S1: This ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership. The following podcast contains explicit language.
S2: Hello and welcome to the Ways Free Thursday, April 23rd. The Waving Goodbye for Now edition. I’m Christina Choteau Ritchie, a staff writer at Slate and host of the Slate podcast Outward.
S3: I’m Marcia Challener, professor of history at Georgetown University.
S4: I’m Nicole Perkins, writer and co-host of Thursday Pick.
S2: And I’m Jean Thomas, senior managing producer of Slate podcast. If we sound extra happy this week, it’s because of everyone who sent in their Corona virus at home haircuts. Several of you sent in some fantastic pictures. One even sent in a haircut that her family performed on a puppy. I get enough of your puppy. I’d love to see every haircut that you ever give your puppy. You all look great. June, I know you’ve been talking about your hair. I’m waiting for you to reach that point of no return where you’ve got to just shave it all off.
S5: I’m so close. I’m so close. I mean, I’m we we’ll keep saying super grateful that this is my biggest problem. Or maybe it’s the thing that I hold on to like. If I could just so-so my hair, everything would be fine.
S2: NARRATOR It’s not exactly. Before we jump into this week’s topics, we have some sadder news. This will be the last episode of The Waves for the foreseeable future. As many of you might know, the coronavirus pandemic and the recession have been devastating for news outlets that rely on money from ads. Advertisers are keeping their ads from running against content about the Corona virus. And more importantly, a lot of the businesses that would be buying ads from us right now don’t have the money or the incentive to advertise. So Slatest losing money and cutting costs and we are one of the costs that got cut. Those of us who work at Slate time, including myself and June, have also taken a pay cut. That said, I know there are a lot of people out there who have it much worse than we do right now. But if any of you like me still have some disposable income right now and you’ve been reading Slate or listening to this podcast and you think it’s enriched your life or maybe given you something to be mad about. I would ask you to please consider subscribing to Slate. Plus, I know I make this pitch at the beginning of every episode and now that that podcast is ending for now, it feels like a weird time to be making it. But at Slate, we would really like to rely more on the support of our listeners and readers who we live to serve and less on the whims of advertisers who can withdraw their support at any time. So this is a sad episode for me. June, I know you’ve been doing this show far longer than I have. How are you feeling?
S5: Really sad, really sad and trying to stay focused on the knowledge that we will be coming back in some form. I would love to ask listeners to share their ideas with us. Those of us who are on staff will be working on figuring out the replacement when we can come back. So if you have any ideas, feedback, things that you’d like to hear. Just kind of, hey, have you ever thought of crazy ideas? Please send them to us at the waves at Slate.com.
S6: Please do remember that we are literally emotionally vulnerable right now. So, you know, you don’t need to be too harsh. A little bit of constructive criticism would be welcome. But don’t go all in if you know. Please let us know what you like and what you would like to hear and to send us some good thoughts.
S3: Yeah, I just wanted to say that this has been so fun. I’ve only been a regular for about a year, but there is nothing kind of more exciting for me when I’m on the road doing my other stuff like my professor cosplay and I’m doing something academic and someone comes up and says like, hi. You know, I really liked your talk and I listen to you on the waves. That feels very good because I like the idea that I’m able to teach in a lot of different formats and to talk about the things that I’ve devoted my intellectual life and fun and accessible ways. And so I love meeting waves listeners on the road. And hopefully, if we ever leave our homes again, that can come in here.
S7: This has been so fun for me. This is something that I did not think I would get a chance to do. I am very grateful for this experience. It’s been you know, I always say educational because it diminishes what the impact of being a part of the waves has had. On me, but it really has helped me go beyond what I normally do. The guy I am very much a fiction person when it comes to reading. I am just like, let me figure out the best escape from this world. Here is this novel. Here is a romance. Here is, you know, this incredible book by this incredible woman. And I still get that with the waves. But in a different genre, we’ve read so much interesting and fascinating nonfiction. And it showed me that learning about the real world, learning about history, learning about how we became the society that we are today, doesn’t have to feel like sitting in a lecture class. Books like You Never Forget Your First by Alexis COH Marsh’s book franchise, The Golden Arches and Black America made history and biography fascinating for me again.
S4: And I really appreciate getting a closer view at politics of the country, because I’m definitely one of those people who kind of is just, you know, aware on a surface level, but being a part of the waves. I’ve learned to go deeper and to find like the roots of so much. And just talking to ya every other Wednesday, it’s just, you know, a big part of my week and it’s been so much fun and so interesting. And I’m going to miss I’m going to miss the show. I’m going to miss talking to you.
S2: Yeah, I know. Me, too. It’s sad. And I do want to thank those listeners who’ve stuck with us and grown with us during our transition from double X to the waves through so many different hosts, even when you’ve written and with your less than constructive criticism. It’s always been nice to hear from the people out there who we’ve been talking to. You know, I think I understand more than ever upon this temporary cancellation that a podcast can really only survive under capitalism with the generosity and loyalty of its listeners. So thank you for being so generous and so loyal for so long. All right. As for this week’s episode, we are going to do everything the way we normally would. That’s the end of our subpoenas. No more earnestness, no more love. It’s all business or we’re out. So our first topic this week, we are going to start with a coronavirus check in. We’ve each brought something to talk about. Then we’ll review Feel Good semi-autobiographical Netflix dramedy about a queer woman who’s recovering from addiction and dating someone closeted. And to end on a happy note. We’re going to talk about Joe Biden’s vice presidential options. Marsha called me in and questioned whether this was a happy topic, but I told her that the idea of someone possibly being president other than Joe Biden is happy. So we’re going to talk about who should he pick? Who will he pick and what are the chances that those two answers are the same person? We’ll find out at the end of this episode. All right. Coronavirus. Hopefully, this will be the last time we need to talk about this on this podcast. Nicole, what’s up with you?
S7: OK. So like you mentioned, we’re going to do kind of like a merry go round of topics related to the pandemic. And what stood out to me is talking about the pressure of productivity.
S4: So many of us, you know, we see people constantly posting images of their soured obrad that they’ve suddenly started making, you know, everyone suddenly crocheting face masks, which are definitely needed. And we appreciate that effort. But, you know, it’s kind of like, oh, did you already know how to crochet before this was going on? That kind of stuff. You know, we need to realize that the quarantine is not a working vacation. What’s gotten to me is this idea that so many people on social media have joked about that we have to be Shakespeare and write the next King Lear.
