S1: This ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership. Supply chain, I love supply chain. Could you talk?
S2: I do, I really do. Hello and welcome to the Slate Political Gabfest for October 21st, 2021. The great resignation addition I am David Plotz of City Cast. I’m here in Washington, D.C., joined by Mei confreres Emily Bazelon of the New York Times Magazine and Yale University Law School from New Haven. Hello Emily
S1: here David
S2: and John, Dickerson of CBS Sunday Morning from Manhattan New York State. Hello, John, I resign. Bummer.
S3: Good to see everybody else’s resignation. Yeah, yeah. That reminds me of my favorite favorite story of the guy in the House of Commons who stood up to give his very first speech and somebody from the opposition after he got his first word out, shouted, Resign!
S2: Did he? That man went to the William Pitt the younger there this week. We’ll talk about the January 6th commission and the fight over executive privilege. Will Steve, Bannon and others be forced to testify to Congress? Then supply chains are completely screwed up and inflation is rising. Welcome back to the 1970s. We will talk about Disco and Jimmy Carter, and now we won’t do that, but we’ll talk about inflation today. Then the great resignation of why are so many Americans quitting the workforce and is this a good thing or a bad thing? Plus, we will have cocktail chatter and also normally don’t mention this, but we have an absolutely epic slate plus segment in the works of your Slate Plus member. Gird yourself for that.
S1: And in a good way, you made it sound like, you know, gird yourself. No, OK,
S2: that’s like any good
S1: revealed about our slate. Plus, why
S3: shouldn’t we talk about what the topic I will
S2: get to that I’ll get to that in a minute. I’ll get to that later. Sure, we will. Plus, friends, if you have a conundrum for a conundrum show, please keep them coming to Slate.com’s conundrum. You can post it there. So, for example, a conundrum like if you could make one legal thing illegal, what would it be or what fictional country would you like to live in? Things like that. Send them to us for the 2021 conundrum show at Slate.com. Flash conundrum. There seemed to be an Emily is going to correct me in a minute kind of three contiguous issues going on with the January 6th commission and executive privilege. One Steve Bannon, not a White House official at the time, is about to be charged with contempt of Congress. Maybe by the time you hear this, he’s been charged with contempt of Congress for refusing a subpoena to testify to the bipartisan congressional Jan. six commission. That’s one issue. There’s a second contiguous issue, which is President Trump is suing to prevent the National Archives and other entities, but mostly the archives from releasing presidential records. His records related to January 6th, citing executive privilege. And then third, Trump is also attempting to order slash lobbyist coerce his former aides to not appear before the commission. So Emily all of these seem to raise important legal issues. Can you explain these various showdowns and what the legal issues around them are to start us off?
S1: Yes, I am excited about this because it has the potential to resolve these questions about the power of Congress to subpoena people and the kind of the scope of executive authority. And especially, you know, is the presidency something that belongs to the current inhabitant of the White House? Or is it also still somehow occupied by the past occupant? It’s exactly the kind of legal showdown that I really interested in, and I am not sure at all that the courts are going to be willing to resolve it, especially this Supreme Court. So start with Steve Bannon Steve Bannon does not have a strong claim to defend himself from this criminal contempt charge. Congress has the power to subpoena people. It’s really crucial to Congress’s investigative power, right? So the idea is that lawmakers need to scrutinize past problems, government corruption, things that have gone terribly wrong, i.e. the invasion of the Capitol on Jan. six. And they have to scrutinize these things to know what’s happened and then how to fix it by doing their main job of legislating and Congress power to subpoena has been recognized by the courts since 1821. However, Congress has not detained any or arrested anyone for criminal contempt since 1935. And so what’s happened is that this power of Congress has just atrophied. It doesn’t really exist if it’s not being enforced. The courts jail people arrest people regularly for criminal contempt because they have due to continue to do their work. Congress has gotten into a dance with previous administrations, you know, going back in time, but in particular, the Obama administration, the George W. Bush administration and what has happened is that the fights have kind of dribbled away. People lose interest over time. There isn’t really just enough political force left for, for example. Does former Attorney General Eric Holder need to testify about the Fast and Furious gun issue from when he was in DOJ? And so these things kind of get dropped, and if one Congress turns over, then they have to start the subpoena all over again. And so, you know, a Republican majority is trying to enforce a subpoena and Democrats, when they can drop it, et cetera. This one might have some legs. And because Steve Bannon was not an administration official when he was talking to President Trump in the days leading up to January six and also was not a lawyer, the idea that, you know, there are some kind of very, very huge mantle of executive privilege that also covers him seems like pretty laughable. That’s just the first part. Of course, though, you asked me about other things too. I’m going to stop there anyway, though, because I’ve been talking for a while.
S3: So Emily, the one of the things I just wanted to catch that you said, is that because would Bannon is engaged in and former President Trump as well is basically pooh flinging to kind of slow everything down and distract everyone for two purposes, it seems to me one delay everything so that if the House goes back into Republican hands, this whole thing can be shut down. And then to to shift the public fight from a fight about one six, four January 6th and what led to it and the fact that much of the habits of mind that created it are still taking place in the present to shift it from that turf to some other turf to a kind of quasi legal turf in which people say, Oh, you, you people on the left, you’re obsessed with Donald Trump, and you’re so that it moves away from death and insurrection and moves into some other arena, even though we know those two things are taking place. Your point is there are still important things to be assessed here and that and that you can keep those two things separate.
S1: Yeah, I think so. I hope so. I mean, you know, the issue about like the National Archives and suing them to keep Trump’s presidential records secret, we have basically until now had a kind of uneasy compromise where usually the current executive extends some kinds of protections to the past executive because you think about like, Oh, hey, what about when I’m out of office? I want this extended to me. This time, though, President Biden does not seem inclined to do that. And you know, you can argue that this is another way in which Trump has distorted norms and rules, right? Because his actions were so extreme. Now, Biden seem extreme kind of in response. Or you can argue like this is not a good practice. Actually, we have a big problem with too much secrecy in government in general and especially in the executive branch, and we should just have more sunshine here.
S2: Right? I mean, it is hard. It’s you can well imagine certain kinds of presidential records that even Donald Trump, even loathsome Donald Trump created that should not be released to the public and and that Biden should protect. But I think the point that that a lot of Biden’s defenders in this are making is this is about an insurrection to overturn the government of the United States to to effectively stop the government from the United States from working. And the idea that records relating to that would be protected seems grotesque, that if there’s anything we need to learn about and to prevent, because the main job of the president is to safeguard the Constitution and to safeguard the governance of the United States. And if we cannot allow a free and clear discussion about what happened, we’re really in a state.
S1: Yeah. And also, I mean, you could imagine a zone of executive privilege within the January 6th like cone, right? You could imagine, OK, if Trump called his lawyer that day, either his private counsel or the White House counsel, you wouldn’t necessarily want those records, right? Like, there should still be some sphere of presidential secrecy. Maybe his innermost advisers, like, I’m not sure exactly what I think about Mark Meadows and whether he also should be subject to criminal contempt. But I do think it’s really important to have better. Congress needs to have more power to subpoena. They need to be able to enforce this power more than they currently do.
