S1: The following program has words that were once banned in Boston, as they say, no, not Bucky Dent or Manhattan clam chowder, much worse words than that.
S3: It’s Friday, October 9th, 20 20 from Slate’s The Gist, I’m Mike Pesca, plotting to kidnap and kill the governor of Michigan, a crime.
S4: And I’m not an expert. I’m not, say, a sworn officer of the law in the state of Michigan, a gentleman by the name of Darren Leaf who happens to be.
S5: So I was shocked. I did not see this coming for those guys. But still, we can’t convict him in the news media here. They do have a right to a fair trial.
S3: True. As sheriff of Berry County, Da Leaf knows the law. Of course, maybe you should know that Leaf did speak at an anti lockdown protest in Michigan, sharing the stage with some of the alleged terrorists that could inform your interpretation of the following opinion he’s about to offer.
S5: Well, it’s just a charge and they say a plot to kidnap. And you gotta remember that are they trying to kidnap? Because a lot of people are angry with the governor and they want her arrested. So are they trying to arrest or was it a kidnap attempt? Because you can still Michigan, if it’s a felony, you can make a felony arrest. And I think it’s MCO seven six, four point four, something like that. Point five somewhere out there. And it doesn’t say if you’re an elected office that you’re exempt from that arrest. So I have to look at it from that angle. And I’m hoping that’s more what it is. In fact, these guys are innocent till proven guilty, so I’m not even sure if they had any part of it.
S3: Whoa, whoa, whoa. A bunch of guys with guns can arrest the governor if they feel like it. Not only is this wrong and dangerous, it would certainly put da leaf out of a job. Out of curiosity and my commitment to due diligence, I did look it up and found that Section seven sixty four point sixteen of the Michigan penal code allows for arrests by private persons situations, a for a felony committed in the private person’s presence, or B, if the person to be arrested has committed a felony, although not in the private person’s presence. Well, that seems like a pretty yawning gap. So there you have it. Michigan apparently has a catch all kidnapping excuse. No, sir, I wasn’t kidnapping. I was arresting for felony copyright infringement. Check her iPhone. You will see what I mean. My God. Now, in this show, the gist, perhaps you’ve heard of it. I have. I’m going to say bent over backwards, but try to be fair, very fair.
S6: Maybe so fair that it’s unfair about the nut jobs who have committed heinous acts in the name of Donald Trump or in the name of causes endorsed by Donald Trump. I have said that followers of all politicians take things too far. The politician himself doesn’t always bear the blame, even if the politician himself doesn’t do enough to stop the interpretation of some of what he said. But if you apply that standard to Trump, you probably have to apply it to others.
S3: And with those others, you may disagree that they should be blamed for their followers actions. OK, but in this case, Trump tweeted, Liberate Michigan as armed insurgents swarm the capital. What do those words mean? The president, as far as I could tell, has but one answer to the question. Well, what do you mean? And what do you think would happen if you tweet and say, liberate Michigan while men with guns are standing poised to take over or at least point their guns at lawmakers? And the only answer is I meant nothing. I meant nothing by it. And of course, that is the president’s answer. Citizens arrests for felonies. Well, Trump is keen on doing some rallies and he does need to win back Michiganders. And lying on federal taxes are a felony. Add it up.
S6: Let us make sure he doesn’t get too close to any Michigan individuals who share Sheriff Dart Leaf’s interpretation of the law and are well-armed on the show. Today, the president spends two hours on America’s most listen to radio program. Unfortunately for him, it’s listen to almost entirely by people who are going to vote for him in the first place. But first, Stephen Dubner is a journalist and host of Freakonomics. Angela Duckworth, professor of psychology and author of Grit. They co-host a podcast called No Stupid Questions. Not even this from an 11 year old from Utah who wants to know Vice President Pence. Heck, we’ll be nice again. No, no, really. No stupid questions. It’s thought provoking and I can prove it. It provokes thoughts in me about separating the artist from the art questions of over corrections in general and the opportunity cost of monitoring for micro aggressions.
S4: We will talk about all that with Duckworth and Duffner next.
