UPDATE June 8, 2012: Desiree Schell was ultimately unable to complete her curation of the Skeptics Mix Tape project. At this time, the project should be considered suspended, though it’s something I’d love to revisit again in the future. The first Skeptics Mix Tape remains live here. —Daniel
I’m excited to announce that Skeptic.com is going forward with a Fall 2011 sequel to our popular “Skeptics Mix Tape 2009″ — and to reveal the curator for the sequel, Desiree Schell (of Skeptically Speaking fame).
The Skeptics Mix Tape is a light-hearted outreach project that gives away selected songs of science and skepticism — what Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy hailed as “Music to appreciate reality to!” — completely free. This use of the songs is donated by the artists, and the Skeptics Society charges nothing.
The first Skeptics Mix Tape featured twelve artists, including geek-rock superstar Jonathan Coulton, Hard ’n Phirm (the duo of Nerdist Chris Hardwick & Mike Phirman), and acclaimed indy band Artichoke. Canadian artists Dirty Dishes and Coco Love Alcorn recorded tracks especially for the project (with Alcorn’s “Thinking Cap” a completely new song).
I’d like to thank all the artists from the first project for their kindness. (Check out their other work!) I’ll never forget how the project was born in the opening reception at The Amazing Meeting 6 conference, within minutes of my introduction to Geologic’s George Hrab. When I described what I had in mind, Hrab burst out, “Anything, man. Whatever the Skeptics Society needs — it’s yours.” Talk about generosity! Makes me smile, even now.
This year’s song selections will be made by incoming curator Desiree Schell.
She’s the perfect person for the job. A long-time radio creator, Desiree brings with her many contacts, a deep love of independent music, and passion for the material.
She’s emerged as one of skepticism’s most open and innovative public voices — and one of those most committed to general public outreach. I’m thrilled to have her working on one of the Skeptics Society’s most optimistic, just-for-the-love-of-it projects.
“I’m honored,” Schell says, “to be part of a project like this. Skeptics tend to spend a lot of time trying to explain science and critical thought, to varying degrees of success. But music touches people in a way that essays can’t. Music can create emotion without a single word. That said, throw in some biting or amusing or thoughtful lyrics, and you’ve provided a skeptical perspective that will stay with people long after they’ve finished listening to the song. So yeah. I’m excited.”
Submit Your Song to the Skeptics Mix Tape 2011
If you think you have what it takes to rock for skepticism, please contact Desiree at firstname.lastname@example.org (NOTE: Even if you’ve written to me about a song in the past, please feel invited to resubmit material to Desiree.)
We’re making a few format changes. While the Skeptics Mix Tape 2009 focussed on family-friendly offerings, the sequel is intended for a broader mix of audiences.
Artists, here’s what we’re looking for:
- Great songs! They can be catchy, moving, or funny. They should explore themes related to scientific skepticism (such as science, investigation, curiosity, detective work, scams, or the paranormal);
- Songs that you have the legal right to share for free with the Skeptic audience online;
- Songs which neither promote nor denounce humanism, atheism, or religion.1
- Just as centuries of great music has emerged from religious traditions, so too does a flood of fantastic music flow from the nontheist community. Many such songs have been sent to me or recommended to me, to my great listening pleasure. The Skeptics Mix Tape 2011 will once again focus on traditional scientific skepticism, but I must say that I’d personally love to see something like a “Freethought Mix Tape” come from an atheist, humanist, or dual-mandate organization!