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Stephen Metcalf: Yeah, I’m Stephen Metcalf and this is the slate culture Gabfest, she said. He said Edition. It’s Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022 on today’s show. She said is the new feature film recounting the struggles of two New York Times reporters as they attempt to break the Harvey Weinstein story. It stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan. And then on Hulu, we have Fleishman is in trouble. It’s a limited that stars Jesse Eisenberg and Claire Danes as a now divorced couple who have come to loathe one another. It’s a serious comic and very Rashomon like anatomy of a Deteriorating Marriage. And finally, what to make of the fact that Joan Didion, two state art, furniture, books and iconic pairs of sunglasses, fetched crazy sums at auction. We will discuss. But first, joining me today is Julia Turner, the deputy managing editor of the L.A. Times. Hey, Julia.
Julia Turner: Hello. Hello.
Stephen Metcalf: And I always like to have Jamelle Bouie New York Times columnist extraordinaire back on the show. Of course, the late alumnus, too. Hey, Jamal.
Speaker 3: Hello.
Stephen Metcalf: Site to talk these movies and TV shows. Shall we make a show?
Julia Turner: Let’s do it.
Stephen Metcalf: All right. Well, she said is a journalism picture in the classic style of, like All the President’s Men and spotlight, more recently, an atmosphere. It’s a thriller in execution, more of a behind the scenes procedural journalism procedural. Here we follow is two times reporters in real life, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey in the movie played by Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan.
Stephen Metcalf: Cold call. They knock on doors, they pound the pavement, and they’re also agonizing over a huge moral dilemma in trying to get their sources. Women who are afraid to talk, to talk. They understand the risks they are putting themselves and these women at and are unsure whether to move forward. The movie is directed by Maria Schrader, who’s best known, I think, for the Netflix hit Unorthodox. Let’s listen to a clip in the clip we’re about to hear. Jodi Kantor, played by Zoe Kazan, is convincing Megan to a played by Carey Mulligan that is, in fact, eminently worth doing. Let’s listen.
Julia Turner: What is it exactly that we’re looking at here? We’re looking at extreme sexual harassment in the workplace. These young women walked into what they all had reason to believe were business meetings with a producer, an employer. They were hopeful. They were expecting a serious conversation about their work or a possible project. Instead, they say he met them with threats and sexual demands. They claim assault and rape. If that can happen to Hollywood actresses, who else is it happening to you?
Stephen Metcalf: Julia, let me let me start with you. I made the obvious comparisons to Spotlight and All the President’s Men. How did you feel this stacked up relative to those and as a as a movie in its own right?
Julia Turner: I think this is a very, very good journalism movie. I was both gripped and moved by it, although I’m excited that there may be some contrary opinions on the call. But what I actually think is revolutionary about this movie is it is the best depiction I have ever seen of modern working parenthood, like the way in which the movie, very quietly and very subtly and not too ostentatiously renders the fact that the people who are doing this work, who are being professional, who are finding satisfaction and stress in their professions, are people with partners and children and emotional fluctuations and postpartum depression, as the McGinty character is depicted as having in the film and who do the work anyway?
Julia Turner: And it’s not the you know, there have been some films where that is the point of the film. Oh, gosh, can you have it all? How do you do it? And this movie just depicts that. It is what modern work is for, you know, workers of this kind. White collar workers often involves two income families and two working parents.
Julia Turner: And the juxtaposition of that thematic material with the story that they’re working to get, which is fighting for the right of women to pursue their professions without fear of harassment, derailing their careers, or setting them off on entirely different paths and quashing their artistic and professional potential, I found incredibly powerful.
Stephen Metcalf: Yeah. Jamal I mean, the extreme wisdom of Julia’s response to this wise movie is interesting to me. It seems to me what ties those two things together powerfully that makes the movie either work or not work, right? If you buy this, you buy the movie. Is the cost for it.
Stephen Metcalf: As they keep saying in the course of the movie, these two journalists, you know it the very power discrepancy that exploited these women in the first instance, right, typically kicks in and buys or bullies them into silence. And so they’re faced with a collective action problem, like we need everyone to jump into the pool at once or nobody is going to do it. And anything short of that could result in compounding the initial crime. Like, you might be revictimizing the victim. So you feel the moral quandary. At the same time, you feel this is thriller like suspense of not only will X person, it’s not Deep Throat, it’s not like one person. It’s like will essentially an entire community break its conspiracy of silence and bring down Harvey Weinstein. Did you find this effective in that regard?
Speaker 3: I didn’t. I take Julia’s point about the film being a great depiction of professional class working parenthood. I think it is. I do think that that aspect of both characters could have been, like, better integrated into the investigation, or vice versa. The investigation better integrated into their experiences working parents and as partners in addition to a journalist.
Speaker 3: But I guess my my issue with the movie is that I felt that so much of the investigation part of it was just like very didactic and very sort of like very preoccupied with just explaining things to you and info dumps and not so much in depicting the process of discovery. It does, though. It doesn’t not do that in the times when it does have. I think it’s one of the movies at its strongest. But I think that there’s also too much of, you know, we’re going to have a phone call and there’s going to be one person on the line and you’re just going to like give you, you know, a block of text that you can then move forward to. Basically, you have you have a question or something. This block of text will answer that question for you.
Speaker 3: And I think you can pull that off once, maybe in any kind of movie. I think you pull that off once and like the sort of journalism I call them document movies, because it’s not you know, it doesn’t really have to be about the journalism. But like this kind of structure for a film involves people sifting through documents. You can do it to. Price may be one of these movies, but I think this the script kind of leans on this a lot rather than show you the investigation. My sense, like the movie’s over 2 hours long, and it seems to me that they maybe had a hard time either cutting or streamlining. I’m not necessarily sure the movie should be 2 hours long or over 2 hours long. And it makes me think that part of what might have happened. Is that halfway through the film?
Speaker 3: Carey Mulligan Mulligan’s character kind of drops out for a while as Zoe Kazan’s character is traveling to London to to Wales, I believe, to San Francisco. And I haven’t read the book on which the movie or the script is based, but I have to assume that this is how things played out in real life. And I think that there’s a certain amount of like fidelity to what really happened that actually it’s not good for the story or the characters that I think there could have been some license taken to both give Carey Mulligan and to make it into character. It’s just more to do and set in more better cinematically depict the unfolding of the investigation. Cause I guess that’s where I think the movie is at its weakest. Sort of like actually cinematically presenting this investigation unfolding and the information coming in.