S7: Right. Because that’s what happened. You know, Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague. So you should also be doing something very productive at New York Times. Taylor larenz wrote an article called Stop Trying to be Productive. And she says The Internet wants you to believe you aren’t doing enough with all that extra time you have now. But staying inside and attending to basic needs is plenty. And that’s how I feel. I’ve been struggling in my own life with being productive with the different projects I have. I am currently contracted for three books and I have at least one of them is going to be the next king.
S4: Maybe. I don’t know. But, you know, two of those books are already overdue for their first draft. You know, the final manuscript. The third one isn’t due until technically June 1st. But my you know, my editors already like, hey, how’s it going? And, you know, it’s not it’s not going. Comedian and. Josh Gandelman has an article for the clucked called Sitting On My Couch is my new favorite hobby and it’s really good. You know, he talks about learning how to be still, you know, going from a life where he was constantly moving, constantly creating to a point where he was just like, you know, I just need to sit on this couch and remember it’s OK to be still. And I think that’s important that a lot of us remember that we don’t have to have, you know, completed all these major projects.
S7: It’s not necessary. This is a different world that we’re in right now. We have to deal with taking care of our children, taking care of our elderly, checking on the status of our stimulus checks, trying to figure out how we’re going to find new jobs. You know what’s going to happen when we return to our jobs. Those two articles, I think are really important. If you are struggling with trying to figure out, is it OK that I am not doing something or are accomplishing something every day beyond just going to the bathroom and eating. If we could just, you know, blame it on a gold standard here. Fuck capitalism. This idea that every waking moment has to be earning your next moments. Yeah, from all the different little sayings that we have. Your idle hands are the devil’s workshop. I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Rising grinds. Millionaires don’t sleep. You know, all this kind of stuff. It’s OK to rest. It’s OK to take this time to do what you need to do to make it through to the next day and not feel like you are a failure.
S5: If I couldn’t insert a little plug for another Slate podcast on this week’s Working, which comes out on Sunday, I talk with the opera singer. Jamie Barton has had my food. I love her who’s had really huge success in the last few years, but that has meant basically travelling nonstop, something I’m sure Marsha can relate to. I asked her how many days she’d been home. She didn’t know exactly for twenty nineteen, but one year it was like thirty five days if you included when she’d been there for some parts of the day, she’d stepped foot in her home and she talked about how you know. Yeah, it’s kind of worrying that you can’t earn your living during this time because performing artists really can’t perform for money right now, but that it’s an opportunity to like recuperate your energy, to rest, to recharge the batteries, all those things again. It’s really hard to focus on that when things are really hard and bad. But it’s also a real thing like you got to recharge. You can’t just wear the battery done along those lines.
S2: I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways working parents have been dealing with this moment. I’ve been reading a lot of sort of personal narratives from people who are dealing with having to do two jobs, child care and some sort of paid work where normally the kids would be at daycare or at school or something. And from the pieces I’ve read and some folks that I’ve talked to, it seems like this might be one instance where the quarantine experiences not so much changing how we live and interact with each other, but further entrenching existing habits and social dynamics. Not for everybody, but in terms of the gender distribution of labor in the home. I know we talked a couple of months ago in a New York Times piece, came out about the fact that even among socially progressive heterosexual couples, especially once kids come into the picture, the default is that, you know, women do the majority, even if it’s a slight majority of childcare and household work, in part because women earn less money than men and experience wage penalties for having kids that men don’t. So if somebody has to curtail their workplace ambitions or their hours to manage kids, it’s probably going to be the woman. Emily Gold wrote a really good piece in Slate called The Trapped at Home Mother. She has two kids. She makes less money than her husband. And her husband’s job is the one that gives them health insurance. So now that it’s even more important for her husband to do well in their job to safeguard their financial future. If someone has to take time off work, which someone does, because the kids are at home and they’re both young, it’s going to be her, she writes. It turns out that in real life, it’s school and daycare that bridge most of the gap between how we’d like our lives to be totally equal and how this crisis has revealed them to be when we’re ruled by necessity. His work takes precedence because it has to. We are paired down to our essence. I wish I could unknow what that essence is. Andrea Flynn and Ms. Magazine. Marcia brought this article to our attention. Wrote a piece that talks about those sort of structural issues that can’t be mitigated by the good intentions of couples who want to divide things evenly. The piece is called The All Consuming Emotional Labor Caused by Corona Virus and Shouldered by Women. And Andrea Flynn writes that someone asked her how her work was going. She’s a director of health equity at the Roosevelt Institute, she said. I joked that my male colleagues are on the path to becoming covered famous. While I am learning. Elementary school math because she is teaching her kids while a lot of the men in her field are able to publish papers. I saw the other day that two different editors of academic journals said submissions to their journal are up, but not among women. Among women, they’re either the same or they’re falling. But men are publishing more. Suddenly they have so much time. Meanwhile, women aren’t experiencing the same access time that their male colleagues are. I also wanted to talk about one woman. Her name’s Abby. She’s twenty three. We’ve started Demming on Twitter when I asked for stories from people who were dealing with a different or an exacerbated, uneven, even distribution of labor at home. Abby an essential worker. So as her mom, they live with Abby step-dad, her little sister, her grandfather and her daughter, even though she and her mom are essential workers. They’re the ones that do all the shopping and cleaning. She had to beg her boss to cut her hours because she has to take care of her daughter and little sister. And she said things haven’t quite changed, but have just gotten more extreme with the habits we already had before the current virus. You know, her stepdad is mostly staying home during quarantine except to check on his own dad, but he says he doesn’t like watching kids. And even now, in retirement and during a global crisis, he still won’t do the babysitting. And she said something that really hit the nail on the head. I think in terms of not just how we think about women’s domestic work in the home or domestic work in general, but about essential workers, she said. People have called us heroes. But what choice do we really have if we don’t make these sacrifices? Nobody else will. I think it’s more unjust than heroic. Well, I know, so it’s a lot of truth. I will be paying very close attention to what happens when some businesses start to reopen. More people are able to go back to work. Maybe kids are allowed to go to school again. And whether for families like these, whether those dynamics go back to normal or whether this sort of exacerbated uneven distribution, born of necessity becomes the new normal.
