Alive with Rage in Q3

Published September 13, 2018.

Aminatou: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend. Ann: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere. Aminatou: I'm Aminatou Sow. Ann: And I'm Ann Friedman. On this week's agenda our ad and business decisions and why there is no ethical consumption under capitalism; Selena's justified rage; and a petty anger corner where we complain about the tiny, probably insignificant things that make us rage. [Theme Song] Aminatou: Heller Ann Friedman! Ann: Oh, hello, hello. Guess what? I've showered and it's not 9 a.m. yet. Aminatou: [Laughs] Well on this coast it's well past 9 a.m. Ann: I know. This is like . . . it just sounds increasingly less impressive when I say it out loud. I was feeling so freelancer good about myself today. I was like oof, I am on it. Yeah. Aminatou: Oh my god. I look like freelancer bedraggled today. Like I caught a glimpse of myself in the television, you know? And I was like cover the TV up. I can't deal with this. Ann: Right. You're like who is she? (1:50) Aminatou: Yeah. But it's also productive days. Ann: We have so many announcements today. What's going on? Aminatou: Girl! So many announcements. Well, the first super exciting announcement is that your girls are going on tour. Ann: What? Hell yeah! Aminatou: Yeah! You know, head to to find out all about the Shine Theory Tour. It's going to be fun. Coming to nine -- ten cities near you? Ann: I think it's nine. Aminatou: I think it's nine, right? We were trying to be ambitious but it's definitely nine now. But I'm super-excited about the places we're going to. We're hitting the Pacific Northwest for the first time, going back to some Midwest faves and hitting the east coast and San Francisco. Ann: Also first time in Boston and my first time ever in the city of Seattle. That's what's going to happen here. So basically between October 21st and November 4th we are on the road. So come see us. We are going to have some very fun guests. We're going to have some very fun segments that we can only do live because there's a visual element. Guess what? We're also visual people. And it's just a really good time. Aminatou: [Laughs] I know, and really good merch. Like exclusive merch. Talk to anybody who's been to our shows before, how soft is the t-shirt? So soft. Ann: Truly the softest. I cannot wait. This is like me living all of my weird "But what if I were in a band?" fantasies because our tour tee is one of those that has all the dates on the back. Ugh, I just couldn't be happier about it. And also we are going to be road dogs together. Aminatou: Listen. [Laughs] I'm both excited and worried about it. So I'm actually super excited about this tour. I think it's going to be fun. Looking forward to meeting everybody, so bring your besties. Buy your ticket early. We're not going to handle any of the "I couldn't get a ticket, can I get on the list?" emails. No more. Your girl's too big for that now. [Laughter] So if you want to come and you care about us buy your ticket early. Show up on time. (4:08) Ann: It is true because in certain cities where we haven't been in a while they probably will sell out fairly quickly. And also it's called the Shine Theory Tour. You want to be there. We're all going to shine so hard IRL in the same space. Aminatou: Right. Bring your besties. It's going to be fun. Ann: Whew. Okay, again, the ticket link and all of the show dates are at Aminatou: Hell yeah. Ann: Hell yeah. Okay, one more biz announcement which you may have heard in the last couple of episodes but basically we're working on an exciting new project and we're interested in stories of how our listeners met their besties. So did you meet your bestie by posting an ad on Craigslist? Did you meet in the next cubicle over? Did you meet through a person one of you was dating who has since been excised from both of your lives? [Laughter] Were you enemies in high school? Were you besties in high school? Did you have a falling out and then get back together? We want to know about it. You can leave us a message with the story of your bestie meet-cute at 714-681-CYGF. And if you want to call us with your bestie and tell your story together we would love that even more. Again that number is 714-681-CYGF. Aminatou: Whew, that's a lot of announcements. Let's take a little break. Bow-chick-a-bow-bow. Okay. [Laughs] Ann: Okay, what has been on your mind? We have some things we've been putting off I feel like. Aminatou: Okay, you know how I come alive in Q3. [Laughter] Fully alive. Ann: You were here at the beginning of Q3 and it is one of my greatest regrets that I did not present you with a "Happy Q3" set of balloons because I know this about you. (5:55) Aminatou: It's my best time of the year. It's like, you know, summer is always garbage for me. I do nothing. Q1 is just like, you know, dealing with cancer or emotional cancer so everything about Q1 is bad. Ann: Emotional cancer. Aminatou: But Q3 I always shine. Q3 I always shine. So what is going on? I'm just like, you know, low-key simmering rage now. It's like now that I'm awake and my engine is on I'm annoyed by everything. Ann: Ugh. I don't feel the same about Q3 as you do and I don't feel the same about a newly-awakened annoyance but I have definitely had a slowly building I guess annoyance is maybe the right word, but also I'm going to be real, straight up confusion about the amount of Diet Coke blow back we are getting. Aminatou: [Laughs] Ann: I'm just going to say it. I'm just going to say it. Because first of all we did an episode called Business Woman Special where we discussed the fact that we are making difficult decisions every day about how we monetize this