Julia Turner: I think that’s interesting in your point about the dialogue is there’s a way in which. The film is also functioning as a brief in defense of journalism as practiced in the 21st century and and seems to feel an obligation to properly and judiciously and flatteringly represent, like the avocation of journalists, to uphold the creed and tell the truth. And do you know there’s a little bit of sainthood in the portrayal of Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, even as it is depicting some of the personal challenges they’re wrestling with.
Julia Turner: But yes, the dialogue with their editors is always like the editor just says the three things that you would say in the lawsuit about how you would defend the story, like get the doctor and get him on the record. Like get you know, the conversations with the editors are strip down to like, what would you want the ultimate First Amendment editor to say? And there’s not like any any personal foibles there. And I think probably because of that sense of desire for fidelity and representing. Right. I think you probably could have made a better movie if you’re like, what if we told a story that was kind of like the story of how they got the Harvey Weinstein story.
Stephen Metcalf: Right? Well, I mean, I would I would definitely say that some of the conversations in the movie sound like what the, you know, various participants would like Harvey Weinstein’s pit bull lawyer to imagine they were right. Like, they’re somewhat sanitized, the kind of cynicism and just necessary self distancing that the journalists, the hardcore journalists I know practice in order to stay emotionally balanced during the often wrenching process of getting people to talk. It’s cleaned up a little bit or quite a lot, actually, and results in some clunkers.
Stephen Metcalf: Admittedly, I nonetheless, I found this an enormously powerful movie. I sat there as the credits rolled, pinioned to my seat, as did I think everyone in the movie theater that I saw it with. I thought its virtues so completely outshone its obvious defects that it was a success, both artistically and morally. I mean, Spotlight is a very, very clean, very streamlined and almost perfect version of this. And there are all kinds of comparisons you can make there both ways. But I thought there was just the there was. There was a resonance here. And also, I’m a sucker for the genre. I’ve spent my life effectively as a freelancer around journalists and journalistic organizations. I love all of these discussions. You know, I mean, going back to all the President’s Men, like what’s going to go on and on and on and on. So I’m vulnerable to them.
Speaker 3: I know. Don’t get don’t get me wrong, I am also a sucker for this genre. If you have a movie where people are sifting through documents and someone at some point screams, they know I’m I’m in. I’m like, I’m there. Mm hmm.
Julia Turner: Yeah. I mean, it’s so interesting. Steve. I love journalism movies. There’s so many different kinds with varying degrees of cynicism about the profession. And and certainly in calling out the kind of extreme, taut journal like editors saying the exact right thing notion of those scenes, I don’t mean to suggest that they were saying something wildly different, but, you know, there’s been a huge conversation in media, you know, in recent decades about propaganda, Right? We love cop shows. We love crime shows, like what are the cops and crime shows really telling us about, you know, our our criminal justice system, how it works, whether it actually administers justice and to whom.
Julia Turner: And, you know, we’re all journalists in our own ways. And so possibly we are not the clearest people to look at, you know, journalism movies, some of which are kind of journalistic. And so I’m I’m curious how you would place this within that question or dilemma of, like the appropriate way to to portray journalism on screen. Steve.
Stephen Metcalf: I mean, it’s as you pointed out, it’s inseparable from the highly propagandized pseudo backlash against the MSM and against journalists in particular. I regard them as as heroes. Net net, they’re obviously like any profession, you can name their ethical lapses, but journalism, what, you know, good journalistic outlets police themselves against it. So I have no problem with the degree of like shine to the knight’s armor, the scenes that worked for me of the procedural scenes, the ones that worked for me best were Dean Baquet, the, you know, managing editor or whatever, head editor of The New York Times on the phone with Harvey Weinstein.
Stephen Metcalf: Oh, it was so great, because it’s exactly that thrill, right? It’s very minimalist. It doesn’t feel that sanitized. And it’s this moment where a person from a highly self-policing, rigorously self-policing, ethical. A profession is confronting a person who’s an absolute travesty of all of those things and has gotten away with it because of his community’s moral problems and decay. And everything he says is letting him know you do not have the power here now, right? Like you are not going to shape this or me or anything about what we write other than whatever on the record statement you want to make. And it’s it’s the spot. And I don’t mean to recenter this narrative on that. He’s not the moral center of this movie in any way, shape or form. That is simply all I’m saying is that is the moment where the procedural aspect of it to me was very effective because it didn’t seem sanitized and it really rang true.
Julia Turner: Yeah, that scene is really interesting and it highlights I mean, this is the the, the problem with, I guess, drawing any equivalence between what cops do and what journalists do. But. Ultimately, that kind of journalism bias has to you know, the profession has to be fair. It’s part of its own self-policing, that it insists it is fair, but it also gets to decide when it is being fair because it has the power to publish. And that’s that’s the case, saying, no, we have it. We have it to our standards, the story and you can participate or not, but we’re going. And that it highlights that sense of the priesthood or the or the institution having to hold itself to its own standards, whether or not people outside the building respect them or understand them.
Stephen Metcalf: Right. Well, to me, it was just institute one form of power, institutional, liberal, institutional power, for lack of a better phrase, coming up against so essentially charismatic like almost medieval levels of charismatic power and saying, no, you’re going to have to actually cede to this. Right. And for me, that’s powerful because to me that is the civil war among the civil wars. One of the big ones that we’re currently fighting and everything’s at stake.
Stephen Metcalf: All right. It’s it’s she said it’s in theaters. Check it out. Let’s move on. All right. Now is the moment in our podcast. We talk business. Dana’s out, so I’ll handle it. Only one item of business to tell you about today. It’s our Slate Plus segment this week. Jamelle is with us. We thought maybe we’d return to the topic of Twitter. Elon Musk obviously is going in several directions with it at once. Some anticipated some and anticipated. We really like to talk to Jamelle, who’s a tremendously delightful, gifted Twitterer tweeter. He’ll presumably tell us what Twitter now means to him, what its demise or slow degradation might mean. And does he have any red lines like you crossed the red line? Jamelle Bouie is out. He’s quitting, quitting Twitter. All right. If you’re a Slate Plus member, make sure you stick around for that conversation at the end of the show. If you are not is late. Plus, member, you can sign up today at Slate.com slash culture Plus. All right, back to the show.
Stephen Metcalf: All right. Well, Fleishman is in trouble as an adaptation of a 2019 novel about a collapsing marriage. We begin in this telling with he said the version of the story told from the point of view of Toby Fleishman here, played by Jesse Eisenberg. In his mind at least, Toby was a noble victim of a mono maniacally ambitious woman. His wife, Rachel, played by Claire Danes. In his imagination, we come to discover, had become a money and status obsessed harridan. While all he wanted, all Toby wanted was to be a heroic doctor and a humble dad. As the show progresses, this premise becomes the object of a rather intricate deconstruction by the show’s narrator, who turns out to be Libby, Toby’s friend, played by Lizzy Caplan. Shows on Hulu If I didn’t say. And it’s an adaptation of a taffy producer and her novel of 2019. Let’s. Let’s listen to a clip. In the clip, we’re going to hear Toby over dinner with friends describing what went wrong in his marriage. Let’s listen.