S1: If you have a podcast, meaning if you host your own somewhat, well, listen to podcast, there is this one great joy and it is this. When you listen to other podcasts, you might say things out loud, have thoughts and just talk to your ear buds or whoever is in the passenger seat next to you and didn’t agree to this. But if, like me, you have your own podcast and you have the ability to offer publicity to other podcasts, what you can do is invite the guests on who say these provocative, interesting things and throw your own ideas at them. That’s going to happen today because my guests are Angela Duckworth and Stephen Dubner. Their podcast is really so provocative and I couldn’t recommend it more. No stupid questions. Stephen Angello, welcome to The Gist. Thank you. Thank you, Mike. Yeah. So I have several ideas, some inspired by your podcast and some just free floating. Let us start with the most recent podcast of yours that I heard where you were discussing separating the art from the artist, Woody Allen, Viognier, Michael Jackson. They all came up. You later, as you do beautifully on your podcast, you lay out different considerations. But then eventually you came to a bottom line for each of you. Why don’t you summarize what you each think of this idea or this challenge of separating the artist from the art?
S7: So I believe that my position was that we should do a better job of separating the art from the artist. Not so much where it concerns art, per say, but where it concerns other realms and other accomplishments, including politics and social advances and so on. Which is to say that if you want to accept the best that the world society ET has to offer, you’re probably doing yourself a fair amount of harm by crossing people off your list of accepting any of the good things they produce because you disapprove of them personally. So that’s where I think that using art and artists as a kind of test case for how we treat let’s say let’s say there’s a politician or a policymaker who I find personally abhorrent, but they’ve had a couple of ideas that I actually think are, on balance, really good for society in the world. I think it’s a sign of maybe maturity to be able to separate those two, and I would encourage it.
S8: I think you said that you respected the right of individuals to make their own choices. Do you want to listen to Wagner or do you want to watch House of Cards? You want to listen to Thriller like you? Bu I think that was my recollection of of where you came down. And yes. Like that implies that there is some separation between the art and the artist.
S7: Somebody in a comment or an email to us did make a really good point that I wish we’d brought up, which is if you’re talking about art and artists, there is a really large difference between an artist who continues to benefit or profit from our, you know, subsidizing them, even if we think they’re rotten versus, let’s say, Bogner. So I doubt that Varner’s errors, for instance, are benefiting a lot from a bunch of you know, let’s say I’m a Jewish guy in the Upper West Side, which I happen to be. Let’s say I buy a lot, a lot, a lot of Agner records. I don’t think his estate is necessarily prospering, whereas if I buy a lot, a lot, a lot of Arkley music, then R. Kelly probably is. And I think that’s an important distinction when it comes to art and artists versus, let’s say, politics and whatnot.
S3: Yeah, I was going to say that that’s fundamental to my take on it. But Angela, what was yours?
S8: Well, I do recall maybe you read it, Stephen, that there was maybe a young black woman recipient of the Rhodes Scholarship who was so eloquent in her saying that, you know, the best way to to reconcile her benefiting from the Rhodes Trust, which was founded on blood money, is that, you know, what better way than to, like, actually take the money from them and have it go to her? It’s something that, you know, Rhodes would probably turn over in his grave to know that like a young black woman was on his scholarship. So it’s definitely in the direction of, like, taking and not giving.
S7: Yeah, but what’s the it’s a very fine line between that and allowing someone to launder their reputation. Right. Look, this has been going on for ever. You know, some people would say that Stanford University and Leland Stanford, you know, is not the kind of person that Stanford University stands for. Now, certainly. What did Leland Stanford do? He was kind of your standard of his era railroad robber baron and, you know, general labor and capital exploiter. You know, look, some people say that noble I guess it was Alfred Nobel. Alfred Nobel. That is correct. Now, I don’t think selling dynamite per say is a grave sin because you use dynamite to blow up rocks to build bridges. But apparently he also traded in munitions, et cetera, et cetera. So I have read I don’t know if this is accurate, that that was a reputation laundering thing. Andrew Carnegie built libraries, you know, across the country. We love those libraries. Andrew Carnegie was a hardass. Who? The average modern. Let’s say from Democrat all the way to progressive would think was an absolute ruse, so, you know, this has been going on forever. That’s all I’m saying. So, Rhoades, you know, I like the idea of saying I’m going to take the money because that’ll show them. But on the other hand, are you participating in a little bit of quid pro quo?
