From a reader who goes by grunzen:
I heard you talk about booing in your podcast and you mentioned Santa Claus getting booed by Philadelphia’s notorious “boo birds.” I think I can do you one better. In ESPN’s “30 for 30″ documentary on the Baltimore Colts marching band [The Band That Wouldn't Die, directed by Barry Levinson], they mention how they were going to take the field before a Philadelphia Eagles game and that they were scared. This was because just prior to that, they had booed a little kid that had missed four passes in a contest. Now I can kind of understand booing some scraggly, disheveled Santa Claus (they mention this in the documentary). But a little kid in a contest? That’s the most extreme booing story I’ve heard.
If you remember our podcast “Boo…Who?” (which was included in the hour-long special “Show and Yell“), you’ll know we love the topic of booing. David Herman, our sound engineer at Freakonomics Radio, experienced some first-hand booing last week. He wrote it up as a guest post:
How Does It Feel to Get Booed?
By David Herman
Last weekend, I visited the Bell House in Brooklyn to hear the Budos Band, an afrobeat-inspired 10-piece instrumental group from Staten Island. According to the venue’s online ticket page, the show was slated to start at 9:00 PM. But 9:00 came and went, and then 10:00… 10:30… Granted, I’ve come to accept that no band will ever go on less than 30 minutes late, but this seemed to be pushing the bounds of good taste.
At about 10:45, the band made its way onstage from the wings. The (sold-out) house was packed with around 300 people, each of whom had paid $15 plus drinks. So as soon as the group got into position, almost two hours late, what happened?
“BOOOOOO!” Read More »
Read More »
Loved the “Show & Yell” episode, and had a few laugh out loud moments in the car as I was driving (i.e. the “boo” Giants baseball piece). However, as a fellow explorer of the unseen, the unconscious, and seemingly irrational decisions of fellow human beings, I was disappointed at the cursory attempt to explain why we do and don’t boo. To that I shout: BOO!!!!!
As Terry Teachout pointed out, no, we are not just polite people.
But Mr. Teachout’s best guess was off target as well. The endowment effect? Marginal and not encompassing enough!
Season 2, Episode 2
We have just released a series of five one-hour Freakonomics Radio specials to public-radio stations across the country (check here to find your local station), and now they’re hitting our podcast stream as well. If you are a dedicated podcast subscriber, then some of this material will be familiar to you. These new shows are what might best be called “mashupdates” — that is, mashups of earlier podcasts that have also been updated with new interviews, etc.
Season 2, Episode 2
Is booing an act of verbal vandalism? Or the last true expression of democracy?
In this hour-long special, hear how Philadelphia sports fans earned their reputation as the loudest boo-birds, and whether the distinction of high or low culture plays a role. You’ll hear from former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who admits to booing Santa Claus; and sportswriter/opera buff Robert Lipsyte, who was surprised that more people didn’t boo Pavarotti when he “parked and barked” his way through a performance.
Also in this episode, we look at “conspicuous conservation” – when people go out of their way to engage in “green” activities. Read More »
In our most recent Freakonomics Radio podcast, “Boo…Who?”, we talk to former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell about Philadelphia’s reputation as the city with the meanest sports fans. Philadelphians are passionate, Rendell argues, but they don’t make exceptions for poor performance, not even for Santa Claus.
Still, sometimes things can go too far, which is why Rendell came up with his rules for booing. Sort of an Emily Post handbook for rowdy sports fans. Since Rendell’s rules are aimed mostly at the sports crowd, we decided to expand and ask him a few some non-sports booing questions. He has replied with direct answers. Read More »