Episode 55: American Grifters

Published July 1, 2016.

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 we discuss hot, hot, hot Supreme Court decisions, affirmative action and white women including Becky with the bad grades, free pads and tampons in New York, Hills and Elizabeth Warren, and Brexit.

[Theme Song]

Aminatou: Hi Ann!

Ann: Hey, hey! What's up?

Aminatou: Oh my god, I am cramping up so bad. [Laughs]

Ann: I mean also can we talk about how that's the worst feeling when it's the dead of summer and everything is kind of bloaty? Like the world is bloaty?

Aminatou: Yeah. I just haven't had cramps this bad in a long time. You know when you're just like your insides feel like an accordion and you can't even stand straight? That's what's going on, and I was like oh, this is . . . like all I want to do is lay down. [Sighs] Complain, complain, complain, complain, complain. There you go.

Ann: I mean understandable complaints though. I feel like -- I don't know, it's about to be a three-day weekend. I'm trying to like . . . you know, I saw some dumb Instagram quote this week that was like "Stop living for Friday. Stop living for summer. Stop living for the future. Enjoy the now."

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: And I was honestly like I'm actually content to live for the Friday before a three-day weekend. I'm still okay.

Aminatou: Also can I tell you that you've been talking about the three-day weekend for a while now and I've just realized that you meant the Fourth of July. [Laughs]

(1:52)

Ann: That is eminent, the Fourth of July.

Aminatou: Yeah, the whole time I was like why is Ann so excited about Memorial Day?

Ann: I thought you were going to be like why is Ann bragging about her personal vacation?

Aminatou: Or Labor Day. Honestly I don't know the difference between Labor and Memorial Day, like one comes in May and one comes in September. But yeah, Fourth of July. Hmm. Yeah, haven't really . . . I don't know why Fourth of July doesn't factor into my excitement weekends, but yeah, you're right. That's like coming up soon. I think I'm traveling on the Fourth of July is why it's not registering for me right now.

Ann: I mean I live in a neighborhood where Fourth of July participation is not optional because everyone around me will be setting off fireworks and so it's like either get onboard or be out of town. Like those are your options.

Aminatou: That's the entire country though. I really -- I think that's really what it is, is I really dislike urban Fourth of July. You know how I feel about amateur drinking holidays and then you add fireworks on top of it and it's just like everybody is a jerk.

Ann: Yeah, amateur drinking holiday meets amateur explosive holiday is just a recipe for bad things.

Aminatou: Totally. People are like "I'm so good at fireworks." I'm like no, this is why the fire department has to work overtime because you people are awful.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: Oh my god.

Ann: Truly.

Aminatou: I'm going to stop complaining and just be a positive person today.

Ann: You know, stop living. I mean you're not living for the three-day weekend anyway so you did not need that Instagram uplift.

Aminatou: [Laughs] I love people who exclusively post Instagram quotes, like Khloe Kardashian is very guilty of this. I was reading all these studies that say that people who post Instagram quotes are dumber than most people which I don't believe. I'm just like I'm sorry, people who are that dedicated to being positive every day, I want to believe they're better than the rest of us.

Ann: I mean I also . . . I want to start Instagram quote fact checks, like @instaquotefactcheck.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

(3:52)

Ann: That is just like who really said this thing about not living for Friday? Or who really said that quote about, I don't know, like being kind to the person in the mirror?

Aminatou: Shoot to the moon! Even if you fail you land among the stars. A favorite sorority quote.

Ann: [Laughs] Oh my god, fact check. Like seriously, who was the originator?

Aminatou: Who said this? Who said this? [Laughs] That's the name of the account, who said this? It's all caps.

Ann: But then it's all like Howard Zinn or like . . . like Maya Angelou.

Aminatou: Or people just attributing inspirational feminist quotes to Taylor Swift.

Ann: Oh my god. Maybe that's my three-day weekend project, Instagram fact-check, and then yeah.

Aminatou: I hope you get some rest on the three-day weekend. Okay, what's going on in the news that we can talk about?

Ann: Oh my god, so much news. Important Supreme Court abortion ruling.

Aminatou: Oh my god, the Supreme Court is like . . . they're kind of on fire right now.

Ann: You know, I can't remember if we talked about it but the Dahlia Lithwick article about the women of the Supreme Court.

Aminatou: Yeah, we did talk about it.

Ann: Because I just keep thinking about that, and I reread it in the wake of Sotomayor's sweeping dissent in that case that essentially upheld evidence found in stop and frisk situations.

Aminatou: I know! I'm like Sonia is the only person that gets it because she's a person of color and we can't trust Clarence Thomas.

Ann: I mean it was really, really incredible and it made me feel good. I know we still have RBG but I had a moment where I was like wow, the post-RBG Supreme Court, there's going to be someone there who we can trust, you know?

