Punting on Opportunity

Listen to this episode

S1: The following podcast may be a little dirty, but forget about that, going to tell you to go to our Twitter feed at Slate, just dotcom and.

S2: It’s Tuesday, December 1st, 20-20 from Slate’s The Gist, I’m Mike Pesca. Today, the attorney general of the United States, Bill Barr, said that the Justice Department has not uncovered widespread voting fraud that could have changed the 2020 election. Manu Raju of CNN reports that Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson said of the attorney general’s findings of no widespread fraud that the AG should, quote, show everybody his evidence about a lack of fraud. And when asked if he’s not satisfied with Barr’s conclusion, Johnson said, I think there is still enough questions outstanding. Show us the lack of evidence because there is still enough questions outstanding. I have one question outstanding. Are you an idiot? It really is an outstanding question, isn’t it, as to confirm the nonexistence of the tooth fairy. Mommy and daddy could provide no such non proof, although to be fair about the existence of non-approved, you know, Scooby in the gang, they always did prove that there was a non hunting going on. They’d pull off the rubber mask of the groundskeeper. And, you know, if a stoner, his bulimic dog and a gang of van driving mods can do it, why can’t Bill Barr, he has more resources. Wait, we actually have tape of Ron Johnson at the press conference directly addressing the president and his theories of voter fraud.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S3: Everyone tells me you are a fake. But I believe in you, Peter. If you really are fake, don’t tell me.

S2: I don’t want to know. That was actually about the Great Pumpkin. Oh, yes, it was the Great Pumpkin. Which brings me to remembrances of things Trump in today’s Remembrance of things Trump. How about that time? Donald Trump said his father, Fred, was born in Germany.

S4: I have great respect for the country. My father is German, right. Was German and born in a a very wonderful place in Germany. And so I have a great feeling for Germany only.

S2: It wasn’t that time. It was those many times. Fred Trump was born in the Bronx, an established fact that Donald Trump knew and had acknowledged for many years. Then he became president and began to say otherwise, like in this interview on CBS.

Advertisement

S4: Don’t forget, both my parents were born in a few sectors, OK? I mean, my mother was Scotland, my father was Germany.

S2: And even during the NATO summit in Brussels, I have great respect for Germany. My father’s from Germany. Both of my parents are from the EU despite the fact they don’t treat us well on trade other times. Two, why? I don’t know. I have no grand theory why Donald Trump would find it advantageous to claim that both his parents were born in Europe. His mother was his father was not. But he said he was. It was corrected many times, just never by Trump. And so now we’re all just left to ponder, as we say, by Trump. This has been remembrances of things. Trump on the show today. I spiel about women in sports, really a woman in a sport, in a sport narrowly defined but widely celebrated. But first, it’s part two of our interview with Jess Hornell, man of hundreds upon hundreds of voices. Once you’ve heard once your kids have heard ones that play right before a fellow getting hit in the gonads by a Wiffle ball on the Animaniacs, he’s wako here on the gist. He’s reflective and expansive, which isn’t always what the cartoon universe wants, but we will take. Jess now is the voice of Wako Warner on the Animaniacs and hundreds of other characters. He also does straightfoward announcing he also does voice matching, essentially an imitation. Darnell’s first big break came here and he did a. That is the Disney Splash Mountain ride, he was cast as Brer Rabbit and assorted storks and turtles. Also the announcer telling you to keep your arms inside the log. So when we left off yesterday, Hornell had made reference to the kind of audition he would go on where a casting agent might say, well, start with this impression, but let’s twist it a little bit. The one Hornell mentioned off the top of his head was Albert Brooks, but 17, also Southern. So I say, OK, let’s hear it, pressing them into service. Let’s hear that, Jess.

Advertisement
Advertisement

S5: Well, first of all, we’ve got we’ve got to get ourselves into Albert. OK, so you start with this and you say, you know something? It’s really good to talk to you, Mike, but it’s not good talking to me. And I’m blowing this. This this isn’t going to air. You’re not going to play this, are you? So that’s where you start then. If you if you want them to talk more slowly, they’re going to slow them down and you’re going to give them a lot of pauses, sort of like a Christopher Walken or William Shatner. Then if you’re going to ajram up a little bit, you know, you give them a little more texture to his voice. You put a few more years on him. And next thing you know, it’s Albert, but he’s old and he’s talking slow. You know, it’s what I went through that example. I had no idea. But that’s exactly the process. That’s it.

