#464: “Would anybody tell me if I was gettin’…stupider?”


GETTING MORE TALE #464: “Would anybody tell me if I was gettin’…stupider?”

Can popular music make you dumber?  That depends on who you listen to.

Youngsters growing up in the 60’s and 70’s would be forgiven for thinking that a “light year” was a unit of time.

“And here I sit, hand on the telephone, hearing a voice I’d known, a couple of light years ago.”

Joan Baez wrote those words, which certainly paint an image in your mind, but she misused the words “light years”.  A light year isn’t a unit of time.  It’s a unit of distance.  A light year is how far light can travel in a vacuum in one year:  It is 9,460,730,472,580,800 meters.   Such mistakes were common; even George Lucas made the mistake in the first Star Wars.  He wrote that the Millenium Falcon is the ship that made the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs.  A parsec is not a unit of time.  It too is a measurement of distance – 3.26 light years!*

If you’re a Billy Joel fan, you’re probably familiar with “The Ballad of Billy the Kid”.  There have been a lot of myths and half-truths about the Kid in cinema, but Joel wasn’t aiming for accuracy.  Therefore it didn’t bother him to write that the Kid was hung, when he was actually shot by Pat Garrett.

These kinds of mistakes are not terrible sins.  Most people would be forgiven for not knowing how Billy the Kid died.  Nobody is getting their science lessons from Joan Baez.  However, it is important to take note.  Kids today are impressionable, and sometimes take the words of their pop heroes as gospel.  Let us hope this is not the case with the rapper who calls himself B.o.B.

Now, B.o.B. is one of those folks who does not believe the Earth is a sphere.  B.o.B. believes the Earth is a flat disc — he is what they call a “Flat Earther”.  Forget everything you know about the universe, about how gravity works, or even that trip you took to Australia two summers ago.  According to B.o.B., whose science credentials include dropping out of school in the ninth grade, “I didn’t wanna believe it either.”  However, “there’s no way u [sic] can see all the evidence and not know.”

I wonder if the Flat Earthers and the Hollow Earthers ever get together for a good old-fashioned rumble to decide who is right?

Recently, B.o.B. has picked a fight with Neil deGrasse Tyson, world renowned astrophysicist and surely one of the smartest people alive.  B.o.B. questioned the “international laws” that “prevent you” from exploring Antarctica and the north pole.  “What’s there to hide?” asks B.o.B.  I don’t know what international laws he’s talking about.  The Top Gear guys drove their cars to the (magnetic) north pole without violating any laws.  Nobody “disappeared” Jeremy Clarkson afterwards (though some would like to for other reasons).

Clearly frustrated with his attempts to talk sense and science into the rapper, Tyson tweeted “Flat Earth is a problem only when people in charge think that way. No law stops you from regressively basking in it.”  In response, B.o.B. replied in the way he knows best: in song.  His brand new song “Flatline” mocks Tyson for his stance.  The cover art is an aerial shot of a city.  The lyrics refer to science as a cult, and advise Neil to “loosen up your vest”.  Tyson responded with class:  “Duude — to be clear: Being five centuries regressed in your reasoning doesn’t mean we all can’t still like your music.”

Don’t listen to B.o.B. for your science facts.  How do we know the world is round?  Because B.o.B. uploaded his track to Soundcloud.  He did this via the internet, which people connect to every day using satellites.  These satellites circle in geostationary orbits, something impossible if the Earth were a disc.  In fact, we have been using satellites since 1957.  Unfortunately in this age of “I only believe in what I can see,” it seems B.o.B. has taken the technology for granted. “Flat line, flat line, you fooled us for the last time,” he raps cluelessly.

Still confused?  Here’s deGrasse Tyson.  Take it away, Neil!

B.o.B. sampled this video (the part where Tyson trips over his words at 40 seconds in) in his song to mock the scientist.


* The Star Wars expanded universe retroactively explained this by saying that Han Solo did make the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs, by achieving the shortest distance through a treacherous region of space.




  1. Wait, the Earth isn’t flat after all? Jeezo, B.o.B.

    … and I didn’t know Billy Joel sang about Billy the Kid and being hung! I can’t forgive him for not knowing that!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read an article about Bob yesterday and my response was a mixture of laughter (at his stupidity) and disbelief (at his stupidity). I’m all for people challenging convention and forging ahead with their own ideas but… this all smacks of the same deranged-tinged timbre of the conspiracy theorists. Oh well it’s doing wonders for his music career which, call me an old cynic, I can’t help but wonder if these two things are not related….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course they’re related, but I think B.o.B. is sincere in his belief. He’s making himself look like an idiot world wide, I don’t think downloads are worth that! Me personally, anyway.


  3. I’ve never heard of such a movement – flat earthers…I’d be telling that guy to stay in school and stay off the sauce.
    It’s like the anti-vaxxer movement and parents not innoculating their kids for polio and pertussis. Duh, of course your kid gets the whooping cough! Vaccinate your kids!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And that woman who didn’t vaccinate was shocked when ALL FIVE of her kids got Whooping Cough. And now she believes in vaccinations. Poor kids have to go through that for the mom to get any sense in her head.

      You think Flat Earthers are funny? I found a book about the Hollow Earthers a few years ago. What a bunch! They believe that the Nazis fled inside “our hollow earth”, where UFO’s come from. Inside our hollow earth is a miniature sun. And they planned an expedition to the north “hole”. I don’t know what happened to that expedition. Last I checked they were selling tickets to the north “hole”.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Michael Palin of Mony Python fame also did a TV series where he went from Pole to pole. It was quite enjoyable actually. If you want educational accuracy in music, listen to Sesame Street songs. My favourite is Born to Add, a child rendition of the Bruce Springsteen classic.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There’s a great Death Cab for Cutie line, “I wish the world was flat like the old days”
    I like Tyson’s reply – reminds me of a good meme I saw this year with a pigeon on a chess board.
    “Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good you are, the pigeon is going to sh*t on the board and strut around like it won anyway.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I heard this and I thought it was a sham to create buzz and sell something -apparently, it’s working – a fake fight between a “dumb” rapper and a “smart” astrophysicist- Really?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I truly don’t think it’s a sham. I can’t imagine anyone making themselves look this stupid to sell a song. I really can’t. Maybe I’m giving him too much benefit of the doubt, but I’d never say anything so seriously stupid for money. Could not pay me to do it. That’s the truth!


        1. Maybe! LOL. I just don’t see this as good marketing, if that’s what it is. I mean, this is a record now — for the rest of his life he is the guy who wrote a song about the Earth being flat. Granted if it goes to #1 then he gets the last laugh, but I would NOT want that to be my legacy personally. Yikes!


  7. Hahaha this is awesoe. I love this kind of thing. I’ll bet he believes all sorts of hilarious stuff. He’d be fun at parties.

    You know what would be epic? I think Bob should try to explain magnets to ICP. Internets! MAKE IT SO!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As for hollow earths, Jules Verne started that with Journey to the Center of the Earth. Edgar Rice Burroughs follows up with Tarzan going to Pelucidar (also the center of the Earth). Mike Grell’s the Warlord series by DC had the poles being holes to the center. I think this series was started in the mid ’70s. I was not aware of anyone taking these fictional places as fact.

    Liked by 1 person

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