Nate Meyvis


Reconcilable Differences #147: Pan-Pan!

Link. I had misunderstood RecDiffs. I’d taken it to be, very roughly, a Seinfeld descendent with lots of politics translated to longform podcasting. My new theory: RecDiffs is an extended meditation on the art and craft of living. It is a series of case studies in enhancing one’s conceptual framework in order to make life intelligible, to understand life, and to live better and more beautifully.

This reading of RecDiffs is compelling in part because it makes sense of Accidental Tech, another very fine show in the Siracusaverse. I prefer to read Accidental Tech as longform experimental fiction: what happens if three well-intentioned, intelligent people engage in a years-long exercise in sophisticated consumerism? (I had feared that the essential and extremely likable “Marco Arment” character would be killed off, as the COVID storyline intersected with the show’s longstanding exploration of the psychic consequences of modern political allegiance; but, happily, Marco is still with us.)

It’s against that Accidental Tech background that, e.g., Merlin’s purchase of a television in this episode is to be understood. This long discussion is about a purchase but never consumerist. Were it an ATP segment, Merlin would discuss his own preferences and habits but in the context of a purchasing decision and a resulting focus on comparison shopping, boning up on relevant technology, purchasing a warranty or not, and so on. RecDiffs starts where all that ends: We all have feelings and reactions that are neither the formation nor the rational consequences of the preferences of homo economicus. RecDiffs is where John and Merlin–who are closer to homo economicus than most, but always trying to be fully functioning humans–apply and refine their intellects and take up the business of living.