by Alex Tabarrok
on December 23, 2016 at 1:03 pm
in History, Religion, The Arts
Do you remember the early 90s movie Shazaam! which featured Sinbad as the genie? Many people do and some people think that this is the best evidence that we are living in a simulation. They are correct.
Pretty sure there was a Shaq as a genie movie, did Simbad do a voice in the animated Sinbad the sailor film. Perhaps folks coinflate the two films to create a third?
There was – it was called Kazaam with Shaq as the genie, so I’m pretty sure a bunch of people have mixed this up with Sinbad, because Sinbad did a bunch of kid movies in the 1990s.
Also because the name Sinbad is associated with genies, such as in the 1958 film The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
What does it say about human psychology that people are more willing to believe in a ridiculous conspiracy involving alternate dimensions than to accept they may be remembering something incorrectly.
I think most people have no problem admitting that they remembered something incorrectly, especially when confronted with direct evidence (e.g. which actor starred in a movie). However, seeing that a *group* of people shares in one’s misremembrance leads to the question of “wait, did we all misremember the exact same thing in the exact same way?” And on the face of things, that moves people way more into the possibility of believing that something else may be afoot.
I have Shazaam on VHS
Can I upload a picture in the comments? I have Shazaam with Sinbad on vhs
Email the pics to me Aly email@example.com
Shazam! was a Saturday morning TV show from the 1970s.
I remember that version. Also, I remember that it was bad, even for Saturday morning TV targeted at children.
No, it was called Shazzan.
Yep, and it’s annoying that the article seemed to be ignorant of the existence of the cartoon. People being confused about Sinbad, genies, shazzan/shazaam, etc. is unsurprising, but I would’ve hoped they would trust the rest of us when we tell them there was no Shazaam moving starring Sinbad.
OTOH, my own memory has some unreliability: I remember watching the cartoon but could’ve sworn it was spelled with an “m” on the end instead of an “n”.
But unlike the Shazaam/Mandela memory conspiracy theorists, I’m willing to admit that my memory can be faulty.
Gomer Pyle used to say, “Sha-ZAAM.”
You must be fun at parties, you seem to get all the jokes.
I spent the first half of that article marveling at the power of suggestion, as while I had almost completely forgotten about that movie, as soon as I read the description, a memory stirred, and I was sure I had seen advertisements for it back in the 90s.
Then the author mentioned that there really was a movie with a slightly different title starring Shaq instead of Sinbad. That lede was buried pretty deep.
Please post a picture of it if you really do.
Can you share a pic of our please.
It would be interesting to study this group of people for 20, 30 or 40 years and check if they display higher dementia rates than the rest of the population.
I doubt it. I would imagine that this sort of collective misremembrance happens all the time in pre-mass-literate societies (that’s where variations in legends, customs, etc come from), and it’s only when these mass misremembrances are confronted with bodies of physical evidence to the contrary that people are sent into mental tailspins.
More likely to correlate with personality disorders.
Just a variant of normal.
I remember it, and I remembered Berenstein too. I could be conflating it with the Kazaam movie. But Berenstain sounds so wrong.
It’s Westworld, they changed our world but not our memories.
They are correct.
I see what you did there.
The first line of this post should be “what was the name of that early 90s movie where a celebrity played a genie?”
I bet many Gen Xers and Boomers would similarly swear they heard Captain Kirk say “Beam me up, Scotty” or Darth Vader say “Luke, I am your father”
“what was the name of that early 90s movie where a celebrity played a genie?”
Robin Williams in Aladdin, of course
“I bet many Gen Xers and Boomers would similarly swear they heard Captain Kirk say “Beam me up, Scotty””
Kirk never said that precise phrasing, but he said very similar phrases: “Scotty, beam us up”, “Beam me up”, “Scotty, beam me up” , etc.
“Darth Vader say “Luke, I am your father”
Again, it’s a slight misquote. The actual quote is ““No, I am your father.”
Both those sound quite a bit different than imagining an entire movie.
Play it again/ Sam.
Nearly all the examples of this, such as the Froot Loops and Berenstain Bears, seem more like a mass brainteaser. Such as the one where it has the phrase “a bird in the bush is worth two in the the hand” and it is written in such a way that most people miss the second “the.” It doesn’t show people remembering things that didn’t happen, instead it shows people don’t pay close attention to a lot of things and their brain fills in the rest. In almost all cases there’s also a brain teaser aspect, such as mispelling fruit, the spelling of the author’s name and pronunciation differ, the character Sinbad is associated with genies.