podcast, i.e. how we pay our rent and eat while we contribute significant labor to making this thing that you are listening to. Aminatou: For free. For free. Ann: Yeah, and guess what? We live in a capitalist society where pretty much all the dollars you're going to accept for that work are going to be compromised in some way. Like there are a few places where I'm like oh my god, truly cannot find a single . . . like all the way up the funding chain cannot find a single thing wrong with this business or this business model. But you know what? That is a rare exception. Like most . . . Aminatou: Listen, Ann. Ann: Yes? Aminatou: There is no ethical consumption under capitalism. Let's all say it again: there is no ethical consumption under fucking capitalism. (7:50) Ann: However there are definitely choices that you get to make and we talk about those choices a lot, right? Like we are definitely on the record as saying that in terms of what clothing you buy and what types of businesses you patronize with your dollars in terms of you giving your money to someone there are better choices than others to make. Aminatou: Of course there are better choices but we're all compromised! Sorry, the reason that I feel salty about this is just because there is also a degree of entitlement to which who people feel they can -- whose choices they can police. And I find that if you are a woman the chances are that your ethical choices get policed are greater and if you are a woman who is not white it increases exponentially. Ann: Yes. Aminatou: It's just a thing we talk about a lot behind-the-scenes so I guess we should bring it in front of the scene. Ann: Yeah, and I will say this. So okay, Diet Coke is a product that those of us who make the podcast have consumed. You know, I mean it's not something where we're like oh my god, I would never touch that. Aminatou: [Laughs] No, I'm literally drinking a Diet Coke right now. Ann: Stop it, do not give them free -- this is the limit. We are not giving them free ad sales here. Aminatou: But listen. Ann, here's the thing right? There are literally brands who don't need ad sales and Coca Cola is one of them. Ann: Sure. And I guess it's interesting too -- like this is an interesting case to me as well because we say no all the time to brands that are actually about dieting. We say no to brands that have Instagram feeds full of white women's jutting hip bones. We say no to brands that are trying to make it about health and wellness but it's very clear that it's about weight loss and having a certain kind of body. We say no to all of those. And it's very funny because none of those things have diet in the name, and Diet Coke while it has diet in the name, I feel like culturally is not generally associated as a diet product anymore. It's like this is just a beverage that some people drink. Some people like that metallic aspartame tang, like whatever, you know what I mean? But it is pretty culturally divorced from the idea of losing weight. So that is a thing that I thought about as we were considering these ads for sure. (10:00) Aminatou: Fair. Can I tell you one of the funniest pieces of feedback that we've gotten about the Diet Coke ads? [Laughs] Ann: Hit me. Aminatou: It's that people think Coca Cola is owned by the Koch brothers. Ann: The K-O-C-H brothers? Aminatou: The K-O-C-H dark money brothers. To the people who have Instagramed me this I'm sorry to say it but read a fucking book and do a Google. The Koch brothers own literally everything in America except the Coca Cola bottling company. Sometimes I also wonder what's going on here because I went down this rabbit hole of figuring out, I was like is it just these two or three misinformed Instagram DMers who think this? And no, no, there's an entire legion of people who think this and that's really funny. But the thing about it that I find fascinating is people decide that some countries are unilaterally worse than others. And to be clear there is a hierarchy of bad companies, right? Like some people are literally spilling oil in oceans. Like that's fair. Or stealing water and things. But it is uniquely hilarious to me that people will use their iPhones, log into their Gmail or their Facebook products to tell us that one of our advertisers is bad. Ann: Yeah. Aminatou: And there is also just this level of trust of like . . . trust that we think about it. We think about it, and we don't feel amazing about it. Like I don't feel amazing that I have to live under capitalism, but guess what? This is where I live. And not to be an asshole about it but we do weekly content for free. It's like if you don't like it there are a lot of other things you can consume for free. But to the people who complain to us also I am very curious: where else do you complain? Do you complain to MSNBC when you're watching oil company ads on their shows when you're watching the nightly news? Is that a thing that you do? D you complain to the other kinds of content that you get for free? Or do you really feel entitled that this is a place where you can police our choices? Like I don't know the answer to that but I hope that that is a thing that people consider because it is a thing I consider a lot when I feel uneasy about certain branding choices that people I'm close to make. (12:12) Ann: It is true and I think that, you know, the other thing that's going on here is it feels outside of a norm right? So there are these brands that if you're listening to this podcast you've heard advertised all over the place. They're kind of like usual suspect advertisers, many of which are funded by some of the same big sources or have some of the same suspect neighbor structures. Aminatou: The Koch brothers. The