Have you ever kept pursuing an idea even when everyone else told you it was wrong? So have most of us. There's no doubt about it; as a species, we've got a lot of conviction. But conviction can also lead to years spent howling on a cliff covered in rattlesnakes in the middle of a swamp, searching for Bigfoot. It can lead you to ride a motorcycle into the dangerous, illegal gold mining camps of Peru. It can make you stay in a relationship that doesn't make you happy. And finally, it can make you vote for one of the most absurd, offensive, and hilarious mascots to almost ever exist: The Stanford Robberbarons. On this week's episode, stories about barking up the wrong tree.
Producer: Rachel Hamburg
Featuring: Xandra Clark, Jane Reynolds, Mike Greene, Katy Ashe, Christina Ho, Yaa Gyasi, Jerry Lee, Glen Davis, Lee Rosenbaum, Vlae Kershner, Bob Ottilie, Chris Gray
Mike Greene has been searching for Bigfoot for the last 20 years. In this intro, what got him started, and the frustrating years searching for the evidence would make everything worth it. At the end of the episode, we'll reveal whether he found that elusive - or illusory - sasquatch after all.
Christina Ho and her boyfriend were almost the perfect couple. But Christina felt, deep down, that she might be with the wrong person. She couldn't figure out why. So she asked advice from friends, pastors, married people - basically everyone who would listen. The most common response was this: "follow your gut". So, naturally, she tried to figure out what that meant.
Featuring: Christina Ho, Yaa Gyasi, Jerry Lee, Glen Davis
Story 3: Does Mercury Matter?: Artisanal Goldmining in Peru
The Peruvian locals needed a scientist to measure the real effect of mercury poisoning caused by artisanal gold mining. Stanford student Katy Ashe took on the challenge, and discovered a thousand more.
In all of the other pieces on this show, barking up the wrong tree was a bad thing. But when Stanford held a referendum to elect a new mascot in 1975, a bunch of students barked up the wrong tree on purpose. This is the story of the mascot that never was: the Stanford Robberbarons.
Featuring: Jane Reynolds, Lee Rosenbaum, Vlae Kershner, Bob Ottilie, Chris Gray
The Storytelling Project is supported by the Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Stanford Introductory Studies, Stanford Continuing Studies, and the Program in Writing and Rhetoric.