Speaker 4: Divorce is like that old auto game. You know, you start your marriage with all the disks wiped, right? And then there’s some black disc gear in there along the way. You know, you fight, but ultimately you laugh. And it’s fun because the board is still mostly white, Right? But then something happens and the marriage falls apart and suddenly the entire board is black.
Stephen Metcalf: Is that how you play Othello?
Julia Turner: They should probably change the name Othello, you know.
Speaker 4: Yeah. So now even the good memories are, like, tinged with darkness. You know, they’re tainted. Like they were rotten from the start. Not all of them. Yes, ma’am. All of them. Okay. Now, you look back on all those memories, like the fight you had on the honeymoon, the way you couldn’t agree on, like, a name for your child. And suddenly they’re no longer innocuous fights anymore. Now they’re foreshadowing. I think when we get married, we really have no way to fully understand what what forever means. You know, that’s what I’m always saying. Marriage is for suckers. How are you going to know how you’re going to feel in three times the amount of years you’ve been alive for?
Stephen Metcalf: All right, Jamal, let me start with you. This was a novel. It was a very, very voice driven novel. As I’ve come to understand, the narrator of that was a sort of doppelganger of the of the author’s stand in for the author. Not always easy to adapt. Definitely went with voiceover. That was the decision that they made here. What do you make of this.
Speaker 3: For being something? For being something that’s like pretty much entirely for into my experience, affluent white people or whatever, Lower East Side? I don’t know. I don’t know what the neighborhoods are. I think.
Stephen Metcalf: You got.
Speaker 3: To play up the fact that I’m like a Southerner here. I’m just I’m just a humble country boy. Um, I really enjoyed it. I’ve really enjoyed the I’ve seen the I watched the first three episodes, first two, and I really enjoyed it. I like Jesse Eisenberg. I like him as an actor, like Claire Danes. I like the entire cast. Lizzy Caplan is is great as the narrator and I have been really absorbed in the story of this deteriorating marriage, this this marriage that deteriorated and the kind of almost mystery of, you know, what specifically precipitated this and the very clear sense you get from the beginning that Eisenberg’s character.
Speaker 3: Mr. Fleishman, it’s immediately clear that his perspective on this, it’s very self-involved and there is a lot that we do not actually know and a lot we’re not getting. And I find it very compelling, and this is not normally my cup of tea as far as television goes, but I found this a very compelling watch. And I think, again, I think all the performances are terrific. I think Eisenberg is very good in this.
Stephen Metcalf: Julia, let me just turn to you. It’s it’s got a lot of challenges, one of which is that, you know, for the first couple of episodes, it may not be entirely clear that you’re getting a highly interested subjective account, i.e. Toby’s account of the marriage. I mean, you know, especially because this voiceover is a third party who’s not. Toby Right. So voiceovers tend to be I mean, they’re either omniscient or they’re they’re heavily aligned with a character whose vocalization is through whom we’re getting the movie itself or whatever. The dramatic action itself here actually turns out to be. Quite a discrepancy. Doesn’t really come that clear in the first couple of episodes, does it? A little disorienting. How do you how did you find your way?
Julia Turner: Yeah, I so I read the novel and enjoyed the novel quite a bit and was excited about the casting for this. I feel like we have to pour one out for Dana, who who enjoys talking about and looking at the acting of and also the person of Jesse Eisenberg as he has described on the show and. You know, great cast, totally fun, interesting story. And I think your your note of mystery Jamelle is totally dead on. Like what what worked in the book.
Julia Turner: And part of what propels this story is the sense of like it’s a whodunit. It’s a it’s a psychological portrait of a crumbling marriage, but reframed as two mysteries. One, whodunit, How did the marriage end and who’s right and wrong about its demise? And also kind of where the fuck is she? Because the precipitating incident is that the is that Rachel? The wife disappears and Toby is sort of bizarrely unworried about it and just pissed and peeved about it for a while before His friends are like, I’m maybe maybe think a little harder about that.
Julia Turner: The near the narration did not work great for me because when you have actors this good. It’s kind of a bummer to to not let them and their instruments and their faces and their voices tell the story. So I’m I my jury is out until I watch the whole thing, which I will because I find it compelling. And yes.
Julia Turner: Fancy, fancy New York material status anxiety dramas are certainly overrepresented in Hollywood, but, you know, they’re not it’s not unfun or funny to see the elements of satire there, of the, you know, hedge fund brokers getting skewered in their whiskey swilling great rooms. Like, that’s perfectly fine entertainment. So. I’m the acting is so good that I’m curious to see whether the show can use the narrative, the voiceover, which feels a little overbearing in the first couple of episodes to pull off. The trick of the perspective shifts that I know are coming from having read the book. So I don’t it doesn’t feel like it’s working to me, but maybe it’s going to work is kind of my verdict so far.
Stephen Metcalf: I will say that it’s not working for me after two episodes, in part because given how you have all these ingredients, right? On the one hand, you’ve got a social satire of Upper East Side, as you say, just kind of a pitiless social satire of the ultra rich in Manhattan.
Stephen Metcalf: Right. And then you’ve got this kind of, you know, put upon martyred nebbish who’s a doctor whose place within that social universe is drawn with enormous amounts of care. So he’s shown at his job is not only being a doctor, but is going above and beyond in the way that doctors scarcely do anymore. He’s he understands that there’s a holistic nature to it. That bedside manner is really important, that you have to see the entire narrative, the entire narrative of a patient in order to properly diagnose them. And he’s a generous and kind of pedagogue and mentor. It’s not just about treating patients. It’s about minting new doctors who have this same set of, you know, empathetic skills in order to be a genuinely good one.
Stephen Metcalf: So at the same time, he’s derided as a complete, like, absolute lowest rung object of pity in this world of the ultra rich that he has access to, he’s part of by virtue of his kids private school, you know, which is overpopulated by this upper, upper, upper point 1%, and by his wife who’s made it big in her career.
Stephen Metcalf: But then you have this problem of what’s the relationship between the satire, which seems acute and accurate, as if it’s intended to be a depiction. I mean, it’s obviously an exaggerated depiction, but, you know, and this like deep almost Henry James, Ian interest, objectivity of multiple competing narratives, one of whom it’s like, why is it being narrated by this third party friend? Like, why has that friend decided? And it it’s just it’s you know, and then and because you don’t really know what you’re going to eventually get is this sort of Rashomon or Henry James Ian, you know, deconstruction of anything like the possibilities of an objective point of view.
