Gag me with a spoon

February 7, 2014 • 2:42 pm

If you want accommodationism so unctuous that you’ll want either an immediate shower or a dose of syrup of ipecac, have a listen to “Lookout, Science” by Erin Hill and her psychedelic harp. I wish I could say that this is a joke. It isn’t.

Watch it—as a favor to Professor Ceiling Cat.

It’s NOMA set to New Age music!

The YouTube info: OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO. USA Today posted “Lookout, Science” as an exclusive world premiere in 2012. “Lookout, Science” is from Erin Hill & her Psychedelic Harp’s debut album “Girl Inventor,” which is available now at Erin’s website:

Both “Lookout, Science” and “Giant Mushrooms” are from the upcoming Video Album “Girl Inventor,” which will comprise 10 sci-fi harp music videos, each like a little 4-minute Twilight Zone episode set to a pop tune.

Picture 1
Isn’t that sweet? A female scientist in a lab coat embracing a pastor (clearly not a priest) with a bunch of foliage

h/t: Rob

121 thoughts on “Gag me with a spoon

        1. You must be older than me… all I had to do was wipe the ‘laugh tears’ outta my eyes so I could read the comments again.

    1. Non-Overlapping MAgisteria. The notion that science and religion are different turfs, so neither can make claims about the other (but religion quickly dismisses this notion when posing virgin birth, turning water into wine…)

      1. NOMA also has religion co-opting “morals and meaning.” The fact that an atheist like Gould actually granted that one to theists is mind-boggling.

    2. It’s how a cat goes when trying something indigestible – “NOM … Arrghh!”. Shortened “NOMA” to get rid of the indelicacies.

    1. That makes two of us….and I really tried….made it to the 3 minute mark….I feel…..empty….and a little cold…oh, the humanities!

    2. Yeah, Garbageman is a classic to be sure and I think the record it’s from has the greatest album title ever: “Bad Music for Bad People”.

  1. I watched the whole thing. You owe me 5:11. I’ll put some thought into what payment would suffice.

    The third eye in her forehead was asymmetrical (probably a copy of her right eye). If you’re going to do special effects, take the time and effort to do it right.

  2. Watch it—as a favor to Professor Ceiling Cat.


    Professor Ceiling Cat owes me BIG TIME.

    Ok, it was interesting to try to find the places where science “learns” from religion. I spotted several suggestions of magical insight — ghost figures writing solutions on chalkboards and sparkles illuminating microscopes. There was also a part where a woman had a “third eye” (for mystical insight.) This was not so much “religion” as “spirituality,” it seems to me.

    The video showed a Catholic priest agreeing with a little girl’s test on evolution. Science-friendly! And THEN it showed the flip side — a scientist sharing her ice cream sprinkles with the guy next to her. Because an atheist wouldn’t know how to share. You learn that from being friendly with religion!

    I have bad taste in music. Yes, I often listen to New Age music. I admit it. But even I found this annoying. I shudder to think how it must affect other people — though it’s good to find out I have my limits.

      1. Your question terrifies me.

        I didn’t notice that and so I am intrigued. Good catch. But that means I need to watch the video again.

        Let me think about that one. Damn you.

      2. Okay, that wasn’t so bad — I was able to use the screenshots on the bottom to catch the specific moment.

        My best guess: it’s a ‘gotcha,’ an example of ‘There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’ The scientist didn’t expect that! But it happened! Anything can happen, anything might be true. That’s what religion teaches science.

      3. The guy with the third arm (and the woman with the third eye under her counterperson’s hat) are references to the Twilight Zone episode Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up.

      4. I think the extra arm and the third eye are attempts to build a larger “us” of religionists to go after the “them” of science.

        Right after the third-arm ice cream moment there is a shot of a multi-armed Hindu god(dess). The third eye is a wide spread belief even extending into some muslim cultures. So, i think Hill is building a constituency of faithers.

    1. “I have bad taste in music. Yes, I often listen to New Age music. I admit it.”

      How do you know you have bad taste in music? Do you not trust your own counsel on this topic just as much as you do regarding any other topic about which you’ve confidently opined at this website?

      Rossini wrote a folkesque orchestral tune called “La Danza.” Critics gave him grief for it. Unperturbed, he took to referring to it as “my sin.”

      1. Well, I was speaking tongue-in-cheek. De gustibus non est disputandum. I think my own taste in music is fine. It’s eclectic, which means it both appeals — and then emphatically doesn’t appeal — to a wide range of tastes other than mine.

        1. Okie-Dokie. “Tongue-in-cheek” sorta hard to discern, what with email being “so one-dimensional,” as a false-hearted, beguiling harpy lassie once uttered to me.

          Per “P.D.Q. Bach,” good bench mark from Duke Ellington: “If it sounds good, it IS good!”

  3. How could she allow the minister chap to spray his holy water (or whatever) around her lab? Wasn’t she worried about contamination in her beakers of brightly coloured liquids?