S8: This is also one we’re doing my.
S3: Well, if that didn’t bother me, I have an article that I read a few weeks ago, and it’s a topic that hasn’t been covered as much because it’s a little niche. But I think it lends itself to the larger conversation about how the virus has helped break open some of the deep structural inequalities of our world. And so the conversations about how frontline workers are coming from both ends of the economic spectrum. So you have doctors and nurses and you have grocery checkers and home health aides and nursing home attendants all in this very vulnerable position. But one of the issues that coronaviruses also complicated is the surrogacy, foster care and adoption sectors. And so on April 1st, 2020. David Dodge in New York Times wrote an article entitled How Coronaviruses Affecting Surrogacy, Foster Care of Adoption. And one of the things that I appreciated about this article is that it introduces the both global and domestic complications of family making. I talked a little bit on the show about my own status as a waiting adoptive parent and coronavirus has definitely complicated our wait time as a family and our vision of family making. But part of the issue that this has leverage is the faile ability of foster homes for kids who are in the foster care system. Now that social workers are doing the kind of home studies and home assessments to place children with foster families, there are a lot of young people who are just in institutional care, which is not ideal. A lot of Americans participate in global adoption programs and with concerns about coronavirus as well as the slowing down of immigration broadly, that has complicated it, as well as the surrogacy industry, which continues to have state by state regulations and country by country regulations. But there are no universal policies about surrogacy. And so in this article, the reporter talks about families that were trying to beat the clock so that they could be there for the birth of their child. Concerns about orphanages under lockdown and concerns about four newborns who will take care of them in the absence of. Adoptive parents. And so I think that it’s interesting to read about this on this side and also have friends who are grateful that they got in under the wire to start fertility treatments. I have other friends who were supposed to have elective surgeries to boost their chances of fertility and those have also been canceled and a lot of places. And just to see that, you know, when we talk about the dynamics of how families are managing coronavirus, I think that there will also be a one term impact of family production in terms of having children, how many children that will also come out of this period. And so I appreciate this article from The New York Times. And if any other listeners are in this position, I highly recommend talking to other people about the very specific situation that you’re at, because it can be a little isolating trying to grapple with these things by yourself.
S2: Yeah, I’m glad to know about that, Marsha, because I’ve been thinking about the experience of several people in my own circles right now who were in the middle of trying to get pregnant through artificial insemination. And those services have completely stopped. All the people in my circles who are trying to do this right now are in queer relationships. This is the only way they can get pregnant. And, you know, many of them have been trying for several months and there was like a sense of momentum there and also a sense of already having waited a very long time. You know, which I’m sure is very similar to a lot of the people who are waiting to start an adoptive family or to foster a kid. You know, there are all these sort of parents in waiting who don’t have the ability to just sort of procreate in their spare time. The ability or desire to it just feels like an added level of unfairness onto this already extremely unfair moment that’s exacerbating the disparities between different kinds of families. June, what’s up with you?
S5: All right. Get ready. So my own personal aspects of like something that we thought we knew could rely on that we’re now totally questioning is around kind of our access to travel and and what that means for our families. You know, so I’m an immigrant. I came here obviously from Britain. And, you know, where I grew up, a lot of people emigrated. It was more common to know people in Canada or Australia than in London. There was that part of the world. And when my uncle, my mother’s brother, he emigrated when I was a little kid in the 60s and everyone accepted when he went that they might never see him again. They would just kind of have correspondence by airmail letters. And as it happened, I think his parents did see him a couple more times. He’s still alive. They’re not. But I think they met his kids at least once. But, you know, that was the expectation that if you emigrated, it wasn’t the end of your relationship, but it was probably the end of your in-person relationship. You know, I came to America 35 years ago. It was by then quite a different situation. I had, you know, change classes in a way. And now if you have the money, if you have a job that allows you time off and your papers are in order, you can go home and see your family in another country. And suddenly that’s not so clear. And you know, my mom, who’s in her 80s and is constitutionally a worrier, she’s really concerned that she won’t see me again. And that’s a pretty specific thing to me. But I think there are some similar things for a lot of families who they’re no longer living in the same place and at the same tone or the same state. But they still, you know, have a close connection. They still support each other. And it’s just getting harder. And the thing that I find most difficult to kind of strategize around is just then not knowing. Typically with my mom, who is a worrier and is a catastrophize her, I’ll just kind of bring rationality and logic to the situation. But no, that’s really hard. I don’t know what to say to people who worry that travel restrictions or contact restrictions or whatever won’t return to normal. You know, while they’re alive, who knows? No one knows. I don’t think anyone knows whatsoever when that will be safe or when we’ll feel comfortable doing that. And so it’s that feeling of powerlessness that I think is very hard. And it doesn’t just pretend to this particular situation, but just in many areas of life where we don’t know things we genuinely don’t know, nobody knows. And that leaves me feeling, you know, just kind of shrugging emoticon. I don’t I don’t know.
S2: Do you think that’s especially difficult for you as the person who’s normally the logical and rational party?
S5: Maybe so. Maybe so. Maybe that’s true. Yeah. Yeah. Because there’s no logic. There’s no logic to bring. And I still don’t believe in worrying. She really does always see the worst case. Scenario. And you know, when some support if I die like, well, what if you don’t? Is really the only way to respond to that. But at the same time, like, that’s not exactly, you know, comfort kind of platonic logic coming to work there. So, you know. You know, I know other people who are just in very difficult situations with their family because my mother is well, she’s older, but she’s healthy and she’s loose. You know, things could be so much worse, but it’s really hard. Let’s talk about some really fun things, though.
S2: We won’t be back in two weeks to read your best replies on air. We would still love to hear about how this moment is affecting you. What have you been thinking about and doing in this moment or not doing because productivity is constant. You can e-mail us at the waves at slate.com. All right. Feel good. That could be a subtitle for our previous segment. It’s a newish mini series on Netflix. June, tell us about it.