S2: I mean, John, don’t you think it’s deeply worrying that this this what’s going to happen is this is going to get dragged out and dragged out. Bannon is not going to show up, it will get dragged out. And these other cases that the Trump executive privilege cases will get dragged out and it will never get resolved because in the case of Bannon, the house will turn over. The Republicans will almost certainly when the House in 2022 and they’ll drop the subpoena. And yeah, and Bannon will never have testified it won’t have been resolved. And the end, in the case of the Trump records, the Supreme Court or the courts are just going to just going to avoid making a decision. They just don’t want to wade into this and nothing will ever get resolved. And we’re going to end up in a situation which is kind of where we were at during the Trump years, which is that Trump, we’ve already forgotten this. But for the last, you know, several years of the Trump presidency, Trump officials didn’t come testify before Congress, certainly before the Congress, when the Democrats controlled it. They just would not come and testify because they there was nothing to press them to do it. They were not. It was not. They were Democrats were not able to compel them to testify. And so you you have this situation where you have a totally an executive branch that has no effective oversight at all. They didn’t turn over records. It’s it’s it’s not a good place for us to be.
S3: It’s not only not a good place for the country to be, but it is a it is a way in which the Jan. six commission and the whole topic of Jan. six relies on or doing away with it ends up reinforcing all of the behavior that led to Jan. six. I mean, just to step back for reason for a minute. The reason you have a study of Jan. six, whether it’s in Congress or anywhere else, is to look at the habits of mind that allowed one January six to happen. And what you will notice is that when you’re doing that, you see that the defenders of the former. And those who want to protect the Republican Party are engaging in exactly the habits of mind and exploiting those and further perfecting them in trying to basically make this disappear. They’re doing exactly what led to the Jan. six insurrection in the first place. And so to your point, David is a total disregard for the rule of law. The I’m in the executive and I can do whatever I want. The totally supine posture of Congress, all of those things are to be investigated, but instead the scenario you lay out doesn’t investigate them. It reinforces them by creating the situation where Congress doesn’t have enough respect for itself and by in this case, I’m really talking about Republicans who are in a branch of government that was assaulted but may very well not vote to hold Steve Bannon in contempt and so don’t have enough respect for their own institution to uphold its norms. Forget what you think about Donald Trump just to uphold the norms of the place you work. It’s a further weakening of those and thereby creating the condition for more mayhem down the road. So, yeah, it’s troubling. It’s why Liz Cheney said, You know, basically what’s at issue here are fundamental questions of right and wrong and to prevent the dismantling of of the rule of law.
S2: And in this case, Congress isn’t even that supine. What what worries me? Congress is not supine. Congress is doing its. It’s trying. I mean, the Democrats have a majority, they’re able to make these votes and and I assume that Bannon will be held in contempt of Congress. It’s that the other it’s the other institutions that need to go along with it. The courts in particular, are just not willing to wade into a fight between the branches. And so we have it. Well, go ahead. I’m like,
S1: Yeah, we don’t know that yet. Right? I mean, first, the Department of Justice has to pick up this criminal contempt charge and prosecute it, and then the courts have to rule.
S2: Right. But all the evidence of recent years that the courts do not want to get involved in in fights between the branches and given the choice, will find ways to avoid having to decide it. And and so we what that means is that the branches that no one can, no one can hold anyone accountable.
S3: But you’re right and you’ve invited a clarification. My point was basically depending on how the Republicans vote on Thursday, because if they voted unanimously to hold Bannon in contempt, right, and you had all Republicans and all Democrats standing up and saying, how dare you, then that would be an assertion or exertion of institutional power that they’re not going to. That’s that’s a highly unlikely outcome because people see their interests in protecting their political team more than the institution. And that’s I guess that’s what I meant in terms of further showing that you can do whatever you want in Congress. If you’ve got the majority or even if you don’t have the majority of you’re about to get it, then then you know, the second, then the first branch is not going to really do anything to stop you.
S2: Emily Do you think there’s any reason to expect Quartz to act briskly to say enforce, enforce any of these congressional actions or and if Department of Justice then tries to prosecute Bannon that the courts will move quickly, or if the Trump records issue gets Sook Quartz, the courts will act quickly on that.
S1: I mean, the Bannon argument is so thin that it feels to me like it should just move right along. But I mean, I realize that that’s not usually how these things work, and I do think you’re right that the courts are going to, in the first instance, try to send it back to the branches to work it out. It just that seems so clearly not a likely resolution. In this case, they should just rule. And I think that’s actually true about the lawsuit that Trump brought against the National Archives. That one issue is the current versus past administration getting to make the call. And again, I don’t really think it’s that legally complicated Emily.
S3: Could they name a special master as they sometimes do in these case and basically say the court could say, we recognize that even outside of attorney client privilege, there are instances in which a president needs to have unfettered conversation with his staff. And but this is a special case because when the January 6th is not about like energy policy. So we’re going to we’re going to have a special master who can look at what’s being turned over, turn over anything related to January six, but don’t turn over anything that would run afoul of this worthy thing to protect, which is a president’s private communication with his aides.
S1: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s a good resolution. You can also have an agreement where the judge keeps the documents. What’s called in-camera in their chambers are effectively confidential until the judge has looked through everything and determined what’s proper to released to the public. And indeed, that kind of negotiation over testimony could also extend to Mark Meadows, where you sit down ahead of time and hammer out the kinds of questions that he’s allowed to answer in public. And that can happen with, you know, congressional investigators or it could happen through the courts.
S2: All right. One of the delights of the Gabfest is our Slate Plus segments. These bonus segments we do for Slate Plus members, they started out as an obligation that they become a joy, a place to let our inner freak flags fly. And every so often we hit on a slate plus subject that makes us really excited and we have one of those today. And we’re just going to preview it briefly here. One of the most persistent criticisms of the Gabfest is that I David Plotz interrupt Emily Bazelon. I have been criticized for this for years. It is a frequent theme of tweets about the podcasts and how it’s a symptom of a general tendency of women to be silenced or men to talk over them. And today we’re going to talk about that. We are going to face that baldly. And we’re really excited because we’ve got the numbers on just how bad it is. So I strongly advise you, obviously plus member, to listen to the segment. And if you’re not, join Slate Plus, you’re going to want to hear the segment. Go to Slate.com Plotz Gabfest Plus.
S1: I barely contained myself from interrupting.
S3: I know. Yeah, me too.
S2: Beautifully done. The spectre of inflation haunts America. One measure of inflation hit a 30 year high in August, with prices up 4.3 percent over the previous 12 months. Rising prices have had used cars, regular cars, new cars that is houses, other goods, and the inflation spectre agitates politicians like Joe Manchin and and Senator Sinema, who are citing inflation as a reason for scaling back government spending bills that are being considered by Democrats in Congress. Inflation, broadly speaking, is the increase in prices when demand for good goes up, but the supply of the good doesn’t, and the current surge of it is a product of tons of different factors. But there are two big ones. One is that there was a lot of government rescue money put into people’s pockets to drive spending, and they’ve been spending on things. And more interestingly, the problems that in the global supply chain that the goods that we counted on getting to us are not getting to us as quickly or as cheaply as they used to because of a variety of problems mostly started by the pandemic, but not entirely so. We’re going to talk about the state of an inflation and supply chains. None of us is an expert on it. But by the end of this discussion, maybe we will become experts. So John John, Sook opposes it. Yeah, I was at a target the other day, and what was striking to me was not that the prices at the target had gone up, but that there were tons of empty shelves at a target, a target store that is like, you know, one of the great logistics enterprises in the world. How did we get into this situation?
