S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate plus membership, this episode of The Gabfest contains explicit language.
S2: Hello and welcome to the Slate political gabfest for August 27th, 2020, the pool boy edition. I’m David Plotz of Business Insider. I’m in Washington, D.C. I’m joined from New Haven, Connecticut, from her home office, I guess, by Emily Bazelon of the New York Times Magazine and Yale University Law School. Hello, Emily. Hello, David. Hello, John. And as always, from CBS’s 60 Minutes, John Dickerson, who is again in Washington because he’s providing valuable, important commentary on the convention. Hello, John. Hello, David. Hello, Emily. I’m. I’ll accept that it’s valuable. Not quite sure. John and I had such a nice walk after last week’s show. We got the actual pleasure of each other’s company as opposed to just really zoom, just the zoom. Dickerson, who is two dimensional, I find on today’s gabfest, the Trump convention, which combines Hatch Act violations like grotesque stunts, lots of Trump children. And it’s working or is it working? We’ll talk about that. Then, the shooting of Jacob Blake and the violence. That has overtaken Kenosha, Wisconsin. What is happening, what is to be done? Then the Conways and the fall wells to these two families tell us anything about the state of modern American politics, or is our interest in them just rubbernecking? Plus, of course, we will have cocktail chatter. So if it’s been really hard for me to watch the Republican convention, I’ve had a very hard time watching it. I have not not watch nearly as much of it as I should. We are taping on Thursday morning before Donald Trump’s acceptance speech. What there is to say is there have been lots of Trump’s, so many Trump’s not just Trump’s. There have also been aggrieved high school students and and owners of St. St. Louis mansions who have R 15s and regular everyday citizens who are glad to be living in Trump’s America. We’ve had pardons or a pardon. We’ve had a naturalization ceremony in the White House. It’s been really tough. I found it very tough, but maybe it’s maybe it’s a very effective convention. I think what there haven’t been is glitches. I think a lot of people expected there to be a lot of technological problems, but it’s been beautifully produced and every bit I’ve seen has come across as well. Well done and and looks good and runs on time. And there’s no embarrassing snafu of sound or pictures. John, you have had to watch it and comment on it. What is your overall impression of this convention and contrast it to the DNC last week and to the expectations for it?
S3: Well, I think you’re right about the expectations. Just as a production, it’s come off smoothly, which is just one sort of, you know, in a in a time where everything is techno, technologically shifted and schedules are thrown askew, it seems, you know, it’s come off pretty well. I mean, my major thought is during the Democratic convention, you know, one of their main messages was get out to vote. Here’s the urgency of voting, speaking to their base about how dire and important it is to vote because Democrats have traditionally had a harder time getting out their voters than Republicans and so that there was a useful portion of the convention. I think Republicans, obviously, that’s part of their message. The the red meat has been pretty raw and wriggling. But but what we know from the polls is that Donald Trump had more enthusiasm among his voters. That didn’t mean that the Biden voters weren’t going to go vote for Joe Biden. They just weren’t going to, you know, sprint out of their chair, do so. The CBS poll taken after the Democratic Convention showed one interesting shift, which was that Democrats who previously had said they were voting really more against Donald Trump than for Joe Biden had switched after the Democratic convention. And a majority of them were saying they were going to vote for Joe Biden. This is all a preamble to say, my general feeling is that this is all going to pass through the digestive tract pretty quickly and we’ll get back to, you know, events will take over and replace what happened at the convention. Opinions, many of which were locked in before the conventions, won’t change and won’t change because of the convention. They might change because of other things. But that’s particularly true, it feels like to me for Donald Trump. And because he is such an indelible figure and he is so undisciplined and in part that’s what they’re celebrating at their convention, despite a lot of effort, obviously, to rewrite history that whatever they do at their convention is going to is not going to stick because he’s going to do what he’s going to do and people will take their impressions from him. So I feel like it’s even less if the bar is already low for these mattering, the Republican one maybe matters less. That isn’t to say that the Republican strategy, which is to use current events to hammer home their law and order message. We can talk about that later, but that’s kind of a separate even though that’s been the message at the convention, it’s a separate thing from whether in the context of the convention, that message is going to is going to actually change votes. If that message change changes votes, it’ll be over the next probably a couple of weeks as events unfold, not because of anything they did at the convention.
S2: So, Emily, there is this strange illusion at the Republican convention, which is as though the world stopped on March 9th, and Donald Trump should not be held responsible for anything that has happened since then, except for any useful acts by police that have happened since then. We had Larry Kudlow, the top economic adviser in the White House, talking about the pandemic in the past tense on a day in which more than a thousand Americans died. What do you make of this effort to paint the Trump presidency as being the first three years and then these last six months are anomalous? Don’t have anything to do with it. We don’t need to pay attention to it.
S4: I think if you’re in the world of reality, it seems very strange. So I also notice it constantly. I think if you watch a lot of Fox News, it goes down much smoother because I think often on Fox there’s this notion that there’s pandemonium, there’s chaos. America is under assault from a bad virus from China and a total erasure of the cause and effect part that involves the presidency and his failures of leadership and the connecting of the dots of how we got here. And so I actually think that it just really depends which reality you live in. I’ve been doing a lot of reporting on Fox and the spread of disinformation online and the connection there. And it really is clear from the research that the American electorate and public is polarized not just about politics, but in its ideas about reality, based on its consumption of information. And so I think, like what’s striking to you and to me is something that a lot of Trump supporters have. I’ve been absorbing from their television screens and maybe the Internet for a long time now.
S2: John, you and I talked a little bit about this, I think, in person. But what is also amazing about this convention is that who is not speaking?
S5: So we don’t have the last Republican president, the last Republican vice president, the last two other Republican nominees for president, the last three Republican speaker of the House, the last three Republican secretaries of state, the last RNC chair before Trump, not only are not speaking, not in attendance, not welcome, in most cases, the party no longer exists as a sort of as a traditional structure, a party. It exists, isn’t it? I mean, obviously, they still have party structures, but it feels like an authoritarian cult of personality, at least for this moment. Do you feel like this is a a momentary Trump imposed authoritarian cult of personality that will vanish and that the traditional party structure will reemerge post Trump, or is this a permanent shift?
S3: Well, I guess we have to wait to see how events play out. But everything you say is true. It’s you know, when half of your speakers are from the Trump family and diversity represents, you know, diversity within within your own family, really, you’ve really narrowed things down. Now, that’s a little bit unfair because, you know, Nikki Haley and Tim Scott spoke. But what was interesting about those two speeches is how kind of separate they were from the rest of the convention. And Melania Trump and Mike Pence sort of would be a little bit in that in that basket, too. But your general point is, is this is now this is Donald Trump’s party. And it’s not just because of the way the convention has been orchestrated, the way that he’s been a participant every night, the kinds of speakers, the kinds of people who aren’t there, including lots of people in battleground states running for Senate who traditionally would speak as a way of trying to help their campaign by associating it with the president.
