropriate for the era?
As an example, I have this really weird, specific memory of the X-Men prequel, First Class, which is set in the 1960s. And there's a point where they have a needle drop of a Gnarls Barkley song from the 2010s. And I don't know why my brain chose to retain that information, that there's this specific needle drop in this movie from 10 years ago, but I remember, in the theater, being like, "Huh. Why?" I don't know. Does that affect you?ERIC MOLINSKY
: I agree. Well, it depends on how it's done. If it's done haphazardly, it really bothers me. If the music is mostly of its time or just sort of an orchestrated score, and then they throw in an anachronistic song, that really throws me out of it. But if it's done intentionally like Sofia Coppola Marie Antoinette movie, or the Baz Luhrmann Great Gatsby movie, if it's done intentionally throughout the whole movie as a stylistic choice, I don't have a problem with it. It can be really fun. I kind of enjoy that kind of thing.
But if it's done kind of randomly, haphazardly, the only song in the whole movie, or the only moment in the movie that's anachronistic, it completely bothers me.ERIC JOHNSON
: In the comments for basically every Postmodern Jukebox video, there's someone saying, "Someone needs to make a movie with these arrangements of these modern songs in the era-appropriate time, in the 40s or whatever." And I cannot agree more. It feels so right for that.ERIC MOLINSKY
: Yeah, totally. And for the longest time, I became obsessed with trying to figure out exactly where they were. Their production values got better. Clearly, it started out in some guy's basement, but it was like, eventually, they got HD cameras. They go on tour, too. I think they're back on tour now. I've wanted to see them, but the show was sold out here in Brooklyn.ERIC JOHNSON
: That was Postmodern Jukebox
, which you can find on YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify, and more.
Eric, I asked you to tell me about someone who has stopped posting, but needs to come back. And you said Your Pal James, who is @YourPalJames007
on Twitter.ERIC MOLINSKY
: Which I'm sure you followed already. You probably were a big fan.ERIC JOHNSON
: Oh, I absolutely did. This is one of several kinds of genius viral accounts made over the years by Aaron Reynolds, who is also responsible for Swear Trek and Effin' Birds and a bunch of other cool internet projects. Explain what Your Pal James is all about.ERIC MOLINSKY
: I love action figures. I loved action figures as a kid. They were always badly made when I was a kid. And now, they make these gorgeous, $250 action figures that look like you shrunk the actor down into plastic and then gave them perfectly tailored, tiny clothes.
I did a whole episode about these action figures. I've never actually spent money on them, but I love going to Forbidden Planet in New York and looking at what the latest ones are in the glass cases.ERIC JOHNSON
: You were just showing me before the taping, you did spend money on a very cool action figure, I guess an unofficial action figure...ERIC MOLINSKY
: A very affordable action figure I got at a street fair, yes.ERIC JOHNSON
: Do you want to explain what that one is?ERIC MOLINSKY
: It was Homer Simpson as Bane. I don't know who created them. I could have gotten him as the Joker or Batman, but I thought that one of Bane was pretty amazing. I do have action figures around, but nothing like that. Those things are expensive. And there are people that will spend thousands of dollars on those.
So, he bought the one that I'm pretty certain is one made by Big Chief Studios, which is based in the UK, but he's based in Toronto, of Sean Connery's Bond, specifically from Goldfinger. And he took this beautiful photography of him looking at a tiny iPad or looking at a tiny iPhone. At one point, he then gets a Chewbacca doll and they have Chewbacca giving Connery a piggyback ride, or they're sharing a motorcycle together.
And I don't know. It was like Your Pal James, he's just having a great time. Then there's one of him. I think it's Roger Moore's Bond playing an arcade video game, which is also like the size for an action figure that's probably about a foot tall. Daniel Craig's bond is watching and Connery is about to knock out Roger Moore with a blow to the back of his head. And they're all very nicely shot pictures. There's a whole genre of action figure photography, which is what I follow most on Instagram.ERIC JOHNSON
: I had no idea about this until you mentioned it in your email. You said this is like a parody of an existing genre.ERIC MOLINSKY
: Yeah, it's like a parody of an existing genre. I follow, on Instagram, a lot of cosplay and there are a lot of these people who do these amazing pictures of their action figures. I wish people would do more subversive stuff. Occasionally, they'll have like, "Oh, look, it's Batman meeting Iron Man." But for the most part, they're usually trying to recreate movie scenes with action figures.