S3: Right. So the throbbing bounty of the American large store, vast shelves of every damn thing has been interrupted, and that’s that’s weird to see. It also highlights and you put your finger on the right place to start, which is the weirdness of this. This is and why the traditional 1970s analysis of inflation and even all of our previous thoughts about inflation are a little askew, according to the economists that I’ve talked to anyway, which is because these are shocks as a result of a lot of the things you talked about, and we can unpack a lot of the other ones, but not systemic issues in the in the workforce, they think. But they also quickly hastened to say, We’ve never come. We haven’t for a hundred years come out of a once in a generation pandemic. And so we don’t know about all kinds of the ways the economy. And in our next topic, we’re going to talk about one of the weird things that’s happening in the economy that people didn’t predict or a lot of them didn’t predict. So they’re not so sure exactly. But on the supply chain thing, I think two two pieces people should go read. Jordan Weissmann wrote a great piece in Slate, basically saying This is the result of the fact that we were all stuck at home and we ordered a lot of stuff at the main port in Los Angeles. Imports are up almost 18 percent over the previous year, which was a pretty which was a big year, too. We’re just ordering more stuff that needs to come through ports as a result of being at home during the pandemic and the fact that there’s a lot of government transfers to people that have put money in people’s pockets or lessened the blow of the pandemic, and they’re not spending the money in other ways. So this is a big glut of demand from the U.S. consumers. And then there is another and then another piece to look at is David Lynch’s piece in The Washington Post that goes through all of the many, many different causes of this supply chain interruption. But the supply chain itself, whether it’s getting from China, where factories were closing down because of COVID to the shipping lanes and the shipping containers and the shipping vessels, all of that operates on this somewhat Rickety, in some cases highly Rickety system that is optimized to do big work around the holidays, but then slow down and clear the backlog. It’s not supposed to operate at this absolutely frenetic pace for so long. And what happens when it does it is that parts of it start to break down, and once things start to break down, you have a cascading set of failures at all kinds of different points, which then compound the failures. And you end up having situations where ships have to sit out off the coast of Los Angeles for two weeks, or trucks that used to do their roots in three days now takes 17 days. The truckers are losing money because they’re stuck sitting there on their Tannen for the for hours and hours and hours waiting for these ports. To clear this, one guy waited so long he taught himself how to salsa dance while he was sitting there, parked, waiting to to pick up a container. Meanwhile, there are so many containers clotted at the ports that in L.A. they’re putting them in some nearby neighborhood. So you see it all along the line.
S2: And and I think what’s what’s also important to remember is, I mean, you’ve made this point John. It’s just it’s not one thing. It isn’t the pandemic. It’s that when you build a system which is optimized for kind of speed and efficiency, when one part of it goes wrong, it can have a really unlikely effect elsewhere. If you if you’re building something, assembling something from 100 parts and each one of those 100 parts is necessary, but each one of those 100 parts is coming from somewhere else in the world. If the 99th part is comes from part of the world, which is suddenly disrupted, you cannot make the final good that you need. And so everything, everything piles up. And there’s this amazing concentration of industry that’s happened now so that certain kinds of industry tend to cluster in individual countries or individual regions of the world. So if every, you know, if the vast majority of of semiconductors are made in a few places and suddenly those places are not able to ship, are not able to complete orders, then that that affects businesses everywhere else because there’s no other, there’s no other redundancy elsewhere. There’s the economy is much less redundant. And so it feels like we’ve reached a situation where we’re highly dependent on a few countries to make things and ship them to us. And any attempt to fix that, you can’t just build a semiconductor plant in a day. It’s not that you can suddenly be like, Oh, we need more semiconductors for our autos or for whatever it is for our phones, and we’re just going to tune up another assembly line and get it going. It takes years for these things to get fixed, so it’s it’s slightly optimistic to hope that all these problems will be resolved. They got broken in a day. They got broken in a month, but they can’t be resolved in a month.
S3: Not only does it take a long time to solve some of these big problems, the fact that you know, U.S. ports were 16th in the world in efficiency, or the fact that there’s no light rail system to take stuff from the port to the warehouses. You can’t build that in a day, and people are nervous about building it a day because once the pandemic plug goes away of consumption, then you won’t have these issues. So why invest a bunch of stuff in building a cathedral if nobody’s going to come back after Easter?
S1: Although one of the problems is the lack of planning coordination across the country, where ports don’t want to share electronically, like they don’t want to have a big landing page where everyone knows where everything else is going. And that sounded very inefficient like it had to do with various fiefdoms, and the Europeans are much more straightforward about this. That sounded like a problem we could fix, right? The other thing that struck me was learning that the seven largest publicly traded ocean carriers reported more than twenty three billion dollars in profits in the first half of this year, compared with just one billion in the same period last year. And that seems at odds with this whole like problem of all these knotted supply chains, but it sounded like the explanation is that you have these huge freight bills that only the giant ocean carrier shipping companies can afford, and so they’re essentially sucking business away from the smaller carriers. And that made me worry that we’re in yet another kind of spiral in which we end up with this like winner takes all, you know, sort of near monopoly problems or just like the big. Knees are getting all the money.
S3: Yeah, the cost to ship one container to a warehouse used to be 5000 bags, it’s now twenty six thousand. And to your point, Emily you have the truckers who are not making money. Then you have these perverse incentives where it is better for a shipping company to take a container and hurl it back over to Asia to bring stuff when you can make $26000 than it is to use that container to go to Iowa and pick up a bunch of corn, I’m not sure you ship corn in a shipping container, but stick with me. Imagine it. Yeah, there’s no there’s no incentive to do that. And so farmers who are, you know, already taking it on the chin and farm exports are further taking it on the chin because it just makes more sense to send your container back over to Asia than to drive it into the middle of the country.
S2: So I want to close this segment by talking about inflation. So inflation is going up. I just sold a house. That house sold for a lot more than I paid for it, and partly because of inflationary pressures. But inflation. Was this was this goblin of the 1970s when we were kids, it was like this thing that people talked about all the time and then basically since the early mid 80s when the Fed decided it was going to choke inflation in the cradle every time inflation, you know, made a little peep. We haven’t had any inflation in this country effectively for 40 years, there’s been no inflation. Now we have four percent inflation over the year by one measure, which by 1970s measures, you know, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter would have like they would have done back flips if they’d had four percent inflation. At least Reagan at the beginning of his term and Carter throughout four percent inflation would have been heaven, and now four percent inflation is seen as a cause for catastrophe. Are you guys? You guys sit and worry about inflation?