S2: All of that. Are they not? They’re actually sorry to interrupt. My theory on that is maybe that everyone’s concluded. You know what? Everyone is just there’s no split ticket voting. So all we have to do is turn people out for the presidential vote and then the senators will benefit. Is that why the candidates are not speaking?
S3: I think that you can do three things. One is the very good point you just made. The second is the constraints of the convention make it a little bit more difficult to pile. You just don’t have the time you usually have, particularly in prime time. There’s really only an hour that’s a problem. And then the third thing is you’re not going to get any great boost by doing it. The boost you get is mostly from that associative situation you described earlier, David. So but I guess my my final point is just we should all remember that the the adhesion to Donald Trump from, you know, so many Republicans and we should talk about all the Republicans who have left and gone to Joe Biden and why that’s interesting and important and will it work. But still, he has gotten a lot of Republicans to stick with him and not just stick with him sort of begrudgingly. But all of his former rivals are full throated defenders, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz. And that’s in part because of the the personality affection Republican voters have for Donald Trump, but also because he’s delivered for Republican voters on the things they care about defense spending, tax cuts, regulations, judges, limitation of abortion rights and support of the Second Amendment. So and immigration, where there have been obvious splits like on interfering in the market or lack of a lack of interest in spending restraint. You know, they’ve just forgotten about those things.
S4: David, I just wanted to jump in on your question about, you know, this sort of Republican affinity for the strong leader and ideas about that sort of Virginica authoritarianism. Tom Edsel had an interesting column in which he talked about this in The New York Times this week, and he was quoting a paper by a political scientist named Matthew Graham that showed this year that when voters are forced to make a choice between partisan loyalty and standing on principle, only small partisan edges of either parties stand on principle. So Republicans, Democrats are the same. But then when this political scientist asked about opposition and toleration for authoritarianism, the answer is for the Republican Party or higher. And so this political scientist was talking about how there’s just an asymmetrical partisan gain for Republicans because of the biases of political geography, you know, the big the big sort of gerrymandering. And so there is this way in which Republicans actually have political reasons to also be in line with the strong leader, especially when you’re talking about limiting the vote.
S3: Bill Clinton used to say and he said that one of the conventions, I think it was maybe the last convention. Better to be strong, you know, when people are insecure, they’d rather have somebody who is strong and wrong on someone who’s weak and right.
S2: Yeah, I mean, I think that that all comes down to why there is so little need for ideas or there’s so little need for argument or so little need for a platform, which is that it’s it’s become it’s become almost a division of sentiment, a division of feeling. And so it doesn’t Trump doesn’t need a platform because it’s like the platform is Trump. And so whatever it is he pick people just want to align with people want to align with. The person and the feeling and principles have sort of lost their meaning almost entirely. I mean, I have a look at the notes I wrote to myself last night as I was reading about this. And it’s like I have three times in a row. Does anything matter? Does anything matter? Anything matter? It’s like it’s just feels like everything is there’s not a there’s no arguments being made. There’s no there’s there’s no attempt to appeal to any sort of principle. There’s no also there’s no fulcrum. There’s no there’s no critical mass of people in the center who can be one to your side anymore, which used to be a very important moderating effect in American politics. And so the the convention I mean, what is who is it for John? Who is it? What is the purpose?
S4: Well, it’s for the base. I mean, if you don’t need to win a majority of voters to win the election, you talk to your base and that’s what they’re doing. And then there’s this very Nixonian play going on for suburban white voters who are going to be scared by images of looting or burning or violence on TV. Like I mean, Mike Pence, last night, it was he could have been he was so close to what Nixon said in 1968 about how we’re standing up for a law and order for everyone. And no, if you’re afraid in your house, then you can’t have your life the way you want it to be. I mean, it’s very much tracks.
S3: Yeah, well, you’re right. This is an old standard playbook. What’s what’s what’s interesting is when Trump’s down twenty one percent with women voters, I can’t remember the split on the suburban. It might even be larger. You might even have a larger deficit among suburban voters. The. You’re right, Emily, it is about turning out, it’s about it’s about two things, it’s about firing up the base that exists and then growing that base. So the noncollege white voters who were a part of Trump’s coalition in twenty sixteen, if you look at the map and the difference between Donald Trump in 2016 and Mitt Romney in 2012 and where Trump did better than Romney, it looks like, you know, a snowstorm map in the middle of winter, which is to say the Midwest is all darker than the rest of the country, which is so Trump did a little bit better than Romney in the South, but did very much better than Romney among noncollege white voters in the Midwest. And part of their theory is that they can grow that that part of their base so it’s they can add to it. So these are wouldn’t be people who voted for him last time but didn’t vote at all. So that’s one part. And then the suburban voters that he’s lost and the older voters and the voters who voted against Hillary Clinton in 2016, but not necessarily for Donald Trump, all of whom have been shedding, Trump has been shedding since almost he came into office. There is this other play, which is that this that they might give Trump a second look, particularly if they are afraid of the pictures they see on TV. And can they make him slightly less objectionable so that people who say, oh, I don’t want to vote for, you know, a racist or I don’t want to vote for that, they just get them enough over that hump that people who had voted for Trump before can do it again. And so part of the convention has tried to send those messages. I’m very skeptical that anybody who’s in that category is going to have their mind changed in any indelible way by what happened at the convention. They may change their mind by the time we get to Election Day, but I think events between now and Election Day will be what or election when election starts happening?
S4: Well, maybe. I mean, I was watching this sort of parade of women testifying last night about how much Donald Trump was in their camp and cared about them and like called them to check up on their operation. And maybe I mean, to me, it just seemed like irrelevant and weird. But maybe in that moment where it was I mean, it was all pitched toward women. It was like beautiful woman after statuesque, beautiful women. And maybe in that moment where you’re trying to decide what to do and, you know, you’re you were a Trump voter the last time you have some disaffection, you’ll remember one of those women and it will soften Trump’s image in some way. That’s like even subconscious. And it’ll affect your vote.
S2: I don’t know, as a as John as a tall blonde and Emily as a tall brunette. Do you Emily, are you repelled by the like, parade of bluntness? It’s really interesting the way hair color is. This is a marker. There’s so many blonde women speaking at this convention.
S1: I’m not repelled by it, but I was really struck by it. If you watch the summary videos of the speakers, you see just like person after person, they look very similar in terms of their coloring. It is striking that I mean, I guess what I thought about was how there is still this very narrow ideal of beauty, at least in a segment of the political culture, and that we are seeing it replicated over and over again without variation. And it’s very specific.
S2: So before we leave this, one of the really amazing and deplorable things about this convention is the way in which the Republicans have used the trappings of the presidency to advantage themselves. And I think we’ve seen it most blatantly with the president pardoning, pardoning somebody on a night to the president, also conducting or overseeing a naturalization ceremony in the White House for four immigrants who did not know that they were going to be naturalized in the convention. I mean, it was that was a shocking, disgusting exploitation of people and people of color who have otherwise been abused by the immigration apparatus. But the much invoked Emily’s this law, the Hatch Act, which has been beaten and and tossed away and and mocked by this convention.
