S1: I’m feeling too funny, clever. They’ve seen the take dogs. This is this is good, but you know, it’s really specific about this much the confetti.
S2: Hi, I’m Madison Malone Kircher
S3: and I’m Allegra Frank sitting in for Rachel Hampton. And you’re listening to I see. Why am I
S2: in case you missed it?
S3: Slate’s podcast about internet culture.
S2: Welcome to the New Year. I see. Why am I guys? I’m so glad you’re here with us as we enter the second. I’m going to cheat a little the second calendar year of our show. And welcome back Allegra.
S3: Hi, Madison. Glad to be back for you. Year two almost.
S2: Yeah, it’s a very, a very official. Totally not fudged number. I don’t know about you, but my TikTok feed has unsurprisingly begun filling up with hashtag. New Year, New You Wellness fits Bo be that girl content. I think to encourage me to improve myself somehow in the new year. But I’m not into it.
S3: No. Yeah. Thankfully, I don’t get any kind of encouraging content on any of my feeds. I’ve worked my algorithm properly to know that I do not need or respond to encouragement.
S2: OK, well, I’m impressed with you. But for those of you listening who are perhaps more like me than Allegra and are beginning to be tormented by the ghosts of the alleged better version of yourself, we are here with a little reminder. And it’s that one you can and should skip it entirely. And that to the best way to teach your for you page that you don’t like something is to swipe as quickly as humanly possible.
S3: It’s kind of like with Tinder, right? You got it. Just you don’t even want to look.
S2: Yes. But more importantly, because if you watch too much of a given video, TikTok will interpret that as interest, whereas the Tinder date may never find you. That it’s so ominous threatening.
S3: Unlike Tinder, TikTok will find you if you’re not, if it will find you.
S2: Also, just as a reminder, you can also dislike videos on Tik Tok. It’s sort of a hidden feature by long pressing on your screen while you’re watching a video and then selecting Not interested? But TikTok learns based on the amount of time you spend watching something. So really, the minute you here, take a picture of yourself now and in 20 to just skip.
S3: That’s a great tip. I did not know about the long press.
S2: Yeah, the long press. It’s almost like they don’t want you to find it.
S3: Wonder why?
S2: So while you’re all testing that out, we’ve also got to talk about. We simply must discuss Taylor Swift.
S3: It could not be a new year without a new Taylor Swift update for Madison.
S2: It couldn’t be, but also, I swear I didn’t make this up. The woman has claimed 2022 for her, for her own.
S3: Oh God.
S2: Later in the show, we’re going to have an interview with a Taylor Swift fan, a candidate for New York State Assembly and the Vax daddy himself, Huma, the creator of TurboVax. We’ll be talking with him about his experience creating that website, which helped New Yorkers navigate vaccination appointments in 2021. We also get into his run for office, his favorite Taylor Swift tracks, but Allegra first. Are you feeling? Twenty twenty two.
S3: Huh, I can’t speak for me, Madison, but I know one person who is. And it’s Taylor
S2: after the break, we’ll be back to talk about the woman who’s branded the whole year after herself. My girl Taylor Swift. All right, we are back and so much to Mike Leigh is Taylor Swift,
S3: did she ever leave?
S2: I mean, not my heart now my mind. We’re really the cultural spotlight. During the year 2021, with her rerelease of red parentheses, Taylor Swift version and the ten minute all too well or sorry, all too well, 10 minute version T-S version from the vault. The woman has has been in the spotlight all year long and doesn’t appear to be stepping back to the shadows anytime soon.
S3: No, not at all, because we both saw this Madison. Last week, a new hashtag started to pop up on Twitter, which happens I mean, every single day. But this one came with a little a little flair attached.
S2: So, you know,
S3: you know, it’s legit. You know, it’s legit. It’s not just someone trying to make up something grassroots style, it’s someone throwing their money behind it. Hashtag, I’m feeling 2022, which has a little like TLC next to it. When you type it out on Twitter, a little red tips. That’s sort of the new Taylor’s version red logo. So it’s clearly it’s not just Taylor fans coming together and coming up with this Taylor is the one who is spearheading this. She’s branding the whole year after her song on her own. It is Taylor’s 2022.
