The Witches Are Coming

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S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate Plus membership. This is live at Politics and Prose a program from Slate and Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington D.C. featuring some of today’s best writers and top thinkers we’re thrilled to bring you Lindy West who is sitting right there.

S2: In case you were here by accident because most of you know this right. A little background on Lindy. She is an opinion writer for The New York Times the author of the bestselling memoir shrill and executive producer of the acclaimed Hulu adaptation starring the ever so delightful A.T. Bryant Lindy right. Linda is also a co-founder of these shout your abortion movement with her signature wit and uniquely incendiary voice the witches are coming lays out a grand theory of America that explains why Trump’s election was in many ways a foregone conclusion whether it be the notion overheard since the earliest movements of the ME2 movement that feminism has gone too far or the instance that holding someone accountable for their actions amounts to a witch hunt. This books this book points out the lies many have chosen to believe and the often unexpected figures who have furthered them in the end far too few air on the side of care a sentiment I wish more people would take to heart. And too many fail to live in the truth. As Abbi Jacobson creator of Broad City and author of I might regret this notes in this time of great frustration this collection is a clearing in the woods to meet to reflect to dance and to cackle around the fire or my favorite quote from Samantha Irby author of We Are Never meeting in real life. If you haven’t read it read it. Get me a broom. That being said Shall we get on with the main event. Please join me in warmly welcoming Lindy West.

S3: Hello. Sorry for doing this gross social media influencing BUT I GOTTA BE ME GOTTA influence.

S4: A what.

S5: Are you all doing here.

S6: There’s so many of you.

S7: APPLAUSE Oh boy wrote a lot of goofy shit in this book that I going to read to you now. Like I should do a caveat at the beginning because I feel like probably all of you like must work for the government. Or something.

S8: And I just want to be very clear that I don’t know anything. And.

S7: Please don’t ask me policy questions or I will I don’t know claw my way through the floor and down into the earth and die. No I mean it’s fine. But like I was feel like. I was trying to like emphasize when I do interviews or public events that truly I can spin this as like part of my charm.

S8: Just some lady like just some lady I don’t know. Some lady with opinions. Feel like I. My skill.

S9: Is to absorb what’s happening around me and then sort of process and regurgitate it as an everywoman.

S10: Let’s just. And that really gets me off the hook for.

S11: Not knowing anything. So I just want to say that because I feel like all of you are probably smarter than me and know lots of things. So I read this book it’s called the witches are coming just a little background on the title although probably you can extrapolate. I don’t know but so. You know how everything is so bad.

S12: So bad like you know the president keeps doing crimes. And then doing being like getting a microphone.

S7: And being like. So I just wanted to confirm that I did crimes.

S4: Hey it’s really weird right. Like it’s a really surreal place to live. And part of. The look part of the way that that functions is that. There is this.

S13: Magic like this kind of witchcraft that he I mean not to give him too much credit but there is he him the guy. We don’t need to we at my house we call the 2016 election the incident but there is this kind of magic in it.

S4: Just a just saying whatever you want to be true and then people are like yeah OK.

S14: Like two seconds ago you said something and then what’s an example. What’s the best thing you said recently.

S15: But I’ve been like Okay sure. Two seconds ago he he’s like Yeah. Yeah I asked Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Bidens and then you’re like Did you and he’s like No no no I never said that and I didn’t tell you that I said it just now like it’s like I mean that didn’t even happen. But like history is a reality is just being rewritten in front of our eyes and one one sort of manifestation of that is although this predates Trump is that. Women get called witches you know as a sort of silencing tactic or a way to silence and discredit us.

S10: And then also when a man does crime and then has like one shred of accountability or consequence then suddenly also we are witch hunters and they are being witch hunted.

S16: And I feel like that’s not fair.

S17: Well how come you get to be a witch when it’s useful. But then we have to be a witch when it’s bad to be a witch anyway. So I’m reclaiming both. Which is my right. And.

S18: I don’t see why anyone could get mad at me because like you said it you said I’m a witch. So fine. And you said I’m a witch. I’m a witch hunting you so fine.

S19: I’m a witch and I’m hunting you witches.

S20: It’s like really satisfying even when you’re very aware that you have no power to just say real aggressive things. But I’m put to you.

S21: That’s a scary ass thing to say.

S22: So anyway I wrote this book and it’s about you know sort of living in a tree is trying to live in reality when it’s being actively rewritten around you by a by bad people. And this chapter. Speaks to that in various ways and it’s about specifically the notion of likeability and the way that we apply that to men.

S23: Spoiler we don’t.

S20: No one has ever asked if a man is likable literally the least likable human being on Earth became the president of the United States.

S4: I mean I’m like OK it’s easy like roast Trump but I just mean like seriously though like really like really really like profoundly unlikable like has redefined like before any of this even happened like that was like the grossest guy on earth whatever.

S15: I’m sorry it’s so boring it’s so easy to roast it’s so boring. I’m.

S24: Sorry. I’m so sorry.

S15: I’m not here to pander and be like Trump bad. It’s like who cares but. He’s just like sucks like he’s just fucking he’s like he’s just.

