Mermaids vs Bigfoot (1)
Announcer: From the brains behind Brains On!, it's Smash Boom Best.
Oscar: The show for people with big opinions.
Molly Bloom: Hi, I'm Molly Bloom and this is Smash Boom Best, the show where we take two things, smash them together, and ask you to decide which one is best. Today's debate is between two marvelous mythical legends, it's mermaids versus Bigfoot. In one corner, we've got mermaids, half-human and half-fish. They're known for their super scaly powerful tails. In the other, Bigfoot, the ever-elusive ape-like creature living in forests all over the world. Which creature will win this Smash Boom Best battle? It's going to be a tough one, but luckily, Oscar is here to help us decide. Hi, Oscar.
Molly: When I say mermaid, what comes to mind?
Oscar: Immediately, Ariel. When I was younger, that was my number one favorite movie. I had little action figures of every character from The Little Mermaid.
Molly: What about Bigfoot? What pops in your head when you hear the word Bigfoot?
Oscar: When I hear Bigfoot, weird TV shows where it's like a bunch of old men going into the forest and setting up traps, that kind of stuff. That's what comes to mind for Bigfoot. Yes, that.
Molly: Oscar, do you find yourself debating or arguing with friends and family?
Oscar: All the time. They hate me for it. I do it way too much.
Molly: Do you have some tactics you use to try to persuade your opponent?
Oscar: I spent some time memorizing a few logical fallacies. People will appeal to common sense all the time as if that's like a fact, but it's just the stuff that everybody tends to agree on, but everybody tends to be wrong a lot.
Molly: Well, Oscar, you are going to be a fabulous judge today. Now, it's time to meet our debaters. Here to defend the fabled and fabulous Team Mermaid, it's Merk Nguyen. Hi, Merk.
Merk Nguyen: Hello.
Molly: Merk, in a single sentence, why are mermaids the Smash Boom Best?
Merk: Ah, they're intelligent, powerful, gorgeous, and just were made to be part of our world.
Molly: (laughs) Here to represent extraordinary and elusive Team Bigfoot, it's Joy Dolo. Hi, Joy.
Joy Dolo: Hi, I'm here. I am ready to be a part of your world. I took your line, you're welcome.
Merk: (laughs) It's okay, you didn't sasquatch my feelings. Not yet, anyway.
Oscar: Oh geez, this is going to be a long show.
Joy: Oh, you just slipped that right through my fingers. Oh, come on. This is going to be a great show. You're welcome ahead of time, Oscar.
Oscar: No, I fully appreciate the mystical puns.
Molly: Joy, in one sentence, why is Bigfoot clearly the cooler creature?
Joy: Bigfoot is the cooler creature because he's a lot like me. He lives on land, he's got a heart of gold, and I haven't shaved during the pandemic so we are both furry and cuddly.
Molly: I think the two of you are going to make all of us believers today. Let's review the rules of the game. First, we've got the declaration of greatness. In this round, each team will present moving, fact-filled arguments for their side. Each team will also have 30 seconds to rebut their opponent's declarations. Then we've got the micro round. It's a creative challenge both debaters have prepared for in advance. Next, we've got the sneak attack, a surprise challenge to see how well our debaters can improvise. Last but not least, we've got the Final 6. In this round, each team will have just six words to capture why their side is the best.
Oscar will award points throughout the debate, but he'll keep his decisions top secret until the end. Listeners, be your own judge and tally your points along the way too. We want to know who you think won. Is everyone ready?
Merk: Oh, yes.
Joy: I was born ready.
Oscar: Yes. Yes, I am ready.
Molly: All right, it's time for the-
Announcer: Declaration of greatness.
Molly: -our debaters are ready to deliver the most persuasive facts and stories about their side. We flipped a coin and Merk, you're up first. It's time to tell us about those mythical, mesmerizing sea-dwelling legends, mermaids.
Merk: Let me ask you this… Would you rather wake up to an alarm clock that sounds like this?
(DEEP, MONSTER AHHHHH)
I'm guessing you went for the first one, also known as, mermaids. But hey, I wouldn't judge you if you chose the second one AKA Bigfoot! It undeniably leaves a big impression.
Person: Yeah! Team Sasquatch! I'd wake up to that voice any day! What the dolphin flipper is a mermaid anyway?
Well, like Bigfoot, the mermaid is a mythological creature. The word “mermaid” is a combination of two words from Old English: “Mere,” meaning “sea,” and “maid,” meaning “young lady.” That's not to say mermen and merpeople don't exist. They did or… do depending on what you believe. Just know when I say “mermaid,” I'm mostly referring to any gender human from the waist up, who's got a singular powerful fin from the waist down.
Person: So what makes these mer-people so much better than Bigfoot?
Bigfoot is a big, old scaredy cat who lives in the woods.
Mermaids are multifaceted symbols who represent power, stunning skill and individual freedom for the good of humankind!
Person: Ohhh. So they're like-- pretty brave…?
Merk: Uhh, yeah! Let me show you by diving into their history.