S8: Well, reputation laundering only works if you accept it doesn’t mean that you think that Carnegie or roads or fill in the blank was a good person that you enjoy the benefits of their philanthropy doesn’t meet its only its only reputation laundering if you think that the person is clean.
S7: I think what this points to for me is something that I think about a lot and something I talk to my kids about a lot. So my kids are teenagers. I would consider them sort of modern, enlightened, progressive ish teenagers in the way that, you know, someone growing up in New York City would be. But they see so much hypocrisy and anger that’s directed at people for seemingly minor offenses or neutral positions. And they’re really confused by it.
S8: And the positions that you think are seemingly minor or that they think that they think. Yeah.
S7: I mean, they’ve actually become much more, I think, attuned and sophisticated, this kind of idea than than I have, because they’re really in it all the time. Because, you know, when you’re that age. Yeah. Constantly being asked to re-examine everything and also, you know, you’re making your way in the world. So the one conversation that I’ve had with each of them many times over the years, which is that almost all corrections are over corrections, I think that’s the case for all the parties interacting in some kind of, you know, reckoning or something. If you think about the people who have been underprivileged or exploited for a long time, of course, they want to get not back to zero. They want to they want to push for the people who have been privileged all this time but maybe didn’t even feel that they were privileged. You know, we know from the psychological and economic literature that loss aversion is really powerful, that we heard more from, let’s say, an excise loss than we then we feel good about an excise gain. And so I think what happens in these situations, whether it’s in the arts, whether it’s in politics, whether it’s in the discussions right now about race and gender and equity, is that we’re all so fast to defend the ramparts and to make the other position the enemy, the villain, whereas in fact, our incentives may not even be that different. But because the corrections are so often aggressive, are seen as aggressive, it throws everyone off their balance. And I think we could all do a little bit better if we would just understand that’s the way the emotional part works and tease that out and focus on the rational part. And I realize that what I’m asking for here is probably impossible because humans are humans and we’re emotional social animals. But that’s what I tell my kids.
S8: At least I don’t think that that would be a very I think that’s good advice, too. I think people tend to be quite myopic. I think that’s part of of what creates this exaggerated response sometimes. Right, that that you’re not seeing the big picture. You’re seeing the part of the picture that you’re really, really angry about. But I don’t think what you’re saying, Stephen, would be very popular right now. I mean, honestly, I think a lot of angry email, like, you know, how dare you talk about any of these issues that are there, riots? There are like protests there. Like, you know, what if you said, hey, let’s have a more moderate kind of measured response? I don’t think you you would increase.
S7: I’m no, I’m not saying that all corrections shouldn’t be over corrections. I’m saying that I think most corrections are over corrections. And once you kind of look at that set of facts in the face, then I think it’s easier to understand people’s positions. That’s what I mean. I’m not asking people to not scripted this.
S8: Yeah, but when you say overcorrection, it just sounds like prescriptivist.
S7: I guess you’re probably right. And I guess that’s why I’m just a guy in a room with a microphone well over.
S3: It’s like saying, too, you’re going too far, right? It is definitely prescriptive, I guess.
S7: So I don’t really see it as that. I look, I totally could defend your argument as well as mine, but all I mean to say is that when people are trying to solve a problem that is lain dormant or ignored or when there’s a population that’s been excluded for a long time and let’s take it away from like the standard ones of race and gender and equity now, because those are so, so, so loaded. But any time you notice, just imagine you notice a problem in your own you know, in your own life. Let’s say you’re overweight or you’re spending too much money on blah, blah, blah. For many, many, many people, their natural impulse is to overcorrect and over corrections are really a hard to maintain and be really likely to upset whatever kind of balance you had with the other people in your life.