Aminatou: There's a Tumblr for this already.

Ann: Is there?

Aminatou: Called Sonia From the Block and it's very apt.

Ann: So that was incredible and then we had this positive ruling in Whole Women's Health, the Texas case, about regulating abortion clinics out of existence and the Supreme Court majority even in the sort of only eight-justice court was like no, fuck that. You cannot regulate clinics out of existence.

(6:05)

Aminatou: Yeah. Also one minor thing that really made me happy is almost all of the pictures that I saw, the key art for articles on that had featured rad CYG listener Alison Turkos.

Ann: Amazing.

Aminatou: I was like oh, man, this is really cool. You know, just knowing so many ladies have been working on this for so long. But also, like I don't know. I love it so much -- I love this so much because it just reinforced what a sham these trap laws are, you know? And they're just based on a pack of lies.

Ann: Oh, completely. And, god, I'm trying to remember if it was a supporting opinion by Ginsburg I want to say is what it was? Is that the right term, when you don't write the lead opinion but you write some other important "Yeah, we made the right choice" stuff? Anyway . . .

Aminatou: Concurring opinion?

Ann: Thank you!

Aminatou: We have to call friend-of-the-podcast Irin Carmon who is like -- this is totally her . . .

Ann: Concurring. Maybe that's the one word I was missing. But anyway, you know, the fact that she was like no, straight-up we see these laws for what they are which is placing an undue burden on women, not trying to make them safer.

Aminatou: Yeah, no, it's so crazy. Also speaking of Dahlia Lithwick again she had that great article on Slate where she just talks about how this time abortion was saved by dry, wonky -- she calls it like a dry, wonky, emotionless opinion from a man which is kind of perfect. [Laughs] Shout out Justice Breyer. It doesn't have to all be about emotions because it's actually based in facts. This was very bittersweet, just thinking back to what we were talking about before getting on -- before we started recording, talking about Wendy Davis and the filibuster that she started. That was what, three years ago now?

Ann: At least, yeah.

(7:55)

Aminatou: Right? And it's like that's how long this has taken and the work of activists, man, it's just never over. It takes a really long time.

Ann: Yeah. And I think that as well it's one of those things where because a lot of the things that make abortion so inaccessible are really diffuse, like the laws very so much state-by-state, I think it's really difficult other than people who are really knowledgeable and do this for a living. It's hard to keep track of all the ways that this is being unfairly regulated. And so to have a really clear case that was about one specific type of regulation that is about more than Texas but clearly affects women in a lot of rural parts of the country, I'm just like okay, god, what can we do next? Waiting periods? Let's get on it. Mandatory counseling? Yes.

Aminatou: Yeah. Well, you know another thing to keep in mind though is since the law was brought up in Texas so many of those clinics closed and momentum was lost, and just thinking about what it's going to take to open them again. And that's part of the harm of a lot of these laws, right? They'll do whatever it takes to harm a woman's right to choose and the consequences are still dire even when the Supreme Court affirms that they were bullshit to start with.

Ann: Yeah, and I think that's the other thing too. It is so nice to have something that feels like a positive victory after weeks of truly terrible news. But you're right, like the reality is it's a tiny kind of incremental correction to what has been a decade's long problem, and recently in Texas something that can't be reversed with just a decision.

Aminatou: Ugh, it's so infuriating. It's so infuriating.

[Music]

(10:10)

Ann: Okay, what is less infuriating to you this week?

Aminatou: I don't know. I was really excited that that very mediocre white girl student also got her hand smacked down by the Supreme Court.

Ann: Ugh, same.

Aminatou: As what did Twitter dub her, Becky with the bad grades?

Ann: Yes!

Aminatou: She's the actual worst. So this is the case of Fisher v. Texas, right? Where this woman, Abigail Fisher, she applied to go to UT Austin, my alma mater, did not get in, and she ended up going to LSU which is just as good of a school. I don't think that that's true but I'm going to say that that's true. Anyway, but you know, long story short she's a white person with a job in finance that comes from a wealthy family. Everything is fine. She ended up okay. But she sued the university on the basis that they didn't give her admission because she was white which is completely unfounded. She was not admitted because she was a mediocre student. And I don't know, it just opened up all of these questions again about affirmative action and race-based admissions at schools and really a university's right to create their own demographic makeup within the population that they're educating. But I really want to drive home that this woman was not a great student. This is why she didn't get into UT. She didn't not get into UT because she was white. She was just an average human being. And I've been reading all these studies about how white people relate to affirmative action and it's really interesting how race-based it is. There is just this prevailing belief that Latino and black students are stealing their spots. But when they compete against Asian students all of a sudden grades don't matter as much.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

(12:04)

Aminatou: Which is so fucked up on so many levels. But again I just want to say this woman was not smart enough to get into UT in the first place so the whole thing was a sham. Ugh, white people stop perpetrating shams everywhere you go!