S2: I mean, it is, and I am just living in it. Though if I may defend Taylor, I will say this is perhaps Taylor Swift capitalizing on 2022 and then Twitter capitalizing on Taylor capitalizing on 2022. It all has a lot of changes in there.
S3: Lots of tease. All starting with Taylor have you?
S2: I don’t know why I’m about to pose this. Like, it’s a normal question, but for me it is. Have you looked at her merch store recently?
S3: Glad that you asked and realize it’s not a normal question, but your earlier insistence? I did. And this girl, I mean, she’s ready to go. As I said, it’s non-organic house. Shake it all. It’s something that she very conspicuously has planned out ahead of time. This hashtag I’m feeling 2022 because if you look at Taylor’s merch store. There are shirts. There’s banners, there’s headbands. All kinds of cutesy, Taylor centric merch. With this new phrase, I’m feeling 2022 printed on them.
S2: I love her. I’m nothing but impressed. At some point, we the proletariat will rise up and grab our pitchforks and take down Taylor Swift, and I will be sad when that day comes.
S3: It’s going to be when she’s in the frickin White House, honey, that’s when that’s happening.
S2: But until then, she will continue to sell excellent merch. But more recently, she posted a ticktalk about the end of the year, also with her cat, Benjamin, who is apparently 22 in cat years. Allegra Do you know cat ears are counted? I don’t.
S3: I know dog years or seven years. 22Nm Cat Ears sounds pretty young, though, so I’m going to say that cat’s pretty young.
S2: OK, yeah, I googled cat ears. And the first thing that comes up from a website I’m not going to name is I have in fact checks is that the first year of a cat’s life is equal to 15 human years, but that the second year, the second year is equivalent to nine years and after the second year, each additional year is equal to about four human years. I’m sorry, do I need like PEM dogs to count how old a cat is I?
S3: We are going to later in a bonus episode, do the math required?
S2: A quadratic equation is involved. I can’t do this. I see these negative B plus or minus all over to a I was so bad at Math Child.
S3: Oh my god, I am breaking down. I am breaking down mentally right now.
S2: That’s all I got. So she post this tick tock. We’re not doing the math. We’re just going to believe her. That Benjamin, her cat, is twenty two in cat years. Hashtag, I’m feeling twenty twenty two. There’s a tick tock filter that will give you and I’m feeling 2022 headband, much like the one you can buy. Mm hmm. Very. I love it. No, no stone unturned. No revenue stream on forged.
S3: So apparently, though, you found out that this marketing campaign is actually a little bit older than we expected. Taylor it’s been kind of putting in the the roots of this for a longer time than you or I even knew.
S2: Well, yes and no, because as with all good things on the internet that become corporatized, this didn’t start with her. It did. In that she obviously wrote the song and I’m feeling 22. Which great jam. It is a perfect night to dress up like hipsters and make fun of our exes. But back in November, there was this one Tik Tok sound that started popping up, and it’s very, very popular. It’s by the user at its Troy Young. So it’s a fan. It? Let’s play a little.
S4: I know, but I’m feeling strange things.
S2: It’s been used in like twenty eight thousand Tic Tacs at this point, and I have heard many, many variations on the 20 22 clip, like it’s just it’s out there, it’s going around. I feel like this is a good moment to mention that when I turn 22, my friends did make me breakfast at midnight and it was a real high point for me. I feel
S3: like every person who turned twenty two after the song 22, came out had an infinitely better 22nd birthday than anyone who turned 22 before 22 came
S2: out entirely. All over TikTok, though, people are using this audio to announce their plans and their resolutions for the New Year. But all I can thinking is that the master plan of Taylor Swift, this is such a genius move to grab a whole year for yourself, you know, to keep the energy going for an album rerelease or two or three. Who knows?
S3: But obviously, you know, as popular as Taylor Swift is and as beloved as her moves often are by her fans and everyone else, surely there is backlash, there is always backlash. So there must be some people who are, like, frustrated that Taylor is trying to lay claim over a year already, right?
S2: This is why I hate talking about Taylor Swift on the show, because no one will just let me go for 20 minutes talking about how much I love her unabashedly.
S3: And I’m pretty honest. Madison Yeah, people hate her.