Advertisement

S2: I love it. So that’s a little bit of voice matching, which is what you do where where Albert Albert or Brad Garrett or someone can’t do a lines for an ancillary feature and they call you in. But my question is, did you ever do voice matching and get a character out of that? Not maybe the character you just you just invented right here on the show. Maybe that becomes something.

S6: You know what? Again, absolutely astute and correct. Yes. You get tons of impressions like that. A great exercise that I turn people on to because, you know, people will commonly say, you know, oh, I can’t you know, I can’t do a million voices. And I’d like first of all, you only need one great one. If you got one great one, you’re ahead of the game. But you can get more voices right now.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S4: You get your little voice memo thing on your phone, which I’m recording on right now. And you you go to the TV, right. Turn it on record like eight seconds, put on any channel. It can be a commercial. It can be music, it can be, you know, whatever kind of channel it is. Record eight seconds to that press, mute on your remote control and say it into your voice. Then we just try to parroted it back, then change the channel, go to another thing, do that four, five, six, seven seconds. Listen to it. Say it again, change the channel, do that.

S5: You do that for a minute. First of all, you’re going to get an awesome head rush. Second of all, when it’s over, you will listen back to what you recorded and you’re going to go, oh my gosh, I actually do sound kind of like that guy. I don’t sound anything like these seven, but I’ve never made those sounds before. I’ve never I’ve never created that voice before. So when I started, I used to do that all the time. And and and I would come up with so much stuff and I’d be I haven’t had to do in a long time because now I’m basically like a walking frickin voice computer, for God’s sakes. But but, you know, you’re in the early stages. That’s a great way to get voices. Man.

Advertisement

S2: Can you always tell when one of your co voice actors are doing apart? Like, can you always pick out, OK, that’s a Billy West.

S5: Often I can. And by the way, Billy’s a genius, but I often I can. But even after doing it all these years, there are many times that I can’t. And how cool is that? And these are guys that I’ve worked with almost daily for 30 years.

Advertisement

S2: Have you ever fooled yourself on one of your old voices and you said, I didn’t realize that was made?

S5: Oh, all the time. Dude, I don’t remember anything like I told you. And I’ve been in a dentist’s office and places. There was one time in particular I was in a dentist’s office and I was waiting and they had it on like a cartoon show because there were a couple of kids hanging out and I was watching. I go, Huh, that’s funny. That’s that’s a good choice. That was a funny choice. I’m like, wait, I’m in. And it was you. It was you on the show.

Advertisement

S6: But now there’s a story that I got to relate to because I’m having such a good time talking to you, I think you’ll get a kick out of it about voice bashing. That’s really funny. So, you know, you mentioned my my look. And in addition to the voiceover stuff, a few years ago, about ten years ago, I came up with an idea for a rock band and it was just a goof. It was literally just something stupid that I said to my best friend. I said, you know, be funny because my mind works in weird ways and I go, I need to be really funny. If there was an 80s hair metal band like a Def Leppard or a poison or a Guns and Roses, a band like that. And at the end of the 80s, they got shipwrecked on a desert island. Right. And all they had to listen to for twenty years while they were on this island was pop records from the 80s pop hits. And they got brainwashed into thinking that pop was metal and metal was pop. And they started thinking that Madonna was metal and Rick Springfield was metal and journeys metal. And he goes, well, how would that work? And I said, I don’t know. Like you, you could play like Enter Sandman by Metallica and I could sing Don’t Stop Believing by Journey because I imitate all these singers, too. I’ve done singing impressions of everybody for years when they used to want to hire Michael Britten to do commercials and they wouldn’t want to pay him, I’d go in and I’d sing it like Michael Bolton. So he’s like, he’s a and you’re just a really.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: And we should mention you’re a really good singer in your own right. You’re trained, you’re talented and before you acted. Is that right?