Stephen Metcalf: At first you’re like, why is it just it why is it so centered upon his grievances and why is she so horrible? And why were they ever, ever, ever together? I agree with you. It’s rescued by the acting, but beyond a certain point, it’s definitely got like it is Jamelle. It is placing a huge stockpile of TNT underneath the he said world and you sense okay it’s to that fuses lit. But over the course of two full hours it’s just unclear how that’s going to unfold. And by the end of the second episode, I kind of lost my patience.
Speaker 3: I think that’s fair. I think that’s really fair. I like I like the cast so much, basically. And I’m so sort of, like, intrigued about the kind of like, where’s his wife question that that’s really keeping me that’s keeping my attention more than anything.
Julia Turner: Yeah. I think that tension, the other tension which which worked in the book and may turn out to work in the show is like the satire of the world is so tart and funny in the book. I mean, even just putting her finger on the notion that there is this milieu in which being a wonderful and respected and well compensated doctor is like a tedious humiliation. And the wife character is constantly trying to goad him into more lucrative and unethical jobs. And I think that’s a funny observation. That’s like that’s a that’s a sharp knife blade satire. There’s been plenty of satire of this world. And the what was the Nicole Kidman murder Hugh Grant about? He won the undoing.
Julia Turner: You know, the level the acuity of the observations in the novel is very sharp and funny when stacked up against, you know, many, many, many criticisms, critique setters of this world. It’s really good. And I sense in the making of the show, this tension of so many lines in the book are just so good and so funny. Why not just have the narrator say them?
Julia Turner: But I, I do think that the show might feel more ambitious and exciting if it had actually found a way to use the medium of television to convey some of that observation of the world. Because the other thing that it raises is. You’ve got this narrator who is giving you a lot. She’s dishing with you a lot. She’s telling you a lot about this world, but she’s withholding the reveal of how her perspective is shifting as she’s understanding what’s going on. So the relationship with the narrator character is a little wild.
Julia Turner: And then Lizzy Caplan is a great, great actress. I mean, she’s always good in everything and sort of under, you know, gets steady work and is always respected and yet is still a little undervalued. She’s got a bit of that, like Judy Greer energy like like, you know, to find more things for Lizzy Caplan to do. So to see her playing something so complicated is really exciting. And then having the feeling that she’s just kind of like reading the audio book to me. Well, while Jesse Eisenberg, like pantomimes around the Upper East Side is like, I kind of want more, but I will keep watching. Like, I’m into it. And I, I think I’m curious to see. I feel like there’s so much skill in the cast that I’m interested to see how they land the plane.
Stephen Metcalf: And interesting, I will say this, that the sort of preview after episode two of what’s to come. For almost no relationship to the 2 hours I had just seen that that kept me intrigued. It’s like, Wait, what did I get put this to do together and come up with four? So maybe I’ll stick with it. Anyway, it’s Fleishman is in trouble. It’s on Hulu. It really remarkable performances. Check it out.
Stephen Metcalf: All right. Well, the author, the essayist and novelist Joan Didion went from admired to iconic. She went someplace mega in the last decade or so of her life as befitting an icon relics, fragments of the cross locks of hair. In short, her stuff. In reality, we’re talking lamps, sofas, tables, china napkins, books. And yes, Celine Faux tortoiseshell sunglasses were sold at auction. They were gaveled down. It sums vaster than anticipated, considerably more than anticipated. Jamelle. I’ve never canvassed you on your Joan Didion feelings. I almost want to start there. Do you have any history with her as a writer or any special admiration for her? How do you feel about Didion?
Speaker 3: I think it’s going to mark me as tremendously uncultured. I have never read any Joan Didion. I have no opinions or feelings about her. I have a zero complete absence of thought.
Stephen Metcalf: We could skip that, by the way. I don’t know.
Speaker 3: Simply keep that and keep that up.
Stephen Metcalf: Okay. Good, good, good. Thanks.
Speaker 3: I feel like. I feel like I appear to be too erudite. And I need people to know that my brain is empty of many things.
Julia Turner: This is. This is how. This is how you’ve done it. This is how you’ve mastered all of American history. And so much of modern journalism and so many interesting things, say, and all of film history. It’s just by leaving out Joan.
Speaker 5: Yeah. Yeah.
Stephen Metcalf: There we go.
Stephen Metcalf: All right, well, let me. Let me try a different angle, then. You know, there’s it seems to me the great virtue of books is that any one edition or copy of a book is just like another is so long as the words are the same. Right? It’s not true of a Picasso painting or a anything performance based. But literature has this universality and mobility to it. It doesn’t. It’s not very object based, right. Like and so in some sense, isn’t there something a little weird and primitive about venerating an author for their words? Right. And yet somehow investing their stuff like just their bric a brac in some instances with this value and monetary value at that? Or am I just being kind of puritanical here?
Speaker 3: No, I think it makes a lot of sense, actually, because we do that with all sorts of figures, right? You know, like we we look at presidents, you know, presidents who are are famous, important, whatever for what they do, for maybe what they say for heavy action, not so much for their things, but for the artifacts of a president and have a lot of value to people. They’re you know, they’re basically like secular relics in a lot of ways. And I think here it’s well, it’s precisely because Didion is so famous for her work, because because people have drawn so much from her work that her her stuff, her things take on art. They become objects of fascination. Maybe we can divine something about what made her mind work in the way it did from not just what she owned, but how she used it, how it was place like all of these sorts of things about about the objects around her.
Speaker 3: And I think I mean, I do think that makes a lot of sense. Like just looking around my house right now, I’m like right next to where I’m recording now is my of two bookshelves with like Blu rays on them in just sort of how they’re organized. Like all that stuff, like does tell you something about me and it tells you something about how my mind works. And I have to imagine that that is especially true of someone like Didion, the things she owned, where they were relative to where she work in their house or whatever. They tell you something about her and it makes total sense to me that this would become that people would be people would want to own this and would want to covet this.
Julia Turner: The thing that I keep thinking is like the only thing I want to read about this auction is like the essay Joan Didion would have written about it. Because first of all, I think you’re right that we have this association with everybody. People collect, you know, baseballs that their icons have signed and touched, like the sense of of that closeness of possessing an object that was used or touched by someone you revere. Like that’s that’s quite common and not that surprising. And then the fact that so many people wanted to possess her sunglasses that they sold for, I think $27,000 is maybe a testament to the breadth of her fan base and the wealth of some of them.