S8: That’s what I mean. I literally, you know, overcorrect is not a word that you hear much in common conversation, but. I will tell you, I just heard that word a few days ago, I was talking to Kim Scott, who, you know, you both may know, but but she is the author of Radical Candor. I think she was an executive at Google. And at one point I think Sheryl Sandberg was her boss. And I you know, maybe it wasn’t even a maybe was another tech company. But apparently what Sheryl said to Kim was that you haven’t taken feedback until you’ve overcorrected for it. So as an example, you know, I really think you should actually speak up more in meetings. Like, I never hear your point of view. You haven’t taken that feedback until you’re speaking up too much in meetings. So maybe this I agree with you, human tendency to overcorrect when we see something that’s wrong. Maybe it is prescriptive in the direction that we should do it.
S9: I think a lot of what we think about overcorrection is the mental picture that comes up when we consider it. And if what we consider is a pendulum, it seems OK because the pendulum is swinging. But let’s say our overcorrection mental image is an archery target and we were going low on the target and under the target and now our arrows are flying too high. Then it seems like, well, you know, all we’re doing, we’re still getting it wrong just in the opposite direction. Yeah, it’s an overcorrection, a non correction or a correction. That is an imperfect correction.
S7: That is a really useful event for me, honestly. So I’m going to hang onto that. Thank you.
S9: Well, this was good and this could be a whole episode. But I want to ask you guys about a couple other things. One is microaggression. And Angela, it seems to me that you are maybe without realizing it, you have some expertise in this because you write and study a lot about grit and a lot about sort of the difference between attending to slights and wounds versus sucking it up. And yet there’s, of course, some sort of benefit to paying attention to micro aggressions. But I wonder if either of you guys have looked at the costs of considering everything that should just be a normal, suboptimal piece of human interaction as something to be aggrieved by.
S8: Well, I know gret sounds like, you know, oh, don’t worry about anything. Don’t worry about everything. Don’t worry about what others would perceive as a microaggression. But there is actually nothing in my definition of grit or my measurement of grit that is about like sucking it up. Like how are people using this term microaggression?
S1: Just so so I know, better micro aggressions can be a few categories. One of the things that really are racist, you know, like low-grade racist but racist things that are understandable. But the person were you to point it out to a a nice person, they would say, oh, I didn’t realize that point and then stuff. That’s nonsense. But I don’t know how to you know, maybe we have to overcorrect when we point to micro aggressions. I just my big wonder is by paying so much attention to it, does it cause us to get more hurt than we normally would? And maybe there’s a second question with, well, that’s exactly what we need if we’re ever going to correct this problem.
S10: Well, I. I am not offended when people say where you really from? I’m also not offended. You know, even my own dad just used the term Oriental. I tried to point out to him that that was that I didn’t use the term microaggression maybe I should have. And he said, oh, am I not Oriental? And I was like, well, it’s really not term that well, you used to be Oriental, is what you call it. Yeah. So he hadn’t caught up. The distinction I want to make is like what was intended and what was received. And I guess I will will confess that usually when people say things that could be interpreted to me personally, I’m not I’m not mandating this for other people, like somebody might say, like, oh, that was a microaggression I, I usually assume benign intent. And even if somebody says no, where you really from or if I’m in an Uber and you know, the driver says, like, when I get out, you know, arigato would like it, but, you know, like assuming I’m Japanese, that even though I literally just told him that I wasn’t in a conversation, like, I’m still not offended because I think there’s what was received and I can see how it would be, you know, hurtful to. But also there’s the intention, I think most times, at least in most of my interactions, that there isn’t the intent to harm. And so you have to ask the question is a microaggression something which is received in a harmful way or is a microaggression definitely something that at some level was intended to be harmful.
S7: So we may have boxed herself into thinking that, like, the only kind of candor that’s good is like the radical candor and that you were talking about in a business setting where I’m going to give you feedback now on how terrible your pitch was, is what we actually need more is more real candor all the time. Because the more candid you can be in, the more direct, the more direct and the more like honest, sincere. Your inquiries in your language are I would argue, that the less room there is for misunderstanding, but that’s just instead of saying like, where are you really from?
