John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 79: Whether You Did It Good Or Not

by on Jul.21, 2011, under Rum Doings, The Rest

Welcome person to Rum Doings Episode 79, an episode in which we don’t discuss how long it will be until English is a foreign language in England. But instead we do discuss, at significant length, Carol Vorderman. With additional notes for our non-UK listeners.

Of course we also share knowledge of the lovely, late Richard Whitely, Susie Dent, and the Countdown they shared. This is the sort of matter that makes Rum Doings essential.

It should probably be noted that this episode was recorded ahead of time, and we have since received some excellent responses to our ghost joke. We will certainly be discussing them in the next episode.

Do we think less less of a celebrity who uses the service they advertise? Naturally we find out yet another thing that annoys Nick about Andrew Collins, which inevitably takes us to pondering why Nick wouldn’t accept John as a daddy. Then a very painful discussion over how much money John would require to have Dexter put down. Then we work out when we’d murder. And discuss whether morality is arbitrary. And evolutionary theory. And Hebrew.

We then read out Ryan’s email to us, which once again confusingly seems to not like John as much as Nick, even though he’s clearly best.

Please consider writing a review on iTunes. It’s a really good way of raising our profile. And keep on tweeting and so forth.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here!


25 Comments for this entry

  • Flameberge

    As always, very entertaining. I also concur with the e-mail from ‘Ryan’. Rum Doings has become one of those ‘comfortable’ things in my life, especially as otherwise my experiences are very turbulent at the minute: I’ve had to deal with several family bereavements in short succession, I recently broke up with my girlfriend of four years, not to mention the more practical stress of juggling my dissertation and various legal work placements. For me, within that context, Rum Doings also creates a certain relaxed atmosphere which I enjoy experiencing. Quite similar, although to a lesser extent, to John’s ‘safe’ things (though Eggheads, really!?) regarding his anxiety that he talked about way back in the mists of begone Rum Doings.

    Ok, enough of the slavish praise. Philosophy and moral reasoning discussion was really interesting. Nick seems to subscribe to an extent to utilitarianism and egoism, (or maybe you are just playing devil’s advocate to an extent, philosophy is not my area) which I find intriguing, as neither philosophical outlook provides me with any practical answers. I get uncomfortable with the primacy of numbers in utilitarianism and the fact it effectively becomes a simple moral calculator. Egoism seems simply unhelpful, as it is entirely retrospective and circular: It explains everything ex post facto as ‘ah, that must have been because that’s what he really wanted to do’, but provides no forward-looking answers or guidance, unlike deonotology or even utilitarianism.

    I am certainly no philosopher, and am swimming close to my depth even with that paragraph, but I would be really interested in seeing what else Nick has to say about those sort of topics.

  • Ryan Hood

    You read my email! This is really awkward, but I’m loving it. Thank you both.

  • George

    I realise this is the wrong comments thread, but I’ve only just listened to episode 77. Here is a suggestion for a new ‘default joke’ for John:
    “Knock knock”
    “Who’s there?”
    “To who?”
    “To whom.”

  • Toby Collins

    I have to agree with you ryan, radio 4 used to be my comforting place to be but now its rum doings. Unfortunately im not dedicated enough to listen to them all again 3 times so i will quite happily concede the title of biggest fan.

    I am going to demand however that rum doings be produced on a daily basis with a minimum run time of 6 hours. That should see me through the day.

    On a serious note though the poodcast is allot better generally when neither of your worry about time constraints and take conversations to their natural conclusions. I think some times the time limit gets in the way in a similar fashion to a topic of discussion in some other podcasts

  • James Campbell

    I have to agree with Ryan too, though obviously he’s quite mental but hopefully just in an obsessive nerdy way and not in a stabby way.

  • Xercies

    Hmm Rum Doings is comforting to me to, I sometimes get horrible night terrors and have to put the light on a bit and cannot sleep until I have relistened to a few of these episodes. Nicks voice is very soothing and Johns wittiness makes me feel a lot better.

    Now give me your addresses so I can sta…I mean hug you.

  • Trellism

    I had a housemate who was a ‘champion of champions’ on Countdown. He was exactly as strange as you are imagining.

    Richard Whiteley opened our Horsforth village fĂȘte with the phrase ‘a warm hand on your opening.’ this is not a suburban myth, my mum was there.

  • Sam

    We have Countdown in Australia, too! It was a music show from the 70s. We also have the show you described, but but they call it Letters and Numbers here. My mum loves it.

    And on the topic of comfortable, I would like to thank you for putting out an episode pretty much each week. Your dedication does not go unappreciated. Actually, it probably does – but not by me! My heart has been broken too many times by podcasts without regular schedules and ones that stop updating and go on indefinite hiatus. Just know that when you eventually announce the end of Rum Doings, it will probably kill me.

    I promise to email “podcast at Rum Doings dot com” (thank you, Nick, for etching that phrase into my brain) each week that you don’t complain about how we never write in.

  • George

    I too find Rum Doings comforting*. Its regularity and easy-listenability (that word went wrong somewhere) mean that it’s good to relax whilst listening to at the end of a long Thursday.
    *Apart from this episode, which, with its talk of cat-murder and infanticide, made me feel decidedly uncomfortable.

  • Gassalasca

    I would like to watch the Countdown episode with the posh antiques boy. Please provide more information.
    Forever grateful,
    Your listener

  • AJS

    What did the ghost say when he won the prize?

    What a booooooo-n!

