Episode #213 — Flat Earth Dave

Go look it up! This is a familiar refrain, especially for those of us born back in the days of pencils, papers, and Trapper Keepers. (One of ours had an image of a blue sky and fluffy white clouds — a peaceful respite from a hectic school day filled with diagramming sentences and working on fractions. That Trapper Keeper was also something to focus on while having to listen to the worst actor in the class “perform” the lines for Mr. Frank in the play adaptation of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” We know it’s only a class reading, Tera, but for God’s sake please read with some inflection! You have so many lines!)

Ugh, where were we? Right, looking it up. We were told this when we had questions for the adults in our lives, whether parents, teachers, church members, random people waiting in line at the grocery store, etc. This answer could apply to just about anything, including what “sesquicentennial” means, how volcanoes work, how long it takes to write a novel, why the Roman empire fell, why people are afraid of the number “13” (happy episode 213!) — basically anything we had a report due on the next day and hadn’t started yet.

Luckily, you’d be hard-pressed to find another team that enjoys looking things up as much as we do. Of course, that process takes on many different forms, much like the Wonder Twins. It could be us tracking down just the right person to dish about the ins and outs of professional mini golf. It could also be us doing background research about how Buffalo Bill’s house was transformed into a place to book an overnight stay. If we’re interviewing an author, we read their book. If we’re interviewing a musician, we immerse ourselves in their work. Ultimately, our goal is to ask objective questions based on what we’ve looked up. Then, we listen carefully and ask follow-up questions.

So, what’s the reason for bringing up this process? Only to point out the hope that our objective questions support objective listeners. Critical thinking is important — just because someone says something, it doesn’t make it so. (Except for the fact that everyone has a connection to Detroit. That’s just science.) Mull over our interviews and see what other questions arise. Then look them up! We usually include the websites and social media accounts of our guests, so check them out to get an even better sense of their point of view. And if those sites leave you even more intrigued, excited, or concerned, look up even more! Look through a variety of sources, and maybe even take a trip to your local library. The reference librarians will be delighted to help you … right after they go and collect themselves in the break room because someone actually asked for help instead of just asking for the Wi-Fi password.

Not every interview will elicit the need for a deep information dive. But we live for the day we might get an email informing us someone wrote their dissertation on Mr. Creeperton and got their Ph.D. in Unsettling Toys. In the meantime, check out this week’s episode to learn about Flat Earth Dave. If you’d like to look up more about his viewpoints, he’s got a website and is on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. We’re off to look up more stuff — good thing we’ve got Trapper Keepers to store all our notes!

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