S5: Oh, yeah, man. I was singing for years. My whole thing was before I did. Voiceover I was a studio singer. I was seeing commercials. I sang like I sang for Coke and Burger King and McDonald’s and. Can you name it, and Toyota and all these campaigns, and then then somebody said, you know, you can do voice over and I’m like, well, it’s voice over. And then that that whole thing started. But so this band we put together, we make this video of a song called Don’t Stop the Sandman, which is Enter Sandman until I believe it then goes viral, gets millions of hits. All of a sudden we make this record right. We make an album full of these mash ups of 80s metal meets 80s pop. Now. Now, at this point, we start getting requests to open up on concert bills with I kid you, not with Aerosmith, with AC, DC, with Linkin Park. So we’re playing stadiums. We’re playing in front of forty thousand sixty thousand people. It’s just like and we’re looking at each other going, this was just a joke. This was this was something that we did for fun, but people embraced it. Well, all of a sudden one of our videos which had millions and millions of hits, got taken down off of YouTube because of a copyright claim and really copyright claim. We’re paying all the rights and everything. Turns out one of the singers I imitated heard this video and thought it was his voice. He actually sued us for sampling his voice without permission. We had to go to court and prove that it wasn’t him. So the long and the short of this and this is what I.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: So did you raise your hand on a Bible and then just bust out, let’s say, a Steve Perry impersonation? If it was him?

S5: That’s really if I did have to sign a sworn affidavit. And what we did is our lawyer took and what they call a forensic audio track. And what that is, is it’s an isolated vocal track of me in the studio where you can hear me going, OK, check, check, check. Yeah, yeah. Give me more guitar. OK, now give me some of this. You know, so, you know, there’s no doubt that it’s me, but we still we went back and forth with this individual who is one of my all time favorite singers. I can’t say who it is, but in the long at the end of the day, we can’t sell our music online because of this injunction. We’re misleading because people think that it’s him. And this just on the stuff that we do with this guy, because I haven’t seen all these other guys just on one.

Advertisement

S2: Oh, wow. So, like, when you do when you do rock me like a hurricane into a No one actually thinks, yeah, no, you go down.

S5: There’s fortunately Adele doesn’t think I’m her, but yeah, I love that you saw that. And in fact, folks, if you’re at all interested, if you ever liked anything about pop music or rock music specifically of the 80s, but now we’re mashing together 80s metal with today’s pop like Adele and Bruno Mars and Katy Perry. We just we have a new record that we’re going to be launching in a few weeks and we’re putting out a celebrity filled cameo that’s going to blow you away. It’s so freaking cool. I can’t wait for it to come out. And we’re giving away the first tune on the album for free. Anybody who wants to check it out, go to save Rock, Sugar, Dotcom, and you will get the first song for free.

Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: I have watched a few of these rock sugar videos and I’m blown away and I have I have an observation.

S1: I don’t know if you’ve ever thought of this, but to me, Animaniacs and Rock Sugar share this in common, which is that with each form cartoons, the cartoon universe and Animaniacs is sort of like a museum of the rules of cartoon. So with animation and with hair metal, you obviously have such a reverence for both forms. Yet at the same time, you don’t take them so seriously that you can’t have tons of fun with them. You play around within what’s obviously the reverence and the reverence. I would think, you know, really undergirds that and makes the and makes the product even better.

S5: Know, you know, what’s great. Many people have said to me, we played the download festival, you know, over in the UK a couple of times. And the last time we did, there were eighty thousand people out there was ECDC was headlining, we played. And you’re looking down in the front and there’s I’ll never forget it. Like you would have cracked up. There were all these big know cutoff t shirt, big mustache biker looking dudes covered in tattoos, singing along with Madonna’s Like a Prayer. And I’m like, I’m like, this is a beautiful moment. And people have said they’ve gone, Hey, man, is it cool? Do you think is it bad that the first time I heard Rock Shergar, I was laughing and I’m like, no, it’s fantastic because because laughing is good. But what hopefully happens and what I think does happen is when people hear it, they do laugh because it is funny. And then they go, this actually sounds pretty good. This actually makes sense. It doesn’t sound stupid, you know. So yeah, again, like Animaniacs, it works on two levels. It’s entertainment. And it’s also makes you think sometimes to get two songs that match.

Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Is it mostly that they have the same chord progression or is it something else that makes song?

S5: It’s a frickin natural. It’s you know, it’s it’s so hard to do. We have one song on the new record and I wish I could tell you about it, but I’m going to get your information. I’m going to send you some stuff because this hasn’t made its bow yet. But there’s one song on there that has, I think on the last album, the most ambitious mashup we had make, I think had five tunes in it on this album. There’s one that I think has thirteen and all thirteen are by the same two bands that have nothing in common. There’s no common ground between them and it fits together unbelievably. And it’s such a complex work. It’s sort of like our our Bohemian Rhapsody. And we get that we’re not queen. We’re not we’re not creating this stuff. We’re just reinventing it. But there’s other times my guitar player wants to kill me, man, because he’ll spend a week, you know, Frankensteinian up a song and I’ll go in to hear it before we record. And he plays it for me. And he worked so hard and it God bless him and it’s so good. And then he goes. Well, now you’ve got to come up with something and I go, yeah, but dude, I’m really busy because no, no, no, you’ve got to come up with something right now and I’ll sit there and I’ll go. What’s that riff from? From Crazy Train from Ozzy Osbourne goes down. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t write. And I’m like, OK, that. And then it doesn’t it doesn’t.

Advertisement
Advertisement

S7: The corporations go, bup bup bup bup bup bup bup bup.

S4: Jessie is a friend. I go, you could sing that over. Right. And he goes and he goes, hang on. He goes, yeah you can go. OK, there’s one.

S5: He goes, you son of a bitch. You know, because, because I get lucky because I should think of it. It happens to work. But some of them are really complicated putting them together bro.

S2: I know from the rules of live performing a venue plays pays a fee to ASCAP. And this means that anyone who works on that stage can cover pretty much any song, all legal. But when you’re putting it out in an album, are there extra rights and fees to pay?

S6: What’s complicated and you’ve got to understand this, and we found this out the hard way. In addition to that lawsuit with the singer that I mentioned to you a moment ago, what we’re doing is really weird because we’re not doing covers. These are not covers. You could go, Mick, you can go today and do the entire Beatles catalog, which, by the way, is the most expensive and hard to get catalogue in the business. But you could do the entire Beatles catalog with you and a harmonica and a kazoo singing out of tune and put it out and charge people for it. And as long as you paid them their publishing rights, you could do that. OK, however, what you can’t do is you can’t combine songs and you can’t retitle songs. That’s where things get complicated in terms of selling them. So it’s very difficult. We can play the stuff and we do and people lose their minds. And I mean, if I wasn’t in this band and this is no ego attached to this at all, I’d be such a fan of it because it’s everything I dig. It’s great songs done tongue in cheek. Really fun really involves the audience. I always say when I’m on stage with the band, I go, you know what? A lot of bands want you to come watch the band, have fun. We want you to come have fun with the band. It’s a totally different kind of an attitude, you know. So but what we’re doing is called derivative works. They’re not covers, so they’re much, much harder to quantify. And that’s why we really don’t sell CDs online. But we make the music live and we and we make people happy with that. And I’m glad.

Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Right. And there’s no fair use argument that you’re fundamentally transforming the work. There would be. And there well, you could make the argument that maybe the courts won’t listen to.

S5: No, listen, man, I want to get you to do it because you sound like as intelligent as most of the lawyers we’ve talked to about this. But it’s like I’m sure there is an argument to be made. Do I want to go back and forth with lawyers and court and depositions and and no, man, you know, we just want to play a seventy thousand person festival with bikers crying and the bikers crying as they’re singing like a prayer by Madonna because it’s going with you shook me all night long by AC DC. But but, you know, it’s like this. Another kind of funny little quick anecdote is when we got sued by the singer, you know, I’m a very positive person and I try to find the silver lining. And I remember I was so excited and my guitar plays like this is just terrible. They pulled the video. What are we going to do? We can’t sell this. We get this house. I go to my whole life, I wanted to sound like this guy and he thinks I’m him and he’s like, this is not good news. This is not a positive thing. So I still have that letter and I’m all happy about it because he’s like it is absolutely his opinion that this is him. And I’m like, wow, man, I didn’t know is that good, you know? So I was awesome.