        1. I couldn’t help but think that was very much a microcosm of the same thing that happened on a much larger scale in the early 20th century in Western art music. Everything in the piece you linked to unambiguously traces its heritage straight back to the plainsong chant of the Middle Ages (and, at least allegorically, to the pen of Pope Gregory the Great between 590 and 604). But, as with Richard Strauss and then the Viennese School (most notably Schoenberg), they stretched it to the very breaking point. And, as with Strauss’s own career, after pretty much breaking everything, they came back to very familiar turf.

          Even Schoenberg famously said that there’s still lots of great music to be written in C Major. Were they alive today, I’m certain that he, Stravinsky, Bartok, Brahms, Beethoven, and Bach would all have been thrilled by that performance.

          Nine minutes very well spent. Thanks!


  4. Isn’t that sweet? A female scientist in a lab coat embracing a pastor (clearly not a priest) with a bunch of foliage

    Not sure about the priest vs. pastor thing, but the holy water suggests it was a Catholic priest. The couple appears to be brother and sister (they visit Mom for her birthday and bring her cute cards.)

    One of the things which bothers me about this video is the implicit message that science and religion will finally get along if we just be nice to each other as people. This implies that New Atheists wouldn’t or couldn’t be friendly or loving to believers on a personal basis.

    Look, I kiss and hug Christians, New Agers, and folks of all sorts of belief systems all the time because those are my friends and relatives. Our argument has nothing to do with being cold or mean or even argumentative.

    1. It makes the normative claim that we should get along together and that we have so much to learn from one another. Phil Plait may want to see this. Maybe it will make him revise his unabridged niceness.

  5. Off-topic:

    Sorry for being off-topic, but there is an article in the Daily Telegraph stating that the head of the Mormon Church is being called to court in Westminster because the Church’s teachings amount to fraud.

    This strikes me as being of interest to Prof. Ceiling Cat, link below:

    1. Wow! That’s an odd story. I think though that the Mormon beliefs only appear so outrageous compared to other religions, because of their modernity (like scientology). If the courts were going to take on every cult with crazy beliefs, that would amount to a total ban on religion.

  6. Sometimes I very much enjoy the harp. Now I worry a memory of this video will be involuntarily summoned the next time I hear a note from the instrument. Toward the end there, I may have hallucinated Arthur Conan Doyle and Sylvia Brown doing it while a white terrier circled them, yapping hysterically while running full speed brown-eye first.

        1. Well, you have to give abody at least a little credit for being able to play and sing at the same time. Patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time, eh?

  7. ‘Giant Mushrooms’ sounds a bit more promising title – or would have done in the 70’s.

    But I just went and listened to White Rabbit instead. Safer bet.

          1. Oh my god… the look on Ron Jeremy’s face… Ron Jeremy, of all people.

            A guy Randy, who certified me for diving… I introduced him to Trey and Matt’s Orgazmo… and it became his favorite movie. By a pure coincidence, Randy was driving through Key West, and Ron was walking on the street – and Randy recognizes him, rolls down the window: “oh…oh…oh.. I know you… you were in that movie I saw!!” Ron is immediately getting squeamish and looking for places to run. “What was the NAME of that… uh, uh… OH YEAH… Orgazmo!!” Ron immediately brightens, and says — “Oh Yeah! That was a GREAT movie!” They end up in a bar talking about it, my divemaster with his root beer. Funny as hell. I had to tell him that Ron is one of the most prolific porn stars in history.

          2. His expression says a lot especially in the context of all the others. You immediately know this dude doesn’t live life like the rest of us.

          3. Why are they all using an Apple ithing. Is goatse the default wallpaper on Apples? 😉

          4. Yeah, I noticed many of them were Apple users as well – Powerbooks mostly dated to the era they were taken.

          1. 🙂 Oh yeah, I know. Sorry for the confusion… I was actually throwing a joke Ben’s way, as it was a few weeks back that I brought the sordid concept up out of the blue. – and there was a midge of back and forth… right before I had to take a business trip to advise a coupe of different teams in… er… infectious disease epidemiology of HIV and other diseases that attack between the belly-button and the knees (both front and back). I’m afraid nothing surprises me anymore… except perhaps seeing my own expression (blank stare?) gazing into the heart of darkness for the first time. Maybe I would’ve at least twitched. I hope so.

          2. Ah, sorry. I had you down for the last person left on the Intertoobs who hadn’t heard of Goatse. I thought possibly the Wikipedia link might be less of a shock to the system than the rude reality.

            It seems I was the one who was missing something. 😀


          3. The weird one was the guy that was laughing really hard. He showed the woman with him and she was horrified while he laughed. These pictures are priceless. There should be an art exhibit!

        1. Goatse is something like a goat, see? Only it’s not quite a goat, exactly. But it’s really happy to see you. Or, at least, if it’s not happy, it’s got an huge expression that, once seen, cannot be unseen.

          If you don’t believe me, you can just go see it for yourself!