S25: Goober who like doesn’t know anything and like.

S26: All right. So that I spent seven minutes on that. That was.

S17: Good for all of us. I’m going to read this chapter about likability. OK. This chapter is called huh.

S15: This chapter is called Ted Bundy was not charming. Are you high.

S27: I’m like I’m from Seattle. I’m from Seattle. My parents.

S26: My parents are from Seattle. We all went to the same high school. Not at the same time. And you grew up in Seattle.

S4: People talk about frickin Ted Bundy constantly. It’s like Oh Ted Bundy like murder bludgeoned a woman in this alley. Oh the legend of Ted Bundy the charisma King. Like.

S10: Are you fucking kidding me. OK whatever. So I just want to. Like maybe I feel more passionately about this because I feel like I grew up being like literally indoctrinated into this idea that Ted Bundy was a charm machine.

S26: Oh sorry OK. Ted Bundy was not charming. Are you high.

S4: Trigger warning on the beginning of this chapter where I talk about murder for like so many pages so sorry. For as long as I can remember I’ve been terrified that a man was going to sneak into my house and murder me.

S28: Actually convinced might be a more accurate word than terrified. But I don’t want to say convinced because I am at the same time totally dismissive of the supernatural and extremely superstitious.

S29: I don’t think that jinxing things is real but I do not jinx things. Why risk it just a few weeks ago. I was sitting in my hotel lobby in New York City reading Jason Mann’s Lucas’s Wikipedia entry and then Jason.

S30: Lucas walked by me.

S31: What’s possible. Plus if you say things such as I’m convinced I will get serial killed and then by coincidence you do get serial killed it becomes a whole thing in your dateline.

S17: Keith Morrison is like a beautiful young nymph haunted by visions of being serial killers but they were only visions right.

S32: Raul. Good thing that I did that three asides on Dateline real quick one.

S33: Everyone knows this but it was either the husband the ex-husband or someone who wanted to fuck her but she turned him down.

S34: White cops always wanted to be someone’s possible ties to the Russian mob because their brother sold a guy named Casimiro boat in 1992 and it is never ever that it is always the way it is.

S31: I skipped an important sentence. It is never a global human trafficking ring.

S22: Eat it white guys you love weird sex murder. Number two the only foolproof way to murder your wife is to take her hiking and then very gently hip check her off a cliff.

S35: You cannot hip check her too hard because the scientists can tell you the trajectory. The scientists always measure three.

S36: All Dateline correspondents are my children but here is my ranking of them in order of how much I love my children. I stole that construction from my friend Meg’s series audience. Keith morrison. Josh Mankiewicz Andrea Canning Dennis Murphy sorry Dennis.

S15: You stole my child. I love you. You’re still my son. Is just my fourth favorite son.

S37: I get so I have to say it was a little annoying when in January 20 19 everyone on Earth suddenly became Ted Bundy experts because of Netflix’s four part documentary series.

S13: Conversations with a killer the Ted Bundy tapes like excuse me.

S37: Some of us have had the wikipedia page list of serial killers by number of victims bookmarked since 2006 and it was only published in 2005.

S21: Unrelated but also a hot hot read list of fatal bear attacks in North America.

S15: By decade likewise the great true crime podcast boom of Trump’s America has been both an irritant and a boon. Like yes it’s my food feed me my food but also please acknowledge and honor my lifelong interest in sexual knife crime.

S38: This was like all intro haven’t remotely gotten to the thesis of the chapter yet.

S4: Something just occurred to me do since gender men not spend absolutely every moment of their lives obsessed with the possibility of home invasion. Do they sleep soundly all through the night. Even if there is a noise do they notice if they get home and the porch light is off. But they are certain they turn the porch light on before they left.

S39: Do they think about giving up their lovely house their porch their garden for a high rise apartment. Because there are fewer points of entry.

S21: Do they consider going home from work early because they can’t stop wondering if the wooden dowel in the basement window track has somehow come askew.

S40: Do they rehearse protocols for which heavy dresser they will shove in front of the bedroom door if they hear someone creaking up the hallway and lie awake at night wondering how thick particle board would need to be to stop bullets. What about particle board. A layer of folded sweaters. And then another piece of particle board with a faux wood grain laminate how easily and how far can one man shove one door one fat woman and one piece of an Ikea bedroom sets could I survive a jump out of a second story window.

S35: Should I aim for the tree. Or try to avoid the tree. Do fat people bounce better or hit harder.

S37: Oh straight white cis gender men love to file serial killers under some darker subcategory of white male genius. It’s easier to be titillated when fear is an abstraction.

S41: Who BTK installed security system so he could disarm them later. Isn’t that smart.

S4: Gary Ridgway alluded the cops for 20 years. Bundy wore a fake cast diabolical. No you dick lickers. They were sorry.

S42: They were they were fucking pathetic opportunistic in cell losers who leverage the staggering confidence that our society confers upon bare minimum white men in order to get away with obliterating the lives of sexual objects they despise because they could not own them.

S43: As much like Ada Lovelace the inventor of the fucking computer.