S8: Just like, oh, I’m really curious about your race. What’s your race like? Is that you’re arguing for that?
S3: Yeah, my mouth my mouth is open that this would ever be asked in 2020.
S8: Yeah. I mean, think it though. I kind of like it, but the question is right. There’s like what’s the intent. Sounds like even as good intent, the question is like how would that be received. Right. Because in this microaggression conversation when I say like look, there’s the intent of the sender and then there’s what’s received by the person who’s, you know, talking to the sender, I don’t know whether whether people would be like me who would be like, oh, great, you want to ask me my race? And I’ll tell you I’m Asian. I don’t know if other people would receive it that way, but but but overall, I would say this conversation and even the general microaggression I don’t know if I can call it a movement, I think it’s it’s net positive because just being more aware of how things may be being received that weren’t intended that way, I mean, that’s got to be a good thing. It’s like empathy’s like sleep. It’s like usually more is better.
S7: I’m not so sure that’s true. You just have to think about what kind of emotional connections don’t get made because of that. What kind of information doesn’t get exchanged because of that. So I don’t know. Look, I think it’s an incredibly compelling question. I think it’s really hard to measure.
S3: I totally agree with you, Angela, about intent. But that is not, I guess, where the vogue of this sort of thinking is. Like I just looked up. Intent doesn’t matter. And on Google, its results like intent versus impact. Why your intentions don’t really matter. The cutting edge way to think about it is reflected in the headline in this article in the Star Intentions Don’t Matter Impact.
S8: There you go. When it comes intention, there’s impact, right? Just to know that they both exist. I mean, they’re not always the same. And to me, I always wonder, like, since we all are human beings, right? We’re not talking about studying cheetahs and being wrong about like how, but like we are people. So, like, why do we keep making cognitive mistakes like this when if I assume we could just introspect and say, like, oh, I’m not offended when people ask me that, like, you know, anyway, so it’s a funny little paradox about human nature that we keep making these errors.
S3: Yeah, I think, by the way, that’s exactly why microaggression exists, because the intention of the aggressor is either not to have thought about it or think I wouldn’t be offended. So if, you know, some some guy who traces his ancestry to the Mayflower is asking you where you’re really from, I wouldn’t be offended if I could say my answer is rustling.
S4: Bristo Like Angela Duckworth, Stephen Dubner. It has been fascinating, as is your podcast. No stupid questions. I commend everyone to it. Thank you both so much. Thank you, Mike. That’s a lot of fun.
S7: Thanks a million, Mike. Make those fun. Thanks.
S6: And now the spiel with talent on loan from God and a president on loan from his usual busy schedule of calling into TV shows, Rush Limbaugh hosted Donald Trump today for what was hailed as a rally, but was really a two hour phone conversation in which the president was allowed to make any assertion he felt like. And then it was all edited for air. The crazy parts were taken out and the embarrassing details were expunged.
S11: They were deleted. Everything was deleted and cleansed.
S3: No, no. Just kidding that there was him ranting about the Mueller team. Cell phones also coming under fire. The tips Hillary Clinton got for a 2016 primary debate. Democrats who inaccurately call him and rush racists and Austrian trees.
S11: You know, in Europe, you go there, they live. They have forest nations. They call them Austria, different places. They don’t have the woods burning down. Their trees are more explosive than ours, meaning explosive from potential fire they have.
S6: The president also disclosed, shockingly, that he’s not a fan of the NBA.
S11: I just don’t have any interest in it anymore. I know another thing, other things I do. I have great interest, but I don’t have they are hurting themselves very badly. And now I understand. Don’t forget, Black Lives Matter what was Black Lives Matter, pigs in a blanket fry them like bacon. The first time I ever heard of Black Lives Matter, I said, that’s such a terrible term because it’s such a racist term.
S6: The dynamic of the interview was that of not an interview at all, but of one man reminding the other man what his familiar talking points have always been talking points that have him trailing in national polls by anywhere from nine to sixteen points.
S12: Every had the lowest African-American unemployment in history since records have been kept.