I used to think there was a band called The The. That name blew my mind for hours on end but then a friend explained it was a made up band name that appeared in This is Spinal Tap, which I hadn’t seen, of a group that was only mentioned that was thinking of calling itself The The but management wouldn’t let them.
And now I see there is an entire wikipedia page devoted to a band that never actually formed in This is Spinal Tap!
The The is definitely a real band. I’ve had many of their CDs over the years.
Yeah there were fairly successful too not some random band no one ever heard of. Todd, the wiki you were looking at is for a real band
One of my favourite bands, they are definitely real!
Also didnt trix cereal use to have shapes? Its just spheres now
The Berenstein Bears were great in that movie.
Great article, tells us a lot about cognition. Of the aliens running the simulation.
Slatestarcodex covered this recently. These people aren’t misremembering anything. They are LYING. Think about it. If someone posted in this comment section right now that they distinctly remembered this movie, it would be an obvious troll. But for some reason when hundreds of people join in on the same troll, people think a different phenomenon is going on. The writer of the article was successfully trolled.
I really remember the Berenstain bears as Berenstein!!! Honest, really!
But you know…. obviously pretty easy to misremember.
But you don’t insist your memory was correct. The story of the video clerk saying he distinctly remembered both movies: that dude was lying.
starslatecodex is a pretty reductive fellow. Accusations of lying are entirely in line with a reductive approach to human psychology. I wouldn’t take anything he says as being particularly insightful.
Do you or don’t you think video clerk in this story was likely lying?
I’m not saying everyone on the Reddit thread is lying, just those with the most compelling stories, meant to troll the others. The other beliebers are just falling for the troll.
The article ignores that the key story tellers are likely liars, which is the subject SSC wrote about. Now I’m not taking SSC word for it, just using my own bullshit detectors but SSC recent post does shed light on this topic.
Humans developed big brains in an arms race to out deceive the other primates. It is reasonable to assume most humans are lying most of the time.
We are so aware of this banal fact that we just elected a president who lies most of the time without fooling anyone. It’s charming because that’s what us humans do. He’s cute like a toddler.
“Two persons look for a pencil; the first finds it and says nothing; the second finds a second pencil, no less real, but closer to his expectations. These secondary objects are called ‘hronir’ and are, though awkward in form, somewhat longer.”
Tlon Uqbar Orbis Tertius by Borges
I believe Jim Nabors was the genie.
Somebody should make a Shazaam! movie starring Sinbad. It’s already got a fan base. Heck, they even know plot points and what the posters look like. They could bill it as a remake.
Could make a sequel.
Call it Shazaam! 2. But does it a) continue the “original” story, b) tell the story of the suppression of the original Shazaam! movie by the conspiracy, or c) tell the story of these people who believe they’ve seen a movie that reliable sources claim does not exist? (Two parallel universes have merged, and only one had the movie.)
It should involve someone wishing that the events of the first movie never happened.
What if someone made a great Shazaam! movie but nobody cared or noticed or remembered?
I suppose that some of the loyalists will enjoy it for the nostalgia, but don’t expect the purists and critics to recognize a great Shazaam! movie at this point even if it bit them in the ass.
I am pretty sure I spent my formative years in the universe where Labor/leftist presidential candidate Brizola under the register number 22 in 1989 and used a jingle that said: “two ducks at the lake, vote Brizola, 22”. Youtube insists it was right-wing candidate Afif who run under the number 22. I am a strange in a strange land.
In fact, it goes deeper and deeper.
You do realize this is incompatible with this Alex’s optimism? http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2016/12/google-brain-helps-marginal-revolution-university.html
There is no way you can make a “deterministic brain” if the brain is not deterministic. So who is right, you or Alex?
I hate to reply to my own post, but now I realize this was a very Tyleristic post by Alex. Hah.
Of course there is no population of people who slipped into this universe from a slightly different universe. People will believe any stupid thing these days.
Now why don’t we talk about who President-elect Clinton is appointing to her cabinet?
Will her cabinet be as much of a game-changer as President Goldwater’s was in 1965?
In the early days of the internet there was serious discussion about whether a TV show had aired in which the plot was this: a cargo plane crashes in a North African desert during the waning days of WWII and none of the crew members, who spend most of the movie trying to survive, realize that they had all died on impact. Many people believed they had imagined this television show. From the earliest days of publicly accessible internet to the beginning of the type of effective search engines we are now familiar with, say in 2002 or 2003, it was probably an open question for the majority of people with access to everything said on the subject on the internet, as to whether those who had (as they correctly claimed, we now know) identified that specific work (there are two similar, one “vaguely similar” and one “actually and not just vaguely similar”) were simply guessing at what they had seem that had been closest, or were correct in their claim.