S1: Yeah. The much mourned Hatch Act, in my view, we have this law to prevent government officials from directly engaging in campaign politics because those are supposed to be two separate functions and you’re not supposed to get paid on government time to go campaign for people or set up a naturalization ceremony that somebody is using as a political stunt. And the Hatch Act does not directly apply to the president and the vice president, probably because of the separation of powers concerns in the Constitution. But there are all these other people scurrying around clearly working on this convention in a way that overlaps with their government. Utes, and it’s such a flouting of law, I hate it when laws that are actually standing for an important principle get flouted in this way because then it’s worse than not having them at all. It’s as if they’ve been made a mockery. So I think the Hatch Act is really important and we should have some enforcement of it. And I really find it dismaying that that is not the violation of a norm. It’s not some erosion of some idea we had of the institution. It is an actual law and it should be who or who should enforce it.
S2: What were the enforcement be? I mean, theory. Would it be the U.S. attorney for D.C. would would go arrest Kellyanne Conway?
S1: It’s the Office of Special Counsel that investigates Hatch Act violations. If there is a finding of a violation, then that person’s supervisor has to actually do something. And while the Office of Special Counsel has investigated Kellyanne Conway in the past and even said she should be fired, that, of course, has not happened. There are at least eight Trump administration officials who have gotten warnings about Hatch Act violations. But as far as I know, that has been the only penalty.
S3: The point you made, Emily, is really important about when you don’t follow through on a law. I’ve often felt that President Trump. Particularly likes to cross lines that have been drawn beforehand because in then so doing, he shows how all line drawing is baloney. So he did it with Bill Barr when Bill Barr said, you know, don’t influence what we do at the Justice Department. And then he tweeted like 10 seconds later trying to influence what the Justice Department was doing, that it’s even more powerful when somebody says, don’t you dare step over this line and you jump right over it because the line is there and you’ve jumped over it and nothing happened. So all the line drawing that anybody does is all baloney. So that’s one.
S1: And then everybody who does respect the lines feels like a sucker, right?
S6: So that’s the great erosion that takes place. But more broadly, your point is, you know, sometimes in these conversations, the Hatch Act, I must say, I get a little bit like a little persnickety. But what we all have to remember is that that the Hatch Act is at the center of two very big and important things. One is global and one is specific to this president. The global thing is and I you know, pardon me for going back to 17 damn 87. But they were obsessed with. Ruler leaders who would whose personal ambition would overtake their public role like and so that’s basically what this is, don’t use your your public job in the furtherance of personal ambition, in this case, the personal furtherance of the ambitions of the president. And then more specifically with this president, it was why he was impeached, because he used his professional role to try to get dirt on Joe Biden or hurt Joe Biden. It’s also what’s at the heart of the covid-19 response, which is that he has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus and and halted his advisers from being aggressive and not taking the kind of public role that you would expect from a president, all because he sees it as a a political loser. And so when there has been a constant conflict and clash between the president’s personal ambition and his public role in public duty, this small Hatch Act thing touches on a much more important question we should be thinking about as we have this election.
S2: Slate plus members get bonus segments on the Gabfest and other Slate podcasts and all kinds of other great stuff and on Slate plus we’re going to have a rather lighter slate plus segment in a pretty dark week. We’re going to talk about our childhood dreams. One of our listeners suggested we talk about what our childhood dream jobs were and how close are we to realizing those dreams go to Slocum’s gaffes. Plus the national tragedy that is America’s relationship between. Police and black citizens deepened this week, Jacob Blak, a black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was shot seven times in the back on Sunday afternoon, a shooting caught on video for reasons that are inexplicable from the video. The protests arising from that shooting have seized Kenosha every night since then, a little bit less on Wednesday night. Buildings have been burned by protesters. Police have fired tear gas in response. And then on Tuesday night, a group of heavily armed counter protesters, perhaps with ties to sort of white nationalist militia, showed up to protect and, quote, a gas station in a confrontation. One of those counter protesters who’s been identified as a 17 year old named Kyle Rittenhouse. Seems to have shot and killed two people, Rittenhouse was photographed in the front row of a Trump rally a few months ago. He has been charged in the crime. There have also been protests that have arisen from Blake’s shooting in Seattle and Portland and Oakland and other cities. And we have the players in the NBA and then players in other sports leagues refusing to play, going on strike to protest this violence against black people and playoff games in the NBA were delayed or would not play excuse me, on Wednesday night. This is also going to have huge it has it is that there’s so many things to unpack here. There’s a crime that may have been committed against Blake himself. Certainly the shooting against Blake. There’s the the deaths of the protesters in Kenosha. They’re the images of the protests in Kenosha and the effect they might have and the sort of sense of civil unrest that the Republicans seem to be wanting to to promote. And then just the overall question of where are we with the Black Lives Matter protests now almost? Well, three months after the murder of George Floyd. So, Emily, do you want to start by trying to approach this however you want to approach it?
S1: I mean, so the first thing I’ll say is, I think like a lot of people, I found the video of the shooting of Jacob to be completely horrifying. It’s really hard to understand how the police felt like that was a reasonable use of force, given that Blake’s back was turned. He was moving away from the police. He was not obeying their commands. But it’s really hard to see how they thought he posed a serious danger to them. And if they were worried about him getting in his car and driving away, they could have blown the tires out. There were other options available to them. And I blame police training and also the law, which gives police, I think, far too much leeway rather than thinking of the use of force as a last resort. And I also just want to note that part of the reporting from the police and we’ll find out if this is true is that Blake told them he had a knife and in fact, there was a knife in the car. When police are injured or killed is almost never because a knife is used to that idea that knives pose a big threat to the cops and thus justify the kind of shooting we saw. It really is not borne out by the data about what actually happens in these situations. And then there’s this really disturbing and upsetting pattern of events that follow from this mostly peaceful protests of the kinds we’ve been seeing, but not entirely. And there are lots of reasons for that. I think this is a time of enormous frustration bubbling up. And, you know, we’re seeing desperation because of the economic effects of the pandemic. I also think it matters that this is happening in Wisconsin, a place that is has such a state with such a strong vise like hold of the Republicans in the legislature because of a gerrymander, that there hasn’t been a kind of equitable distribution of funding, a sharing of resources. Like there’s a lot of reasons why this is igniting in this particular place, I think. And I also thought that the police in the lack of information in the way they’ve talked about this have kind of been super unhelpful. That said, this kind of looting and rioting, whatever its justification, has serious strategical effects, politically speaking. We know that from the research of Omar Wasow at Princeton and what he emphasizes over and over again is that nonviolent protests, especially when they’re confronted by a police force, are incredibly effective at changing political views and increasing support for the demands of the protesters. That’s a big lesson of the civil rights movement. And I think it’s been a lesson of Black Lives Matter through a lot of its history. And I’m worried about what we’re seeing on the TV. I don’t in any way mean to justify these apparent killings committed by this amped up 17 year old who’s super into guns and Donald Trump. But I do I feel like it’s important to separate the complicated nature of the causes of the looting and burning and the violence from thinking in a clear eyed way about the strategic effect they have on exactly the kinds of voters we were just talking about, who Trump is trying to reach and trying to reach with this law and order message.