S11: That’s right. So we had the best numbers ever. We had the highest stock market. Although I tell you where we’re inches away right now for people’s 401k is if they held onto their stocks, they’re very they’re very wealthy right now.
S6: Well, people whose stocks have made them wealthy right now are probably not the voters Trump needs to reach. Rush Limbaugh listeners are probably not the voters. Trump needs to reach Russian Trump, spend time ticking off recent Fox News hires, which were good, which were bad. Trump replayed the slice of the 2016 election. Trump mocked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for wearing a shirt that was too tight. Trump did say that he and Rush wouldn’t have looked good in such a tight shirt either. This is not in any way the forum, the format or the content that would even glancingly address Trump’s many problems. His supporters were never enough to begin with are fleeing. And he just keeps talking and talking the same nonsense in the same places where non supporters are not to be found. There are a lot of old bad arguments and some new bizarre assertions. Just for the sake of fact checking. I found it interesting that Trump asserted that the terrorist who ran over people on the West Side Highway brought family members to this country via chain migration that I don’t find interesting. He said that over and over again it’s been shown to be untrue. Fact checked. Not true. He still says today. And The Limbaugh Show, he alleged that the guy, Saifullah Saipov, immigrated to America via the southern border. He actually flew in from Uzbekistan on a visa that he overstayed. But the southern border, it’s just crazy. The whole thing was crazy. The fake assertions, the phrasing, our nuclear is all tippy top. Now, the fact that Trump is critiquing Biden for mental decline and a lack of verbal acuity, well, there’s always that little, you know, that little lingering thing for a couple of days.
S13: But no, I have I have a my voice is now perfect. I’ve been for a couple of days. You know, you have it’s called the lingering thing.
S6: If there was one truly disturbing or perhaps newly truly disturbing assertion, Trump is essentially making the case not just on this show. He said it in some of the videos that he released that if he hadn’t come down with covid, the American people wouldn’t be the beneficiaries of the drugs that treated him. Therapeutics are what these drugs are called. He refused to call them that. He calls them cures. If they were cures, they wouldn’t actually be called therapeutics anyway. Here’s some of that exchange between Trump and Limbaugh.
S11: If the Regeneron and the Lilly, you know, comparable drug turns out this is a cure, this is a therapeutic call. What you want, I can tell you it’s a cure. And I’m talking to you today because of it. And, you know, because I think I could have been a bed, I could have been a bad victim. My fit certain categories that aren’t so great. OK, and you better be careful too. OK, but but you won’t. I’m telling you, this is a a total game. Ginger, it’s so good and nobody else would have had it.
S6: Trump has said this in a few ways. Fresh from the hospital, he committed to getting all Americans the very treatments he got. So if Trump had never gotten covid, then what’s the implication to a narcissist? Other people are but an abstraction. Just like to a strategist of Trump’s deficiencies, people who don’t already love him are disloyal. This is not a good formula for ever winning over anyone who knew. Just like his professional life, Trump has been a huckster peddling snake oil to an ever shrinking audience of suckers. Yes, he still has some shrinking minority supporting him. It’s a lingering thing, but I see no evidence that any appearance on Fox Business, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh can possibly change the dynamic at play. But that’s how this interview rallies affirmation session played out between the broadcaster with talent on loan from God and the president with tenure on loan, seemingly short term loan from the voters.
S4: And that’s it for today’s show, Margaret Kelly produces the gist when she first heard the slogan The Future is female. She said, that’s horrible, that’s sexist. Also, it’s time missed. Daniel Shrader, just producer. When he first heard the slogan Save the Whales, his immediate reaction was that his anti porpoise, Lisa Montgomery, is the executive producer of Slate podcasts. She thinks it’s a shame that Bob Grant, Alan Keyes and Long John Neval have all passed away because they each could have represented the same extreme right wing talk show host that would have changed the minds of suburban housewives worrying about the economy everywhere. The gist, I’m not sneaking up to you with an ether soaked rag in an attempt to drag you into my panel van. No, I’m just enthusiastically pursuing Section seven sixty four point sixteen of Michigan penal law. Allow me that in to Peru. And thanks for listening.