Julia Turner: But she was so, so able in her writing to describe cultural phenomena in ways that were tart, lucid and funny and very clear, but also to then ascribe to them like gigantic sweeping. Sentiments about the decline and fall of humankind or this, that and the other. And I’d be so interested.
Julia Turner: You know, she both wrote smartly about America, its relationship with itself, its direction, its fixation on sort of the the material and the manic. And then also so smartly about grief and remembrance. And I’m so curious which of her, you know, whether she would interpret this through the lens of human connection and mourning or whether she would interpret this through a darker lens of like American kind of materialism and missing the point, like and, you know, the auction proceeds are going to charity. They’re going to fund the Historical Society of Sacramento, which I’m like, you know, curious. I mean, a natural follow up story for a California based culture department. If anybody knows, one is probably to figure out exactly what the Sacramento Historical Society is going to do with these proceeds. And the proceeds are also going towards Parkinson’s research.
Julia Turner: So it’s hard you know, it’s hard to say that this is all like, you know, for enriching the heirs or anything. It seems like a perfectly fine exercise. But I just I don’t know. The thing I found poignant about it as someone who is both a deep admirer of Joan Didion work and also someone who feels slightly suspicious of the, like, beguiling way in which she made arguments. I just want to know which argument she would make about this, because I think it could go so many interesting ways. And I think that to me is like the testament to a writer worth tangling with in your mind is like, I don’t know what she would have said. And that’s kind of part of what was exciting and interesting about her work to me.
Stephen Metcalf: Yeah, I think the genius of Didion I mean, was so it’s so complex that it I don’t want to pretend to sum it up with one phrase or little pat, you know, formula. But I do think that a serious part of her genius is, you know, she was able to, you know, write, for example, in the sixty’s about the general nervous breakdown of American society while making her own emotional fragility. A perfect synthetic for it.
Stephen Metcalf: Right. It was like she was the part and there was the whole and the two were in this constant and dynamic relationship to one another. So she was both able to do, for example, what Mailer did, which was kind of I mean, she never foregrounded herself the way Norman Mailer did, but she made herself a part of her own narrative in a way that felt socially relevant, which is just the fucking golden chalice, right? And at at the same time, she was very playful and very cunning, or the people around her were or I’m sure it was both.
Stephen Metcalf: But she did not only invest everything she wrote with her own persona and aura, it was enhanced by photographic images. She was the, you know, the lens loved Joan Didion. Right. And that image of her, the indelible image of her in front of the Corvette Stingray, I think she’s wearing the sunglasses in it or whatever. I mean, it’s you know, you didn’t have trouble picturing Joan Didion, the person when you read Joan Didion, swear word on the page. And I think the essence, you know, of the kind of. You know, lock of the same tear or fragment of the cross is always that in possessing this object, I will transfer the world to me. And that to me, what I don’t like about that is that that’s the whole point of having written the stuff.
Speaker 5: Right?
Stephen Metcalf: It’s like that’s the essence of reading, right? It’s like it’s like this intimate way in which the words like literally the, the, the stream of another person’s voice becomes your own consciousness, which is only reading. Does that not radio, not plays, not anything. Right. And that’s where the aura gets transferred. And that’s what the aura is in some sense to say that that inheres in specific objects. Maybe I just have a lacerating, you know, puritanical streak to me. But but, Jamal, for some reason, I can’t help recoiling a little bit at this.
Speaker 5: I.
Speaker 3: I don’t know. I don’t I totally understand the appeal of wanting to own something that belonged to someone you admire and even being willing to spend quite a bit of money on it. You know, if, if, if I, if I somehow came into an enormous sum of money and I learned that like unrecorded persons, like M2 was like available for auction, I would totally buy it. I would totally own it. And to have like maybe be able to get a sense of the man’s genius. Right? It’s sort of like I, I 100% understand and sympathize with that, with that impulse. It doesn’t strike me as materialistic. I mean, does strike me as being in some sense, like a little spiritual. Like a yeah.
Speaker 3: The funny thing about modernity, about being modern humans, is that we often think of ourselves as like so much more sophisticated than people who, you know, kept relics around to pray to whatever. But we do the same thing. We do the same thing in our own way, mediated through the specifics of a particular time and place. And this is all this is what this is to me. This is that for the very wealthy.
Julia Turner: Yeah. You know, it’s funny. Now I follow you on Instagram and sometimes on Instagram you sell old clothes like sweaters or blazers. And I bet some people buy those blazers from you because they admire your style, which is not inconsiderable. But I like bet there’s somebody out there who is an aspiring writer who like, I don’t know, like feels good about having a Jamelle cardigan and gives that gives them like a little bit of inspiration and it’s like, maybe, you know, I’m going to I want to find my voice and my expertise and figure out how I can put my my wisdom into the world. Like, I don’t know, maybe that’s like an imaginary thought poem. But, you know, part of the I have to imagine that some of your fan base people who love your writing or your photography and people who follow you for your perspective on the world are not just buying your used sweaters because they’re like, I need a sweater and that’s a good deal. And I like that sweater. Like some of the Jamelle ness of the sweaters must be part of it, right?
Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah, I’m sure that I’ve I’ve never thought about that, but I’m. I’m 100% sure that you’re right about that.
Julia Turner: Well, I’ve been looking at this, too, like my mom and sister and I cleaned out a bunch of my dad’s possessions. He died in 2021, and we went through a bunch of them the summer. And I took he just had a great he was like a dapper prep and had an understated style, but just had like a big collection of men’s shirts for weekend sort of subtle flannels for for dress. And he liked to he liked to pink and he liked to Peach and he liked the subtle plaid and just this collection of shirts that I picture him in. I have pictures of him and I received hugs from him in.
Julia Turner: And my sister and I had this like, magical day of kind of giving them up. And we we tried them all on and they kind of look good on both of us in a menswear way. And each shirt knew which of us it was for. Like we didn’t fight about it, any of them. Like it’s just clear as soon as we both put them on, like, like the shirts chose us, right? Like this collection of shirts divided themselves up in this afternoon. I’m trying them on and I’ve been wearing them a lot and they just feel nice. And that’s obviously different. Having having an object that belonged to someone you knew and loved so intimately as someone who you admire and know only as an idea or a mind from afar. But I like the generosity of of. Of kind of not pathologizing it and just sort of saying like, Yeah. Good, good on you. Person who aspires to Jones wisdom and hotter and remove in her sunglasses and look good on you Jamelle Jamelle sweater consumer. Yeah why not?
Stephen Metcalf: Why not. All right well certainly if you purchased any of the aforementioned items, we’d love to hear from you. Otherwise, let’s move on.
