Show and Yell (Ep. 66)

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Season 2, Episode 2

Soccer fans in Sydney, Australia react after hear its 2022 World Cup Soccer bid was award to Qatar. (Photo: KRYSTLE WRIGHT/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

Today’s episode is called “Show and Yell” (download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript). It draws from our earlier podcasts “Hey, Baby, Is That a Prius You’re Driving?” and “Boo … Who?”

In a nutshell, here are the questions we seek to answer in today’s program:

Is booing an act of verbal vandalism or the last true expression of democracy? And: when you drive a Prius, are you guilty of “conspicuous conservation”?

You’ll 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.

And we look at “conspicuous conservation” – when people go out of their way to engage in “green” activities. While driving a Toyota Prius may do a little bit of good for the planet, being seen driving a Prius may do a lot of good for you. And one more mystery: why some people install solar panels on the shady side of the street.


Not a fan of the mashupdates. I had been looking forward to new material.


Regarding the Prius story, talk about data stretched to the limit to support an opinion! Why would someone choose the Prius over the Civic hybrid? How about finding that the Honda was totally gutless after test driving it compared to the Prius. Though the 50+ MPG I've been getting in my Prius for over 8 years and 150,000 miles haven't hurt either. I test drove both vehicles on the same stretch of road, within an hour of one another, getting on the freeway, I floored it in the Honda, and when I got to the merge zone had barely hit 45. Same thing in the Prius? Half way down the same on ramp I noticed the traffic was going backwards relative to me, glanced at the speedometer and I was doing nearly 80. That's what initially sold me! But then again, I'm neither a democrat, nor from California, so I don't fit their data picking.


I have to wonder whether there would be a big difference in the results of the Sextons' research if it was done in Scandinavia. E.g. Insulation, earth heatpumps and energy efficient appliances are way more popular as a 'green solution' in Denmark than solar panels and Priuses. And you can be pretty sure that a Dane who put up a solar panel would put it on the South-facing side. Nothing else makes financial sense to any Dane, left or right wing.


In comparing Prius sales in Democratic and Republican communities in Washington, I wonder of the authors controlled for the difference in geography. The Democratic areas (e.g., western Washington, Seattle) are urban, where a hybrid car may make more sense. The Republican areas (e.g., eastern Washington) are agricultural, where a hybrid car may make less sense.


What about the numbers of people who live in Texas who bought a hybrid Honda instead of a normal Honda? For logical reasons like the look, and not the Prius affect.