An investigative comedian exploring the weirdest and wildest reaches of human knowledge. Creator and host of Adam Ruins Everything, now streaming on HBO Max!

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On the LA Teacher’s Strike
January 27, 2019

I wrote a column for Hollywood Reporter on why I took to the picket line in support of the teachers of Los Angeles:

First, as member of two unions, I know that I owe my mortgage payment to solidarity. If it weren’t for the fellow union members and leaders who have my back, the barons of the TV industry would happily pay me a nickel a page and spend what would have been my residuals on more caviar to put in their infinity pools. So when I see other workers fighting for their own fair shake, I consider it my duty to pay it forward and have their back too.

But more importantly, I’m a child of public schools and I know how important they are. And what the teachers of UTLA are fighting for isn’t just wages — they’re saving public education in Los Angeles.

… The only way to change a system this unjust and this entrenched is for someone to finally stand up and say, “This is unacceptable, and we can’t allow it to go on.” The school board wasn’t going to; superintendent Austin Beutner wasn’t going to; so it fell to the teachers to do so. By exerting pressure from the bottom up, they aim to force reform all the way up to Sacramento. It’s a game plan every Hollywood negotiator knows well: If you’re being told “It’s not in the budget,” then you exert your leverage until you force the fat cats holding the wallet to make the budget bigger. Los Angeles is a rich city; California is a rich state; the United States is a rich country. The money is out there, and Los Angeles teachers are demanding that it be spent where it belongs, on our kids. They deserve our support.

In other news, I gave the New York Times some travel tips, including a recommendation of my favorite audiobook of the last year:

 I use the Libby app to check out audiobooks from my public library. Right now, I’m listening to “Evicted,” by Matthew Desmond, which is a really incredible set of stories of poverty in Milwaukee, and about the underreported epidemic of eviction that is contributing to the cycle of poverty. The cool thing is, it’s the rare piece of nonfiction that isn’t just dumping the policy problem on you. It’s incredibly, beautifully reported personal accounts of individual families and what their lives are like on a day-to-day basis.

Introducing My New Podcast, Humans Who Make Games
January 19, 2019

I’m so excited to announce the launch of my new podcast, Humans Who Make Games, in partnership with IGN and Starburns Audio.

Humans Who Make Games podcast artwork

Humans Who Make Games is an intimate longform interview podcast where I sit down with the creators and artists behind your favorite video games.

As a life-long lover of games, I’ve always felt that it’s so strange that the people who make them are so often invisible. You can find millions of hours of breakdowns of games’ plots, mechanics, or history on the Internet, but it’s strikingly rare that you have the chance to get to know the people behind the keyboard who created the dang game to begin with. That’s what this show attempts to rectify.

For our first season, I talk with Edmund McMillen (Super Meat Boy, Binding of Isaac), Derek Yu (Spelunky), Christine Love (Analogue: A Hate Story, Ladykiller in a Bind), Justin Ma (FTL, Into the Breach), and many more about what their first memory of games was, how they got into the industry, and what brought them to create the games they did.

I’d like to thank the amazing Sophia Foster-Dimino for providing our gorgeous cover artwork, and my favorite game-and-film composer Disasterpeace for our theme music.

Take a listen! New episodes are available on this very site, on the Starburns Audio show page, or on our iTunes page.

The Model Minority Myth
January 16, 2019

Here’s a segment from our newest episode, Adam Ruins A Sitcom, in which we discuss the real history behind the “model minority” myth that is so often placed on Asian-Americans:

Here are my responses to two common questions about this video that I’ve received on Twitter. First, in response to the question of whether or not Germans were interned in camps during World War II:

Secondly, in response to our decision to call the camps that Japanese-Americans were held in “concentration camps” rather than internment camps:

Here’s a good piece from NPR which summarizes the reasons many scholars choose to use the term “concentration camp” rather than the more sanitized “internment camp:”

Roger Daniels, a historian and author, wrote an analysis for the University of Washington Press called “Words Do Matter: A Note on Inappropriate Terminology and the Incarceration of the Japanese Americans.” He concludes that, although it’s unlikely society will completely cease to use the phrase “Japanese internment,” scholars should abandon the term and use “concentration camp.” He considers internment a euphemism that minimizes a tragic time in American history.
President Franklin Roosevelt himself called the relocation sites concentration camps

While it’s certainly possible to have a good-faith disagreement on which term is more apropos, it is clear that “concentration camp” is an acceptable choice, and we chose to side with scholars that believe that its use is the most accurate way to highlight the deep human rights abuse that the camps represented.

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