Stephen Metcalf: All right. Now is the moment in our podcast when we endorse Jamal. What? What do you have?
Speaker 3: I have not gotten in the mail, but it’s on the way. But it’s the Criterion release of Spike Lee’s Malcolm X. It’s a 4K restoration. So sort of, I think scan from the original camera negative, sort of like remastered the whole nine yards. I’m really looking forward to watching it and I’m just recommending it because I think I think biopics of like Fall out of Style for the most part, and Malcolm X is like one of the films and Spike’s, you know, filmography that I think people really respect, but not necessarily.
Speaker 3: Everyone’s really like stuck with it. It’s like a three hour, it’s like an epic. It’s like 3 hours long. But I, I had rewatched it last year and I’ve seen it a couple of times, and I came away once again, struck not just by the sheer ambition of it to tell the story of a very complicated man’s life and might be to in just the confines of a film, but the extent to which it is such.
Speaker 3: And I don’t think Spike gets enough appreciation for this. It’s such a love letter to classic Hollywood. Spike Lee, like very clearly loves Hollywood of the fifties, in the sixties and the forties in that film has sort of images and touchstones to those decades beginning as sort of like a inner city gangster picture. It has not a musical number, but should have a big dance number that’s like very reminiscent of like MGM in the fifties in school days, has that like phenomenal dance number that it’s just sort of like Spike. It feels like to me saying, Give me money to make a big musical, but Malcolm X has some of that.
Speaker 3: It’s like a second early sixties style prison picture. There are like glimpses of Lawrence of Arabia at the end. It’s just like such it’s such a mishmash of styles and genres and ambition that I continuously find remarkable. I think it’s like one of the great American movie, like just, you know, period. And for My Money, that’s my favorite Spike Lee film.
Speaker 3: So it’s also you should watch Malcolm X if you’ve never seen it. Just really like put away your phone, throw your iPad, your laptop, Like you shouldn’t be doing that anyway when you’re watching a movie. But like for this, put it away and watch the movie on his big screen that he can manage. And if you are a maniac like myself and spend all your money on 4K Blu rays, you should pick up the 4K Blu ray because those things look great. And it’s you know, it’s going to be it’s often like be be the best possible way to experience an older movie like that. Barring being able to see like a 35 millimeter print on on a proper screen.
Julia Turner: I have not seen that movie. It’s it’s a hole in my Spike Lee canon. So and I will take your advice and watch it ASAP.
Stephen Metcalf: Yeah, absolutely.
Stephen Metcalf: All right, Julia, what do you have?
Julia Turner: Okay. I must start with a question. Jamelle. Are you watching Andor?
Speaker 3: I am watching Andor.
Julia Turner: Okay. My endorsement is episode ten of Andor just came out a couple of weeks ago, and it’s a great episode in a bunch of ways. There’s a kind of exciting rebellion set piece. There’s a fraught, tense drama among the financers of the rebellion. But also the episode ends with an incredible monologue performed by Stellan Sarsgaard, who plays kind of the guy who’s coordinating the fledgling rebellion and.
Julia Turner: I don’t think of the soliloquy as like a modern form. Right. That’s like Shakespeare wrote them. They’re kind of in older play’s dialogue these days is a bit more around a tad. And if you are giving a long speech, it probably means your thing is fucked. Like, the script isn’t good, like in general. I think the best screenwriters avoid having characters speechifying because it’s so often sounds wooden and feels wrong. Doesn’t seem right. I’m very curious for your review of the soliloquy if you’re caught up on the season.
Speaker 3: I missed it.
Julia Turner: I blew my mind. Like I feel like it should actually be taught next to Shakespeare soliloquies. Like it’s an incredible piece of writing and performance.
Speaker 3: I got to say, like, I it’s it’s incredible. I mean, I don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s it’s in short, it’s him. It’s sort of like he’s meeting with a double agent in the Empire. And it’s he’s asking this guy to to sacrifice more, like do more for the rebellion. And this guy is like, what have you done for the rebellion? And then he just, like, goes on this tear for he’s like, he’s basically sort of like I have destroyed my inner life in order to make this happen. And the some of the lines in there are just unbelievable. I’ve made my mind a sunless place. I share my dreams with Ghost. You know, I live my life for sunrise that someone else will see.
Stephen Metcalf: Are you going to be a savior against injustice without contemplating the cost?
Speaker 5: By the time I look down, there’s no longer any ground beneath my feet. What is my. What is my sacrifice?
Julia Turner: It’s so good. And the other thing that’s amazing about it is how it starts. And it reminded me what’s powerful about good soliloquies, which is it’s watching someone you speaking to think. And in this case, it’s sort of thinking out loud and it’s sort of thinking for persuasion. But the first word. So he gets asked, what have you sacrificed? And you watch Stellan Sarsgaard face and he pauses and he. Things and you’re like for a moment as watching. You’re like, Oh, no, he’s dumped him. He’s behind the scenes. He’s the spymaster, he’s not on the front. He isn’t sacrificing like you’re you’re like, Is he about to cop to not sacrificing as much? Like what? You have the suspense. Like, what is his answer? Does he have a good answer to this double agent who’s who’s got such a hard lot?
Julia Turner: And the first word he says is calm. Like the thing he sacrificed first is calm. And I don’t want to spoil more about what he says or overhype it too much, although too late for that. But I’d love starting with calm, because calm you’re like, okay, calm like the rebellion. Like baby calm is fine. Like, maybe it’s fine that you sacrificed calm, but it’s calm, kindness, kinship, and then it goes into the. Yeah, I mean, also, by the way, Jamal and I are like, reciting this fucking speech from memory because it’s so fucking good. And also because I rewind it, we wound it like three times two.
Speaker 3: I mediately rewound it. I was like, I need to watch this again. But the other line that like, stuck in my head, I burn my decency for someone else’s future like that. That’s not only writing we don’t normally get and like genre show short period or like a Star Wars, right? Sort of. Just like there’s just like, great writing period. It’s just a great it’s so evocative.
Julia Turner: And it all works and it’s sound. I’m sure it sounds overwrought if you’re not cut up, Steve, but it’s so good.
Julia Turner: And I will I’m going to go on record here and I’m going to call out Mrs. Dana while she’s traveling for her book. Somehow we talked about reboot and this show in rapid succession. And the takeaway I had is that Dana thinks reboot is one for the ages and Andor is so. So and I just want to say that as I dig further into Android, this is the wrong guest opinion held on the podcast. And Steve talked about Taylor Swift and we will return to this when she returns to the show. But like she’s got like this show is so good. You have to be watching it if you are not. I feel like Jamal, this show is sort of up your alley. I think the show is kind of not up my alley. Take it from the joint force here. You got to be watching this. Like it’s just incredible what they’re doing. That’s my endorsement. Thank you, Jamal. I’m so glad you You also are a fan. Fun to started with you.