S2: All right. Knowing what I know. And in the answer, you can inform the audience of this. But what are your thoughts on Splash Mountain changing from you personally and your connection? The song of the South theme to their going with the Princess and the Frog theme?

Advertisement
Advertisement

S8: You know, it’s a complex kind of a question because you don’t ever want to say anything that’s going to, you know, upset anybody, make anybody feel bad. Basically, the way I sort of look at that is that was my first character voice job that I ever did. Right. And to me, there’s a very important distinction. The ride is the ride, OK? And the film is the film. You know, the ride always represented nothing more to me than people and their families and their friends having fun and being entertained and going down a big hill and having to zip a dee doo dah day. Right now, on a deeper level, if the ride, because it’s based on a film that doesn’t really show itself in the ride, has connotations or connections to something bad, then I totally understand it being removed. You know, I’m in this business to make people happy. I’m not here to make people feel sad or hurt. And I don’t want to be part of anything that does that. I’m sure they’re going to do a great job with the rebuild. And I’m happy I had the chance to make as many people have a good time on the ride, not the movie as I did for as long as I did.

S2: Well, maybe they could let you do a voice on the new ride as an Easter egg.

S4: You know what? You know, it’s great, dude. They may very well do that. And the beautiful part is that since that ride, I’ve gone on to do so many other things for the parks. So I’m on like five other attractions there. And I’ll never forget a really cool moment in my life that, you know, we all have know moments. I know you do, too. We’re you know, most of them just go by and they’re forgotten. And there’s others that stand out so brightly to you. And one of my favorites, I was at Disney World in Florida and they were taken really nice care of me and my party. And they got us seats for the classic Main Street electrical parade, which we all remember. And everybody loves that. And they said, we’re going to see you up here over the crowd and you can look down on the crowd and and enjoy the parade from up here. And I thought, OK, that’s awesome. Right? So I happened to get seated right across from this beautiful family man. This is a mom and a dad and the little boy and his little sister. And it looked like the picture that came with the wallet and they’re happy and they weren’t lost on their phones and they’re talking to each other. And the kids are eating, I think a candy and mom and dad are hugging and the parade’s going on. I’m watching this family, particularly this sweet little girl and her face. She must have been five or six. Her face just kept lighten up. And as she’s hearing the voices of these characters as they’re playing, as the parade passes by. Right. And I remember thinking, oh, man, you know, that’s that’s you know, that’s Rob right there or that’s that’s great. You in that voice. So that’s Billy doing that voice. Oh, my God. That’s Corey Burton, my buddy Corey. And and I’m watching my friends make this little girl been so happy. And I had this moment of I’m like, man, I wish, you know, she’s probably too little to go on Splash Mountain because that was the only attraction that I had at that time at the park. And I thought, I wish I had something in this parade, but I know I don’t. And that’s a bummer. I’d love to see her reaction. All of a sudden in the distance I hear Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid. Now, sometimes, you know, when you can do a lot of voices, if somebody’s not available, they’ll bring in to have you do it. And it turned out that Sam. Right, who is the great voice actor who originated Sebastian the crab was not available when they wanted to record under the sea for the Main Street electrical parade, which was, by the way, the finale of the whole parade, this huge float with all these fish and people running around and fish costumes. And Sebastian on the tugboat under the sea, you see, there’s always scream out in somebody else’s lake, you know? And I’m like, that was me. And I remembered I did it just as a one off as Sebastian the crab. And it goes by and it took me was one of those moments we talked about where I didn’t know it was me. And then I’m like, wait a minute, hang on, hang on. And all of a sudden, as I’m having that thought, this little girl stands up and starts dancing. And I was like, you know, and I’m like, I’m like, dude, that’s that’s what it’s all about, man, you know? And now, you know, at the end of the day, Animaniacs coming back, rock, sugar, new record. You know, this show doing this and this show doing this and and all these good things. What I love, man, is that at the end of the day, I feel like I’ve been a little piece of making people a little bit happier than making them a little bit more bummed out, because God knows there’s enough stuff to bum them out these days. And if any show or any ride I ever did is going to bum people out more than it’s going to make them happy, then it’s time to shut it down.

Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Just Hornell, the lead singer of Rock Sugar. He’s played both a good and bad transformer. He’s the announcer on America’s Funniest Home Videos. And he and he is, of course, wacko Warner character with baloney in his slacks. And you could hear it. You can really hear it in the voice.

S8: Thank you. Listen, you know, if I had slacks, they’d be a little bit boloney. I’d never be able to go anywhere.

S2: And now the spiel. Over the weekend, the Vanderbilt Commodores, one of the worst teams in Division one football, were forced into a tough spot. All of their place kickers had exposure to the coronavirus, so they had to press a non kicker into service. Would it be one of the members of the team with field goal kicking experience in high school? Would it be a student who wasn’t on the football team but knew how to please kick? That has happened in the past. Might it be a member of the school’s soccer team? Yes, in fact, that was the solution. But here’s why anyone cared. You see, Vanderbilt has no men’s soccer team. Sarah Fuller, the successful goalie on the women’s soccer team, would kick for the Vanderbilt football team. She had practiced booting a soccer ball, but she had never actually attempted to kick a football until about four days before Saturday’s game. Now, I have to admit, I thought this whole story was great. I had followed over the years the stories of female kickers. I remember a woman named Katie Nayda kicked for New Mexico. I actually interviewed her. Years later, she became a spokeswoman for Survivors of Sexual Assault. And even though Nayda had scored in a Division One game for New Mexico, it wasn’t what they call a big five conference. In this case, the SEC, the Southeastern Conference, meaning one of the conferences that are most serious about football and have the biggest budgets. I was excited to see how Sara Fuller would do. But Vanderbilt was just so bad, they haven’t won all year, they barely moved the ball into a position to attempt a field goal. In fact, they did not. They never came close to a touchdown, so there were no opportunities for an extra point. She really had only one chance to kick the ball.

Advertisement
Advertisement

S9: And here is that radio call number 32, Sarah Fuller, set the kickoff for the Commodores. And here she goes. And here’s the kick. It is Kick the script down and recovered at the thirty five yard line. And there it is. College football history. VANDERBILT Sarah Fuller becomes the first female to play in a Southeastern Conference for a Power five conference game.

S2: The kid traveled a little over 20 yards in the air and was quickly down by the opposing team. So let me tell you my reaction, which is going to be honest. I’m going to convey what was occurring in my head or my limbic system or whatever emotions reside sacred. Socrates and Aristotle have a theory on that. Marriage was something like, well, you know, that’s fine. That was not incompetent. I would figure that just about every able bodied division, one athlete can kick a football 20 yards in the air, no shade on Fuller. But she wasn’t asked to do much and she didn’t do what she was asked to do poorly. It was just about as little as you could do in a game of football and still technically be considered to have appeared in a game of football. I wasn’t dismissive. I didn’t feel like I was burned. I would say I actually wish she had a better opportunity. But as it was, let’s grade what she did, essentially an incomplete with the possibility of building on it if there’s a next time. But then came sports media coverage. Pat Forty in Sports Illustrated, quote, Sarah Fuller’s right foot thumped a football into the air in Columbia, Missouri. It was one small kickoff for Vanderbilt, one giant blast for womankind. ESPN posted a video on Twitter under the All Caps declaration. Changing the game here was that video.

Advertisement
Advertisement

S10: History is on the field in Columbia, Missouri, as Sara Fuller is about to put her right foot into a football, speaking volumes to women around the world.