Koch brothers own everything. [Laughs] Ann: Oh my god, stop. Or have some labor structures that are contributing or basically riding on the fact that say in this country workers of a certain wage level are not guaranteed basic rights and benefits, right? I really think that once you pull the thread on the capitalist sweater on any company that has advertised pretty much on our show or probably any other show you're listening to you're going to find some really objectionable stuff. Not to mention looking at the ways you are communicating with us about it. Like Instagram is owned by Facebook. Are you going to go to the mat for Facebook as an ethical company? Aminatou: [Laughs] What? Ann: You're sending this message on Instagram, right? So I don't know. I guess what I'm trying to say is I find it really interesting because it's this kind of historic big brand it's a lot easier I think for people to be like "What's going on here?" When in fact the funding structures and the business policies are not 100% awesome down the board but we have to decide. There are certain things we say no to based on the outward-facing product that we're actually asking people to consume and if we went all the way up the chain, all the way up the business structure for every company, we would not be making any money. We would not be doing this podcast because we would've stopped it a long time ago. (13:50) Aminatou: Also they would all be owned by the Koch brothers. If you go up the chain to everything everything is owned by the Disney people and by the Koch brothers. That's how companies work. And also if you're subjected to advertising, any -- whatever company it is, even if it's a company that you love, even if it is the most ethical, amazing, incredible, everything is hunky-dory -- the point of advertising is to make you buy things and consumption is not amazing. I get it. I fully get where a lot of people come from. But again how we participate in consumerist capitalism, whose choices are we policing and who is the real enemy here? And at the end of the day we are all in this sauce together and it does not feel great. Ann: Yeah. And I think that asking that question too of how are you applying your standards across the board to yourself and to creators who have professed similar political beliefs to yours but who are at bigger outlets and therefore more protected, I mean the thing is your example about oil as an MSNBC, Rachel Maddow is not personally fielding those messages. Rachel Maddow is just out there doing her job. I was thinking about this this week as well because Tuesday Bassen who is a designer and owner of a clothing company that is small and woman-run here in Los Angeles . . . Aminatou: Good friend of the pod. Ann: Yeah, she's been on the podcast before to talk about other companies stealing her designs and labor. Anyway she just this week took to her Instagram stories because she's about to release another fall line, and I will say this about Tuesday: I believe she offers clothes in somewhere between 7 to 11 sizes, like the size range is really big. She works with all environmentally-friendly or dead-stock vintage materials. Her team is very small and all women and very compensated. Aminatou: Right. More sizes than Zara, more sizes than H&M, more sizes than all your favs. Ann: Right, and I think she is really -- she's a real model for me in terms of how to continue to engage with the questions she gets specifically around her price point and around the options she's offering, to sort of say without getting angry, "I'm one woman with a tiny business out here doing the best that I can." And so this week people were complaining that this skirt that's a part of her fall line was too short. And I will be honest, I saw the skirt and I was like that is too short for me. I've got a very long thigh, right? This is not going to work for me. But I was not like let me email Tuesday and complain about this. I was just like okay, next. I'll order some other item from Tuesday. She got a lot of email from people and a lot of messages and she was like "Look, here is how we size these garments. Here is how we scale up the size as you go up the size range. Here is how we kind of determine . . ." This is why I like this as a shorter skirt. This is why I think it's cool to make a shorter skirt for women up to 3X or whatever. Like she had thought about it. Then she went on to introduce all the members of her small team, because her team is so small you can do that on Instagram, and she did it all with a tone of I don't think you understand the burden you are placing on me when you ask these questions because you're assuming that I haven't thought about all of this stuff when in fact you're probably shopping here because you know I've thought about all this stuff, right? (17:08) Aminatou: Girl! Ann: I know. Aminatou: Shaking the table. Ann: Anyway, but I find Tuesday super admirable. She's also been able to respond to those questions in a way where she's truly engaging and I think it's a hard note to strike because I feel where you're coming from in terms of the emotional reaction to all of this. But I also am like we're not living in an era when people can trust that business owners, particularly small business owners, are bringing ethics into consideration and are foregoing some profit for their beliefs. And so when you have an example of a place that is it's like oh, the door is open. It's open season to run through and criticize everything. I think that is what I am struggling with. (17:52) Aminatou: I know, but you know, I'm going to put on my GOP hat right now. Ann: Oh my god, don't. Aminatou: You know how they're always shitting on socialism? Well you know the