Speaker 5: Uh. Oh, my God. Oh, I.
Stephen Metcalf: I just can’t compete with that.
Speaker 5: I mean, I like the song.
Stephen Metcalf: Mine’s a song.
Julia Turner: You know, Good songs. You always got good songs up your sleeve. Don’t sleep on your song.
Stephen Metcalf: Doug. I just said the vigil. It’s just not necessary. It’s fine. I like this song. I don’t know much about it. A friend sent it to me. It is called Super Rich Kids. It’s new, It’s from Trio SA nine and a collaboration with Malik to Judy, T.J. or You Die. Judy, whose music? I really like.
Speaker 6: To manage rides and that is car to the many white lies and white lines separates kids with nothing but kids adds to the Redskins with nothing.
Speaker 5: But fake friends. Well.
Stephen Metcalf: All right. It’s just a song. It doesn’t have Shakespearean resonances that I’m familiar with yet, but it’s it’s fun. Check it out. Jamal, thank you so much for coming on the show, as always. Just it just is great to hear from you.
Speaker 3: My pleasure, as always.
Stephen Metcalf: And Julia, thank you so much. That was fun. That was good.
Julia Turner: So fun.
Stephen Metcalf: You will find links to some of the things we talked about today at our show page. That’s at Slate.com plus Culture Fest. And you can e-mail us at Culture Fest at Slate.com. Our introductory music is by the same composer who did the music for she said Nicholas Patel.
Julia Turner: And Andor, by the way.
Speaker 5: Oh, my God.
Stephen Metcalf: That guy’s that guy everywhere. And our production assistant is Yesica Balderrama, our producers Cameron Drews for Jamelle Bouie and Julia Turner. I’m Stephen Metcalf. Thank you so much for joining us. We will see you soon.
Julia Turner: Hello and welcome to the Salad Blues segment of the Slate Culture Gabfest. Today we bring you more thoughts on Twitter as the situation unfolds with great turmoil. I will open with a brief anecdote and then throw this to Jamal. So a couple weeks ago, maybe after the night when everyone thought Twitter was going to die that time, I reached out to an excellent Twitterer of my acquaintance and asked whether this Twitter I would would write an obit. I was like, It would be good to have someone write like a really kind elegy for the best of Twitter, for what it was, what made it great. You know, like, I think it would be fun to do that. And this Twitter declined was like, it’s not dead yet. Twitter has not been this fun in decades. Like like Twitter is full of like weird electric energy and strangeness.
Julia Turner: And it’s incredibly compelling to watch, though. Not ready to elegies your eulogize. And, you know, keep me posted. And I feel like I’ve heard the same sentiment from some other successful power tweeters and Jamelle. I would classify you as the successful power tweeter on this call.
Julia Turner: So I’m curious for your perspective. We talked through a couple weeks ago, Stephen Dana and I. How do we feel about staying on? What’s the value of staying on? Is there some benefit in kind of trying to shore up the ecosystem through this transition? Should we all just walk away and had differing opinions about it? So I’m curious sort of a for kind of your base analysis of the situation and then be what you make of this sense of like, is Twitter actually weirdly great right now, or is it just sad to watch the wheels coming off?
Speaker 3: I don’t know if I think Twitter’s weirdly great right now. I mean, it does have a strange energy, I think. Elon Musk kind of becoming the permanent main character of Twitter has invigorated people. But first of all, the website is clearly like deteriorating. It’s clearly not working it well as it could because of the mass layoffs, which is not great.
Speaker 3: But the other thing is that, you know, whatever Musk is, ideological goals are. I mean, he clearly has them. They at least involve sort of like bringing back the Twitter of, say, 2015, in 2016, which was awful, which was a Twitter that was infected with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, where if you were I mean, like harassment is always been a thing on this platform.
Speaker 3: But in those years, if you were, you know, tweeting as a person on the left, as a woman, as a Jewish person, as a black person, that is whomever your tweets were going to almost instantly attract all sorts of insane abuse from, you know, trolls and bots. And Musk seems to have nostalgia for that period of Twitter and wants to bring it back. And that’s what I think is going to happen to the Web. So I think it’s kind of become become sort of a never for channel, right? Just a cesspool of the worst people on the Internet. And that’s just going to make it really unpleasant to be on.
Speaker 3: Know it’s clear Musk believed that the reason why that stuff had been censored or removed or whatnot is because, you know, woke liberals were blue hair, were kind of oppressing conservatives and whatever. But the reason why that happened is because the website’s otherwise unusable without that kind of content moderation, It’s unprofitable without it as he’s learning. Right. That, like, brands don’t want to be on a website where you know, you you you have an ad about your latest toaster and right next to it is like an excerpt from The Turner Diaries. Like, no one wants that. But also it just makes it an unpleasant place to be on. So I am I’m pretty pessimistic about where to go. And I haven’t like I haven’t like the lead of my account or anything. I’m still going to I’m going to go down with the ship. But I don’t think it’s I don’t my my sense is that it it is going down.
Julia Turner: Have you have you thought about jumping off before the ship tanks or you’re just like, oh, I’ve got a bunch invested here. I might as well see what happens and use it for my purposes until no one’s using it anymore.
Speaker 3: Yeah, that’s pretty much where I am. And, you know, I sort of at the beginning of a year, I started using Tik Tok as kind of an experiment, sort of like, how can I make this work for me? You know, I didn’t. Yeah, it turns out I can. I sort of. I opened up a TikTok account, didn’t connect it to my Twitter. Kind of like, did it kind of entirely separate from Twitter?
Speaker 3: Entirely separate from like, you know, my New York Times stuff to say, can I organically build a little platform for myself on Tick Tock and yeah, and it actually has some of the charm of Twitter in that you can kind of be casual and toss things off and shit, post a little and that kind of thing. It’s, it’s, it’s simultaneously tick tock, simultaneously similar to in some ways better than Twitter. And then also much, much worse because the the lack of a silo on Twitter is amplified 100 fold and tick tock. You literally have no idea where your video is going to end up. And so that can attract all sorts of terrible things. And moderation tools are very bad thus far.
Julia Turner: Right? There’s so much emphasis on the sort of response video or things getting pulled into other contexts.
Stephen Metcalf: And Jamelle I take it, given your answer, you haven’t ventured into Mastodon yet.
Speaker 3: It seems too much like a platform for nerds to be honest now.
Julia Turner: Have you have you become Mastodon curious Steve since our last conversation?