Conflate W.C. Fields (juggling trick followed by – a mere trifle Sir a mere trifle) and Uncle Fester upon hearing that the town mayor had maybe flirted with Morticia (“Gomez, fetch me my Battle Axe”) and you get Steve Sailer’s “A battle Axe, sir, A Battle Axe”.
The Shazaam deception does not trick me because I was a huge Sinbad fan back in the day and there is no way I would not have gone to Blockbuster on the first day of release and rented that movie. And I remember every film I went to Blockbuster on the first day to rent (Barcelona and a couple of war movies and Eraserhead -just kidding about Eraserhead). Hence my BS detector on the Shazaam discrepancy is way too strong to be misled (which I though was pronounced My-zuld from approximately 1968 to 1993).
Shatner did a great job as Alyosha in the 50s version of Karamazov. Watch that movie and watch the WWII palimpsest Star Trek episodes (Run Silent Run Deep and the one with the shore leave on the tropical island in range of thousands of enemy battleships) and stare at the night sky for an hour. Then read the Book of Proverbs for a few minutes. No, we do not live in a simulation – cor ad cor loquitur, after all, as almost all of us know even if we don’t say it much out loud.
5 lines down seem is not a typo
The plot sounds like this TV movie:
I think you got it right. There was also a “Rat Patrol” episode that seemed similar. I am not good enough at describing things to describe how weird it was, in the early years of the internet, to be trying to figure out if I had dreamed that TV movie (probably what happened was I was not allowed to watch the beginning of it by my crabby parents but they fell asleep and I wandered in and watched the last two thirds or so ) or if I had actually seen it. I still have not seen, since the 60s, either the doppelgänger Rat Patrol episode or the genuine TV movie: I hope to watch them both some day. By the way, your coffee comment from yesterday was one of the most useful comments I have ever read….
I recently watched part of an episode of Rat Patrol on Decades or maybe it was Heroes & Icons. What a crappy series that was. On the other hand Combat! was superb. Great stories, great acting, good sets — even the equipment was all authentic. One of the best series of all time. Especially the early ones in black and white, when it was less obvious they were fighting through forests of eucalyptus trees.
At the age of 8 or 10 there was absolutely no chance I could have know if Rat Patrol was good or not. I did not know, at the time, that there was a show called Combat! For the record, there are many more than a million people from my country in the VFW — when I was overseas in a combat zone, I was one of those “liaison” officers who spend time at two headquarters making sure, as a walking talking human being, that one headquarters complex was not completely unaware of what the other headquarters complex was up to – and when I was at the more important headquarters complex, I often pretended to head out the door with important things to do, but I would just spend long hours strolling under the eucalyptus trees to the south of the HQ building, because if I hadn’t (and I would really have liked not to have had to do that, but communication is not easy) I would not have been taken as seriously as I should have been. Oh well those were not good days but I did my best, as so many unlikeable people I have to deal with in my life also did their best ….. God bless our happy hours under the shelter of blessed eucalyptus trees …..
I really really like eucalyptus trees. Back in Pleasanton they had a road called Foothill Road which was basically lined with them – above the road was a fantastic set of hills, which I was able to access with a bike that someone ( I don’t remember exactly who) had let me borrow, and you would labor up the hills in March and at the top you would turn around, descend the orange poppy filled hills (appreciating every moment the great views) and gradually (for a fantastic explanation of “gradually” check out Silverman on Calculus, Dover Press, pages 43 to 47, or something like that) after a descent that started at about 35 mph and slowed down to 25 then 15 then 5 mph you would get close to the end of the road that led from the hills to Foothill Road. Where the eucalyptus trees gloried, as they had gloried long before I was born and as they will long after I am gone, in their amazingness.
Wait. You were a “huge Sinbad fan”?
THAT’S the best evidence we are in a simulation.
Yeah even Sinbad’s mom doesn’t care for his comedy.