S5: Yes. So it’s available now on Netflix in the U.S., but originated in the U.K. on Channel 4. It stars and was co-written by Canadian comedian May Martin, who lives in London and plays a character very much like herself, a Canadian comedian called Mae, who lives in Britain and has a history of drug addiction. And it follows the story of May’s relationship with George Georgina, a woman who, until she meets May, had only dated men. But they become girlfriends and lovers, I should say. The show is really quite explicit about sex, at least about talking about sex. Talking about strap ons and fingering and the sort of psychological aspects of reaching orgasm with a partner you’re really into. Like it’s funny. I feel slightly embarrassed even saying some of those words. There’s something about the kind of the in your face ness of that that I find very bracing. And it’s funny because in many ways this show was like manufactured in a lab to connect with me. It’s quieres absolutely clearly like radically queer. It shows how fucked up British people are, which is something I love to see. And in this weird way that like Catastrophe and the Bisexual two shows we’ve talked about on the waves before. It’s about a North American falling for a Brit in catastrophe. He fell for an Irish woman who lived in Britain. But anyway, and it really highlights Britain’s national emotional hangups. I have to say, though, I kind of didn’t like it, like in a weird way, because I think maybe it might be in my head because, like, I left out like a couple of times. Doesn’t that show that you’re enjoying something like, I cared about the characters, I cared about George particularly. But there was something I thought I just kind of aggravated me. And I think a bit of it was a very British thing and maybe a very mething, which was around class. You know, the character is presented as entitled and oblivious. And that’s kind of maybe part of the addictive personality of her friends and lovers. And 12-Step colleagues can see all her flaws. But, you know, it still drove me crazy. You know, I know that it’s not like, you know, the oppression Olympics, that I’m not about that. But like as one point she gives George a speech about how, you know, George wants her to dance. And she says, oh, yeah, course you always dance because you’re a, you know, as straight, white hot, rich woman, you know, why have you ever had anything to, you know, strike your confidence? You’ve never been bullied. You’ve never thought that you were worthless. And that’s all true and powerful. But like, I can’t get past the fact that, like me, is pretty privileged herself. She is white and from a rich background and she is super cute. Like I couldn’t help noticing that everybody in her 12-Step program gets horrible shitty hair, hair. Her hair is always perfect. So juicy, fashionable. She’s got the cute benefit. And to get specifically to the class thing, there’s an episode that happens in Blackpool, which is a place I know very well. We used to go there on holiday every year when I was a kid. I went there quite recently with my mom. It is the most working class place in Britain. And she goes there with her upper-class parents, her class girlfriend. And it’s as if that is not Blackpool. It’s the scenic background of Blackpool. There’s the tower. But Blackpool is so fucking working class. It totally made me confront her. I’ve, you know, changed classes. Just the fact that she could not confront that or recognise that or are just accept that it really bugged me. But anyway, I’m sure I’m a little atypical in this because the reviews have been very good. What did you think, Christine? I’m super curious.
S2: Well, I started out not liking it because I think a show like this that is semi-autobiographical, that. Is sort of gimlet eyed about the weak spots in the central relationship and the weaknesses of its characters. But it’s also trying to sort of poke fun at them really rests on the charisma of the main character, the person who has written and whose semi-autobiographical about. And I didn’t connect with May for the first several episodes. It reminded me a lot of work in progress. The Showtime Show with Abby McInerney, who’s another queer masculine of center comedian who did a semi-autobiographical series that was more about mental illness than addiction. But it was also about, you know, a new relationship and a personal transformation. And I found Abby McInerney so charismatic and easy to connect with and made for acting in a way that made for an unflattering comparison with this completely unrelated show that I was nevertheless comparing it with. But as the show progressed, I found myself drawn into it and won over by it, in part because I think a lot of queer shows and movies. I’ve talked about this on Outhred. There’s like a couple of things that they always show. It’s either somebody coming out, somebody deciding to date man after not dating men or somebody who has only dated men starting to date women. I’m like, can we just have more shows of like queer people who are already queer and remain queer for the entirety of the show and don’t die who also don’t die and don’t get hate crimes? This one, I was prepared to hate it for that reason because I’m like, oh, the whole premise of the show is that she’s dating this woman who was here to force straight. But I think they explored it in ways that gave good and equal time to both sides of that relationship in ways that were a little bit interesting. It’s funny, I talked to one of my bisexual colleagues about this because I felt like there was a little bit of I don’t date straight girls. It’s masochistic. There was like that sort of message coming through. In fact, I think somebody straight up says that to me because she sort of makes a pattern of this. But, you know, everybody needs to have their first queer relationship at some point. And in fact, I appreciate people who are willing to date women who have never been with women before, because, you know, everyone’s got to have their first time and somebody has to be willing to make that leap, even if there’s this, you know, negative stereotype that is, by and large false about bisexual women, that they’re just, you know, sort of trying it on for size. So I don’t know. I I feel a little bit of two ways about that aspect of the show with all of those caveats. I think it explored these issues with more nuance and also specificity, which is important that they didn’t just sort of paint it over with a broad brush. Then most other shows that trot over the same extremely well-trodden ground.
S3: So watching a Netflix series during a pandemic, the Greeks being more generous than usual, I don’t actually know what to think about the show. I liked the portrayal of addiction because I think May’s addict behavior was spot on the mania, the replacing kind of like one addiction for the other. I appreciated that portrayal and they appreciated like not so subtle suggestion that everyone is trying to like work out their addictive personalities in some kind of way. So I think what’s interesting is like George may have a little bit more distance in the relationship because she’s struggling with her own kind of sexual identity. And there’s a way that George uses sex as a way to kind of stop any type of challenge or any kind of questioning of her own behavior. And so I think that paired with some portrayals of Lisa Kudrow, who plays May’s mom, as drinking a little too much, like I think there is this kind of thread about how far is too far when we become dependent on these other ways to kind of soothe ourselves or to self-medicate. So I appreciate that. What I will say is I’ve never seen a show that is so clear about women having sex with each other in the sense that it wasn’t for anyone but the two characters. It’s kind of like an hustler’s who we were talking about. It’s about women stripping, but it’s like the male gaze is kind of not part of it. Yeah, I felt like this was very much like not about like what the audience will think or feel. And I think that that was actually pretty well done based on my limited knowledge of lesbian sex.
S9: I confirmed I was kind of impressed by that.
S3: All in all, I mean, listen, there is a lot going on. Just watch the show.
S8: What does that. Terrible.
S7: Really come in.
S4: British TV for knowing when to just get in and get out of a series of, you know, British TV is usually much shorter. So this is six episodes, roughly 30 minutes each. It was perfect. I don’t know how to feel about it either. Not in a bad way. Just like I recognize it. It’s funny, but I never laughed out loud. It was just kind of like, oh, yeah, that was clever. And I kept moving.