S1: I mean, I am so happy to be relieved of worrying about things, so I really went for the idea that, like, worrying about inflation was a thing of the past and I could just like laugh at it. And now it just seems less clear that that is going to be true forever. It seems much less durable. And so I just kind of don’t know what to think. Are you worried about inflation?
S2: No, not at all. I mean, inflation generally helps. Broadly speaking, it hurts people. It hurts richer people, hurts the saving class. And that’s why it tends to be treated as a tragedy. And it actually doesn’t tend to be so bad for people who don’t save and don’t see the value of their savings decline. And what happened the way you solve inflation is you. You raise interest rates and you choke off businesses and people lose their jobs. And so the solution for people at the marginal, like the people who are in the least safe position to keep their job or lose their job. So I’ve always felt like, you know, the inflation is this is this thing that we that were really cruel about. But the cruelty tends to actually affect poorer people. And the richer, richer people who are who worry most about inflation really shouldn’t be entitled to worry most about inflation.
S1: But wait a second, if you spend a lot of your money on things like groceries and rent, and the inflation is affecting that, then yeah, but wage it.
S2: The wage wages rise, right? Well, and so inflation, one of the things inflation does is rage, nominal wages to go along with it. Now there is a there’s a lag period. But what you don’t have, if you’re if you’re the people who have assets, who have who have savings like inflation starts to rise, rises eight percent. They’re what’s in their bank account does not rise at all. And so they’ve effectively lost. Eight percent of the value of what they own or 10 percent of the value of what they own, if it’s risen 10 percent. And so the so the people who who have savings are hurt hardest by inflation.
S3: Well, unless unless prices, it depends where prices are going up and how what’s happening. I mean, gas prices are going up. Food prices are going up. So people who live on the margin, those are those are real things now. If you’re not driving as much because of COVID, maybe the gas prices aren’t as bad, but that that does help you and obviously people on a fixed income. Although the Social Security cost of living adjustments are going up to to try and keep pace with inflation. So it’s not just the the investor class, but the the question about inflation is whether these are systemic issues, long term problems with the economy, that there’s a shortage of money available if you have too much government spending and that that will have a long term impact on the ability to raise money and invest which which companies have to do in order to make stuff and hire people. And the economists at the Fed, who were surprised by the inflation because of supply chain issues, still are saying that they don’t see long term issues of the kind that Joe Manchin and Kirsten Cinema are worried about, that they don’t think that the economy has a long term issue that these are all issues as a result of COVID 19. The reason that matters, of course, is that, you know, those who don’t want to spend a lot of money supporting President Biden’s agenda can play on the fears of inflation that you talked about David, which are very powerful politically. But there are a lot of economists who say those fears actually aren’t really there and there are other bigger fears in the economy. Big issues things like women taking the brunt of the pain during COVID 19. Childcare costs are, you know, reducing the ability of women to earn in the workforce, education being a mess and therefore hurting the opportunities for people to achieve opportunities that those things need. Fixing that those are the bigger worries in the American economy than the threat of inflation. Who knows where you come down on that, but it’s not as clear cut as those who are raising the specter of inflation would say.
S2: The great resignation, what a fantastic term the great resignation is a term to describe the mass exit from the American workforce that appears to be happening, so more people left their jobs voluntarily in August than any time in history, any month in history, apparently by one measure, 4.3 million people, which is about a million more that you then usually do in a month and in a whole bunch of industries health care, retail, food service, childcare, teaching, there are enormous exodus of workers, and there are a lot of reasons for this which we’re going to get into. There’s burnout from frontline health care work for a long time. There’s fear that people have a very coveted jobs where they don’t feel safe in their jobs. There’s resentment toward abusive employers. There’s an unwillingness to tolerate grueling work and terrible pay when there are other resources, government resources that have been made available to people. So it’s a really fascinating issue. And the question is like, is it a is this a temporary thing? Is to say a huge shift that’s going to happen? Is this just a momentary blip where a few people who have extra cash in their pockets decided to make a change? Is it a good thing? Emily. One lesson of this is obviously that a lot of work needs to be paid more.
S1: Yeah, paid more made just more attractive, right? I mean, I just cannot in my heart find it in me to resent people not wanting to work crap. Jobs seems like if they don’t have to do that and there’s something that makes them happier, they shouldn’t have to do that and buy crap job. I mean, a lot of different things that’s like totally in the eye of the beholder. But when people are voluntarily exiting like this, it suggests that they’ve rearranged their lives in some way where they don’t need this income, or it’s just not worth it to them. And that seems like a totally valid choice to make. I mean, obviously, if people start to feel pinched, they can come back into the workplace. But in the meantime, it just seems like it’s on employers to make conditions better so that people want to take the jobs.
S2: Yeah, any time someone does something volitional to take control of their own life, it’s a good thing. The huge there were these huge layoffs at the beginning of of the pandemic, and that was terrible thing. That was terrible. People were storm tossed. They were a victim of their, you know, their employer panic, and they were a victim of this disease. But these decisions made after, you know, a year and a half a pandemic, and they were the full context of what’s happening. And these are and made it made voluntarily are good because people are. When people act to have control over their life, it is unadulterated, like a good thing.
S1: I mean, in the timeless battle of capital versus labor, it just seems like Labor is voting with its feet. Now, it’s not the same thing as like getting the raise or the vacation days, but it’s also something right.
S3: It’s probably not unadulterated. I mean, you can imagine conditions in which it wouldn’t be, but but in the main, it’s good. And the penalties of job lock, which we used to talk about a lot in the health care context are huge and real. The idea that you’re locked into a job because you can’t afford to leave because of health care or various other things. And so breaking the the lock of job lock is is huge. And I think Derek Thompson makes a really interesting point, which is that at the Atlantic, which is that we may look back at the pandemic and see that that there were many things that happened and changed, but that you could imagine looking back and thinking that this actually completely changed American attitudes towards work for generations. Then the question to you guys is what do you think needs to happen for that to happen? Because part of this is the result of government programs. I mean, if the Affordable Care Act didn’t exist and people didn’t have health care outside of their jobs or there weren’t unemployment benefits and things that could give people a cushion, you probably wouldn’t have seen as much of this entrepreneurial behavior. So, so how does it stick, right?
S2: Well, I get really interested by the fields where the economics don’t work at all. So there are some fields where they cannot pay workers more child care and elder care. The most interesting examples of this that that people who work in child care and elder care are paid quite poorly, even though the work they’re doing is essential, they’re paid quite poorly. And that’s not because and they actually especially in child care, you need significant qualifications. In some cases, you know, college degrees and you have to pass all kinds of, you know, background checks to and you have to have health certifications to do it. But there simply is not enough money in the system, and the people who use the service do not have enough money to pay more into their child care provider, such that their child care provider can pay the workers more and. And so you can say, oh, these child care workers should be paid more. But in fact, the employer cannot pay them more because the the customers, the parents don’t have the money to pay more. And and this is why this is why what the federal government is considering is so important, like this infusion of funds to effectively subsidize child care wages, which is what everyone else in the world does. Every other country in the world does. We’re not doing, and as a result, we just simply cannot provide adequate child care for people. And and there isn’t a fix that an individual employer can carry out that will make it work
S1: right, that the private market is failing in terms of wages because of the dynamics you just described and also regulation, right? I mean, we have in a lot of states very strict rules about the number of kids you can have per provider. That’s also part of the deal. I mean. And the Democrats, in their build back better bill, are trying to address some of this. Although my understanding and this is a second hand translation of a piece that Matt Breunig wrote. So I hope I’m getting this right, but my understanding is that the subsidy only goes up to a certain income level and then there’s a cliff. And so that would actually really be a problem for parents who are above that income level because there would be this big hike in wages and then you would get no help. So I hope that they ironed out that a wrinkle in the bill.
