Since When Is Everyone an Empath?

And why is everybody mailing books to each other again?


Episode Notes

Empaths and the great book exchange pyramid scheme are filling up our feeds again. On the show today, Rachelle and Madison explain why every few months, posts circulate about a book exchange that sounds too good to be true, and why empaths aren’t really a thing—unless you’re in a science fiction story. Plus, they play Wordle!

Podcast production by Daniel Schroeder and Derek John.


About the Show

Join Madison Malone Kircher and Rachelle Hampton twice a week as they gaze deep into the online abyss—and tell you what’s gazing back. All episodes


  • Rachelle Hampton is a culture writer and reporter at Slate and co-host of ICYMI. Her work has appeared in the New Republic, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian Magazine, and In These Times. She still hasn't recovered from Tumblr’s demise.

  • Madison Malone Kircher is a senior writer at Slate and co-host of ICYMI. She was previously a staff writer at New York magazine, where she covered internet culture and edited New York’s Approval Matrix. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Vulture, and the Cut. Madison lives in Brooklyn, where she regularly drops her phone on her face watching TikToks in bed.