The first recorded mermaid tale dates back to 1000 BC, when, legend has it, Atargatis -- one of the most important goddesses in northern Syria-- dove into a lake and shapeshifted into a half-fish, half-human.
From there, mermaid myths popped up in different forms all over the world. In South Africa, they were called “Kaaiman,” and were known to mesmerize locals with their hypnotic red eyes. And in Ireland, they were known as “merrows,” beautiful creatures with long green hair.
Throughout Southeast Asia, there's folklore of a mermaid princess named Suvannamaccha (SOO•panna•MACH•ahhhh), who's known to bring good luck. And in addition to being stunning to look at, they're stunningly powerful too!
A study done by the University of Leicester (LESter) in 2018 showed that based on all the lore there is about mermaids, their tails would have the same kind of power as a bottle-nose dolphin. With that, they found hypothetical mermaids could swim as fast 13 miles per hour. For comparison, Michael Phelps, the world's fastest swimmer can swim up to 6 miles per hour. Dashing but not as swimmingly strong as mermaids!
And with that speed, they can cover a lot of ground, err… water.
Right. And one of Bigfoot's downfalls is that it's a land creature. Mermaids, however, dominate the ocean, which makes up 71 percent of the earth's surface. This means merfolx have probably discovered so much more of our own planet than we ever could! Doesn't that make your brain bubble with awe?
But enough with the numbers! Let's get into my favorite point... Mermaids as symbols of freedom and self-expression in modern pop culture. One big name in particular.
OH, you're surprised I waited THIS LONG to FIN-ALLY mention the most POPULAR mermaid story of ALL TIME? AKA The Little Mermaid?! If you're not as familiar with the Disney version of the story, it goes like this…
Ariel is a 16-year-old mermaid who dreams of living life on land, instead of under the sea. That's where she lives with her strict dad, King Triton, and her sisters who basically obey their father's every wish. Ariel's not like that. She loves doing what she wants. Swimming around with her friend, Flounder. Visiting Scuttle, her seagull friend. Or you know, making a deal with the sea witch Ursula to get a pair of legs in exchange for her voice! That's how badly she wants to be human. She really doesn't feel like she belongs in her mermaid body.
For anyone who has ever felt out of place for being different, Ariel's story is relatable. Maybe like Ariel, what your body looks like doesn't match what you feel like on the inside. Maybe you feel like you don't fit in with your family and that they might not accept you for who you really are.
You know that iconic song “Part of Your World” that's in the movie?
Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wish I could be part of that world
These lyrics encapsulate what it feels like to want to embrace some kind of truth about yourself in order to truly be free. To be your awesome independent self. And when you sing the song, you can get a special kind of joy out of it.
Joy: Who, me?
Merk: Uhhh, I guess if you're singing then yeah, you'll get double the joy!
In closing, mermaids are the Smash Boom Best because of A) the strong powers they possess B) their aquatic agility and C) how they inspire all of us to just be ourselves.
Oh yeah and D) since they're underwater most, if not all the time, they don't stank like Bigfoot, who hasn't showered in forever!
Molly: That declaration definitely made a splash. Oscar, what do you think about Merk's argument? What stood out to you?
Oscar: Overall, I thought actually that at the very beginning, Merk's point about the alarm was very valid. Also, I love the argument about being a symbol of self-expression and freedom. I think that that is very accurate today. Yes, altogether, very good argument on the part of mermaids.
Molly: We had a really good dose of Ariel in there, which I'm sure you enjoyed.
Molly: All right, Joy, it's time for your rebuttal. Time to sink some of the facts you've just heard. You've got 30 seconds and your time starts now.
Joy: Okay, first of all, nobody knows what Bigfoot looks like or sounds like. Nobody knows how he sounds like. So he could sound like Ariel, he could sound like a mosquito. You don't know that, nobody knows. Ariel wants to walk on land like Bigfoot. I mean, obviously, she wants to be a part of his world, you're welcome. Also hypnotic, they can mesmerize you. That sounds like they can make you do all kinds of things that you don't want to do. I don't know if I could trust something like that. Then brave, it's brave to live in the forest. It's brave to live on your own and to stay away from society.
Joy: Ah, God, I have more facts!
Molly: All right. Joy, I know you have more to say and it's awesome because it's your turn right now. We want to know why Bigfoot deserves to be crowned the Smash Boom Beast.
Joy: It's 3:00 in the afternoon. You and some friends are on an expedition in China's
Northwest lush Hubei (Hyoo-bay) forest. (Whistling and twigs snapping)
What's that? Probably wood creatures. Suddenly, a hairy figure in the distance running, no walking. Very quickly. Black and red fur covers its whole body as two feet carry an 8-foot human Curious George up the top of a hill. You pull your rifle out.
As you take your aim, your friend says “Wait a minute. What if that's a person? What are you doing, you silly? Guns are dumb. Stop it.” And the creature disappears.
This and thousands of similar stories are what the Chinese legend of the Yeren is all about.
The Yeren are also known as Yeti in the Himalayas, Sasquatch in North America and Canada, Abominable Snowman in Russia, Darryl from Geico, or in this podcast as Bigfoot. Ya'll, Bigfoot is straight up global.