S2: Yeah, I mean, I just I couldn’t align myself more with with a statement about this. Emily, I think it’s so right. I mean, you can understand. I mean, I am I’m obviously not a person in Kenosha. I am not a black man. And I’m old. And it’s very easy for me to sit in and say, of course, you know, peaceful protests. And I understand I was a young man once. I understand it. There’s there’s passive, it feels passive. And four people have been subject to so much violence and so much abuse. It is understandable where the rage and frustration come from and how hard it must be not to channel it and how hard it is to to live the life of a of a John Lewis and to to kind of persistent in peacefulness when. Protesting peace, peaceful does not mean passive, peaceful does not mean passive at all, but it is just as a matter of accomplishing the goals that I suspect that these protesters want to accomplish. The violence and the looting and the destruction of property are so counterproductive and destructive. It is it’s so frustrating to see it happening. But, John, I interrupted you.
S3: You were about to say something to the just further up on both of your points. And Amelie’s about the strategic electoral issue here. We’re talking about basically. A small number of swing of suburban voters in four states, maybe they’re the ones who will determine which way the election swings probably, or at least as the best guess right now, and that will determine what happens in the next four years on on these issues. Donald Trump’s numbers on handling of the race issue are in the mid 30s. And the strongest symbolism that connected with that was. Two things, I think, I mean, well, who knows what voters thought, but two things stand out in my mind. One is when he said when the looting starts, the shooting starts. And the question will be, will that change now? Both because there’s some distance from George Floyds death. I’m I’m curious why you guys think that the Jacob Blake is is not George Floyd to why why there’s a different or seemingly different response more broadly to his shooting, or is there one?
S1: I mean, I think in both cases you see largely peaceful protests that then in some small but very TV spread images where they get hijacked by people who start looting and burning.
S4: I mean, we did see that also in Minneapolis. I mean, what’s horrifying this time is that two people got killed by someone who was, you know, probably called in by this Kenosha call to arms vigilante group that was walking around with long guns and advertise their event on Facebook before that page, I think then got taken down. You know, it’s yeah. Sorry I where I was going.
S3: I mean. Well, and also we should just one quick note. We should note that one of the people left that up at the Republican convention was the McCluskey’s, the ones famously in St. Louis who came to their front porch with their AR 15s and handguns when Black Lives Matter protesters marched by.
S2: I mean, obviously, there’s there’s a lot there’s there’s a lot going on here. But it is one of the things that I find persistently infuriating about what is happening in this country is the willful unwillingness of cops and the FBI to grapple with the threat of heavily armed, angry, usually far right white men who have become a common feature of protests and counterprotests. They are left alone. There was this incident this week in Idaho where the Idaho state capitol was effectively taken over by heavily armed people who open carry people who were in the Capitol to protest against various sort of pandemic related legislation, pandemic related emergency action by the governor. The bringing of weapons to protest is incredibly dangerous and is the opposite of free speech because it creates an atmosphere of fear. It makes people unable to speak, in fact, because the implicit threat of deadly violence and we have gotten to this very, very dangerous place where this implicit threat is always here and the police treat these heavily armed people very differently. And maybe they will treat them because they see them as as being allied with them. And maybe they treat them differently because they they’re afraid to escalate it. Maybe they, you know, they sympathize with with the what they’re actually trying to do at the the Kyle Rittenhouse appears to have been allowed to walk around freely with his gun and then to, in fact, leave freely the site of the shooting after he apparently shot and killed people.
S5: And it is it’s it’s really not healthy and not good that we we we’re in a situation where this open carry I can show up at my protest and and do whatever I want, is treated as the same as marching peacefully with signs and and singing and demonstrating and a First Amendment kind of way. The display of guns, the carrying of guns, the use of guns in a threatening way is not the same as speech. It isn’t. And it’s shocking that we treat it the same way. And it’s really, really, really dangerous. And then to add sort of one longer coda to that is the way in which this administration has refused to treat. Far right domestic terrorists, as domestic terrorists are to treat that as a serious threat is is terrible. They are they are much more dangerous to the peace and well-being of Americans than Islamic terrorists at this point. These these gunmen, far right gunmen are dangerous. They have committed murder. They have committed hate crimes. And this administration treats them as a is a nonfactor and has explicitly stopped Kirsten Nielsen, for example, Department of Homeland Security, from trying to escalate it and deal with it as an actual problem. And I mean, I’m very interested in your thoughts on this, Emily, because it’s it is it feels like something you must have be as agitated about as I am, probably.
S1: Yeah. I mean, it’s been clear that white supremacist fringe extremists are a real domestic terror threat and that there is just real discomfort about dealing with that within the federal government and among American police departments. There’s been really good reporting on this and we’re reaping what we sell. I also think it matters that Trump’s rhetoric about inviting the shooting of people who are doing looting on Fox this week, Tucker Carlson is saying, well, big surprise that a 17 year old showing up with guns when the police aren’t defending the streets, essentially excusing and justifying this kind of response and in that sense, inviting it. There is like a baiting going on. And any normal president would think that his leadership at these moments meant quelling this kind of violence. Right. I mean, this is happening on his watch. And yet when your whole play is about scaring people into thinking that your strongman tactics are the way the country should go, somehow that gets totally lost. And you can count on your followers and the right wing media to go along with you and allied the fact that, like the streets are burning. Well, this is the American president and he is not solve these problems. In fact, he’s feeding the flames.
S3: One little fact to interject into this conversation here that the Charles Franklin, who polls about politics in Wisconsin in polling that was done about support for Black Lives Matter, support for Black Lives Matter in Wisconsin before the Jacob Blake incident. Basically dropped twenty five points in two months.
S2: I think that is borne out across the country, I think in general, support for Black Lives Matter has slid since the early days of June.
S5: There are two really crazy family stories in politics this week, Jerry Falwell Jr., the wildly influential son of the wildly successful conservative pastor and political activist Jerry Falwell, senior, finally left as president of Liberty University this week. He walked out with a ten point five million dollar severance. Nice severance followed. Junior hadn’t been involved in scandal after scandal involving his personal behavior. He had Instagram photos of himself looking ridiculous, drinking with a young woman, not his wife, on a yacht. He got enmeshed in some kind of sex business scandal with notorious pool boy and his wife. Following you, of course, had been massively influential. He had early endorsed Trump, an endorsement itself that may have come with shades of blackmail on it. If you believe Michael Cohen. Anyway, he’s out. So are the Conways, Kellyanne and George Conway, this strangely pro and anti Trump power couple that have baffled Washington, who have a social media influence.