beautiful thing about this free market capitalist society we live in is you have choices. If you do not like the choices that people make you can change the channel, like all of the time. It's like if you don't want to shop at this store there's many more stores that make skirts. If you don't want to listen to a particular show you can listen to other shows. The thing where you box yourself into a corner is when you look at the people who are potentially on your side, the people who are trying to do their best or who are trying to cater to you, and those are the people that you criticize more heavily. It's like well this is not going to work for a lot of people. You know, I'm like the free market is beautiful. It's bad but it's amazing. You have choices. Ann: I know. And if you want to hear more about how we made the choice to be an ad-supported show, if you want to hear some more about some of the other factors that go into the decisions we make around our money collectively as CYG the business, go back to our business woman special episode, we will link it in the show notes, and listen to that. It's like -- at this point it's a couple years old and it's probably due for an update but I don't believe that our values or our decision-making process have changed. Aminatou: [Laughs] No. We're going to start doing detox teas and corsets on this show now. Ann: Right. I mean this podcast now brought to you exclusively by diet culture. Aminatou: [Laughs] Oh my god, you know, it's hard out here being a small business but it's also a lot of fun. Ann: I mean, you know what though? I think that is where I land as well which is I feel fine about . . . you know, there are actually a couple of choices that I don't feel awesome about that we've made around money but they're things that have generated precisely zero emails. I carry that psychic burden alone. Aminatou: Right. It's like the shameful things nobody actually knows about. [Laughs] (20:00) Ann: Or nobody catches, right? Aminatou: Right. Ann: I think that's the other thing, like things we didn't know about when we green-lit something. I feel fundamentally good about the choices that we have made collectively about the hard line to walk of existing as an overtly political and overtly feminist podcast within a capitalist culture where we still need to pay our rent. Like I feel good about that. Aminatou: I know. You know the reason I think I'm a little surly about it, one, it's Q3 so I'm alive. [Laughter] But also one of the reasons that I am really surly about it is because in all of the conversations about money women get punished so much for running businesses in ways that men do not and often by other women. It's a thing that I keep observing at every level: in startup world, in podcast world, in every place possible. And so I'm disappointed but I'm not surprised. But at the same time I think a lot about your haters matrix in moments like this, not to say that people who push back are haters -- I don't believe that at all. I actually believe a lot of this criticism comes from a really good place. Ann: Right, they're critics, not haters. Yeah. Aminatou: Right, except for the people who think the Koch brothers own Coca Cola. Those people I'm deeply concerned about. [Laughs] Ann: They think they're critics but they're actually haters because they're misinformed. Maybe that's what's going on. Aminatou: They're misinformed haters. But it's also the kind of thing where it has been a really good practice of like oh, actually is it criticism? Where is it coming from? Where should it make me better? Or where is it really a place where I'm like "Sorry, I give you a thing for free. You get what you get, and if you don't like it change the channel." It's been a very instructive moment. (21:45) Ann: Totally. And I also think it bears noting in the forum of on the podcast is look, we get mail about this to our inbox. I get some direct messages about it. But I would say that the vast -- not the vast majority, but the majority for sure of the feedback about this goes to you directly even though you are one-third of this team. I might point out you are the one-third of this team who is not white. Aminatou: What? What? What? Ann: So maybe there's something else going on there. Aminatou: Who's not white? Speak for yourself. Ann: Listen. Aminatou: As a white woman -- as a white woman, Ann . . . yeah, but you're actually absolutely right. But I do get the brunt of it and it does annoy me but also I am no longer engaging with the strange republic at large on these platforms because it really annoys me. Ann: And I think it's definitely a version of the point you were making of hey, it's a lot easier to take issue with us than it is with a bigger, kind of more corporate outlet that has similar professed views. And in the same way within our little team who is perceived as a more, I don't know, acceptable target for this criticism? The answer is clearly you. So it's like hmm, look at your choices, right? Who are you criticizing and how? And also if Diet Coke really is your thing and you are like look, my number one political aim is educating people about what is up with the Coca Cola company and I am on it, I'm just like I hope you are spreading that message around and not only hitting your girls here at Call Your Girlfriend. Aminatou: I know. [Laughs] Ann: Because I'm like just look at how you are putting that belief into practice if that is in fact a thing of utmost importance to you. Aminatou: If anybody who works at the Coca Cola company is listening to this though . . . Ann: [Laughs] Aminatou: My dream is to have a can that says Amina that comes out next Ramadan because it truly is maybe the most popular name in