So, I Ran an Elementary School Protection Racket


"I think this needs to be my Waypoint," says Austin Walker. "It's a podcast about the Constitution. It's called More Perfect and for its third season they made a music album about the Amendments. We have to talk about it." But first you have to listen to it and hours later you're wondering, "Is Austin pranking me right now?" Then you look at a clock and realize it's not hours later, you're only about 12 minutes into the first episode but it feels like the sun has left the sky and you can hardly hear the podcast anymore because the blood is roaring in your ears. Are they... are they making a sentence diagram of the 2nd Amendment?

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


God that parents at lunch thing is awful on so many levels. TW for child abuse below.

From my perspective, lunch time was one of the few consistent places, in Elementary school at least, that you could act without the threat of repercussion from parents or teachers. Where I grew up it is culturally very accepted that beating your kids ass when they act up is good parenting, and that privilege was often extended to anyone with a few years on you in your family or who has the respect of your parents. Getting dropped off at a friends house and hearing your parents or your friends parents joke “You’ve got permission to whoop their ass if they act up, ya here?” or some variation of that is normal. I didn’t realize this wasn’t normal until I started seeing lots of jokes on the internet about white people not hitting their kids and black people doing so, which was something that was done by all parents of all backgrounds as far as my upbrining told me.

So living under that, even if you’re like me and you broke rules constantly knowing full well what was coming anyway, having spaces where that wouldn’t happen and you probably wouldn’t get 3 days ISS (in school suspension or OSS (out of school suspension) for breaking rules was very important and a huge release valve, even if we could be cruel to each other. And having time outside the eyes of adults is important for all children anyways!


Counter argument, elementary and middle school where I hated lunch time and recess because kids are assholes, there was nothing to do, and I wanted to go home forever.


Yeah as far as middle and high school goes, I literally didn’t eat lunch inside a lunch room once past 6th grade because all the noise and people in one place made me a nervous wreck. I’m talking a bout a very small, small town elementary school.


I’m completely here for bashing on More Perfect and so much of the critique against it applies to Radiolab as well. I used to love that show until I realized, after they talked about some topic I have studied, that they often have no idea what they are talking about. The Malcolm Gladwell comparison is very fitting.


If you haven’t listened to A Life Well Wasted yet you really should. Like really really should. I know Austin said that at the end of the podcast, but it’s so goddamn good. Then listen to old episodes of Games for Windows Live/Computer Gaming world podcasts.


Gotta say, Rob was on fire today between ripping into More Perfect, his elementary school protection racket, and the sign off… and also that episode description. Another super strong episode of Waypoints.

That lunch article is fascinating & does give a certain amount of insight into the both the reader and this moment in parenting, which is strange combination of parents, in some ways, having never had more or less control over their children. Technology gives children a lot of freedom to get up to some totally wild stuff with massive consequences (whether charging their parents’ debit card for Fortnite credits or learning about things that their parents wouldn’t approve of) but also gives parents deeply easy ways to intrude into, well, the lives of their kids. This story talks about a pretty simple and non-technological way of doing that, but I am kinda… with Klepek this one.

On the one hand, totally here for kids getting the space for quality time with their parents. But is taking away the experience of socialising with peers regularly particularly healthy for a kid? I super doubt that!


David Banks had a piece in The New Inquiry that I like to refer back to a lot when I think about explainer podcasts, particularly the RadioLabs, This American Lifes, and the various pods inspired by them; I had it mind listening to this. He cites them for a kind of neoliberal positivism that lends them this sort of “gee whiz,” shrugging inconclusiveness–they “depoliticize important issues by recasting them as interesting factoids to be shared over cocktails–stimulating but inherently incomplete. No one can act until we get more data; we must wait until Monday, when we get another round of podcasts.”


Cue the same word repeated by a dozen whispering voices, or a few bars of a Ratatat rip-off ambient band, and we’re on to a new book that argues organic food is not only good for you, it might make you a better person too.

I snorted coffee at this. Radiolab drives me insane. Overproduced to death and all about comforting the comforted.


Kids eating lunch with their parents isn’t that weird to me. A lot of kids in my grammar school used to walk home during their lunch period and eat with their moms. We all lived like at most five blocks from the school, so if you had somebody at home, why not just eat there?


Man I miss A Life Well Wasted, it was so good. Rob’s comment on having money now is exactly where I’m at.

I remember playing the episode on fandom in the car on a long road trip with my parents and even though that subject will never break through in their heads, there was at least some recognition.


I can not wait to use this title in the next Waypoint Game Jam


I have not finished listening to the podcast, but I needed to come here to say that I shouted “WHAT THE FUCK” at the top of my lungs when Rob says “they go to an astrophysicist” and had to turn off the podcast for a while so I could calm down.

This is such a perfect encapsulation of why Radiolab is so terrible. Oh my god I am so angry ok time to go back to listening to the podcast and let the fury consume all of my bones and my flesh


I alluded to the sign-off above so I don’t want to revisit it, but I have spent the last eight hours thinking about Rob saying ‘and Hamilton wrote, the other fifty-one!’ (which is a reference to this song from Hamilton) (timestamp for verse here).


The Don Zacny

(and the Plaid Brothers)


This was just an excellent episode of a podcast right here. Had all the emotional highs of imagining junior high-level gangs, all the emotional fire of really rippin’ into a bad podcast, and also it made me think about Agatha Christie for a little bit also, which is all you need, really!


“Ya come to me on this, the day’a Danielle’s second cat’s wedding…”

Zachny, you’re a terrible person and the Y in Nighy is silent.

Then again, from my experience it may actually be a part of studying Gothic fiction to say English actors names wrong. I had the most wonderful professor of Gothic Fiction but good heaven she could not say Ralph Fiennes correctly.


I’m not intending to double post but I found this episode good enough that I had to take a long preachy post into the “Best Of” thread

Past that though, I can only say that as a kid, the only time I appreciated my parents coming into the lunch room is if I was leaving the school with them. I think a lot of parents can underestimate the damage that can come from garbage, bully kids messing with people in their youth, and how much ammo a parent showing up at school provides for them, especially when the child has no other shields for social pressures


Hands Rob an envelope with 75c enclosed