S33: It was interesting to observe the renewed national conversation about Bundy in light of another national obsession incubating at the time. The early stirrings of the 2020 presidential campaign watching otherwise rational human beings. Rhapsody lies about Bundy’s charm and brilliance. Well furrowing their brows over Elizabeth Warren’s dubious likability creates a particularly American kind of whiplash.

S22: The prevailing Bundy narrative has always hammered away at how handsome and charismatic the man was but one would think that in 2019 if me two brownshirts truly have the death grip on pop culture injustice that the whingeing class claims we do. Someone might have red flags the canonization of a shitty rapist failure who murdered at least 30 women.

S4: Ted Bundy was a mediocre student whom no one liked who failed at everything he ever tried to do except for exploiting women socialization as caregivers in order to put them into vulnerable situations so he could take away their one single precious exquisite life. Elizabeth Warren just put herself through Rutgers Law School with a toddler at home held endowed professor professorships at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Law and Harvard Law School became perhaps the most influential expert on bankruptcy law in the country has been a U.S. senator since 2012 and is now arguably the most principled and policy driven candidate in the fight to wrest power from the province of.

S44: And lead Americans to help save our dying planet. Oh.

S34: Off putting I hate it when my mommy makes me brush my teeth far more like a bully. Ted Bundy pretended to have a broken arm so he could rape bludgeon shoot and stab women. Things that don’t make a white man unlikeable murdering stealing everyone’s money grabbing women by the pussy cult leading making everyone in your cult commit suicide with you genocide being a D.J. things that do make a woman unlikable voice body hair. Shoes.

S20: Kids no kids sex no sex money no money. Inhale.

S45: Exhale metabolize food shed skin cells use muscles to move bones around do anything die likability is a con and we’re all falling for it. I watched Netflix and Hulu was doing documentaries on the social media mega scam fire festival.

S7: The same week that I got that Ted Bundy documentary in my craw. And look.

S20: I am not saying that fire festival CEO Billy McFarland is like a serial killer because he lured hundreds of nubile young influencers to a remote island with no food or shelter and then to head off on a golden jet ski and left them to be eaten by wild pigs.

S37: The lawyer says I have to clarify that he did not literally do that just mostly.

S29: He mostly did literally mostly kind of do that OK.

S15: I am saying that McFarland is like a serial killer because he is exactly as likeable as Ted Bundy. And yet somehow I had to watch two entire documentaries about how charming and charismatic he is. Sorry is everyone on MDMA.

S27: And can I please have some.

S4: Billy McFarland is the most obvious bumbling con artist dumb ass ever birthed by the universe.

S24: He’s the guy who never helps on the group project.

S4: He’s the bully’s least memorable henchman. He’s that kind of American rich kid who doesn’t bother to learn more than one vowel.

S42: He looks like the producers spread peanut butter on his tongue and then had his audio dubbed by a frat guy halfway through dying of alcohol poisoning. He seems to be to put it charitably.

S46: Barely Alive if we’re all made of star stuff.

S10: He’s from the but part of the star. Sorry to be a mean bitch but I am so fucking sick fucking violently ill of having to watch good people be conned by smug simpletons who couldn’t beat a dog at Candyland Ted Bundy and Billy McFarland are both more charming than Donald Trump and.

S25: Boehner pratfalls his way into becoming the most powerful man on earth.

S4: That guy is who brought us down one militia side effect of Americans bootstrap ethos itself just a massive grift to empower the snickering Rich is that it conditions people to cheer at deregulation to beg and plead for the removal of consumer protections. We are literally asking to be conned. We are a smorgasbord for the most unscrupulous and the least deserving being a giant fucking sucker is as American as school shootings sorry that’s not supposed to be a comedy central.

S47: Case you feel like I’m being flippant the past few decades have been a tug of war over the benefit of the doubt Black Lives Matter demands that white America adjust its assumptions about the inherent goodness of cops about who looks like a criminal and who looks like a fine boy having a bad mental health day.

S21: Me too demands that we reexamine what credibility looks like who gets to define it and meet it out who gets to stride through the world assuming that they have it institutional benefit of the doubt as monstrously powerful.

S13: Any lie becomes an incantation conjuring itself into truth. This is the foundation of Donald Trump’s power. I’m the least racist person you’ll ever meet. I have a handsome law student.

S17: The fire festival is real and Kendall Jenner will be there to fund the fire festival. Billy McFarland called people on the phone and asked for millions of dollars and people were like sure to not get caught. Ted Bundy just had to exist multiple acquaintances reported him based on the police sketch.

S37: His brown Volkswagen and his shitty personality.

S17: But cops thought that a handsome no law student. He got bored and stopped going. Couldn’t possibly be a murderer. I mean you guys. The Michael Scott Paper Company was just a supply closet filled with cheese balls and a multi-million dollar buyout from Dunder Mifflin. Like. Man.