S2: Her daughter, who hates Donald Trump, they say they are leaving politics now for their family. She’s leaving her job in the White House. And George Conway stepping back from his role at the Lincoln Project. John, what are these stories have to do with each other, if anything? Why or is it just rubbernecking? Should we not pay attention to it? If I hear the phrase poor boy once more, I’m going to, you know, slap myself.
S3: Well, I my my it’s I think it’s all rubbernecking and I’m not the Falwell piece interests me. More than the Conway piece, just one, I think, a little fact check, the Cohen has now said. That the photos he helped keep out of the paper, I keep out of the papers or keep out of National Enquirer or whatever he did in twenty fifteen for Falwell were personal photos between a husband and wife. That’s the way he’s characterized them. I don’t know whether that is consistent with or simply adjacent to the kinds of behavior which is alleged by the pool boy, which is that Jerry Falwell. Was it part of his affair with Becky Falwell’s wife? Anyway, this seems to be a separate and maybe separate incident in which Cohen says it didn’t have anything to do with Falwell support for Trump, which which came in an influential period before the Iowa caucuses.
S1: So I really like you roll up your sleeves and dug it. Well, that’s Valeyard.
S3: Well, because what’s interesting to me, and I don’t know that any of those facts I just clumsily cast out on the floor before us. Really change the nature of things, which is the most interesting allegation would be if because Cohen had fixed things for Jerry Falwell, that that put Falwell in a better position to or not put him in a better position, encouraged him to take the position of supporting Donald Trump, which did matter. He was to use the term I hate, of a validator of sorts for Trump. And then he was kind of an enforcer. This is a separate thing. But we talk about cancel culture with Falwell was a kind of warrior for Trump. At one point, Russell Moore from the Southern Baptist Convention plaintively said, you know, we should do better by these immigrants because we are all children of God. And Falwell basically said, who are you? What right do you have to talk about any things? You’re just a bureaucrat. Russell Moore, being a minister, gets to, it seems to me, talk about his notion of what Christ’s vision of our common humanity is. And yet Falwell was basically canceling his right to speak based not on religious views, but secular reasons. In other words, he was just like a bureaucrat. He had no right to speak about these things. You know, he played an aggressive role. And so that brings us to given his aggressive attacks on other people, there’s a there’s a bit of schadenfreude in this for many people. And then obviously the traditional hypocrisy. Also, one final personal thing. He basically said his wife had this affair with the pool boy and none of this stuff of him being engaged in this activity is true. So that might be true. If it’s not screenshots, though, doesn’t Reuters have screenshots? Yeah, right. The pool boy told Reuters that he had screenshots of a face time that he was having with Becky. So but if that’s true, then he’s compounding it by basically saying, oh, this is all my wife’s doing, which is even worse. I’m so sorry.
S2: That was a first of all, Falwell Jr. was not a pastor, which I didn’t realize until this week is, oh, I’m so glad you admitted that, because I didn’t know that at all.
S1: Then I felt really.
S5: But he’s been an incredibly successful university president. I think it’s actually amazing how successful he’s been. Liberty has gone from being this kind of, you know, not at quite a joke, but very peripheral university to being the red hot center of of kind of evangelical conservative political culture and a huge endowment, huge sports program. A must stop if you’re a Republican, it’s a place where you graduate from there, allows you to really not you can’t quite name your name, your job. But it’s a it’s very influential in filling the ranks of a Hill staffers and public policy folks and and the legal the legal world, the conservative legal world. And that’s a real tribute to Falwell Jr., who, you know, is very effective at that. I want to pause on one thing. Look, he’s a he’s a rank hypocrite. The way he seems to have left his wife out to drive it is gross. He would, you know, happily and he and his culture that he presides over would happily have shamed and attacked other people for the behavior that that he’s accused of doing. That said, the kink shaming here is totally uncalled for. Who cares? Like, so what if it’s a pool boy? So what? He’s younger. So what? Like, you know, his wife is having sex or he’s what? I mean, like who fucking business is it. It’s nobody’s business. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t like there’s no they shouldn’t feel shame. The shame they should feel about being hypocrites and about and about being assholes to other people about it. But like that that behavior if that’s what if they’re all consenting, if that’s what they like and that’s what turns them on, like who cares, look good. Go for it. Great.
S1: The gole, the gun values though into this world that has a different set of standards.
S5: I know, but the least. Right. The glee of people taken trying to embarrass them for their hypocrisy I feel like is is unwarranted.
S1: Yeah. I mean I’m also much more troubled by the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant statements that Jerry Falwell Jr has made than the fact that it looks like he was involved in some mutually consented to not quite threesome. If you’re going to tell everybody else to live a pure life and that’s supposed to be a key tenet of your religious. Yes. The religious structure you’re imposing on other people like you’re not true that obviously people are going to be interested in the salacious details.
S3: Yeah. And also, since it. Right. And the kind of public enforcer role that he played, which offered none of the charity that’s supposed to be at the heart of our religion, I think also opens him. But it turns out that then you’re called not to just basically like grave dance on the public problems of a person, no matter what they did to get themselves into that fix. So so for me, it’s mostly interesting as a kid, I mean, the evangelical movement and its support for Donald Trump and its and its absolute rush away from the questions of. Character, as they were defined under Bill Clinton is fascinating to me in this context, when you hear the support for Donald Trump basically being, you know, magical abilities with the economy and all the rest of this stuff should be put to the side is a total 180 from the view that the party had and with respect to Bill Clinton and his personal character and its relationship to policy. And so this is just another shard of that evolution away, well, away from the importance of personal morality, either maintaining it yourself or even just being interested in it at all. It’s just fallen way down on the ranking list of of things one is supposed to have in life.
S2: I want to I also want to talk for a second about the Conaway’s. So let me to Kellyanne Conway always seemed gross. She represents utterly loathsome, despicable policies and has provided cover for, you know, the most dangerous president, certainly of our lifetime. That said, I’m I am glad the Conways are together. I don’t like I think it’s great.
S5: I think it is great that they are stepping back from their political life and that they find something that’s more important in their life than policy and hope they can have a connection in family. And I think it’s wonderful. It is so hard for people to have a cross partisan marriage and in cross partisan relationships in this world. And for them to say, you know what, this is more important than the work that we’re doing is good. And it’s a really useful reminder that we live in a world where everything has become politics. And it’s like as though if you are if you are a liberal who’s who’s attached to a conservative, there’s something wrong with you. And you are you’re committing some kind of grave sin. And I understand like the part I think that policies that President Trump are doing wicked at a kind of profound level. That said, like, I want to live in a country where politics is not the first thing on everyone’s mind and politics is not the first measure of of a person and their decency and whether their appropriate person to spend your life with. And so I am glad that they are modeling that for the rest of us.