Thanks for reading my comment! For the record – I have known about 300 people (20 in high school, 20 at my first job, 20 in my first year in the military, 20 cousins, and 20 friends in those random places that almost all of us are blessed with to spend some of our time with – now multiply that by three) well enough to know if they had been lucky enough in this world to be funny without being a harbinger of sadness. On that scale, keeping in mind that it is a trivial thing to fail to be funny when there are more important goals in this world — “woody” allen failed, all 5 of the Marx brothers failed, Judy Garland and two of her co-stars (the lion guy and the mayor guy) failed, Tiny Tim failed, Johnny Carson, bless his little Navy WWII heart, failed, Wally Cox failed, Jim Nabors failed, Moe failed, Kathleen Hepburn failed, the most funny of all famous mathematicians, G. Hardy, failed, Dylan failed, Donovan failed, Joan Rivers failed, Zsa Zsa Gabor failed, the Jewish guy from Brooklyn who pretended to be a wild west Indian in F Troop failed, Richard Pryor failed, David Spade failed, everyone not named Phil Hartman who was associated with the Simpsons failed, Werner Klemperer and his pals almost failed (they didn’t fail), every “late night” clown who wore some weird tie and pretended to be a professional failed if he wasn’t from Scotland, most of the female pals of the Stooges who performed in any movie not called “Men in Black” failed (Oscar winner 193x), Michael Moore, bless his heart, failed most of the time, and so did James Woods. Kelsey Granmer starred in a movie where a ship was actually blown up, on that ship hundreds of great Americans served, lots of them were good guys who only wanted to make each other laugh and who only wanted to do what was right, if it came to that. Kelsey Granmer only made me laugh once, but he did not fail. Anyway – no joke – Sinbad was, for several years, one of those guys who is sort of famous and who tries to be funny and who is funny. That is rare. Such qualifications are sufficient, I think, for me to say I am a huge fan. He was not a harbinger of sadness. WE DO NOT live in a simulation. The guy who first said cor ad cor loquitur was a friend of a friend of Tolkien’s. Gandalf was, in part, based on Newman, the guy who first said cor ad cor loquitur. Sinbad was, as best I remember, a funny guy: the fact that he was not funnier is, perhaps, good evidence that we do not iive in a simulation. Anybody running a marginally believable simulation would have made Sinbad funny enough for people besides my own humble self to have noticed. And yes, I did wonder why such a funny guy did not make more movies…
Lots of people think Sinbad was a funny comedian and “The Lord of the Rings” was a great novel…a thousand years from now nobody will care…but on the other hand every little firefly that has been watched in its little meadow-or-edge-of-the-woods firefly world as it rejoices in its on-and-off illuminations – watched by even the very least of the angels – will be remembered and will live for ever … either angels exist or they do not ….you know the answer…. Thanks for reading. Sorry if I wasted your time!!!!! I hope I didn’t!
Steven Wright was hilarious. He did not fail. Brevity was his forte.
“so i got off the plane and I forgot to undo my seatbelt and I’m pulling the plane through the terminal” that is WC Fields level of course
Your simulation has some of the names as mine but the similarities end there.
Touche (rhymes with Renee)
I sat next to Sinbad at Parents Night at our kids’ high school a couple of times.
“With the battle-ax, sir, with the battle-ax!”
Thanks – I thought you were riffing on Waugh or W.C. Fields, had no idea Steve Pinker was involved ….
I recall what you are describing but I remember it being about 12 people, passengers on a small plane, not related, not crew, just travellers. I don’t know if I recall it being a series, I think it was a TV movie but it might have been a 2-hour pilot.
This is like that Twilight Zone where the guy wakes up, and he’s the same and everybody else is different!
White people theorize life is simulation to hide fact they can’t tell black people apart in movie involving literal magical negro.
That is not even close to being right. You can do better.
Right is something we can fix in post. Is it funny is what’s important.
You need to learn to like all people. Funny is nice, but not all that nice, kindness is better,. You can fix that just as much as I can.
Of course it is good that you care. It is so sad to live in these days – even the Pope in Rome seems unable to sympathize with those who have seen other tragedies than the tragedies he has seen! But the measure of love is not something that we learn from other human beings: we learn it from prayer, from compassion, from understanding that the people we do not like are just as loved by God as ourselves!!!! God teaches us what is right: no matter how successful someone who reminds us of what we want to be might seem, it is only God who knows what is in our hearts!!!!