S21: Would it kill you to say thank you once in a while there is a famous moment from the Bundy trial in 1979 a trial in which Bundy disrupted the proceedings repeatedly with outlandish disrespect to the court and to his victims. When Judge Edward G cower of Dade County Florida delivered Bundy’s death sentence to quote the court finds that both of these killings were indeed heinous atrocious and cruel and that they were extremely wicked shockingly evil vile and the product of a designed to inflict a high degree of pain and utter indifference to human life this court independent of but in agreement with the advisory sentence rendered by the jury does hereby impose the death penalty upon the defendant Theodore Robert Bundy. It is further ordered that on such scheduled dates that you be put to death by a current of electricity sufficient to cause your immediate death and such current of electricity you shall continue to pass through your body until you are dead.

S48: I don’t believe in the death penalty. But otherwise. Seems pretty on point them. The judge continued take care of yourself young man.

S13: I say that to you sincerely take care of yourself.

S41: It is an utter tragedy for this court to see such a total waste of humanity.

S49: I think as I’ve experienced in this courtroom you’re a bright young man.

S10: You would have made a good lawyer and and I would have loved to have you practice in front of me. But you went another way. Partner. Either way partner.

S25: I don’t feel any animosity toward you.

S38: I want you to know that I take care of yourself to recap women just live in life. Go into college having brown hair swimming helping the injured Ted Bundy murders 30 women at least because.

S37: His PBS scrunched from being a massive shitty failure the legal system bonds you are a great man and a great lawyer and could be our greatest president.

S42: If I’m being honest. But unforced I gotta sentence you to death on account of all the murder and whatnot.

S34: Sorry buddy Dang I wish I could hire you as my son. And heck you should be doing my job partner PSU my hero.

S37: Yeah it happened it happened in 1979.

S49: I’m still mad I wasn’t alive yet but I was I was mad I was angry and the wherever you hang out before your born before you’re conceived in my in the star stuff okay.

S14: I wonder how many of the women Bundy murdered would have made good lawyers.

S37: I wonder how many female and minority lawyers judge coward mentored in his lifetime. This anecdote is often held up as evidence of Bundy’s charisma. Even the judge sentencing him to death was seduced by that smirk that finger wave. But it is the most blatant overwhelming evidence we have for the opposite. Men don’t need charisma to succeed. It doesn’t matter if men are likeable because men are people who do things who don’t have to ask first. Whose potential has value even after it is squandered.

S46: On the other hand women is there such a thing as a likable woman. What do you think of one.

S37: And if she exists could she be anything but the ultimate manifestation of everything we hate about the water we swimmin everything we’re forced to be likability in a sexist racist culture is not objective. It’s compulsory femininity. The gender binary invisible Labor whiteness smallness sweetness it’s letting them do it.

S13: If someone is universally likeable I don’t trust that person.

S28: That’s the opposite of politics. I don’t want a candidate that the old right likes. I don’t want to have anything in common with George Zimmerman. A person standard of likability is a reflection of his beliefs and unfortunately in this country a whole lot of people believe that Donald Trump is not a racist chart in an 8 foot tie who is unqualified for literally every job except lie down.

S37: So no excuse me. We will not play likability anymore. It’s an endless runner a game with no progress and no finish line that women especially are expected to chase. That keeps us from doing the real work accruing the real power. Chasing likability has been one of women’s biggest setbacks by design. I don’t know that rejecting likeability will get us anywhere but I know that replaced that embracing it has gotten us nowhere.

S13: Which is something we call a woman who demands the benefit of the doubt who speaks the truth who punctures the con who kills your joy.

S37: If your joy is killing a witch has power and power in women isn’t likeable it’s ugly cartoonish. But to not assert our power even if we fail is to let them do it. This new truth telling this witchcraft of ours by definition cannot be likeable. We cannot pander or wait for consensus. The world is too big and complicated and rigged. We are saying the things that the people don’t like. The only truly edgy things. That’s the point.

S10: Someone will always pop up to say you would be more effective if you were nicer. You would have a more receptive audience if you adjusted your tone. You catch more flies with honey. Well I don’t want flies.

S21: The most likable woman in the world is crawling with fucking flies.

S50: Thank you.

S51: That’s my Ted Bundy chapter.

S10: So OK so now we have 25 minutes for Q and A. And I’m going to a.

S47: All your cuz we got two microphones you can come stand in the aisles and we’re just gonna go back and forth. And if not if no one comes up after you I will.

S52: I will rank my favorite burrito flavors so let’s not have that. Hello.

S53: Hi Linda. When will you return to the New York Times and of the candidates who say they’ll eliminate the Hyde Amendment which really will. And why should we shout our abortion. It will be docs.

S21: OK I found that for some reason really hard to hear. I’ll say it one more time. I don’t think it’s your fault.

S54: I think it’s the acoustics because I’m because we’re under this dome could you say it just slowly one more time slowly.

S53: When will you return to the New York Times. When will I return of the candidates who say they’ll eliminate the Hyde Amendment which do you think really what will. And why should we shout our abortion if we’ll be docs OK.

S10: Great questions. I need to return to the New York Times as soon as possible. I I took a hiatus to make season one of shrill and then as soon as. Thank you.

S35: And then as soon as that was over I had to write this book very frantically and then literally before I even finished the book we had to start writing season two and then they overlapped which is hell.

S10: And then. Then what happened. Then we shot season basically and then I started to have free time again and I was like Oh writing columns is hard.