S1: So to me, that is not the headline. To me, the headline is that one of their daughters, Claudia Conway, is having this like, really sad public despair about her parents. That seems to be leaving her really feeling absolutely terrible, talking about emancipating, asking for a pro bono lawyers, asking for Venmo contributions, talking about her parents being physically abusive. It’s I really feel for her. And I think that something this is like the very least they can do is to get out of public life right now. And and and yet Kellyanne Conway did not actually do that. This week. She gave a speech at a convention on television backing Donald Trump in the midst of her daughter’s flaming out in this way, which I thought was actually sort of breathtaking in the opposite direction.
S2: Oh, she’s leaving in three days. I don’t think that’s totally reasonable. I don’t. And obviously, what’s happening with Claudia Conaway is strange and sad and no, you know, it is it’s terrible in children’s private lives should not be public. And the problems that they’re having and should not be public and we shouldn’t know about it. And it’s and the fact that we do is is tragic for her and it’s tragic for that family. I wonder.
S3: How much? A child can endure when basically the two parents are having. A catastrophic fight in public, though, not engaging with each other directly. I mean, it’s been a subject of fascination and gawking for a lot of people that Kellyanne Conway can be the most full throated defender of the president, using techniques and arguments that then her husband without naming her. Demolishes pretty effectively every day on constantly, every day on Twitter and in and in the Atlantic and The Washington Post and the Lincoln Project. Right. And that lets so that it’s sort of like you have a house and that’s going on in one room and you’re your family is existing presumably in the next room. And the radioactivity has got to have an effect.
S5: I don’t know. I don’t know. I mean, one of the things I have learned going through a divorce and like being talking to a lot of other people about their marriages and like everyone’s marriage is a foreign country, you have no idea. There’s no question going on in their marriage. None.
S7: Yeah, but it seems that there can be very some you don’t exactly know intimately.
S5: You don’t know what the kid is bearing the brunt of, like they could be a hundred things that are going on with that child. And you see what she is manifesting in public. And I agree, like there is a there’s the what’s the Guardian? What’s the simple explanation? The what’s it called the Rackham’s raise. The Ockham’s Razor. You’re saying it is, but you just don’t know.
S3: But but just to be clear, what you say is 100 percent true, and I think that’s the case. And in all relationships and just what people generally and so I’m not judging or stepping on that, nor am I suggesting that there might not be all kinds of other things we know nothing about. This is even further from our normal the normal capacity of public events that we talk about. When I’m just wondering is since so much of this was public and we and I mean, we don’t have to guess about that. We’ve seen it is all happening out before us. And so that does seem to be different than any other kind of marriage. And that does seem to be different when you watch your parents going through that in public. That can’t not have some kind of radioactive effect.
S2: I mean, maybe they’re like maybe it’s the job for all, you know, like they’re totally turned on by by attacking each other like that. It’s in fact, that the driver of the marriage might be that I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about their daughter. Yes.
S1: But I don’t really care about them in their marriage. I just feel like we’re watching this, like, car wreck in real time through this 15 year old. And it’s upsetting. I mean, look, maybe there’s some cynical explanation for this, but I don’t think so. And and she’s a teenager. She’s a kid.
S2: Yes. But I don’t think I don’t I totally agree, but I actually don’t think we yes, there are things that she’s doing in public which which represent sort of clear sorrow and distress, but we don’t know very much about it.
S3: And I guess the final point is our gawking. It probably isn’t helping what we’re trying to put our finger on here either. Just more broadly, because this is the fascination with what’s actually going on is in the same neighborhood is what I was just trying to describe in terms of that radioactivity. Right.
S5: I hated I found the way the coverage of Claudia Conway’s social media life by the media. So I hated the way she was treated like that, that her social media posts were treated as news and the delight that people took that Kellyanne Conway s daughter was backing the president. It’s you know, she’s a child like it’s not she shouldn’t have been it shouldn’t have been a headline anywhere that she was doing this. She shouldn’t have acquired all these followers because she’d gotten the attention. It was that was a the media blew it.
S3: Can I ask a question? Do you all think that someday Twitter and Facebook and these social media will be relegated to what we would basically think of as like supermarket tabloids and therefore consume less of our time? Because it’s really it’s a toxic swamp, both of those places. And yet I’m always in the checkout counter. I mean, in other words, you can’t avert your eyes and it makes me a worse person and a dumber person. And I, I can’t imagine that that toxicity isn’t seeping into other places.
S2: You definitely I agree, John. You are worse and dumber. It is true.
S1: Well, I agree with everything you’re saying about the toxicity of it. I think that it plays right into human nature, though, like you can feel yourself getting interested in these things that you have no business to be interested in, which is why I continue to feel like in a situation like this, you have to put the health of your family first, because the only protection you have against this kind of publicity is to try to instill values and people and self-esteem of kids so that they’re not serving themselves up like this because this it’s really hard to stop people from being interested in it.
S2: Let’s go to cocktail chatter when you are sitting. Quietly, quietly, perhaps lean on a calm New England porch. Emily Bazelon, do you have a porch? You have a porch of a porch?
S1: I have a back porch. Well, it’s not really a front porch until I have a front porch, which is usually sort of covered with leaves. But lately, in Kova times, when we’ve been using every space in our house, we’ve been trying to spruce it up a bit.
S2: When you’re sitting on your beautiful front porch having a fine scotch and soda, what are going to be chattering about?
S1: I need a distraction, a break right now. I need to enter into a different world. And I have been really enjoying this novel called Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. It’s by Olga Tokarz. I’m sure I’m saying that incorrectly. Who is a Polish Nobel laureate. It is just a lovely book in which one of the main characters names is Oddball, and that character is not the most oddball character. I love the narrator’s voice. She lives in a village. People are dying mysteriously. She has an odd theory about why. And then they’re just all these wonderful observations about about the life of this village and this community and where she’s living. You know, it sort of reminds me of, though, it’s totally different. Did you guys see that awesome Macedonian documentary about beekeeping?
S2: Yeah, honey, honey, land.
S1: This book is like the novel equivalent of that documentary, which I also really recommend and adored.
S2: John Dickerson, what’s your chatter?
S6: And my chapter starts with a comment in a Google doc, which which says, I’ll read it to your. The word is actually Luuk operation. This is a comment left by my colleague Claire Fahy, who was trying to help me with my chatter last week. And I was in a hurry Luke operation, by the way, for those newly initiated to this moment where Ian is is a word that refers to long and patient study. And I’ll get to its full origin in the chatter in a moment. But I did not apply any operation to my chatter about Luke operation, which was based on a piece by Keith Johnson, is a historian who wrote about how this word was once very much in the founders minds, and it referred to a study by candlelight at night. And then it came over time to me, just like long and intense study. Anyway, I was in a bit of a hurry and and basically engaged in or I’m going to call it an extended malapropism. So malapropisms coming from Richard Sheridan. I think basically everything I say now, if you weren’t already skeptical about it, you have to basically be highly skeptical from Richard Sheraton’s, the rival character who who kept transposing the wrong words. My favorite political malapropism is Richard Dalys, who said the policeman isn’t there to create disorder. The policeman is there to preserve disorder. And I did that over, I don’t know, five, six, seven minutes using the word lubrication and instead of Luke operation. So this happens occasionally with my brain and my mind and my eyes when I read. And it’s usually just something I chuckle about privately. But I let all of you have a little window into my private turmoil by basically bounding down the lane, lubrication, this and lubrication that and really enthusiastic in the in the in this extended malaprops. So anyway, the word is Luke abrasion.