the world. So holler at your girls with some custom branding. There's no ethical consumption under capitalism but I want my own Diet Coke can. Ann: I just literally threw my mic down. Aminatou: [Laughs] (24:00) Ann: I can't even believe it. Aminatou: Listen, I'm telling you. They say use your platform. I am using my platform. Ann: Oh my god. Aminatou: Oh my god. Let's take another break for ads. Clearly we need it. [Music and Ads] (28:30) Aminatou: I'm getting really good at this transition thing huh? Ann: Oh my god. Do you want to keep riding this rage pony? Aminatou: Ann, the rage pony is so good. You know a lot of people are like . . . they're very uncomfortable with anger, specifically women's anger. I personally think that anger is the most productive feeling that you can have because it just makes you do something about a lot of things. Ann: It's very motivating. Yeah. Aminatou: Right. So like I'm annoyed but it's not like the end of the world. I just like -- like if anything I'm like I'm sleeping amazing. So a lot of that has to do with that. Ann: I love the idea of you just rage-shaking yourself to sleep like a little baby. Aminatou: Listen, we're going to have Rebecca Traister on the pod soon but I'm reading her book about women's rage and she makes the same point: she's sleeping better, she's exercising harder, she's having great sex. Here's what's going on with this 24/7 rage time. Ann: So P.S. her book is out in a couple of weeks, right? In early October? Aminatou: Yes. Rebecca Traister's Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger will be out on October 2nd and she'll be on the podcast that week to talk to us more about this low-grade simmering rage we've been feeling for a while. Ann: Or high-grade in some cases. Let's be real. [Laughs] Aminatou: I know. For some people. For me it's just like a fever. I like it. (29:52) Ann: I also love that -- I had not heard it discussed in the context of her improving her life, like "I'm exercising better. I'm healthier. I'm having great sex. My skin has cleared up." [Laughs] Aminatou: Yeah, totally. But it's like Rebecca so she's incredibly woke and great and she still acknowledges that it is a place of privilege that she's paid to write about being angry, right? So all of the benefits are great because she actually gets paid for it. She's not paying the price that a lot of other women do, and specifically women of color. There's a different price to be paid for being angry. Ann: Right, and expressing it. Aminatou: Right, and expressing your anger. And one end of the spectrum is like "I feel great. I'm sleeping great and I'm exercising or whatever." And the other end of that spectrum is women are dying. So it's a range. Ann: Yeah, for sure. So are we going to talk about Serena? Aminatou: Let's talk about Serena because I'm still angry about it. Jesus. Ann: Okay. What is the . . . I mean you are the tennis fan in this family and we're all Serena fans but you were clocked in in real-time in a way that I was not until after the fact. Aminatou: I was so clocked in in real-time that when my friend Cam told me in the text message that she had just gotten engaged I was explaining to her what happened to Serena and totally missed that she got engaged. Ann: Wait, so what happened to Serena? Aminatou: That's how clocked-in I was. So here's what happened to Serena: Serena was playing this wonderful young woman, Naomi Osaka, who if I'm perfectly honest is who I was rooting for because I love rooting for an underdog. I will take a bullet for Serena but I really wanted this young woman to win. Ann: Wow. This is some complicated stuff. You're rooting for the woman who's playing against the woman you would take a bullet for. I'm like you're really there for everyone. [Laughs] Aminatou: Yeah, listen. Like I lived in the era of Williams versus Williams. You learn how to have complicated feelings. Ann: Sure, sure. (31:48) Aminatou: You know, like sometimes -- I don't know how much sports ball you're into but there really are times where you're like it doesn't matter who wins, I just want to watch a great game, and even if your fav loses if it is a great game it was worth it. Ann: Yep. Aminatou: That is often the feeling of Williams versus Williams, but this was not a Williams versus Williams situation. Close enough. So anyway Serena -- basically the umpire called her out three times for offenses, one being that she broke her racket which is like unsportsmanlike conduct. The other being that he was assuming that her coach was sending her signals from the box, and so that is called coaching and it's not supposed to happen. Some tournaments let it happen but at the US Open it is forbidden. The thing about it that's actually very annoying, which Serena's coach acknowledged, is that all coaches do it. Just because the coach is giving you signals does not mean that you're getting coached in real-time, right? Ann: Right. Aminatou: And truly it also comes down to a matter of enforcement actually. It's like well if everyone is doing it but some people get punished for it you should probably look at the people who are enforcing the thing as opposed to the people who are doing the thing. And so Serena took that very badly which is putting it in a mild way but also she was justified in that. And the third offense that he gave her was for basically a verbal misconduct, like he felt that she was rude to him. And so the result of all three of these penalties basically meant that she lost a game and had to serve behind for the championship which is a huge deal. And to be clear she was actually not winning the game. Her opponent had the momentum, probably was going to win anyway, but that's not the point. The point is this is how you make a player lose momentum and also it is deeply unfair and also it tainted the win for the young woman who won. Ann: Right. (33:45) Aminatou: And also was incredibly painful for Serena. The reason that all of this is very significant is as our queen Billie Jean King put it it is 1,000 percent a double standard. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard male tennis players use the F word. Fucking John McEnroe's entire career was built on being a bad boy on the pitch. You have to remember this is her place of work, right? And so I think that a thing that touched me deeply and something I've heard from a lot of people, it is just this reminder for a lot of us that if you stand up for yourself at work that there are so many consequences to pay. It's like one, fuck this umpire who on a championship because his feelings were hurt decided to -- he made it this ridiculous, like incredibly ridiculous and deeply unfair call and really ruined a game for two people. It's like watching Osaka at the end, she was playing her hero. There's no bigger Serena Williams fan than her. Ann: Right. Aminatou: And she was crying. Serena was crying. Serena had to step up and ask the entire stadium to stop booing and appreciate the victory. So even this visual of this dark-skinned black woman having to hold this smaller, lighter-skinned black woman and make it okay for her even though she lost with something that was incredibly painful to watch, and all of this because a man's feelings got hurt. And also Serena has been going on about this forever. She gets drug tested more than anybody in tennis, and in these very disruptive kinds of ways. She has never been known to be a cheater but they over-test her. I was like hmm, black woman? Doesn't surprise me. She often receives calls that are incredibly harsh for the same level of behavior that a lot of other tennis players have. And I think that part of also watching her get really upset here is realizing that she's probably traumatized from years of this, you know? Ann: Yeah. (35:55) Aminatou: And really, really lost it. And there was a point where she was demanding that the umpire apologize to her and that's when I lost it and started crying. I was like in all of my years of watching tennis I've never seen something like this. Like this was truly surreal, you know? And the commentary around it has been fascinating because, you know, they're like -- some of us are like "Yep, we get it." I'll be honest that I was rooting for the other person to win and I think she would've won regardless. She brought her A-game. But even in that moment to watch how Serena constantly gets punished for being big and black and dominant on the field, and she gets punished in every way, shape, or form. She has to pay like a $17,000 fine after being humiliated in all of this. A lot of the commentary, like the language people saying "Well she was being bratty. She was loud. I wouldn't have done this. I wouldn't have said that." Like even listening to the commentators like Chris Evert, people who I'm really surprised did not have her back and did not understand the nuance of what was going on, was deeply disappointing. Ann: Yeah. I want to recommend Claudia Rankine's writing about Serena which she did a profile of her last year or the year before that we can link to. Aminatou: I think it was two years before, right? Ann: Okay. Aminatou: We'll link to it. Ann: And then she also has a section about Serena in her book Citizen which if you haven't read is like -- I feel like it is a must-read, must-own. She so beautifully distills the position that Serena is in and how it is not just about the state of play on the tennis court which I think that some of the responses like you mentioned, like Chris Evert or some other commentators, seem to think that what is going on is tennis rules. And it's like actually take a bigger lens. Look at what's happening structurally. Look at who Serena is and look at what it means to be a black woman in America and think a little harder about the context for the response to what she said. (37:50) Aminatou: Right. And also you do not have to be a tennis fan to know that Serena is one of the greatest athletes of our time. Ann: Of course. Aminatou: I watch a lot of different sports. I still like -- to me Serena is the greatest athlete of all time. I was like I watched this person build their career and I feel strongly about that. You don't have to feel the same way as me but she's definitely top five pantheon. You just have to know that. And to see how she is able to navigate the just daily racism that is thrown at her for a sport that she essentially built. If it wasn't for Venus and Serena Williams nobody would give a shit about tennis. Ann: I know. Aminatou: At the degree that it is today. Not to say that tennis hasn't been around forever. Ann: She's kept it relevant. Aminatou: Yes. Not only has she kept it relevant, her and Venus, they reinvented women's tennis. Like women's tennis had a renaissance around these two women. And so for them to really carry an entire sport on their back, like truly, and for the sport not to respect them back, it's very disappointing. It's also to see the way the media is so obtuse about it and does not get it at all, that has been mind-blowing on a different level. So even like, you know, like a couple of days ago there was this insanely racist cartoon in some Australian newspaper. Ann: Ugh, I saw that. Yeah. Aminatou: And like, you know, no shade to Australia but they're a top-five racist country, you know what I mean? If we're going to do greatest . . . Ann: I can't believe you're ranking racist countries. Aminatou: Oh my god, if we're going to do