Judge John Hodgman Episode 73: Gavelbangers Ball

Monte Belmonte
Special Guest

Complainant Caroline and her boyfriend Will share many interests, but there's one thing they just can't agree on. Will says that metal is an important genre to him, musically and personally, and that Caroline hasn't given it a fair shake. Caroline finds the music jarring and distasteful and says she's heard enough to say so. Who is right, and who is wrong?

Guest bailiff Monte Bailiff Belmonte of WRSI offers his assistance this week, and we are joined by a SECRET EXPERT WITNESS.



From Will:

Sweet Silence - Gorgus

A Dangerous Meeting - Mercyful Fate

Cerulean Transience of All My Imagined Shores - diSEMBOWELMENT

Jesus' Tod - Burzum



I recently found your podcast and have been listening to back episodes. In the Gavelbangers Ball episode, on the docket you had a case involving the terms, wallet, purse, and pocketbook. You approached the subject from an etymological and linguistic angle, but clearly a philosophical utilitarian analysis is also needed to achieve clarity. Wallets contain bills and cards. Purses are bags that carry money, valuables, and small items. Pocketbooks carry bills, cards, change, checkbooks, receipts and indeed all finance related items, but nothing non-finance related. Men and women can both carry all three items however; men have pockets so they usually use a wallet only. Women will often carry a handbag, which becomes a purse when it contains either a wallet or a pocketbook. Wallets with a change compartment are a difficult case, but under my proposed framework they would be wallets with a coin purse attached. I appreciate your pedantry and I hope you humor mine.

all hail satan

Another lesser known track by Merciful Fate would be Fuchia Funeral. It's from their neo easy listening period.

re: wallets and purses

"Men let your wallets flop out,
and women open your purses..."
-- Big Eyed Beans from Venus by Captain Beefheart

"Tod" is German for "death"

Hi Mr. Hodgman et al. It may interest you to know that "Tod" is German for "Death." I learned this from a screening of "Der Toderking" in Vancouver years ago with the filmmaker who explained that it was somewhat nonsensical since "king" in German is actually "konig." That's beside the point. I doubt that the band Jesus Tod is a mispelling of "toad" but rather means "Jesus Death."

By the way, my podcast Caustic Soda had an entire episode on nasty music with guest comedian/musician Sean Cullen, and we discussed murdering Norwegian Black Metal weirdness. Please do check it out: http://www.causticsodapodcast.com/2012/06/11/music/

Toren "The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets" Atkinson

Actually, in the case of

Actually, in the case of Burzum, "tod" is Swedish for "death". I mean, it's also German, but Burzum is a Swedish black-metal band from the 90s. That's all I really wanted to say.

No actually

Burzum is Norwegian. I know, I know, they all look the same.


...and Justice for all


This was really special, thanks. I'm a metal fan originally from South Africa. I was just listening to this at work here in Paris (France).

I had no idea King Diamond was from South Africa, I couldn't find any reference to this fact online, truly your lore is deep.

This is a common scenario among metalheads, that their wives/girlfriends have no interest in metal, but love them despite their musical tastes.
I did however get my wife to listen to Amon Amarth, a viking metal band, when she goes jogging.

Here's Cry Of The Black Birds by Amon Amarth: (kicks in at 00:40)


...and Justice for all,

Girl Metalhead Reporting

I loved this episode!!

I am a girl metalhead, and I, too, run into the issue of friends/boyfriends not liking my favorite music either. I used to take it personally, but now I just wear my love of metal as a badge of Bad-Assery that others just can't compete with.

There are so many flavors of metal and I really believe there's something out there for everyone who really looks. My favorites are goth, prog and power metal.

Rock on Will and Caroline! \m/

This episode struck a power chord with me

So much fun. I think my musical diet is comprised of 30% metal (of all kinds) and the rest is a fairly eclectic mix of indie and pop stuff. Whenever a shuffled song comes on and has the slightest whiff of metal, my wife moves for the skip button which despite everything irritates me to no end. Like your defendant, I'm bothered by how quickly she discounts anything metallic before giving it the slightest chance. She can have her tastes, but perhaps more decorum when changing tracks. Now I gotta go rediscover me some King Diamond n' co.

south africa

King Diamond, either Kim himself or the band, aren't South African in any way. Was strange to hear it said that he/they are.


I think John Darnielle did murder the first drummer of the Decemberists.