Maggie Koerth-Baker at 8:48 am Wed, Jan 27, 2010
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Excellent primer on the inner workings of the brain by noted science educator, John Cleese. (Via the Mind Hacks blog.)
AAAAH college neuroscience class flashback!
i did not understand a word he said besides “E=2″.
That and, “Don’t eat them.”
Coincidentally, this is pretty much exactly like my experiences trying to read research papers while under the influence of a head cold.
That is the science version of , right?
Before reading the article or viewing the video, the title already had me thinking of Monty Python.. As soon as I read that all I could think of is “The human brain is like an enormous fish. It’s flat and slimy, and has gills through which it can see.”
this is like those videos of people speaking in babble english. not real words.
That’s just a really bad Stanley Unwin rip off. I thought better of Mr Cleese
Love it, snarfed at work. Very embarrassing.
This sounds almost identical to the neuroanatomy classes I took. He must have swallowed the textbook we used!
He seems to be channelling the late Stanley Unwin, accent and all.
You mean a generic professorial English accent? And both men are English? Wow, you’re right, the man is simply plagiarizing that, he must be stopped…
Anyway, while the general concept is similar to Stanley Unwin’s, I think the execution off this one is much better. Virtually none of the words used are English, as opposed to a few meaningless nouns interspersed in a meaningless explanation.
Naturally Cleese would have been aware of this, and is probably paying homage with this piece, but you can’t imagine every comedy sketch is a completely isolated spark in a vacuum. Half of Monty Python’s sketches look like similar comedy being done at around the same time.
You mean a generic professorial English accent? And both men are English?
It’s a bit more than that. Stanley Unwin’s accent was very distinctive: it had a kind of burr and general softness to it which I would normally associate with SW England, particularly Bristol (though the vowel sounds don’t really match that). I believe I can hear traces of this in John Cleese’s speech here – on words like “frectation”, for example – whereas his normal “generic English” accent is a much crisper, Home Counties/BBC authority-figure sort of thing.
Of course, Mr Cleese comes from the SW himself, so this could just be the middle classness wearing off, or America getting to him at last, or perhaps unsatisfactory dentures, but I took it to be intentional, and part of a homage intended to be recognised as such.
looked like homage to me. that possibility was obvious to you too? consider it.
What? Excuse me? ¿Que? I say I think it’s a homage, so you invite me to consider the alternative possibility that it is, in fact, a homage? Far be it from me to lecture anyone on the subject of what does or does not constitute an argument, but if you’re going to try disagreeing with someone, ISTM that you might want to actually adopt an opposing point of view.
Sounded exactly like John Cleese’s normal voice except with a bit more (obviously very deliberate) mumbling.
That man could make a good living selling retroencabulators.
English not being my native tongue, it took me about thirty second to understand that it was actually babble. Funny/freaky.
Where was this when I was in college???? I can’t even tell you how tough it was for me when we were covering the resultary frictation of the multiporatory equation’s influence on the parabolic heterovanders. This would have cleared all of that up for me in minutes!
Started watching, became terrified that i was having a stroke, realized it was a joke, felt better.
Hilarious. Reminds me of this classic.
“…so that neglectance of mermax amptumerity superconfection causes structamention of faction cavity, there.”
I couldn’t have said it any better.
I’m sure the explanation makes complete sense to Herr Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nÃ¼rnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shÃ¶nedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm.
Next, Professor R. J. Gumby will explain the fundamentals of brain surgery.
A perfectly cromulent discussion. Bravo!
I think I heard a shout out to Paris Hilton in there.
Well, not having a dog in the Cleese v. Unwin fight, I have to say this was funny.
I don’t know what he said, but I’m sure it had something to do with Wernicke’s area.
Very apt brain humour, well done :)
i heard him distinctly refer to to the “parasiltin” (much funnier when said aloud then when read in text)
This reminds me of almost every math class I’ve ever taken. They take easily understood concepts and try there best to confuse you, by using words and terms they never care to translate to you. It’s like teaching someone Chinese by reading a Chinese novel and never translating the words or sentences to their students.
I didn’t understand what he said, so I put my glasses on. It didn’t help.
There’s a precedent among the Pythons for this kind of gibberish talking… here’s Eric Idle from a show he made after Monty Python, called Rutland Weekend Television (basically a spoof of what British TV really was like in the 1970s):
I would say was more of an homage to Mr Unwin than a rip off.
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