S2: That’s true. Yes. Specifically, people were a little irked with the $23. I’m feeling 20 22 headbands she’s selling plus shipping. Plus, who knows when those will arrive because supply chain. So if you’re looking to make your own, I found a really great TikTok tutorial for about six bucks. I am
S3: in love with the new Taylor Swift merch, but I was not paying $23
S2: for. Had that, I’m going to wear one, so
S3: I made it. I took a letter board, a headband, a pair of scissors.
S2: Some, I mean, I don’t even own a glue gun, so really got started. I’m in it for the 23 bucks Taylor. Take my credit card.
S3: You’ll let her do the work for you.
S2: Of course, as always, Taylor Swift is never one to let a moment go by without perhaps allegedly maybe dropping an Easter egg.
S3: Oh boy. Always. What’s this one about Madison?
S2: I’ll let tick tock tell you if it’s wrong, it’s not my fault.
S1: I know it thinking I’m feeling too funny. Clever. They’ve seen the take dogs. This is this is good for you. It was really specific about this much the confetti and which some tis Taylor sing about confetti in non-live. So does this mean that we’re getting now in 2020? OK.
S3: As fascinating is, that was we don’t have time to get trapped in the world of Taylor Swift fan theories again. And I know that that is a rabbit hole that you are very keen on going down.
S2: Look, there’s still time for this to pan out. December 2022 is a whole year away.
S3: Well, OK, I will see you on that episode in 360 some odd days, but now it’s time to take a break so Madison can go check her mailbox for the Taylor Swift 2022 merch she’s still waiting on. And when we get back, we’ll have Taylor Swift fan and New York State Assembly candidate humor with us. OK. And we’re back, and it turns out we’re back with another Swifty.
S2: That’s right. Turns out humor is one of us, one of us. Here’s a chat I had with him earlier about his viral Twitter organizing turned to political campaigning. And of course, because I’m me and Rachel is on vacation.
S3: Taylor Swift can’t wait to hear how he’s hashtag feeling. Twenty twenty two.
S2: Hugh, welcome to ICI. Why am I?
S5: Thanks for having me on. It’s a pleasure to be here.
S2: So how did you come up with creating TurboVax? Walk us through that process. Yeah.
S5: Well, I sort of built TurboVax because I was facing this problem myself. I was trying to get a vaccine for my mom. This is in early January, when vaccine supply was still extremely limited. You know, it’s night and day. Not not today and what it was earlier. But, you know, I in order to find this vaccine, I had to go on four and five different websites refresh all day called different landlines. I knew that for people who maybe were not, as you know, technology inclined or people who were working, this was a impossible task. So I built TurboVax just to centralize it and give people a better option to to find their their vaccines. And I didn’t know that it would blow up to to be something like this.
S2: I feel like I’m just going to take my moment to say thank you. I said I used it for friends. I used it for my mom. If you weren’t in New York City or if you’re in a place where it was, maybe the vaccine rollout was handled better. Does that place exist? It’s really hard to overstate how bungled it was here in the virus.
S5: You know, I will say it was difficult, and I think everyone was sort of like putting the plane together while flying it. I believe that, you know, that’s what it is, and I do believe that everyone was trying and doing their best. But we need it a little little extra oomph to get it over the top. And I’m really fortunate to have had the skills and the opportunity to give back to my neighbors,
S2: and that extra oomph cost you precisely how much.
S5: Oh yes, well, it cost me $50. This is canon now and a lot of my free time
S2: as TurboVax was gaining notoriety and becoming this important platform that many of us in your city were using. You were also gaining personal notoriety. What was it like becoming known as Vax Daddy? I’d say it.
S5: It was a trip. I will just say that it DMs were solid, but I really just enjoyed the opportunity to give back
S2: for a little bit more description. You experience was becoming what I’ll describe as a public health first icon seems like a fair way to put it
S5: that that is that is one way to put it. But I was squarely focused on building a website that could help others.
S2: Q. I have to imagine this was a stressful time also, right? Did you feel a personal responsibility for the followers in this community you were building as they were, you know, successfully or not? Successfully, I checked out your mentions, often booking vaccines.