          …but don’t say I didn’t warn you….



          1. Funny…I don’t remember anything like Goatse at the elementary school where I learned that song. You must have had a rather…interesting…childhood….


  8. My poor face can’t handle many more face palms. Ceiling Cat owes me a new face!

    Again, I worry about my sisters – not as many atheists & now this. One. Tear.

  9. Hooooo Mann! Now that was somethin’. Not sure what, but somethin’.

    The bit where her lab gets the holy water treatment was hysterical. I wonder if that could considered scientific misconduct? I mean, if gawd is influencing the results, wouldn’t that be a case of fabricating results? Although, it wouldn’t be “drylabbing” in a literal sense.

  10. Amazingly, the older woman in the video is Marni Nixon, the singing voice of Natalie Wood, Audrey Hepburn, Deborah Kerr and others from the golden age of musicals. What made her want to be involved in this?

    1. So that’s who it was! Thanks, she looked familiar. I was half-afraid that it might be some famous ‘psychic.’

      There are Erin Hill fans and it’s a cheerful video. Marni Nixon probably thought it was fun — and she’s probably pleased with what most people would consider a positive, enlightened message.

      Besides, she got the MOST ice cream. They may have lured her with that.

    2. That is totally COOL. Dismal song and video, etc, etc…

      That’s the woman who sang “I Feel Pretty” and “Wouldn’t it be Lovely”???

  11. For the first few seconds I could bear to watch this I thought someone must have hacked Jerry’s website and posted Christian porn.

  12. I think she got it right. Religion is looking in at what your imagination is spewing … without checking whether it’s in accord with the outside world and reality.

  13. Ceiling Cat or not, you can’t make me watch. You may have sent your agent (the incomplete medial melanisation one) to claw the doorjamb into shreds if I don’t but it won’t work.

    I’ve read the comments. :-]

  14. Well, I watched. With amazement. I hated giving her the web traffic though, she might think it’s real viewers. Cringeworthy in the extreme.

  15. How is her harp psychedelic? Granted, it’s got pretty coloured strings, but I’d expect a bit more than that – maybe fluorescent, or the odd one emitting flames at intervals, or something. Or does she mean the sound it makes? Err, no again. Pink Floyd or Jefferson Starship could claim to be psychedelic, but tinkling on a solo harp just doesn’t do it. Not ever.

    Maybe it sounds better after the audience has imbibed sufficient psychoactive substances…

  16. Is it an allegory? Are we supposed to see that Religion is closeted and his love for Science is really just for show?

  17. EEEEEAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!! Hurl! Puke! Vomit!!

    How can I erase these images permanently from my mind?

    What makes it even worse is that she is kind of a Jodie Foster look-alike. And I liked Jodie Foster in Contact!

    The music is crap too. . . . and I know something about music.

  18. I tried. About 20 seconds in, my iPad disconnected from the net. In the part of my house where the wifi signal is best.

    That has to be a Sign.

    Actually, it doesn’t.

  19. The sole redeeming virtue of this piece of crap is that at the very end there’s a scene with a West Highland White Terrier in it. I used to have one, and it brought back pleasant memories.

  20. I’m still dreading to find out what the etymology of “gag me with a spoon” is. I’m almost looking forward to finding out what thought process lead to that phrase coming out of someone’s mouth.
    (I think I first heard in from Frank Zappa’s daughter “Moon Unit”, on the record “Valley Girls” ; this doesn’t inspire me with confidence that there will be a comprehensible answer.)

    1. It was a phrase of disgust of unknown origin (I think) popular amongst rich white teenaged girls in Southern California, especially Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, in the ’80s.

      Like, totally. Gag me with a spoon! Whatever.


      1. Aye ; like I said, the “interestingly” named Ms Moon Unit Zappa. Rich (enough), white, and Californian.
        You’re into your SF, yes? Do you remember, IIRC, Heinlein’s short story “And He Built A Crooked House,” about the problems of building tesseract-shaped accommodation in California? It started with a wonderful diatribe about the sanity of Americans in general, Californians in particular, and inhabitants of a part of LA as the epicentre of American insanity. I suspect that the Zappa family had read that, and took it as an aspiration, not a warning.
        Even right on the Heinlein! Un-reconstructed right-wing whack job he might be, but boy, could he write SF!

        1. Yes, I remember that one…in the same anthology as “The Roads Must Roll!” if I remember the anthology and title correctly.

          Heinlein is one of the greatest storytellers of the last century, but, yeah…thinking back on some of the things he wrote that I really enjoyed as a teenager make me wince not a little bit today….


  21. But he’s wearing a Roman collar.

    Sorry. I tried, but I couldn’t make it past the first couple of lines. And I am very fond of harp music.

  22. Fantasy plus fx is still fantasy. Singing about it activates our “feel good” circuitry. Our addiction to “feel good” perpetrates the transcendental myth, an unfortunate byproduct of brain chemistry.

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