S3: The problem, of course, is that they are in the worst possible environment for wrinkle ironing out because the and this is what’s one of the great tragedies of the way that the build back better legislation is just being talked about regardless of what’s in it. The whole notion of build back better is based on the disaster relief idea that when things are flattened, you create a system that takes care of all of the inequities illustrated by the flattening and makes things better. And so what you have here is this great resignation is illuminating the idea that the social compact is changing. And as David points out, there are parts of the social compact that are important that can’t just be worked out by the market. So in whose hands do you put the trust to work this all out? And that’s that’s a huge issue, like a massive issue at the heart of this bill and of the next elections, and it doesn’t really get talked about. The way it’s being talked about is basically like, can we get under this dollar amount and in the fight to get it under a dollar amount, all kinds of reasonable discussions about how whether things should be means tested, whether they should sunset, how long they should exist, where the money should go, all gets flattened by just trying to get to a no.
S1: Yeah, bulldozed maybe is a better word. And I mean, what’s really distressing about that is that if this bill is really kludgy, it’s going to discredit government public solutions once again. And I just we really cannot afford that. Can I ask a sort of philosophical ish question about this? So, you know, one wants the economy to be sort of thriving and humming along, right? Everybody. Everybody’s better off when you hear like, Oh, the economy is doing well and more people are employed, that sort of feels like Bonnie news generally. And yet one also imagines that some of the reason that people aren’t working as much is that they’re also buying less stuff. And like, maybe that’s fine. Maybe we all buy a lot of stuff that we don’t need as much for what we
S2: just you just think about inflation because there’s so much demand in the market. Yeah.
S1: Well, for certain goods, right? But not for everything. I mean, all the stuff that’s getting stuck that we don’t get, like, couldn’t we just imagine a world in which people are working less and buying less plastic and we’re all better off even though the economy is contracting? This is my question, although now you’re both well, but I like it where Daljit lay,
S2: where this where the labor market seems to be failing is in sort of human to human work,
S1: its health care. Well, maybe we need fewer like sandwiches and plastic wrap. I don’t know. Like, maybe there is just a lot of purchasing of things that are slightly more expensive for convenience sake. The don’t actually make people happier are healthier. Right?
S2: But what does make people happier? Healthier is say to be taken care of, to not die in a pool of your own shit, like because you have to have your child, your child, not be left alone for hours in an empty room, squealing, Hey,
S1: I’m I’m talking to you about I think I need like a very sort of communist control of the economy where we just excise the parts that I don’t.
S3: Yeah, right. Well, that’s not communist. That’s you as benevolent dictator with a magic wand. But you know, the challenge here, though, is that and this is true also with the price shocks from the previous discussion is that the companies that are able to handle the wage increases to keep people or create or give signing bonuses or do all those incentives tend to be the big companies. If you’re a small. Store or a small Main Street America store. Your ability to handle the wage pressure of losing your workforce is really diminished relative to the big companies that have, you know, lots and lots of cash that they’re sitting on.
S1: OK, so that’s bad.
S2: Well, they’re also there, too. There are two points I want to make. One is that there are all sorts of things that cannot be fixed with higher pay, even if the company could afford it. So you cannot fix nursing shortages with higher pay because you cannot magic new nurses into existence like nurses have to be trained. It takes years to train somebody as a nurse. And so if huge numbers of nurses have left the workforce, you cannot suddenly, by offering $10000 a year more in pay, create nurses who don’t exist. Similarly, with long haul truckers like I don’t. Yes, long haul truckers can be long haul. Truckers actually have to be trained to become long-haul truckers. So you can’t simply say, Oh, we’re going to raise our wages $10, and those long haul truckers will suddenly be there. They aren’t they neat? There’s a time gap between when you raise the wages and when you can get it for certain professions, not for a barista or not for someone in a bookstore, but for certain jobs. But I want to close with asking you guys this if a friend, a really good friend came to you, maybe not a good friend and not a particularly good friend came to you and said, I want to
S1: leave when you don’t like it.
S3: Yes, exactly. If you’re mortal enemy,
S2: I’m a I have a career. This is not. I have a career as a teacher or a chef, and I’m I’m the youngest friend and I want to. I’m going to give it up. I want to leave. I’m going to give up. This is no good. Should you encourage them to leave? That I totally understand when it’s something, you know, somebody who says I’m a I’m a a waiter, I’m a server at a restaurant and I’m going to leave because it’s like, I don’t control my schedule. But what if someone has a something which is a career and they’re going to leave it in the early stages should you encourage that departure?
S1: I don’t know how to answer that in the abstract, I mean, don’t you ask a lot of follow up questions to try to understand why and how attached they are and how much they’ve invested in said career? Like, I just I don’t know.
S3: OK, well, what my reaction to your question is. It goes back to the larger question I had, which is that if people are leaving the workforce, where are they finding meaning in their lives? Is it purely negative partisanship? Which is to say, I know what I don’t want and I’ll figure it out after that. Or if you were able to be the author of your own identity, does that make you more at sea? So the question to your teacher is what gives you meaning? And and if something else gives you meaning or you have at least a road to find meaning in some other thing, then follow that road. And if the job you’re in gives you no meaning because a job like teaching you can imagine, much like journalism, can be deeply rewarding on the meaning scale and not necessarily on the remunerative scale. And so if all the meaning is gone out of the job, the economics are more important. So you got to probably see if they have a process for for finding meaning in their life that’s going to help them when they’re out on the seas by themselves.
S2: Let’s go to cocktail chatter. When you have greatly resigned. And you don’t have enough for the sort of super high end liquor for your cocktail, but you’ve got enough, you know, nice a nice cheap bottle of vodka tonic from from a big bottle of tonic that you that you were able to hoard steal from your last employer and you’re having a vodka tonic. What are you going to be chattering about? Emily.