S1: Don’t I’m not going to ever hear of these words again without remembering this moment.
S6: Yeah. Don’t let anybody tell you any different that it’s Luke operation anyway. What. What.
S3: The only saving grace is that ninety eight point nine percent of having just run down Twitter, ninety eight point nine percent of gabfests listeners who mentioned this on Twitter did so rather gently. And and for that I’m grateful because it was a it was pretty damn embarrassing.
S5: So then, thanks to Clare, despite my inability to actually read, I just want to say, John, that I once in a long article, college paper about Christian Scientists refer to Christian scientists throughout a Scientologist. So. Was we all we all are, we all said we all was really stupid mistakes was the piece about Christian Scientists and you just change the word or was it about Scientology?
S2: It was about Christian Scientists. It was about it was it was about the Christian Scientist complex in Boston. As I was in college, I was right about that for my college labor. Very nice complex. But I refer to Christian Scientists throughout as Scientologists are so well done. Well, thank you for sharing that. Make me feel I had not Luke operated much on Scientology or Christian Scientist.
S5: Apparently my chatter is about a wonderful story in Emily’s own New York Times about Doug Flynn, the ranger of the Lost Art. Doug Flynn is a former long former. Many years ago, National Park Service ranger then became a backcountry dentist in Alaska. And he is the person who rediscovered all those wonderful New Deal era posters of national parks. So if you go to a national park these days or even if you just look online, you will see these wonderful. Posters in the in sort of print style of the 30s, which were, in fact designed by anonymous designers and the WPA back in the 30s, and they were kind of throwaways made for they were throwaways sent to national parks. They’re just not very many of them were made. They were only made for about 13 parks. And Doug Leone is the person who starting about 50 years ago, but really starting about 25 years ago, identified that these things were beautiful and wonderful and and began a preserving the ones that still existed and be printing new ones. So so making new new posters so that people could buy them when they visit the national parks and see commissioning people to create new posters. And for parks that didn’t get posters the first time in the style of these WPA posters. And they’re beautiful and wonderful and delightful. And he is a fantastic character in the Times, has a wonderful profile of him. So check it out at The New York Times. You, dear listeners, have also continued to send us your great chatter’s. Please keep them coming. Tweet them to us at at Slate Gabfest. There were I know I say this every week this week. They were just a ton of great listener chatter’s. I am so sorry that we only do one because there were really probably 10 that could have made the cut. And I wanted to point to one. That key, Lou, at Blue Suede Cue sent us, which is a link to the IKEA Museum. And the IKEA Museum has just uploaded 70 years of IKEA catalogs. Wow. It’s marvelous. It’s just marvelous. You can go look at what, you know, what was happening in the 1958 catalog. And and there’s a lot of consistency over the years. It’s great. And they’ve been creating cool looking stuff for four, apparently for 70 years. So check it out. We will post the link to that. That is our show for today. The gabfests is produced by Frank Franka, researchers Bridget Dunlap. Gabriel Roth is editorial director, June Thomas as managing producer. Alicia Montgomery is executive producer of Slate podcasts. You should follow us on Twitter and at Slate Gabfest. And please tweet some Chatur to us there. Tweet your chatter to us there for Emily Bazelon and John Dickerson and David Plotz, thank you for listening. We’ll talk to you next week.
Hello, Slate, plus, how are you? So we asked a couple of weeks ago for your slate plus ideas because we were feeling particularly bereft of ideas that week. And there are so many good ones that we’ve been going making our way through them slowly. And this week we have one from Jim Francis at Kampo Jim, who said when you were young, what were your dream jobs and how close did you come to getting them? So let’s talk about what our dream jobs were when we were young and how close we came to getting them. John, do you want to start here?
S3: Well, I would I will start because I hand. I didn’t have a dream job, I mean, I guess when I play when I was a little kid, I was really into football and so. I mean, it was a dream in the sense that, like, I would pretend, I would pretend I was Billy Kilmer or Sonny Jurgensen or something, but that I didn’t I had no concept of. Adulthood and what I would do and what it would. Like, I had no concept of my future self and I really I really didn’t until maybe the end of high school when I guess I knew I wanted to be some kind of writer, but I pretty much figured that wouldn’t work out because I was much more into poetry and. Songwriting and that kind of thing, so I figured that would never like that would just be something that would burn itself out. But that and then then I would do something completely different because what, you know, like I don’t know. So I I really am surprised. In fact, I remember, my dear brother, once my father had a restaurant, and he basically tried to convince me that because I was, you know, good with people that this is what the business I should go in, like being like a club owner or something or, you know, like a major deal or like and which is funny because I can’t think of anything I’m less suited for. So but he was trying, so really not a good read it.
S7: But I mean, you’re nice. You’re so miserable.
S3: So funny though because he was basically so funny. He’s five years older than me and he was basically being incredibly paternalistic, sort of like, oh my God, this shaggy disaster of a child is, you know, we’ve got to like try to cobble together some future plan for him because otherwise and I think I also my parents were in the middle of their divorce. So, you know, otherwise he’s going to be like pitched off into the ravine without gainful employment or sense of purpose. So I think he was trying to be helpful. But I thank God I didn’t take his advice.
S2: Yeah. Nightmare job. Emily, what was your dream job?
S1: I wanted to be a Broadway actress. Like especially I wanted to sing. And I guess I imagined dancing to that. It was much more about acting and singing. So mostly this showed itself. And my parents played a lot of show tunes in our house growing up, like those are the songs I am embarrassed to say that I saw which shows I mean, you know, Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, The King and I, Guys and Dolls, Men of Lamantia. There’s like a whole long list, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. I bet not everybody grew up listening to that soundtrack.
S2: Did we talk about did we have a conversation about guys and dolls and about how I’ve been? I it’s amazing. I’ve had to drive my parents back and forth to Vermont and listening to guys and guys dolls is the best.
S1: It’s really great. It’s a really great show. I agree. There are a lot of great shows. I still love listening to them. But, you know, I used to when I was little, I like sang along imagining myself on the stage. I mean, this is not was never going anywhere and had no chance of ever going anywhere. But it was definitely like, why just such a strong fan that I had?
S2: Why is that? I I that’s weird that you would say that you’re you’re you’re charismatic. You have a pretty good voice. You probably. Hey but did you ever do anything with it.
S1: I had one like audition at an actual theater in Philadelphia and I did not get the part. And I think that was like I remember being incredibly disappointed that was played and I was like 12 or so and I did a little bit of community theater. But by high school I was actually terrified of acting and did not want to even have speaking parts on stage anymore. Like I had just gotten stage fright in this different way. There was some transition that happened.
