The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Episode 129
Minions, Mobs & Myrmidons

David Perlmutter

David Perlmutter

Caitlin Mongrain

Caitlin Mongrain

From ancient Greece to modern movies, monsters and villains often get their assistance from mindless mobs of maleficent minions. Are they simply plot devices, or do minions tell us something about the real-world role of the follower when loyal obedience is valued more than heroic ethics? In this episode of Monstertalk, David Perlumtter and Cait Mongrain join us to discuss Minions, Mobs and Myrmidons.

Related Works

More References

  • Crockford, C., Deschner, T., & Wittig, R. M. (2017). What is the role of oxytocin in social buffering: Do primate studies change the picture?. In R. Hurlemann, & V. Grinevich (Eds.), Topics for Behavioral Pharmacology of Neuropeptides: Oxytocin. Springer.
  • Wrangham, R. W. (1999). Evolution of coalitionary killing. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 110 (S29), 1096–8644.
  • Wrangham, R. W., & Peterson, D. (1996). Demonic males: Apes and the origins of human violence. NY, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Keeley, L. H. (1997). War before civilization. NY, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ferguson, R. B. (1997). War before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage. American Anthropologist, 99 (2), 424–425.
  • Jackson, J. W. (1993). Realistic Group Conflict Theory: A Review and Evaluation of the Theoretical and Empirical Literature. Psychological Record, 43 (3), 395–415.
  • Sherif, M. (1966). In common predicament: Social psychology of intergroup conflict and cooperation. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Rösner, L., & Krämer, N. C. (2016). Verbal venting in the social web: Effects of anonymity and group norms on aggressive language use in online comments. Social Media + Society, 2 (3), 1–13. doi: 2056305116664220.
  • Doosje, B., Ellemers, N., & Spears, R. (1995). Perceived intragroup variability as a function of group status and identification. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 31 (5), 410–436.
  • Hanson, V. D. (2004). The western way of war. Australian Army Journal, 2 (1), 157.
  • Hanson, V. D. (2009). The western way of war: Infantry battle in classical Greece. CA, Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  • Perlmutter, D. (1999). Comrades chapter. In Visions of war: Picturing warfare from the stone age to the cyber age (pp. 89–116). New York: St. Martin’s Press,
  • McNeill, W. H. (1997). Keeping together in time. NY, Boston: Harvard University Press.
  • Silvestri, L.E. (2015). Friended at the Front: Social Media in the American War Zone. Kansas: University Press of Kansas.
  • Shils, E. A. (1950). Primary groups in the American army. Continuities in social research: Studies in the scope and method of the American soldier, 16–39.
  • Surbeck, M., Boesch, C., Girard-Buttoz, C., Crockford, C., Hohmann, G., & Wittig, R. M. (2017). Comparison of male conflict behavior in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan paniscus), with specific regard to coalition and post-conflict behavior. American Journal of Primatology, 79 (6), 1–11.
  • Radice, B. (1968). Pliny and the Panegyricus. Greece and Rome (Second Series), 15 (02), 166–172. Perhaps)

Some books on “henchmen” in real life


The views expressed on this program are not necessarily the views of the Skeptics Society or Skeptic magazine.

For those seeking a sound scientific viewpoint


Be in the know!

Subscribe to eSkeptic: our free email newsletter and get great podcasts, videos, reviews and articles from Skeptic magazine, announcements, and more in your inbox once or twice a week.

Sign me up!

Copyright © 1992–2023. All rights reserved. | 3938 State St., Suite # 101, Santa Barbara, CA, 93105-3114 | 1-805-576-9396. The Skeptics Society is a non-profit, member-supported 501(c)(3) organization (ID # 95-4550781) whose mission is to promote science & reason. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Privacy Policy.