S10: And I don’t I don’t know if it’s necessarily, again, you know, our mental health right now we’re dealing with this pandemic and trying to watch television or whatever. But I also just think that it’s part of the show itself, like this idea that there are certain things that you can recognize as being funny. You can recognize as being sad. And you don’t have to like sit and, you know, emote about that alive.
S4: So there’s that. I think Maise pixie vibe. You know, we keep talking about it. She’s so cute. I think that the pixie vibe and the way that she already beats herself up, it seems like the show wants us to think that that’s enough. I think that kind of goes back to, what, June and maybe Marcia, I think just said about the I don’t know. She’s so cute. The lack of accountability in this, too. She just does whatever. And we move on. That stood out to me. I don’t know how to feel about the show. Like it’s good. I recommended it to a friend of mine when I finished watching it. I can’t necessarily say, oh, this is the best thing that I’ve ever seen in my life, which doesn’t have to be. But one thing that I didn’t care for with my limited experience of queer television, particularly when there is a lesbian woman, that there’s always this moment where a man hits on her and we get that here. And I do think that may handled it very well, but it was just a little disappointing that we had to go back to the here’s this asshole man who just can’t seem to understand that lesbians are not for him. And I would have rather that we had stayed in the relationship between me and George. But I just didn’t want a man to interrupt their relationship in any way, which I know is a pipe dream. That’s not possible at all in this day and age. But it’s still I just would have rather stayed insulated in their relationship.
S2: It is interesting to think about moments like that in the context of the fact that it’s like partially a depiction of the person May’s own life. The thing that made me think about that was her comedy special. It’s a 30 minute special that’s on Netflix. Under the series Comedians of the World, she’s in the U.K. section recommend it to get a little more info of her about her own life. And she talks about how she’s dating men for the first time in a very long time. And she also has, like the character in the show, a pattern of dating women who are closeted. In fact, she talks about being partnered with one woman for three and a half years who never came out to anybody in her life. So when I thought about some of these stereotypes that were depicted in the show of, you know, a woman who’s only dated men not coming out to her family and friends and sort of thinking that she’s only ever going to be with men if she ever breaks up with this one particular woman or the lesbian who can sort of be flexible and to date, men on the side when she wants to. As much as I’m sick of seeing those stereotypes like those things are actually true to me is life. So it’s difficult for me to fault the show for those things. But I hear you, Nicole. Also, when that sexual advance happens, I was just disappointed in a way that I think the show wants me to be, because this was also a character who the show wanted us to like. And, you know, I give it credit for building it up enough for me to have that intense emotional reaction. Would you watch a season, too?
S4: No, I don’t think so. As much as I wanted to stay insulated and Mays and Georges relationship. I don’t think I care enough to see how it turns out because I think I know how it’s going to turn out. It’s like the ending wasn’t necessarily a happy ever after. It was clearly a happy for now kind of thing. So I don’t know that I would want to see anything else.
S2: I’m going to watch season two. There better be a season two. And as much as I did like the way they approached sex, I could use a few more hot sex scenes in my notes to the producers versus funny or depressing right listeners. If you watched feel good and you want to tell us what you think. You can e-mail us at the waves at Slate.com. All right. Our last topic for this week and for the foreseeable future. Joe Biden’s vice president. And choices, Marsha explained.
S3: So now that Bernie Sanders has suspended his campaign and the presumptive nominee is former Vice President Joe Biden, the question is who will he choose as a running mate? In a debate earlier this spring, Biden committed to picking a woman for the second seat on the ticket. And now that things have changed in terms of Biden’s ability to be on the road to campaign, the questions about how you’re going to have an election in November. And the question of who can help Biden galvanize support across various populations. Today on the waves, we are going to speculate on who will Biden pick versus who he should pick. Or if democracy will survive until November.
S2: So, Marcia, should he pick and who do you want him to pick?
S3: All right, guys, this one is agonizing for me because it matters and it doesn’t matter all at once. I think that the Democratic Party’s deep investment in this idea of we have to pick someone who can beat Trump or rather we need to pick someone who can change the minds of Trump voters. I think that they have kind of abandoned that strategy because they have no sound plan. And so now it’s a numbers game. And my fear is that the idea that if Biden picks someone like Stacey Abrams, who is incredibly talented, who would probably be ready to lead day one if something happened to Biden, who although she does not have elective experience at the governor or Senate level, if you look at her resume. She does have a deep breath of knowledge in a number of areas. I think the challenge with someone like Stacey Abrams is she might be able to galvanize the black vote and to get more black women excited about 2020 and the states in which those black voters reside. Are places where I think they’re most vulnerable in the pandemic. And so I think that there’s just really complicated calculus of do we want mass turnout in states like Florida and Michigan and South Carolina when we know the ways that race has also complicated the health and vitality of black people during coronavirus. And so I think that this is something that makes me very nervous. I think what will happen is that he will probably pick someone like Tammy Duckworth. I think that she will be someone who will be a little bit of a surprise. But she is a veteran. She has knowledge of foreign affairs. She is a woman of color. And even though she is from Illinois, a state where Biden will probably win, I think that there’s a way that they will mobilize her as an every woman in order to get some enthusiasm. Or they’ll pick someone terrible like enclosure.
S2: So the fact that he has committed to choosing a woman has created this strange situation where all of the media chatter about the vice presidential pick. It’s almost like it’s a competition between women to be chosen by Joe Biden. Like some weird kind of reality dating show or something. And it’s a very it Biden ask compromise. Like I was thinking about what his other options would have been besides running for president and choosing a woman as his vice president. It would have been, you know, saying, you know what? I’m 77. I’ll step aside. I’ve had this amazing career in public office. I’m going to let other people have their turn. And the rest of the slate was full of women and people of color. Instead, he’s saying, I’ll let you serve in my administration. You know, it’s important that we have representation for women and people of color in elected office. And, you know, in the executive branch, but not important enough for me to say that 77 is old enough. And, you know, my visible mental decline suggests that perhaps America would be better served with a different president.