” even the Pope in Rome seems unable to sympathize with those who have seen other tragedies than the tragedies he has seen”
Really, ist it new? I don’t remember past popes being big on epathy. Oh, I forgot, the current pope is Communist according to great theologians Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh…
Thiago – “Really, is it new?” The Bible tells us that Peter sacrificed everything, again and again, for other humans. For the first 30 or 40 Popes, their election was pretty much a death sentence: the Romans of the day were extremely murderous when it came to the chance to kill a Pope. You can look it up. In later years, no Popes have been martyred, but many of them gave up a chance at a very successful life – money, the perks of being an aristocrat, or, at worst, the not-to-be-laughed-at pleasures of being a respected professor at a leafy comfortable university – in order to serve others, without even the compensation of having a wonderful wife at one’s side, or, if not a wonderful wife, at the worst the slightly-above-average wife the typical person with enough intelligence and charisma to become Pope could have, at a minimum, married. Yes, empathy is rarely a strong point with the princes of this world – even the princes of the church – but, as easy as it would be to list the faults of celebrity Popes, it would be better and more honest, for most of us, to say, no, I would not have given up as much as so many of them have given up in order to help others. And helping others – not that I do much of it – is the key to a life that is not a failed life.
I wonder how many African-Americans are among those confusing Sinbad with Shaq. Not many, is my guess.
And I wonder how many South Africans believe in the theories surrounding the “Mandela Effect”. That’s why I don’t buy these sorts of ideas about the past supposedly changing. It never seems to effect anyone with any knowledge/credibility in the subject being discussed.
I wonder how many of them discovered the cure for that African disease, Ebola? This is a dumb game.
We are just fucking with you.
Vice versa mon ami
Don’t make me come down there!
MAGNA EST VERITAS ET PRAEVALEBIT!!! It is much more fun to be on the same side, even if we are all vegetarians, than to be obstentatious!!! Seriously, while one understands the specific desire that some day someone from the future might come back and say, hello, my friend, I would like to preserve your memories for ever, or the other specific desire that the good days that we remember that have followed the bad days we prefer not to remember might go on forever, the bottom line is the only thing we can do is be considerate of each other. This is not a simulation, not many of us are very bright, our decisions to insult each other needlessly are bad decisions, and it is worthwhile to try to make this a better world … as you know.
One more item that adds to memory confusion: there was a mid-90s magic-filled TV show called https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Sinbad
A couple of things are going on: people often get confused words that start out similarly or end similarly:
Shaq starred in “Kazaam”
Sinbad did not star in “Shazaam”
Also, notice that Shazaam starts out with the same three letters as Shaquille O’Neal.
I call this Whooping Cough / Whooping Crane confusion. I went to my doctor once and told him I wanted an antibiotic because I appeared to have whooping cough. He said that whooping cough was practically extinct. I told him he was thinking of whooping cranes, so he gave me the prescription, which almost instantly worked.
Also, they are both very large black guys. Nobody is as big as Shaq, but Sinbad is 6’5″. I’ve sat next to Sinbad a couple of times and he’s huge. Sinbad played a couple of years of college basketball. Shaq’s movie career is hard to remember because he gave it up so long ago that it seems like a dream. When he signed with the LA Lakers I assumed he was intending to pursue Hollywood projects, but instead he decided to concentrate on basketball and won three straight NBA titles.
“Shaq’s movie career is hard to remember because he gave it up so long ago that it seems like a dream.”
Then, how do I remember https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steel_(1997_film) ? Why can’t I forget?!
Sinbad is a character from a set of stories in 1001 Arabian Nights. Other stories from the collection include Aladdin (with the magic lamp and genie, of course) and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (where the phrase “Open Sesame” comes from). Many of these have been reworked into children’s stories (after being censored!), cartoons and movies that people are exposed to at a young age so it is natural for people to tend to jumble these things together.
Psychologists and historians have known for some time that eyewitness testimony can be unreliable. Recollections of b-movies and short-lived TV shows from 20+ years ago should be even less reliable.
Or it could just be a case that a bunch of white hipsters don’t want to admit that all black actors look alike to them. It’s happened to bigger stars than Sinbad:
I remember a blue Genie — I think from Aladdin. I think he had some kind of exclamatory response to victory. When I recall this, I think I am putting Sinbad’s voice in there when really, it was Robin Williams. When memory is incomplete, your mind will fill in the blanks.
Gomer Pyle was the only one who used “Shazaam!” regularly, as far as I know.
I thought (apparently incorrectly) that Sinbad did the voice for a Genie-type cartoon character.
I don’t remember a movie called “Shazaam”.
I have never heard of a movie called “Kazaam”.
I have never seen a movie with a real person playing a Genie. I Dream of Jeannie was the only real-person-playing-a-genie that I was aware of, up to this point.
I love Sinbad and I love Shaq but they really aren’t anything alike.
These are the facts of the case, Your Honour.
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