The Waves

The “Soft-Core Rumpy Pumpy” Edition

The Waves on Al Franken, “The Most Gullible Man in Cambridge,” and Veronica Mars.

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Episode Notes

On this week’s episode of the Waves, Christina, June, and Nichole unpack Jane Mayer’s reassessment of Al Franken in the New Yorker, which calls the credibility of the woman who first accused him of sexual harassment into question. But how much new evidence does the piece actually bring to bear—and what does it leave out? Then, “The Most Gullible Man in Cambridge” charts the saga of Bruce Hay, a Harvard Law professor who was targeted by a pair of women in a scam that left him homeless and indefinitely suspended from his job. The hosts consider the story’s reception across conservative media, whether this really was a “weaponization” of Title IX, and what, if anything, such an extreme case can tell us about the current moment more broadly. Finally, they discuss the return of Veronica Mars, reflecting on their own histories with the series and debating whether the arc of the revival is as empowering (and inevitable) as the showrunner would have fans believe.

In Slate Plus: Is it sexist to request a “no drama” relationship on dating apps?

Other items discussed on the show:

• “The Case of Al Franken” by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker
• “The Uneven Playing Field” by Dahlia Lithwick in Slate
• “What Jane Mayer Gets Wrong About Al Franken” by Christina Cauterucci in Slate
• Leon Neyfakh’s Fiasco
• “The Real Story About The Allegations Against Al Franken” by Zachary Roth in HuffPost
• “The New Yorker Seriously Mischaracterized the Story of One of Al Franken’s Accusers” by Anna Merlan in Jezebel
• “Tearaway Burkas & Tinplate Menorahs” by Al Franken in Mother Jones
• “The Most Gullible Man in Cambridge” by Kera Bolonik in the Cut
• “The Stories That Divide Us” by Ross Douthat in the New York Times
Veronica Mars starring Kristen Bell
Veronica Mars (2014)
• “Breaking Down Veronica Mars Season 4 With Showrunner Rob Thomas” by Kathryn VanArendonk in Vulture


Alex: Noelle Stevenson’s She-Ra

June: Damned starring Jo Brand and Alan Davies

Nichole: The Sara Bareilles musical Waitress and the 2007 film

Christina: The Crane Wife” by CJ Hauser in the Paris Review

This podcast was produced by Danielle Hewitt. Our production assistant is Alex Barasch.

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About the Show

The Waves is a biweekly conversation about news and culture examined through the lens of gender and feminism. Every other Thursday, join the hosts—including Slate’s June Thomas, Slate staff writer Christina Cauterucci, Marcia Chatelain of Georgetown University, and Thirst Aid Kit’s Nichole Perkins—for frank discussions about the ways gender shapes everything. Our new name reflects generations of women from the various waves of feminism, the sound waves that carry us to your ears, and the waves we intend to make.

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