S6: Christina, may I come in here to do something I never thought in my whole life I would disagree on me. Oh. I’ll defend Joe Biden. I hate Joe Biden. I really do. But he won the votes. He became the presumptive nominee because of black voters in South Carolina who gave him much more support than they gave any of the candidates of color. And the weird thing for me about this is that he has been chosen by voters. And that mean I agree with what you just said. Absolutely. 100 percent in my view. He should not have run. He’s too old. He’s not a good candidate. But you know what? People selected him. And we have to think of veep stakes. I love that word as being like those, you know, royal marriages centuries ago where it’s really about alliances and what you can bring and just matching something that you don’t have. And he already has black support. If instead of him being a condescending dude giving some woman a place, you know what he needs, probably he’s going to get from a white woman in the Midwest. Maybe Tammy Duckworth in the Midwest. You know, Tammy Baldwin, a lesbian in the Midwest. Like my first response when he made I Like Great is going to be kind of like Harris is gonna be a woman of color, is going to be a black woman, but I don’t think it will be.
S2: Yeah, I guess I’m thinking that the people who would love an Amy Klobuchar already love Joe Biden, too. And for that reason, I think he needs to pick somebody more progressive to get progressives to come out and say, like, OK, this is a gesture of good faith by Joe Biden. I’m not going to stay home and think of them as like two almost equivalent bad actors like Joe Biden and Donald Trump. I mean, what you say about the royal marriage thing is clarifying to me because it is almost impossible, even if we want to talk about like animating progressives, like it’s hard to talk about this in any way of substance. I mean, when we talk about diversity and representation, it’s frustrating when it sort of gets reduced to the idea of just like identity baseball cards, like each person is just a set of statistics. But that’s really how vice presidents are chosen because it’s like an ornamental job. It’s not clear anyone what it’s supposed to be. So it’s really just choosing somebody based on like perceptions of whether they’ll appeal to voters based on their identity or where they live.
S10: The thing that frustrates me the most about all of this is, you know, people are like Biden needs a black vice president in order to get out the black vote because there was such a low black voter turnout in places like Michigan, etc.. No one wants to also just talk about the gerrymandering that goes on and the disenfranchisement that goes on when it comes to, quote unquote, the black vote. You can’t talk about low voter turnout without talking about how, you know, in the black part of town, they’re waiting hours and hours in order to vote and then get turned away because of restrictive I.D. policies or something like that. You can’t talk about low black voter turnout without acknowledging that. You know, Biden hasn’t really reached out to black America with his policies. Are, you know, what he plans to do. I mean, you know, a little bit. But what like he’s just kind of coasting on his connection to Obama. I think and you know, the fact that Obama waited until there was absolutely no one else left in order to endorse Biden, I think says a lot. As much as Obama can say in this kind of situation. But I would like to see Stacey. Abrams as the vice president, if only just to be like, well, this is why she wasn’t able to become governor, because she was, you know, something bigger was coming for her. That kind of an O-positive little turnaround. I would like to see that. I don’t think you can put a black woman on the ticket with him. I agree that it’s probably going to be another white woman. That’s usually how these things turn out. When it comes to something like affirmative action, for lack of a better phrase, white women benefit more than black women from that. So if you’re trying to do something like, well, we’ve got to put somebody, not a white man on the ticket. It’s probably going to be a white woman. But, you know, I’m happy to be proven wrong. I’m very much interested to see what happens. I also think it’s weird that Biden is already acknowledging that he may not be able to complete his term.
S4: And like I he knew that from beginning. It just makes me feel like we have wasted so much time. And once again, I would do this. I wish that we could just get a do over and bring back Castro. HARRIS Sanders warned that. Sanders while Sanders Yes.
S10: SANDERS Looks like we could bring all of them back and we just start over.
S5: But he’s been such a strong force in this pandemic.
S2: Cole It is so funny that he’s already saying like, well, people are really gonna be paying attention to my vice presidential pick because I may die during my first term.
S9: If you think that’s really likely, maybe don’t sign up for the job.
S2: I also said in a virtual fundraiser, he said he wants to have a female running mate who, quote, looks like America. Oh, stop. What the hell? What does America look like? I mean, if he’s being literal and racially insensitive, which he is, maybe he means Kamala Harris. Yeah, that’s because she, you know, is multiracial and the daughter of immigrants.
S7: That’s how I read that. It’s like he wants someone who won’t scare anybody’s amber waves of grain. I won’t scare anybody with with her blackness. You know, she won’t be too black interest. Now, like, you know, fair-skinned slim with straight long hair. That’s how I immediately saw that.
S3: It’s interesting. Gretchen Whitmer was having a moment because she’s had to manage a state with a corona virus outbreak. And the president is ridiculous. You know, people were like, oh, are you auditioning for V.P.? I actually think like in her gut, she’s just trying to, like, make sure fewer people died and stay in Michigan. But I do wonder if the see, this is why this virtual campaign may work a little bit more for Biden, because there will be no pictures with the running mate in real life.
S8: Yeah. And so the question is, does he look like an older man dating a younger woman? Does he look like a grandpa? And, you know, a grandchild? Does he look like he’s standing next to a colleague? Because these are the types of optics questions that become very important, especially when you have a ticket with two people of different genders on it.
S3: Right. Like, what does it look like? And so I think it is probably a little bit easier to see him with a much younger woman on a zoom screen than in person, especially how he’s hanzi an example. And so it’s like if we don’t see him massaging, you know, reformer’s neck or like smelling her hair, the idea of them being colleagues becomes a little bit easier. And I also think, you know, the question of the optics of him with a black woman, right. Like what does it look like? And so the selection process will be a little bit different because I don’t think that issue will be weighed as heavily. I’m just really, really curious who they’re going to pick.
S2: Yeah. Let’s all make our predictions of who he’ll pick, because since this podcast won’t come back before he picks, we can all just have our wrong predictions set in stone for all of eternity. Nicolle, who do you think?
S7: I think he’s going to pick Kamala Harris. I think that’s who he’s going to pick. But I would prefer he pick Stacey Abrams.
S5: June, I think he’s going to pick Tammy Duckworth. She was injured while serving. Given that his biggest need is someone who looks vibrant. I just wonder if her injuries will cause her to seem not so strong in that quadrant.
S2: I don’t know. I know you’re saying June, but she seems extremely lively to me.
S5: Oh, yeah. No, not to me, too. I mean, just to say that I’m talking now about optics from weird people, you know, from shithole people. So to be clear, I actually think that she she would be a probably a good candidate.