S42: I remember it now.

S21: And so now I basically like when will I return. Like soon. It’s I’m in trouble.

S23: Like I got I gotta go I gotta get back on it. It’s really nice to not have to engage deeply with politics on a daily basis. You know I’ve been watching a lot of guys grocery games.

S55: You can read about them in this book. But yeah I know I know I know that my absence has been noted and people are mad at me. That’s. I agree. I don’t know the answer to the question about the Hyde Amendment but I’m voting for lives. And.

S56: Why should we shot our abortion if we’re gonna be docs.

S57: You shouldn’t only only shout your abortion if you feel like you can do it safely and like you you know have the kind of support system and community where that’s a possibility for you it’s not a directive it’s just a platform and a sort of space to do that if you want to. I choose to talk about my abortion constantly because I know that not everyone can and that a lot of people face actual peril if they do. Depending on where you live depending on what you know your family life is like and so you know I live in Seattle. My family’s always been pro-choice. There’s very little risk for me. I mean like I have been docked my address is on the Internet. I’ve been absolutely threatened with death but I.

S10: Don’t know it seems that no one it’s fine. I seem to be still alive. So not that not to downplay it because obviously anti choice people kill people. But it hasn’t crossed a line where I personally feel unsafe.

S57: So I choose to keep doing it. But no no I absolutely don’t think that that this is some sort of compulsory movement that everyone needs to participate in in fact the whole purpose of it is that not everyone feels safe. My hearing has gone wild you know not everyone can talk about their abortion and that’s why I talk about it.

S10: Too much to the point where people are like OK we know.

S14: But yeah I mean I think yes. I mean I don’t think that’s it. That’s my answer yes.

S58: All right thanks so much for coming to D.C.. My God. Thank you for coming to see me.

S59: Congrats on season two of shrill.

S15: You finishing are under production season two of show comes out January 24th.

S60: It’s really good. I was wondering if you could share with us.

S59: Is Annie’s project introductory on trial season 2 was I autobiographical as season 1 was or was it. Does she take on her own life.

S10: That’s a nice question.

S54: She we’re mostly getting into the realm of fiction at this point which has been really fun for me like it’s kind of a relief to not be like who.

S4: Like every you know there were a lot of moments in Season One where I was like Why did I do this. Why did I write dialogue for the dad that my real dad used to say to me.

S56: You know and Annie because she’s a creation of me and 80 and the writing team she is she’s not me she’s not 80 she is is this fiction that we made up and that’s actually really fun.

S14: It gives you so much room to take it wherever you want to go. But there certainly is still there are definitely multiple plotlines from season two that are at least inspired from my lot by my life and things that I’ve written and you know it does follow in his career as she becomes you know a more established writer and tries to build her career and like it’s all it is a lot of it is taken from my experience but it’s fictionalized and it’s really funny and is really good when you show.

S61: Thank you.

S58: How are you. Fantastic. Never better. I have a very DC question for you. If you were to be the president United States who would be your dream girl power cabinet.

S62: Oh my God it’s so stressful.

S25: All do not elect me president of the United States.

S52: Not qualified or not qualified.

S63: OK I gotta go.

S41: Have you seen that clip from Billy on the street where he’s like name a woman name a woman and the girl can name a woman.

S64: That’s how I feel right now.

S4: I mean OK so he’s like OK because if I see any like politicians then it’s like well they should just be the president.

S5: Why am I the President could I not be the press can I be like the clown that lives on the base. So I’ll go to a different route. Well you know obviously we could go like.

S47: I mean this is pandering.

S65: This is so hard so hard I mean because you know I can’t.

S9: I just feel like a million things that we’re creating an applause break in a humiliating way words like if I watch or listen to this podcast I feel like oh shut up.

S40: Oh beyond say you know what I mean like I don’t know.

S23: How about all of you. We can all be the everyone.

S36: Everyone in this room. Name a woman either or attending.

S50: I don’t know how many people are in a cabinet. Twelve literally don’t know. Let’s just keep going. Which side is it this way. Please please please take me out of the cell.

S57: That’s actually an incredible question and I loved it.

S66: I just would need like several months to make my list. All right. Oh my question. Terrible. Maybe appreciate it. So it seems that at least in our side of cultural things there’s been somewhat of a shift with body positivity and acceptance and stuff and there are people who didn’t used to be that way and now are better about it. And I wonder how you have reconciled or if you have and I’m thinking specifically of Dan Savage I don’t know what happened there.

S57: OK let’s see. Dan I’m Dan and I are cool. But I never see him but a back story if anyone cares in shrill the book I write about having a fight with my boss Dan Savage at the time who was my boss about fat people because he was a long time ago when this was like still very cool.

S43: He would like write on the blog and be like fat people should go on diets or whatever. I don’t know.

S67: And then I’ve got to be like and and then I was like Could you not do that and then he was like No I’m going to do it.

S14: And then and then I.

S33: And then I went completely wild. And like I wrote a manifesto and I posted it on the blog the. Of the newspaper where he was my editor.