Very well done, but my feeling is they often pick the same scenes, the same figures. Then there are people that actually design their own figures, which is cool. Like this one guy once designed a beautiful action figure of Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York. I mean, I wish they sold that. That'd be cool.
But this is like a parody of those kinds of sites where the whole thing has this totally absurdist take to it. He also bought Sherlock and Watson from the BBC series. He bought the one where they're dressed from their 1800s clothes from the Christmas special, but then he has them playing in a modern rock band.
I don't know. There's just something about every picture that makes me laugh. You're right, it was a viral account that I think he just got bored with. I don't think he's posted in probably three years. I miss my pal, James. I want him back. I want him playing around with — Chewbacca seemed to be his closest friend among the five or six action figures that Aaron Reynolds bought. I miss my pal James.ERIC JOHNSON
: It's interesting. Are there other accounts that you follow that are filling the void left by Your Pal James, or was this the only one that was really parodying the action figure photography genre?
It seems like ... I mean, it requires a lot of creativity. I don't mean to disrespect Aaron Reynolds' work, but it seems like an area that's ripe for parody, for play, for trying weirder stuff than just recreating movie scenes.ERIC MOLINSKY
: I agree. Sometimes people will be playful with it, but no one's doing it like he was doing it. And it was very simple. The funny thing is that he would photograph them not ironically. You kind of got the sense of, "I just want to show James Bond getting absorbed in his iPad or riding a motorcycle with Chewbacca." They had a good time. The deadpan nature of it, I think, is what makes it so funny.ERIC JOHNSON
: If you had a blank check to buy just one of any of these fancy action figures that you have researched...ERIC MOLINSKY
: Oh, and I have thought of this.ERIC JOHNSON
: ... where's the money going?ERIC MOLINSKY
: It's a tough call for me. I would love a Captain America from the final movie. The tough thing for me is Batman is my favorite character, but my favorite Batsuit in live-action was Ben Affleck's, the one who wore in Batman v Superman, which is a movie that I cannot watch. I think I barely made it through once. My favorite Batman is Christian Bale, but I never liked his suits very much. So that's where I'm quite torn. I can sort of split the difference to get Michael Keaton, but even with that imaginary blank check, I'm torn. I'm like, "But Luke Skywalker is right there, at different ages."ERIC JOHNSON
: I'm just going to say, this is George Clooney Batman nipple erasure.ERIC MOLINSKY
: They never made that one.ERIC JOHNSON
: They never made that action figure?ERIC MOLINSKY
: Nope. Never made it.ERIC JOHNSON
: The last question about this: The day this episode comes out, we will have a new James Bond movie out in theaters. Are you a Bond fan? Is part of your love of Your Pal James because of your own feelings about the Bond franchise?ERIC MOLINSKY
: Ah, good question. Yeah, I've seen every single Bond movie that's ever come out. I think it started with, as a kid, I really loved the Connery Bond. They would show the movies on TV—this is how old I am—I would put in a VHS tape and I would wait for the commercials and manually pause my recording. Then I would put little stickers on my cassette tapes to write out the name Goldfinger or Live and Let Die, or whatever.
Then I feel like, out of loyalty, I just watched the other 500 James Bond movies, although I like some of them. There has been some good Daniel Craig ones, but at this point, it's almost like being loyal to a band you really like. You're like, "Well, I have all the other albums."ERIC JOHNSON
: "I'm pot committed at this point; I might as well just make this my personality."ERIC MOLINSKY
: Yeah. It's two hours, what the hell? It just depends on whether I'm going to see it on the opening weekend or on a plane. That's what it all comes down to.ERIC JOHNSON
: I'm rewatching Daniel Craig movies. So tonight, I'm going to suck it up and watch Quantum of Solace again for the first time since theaters. ERIC MOLINSKY
: Not a good one, yeah.ERIC JOHNSON
: Well, that was Your Pal James, who is @YourPalJames007
We're going to take a quick break now, but we'll be back in a minute with Eric Molinsky from Imaginary Worlds.