S5: I did feel some sort of burden and people for one reason other I started looking at me as a expert or as some sort of resource and I quote for a living. This is this is new to me.
S2: Absolutely. How do you see what you learned in that process in forming a run for office?
S5: I think the big thing the theme of my campaign is as a government that really centers on the needs of regular New Yorkers, and I built TurboVax because the government was not meeting our needs when it came to this vaccine distribution problem. And now when I’m thinking about the really big issues of our time, such as climate and housing and transportation, I also don’t feel like the government is meeting our needs. So I’m going to take my platform and hopefully advocate for the needs of my neighbors.
S2: So you actually temporarily shut down TurboVax in February in a stand against the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes, and you helped raise thousands of dollars to support Manhattan’s Chinatown. Was there any point in the process where your activism made you a target of the very hate you were trying to combat?
S5: When I shut it down, people replied, asking the saying like, this will do nothing. You’re simply punishing others for love for this violence. We have nothing to do with this anti-Asian violence. And I think the point that I wanted to make was that if we don’t listen to the needs of Asian-Americans, you know, we risk losing the contributions of Asian-Americans as well. And I think through this point. This action of suspending the website, I think I was able to make that pretty clear and hopefully raise more awareness and and work together and unify against this common problem.
S2: Absolutely. I am going to bring us back to the the Vax daddy pandemic Haiti moment purely because I think it was a very funny moment in in internet time where suddenly the objects of internet affection, let’s say it was we were so thirsty for like competence answers in tell it like just someone help us, please. How did it feel about becoming one of those pandemic era hotties? Is that we’ll go with that.
S5: It was fun. It was fun, and I got a lot of memorable replies and themes. But I think the one thing that was fun to investigate was someone said that I was the opposite of a milkshake duck, and I thought that was interesting. There’s a lot of other tweets that I probably should not be sharing at this time, but I hope that energy carries through as I am pursuing this next step.
S2: I’m curious about the DMs and replies Was there anybody in there that surprised you or any celeb appearances that really tickled you?
S5: Yes. So I remember. Yashar gave me a retweet before before he he went into hibernation. I remember Bowen Yang coming out of, you know, Twitter hibernation to talk about me, and that was interesting.
S2: What about one? Have to say you
S5: only good things, only good things.
S2: You’ve got to find this tweet and read it later. I heard through the grapevine that you might be a Taylor Swift fan. Is this true?
S5: This is true. This is, yes, we can confirm I will go on the record.
S2: He will go on the record. Wow. Wow. Brave.
S5: Happy belated to to Taylor. Her birthday is a day after mine.
S2: Oh well. Happy belated to you also.
S5: Thank you. Thank you.
S2: So you remember Taylor Swift birthday all too well?
S5: Yes, yes. Yes, the 10 minute version.
S2: Of course. Well, I have to ask then is there a Taylor Swift song you would say could underscore your campaign?
S5: That’s a good question. I would say, Look what you made me do. And yeah, I think I never really intended to build this tool to help so many of my neighbors or run for office. But I’m here. I’m excited to do it, and I’m looking forward to representing my neighbors in western queens.
S2: Look what you made you do. Thank you so much for joining us on the show today. This has
S5: been great. Thank you so much. It was a real pleasure. Oh, look what you made me do to me, to
S2: what you just made me do. All righty. That is the show. We’ll be back on your feet on Saturday, so definitely subscribe. We’re free and it’s the best way to make sure you never miss an episode. Well, we might be busy. The show is free. That’s what I meant. Leave us a rating and review in Apple Podcasts and tell a friend about us. Follow us on Twitter. We’re at I.S.. Why am I underscore pod, which is where you can dismiss your questions? I swear to you, we read every single one. And if Twitter is not your thing, there’s always email. I see. Why am I at Slate.com?
S3: I see. Why am I? Is produced by Daniel Schroeder. Our supervising producer is Derek John. We’re edited by Force Whitman and Me, L.A. Frank. Amber Smith is senior manager of podcast Audience Development. And Alicia Montgomery is executive producer of Slate Podcast. See You Online
S2: for wearing a 2022 headband means
S4: and yours is in red and white. You move away
S2: or would we say he’s feeling 2020, you know?
S2: Oh yes.