S1: Oh my god. There is a Supreme Court case coming up in the beginning of November that is not going to make big headlines. It is so distressing to me. It is about my least favorite law in the entire world, which is the law against bigamy. Short no. No. The Anti Effective Death Penalty Act, which has effectively in so many ways strangled what are called habeas claims. These are the post-conviction appeals that people often desperately try to bring when their trials or convictions have gone awry, and they’re trying to dislodge them for a variety of reasons. So this law passed in the 90s. It’s a Clinton era law. It has made it much, much harder to get into federal court. Let’s just say that this case is called Shinn versus Ramirez and Jones, and Jones is someone who presented evidence of innocence. Luckily, before he was executed, Ramirez is someone who presented an innocence of intellectual disability, and nobody is really arguing about either of those things. Instead, with the state of Arizona is arguing is that these claims shouldn’t have been developed at all. The court should not be considering this evidence. The reason they were allowed into court was a claim called ineffective assistance of counsel, which is basically like your lawyer really sucked. What happened to both Mr. Jones and Mr. Ramirez was that they had ineffective counsel before their trials or before their convictions, and then afterward they got state appointed counsel to bring their first appeals, who were also ineffective. And there has been since this 2012 important Supreme Court decision called Martinez. This little window, this little relief from the strangulation of Ed Paul, where if you had this double ineffective assistance of counsel problem, you could get into federal court. And the idea was that you were not at fault for the fact that your claims weren’t properly presented, which indeed you’re not when your lawyers are terrible. And now essentially, Arizona is asking the Supreme Court to cut off that avenue. That will just make it really, really hard to rectify exactly the kinds of injustices of, you know, evidence of innocence and intellectual disability that plague these particular cases. It is such a kind of cruel case to me, and I’m concerned about what the Supreme Court is going to do with it. So that is, alas, awaiting us in the beginning of November. Shinn vs. Ramirez and Jones
S2: John What is your chatter?
S3: I have two chapters. One is an essay by E.B. White. You would think that if there was a Venn diagram of my interests essays by white and the presidency and its burdens, you’d be right in the kind of nuclear center. And yet somehow I missed an essay by E.B. White called One Hour to Think Again and again.
S1: It’s even that is the most John Dickerson title Emily Emily.
S3: And it’s about Eisenhower, who in my book on the presidency, I spend a lot of time talking about how Eisenhower had this really attractive way of thinking about thinking, and then he was always attuned to his ability to make decisions based on his lack of sleep, his anger and all kinds of other things that he was thoughtful about how he did his job. And so this is about E.B. White’s writing, about the fact that Eisenhower announced in 1954 that he’s going to spend an hour in the day just thinking that the burdens of the office was just getting nibbled to death by ducks. And then he was going to spend an hour or half an hour in the morning, half an hour in the evening. Just thinking and so white as he does, turns it into a meditation on how and what, how you think, and that you can’t really do it when you’re trying to do it. And it needs to be kind of serendipitous anyway. It’s just lovely. And it was sent to me by Twitter friend Mark Wegner, who is under the handle Arnie Lane. And it was just really sweet of him to send it. So I’m so grateful and it’s a tidy little essay, and if you can find it, anything by E.B. White will do. I also Emily correctly totally called me out for not watching succession and saying I was too busy. But in fact, it’s not that I was too busy. It said I was watching something else. Instead, I have, as listeners know, I am a fan of British procedurals and I’ve now watched McDonald and Dodds throughout the rest of its season, which was a delight and I’ve now discovered Viera, which has been. Around four, I think, 11 episodes anyway. Excellent British procedural and with some great characters and wonderful acting and good stories. So if you’re into that kind of thing. Watch Vera,
S1: I feel like it says so much about Jon’s like psychological health that he is watching whatever the hell Vieira is instead of succession. But also it is a drag for me because I would like us to talk about succession and Jon’s utter refusal to watch like peak television is like. Personally, I’m like, Come on. Even though I like respect and admire your TV habits,
S3: well, first of all, I did was right there with you on Ted Lasso, and I also watch David
S1: stifled my efforts to talk about that. No, not for no big deal. And I actually would like to talk about it.
S3: That’s but that’s totally playing against type because David knows peak TV much better than I do. So and I also watch like The Morning Show. So there are some things that I watch that are new little
S1: Stephen of The Morning Show. Good. I haven’t watched that
S3: the PTSD of The Morning Show is a little amusing, but yes, there’s The Morning Show has some excellent acting and some extraordinary writing
S1: in the second season because I watched the first season. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
S3: This season? OK, but it’s very niche. I mean, you know, I come at it from obviously a niche view, but I don’t know. What’s going to happen is I will watch like one episode of Succession and then I won’t be able to shut up about it. And you what you’re going to have to do like 19 things on succession, because that’s the way I am. But knowing that I find it difficult to engage also, I don’t think I’m not sure whether AM would be interested in, you know, we’re a joint operation here.
S2: All right. I’m going to do Mei chatter, but you guys could continue to have that conversation on the slightly
S1: boring conversation about television
S2: Mei. Although Mei chatter is so extremely boring that who knows by chattering
S1: advertisers chattering
S2: about no Mei chatter. It’s not that it’s boring, it’s that it’s maybe it’s niche and comfortable. I want to talk about my new obsession food obsession, which is a dish that I discovered in the New York Times cooking app called Sook may Faan Cantonese creamed corn with tofu and rice. And it’s a dish where you take fresh corn, or you could use canned corn and you puree some of it. And then you add the newly some of it whole kernels and you cook it with ginger and garlic and scallion and broth, and then you put it over rice or and maybe have it with tofu or with egg or have it with chicken. I’m telling you, my friends, it is the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten. I would eat this thing every day. It’s also any meal. It’s a great breakfast. It’s an incredible lunch. It’s a fantastic dinner. It is so, so, so good.
S1: How do you sell Sook
S2: s o k its first words Sook may Emily Faan fan. And oh my god, oh, I found just delicious. It has weirdly doesn’t have great ratings in the Times cooking app, and I don’t understand it. I would give it five star rating every day until the cows come home. It’s fantastic. Listeners, you have chatted to us, maybe send us a recipe as the chatter that could be a good listener chatter, but you tweet them to us at at Sook Gabfest and our chatter this week comes from Adrian Month.
S3: Hi Emily John in David. My name is Adrian Montney and I’m bringing you my cocktail chatter from lovely Quebec City. I’m sure many of you who have traveled by plane have been to airports where you’ve noticed the occasional less than new looking plane kicking around, maybe parked off to the side of some distant airport building. Mei cocktail chatter is a fascinating Twitter thread by Chris Croy telling the tale of one such plane, which sat dangerously close to a runway in Nagpur, India, for 24 years, and how his father is partly to blame for that. The story has elements of a great tale that your father would tell you over dinner. One night televangelists a quick trip to Tijuana for a test flight and a failed maiden voyage that ended with the plane making an emergency landing in Nagpur, where it sat dangerously close to that runway before finally being towed away. Twenty four years later, though, some of the details of the story are now being debated and we might never know exactly what transpired. I think the story of how this rickety old plane made it to India and became a dangerous nuisance for twenty four years as the result of the mechanics side project is a tale worth reading.
S2: It was a really fun Twitter thread. I enjoyed it a lot. Thanks, Adrian. That is our show for today. Gabfest is produced by Jocelyn Frank. A researcher is Bridgette Dunlap. Gabriel Roth is editorial director of Slate Audio. Incidentally, I’m reading Gabriel Roth novel now. Did you guys know Gabriel Roth wrote a novel that’s so great? Yeah, yeah. He wrote a novel. It’s for 2013, the one I’m reading as the 2013 novel. I’m reading it. I’m really enjoying it. Called The Unknowns. I’ve just started it. June Thomas is managing because Our Slate Podcast and Alicia Montgomery is the executive producer of Slate Podcast. Please follow us on Twitter at Emily. Gabfest and Tweet chatted to us there from Emily Bazelon and John Dickerson of David Plotz. Thanks for listening! We’ll talk to you next week. Unless you’re a slate plus member, in which case we’re in to talk to you now about an amazing topic and.