S68: And then we. And then. That’s fine. It was pretty cool though and then we. And then that becomes a plot line on shrill the show.

S10: Loosely based. But a long time ago and Dan and I had like some good conversations about it.

S54: And like I totally mean like in the in the intervening years he has you know reached out to me when he has a question from a fat person in Savage Love.

S41: No I mean like you know in a way that you want the person to do like OK you know don’t just like wing it and try to answer this question in a dehumanizing way. Based on your own you know best guess.

S10: And I appreciate that and I think he has tried to listen and grow and everyone was like trying to reignite our feud when shrill the show came out and and be like you know this boss character is clearly Dan Savage and like it’s kind of sort of like no it’s not it’s an act.

S43: John Cameron Mitchell is playing a character written by a team of people who don’t know Dan it’s not you know like the sort of structure of the relationship is similar but the character again is a fiction. That’s how TV works. But it was still very awkward and I was very nervous about it and like reporters were calling Dan to ask you know how well how do you feel about this.

S14: What do you think. And I had been terrified to run into him because we both still live in Seattle which is very small. And then I. And I was like I should probably send him an email I don’t know how you know I hadn’t talked to him in a couple of years. And then on the way to South by Southwest where we premiered season one of the show he was on my flight.

S23: So he was sitting in the seat directly in front of me. And so the Band-Aid was ripped off and we had a lovely conversation. And I said Are you mad at me and he was like What is wrong with you. Of course not. Congratulations and good day. And then I guess we’re friends and everything’s fine. What was the question.

S47: Oh I mean like the body positivity conversation is really complicated and I tend to not use the phrase body positivity because I think it’s a little off the mark in a couple different ways. I tend to talk about you know fat liberation or.

S40: Body liberation. I think that.

S47: Keeping it politically politicized is really important. And also I think that demanding that people be pop feel positively about their bodies is kind of mean.

S21: I mean it sets up another unrealistic standard for all of us to fail that you know not only do you have to live under under the crushing weight of all of these other beauty standards you also if you fail at them and then you start to live in the world of those beauty standards but you also have to feel positive you feel great about your body every single day. Otherwise you are not body positive like who want that’s not who does that help.

S37: Obviously it’s good for people to explore sometimes experienced the feeling of not hating their bodies. But I mean that’s more like body neutrality which is another term that people use anyway. It’s all really complicated because it’s all being monetized and it’s all being sort of like churned through the capitalism machine and it is capitalism ever gonna save us.

S69: No. So that’s you know. But but if I was 14 right now and I had like hundreds and hundreds of like fat beauty bloggers that I could follow on Instagram in bikinis like love and life would that have helped me. Absolutely.

S47: So it’s good and it’s bad and it’s complicated and you had to get to keep your eye on the ball to keep your eye on the politics of it and the fact that this is a social justice movement more than anything.

S14: It’s not just about who gets to be on the cover of a magazine and who gets to be in the lotion ad you know.

S66: Thank you.

S70: Linda thank you for your work as a black woman. I hope I’ve enjoyed your work but I’ve gotten crap from my black friends about liking your work because you’re not black. That’s how it is. I was all indignant when you were talking about Elizabeth Warren a couple minutes ago and how women have to be prim and but black women have an additional burden of just like let’s just not even be loud. That indignity has died down as I’ve said here because my feet hurt. But I I. I wanted to ask you you know Kamala Harris is running. I am in no way saying But Marla Harris. But I mean I am saying she’s fighting an additional fight and being a black woman with a loud voice. I was wondering what your thoughts were about how all women can lift up all women and not just look like Elizabeth but I’m just saying how do you take off the tinge of being a minority and not having your place should be on the ground as minority you have no voice as a minority person repeatedly if I speak up in my office I’m the angry black woman just for saying the most basic thing. Why don’t we have better chairs. So I wonder if you could speak a little bit to your thoughts about that. Yeah and my side note is I had supercool earrings on this evening and I lost one so I’m with you.

S71: These same area and now they were super cool lightning bolts but I’m just saying hold on to your hearings that.

S72: If everyone could please look around on the floor try to find them Ziering. No it’s mine.

S57: No. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for your question. And I I mean I try to acknowledge as often as possible in this book especially when I’m talking about things like you know the power of anger and the power you know the importance of using your voice and speaking up everyone is unpopular that. That’s not a level playing field and that. You know those those behaviors are racialized and they are stigmatized in a way that is absolutely that reflects the same systems of privilege and power as as everything else you know. So obviously black women are disproportionately punished for all of these behaviors and easy for me you know to stand on this a white woman with a platform and with a job where literally it’s incentivized for me to be loud and opinionated because that’s my job to be up here and say everyone should go out and express their anger and tell her you know stand up for yourself in the workplace and tell everyone what you think about everything because it’s not that’s not realistic. And it’s it’s not realistic. You know in a really specific way for. For certain people. And so. Throughout the book I’ve tried just like with shout your abortion try to be really clear about the fact that this is not a directive and it’s more directive for the very for the privileged and powerful who do have the luxury of being able to be to express anger and express opinions and use their use our voices with relative safety to take full advantage of that space and and not just. I went off the rails about this in an interview where I accidentally kind of said that.