Today's show is brought to you by patreon.com/followfriday
, and I have some exciting news about. As you probably know, your support on Patreon helps to defray the cost of making this show. And as a way of saying thank you, I'm going to send a present to all the patrons in the US who are pledging at least $5 as of October 31: They will receive, in the mail, a handwritten note from me and a sheet of official Follow Friday stickers, which are so cute. There are three little ducks and big duck, just like our show art. Fun fact: The big duck's name is Friday. Anyway! These stickers not available for sale anywhere; the only way to get them is on Patreon. If you're already a patron and you pledge at least $5, then you're good to go! You'll get the stickers in November. And if you pledge less than $5, you can increase your pledge to become eligible. I love being an independent podcaster and it makes me so happy to have the support of listeners like you, so check out patreon.com/followfriday
and go get your stickers!
Welcome back to Follow Friday. Eric, let's move on to your next follow. I asked you for someone who makes you think, and you said Sébastien de Oliveira, who's @sebcolorisation
on Instagram. It may be obvious from his username, but explain what @sebcolorisation does and why you like it.ERIC MOLINSKY
: This is an unusual choice. When you asked me "someone who makes you think", I thought of people on Twitter who write really deep, profound stuff.ERIC JOHNSON
: Most people pick that for this category.ERIC MOLINSKY
: Yeah. I was really close to picking Wendell Pierce, who is one of my favorite actors, and just writes some powerful stuff on Twitter. Everyone knows Wendell—well, not everyone, but if you don't know who Wendell Pierce is, you should. Anyway, I feel like most people know him from The Wire and a million other stuff.
I tried to think of something a little bit more unusual, that maybe some people wouldn't have heard of. And I thought, "You know what really weirdly makes me think? I love when people colorize black and white pictures." I always love staring, even if I just see an old photo. Typically, in old photos, people seem to look like they only exist in that era. You cannot imagine those people living anywhere but that era. And every so often, you'll see somebody who looks weirdly contemporary in an old photo, and it's always kind of startling. You just realize how alive these people were and history becomes real.
There are a lot of people that color black and white photos, but most of them look fake to me. Most of them look kind of Technicolor. This guy is French, but he writes in English and most of his pictures are in the US. I don't know whether he's particularly fascinated by America or whether he just thinks he'll get more people following him if it's in English, but he is incredibly good at coloring black and white photos over and over again.
They look like somebody went back in time, took an HD photo, and posted it. Even the texture on people's clothes feels like I can reach out and touch it. And very often, I'll be looking at the picture and be mesmerized and I'll just think, "Wait, 1917? I swear that it feels like somebody just dressed up in these clothes and just staged this photograph."
And they'll do it as a slideshow too. First, you'll see the colorized photo and then you see the original black and white. Then he'll do a close-up of the colorized photo, some detail, which is usually often the part I was trying to pinch-zoom in on anyway, to see. Usually, it's a close-up of the faces.
The reason it makes me think is that I find those moments weirdly profound when I look at these people. You really feel like you are looking at them through time, and they feel so real and so frozen in the moment. And I start thinking about, what were they thinking in that moment? What was going on in their lives? Everything that led up to that photograph being snapped, everything that happened afterwards; I find that it weirdly makes me ponder. Not just think, but ponder these photos, especially when they're so startlingly well done.
And I've never seen anyone who's that talented at doing that. I mean, I kind of enjoy them like, "Oh, that's cool." "Oh, wow. Lincoln in color." But I've never seen anyone that every time I'm just like, "Holy s**t! That's incredible."ERIC JOHNSON
: It kind of reminded me of, did you ever see that Peter Jackson documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old?ERIC MOLINSKY
: Yes!ERIC JOHNSON
: He and the entire army of digital effects artists at Weta Digital took footage from World War I that was shot in weird frame rates and black and white and grainy. They colorized it and they made it look like modern footage. What did you think of that?ERIC MOLINSKY
: Oh, it's too much. That was so incredible. World War I, which is something I normally have no feelings about—I mean, except that it was horrible, but nothing personal—I found it so emotional to watch that movie that I couldn't make my way through it. I just felt so terrible for those guys because I could imagine so well myself and what I would have done in that situation.