S1: And now we’ve invited to the part of the show Hetty Colbert waiting for. Yeah.
S2: OK. Hello, Slate plus hello, slate plus. So our adventure begins. Where should we begin our adventure, should we begin it with this amazing email we got from Lindsay Lee? So our adventure begins earlier this week, when Bridgette passed forward an email from Lindsay Lee, a Gabfest listener and it turns out a brilliant and hardworking person who likes to do her research. And so Lindsay sent us a very long email with an attachment, and I’m going to read this. I thought you might be interested in some data on how often you interrupt each other. I’m a massive fan of the podcast. In fact, this is the podcast that got me started listening to podcasts in the first place. But in a feminist rage in 2016, I became fed up with how often I felt like David was interrupting Emily. So being the massive dork that I am, I thought I would go collect some data on this to confirm my perceptions and then write a blog post, go viral, get rich and famous, et cetera. So from June 2016 to June 2017 for 55 episodes every week, I listened to the episodes in front of my computer and noted each interruption using a simple program I wrote in Ah, as a programming language. After a year of data collection, I did some basic analysis and found that and now I’m going to stop.
S1: Doo doo doo doo doo.
S2: OK, so now I want to back up and talk about some of the things that happen when we do this podcast or we do the podcast and then we get responses to the podcast and we get a lot of responses to this podcast on Twitter and then an email. And then in Mei, I Mei DMs are open on Twitter. So a lot of DMs and I get a huge amount of. Push back and John gets a little bit less because I think we can set for this purpose of this discussion, we can acknowledge at John is a very polite person. We get I get a huge amount of pushback on Twitter and elsewhere, basically saying, you’re such a loud mouth interrupter, you are talking over Emily. What’s your fucking problem? Plotz.
S3: Can I go ahead? John of information here, which is. And then I get attacked for doing so when in fact they mean David. So people will say, I just can’t stop listening after these interruptions and I’ll go back and think, Oh man, did I completely go overboard? And so the people, I will inquire with these people and I will say, Well, when did you leave the show? And they say, well, at the eighth minute. And like, I haven’t talked in the first eight minutes of the show, and it turns out I’m getting blamed for David.
S2: So I just want to like, share a few tweets David Plotz for everything you hold sacred? Can you just not interrupt Emily Bazelon for one podcast hashtag Justice for Emily or David Plotz, please have an intern go through and count how much you interrupt during the late Gabfest and how gendered it is. It’s been bad and it’s getting worse. That’s from a couple of weeks ago.
S1: I have somehow thus far refrained from interrupting either of you, which of course, is a fake ploy on my part because as we have all known from the beginning of Gabfest time, I am the chief interrupter offender on this show and I have my own analysis of it. But I just want to begin by saying that when I sometimes realize how much criticism David is getting for this, I feel like I’m just kind of prancing around on this like free reverse sexism, like get out of jail free card that I’ve been given and it feels it feels unwarranted to me because when we got the data from Lindsay, it absolutely confirmed my own impression, which is that I interrupt the most. I think I interrupt twice as often as John, which I mean, it could have been like
S2: three times as often as John,.
S1: There you go. Right? So I mean, first of all, I think that I, you know, there’s sort of a classic speech pattern of of overlapping speech, as the linguist Deborah Tannen calls it, which is frequent among Jews, especially Eastern European Jews, which is where my family is from. And it’s not meant as an insult, though I think it can still be quite rude. And I include myself in that characterization. It’s really a kind of expression of enthusiasm. It’s a way of continuing to engage and actually like sort of sitting on the edge of your chair and really listening. So I think that’s one form of interruption, which at least if it’s not even if it’s still rooted, at least it’s well-intentioned.
S2: But let’s oh, go ahead.
S3: Can you give the the findings?
S2: Are you? Yeah, let’s give the findings. OK. So I have I have Lindsay paper, which which I’m looking forward to being published in in Nature or the New England Journal of Medicine or
S3: or the Gabfest Quantitative Periodicals Quarterly Edition.
S2: So it’s a really extraordinary, huge sample size. So it’s it’s more than it’s it’s twelve hundred thirteen hundred odd interruptions over the course of the over the course of the year that she listened. Emily is responsible for half of interruptions, 49 percent of interruptions, or Emily, 32 percent are me and 18 percent are John. So Emily interrupts nearly three times as much as John, and she interrupts 50 percent more than I do. What that turns out to Emily has Cert about 13 interruptions per episode. I have about nine per episode and John has about
S1: like six negative three.
S2: The other way to put it is the amount of time that Emily is herself interrupted. Emily herself is interrupted. She was interrupted about two hundred and fifty times, whereas John and I were each interrupted more than 500 times. So not only do do you interrupt most, you are also interrupted least.
S3: Who is interrupted most
S2: who is interrupted most? It looks like me, I am interrupted most.
S1: So here’s another theory about this that you and
S2: I are very close John.
S1: OK, so this is quite self-serving theory, so forgive me in advance. I think all of us and almost and basically almost everyone in the world has a speech pattern in which we circle back and repeat ourselves. And so sometimes consciously as well as unconsciously, I interrupt you because I already heard what you’re about to say and so did everyone else. And I’m just like ready to move the conversation along. And I actually think you should interrupt me more when I do that. Like, we all should interrupt each other more because it just like moves things along more briskly. And we don’t need to have that particular tech that we have that I have to. But to be clear.
S3: But two things a are you inviting someone to measure the length of our talking? A B, as Jocelyn points out, she edits out the long. So that wouldn’t be in the sample size.
S2: Yeah, she edits out the interruption. So you have even more interruptions. There aren’t even counted Emily.
S1: Oh brother,
S3: I would like to. I would like to make two sister. One is and also rescue Emily from that point. One is the gender. In the gender context. People have got it exactly wrong, right? So it’s not just that Emily is interrupted the least, but she does the most interrupting. So they’ve got it wrong in two special ways, which is amazing, and somebody should comment on that with wisdom. And the second thing is, nobody ever blames. Nobody ever bothers when I’m interrupted, which is fine, but also has a gender component to it as well, right? Because it’s fine to interrupt. But the second point is, the important one is there is a qualitative issue here, too. I think Emily is exactly right. There’s an interruption that is a building on that is not stealing the conversational floor. It’s A.. And I wonder if they’ve changed interruptions now that we can see each other because when somebody nods, you’re like, Oh, good, they’re with me. But if you don’t see each other, then then how do you assent or disagree? And there’s a qualitative difference. I think that David is often because this is his role and he’s so good at it, and it is what makes the show so good. And in the same way Emily’s additional interruptions make the show good is that he’s prodding and poking and messing with people and pushing them. And so it can feel while there may be fewer in number, it feels more powerful because they are different in quality.