S14: The group conference was a hate group.

S10: But if you use your space only to advocate for issues that affect you directly which is what white women tend to do. That’s a white supremacist movement.

S5: That’s that and that’s it it’s. Well you don’t you don’t have to break me but like. The. It’s the same as what I was just sort of trying to ramble about with body positivity if you’re fighting for.

S10: Hourglass shaped size 14 white women to be on the cover of magazines you’re literally doing nothing like because what we’re talking about if you’re if if you’re engaged in a social justice movement the fight is for justice which is absolutely inclusive to the end of the tent whatever metaphor you want to use. And if you’re not doing that you’re not doing it. The movement at all and you are in fact.

S49: Engaged in a discriminatory movement under the guise of justice. And I think it’s really important for people like me who do have these extreme privileges to be able to have this platform to.

S33: I mean obviously they be really vocal about all of this stuff. I don’t know if I’m getting anywhere near an answer to this question like the answer is like.

S10: I totally agree. And I. You know I. OK let’s see to reframe it a different way like I write about men. There’s a chapter in here about like.

S28: You know what would be great is if like my male colleagues would notice when someone is is dismissing my ideas or is saying something sexist to me or is treating me you know is not taking me seriously at work and they say something because you know what it is stigmatized to speak up. And how about you carry some of that burden.

S10: And that’s absolutely a duty of white women when we’re talking about race in professional situations and in social situations and in political situations. So I feel like I’ve rambled my way into a different universe but. But no I mean I you know I get questions. I get questions from white women all the time like. It’s not fair. The infighting on the left and like people yell at me for not doing everything right. Yeah. And that’s a gift that someone’s giving you to do better to. I mean it’s such an easy basic simple thing to do.

S21: If you are a white person to always be open to always be permeable and teachable and to want to hear when you fucked up because that’s someone doing something actually very kind for you telling you that you have fucked something up and that you have an opportunity to be better going forward if that’s really the person that you want to be. People are so hung up on like copying you know call out culture and cancel culture it’s not fair.

S73: It’s not fair.

S74: People are criticizing me all the time for my bad behavior and it’s like Yeah you’re welcome like that’s one other thing I was going to say I was like wait I’ve almost got it. Don’t just stay with me was it. It was about white women again. I think that.

S10: On an ear infection. So that’s my excuse for my brain not working. Hold on. Well anyway. Basically like. Oh I know what it is because of this like sick toxic culture that we live in.

S28: If you’re a white person especially a white man but also if you’re a white woman you are raised to like conceive of yourself as default human being. And it’s really it’s really dangerous to live your life that way because it causes you to assume that your instincts are always right and that like your understanding of the world is correct. And that there’s nothing you don’t know and that if things are as you perceive them and that is absolutely false and you need to constantly constantly be cognizant of that and it’s literally like nothing. It’s the least you can do.

S37: Like it’s you know it’s either so much you should be doing beyond that which involves like leaving your house and using your body to change the world around you. But bare minimum. Oh my God like listen and don’t assume that you know everything.

S11: That’s my answer. I don’t know. I.

S75: Know you don’t I don’t deserve applause. You know it’s. Not.

S14: If you’re a white lady and you feel if you’re a white lady just like remember that you’re a white lady and like just like try harder.

S43: Sorry. No I don’t know. I really don’t want to gloss over any of that because it’s again like it’s literally the least that I could do I have this podium and I get to write books and it’s ridiculous.

S23: Yes hello.

S76: Eileen a Seattle guy Roger Ferris.

S77: I knew you when you were living here are you Emily Paris’s father. Yeah. Hi. And I was impressed when you were a little girl you were great. Thank you.

S73: Oh I think on behalf of this whole group I want to thank you for your courage but your willingness to be out there and to say these things and be political and be strong and and also to lecture us a little bit about how we could do better. And I love that. And I loved the book that I just read nonstop. It was Emily gave me a copy.

S78: Oh that’s nice.

S76: And now I’ll sit down but I want to give you since you brought up that awful monster Ted who used to live across the street from where I live now. But anyway. He’s.

S77: He’s everywhere in Seattle. Yeah well sorry.

S73: Yeah it used to be for people. And now there are many more but I knew I knew Seattle one or three people.

S76: So anyway this is a trivia question for you about Ted. OK. Sorry. And you don’t have to answer it because that’s good because the answer would be duh.

S73: I know you well enough from your writing now but the question is when he was a young college student so charming and all. Did he.

S76: Volunteer and work hard for that very passionate group in Seattle the students for a democratic society.

S79: Or was he a member of the Young Republicans that rocked Well you tell Emily that I say Hi what a small world.

S10: I’m so glad I like literally like never been like we’re talking like elementary school. I know it’s adorable.

S80: Yes. Hello.

S81: I was going to take two more questions.

S82: Hi. Sorry. Mine’s kind of half question half statement. He stole my thunder a little bit I wanted to say thank you. You’ve had a remarkable and profound experience impact on the person that I love the most in this world’s life. And that just means so much for me to see how she’s grown and blossomed from the words that she’s read from you. So I just want to say thank you. And I wanted to know how does it feel to know that you’ve had such a profound impact on on people’s lives.