S2: And then the kick went twenty five yards, including the skittering on the ground part. The next day, a couple of things happened. One, the head coach of Vanderbilt was fired. Nothing to do with having Fuller Cech. He just was terrible and never had a winning season. And the second thing was that Sara Fuller was named the SEC coach special teams player of the week. She shared the honor with a guy who returned to punt for the go ahead touchdown against Kentucky. So here’s where I had to remind myself, Mike, you have never had an opinion on the SEC special teams coach player of the week before. Do not start having one now, because I worry that like many humans, I sometimes have an opinion first and then the reasons come second. So try to guard against this tendency. I try to seek out information to make sure my opinion is informed. My gut reactions are as good as my brain decisions. This was important, I felt, with the fuller situation, no pun intended, because I felt like everyone was enjoying some transcendent moment that I was just missing out on. Yeah, she’s the first woman in this particular conference to play. Then again, part of the glory of the situation was that it’s such a tough conference. Only Vanderbilt is not just the weak sister. They’re only technically especially a covid ravaged Vanderbilt is only technically a part of this conference. They’ve hardly been competitive in any of their games. And sure, Sarah Fuller stepped up, accepted the challenge and was denied an opportunity to actually score, but I also felt that everyone was just forgetting Katie Nayda, who actually had scored people were so poised to make a huge deal out of a short kick that they didn’t let the actual facts of her performance affect their narrative. And the only reason that she was there was because the team had failed to properly follow Korona protocols. Also, football, the sport of football, which is not an area in American life where qualified women have been denied a shot even though they’re just as good or better than a man. Politics, a Supreme Court, Fortune 500 companies. How? Probably dentistry. In all those industries, women have been discriminated against. And it is wrong that women haven’t had a chance in football. It is very hard to play a sport based on that degree of physicality for a woman to actually fairly compete. And that doesn’t say anything about women. I’m a big fan of women’s sports. I guess I thought I was I don’t know, maybe I’m just being churlish. Maybe I’m being blinkered. A thought to consider. I do want to consider now. I did find out. I did research and I did find that the kick was designed to be short and for its design, it was well executed. I also found out that in practice she had been nailing extra point attempts and short field goals so she can do the job. I was further appalled to hear what some of her dumber critics have said. Here’s former Boston Sports Radio yakker Jerry Callahan on his podcast, quoting fellow sports provocateur Jason Whitlock.

Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: He said it was like a make a wish moment where you give the kid the ball and he runs the length and the other team agrees to it score. You know, the ball boy who was there for his whole career. Finally, in the last game, they let the poor kid with the special needs score touchdown. And, you know, it’s a great moment, but great.

S2: These are the people on the line with people who say that fantastic. I’m now on the side of the assholes. So what I did was I sought out arguments. I asked people I trusted. OK, just help me understand this. Hang up and listen, listen to that one. They did a good job, but my question was articulate, a premise that would position Sarah Fuller as a bona fide groundbreaker, not just technically, but as a real trailblazer, achieving something commensurate with the praise she’s gotten. And here is what I came up with, that it is good to celebrate opportunity. And this is maybe not an opportunity realized, but it is an opportunity and it’s also an opportunity to have another opportunity, which is in and of itself an opportunity. So I won’t begrudge anyone inspiration. I would guess this is one of the few times ever, certainly in twenty twenty when the phrase Vanderbilt football and the word inspiration will be used in the same sentence. So there’s that. And there’s also next week, Vanderbilt is still committed to Fuller. Fuller is still committed to kicking for Vanderbilt, except they were playing Georgia a top 10 team. So there might not be more opportunities to do anything other than a squib kick. But if there is, Fuller does seem to have a great attitude and I do want her to succeed. She’ll have another opportunity to have an opportunity, which is a potential cause for celebration. And that’s it for today’s show, Margaret Kelly produces the gist. She is the first just producer in a power to grouping to produce a power podcast. In conference play, Daniel Shrader produced the gist, but you might know him as the beloved voice of the talking bottle of brandy from southwestern France Kunihiko. Alicia Montgomery is executive producer of Slate podcasts. You’re probably thrilled to her voicing of that goofy practitioner of meditation and body regulation biofeedback that just, you know, maybe we didn’t have a president. Maybe we had a character megalomaniacal who inspired millions of other characters. Anxiety attack a super duper. And thanks for listening.