Stephen Metcalf: Well, curious, yeah, but I mean, I can’t make heads or tails of it. I mean, you have to sort of get your head around the, you know, the, you know, decentralized nature of it, which in theory is very like Linux. It’s very appealing, very Web 1.0. The problem is, of course, what you want is like seamlessness and efficiency and not to have the slightest tech challenge, getting on to it and using it. And seeing getting a feed going. So and then there’s the network effect, like how you get I mean, it’s like everyone has to go in the pool together, right, To dredge up a metaphor from earlier in the show or it’s valueless.
Stephen Metcalf: And so that’s among the hardest things, right, is the Twitter. What I what I love about this is that. The sheer numbers of people necessary to keep Twitter on a second by second basis, highly functional and therefore seamless to use. Right. It requires the ongoing effort. It’s not algorithmic and somehow self-sustaining. There’s no autopilot button. You actually need these live, super trained, competent people working in real time basis and continuous basis in order to keep it going. And either either Musk didn’t understand that or very cynically, he just wanted to massively lay people off without the legal liabilities therein and so scared them off. Or I, I don’t know. I don’t know what he’s up to. I agree with Jamal. There’s an ideological agenda there that’s only semi announced, but not too hard maybe to discern.
Stephen Metcalf: But I guess I have a question for Jamal, though. Build so directly on what he said. I hope it’s not redundant. But you know, people in the people, people who might serve and have served in the Trump administration, we’re faced with this moral dilemma, which is like, I can try to stick, I can do it, I’ll get the stink all over me. I’ll be interpreted as an enabler. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll have my finger in a, you know, in the dam and I’ll keep the thing from completely bursting. And, you know, maybe I’ll avert a total corruption of the Constitution and nuclear war. Right? And different people make that choices choice differently. And I kind of respected both or I think there are a lot of people who used it as an alibi after the fact and are full of shit. But all of that said is there are a line in the sand for you facing a somewhat similar dilemma, right? Like you’re part of a resistance at one moment, but this or x, y or z starts to happen. You’re now part of the problem and you just you have to delete your account. Have you thought that through?
Speaker 3: I, I haven’t, because I just can’t. I can’t think of. I can’t think of the scenario in which that would be the case, in which, like my posting, would somehow facilitate something that I have a moral problem with. Like, unless, I mean, you know, if Musk were like tomorrow or whenever to be like, you know, Twitter is now a platform MAGA platform only venue, I would probably jump ship, you know. But, you know, as long as there is sort of an ostensible neutrality, I will probably stay on.
Speaker 3: I mean, the one thing that I do take care to do is just like not to, you know, retweet or tweet people who I think are destructive or, you know, bad actors because I just drives engagement for them. And so, you know, you find ways around that you could take a screenshot or whatever. And so I think I think I think people can do that just like as much as possible, sort of starve them of the engagement that they want. But, you know, as long as I mean, the fact of the matter is just isn’t really a substitute for Twitter and. As long as it’s around, as long as it’s sort of like functional, then I’m probably just going to be on it.
Julia Turner: Yeah, I mean, that’s the other thing is like what will happen if it becomes a. Unusable space as I’ll just like, stop engaging with it. But I think I’m probably more inclined to like, leave my persona there on a shelf to see if it ever becomes something else rather than to quit in a half. Because fundamentally, my like modest following there as a bad Twitterer, which is what I would describe myself as, like sometimes I’m performing an amusing version of myself on the Internet in the way that makes for good Twitter. And sometimes I’m just like the boring boss lady being like, Read my people’s cool stuff. It’s so good.
Julia Turner: But, you know, just like the worst. I mean, you know, it’s a fine role to play in the ecosystem, but I am I’m not one of the literary glories of Twitter and haven’t prioritized that. But just by dint of the jobs I’ve had and the people I’ve worked with or whatever, I have a following there, and it seems sort of boring and exhausting to go make another one somewhere else like I do. You resent at all that part of your job is to like, go figure out how to be a talk person to on some level and Tumblr. Does it not feel like a job? And it just feels like a fun form of expression.
Speaker 3: I mean, the TikTok thing, I mean, all of this stuff. Like, I don’t think of this stuff as like a form of expression. For me, it is. It is both sort of part of my job. I don’t resent it because I just find it interesting. It’s like a puzzle for me, like how you get on this. I’ve been on Twitter basically since it started, so I kind of, you know, are my my Twitter persona. My Twitter user grew with the platform and sort of grew organically with how people are figuring out how to use it to talk is different for me in that like I, you know, first of all, I’m like twice as old as everyone on here.
Speaker 3: And I didn’t use video stuff. I didn’t really have never really use of force, which is for a puzzle like how how can I translate what I do in my column into and what I do with my my newsletter or whatever into, you know, two, three minute 62nd videos that are interesting that people are like, what nice can I feel fill that isn’t really being met on this app and kind of trying to figure it out.
Speaker 3: So it was like it was it’s work for me. Like I think of it as work. Like I think of it as sort of like, okay, this man set aside 30 minutes to kind of like brainstorm some stuff to put on here. But I it’s not like burdensome work, but it’s not self-expression either. Like, self-expression for me is like I pick up a camera and wander for an hour. Yeah, but but the social media, I do think of that as being by jobs. That’s that like, you know, Thanksgiving’s this week as far as a recording, I’m not going to be on any social media this week. I’m going to like Cook and, you know, hang out with my I have is I have a close friend coming to town with and you know, spend time with my kids like that kind of thing.
Julia Turner: Will you post any cooking material on any of your socials?
Speaker 3: Probably on Instagram, which is the closest thing to sort of a personal thing that I use. I try to I try to do this thing where it’s like the appearance of openness. You know, people think that they know a bunch about my life, but they actually don’t. And that’s how I like it. So I will probably, you know, I’ll probably post at least one picture of something.
Julia Turner: Yeah. I think one of my takeaways from this conversation, Steve, is that we need to go back to Tick Tock because all of my social accounts were begun as segments on this show, right? Like, oh, everybody’s doing but let’s try blah and talk about it. And that means that almost all of my social accounts are some version, some performed version of my journalism self. But we did Tick Tock early enough that it truly was all teenagers dancing and trying to impress each other. And it is a much more kind of wooly and robust space for different kinds of communication and being than I think it was when we tackled it. So I think we think it might be time to kind of go back in in various ways. Perhaps we will enlist you in that journey. And. Jamal.
Speaker 3: Oh, yeah, we’d love to.
Julia Turner: All right. Well, thank you so much. Slate Plus members for supporting Slate and its journalism, for supporting the Culture gabfest and listening to our show and this bonus segment of it. We will see you soon. Have a great holiday week.