S2: You can tell how enthusiastic I’m going to say. I used to think it was Kamala Harris, but after everything we’ve just said, I think it’s gonna be Gretchen Whitmer. I think because Biden’s team has consistently taken the path of least resistance in terms of like not making appearances, trying to speak as little as possible, because every time Joe Biden opens his mouth, garbage comes out. Gretchen Whitmer seems like an easy choice. She gave the response to the State of the Union this year. She’s been in the news lately. She’s a white lady from the Midwest who seems very stereotypically white lady from the Midwest. And while I don’t know that that’s the smartest choice and definitely not the choice I would have him make, in part because it’s really not been shown that picking a vice presidential candidate from a swing state actually helps anyone win that swing state. I think that’s what they’ll do. Marcia, what do you think?
S3: I think he should pick Elizabeth Warren. But there’s no way in hell. Yeah, I do that. But I think considering that the Democratic Party doesn’t learn anything from anything that happens, I think it will be a quadrature and.
S11: That’s what will happen.
S2: And she was having a little bit of what did they call it, club mentum before this Super Tuesday. All right. Those are our predictions. We’re never going to revise them listeners. Who do you want Joe Biden to pick? Who should he pick to get elected and who will he pick? I would love to hear your thoughts. E-mail us at the waves at Slate.com. All right. Our final recommendations, these better be good. All right. Nicole, what do you have for us?
S7: April is National Poetry Month, and my first love is poetry. So I would like to recommend a poetry book that I come back to frequently. And it is called Beast Theory by Danica Kelly. And the first name is deoine I K A and it’s so good.
S10: It won the Cobby kind of Poetry Prize, which was selected by Nikky Finney, who is an incredible poet in her own right. And basically, it’s kind of like an examination of childhood memories and trauma and love and learning to love yourself, you know, kind of your basic poetry subjects. But it’s so well done. It’s so beautiful. And there all these. There’s one poem that I really love called love poem Samarra. And the first line is, I thought myself, lion and serpent. And from there, it just it’s just beautiful.
S4: I highly recommended. I don’t think I will ever give it away. It’s such a good book. So Beast Poems by Danica Kelly go out and continue to celebrate National Poetry Month.
S2: Writing poetry sounds about right for my shortened attention span at this moment. June, what do you have?
S6: I think it was last week I discovered that there’s this show on CBS that seems again. I don’t think I’ll use this time before like manufactured in a lab to please me. And I didn’t even know it was there, which just seems crazy like a few years ago, the idea that there was this major CBS procedural that was about a lesbian character and I wouldn’t know until eight episodes had been aired, just would have been unthinkable, partly because of me, you know, and my being plugged into television, but mostly just that there was so few lesbian characters that if one was there, like everybody would know. And I had never heard of this. But there’s a CBS procedural called Tommy, which stars Edie Falco.
S9: Edie Falco, is she the lesbian? Yes.
S6: This is a New York cop who gets the job as chief of police in L.A. So she moves out to L.A.. So it’s like a fish out of water kind of story. Early on in the show, she gets a girlfriend. We see them in bed together. Admittedly, she’s wearing her p.j.’s. But come on, she’s an older lady like me. You know, it’s a decent CBS procedural, police procedural in the way that that can be a comfort. You know, like there’s nothing too shocking about it, but it’s pretty right on. And also, I will say that as much as I’m kind of giving a certain picture of CBS, I also quietly have some of the most radical shows on television, like Madam Secretary, which was a very mainstream show, but did have the guts to show a Republican woman politician who had values and was outraged by things like kids in cages at borders and who became a woman president. And also, of course, the good fight, which is bonkers and is on CBS all access. But anyway, Tommy, on CBS, if you want to see Edie Falco as a lesbian chief of police who, you know, makes it with girls and kisses girls like on the lips. You know, by all means, I recommend that Tommy on CBS, you’ve sold me.
S2: Marcia, what do you recommend to us?
S3: So for this last recommendation, I’m going to be off brand and I’m going to recommend a field guide to American Houses, the definitive guide to Identifying and Understanding America’s domestic architecture by Savage MacAllister. And the reason why I’m recommending this is that the only activity that I have is taking walks. And so as I’ve taken my walks, I take pictures of houses and I use the field guide to learn different aspects of architecture. And it is the only thing that I can concentrate on or do without feeling an overwhelming sense of dread. And for folks who don’t have the ability to walk. The book is beautifully illustrated. It explains different architectural features like roofs and doorways. And it has a little history of the different movements that inspired different styles of houses. And I have found it so incredibly wonderful and relaxing because I’m learning something new that is most steak’s I sometimes can share the pictures of the houses I see on Instagram. So I’ve been able to connect with friends who really enjoyed it. I think it helps me feel like I’m teaching again even when I’m not. But I’ve just decided that how much brain space I have in this moment is about things that are illustrated and easy to learn. So I highly recommend for those of you who are in this position of just needing a little break, the field guide to American houses is definitely something you should check out.
S2: I’m gonna buy that. Devin, I actually have it looking at houses recently to try to move. Our tiny ElSaffar grin during. So this would be very helpful. I’m going to recommend the movie Cats, which came out at twenty nineteen, but I only recently spent six dollars to rent on Amazon this past weekend.
S9: Why was everyone should have gotten this movie is what I would like to know.
S2: It has 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. For those of you who are unaware, it’s a movie based on the extremely popular and long running Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, and it was subjected to multiple rounds of criticism for its visual effects, its kind of live action like people’s faces are in there, but their entire bodies, their human slash cat bodies are like, you know, CGI fur. So their movements are very uncanny.
S9: That said, the choreography was spectacular.
S2: I don’t know if it was the weed gummy that I took before watching it or what. But I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. And I have to give credit to Tom Hooper, who directed it. He also did. Lame is and like lame is the singing. One of my big beefs with movie musicals is that the singing is often like Lip Sync or auto tuned in to Perfect and both Limas and Cats. It sounds like actual singing and I know one Lahm is Tom Hooper had the actors actually sing and he recorded them while they were acting the scenes. I’m not sure if they did the same in Kath’s, but it’s just a murderer’s row of incredible actors and singers. Nobody’s really both. But there’s Jennifer Hudson. Dame Judi Dench as a cat. Idris Elba. I would say like the things that people were shitting on the movie for, the visual effects and some of the really terrible humor and were all there. I understand them. But those disturbing aspects of the movie did nothing to dull my enthusiasm for it, including the part where so Idris elbow’s character starts out wearing clothes. Some of the cats wear clothes and some don’t. I didn’t mind that inconsistency at all, but Idris Elba, as character starts out wearing clothes in a certain point, takes them off to do a dance number and so that I’m like you naked.