  • trellism

    Can’t find the Countdown vid but here is Lauren Harries talking on This Morning.

    Any weirdness about her is entirely coincidental to her trans status.

  • Gassalasca

    Thanks, trellism! Now that I’ve got a name, I can rummage teh intrawebz on my own.

  • devlocke

    Oh, FINE. Suggest a more reasonable airing schedule for Rum Doings on Mother’s Milk and I will make it happen. I suppose I could just air the most recently recorded one, at the end of each month. But that would involve missing a.) everything between episode 14 and this one, and b.) only every fourth or fifth one, from here on out. They’re all so GOOD. It would be a shame for the denizens of Richmond, Virginia who only listen via the FM broadcast to miss an episode.

    I have been operating under the assumption that some day, you will both decide not to do Rum Doings or die. This means the supply of episodes is finite and eventually, I will catch up. Upon reflection, I realize that you both have healthcare provided by the state, whereas I simply do not go to the doctor ever, and further, am overweight and drink too much too often, so you’ll probably outlive me. Unless you’re planning on quitting at some point, a better plan for airing Rum Doings is probably in order. Nick is more rational than I (me?), so I leave it to y’all. Let me know how you’d like me to handle it. :)

  • Nick Mailer

    “Than I” is correct. And ignore John. Just continue broadcasting them
    In order. There’s a kind if poignancy in constantly pulling away from them temporally which seems appropriate for you show’s topic.

  • trellism

    I have a new joke!

    What did the army of laptop batteries say as they went into battle?



  • Alex B

    What did the ghost say when he won the prize?

    “I wasn’t exspectereing to win…”

  • mister k

    Nick is entirely right that those who suggest a difference between macro and micro are creationists. There isn’t a moment of hesitancy for proper scientists in that field, because such changes are, as Nick says, somewhat arbitary. Theres evidence of speciation countless times on our tiny little time scale. Sadly we haven’t managed to evolve a lizard into a bird quite yet…

    Nick is also right that our moral system is arbitary, but I’m not sure that matters necessarily. Even if our morality was “do what God says” that would be terribly arbitary. God saying it makes it right? Why? Because he says so. Well fine, but if my moral principles are to do minimise pain thats a fairly arbitary basis.

    I think there are sensible reasons to act morally that are basically evolutionarily based- I want myself and those I like to be happy, to be fufilled, and generally speaking a society which looks after everyone pretty well, and follows roughly the rules we currently do is a pretty good way to maintain that lifestyle.

    I don’t think I’ve listened to any rum doings more than once, other than the now show parody. Clearly I’m a terrible fan.

  • Daniel Rivas

    What did the ghost say when he won the prize?

    “Well this is just phantas(m)stic!”

  • David N

    Do John and Nick read these comments? They often mention that they never receive feedback from their listeners, but there are often tens of comments for each episode on this website.

    If I would like my comments to be read, would it be best to send an email instead? Personally, I prefer a more public forum like this.

  • Daniel Rivas

    They complain because it’s always the same five people commenting every week. And because they just want more more more. It’s sick.

  • David N

    Ah, well make that six people, now!

    I’ve been a long time listener, but I always forget to write out an email by the time I get home after listening to an episode (I listen almost exclusively in the car).

    I’ll try and leave any comments I have here.

  • David N

    Err… make that “try to”!

  • Nick Mailer

    Try and is fine. Ignore Jonathan. And yes, I read these comments, but John doesn’t.

  • Hidden_7

    I’m sure Nick will have encountered this in his studies, but for John’s benefit, the concept associated with trying to explain why most of us are okay with flipping the switch to divert the train onto the track with one person, and most of us are hesitant to push the man off the bridge to stop the train is called the doctrine of double effect.

    Most people’s “common sense” morality is largely rights based, with a willing but uncomfortable appeal to utilitarianism when the stakes get big enough. Only, obviously, not as introspective or systematized as all that. For the dedicated utilitarian, the calculation really isn’t any different, and having run the numbers, should feel no more troubled to push the man off the bridge than to divert the train. However, if you’re appealing to a rights-based ethics at any point, then any violation of someone’s rights is going to bother you, and the reason why pushing the man off the bridge bothers you MORE, is because it’s a different sort of rights violation.

    The Kantian-style deontology is opposed to treating persons at solely means to an end, rather than ends in and of themselves. When you divert the train to avoid killing the five people, it is tragic that it then kills one, but that’s not your intention. You recognize that the man’s death will result due to your actions, you aren’t blind to that, but it’s not necessary for your plan, it’s not the effect you really want out of your action (it’s the “double effect”). Were the man not on the other length of track, that would be all the better. Then no one would have to die.

    However, when you push the man off the bridge, that’s not the case. You need the man to die, it is absolutely essential for your plan. Willing the man’s death is absolutely your primary intent, albeit because it will lead to more lives saved. In this way, he is not a tragic accidental victim of your actions, but he is the TOOL by which you are achieving your ends. A means to an end, etc. etc.

    It’s a more gross violation of someone’s rights to say “excuse me, I need your carcass to save some lives, so I’m just going to use it,” rather than “whoops, I’ve put you in danger you weren’t in before, terribly sorry about that,” which is why people are often okay with the latter, but not with the former.

    Sorry for rambling on, you’ve probably heard all this before, but I rather enjoyed the discussion. Not often my degree gets put to any sort of use. Anytime you guys want to talk philosophy is a-okay with me! Keep up the good work.