I just felt like, thank God I didn't have to go to World War I, which is not a thought I think I'd ever had in my life. It was incredibly good. He used some incredible sound effects, too. I guess they did incredible painstaking research.ERIC JOHNSON
: Yeah. They looked at the footage and it's like, "Okay, it's this specific type of tank," and then they recorded that type of tank, some surviving artifact from 100 years ago. They went out to the field and recorded it because, of course, the original footage had no sound.ERIC MOLINSKY
: And it's narrated. I think those guys were probably ... They're old men. It sounds like they were interviewed by the BBC, maybe in the 1960s. It was one of those things where people are always thinking, "Well, what generation is dying off right now? Quick, let's get their stories." That seems to be how these guys all got interviewed from what I could gather.ERIC JOHNSON
: It's interesting because there are a lot of historians who don't like the idea of colorizing photos or of updating the frame rate of old video.
I found this quote from a Reddit thread. This is a historian with a username "wote89" and they say, "This thing about old photos is that everything about the image is part of the information we can learn from it, not just the picture itself and what it's a picture of, but how it was composed, what its medium was, the balance of lights and darks. It's all part of the document. And when you alter it, that's creating a new document, reflecting a conjunction between the past and the present."
I don't know. Do you agree with that? Does that change how you feel about @sebcolorisation or other projects like that?ERIC MOLINSKY
: I agree with it, but I actually don't think it's a bad thing. My feeling is, yes, you have absolutely created a new document. But I think it's assuming people think, "Well that's much better, let's get rid of the old thing," if somebody was to believe that, that's problematic.ERIC JOHNSON
: So long as both still exist, though...ERIC MOLINSKY
: To me, it's like a cover song of something. To me, it actually goes back to Postmodern Jukebox. You can do this absolutely brilliant version that you think, "Wow, weirdly enough, it seems almost like these two songs in my mind are kind of equally good and valid and interesting." The relationship between the original black and white and what he's doing is like Postmodern Jukebox and the original music.ERIC JOHNSON
: It's finding some new meaning in the original media and it's not replacing the original media, yeah.ERIC MOLINSKY
: I feel like as somebody who loves history, it's often frustrating to me, people who don't care about history. So I feel like anything to make the past feel alive and to make people remember that these were real people just like us is a good thing.ERIC JOHNSON
: I 100% agree with that. That was Sébastien de Oliveira, who's @sebcolorisation
We have time for one more follow today. Eric, I asked you for someone who makes you laugh and I am right there with you on this pick. You said Terrible Maps, who is @TerribleMaps
on Twitter and @terriblemap
This one is also pretty self-explanatory. But first, you mentioned in your email that you love "legit Instagram maps". So let's start with that. Why is that? Would you call yourself a map head?ERIC MOLINSKY
: No, definitely not, but I enjoy things that I follow on Instagram. I always enjoy these maps of like, "This is the size of the Roman empire, actually." And they'll paint in red all over North Africa and Europe. And you're like, "Oh, that is fascinating," or how big something is compared to something else.
And there are a lot of these very legit map sites that I find super interesting. Another one I love, which comes up a lot, is the most common language spoken other than Spanish or English. It's fascinating and I'll zoom in. It really gives you a sense of which state has the biggest population, which type of immigrants came to the state and you're like, "Oh, that's so fascinating. Apparently we have a huge Indian population; bigger than any other ethnic minority." That's so interesting.
I don't know. Things like that, I find it really interesting. This is a little bit similar to Your Pal James, where this is actually a parody of those. Like, one of the maps is the most common language spoken other than Spanish by state. And the entire US is just blue and it says, "English". Or another one they had recently, every US state with the first letter missing, which was weird. ERIC JOHNSON
: It's like, Alifornia, Orth Dakota, Ew York.ERIC MOLINSKY
: Or it's the top 12 states to live in, and they're just all the states that border Canada.
Or an example of a legitimate one where they'll show the population of Los Angeles, if spread across the United States, what it would be. So you see LA in this tiny little condensed red dot, and then you see this enormous red blotch. That kind of stuff makes you think. Then they'll do a parody of that.
A lot of times, there'll be a legit map site and they'll say, "Look how huge Australia is compared to whatever." And they'll superimpose Australia into other continents. They did one that was like, "America is huge compared to other continents," and they shrunk down all the continents of the world, including North America, and put them all inside the United States.