S9: But actually he’s just a cat, not wearing it, just like all the other cats. Some of the cats have boobs. Some don’t. It’s just endless fun. I can not recommend it highly enough.
S2: Have you guys seen it? No, not at all. Still no scene, no distortion like that.
S3: So I’m not the audience for it. You might have convinced me.
S2: My dreams have just been weird enough during this career. So this I normally would have been scared of having nightmares after this, but my dreams can’t get any weirder. So that note, that’s our show. Thank you to our producer, Rosemary Bellson, our production assistant, Clea Levon for Marcia Chatillon, Nicole Perkins and June Thomas. I’m Christine Accardo. Ritchie, thank you as always for listening and goodbye for now. Now it’s time for our slate plus. Is it sexist? Segment. Our question comes from Tricia Friedman, a reliable listener and source of great. Is it sexist questions? Tricia asks, If we are aware that alcohol makes domestic abuse more likely. Is it sexist that we don’t have more regulation around alcohol advertising and sales, especially during a pandemic? What do you all think?
S6: I’m very torn on this because, yes, there clearly is a connection between alcohol and domestic abuse. At the same time, Christina, we had this conversation in a select channel at Slate that, you know, when people were sort of questioning what should liquor stores be considered, essential businesses. And, you know, people pointed out that, you know, some people are physically dependent on it. It’s not really the ideal time to be going through detoxification, not by choice. So, you know, I guess separate from the first part of this question, I am convinced that alcohol is essential to some people whether it should be or not. It is. And so I guess the you know, this company I’m about to say this phrase, what the domestic abuse aspect of it doesn’t seem totally relevant. Domestic abusers. The best situation is not to be in a house or in a enclosed space with the domestic abuser. That’s the ideal scenario, is to not allow abusers to abuse. And I don’t know that we can say that, you know, not supplying them with alcohol would prevent that. Having said that, I do feel very uncomfortable with, you know, as we’ve discussed several times on this show, you know, I like a drink. I’m not coming from a place of teetotal dome, but like, yeah, it’s kind of weird how much the alcohol industry is just allowed to advertise and to, you know, present a picture of life as being so fantastic when you’re, you know, just a few sheets to the wind when we know that actually it’s really bad for you. And so I don’t know. I guess as you can tell, I’m dithering and and saying some weird things that I’m struggling with, the idea of it being sexist.
S10: I do agree that alcohol stores alcohol should still be considered essential because of the reasons that we’ve already talked about. But I do wonder if if it’s possible to regulate in the same way that we have regulated how many packs of toilet tissue though people are allowed to purchase at a time, how many, you know, bottles of sanitizer are wipes that we can buy right now in order to make sure that there is sound for everyone to make sure that, you know, we’ve blocked off time in grocery stores for seniors to come in. Because people were clearing out the the shelves before seniors and, you know, parents could come in and get things. I wonder if there’s a way we could do something or could have done something similar with alcohol purchases without going full into a prohibition, but just kind of like, you know, one big bottle a week, one six pack a week. I don’t know. But then I guess, you know, like, how do you say you can only drink this much? I don’t know that there’s a way to regulate it because there’s so many different ways around that. You know where. OK, I’ll purchase this bottle with my debit card on Monday and then come back Tuesday to get it with cash. Like how? I don’t know how it could be regulated, but I think maybe that could be an option or could have been an option. But I don’t know that I would be able to firmly say that it’s sexist, that there is no regulation.
S2: Yeah, I also know that there are, you know, women who are physically dependent on alcohol and also men and boys who are subject to domestic violence at home. The connection between alcohol and intimate partner violence is not so simple. It’s not necessarily a direct connection. And so I think it would be hard to justify, you know, new regulations on advertising or, you know, the shuttering of liquor stores, which would put the health of people who depend on alcohol at risk. The question does raise an important question of, you know, whose needs and whose safety are being prioritized in this moment. And from what I’ve read, a lot of police departments and, you know, 9-1-1 operators and government run organizations were unprepared and sort of caught off guard by the increase in domestic violence calls and reports. Nine of the 20 largest cities in the U.S., their police departments saw double digit jumps in the number of 9-1-1 calls and domestic violence reports in March compared to previous months. I mean, it’s not a negligible spike in domestic violence reports coming in. I think that has to do with being. Inside, as much as it has to do with the increased drinking that is also happening during the pandemic, alcohol sales are way up. This is really tough, but it would be really hard to justify making that change based on, you know, a non-direct connection alone.
S11: I will say that this is not necessarily sexist, but I think what it does, it exposes some of the structural problems kind of culturally and socially in the US around dynamics and power in the home. So I don’t think it’s sexist that alcohol is still available. But I do think that what it does show is that in this moment of pandemic, we’re more aware of some of these stressors in. Intimate relationships and in households. And unfortunately, we don’t have the capacity to address them. And so I think that if this is anything, this is maybe perhaps inspiration or perhaps consciousness raising to help us when we get on the other side of this. I hope.
S2: Yeah, that’s a good point. All right. Let’s put a number to this. I’m gonna go first because I have the mike right now. I’m gonna give this a sexist rating of. I was going to say one, but thinking about the advertising. I’m going to say three.
S6: I’m also going to say three. I couldn’t really scientifically justify. But but that’s just how it feels.
S2: What are you talking about, June? This is absolutely scientific.
S7: Everything is. But yes, I’m going gonna give it a 2.5.
S3: I’ll give it a four. Just to get a little bit more weight.
S2: But I think it’s like a 1 for you. I know.
S3: I mean, recent events has really saved me, but I’ll give it a four because I think it’s too provocative. An important question about a number of things.
S2: Yeah. Yeah. All right. Our sexist rating is 3.1 to five. Thank you, Tricia, for the question. And thank you so much to all of you, our Slate Plus listeners. We appreciate your membership so much. And it is truly helping to financially and more importantly, emotionally sustain us through this time.