S78: Oh thank you so much. The way I mean.

S83: I mean of course there’s nothing better than than hearing that you made someone feel a little bit less alone or made someone feel a little stronger or help that made but helped someone find that place inside of themselves.

S57: And I really relate to it because all the stuff that I write about is just stuff that I needed to read when I was younger so I fully know what that feels like and other people do that for me at the same time like I sort of speaking to the two questions ago like the it. I have it really easy and like I’m really lucky to have this job and have this platform and to live in relative safety and to be able to you know say things that make people mad at me and go back to my really solid support system and I say you do have it easy but you’re also incredibly brave like the things that you have done not everyone could do or else they would be doing them so well.

S75: You should remember that. Well.

S72: We can argue about how brave I am.

S55: I a couple weeks ago I when I was in Memphis and yeah.

S84: Which was amazing I’d never been there before I had the best time and there is an incredible abortion clinic reproductive health clinic they’re called choices and they are all amazing. They have a birthing center they have a midwifery program. They’re like you know basically the only the only organization doing like full spectrum pregnancy care in the whole state and they’re an abortion clinic and they’re constantly protested by people who supposedly care about babies. I mean they invited me to their gala and they gave me the bravery award and I was like. Yo.

S57: He’s literally risk death to go to work and I am a blogger whose lives on my couch in Seattle and I and I sit around thinking about ranking Doritos flavors. So I’m totally honored but no I mean it it’s it’s. What I mean what.

S78: What a cool What if I get to have what a gift. You know.

S4: Okay. And I say all that self-deprecating stuff put it like it is like it would be for anyone it is.

S57: It’s really hard to have like you know a thousand strangers in a day e-mail you like you’re your fat pig you should go die like it sucks. Justice comes looks like objectively sucks and it’s it’s hard in a lot of ways it’s really hard to write about your own life you know to do the sort of really vulnerable writing that I especially did intro and then just extravagantly avoided doing in this book because I’m exhausted.

S21: And I feel very overexposed right now.

S10: And so that.

S84: So hearing stories like that and hearing from people is though is the only thing that is what makes it worth it.

S57: And also well and also like again you know I if you have real convictions and you have the opportunity to have a platform like mine and you know I only ever wanted to write jokes and be a goof.

S84: But once I started to become kind of politically aware and to think about my place in the world and to think critically about the systems that we live in it’s like there’s not it’s not really optional.

S14: You know it’s not an option to not be political and to not say what what you think needs to be said as loudly as you can and I don’t know. But yeah it’s there is literally it’s like addictive to hear from people that that your work meant something to them and that they’re a little bit more free because of it or they’re a little bit stronger.

S57: I mean that’s just the most beautiful feeling in the world because I know what it feels like. So yeah. Thank you so much.

S75: Hi.

S85: Hi. This might be too personal questions. It is stored in us insurance. Oh no apologize to the two that didn’t get out and ask. You know I am sorry. You can ask me if you come in the line and we can talk. This really affects my data a day to day life.

S86: So I was hoping you would answer the question of can you rank your favorite Doritos winners.

S87: I got this.

S88: It’s hard though. I actually. OK. But get ready get ready for some controversy.

S57: Number one are you ready.

S23: You’re all going to boo me.

S86: Number one spicy sweet chili.

S72: They’re so good. Sorry. I don’t make the rules. I mean by the formula they fucking rock and then this is like the turtle.

S10: I mean how could I don’t. I was I sat for. Probably 20 minutes yesterday and tried to think of what’s better nacho cheese or cool Rich and I don’t know.

S89: I don’t know. Answer.

S90: It’s unanswerable No it’s unanswerable.

S15: They are they are they are tied in a in such a you know deep way they are two sides the two sides of life and then then all the other ones. I don’t know all those what those spicy Nacho is.

S10: It’s not spicy and not enough Nacho I don’t I guess there’s like hell opinion which I never encounter and then of course at the bottom plain. Have you ever even seen those you run into them once in a while and you’re. OK if you’re me you’re like. What’s this yellow Doritos bag. A new flavor and then you grab it. And it’s like. Plain it’s which is just a tortilla chip food with which I have no problem but somehow if it’s a burrito this is blasphemy and I want to kick it straight to hell.

S67: How do we feel about that.

S91: APPLAUSE Did I forget anything during the flavors that are important.

S10: There’s only three important ones spices we chili mojo. I guess maybe Nacho has a tiny edge over coal rich. It’s.

S88: Not like oh there’s like taco from like the 80s right that they brought back. It’s. OK. All right. That’s my time. Appear. Sitting at a table there’s some kind of system that someone will teach you if you want to come say hi.

S36: And thank you. I really thank you all so much for coming and listening to me. It’s very bizarre that you did so. I’m very. Eternally grateful.

S92: Thank you all so so so much.

S1: Live at Politics and Prose is a co-production of the bookstore and Slate dot com. For information about upcoming Politics and Prose events visit politics dash prose dot com and please let us know what you think of this program. Our email is podcasts at Slate dot com.