S2: Did you have a period as a kid when you were in musical school musicals?
S1: I mean, not really, because by the time there were school musicals in high school, I was kind of too scared to do it. I mean, I did. I think I had one part maybe, but I don’t remember actually ever having to sing by myself in front of other people. I loved being part of a choir in high school. I love the harmony and the being part of the group. But by the time there was a chance to be in a musical, I didn’t want I think I yeah, I mean, I don’t have a solo voice like that’s how it goes. But when I was a little kid, like, you don’t have to think about that. You can just imagine yourself out there on the stage. David, what about you?
S2: I, I had to that I can recall one also show business, which is. When was The Brady Bunch on really? It was I think it was over for real. By the time we were kids, so I must have been watching the really The Brady Bunch on reruns. So I was watching The Brady Bunch on reruns, and I had a recurring obsession dream that I was going to replace the youngest kid on Bondi Beach. Bobby, I can’t remember his name.
S7: I was going to want to be Bobby and not Greg or Peter that well, I was young. We were that I was that age.
S2: And I and I had to kind of toe, you know, moppy brown hair. And so that was that was my my belief in my dream.
S1: You rarely had good plotlines.
S2: I feel the final Brady Bunch episode just says is in 1974. So I was definitely watching reruns because I probably would have been.
S1: Oh, yeah, you and I were we were all we are the Brady Bunch generation, having watched it, I think every afternoon of my life for several years, I’m really sorry to say that it is.
S2: Do you think I would have been a catch? Should I have been a Greg? Who was the other? Bobby and Peter. Peter, Peter. I’m not sure which one. And the and the girls were Marcia and Jan Sandy and said, oh, I think I had a crush on. So maybe that’s why I wanted to be the Bobby. Is that possible. Some weird, weird incest thing going on there.
S1: You know, there’s one Brady Bunch episode. I’m sort of curious. I’m not going to go do this, but it would be funny to watch. Do you remember the double episode where they go out west and get, like, somehow locked into exactly.
S2: Why do you want why are you obsessed with that? Well, I.
S1: I’m not obsessed that I just it just came into my head when you were talking about The Brady Bunch.
S2: Mark Leibovich has an encyclopedic knowledge of every single Brady Bunch. He’s always if you just mention it, he’s like, oh yeah, that’s happened. That ba ba ba ba ba ba.
S1: I might I could like I’m not sure I’d be able to match him, but I could go part of the way with him really. It’s awful. I mean really like of all the TV shows, like think about all the weird sexist, who knows what else like ideas I was absorbing from the Brady Bunch.
S2: Yeah. Yeah I know.
S3: And Happy Days to really I didn’t watch as much of that but yeah.
S1: Oh very. We were my gender roles.
S3: I have a feeling Happy Days was a more was the had the governing which we probably also watched in. But now that might have been real time but that was a much more the governing sitcom of my youth.
S5: I never I don’t remember watching Happy Days. I must have watched it a little bit because it was so powerful, but I don’t remember it anyway. I did not become a star of The Brady Bunch. And then the other my other childhood dream was that I wanted to be Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, but that was probably I think my father read that to me when I was about ten or eleven.
S1: That’s a really good aspiration. I like that.
S7: What? But to be a rich, to be a rich er kind of a jerk for a while. Well that’s true. But he does the right thing in the end. He’s sure, I mean he gets the right girl, he gets the best girl. It’s all right. It’s all Elizabeth Bishop’s bit, you know, good behaviour. True. He’s even Lucy Bennett who am I think it was Elizabeth Bishop is that from now on she’s a poet. Elizabeth Elizabeth up a writer or poet or. I’m sorry. OK, Lizzie Bennett.
S1: But it sounds like you get an explanation for his silky badness and then. Yeah, he just. Yeah. And then, you know, you feel pretty good about him by the end.
S2: Yes. Yeah. No, I wouldn’t. I want to be a hot air, but I don’t think I’d be a good er because I don’t, I’m not idleness does not suit me. I would be very frustrated by being idle all the time. I like how you manage your estate. Maybe that would be I could manage an estate, I could manage the estate, but I don’t really like owning a house. So I think God could have dogs, horses hunting but just hunting. Would you feel like when you were hunting, would you feel like that was work? It’s like I’m hunting today. I don’t know. Um, anyway, anything else, anything any any other childhood dreams that were thwarted know all the rest achieved.
S3: Does, am I, am I yet again outside the corral of normal human beings by being someone who didn’t appear to have any particular, like dreams for my adult profession or is that normal?
S6: Feel sad about that for you. Yeah. Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, I was definitely in, you know, like I was really into computer programming, but I never remembered having a portion that said, like us, someday I’ll be all right. The Great.
S3: You know, the great American American Telegram app or something, I don’t know, because I’m so it’s become the timeline of the future is so much of an obsession in my adult life. Maybe that’s a residual effect of not having a sense of the future when I was a kid.
S2: Well, you have made such a good life for yourself and you’ve been so successful, you’ve exceeded any dream that you might have had.
S3: I wonder if I would have would you surprise your younger self as your adult self?
S6: Hmm, where do you think, yeah, that that that that checks out?
S1: I think mostly, well, it depends which younger self like some more and, you know, more sort of idealistic or like, I don’t know, my my former self that read a ton of Anne of Green Gables might be kind of disappointed by how pedestrian my life is. Then there are other former selves of mine that would just be very relieved.
S3: Hmm. Right. Yeah. I don’t know where I come down on that. I would be so familiar to myself because I grew up in the world that I ended up ultimately inhabiting. God, I’m I’m now obsessed with this question, I am not sure, huh?
S5: I think I would be I think I would be surprised at how I’m much less idealistic than I was, so I feel like that would have been a loss. I think I’m much less smart than I think I thought I was going to be, I think I thought I was really smart. And then I grew up and realized, you know what? I’m not that smart.
S7: But isn’t that what you. Isn’t that what growing up does? Just more broadly?
S2: Yeah, maybe.
S3: Do you think there are do you think more people. As they get older, think, man, I got that guy, I got it figured out or they think got it is all such a damn mystery.
S5: I hope the latter, at least in my own experience, I mean, I think I guess I think the thing that I mean, this is a maybe a larger point, which is that I. So much was a I was so proud of my brains, I was such a I thought I really like myself, identity was like, oh, I’m such a smart, a smart kid. It must have been absolutely insufferable. And then I’ve I’ve realized like that there’s so much more central to my identity is my temperament. Like I have a temperament. That actually feels like a through line, whereas I thought it was I thought it was sort of my my brains were throughline. But actually what what I feel like if I look at my life, the consistency is around my temperament and sort of how the way in which I approach problems has much more to do with, like, my temperament than it does with my any analytical reasoning or faith or anything like that.
S2: That makes sense anyway. I didn’t pay for this therapy session. The listeners like, oh, God. All right, bye, Sleepless. I love this plus. Yeah. All right. Bye bye. Slate plus.