greatest racists of all time, Australia is like -- they're meddling for sure. So it was to see this Australian . . . I'm like you don't even go here. To see this Australian cartoonist render Serena in legit Sambo caricature, it's so wild you have to see it because he makes Osaka who she's half-Japanese and half-Haitian, in the cartoon she's basically a white blonde woman. I was like wow, look at the point that you're making. This is bananas. You know what I mean? Ann: Yeah, way to reveal all of what's going on for you here. Yeah. Aminatou: Right. It's like way to say the quiet thing out loud. Oof. Are we doing this? Like I am so upset and I'm so hurt by it and also identify so deeply with it. Zerlina Maxwell wrote a really great piece in Teen Vogue that we will link to also that I think perfectly distills the lens through which a lot of black women watch Serena play because we're like you know, this is her office and here's how they're disrespecting her at the greatest level in the world. What hope is there for us that somebody will not do this for us? So we'll link to that. It was also a beautiful moment of shine theory at the end but I hated it. I was like wow, women are amazing. I was like this man ruined the whole game and here are these two women in their pain doing the best of it. Her speech at the end was like -- like during the game was amazing. She was like "We'll get through this," and she made the audience stop booing and I was like leadership. Then when she had this press conference somebody asked her "Do you regret anything that happened today?" And she was like "No, I don't regret it at all," but said something along the lines of how it's not lost on her that she has to endure all of this so that the next female player who wants to come along and express herself fully will be allowed to do that. It was beautiful but it was really painful to hear. We are in 2018 and she is the first in her sport for something and that's just really hard to stomach. Ann: Right. And also recognizing that okay, I agree there were some beautiful moments to come out of this and I'm like this is a necessary conversation. But I'm like yet again it's like women of color digging through this steaming pile of shit dropped by a man to find the diamonds within. It's really . . . Aminatou: Right, it's always a teachable moment. Ann: Yeah. (41:50) Aminatou: Whenever there's black pain it's somebody else's teachable moment. Ann: Yes. Aminatou: And it's also I think a lot about Osaka who is a wonderful player and had this moment ruined by . . . I cannot imagine losing to my idol in the way that she did. You know, like the amount of just feeling like it wasn't fair or the self-doubt that she has, and she's very young. All of it is nonsense. It's like this could've been a beautiful tennis game and instead we're all learning race lessons. Ugh. Ann: I feel like you could apply that statement. This could've been a beautiful X. Instead we're all learning race lessons. It's the story of so much pop culture and so many broadly kind of teachable moments -- I'm air quoting teachable -- of history. Ugh. Aminatou: Ugh. Good rage. I like it. I like it. Listen, that's all the time we have today to rage. [Laughs] I'm ready to go to my other life where I'm wildly happy. Ann: Can I ask you a question? Aminatou: Talk to me. Ann: I was thinking about this when I knew we were going to discuss rage: what is something that is kind of a low-stakes thing or a tiny thing that will just make you rage when it happens? Like a thing you encounter in more mundane circumstances. Aminatou: Oh man, I feel like there are so many of those things. I've got to pick a good one. Ann, there's so much that makes me annoyed. I'm annoyed if I go to my Whole Foods and they're out of my yogurt. I was like why? This is Park Slope. Have all of the yogurt please. Ann: How can you not have this one yogurt? Aminatou: I know. I get really annoyed if I'm in the mood to watch cable TV and Lawrence is on. I was like ugh, I've missed all the good TV. He has nothing to offer me today. Ann: You mean Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC? Aminatou: Yes, Lawrence. I'm not learning his last name. [Laughter] Ann: I'm like I don't know. I'm not on a first-name basis with cable news anchors. I've got to clarify. Aminatou: What else annoys me? Also my upstairs neighbors who love to vacuum at 6 a.m., like hate it when they do that. There's so much. There's so much. But you know also secretly I love being annoyed. Ann: It's good to feel the full range of emotions. (44:00) Aminatou: I know, you've got to feel the full range of emotions. What's something that annoys you? Tell me. Ann: I feel like this is such a minor . . . I guess this is all about minor quibbles but I can't understand why we are still doing dust jackets on books. I fucking hate a hardcover dust jacket. Aminatou: [Laughs] I'm hanging up. I'm hanging up. Ann: I do. I'm like they're always slip-sliding around. They're getting bent, creased in my bag. Aminatou: Ann, they do it so they can justify charging people 26 dollars to buy books. You sold a book. Don't you know this? Ann: It's garbage. It's garbage. I'm sorry. Aminatou: Listen, please buy our hardcover book people despite what Ann is saying here. [Laughter] But you know another thing that annoys me is how Apple products have a new charging system every year. Ann: Oh . . . Aminatou: I'm like is this how you build a trillion dollar company is just switching up the charging devices? Because I'm tired. Ann: Can I tell you that was where I was going to go next which is stop forcing me to Bluetooth. I don't want to go to Bluetooth. [Laughs] Like no. Aminatou: I know. I'm like I can't. I just -- I cannot. Ann: I was on a work call last week with someone who was on Airpods and they died in the middle of the call and I'm like you know what never dies? My $10 headphones that are plugged into my phone with a weird dongle. It's annoying but it works. Aminatou: Yeah. Another thing that annoys me, the word dongle. I hate it okay? Ann: What do you think is a better . . . like what would you like to see it replaced with? What made-up word? Aminatou: I just don't even like the concept of the dongle. That's also annoying. Ann: It is an annoying concept. Aminatou: I don't like that. What else do I not like? Ann: Dongle is admitting design defeat. Aminatou: It's true. I don't like it when people I don't know want to engage me in conversation and I clearly look like I'm frazzled on the street. That's something I don't like. Now I'm just complaining about my whole life. But really I'm annoyed at the yogurt. I was at Whole Foods today and it wasn't there. Ann: Justified. (45:50) Aminatou: I know. But I won't shout out my brand of yogurt because capitalism is bad. [Laughter] Ann: And we've come full-circle. Aminatou: There's no ethical consumption under capitalism! Ann: I feel like maybe we need to make petty anger a recurring feature here because it feels really good just to rage about dumb stuff that is actually not that important. Aminatou: I know. You know another thing that I love to rage about is women who do pageants. Like right now everybody is really . . . Ann: What? Aminatou: They're like oh my god, like are you not following this? I think we just had . . . whichever one of them is a scholarship contest, the one that they don't do swimsuits anymore. I don't remember which one it is. Ann: I don't know. Aminatou: Whether it's Miss America or Miss USA, I don't know. But one of these women making themselves dumb to get five dollars for a scholarship on television. The Miss from Michigan introduced herself on some woke "I'm from the state that has the most water but we don't have any for our residents," or whatever. And everybody is like "Oh my god, the pageant is so woke." And I'm like you know what is not woke? Women parading in gowns. Grown women parading in gowns doing juggling tricks to get zero fame. Like that's not woke at all. Zero respect for pageants. Ann: Okay, final petty anger moment is the fact that I can't turn off the suggested Gmail replies. Aminatou: Wait, I thought I . . . didn't they fix that for you? Ann: Okay, they're back and I've conclusively Googled that you cannot turn these off. They are like perma-suggested replies that exist once you get bumped to the newer version of Gmail. And here is why I'm so angry: they are all the most acquiescent like "Thanks!" exclamation point, "I like it!" exclamation point, "You've got it!" Aminatou: Yeah, welcome to office culture Ann. Ann: You know what? I don't work in an office for this reason. Aminatou: I've been using all of those on you and Gina all week and nobody has noticed. (47:52) Ann: No, I have definitely noticed. You do not use that many exclamation points and that kind of capitalization is not present in your normal work. I was just about to say . . . Aminatou: Hey, that sounds like a great idea! Ann: I'm resentful of bots starting to control the relationship that I have with people that I email, and also just like eww. Sometimes I do not need to reply to this. I do not want to reply with an exclamation point. Stop forcing me into weird cheerfulness and agreements at all times. Ugh. Aminatou: Listen, you can build the angry bot but I'm going to tell you now the robots definitely, when they take over, they are not going to be cheery so . . . Ann: Oh my god, they are going to be cheery. Aminatou: Mm-mmm. Ann: Oh my god, they're going to be cheery and like "Thanks!" exclamation point as they behead their human masters or whatever. Aminatou: Listen, I'm obsessed with watching YouTube videos of really advanced robot stuff and there is inevitably always a YouTube video of some white tech bro hitting a robot. And I'm like I hope the robots can tell race because they need to know that my people, we would never hit a robot. So this is where the world is going. Also let me tell you we are fully going to get a robot president before we get a woman president. That's my other petty thing. Ann: I mean that is not petty and also first robot president? I'm like who is programming the first robot president? It definitely was a white man, and everything we know about learned bias in programming, I'm like we cannot vote for a robot president. Aminatou: I mean Ted Cruz is kind of a robot so, you know . . . also, yeah, also his father is the Zodiac killer so there's a lot going on there. Ann: Oh my god, I just . . . Aminatou: Okay. Now that I'm fully in conspiracy theory land I think it's time to go home. I'm going to see you on the Internet but also I'm going to see you on tour. Ann: Oh my god. Aminatou: And also hey, have a great day! [Laughs] Ann: See you on the Internet and in the petty anger corner. Aminatou: Ooh, child, I'm going to go to another Whole Foods and look for my fancy yogurt. You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website, you can download the show anywhere you listen to your favs, or on Apple Podcasts where we would love it if you left us a review. You can email us at We're on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @callyrgf. You can even leave us a short and sweet voicemail at 714-681-2943. That's 714-681-CYGF. Our theme song is by Robyn, original music is composed by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs, our logos are by Kenesha Sneed, our associate producer is Destry Maria Sibley. This podcast is produced by Gina Delvac.