S2: I totally agree with that. So just to give my take, which is I’ve been gloating about this all week, but I don’t really feel. I’ve always felt. I’ve always felt it was an unfair cop on me to say that I interrupt Emily because I knew that she was interrupting me a ton too. And I was. But I just, you know, sat there and took it because sure, I interrupt Emily and I interrupt John. And and just not it wasn’t interesting to try to get into a fight, and I’m glad that Lindsay measured it, and I’m glad that we have the evidence. And yet, lo and behold, I get interrupted too. And and that’s all fine.
S1: And we all knew, like we all could have guessed this.
S2: Yeah, we all could have guessed this. And and the other thing is, the thing I didn’t like about it was this this sort of implied notion that Emily needs defending Emily is like so smart, so verbally acute, so much more verbally acute than I am. And the idea of plays in the idea that that that she needs defending from the the brute that is David Plotz is just so literal. Emily tears me apart. Any time we have any kind of argument or any kind of discussion, it’s like evident how much smarter and clearer thinker and better arguer the arguer than me she is. And so. So I’ve always felt like it was something slightly like, Have these people? Have you been listening to the show all these years? Have you paid attention to how much this is Emily dominating me intellectually? I you know, yes, maybe I interrupted her once, but like, believe me, I got my head handed to me 12 times for every time I did that. So it’s that I always felt that. I always felt sort of silly. But I also agree Emily with your take that you have a kind of addictive interrupting style that’s generally very pleasant and generally very valuable,
S1: sometimes gets a little carried away. I mean, I guess I will say I appreciate the sentiment of people leaping to my defense. And of course, getting away with something is always slightly satisfying, even if it’s at your expense David, which I felt bad about. I do wonder, though, if there’s something kind of reflexive about it because I, you know, sometimes I hear the feedback from the show and people are just taking such umbrage. And I think to myself, well, I didn’t have an experience of that conversation as being like silenced or stifled or disrespected in the slightest. And like, is there something wrong? Like, Is there something? I’m not hearing or is it that people don’t quite understand the texture of our relationships because we almost never really almost never have a fight, right? Like it is incorrect I can like I don’t remember, but I remember the one I remember we were to. Yeah, we like once or twice have had where I actually like, got mad or you got mad at me. But and I don’t think maybe I’ve ever gotten mad at John about something he said on the show. It’s really, really rare. I have. OK. It’s really rare. It’s rare in terms of substance, and it’s rare in terms of style. And so I am sort of taken aback when we get this feedback that I’ve been somehow like, insulted or wounded because I just don’t feel it at all. And and I guess if there’s a larger point here, it is a little bit that I feel like my own version of feminism and female identity is to feel like strength is really important. And that doesn’t mean that, like everyone feels strong all the time, or there aren’t plenty of reasons to feel put upon or mistreated. I don’t mean to suggest that, but when I have a choice about feeling strong versus feeling put upon, I have been. I’ve trained myself to pick strong because it just like feels better and gets me further in my day. And so while I do plenty of venting and complaining when I feel mistreated, don’t get me wrong, I’m like a big whiner in some ways. I do think that’s like an important principle to hold on from my own psychological health.
S3: Can I add to that without diminishing from its beauty, which is the there are a lot of people who listen who don’t write in to say, Oh, I love the exchange and the nature of it. And but that’s what they groove on in the show. They love that. It’s why people talk about feeling like they’re the fourth person in a conversation when it has that addictive cacophony to it. And even when it has, you know, there are a lot of people who would like, you know, to me to put a sock in it. And so when someone does, the response is not, Oh, this is bad, but oh God, thank God, I thought he was going to go on till dinner. But having said that, we also don’t want to lose sight of the absolutely unassailable moral superiority of the person who interrupts judiciously because it means that they’re not only a good person, but that they’re listening.
S1: Yes, let’s let’s for sure honor that fabulous contribution you’re listening by.
S2: I think the person who interrupts the most is probably the person paying most attention because they’re actually engaged with the conversation. Where is the person who interrupts the least? Is just off sitting in his Bob Dylan shaped sweater, not paying attention.
S1: John Does anyone interrupt in your family at all? Sit and listen to each other until you’re done talking?
S3: No, they’re confused. They’re constantly interrupting me and to no good to children, to no good effort, by the way. No, I mean, I grew up in and interrupting in both a hot take and interrupting household. And then I have grown and then I am constantly interrupted and it drives. I’m being interrupted right now by somebody at the front door, apparently who’s buzzing the I’m constantly interrupted, and the nature of the interruption in the home environment is the stealing the the conversational flaw, which I can’t remember what linguists use that expression. But it’s not the additive kind that you’re talking about, Emily. It’s the, you know, zooming off into some other tangent.
S1: You know, it drives me crazy or I’m so happy we’re talking about this. I don’t care about being interrupted at all. I doesn’t bother me at all. Except what I really don’t like is when you’re telling a story with like energy and passion and some interruption happens, whether it’s from the person listening to you or external and then the person you’re telling the story to doesn’t say we keep going like that is so important to me. I find it so wounding, and it doesn’t matter who it is, and I happen to be related to people who do not share this sense that it’s like absolutely essential to finish every story and it drives me crazy.
S2: Emily can. Before we leave this and and send bouquets to Lindsay, I’ve already sent bouquets to Lindsay. Isn’t there? Wasn’t there a story this week about some something about judges and women judges on the Earth? It’s women judges on skaters. It’s been interrupted.
S1: So the lawyers who appear before the Supreme Court are super not supposed to interrupt the justices. It’s considered like a major gaffe when they do so, which query whether that’s really fair. But it turns out that it is the women who get interrupted the most. And of course, that is the kind of just like garden variety, old fashioned sexism that is like, totally legitimate thing to complain about.
S3: We should also add that there is there was a more recent study that that I think I even chatted about this. The idea that people you’re familiar with you listen to last because you’re pretty much into. Where you think they’re going to say and so that would explain both us and the familiar and at home the fact that familiarity breeds breeds contempt.
S1: No, it’s not contempt. It’s the film Emily already breeds. Can you move on with it? And let’s keep going to the more interesting terrain over there. It’s like running up the mountain.
S3: No, no. But but I was defending your position, which is that people should ask you to finish the story that they were hanging on every word of that, but that they don’t
S1: feel that it’s like another word. That’s it’s not the interruption, it’s the failure to return to the topic
S3: because they weren’t listening or
S1: curiosity about the end of the story.
S2: What a what is, what gratitude I feel toward Lindsay Lee Lindsay.
S1: She is our hero.
S2: Can I help you let us do something with us? I hope you publish this somewhere just to see it, but I appreciate the hard work you put into it. Why did you? Why did you not send it to us for several years, though? That was that’s Mei with Mei one question. Hmm. All these years? Sorry, you
S3: are seeking defense before it. Also, I think it should inspire people to engage in traveling other avenues of inquiry should they find other parts of the Gabfest worthy of examination.
S1: Sure. But also, we should figure out some way David can save this and just send it back. So, you know, I periodically still get people complaining about my voice for various ways, and I find it very satisfying to have that little riff from 99 percent invisible about how they pay zero attention to the complaint they get about women’s voices because they never get complaint about men’s voices. So David, you need a similar sort of like, OK, just read this. Listen to this.
S2: All right. By Sleepless.