It just makes me laugh every single time. Also, I think it's so deadpan. Another one is "danger presented by Indiana." So Indiana is red and all the states around Indiana are orange. It says, "Invasion any time." Then after that, the next ring is, "You are not safe," and then the yellow ring, I think, is "Time enough to hug your loved ones." Then the east and west coast is in gray, and it just says, "Illusion of safety."
It's so absurdist, it just makes me laugh every time, especially when I follow all these other legit sites. When it pops up in the middle of a bunch of other legit map sites, it just really cracks me up.ERIC JOHNSON
: Well, that's interesting, because if you're following other legit maps accounts, if you're not expecting a terrible map tip to pop up, it'll catch you off guard. That's a good point.ERIC MOLINSKY
: It's like in Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi always made me laugh more than any other Doctor because I never expected him to say anything funny. So, when he did, I would just burst out laughingERIC JOHNSON
: There's a headline from The Onion from several years ago that I love, "Grown Man Refers To Map At Beginning Of Novel To Find Out Where Ruined Castle Of Arnoth Is Located." And I think many years ago you did an episode of Imaginary Worlds about fantasy maps, right?ERIC MOLINSKY
: I did. Yeah, that's true.ERIC JOHNSON
: Talk about that. What's something about the way we use maps and fiction, or otherwise, if there's something else you've gleaned from the accounts that you follow, what's something that you think most people don't know about maps that's interesting to you?ERIC MOLINSKY
: I think the hardest thing with a lot of fantasy maps is that Middle Earth and Westeros are pretty obviously based on England and maybe England's relationship to other countries. And there's something kind of a little easy about that? And I think it's really hard to come up with maps that don't fit something that's already pretty familiar.
I find that kind of a little bit difficult to grasp. Sorry, that's a really good question. I feel bad I don't have a really good answer to that. I did that episode like five years ago.ERIC JOHNSON
: One more terrible map before we go, which is a picture of Finland with an F inside of it, and it says, "Finland." Then there's a picture of Finland with an F outside of it, and it says "Foutland." Oh my God, what a brilliant account. That was Terrible Maps, who is @terriblemap
Eric, thank you for sharing your follows with us today. Before we go, let's make sure people know how to find you online. Where do you want them to follow you?ERIC MOLINSKY
: Good question, because I have multiple accounts. I have my personal and Imaginary Worlds accounts for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It's a lot to keep up. I think, honestly, just the show itself. I think I'd love people to follow the show itself. It's imaginaryworldspodcast.org
if you want to learn more about it. It's everywhere. It's on Apple Music, Spotify, everything.
I tweet @emolinsky
. I think I'm on Twitter probably the most because I like the instant gratification of it. I think in my Imaginary Worlds account I let myself get a little bit geekier. I allow more inside jokes in that one. I think @emolinsky, I tend to be a little bit more of general observations.
Then there's the Instagram account for the show as well. It's become very active. There's a lot of good discussions, I feel like, and conversations that are happening in the comments of the Imaginary Worlds' Instagram page, which I like.ERIC JOHNSON
: What's the Instagram username?ERIC MOLINSKY
: It's @imaginary_worlds_podcast
. That's where I announce the latest episodes. I think it's just as much as Facebook, if not more of people commenting, which is funny. Initially, I remember I had a Facebook account, that seemed obvious, and Twitter, and then I was surprised to discover how many podcasters had Instagram accounts. Because it's audio, and I'm like, "Why do we have an Instagram account?"
Then I think I posted on Facebook and said, "Would you want me to have an Instagram account?" And so many people were like, "Yeah because a lot of what you cover is really visual."
So I've started doing slideshows when I can of whatever is visual. Like this past week, I did an episode where I interviewed the production designer on Loki, and it was perfect to put up 10 pictures of his production design. It's really nice to be able to have that extra added element to the show.ERIC JOHNSON
: Wonderful. Follow me on Twitter @HeyHeyESJ
, and don't forget to follow or subscribe to the show in your podcast app. If you like this episode, then check out the past Follow Friday interviews with Dallas Taylor
from Twenty Thousand Hertz, Max Miller
from Tasting History, Rose Eveleth
from Flash Forward, and many more.
Follow Friday's theme music was written by me and performed by Yona Marie
. Our show art was illustrated by Dodi Hermawan
. That's all for this week. This is Eric Johnson reminding you to talk about people behind their backs, and when you do, say something nice.
See you next Friday!