Ann: I mean honestly -- and then there's just the whole thing too where there's a lot of research that says affirmative action has had the most positive impact not for people of color but for white women which is like . . .

Aminatou: Yes! Oh, yeah.

Ann: You know, the policy she's fighting is something that probably actually would've helped her out.

Aminatou: Well yeah, right? But it's also the whole thing where if you look into the background of a case it's actually this activist asshole . . .

Ann: Oh of course, yeah.

Aminatou: You know, being bankrolled by some aggrieved white guy who's just using her face to push this thing forward.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: But still, Abigail Fisher, stop insulting us. There's so many -- it's like I feel like I know so many of these women, just mediocre, average white girls who think that the entire world belongs to them. And it's like no, lady, just calm down. Calm down. Your SAT scores were not that great. Your grades were not that great. You ended up going to a great school. You actually have a great job. Your family will pass you on many lake houses. Everything in your life will be okay.

Ann: Ugh. I mean and I think the other thing about this story too -- I mean you're right about this being bankrolled by rich people who want to see affirmative action overturned across the board. It's not just Becky with the bad grades on her own. But it's also true that when I think about her as the face of this case I think about all this research that's starting to come out about young basically white people in their 20s and race, and about how despite all of these stats about the diversity of that generation and younger generations, it's like when it comes to racial politics or a belief that race is a driving factor in American society still, white people are still so clueless. Like there's no generational progress.

Aminatou: So clueless.

(14:05)

Ann: And I know again it's not just this one girl. It's like a bigger apparatus. But it's true, she's definitely for me as well become this face of white millennials still not getting it.

Aminatou: I know. It's so depressing to me. There's also something about people who love to shit on race-based admissions or affirmative action or whatever. You don't think that it's kind of an indictment of the system that if for some reason people of color need a leg up to get into good schools, that the fact that once they get there they can actually achieve says something about the fact that it was fucked up they couldn't get in in the first place?

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: You know, I'm just like that makes no sense to me. But just this pervasive feeling of, I don't know, white people feel so victimized and they feel so robbed by people of color. That is really troubling to me on so many levels, the entitlement of it all.

Ann: Oh, completely.

Aminatou: And, you know, the positive outcomes and prosperity is a thing that's only the province of people who look like them is insane.

Ann: Yeah, and also the whole idea that if someone else is succeeding that must be directly what's contributing to your failure. Like this ability to take everything super, super personally. It can't just be that socially we need policies because any data about the educational system says that young people of color do not have the same advantages. Meanwhile I don't understand, can these people read? [Laughs]

(15:40)

Aminatou: No, it's crazy. It's like when I went to UT I'm pretty sure the black student population at the time was less than 3% or around there which on a campus of 50,000 people is shockingly tiny. And that's not representative of Texas demographics at all. But it was also very isolating on campus, but let me tell you, every black person that I knew at that school was a very high achiever.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: It's like you don't get to be one of the few ones here if you're not busting your ass and working harder than most people. I'm like white people, please understand. We work hard.

Ann: Yeah, just like any excuse for my personal failure to not actually be personal.

Aminatou: Totally. Totally, totally, totally. Ugh, Becky with the bad grades, goodbye. Hope to never hear from you again.

Ann: I mean that's going to be a really great 20 years later, where are they now?

Aminatou: I know. I just . . . ugh. I think that shame is a terrible feeling but I hope that every step of her life she realizes that she let herself be the face of a very racist lawsuit and that's not okay.

Ann: Wow. You just anti-Brene Browned her. [Laughs]

Aminatou: I know. I'm just like it's so insulting. It's so insulting to people like me who worked hard to be where we are and have to face so many obstacles.

Ann: Also embarrassing.

Aminatou: To just have somebody who is just like -- you know, with just one . . . with no regard for, I don't know, for reality, can just put herself as the face of the lawsuit like this. It's so insulting.

Ann: Also embarrassing for white women everywhere. You know, I mean I know that the media does not ask us to apologize on behalf of Becky with the bad grades but I feel personally implicated. You know what I mean? It's like I am demographically her.

Aminatou: Oh my god. That makes me happy to hear because I just feel that generally white people feel very low levels of shame which is why they let themselves do shit like this all the time.

Ann: Oh my god. Well you know my white shame, like in the movies especially. Oh my god.

Aminatou: It's true. It's true. It's true. You feel the white shame for all of them. That's fair.

Ann: I mean also it's one of those things true where yeah, yeah, I'm sure that there's some . . . she's not bankrolling this herself or whatever and we've established that she's not super bright.

Aminatou: Ugh.

(17:55)

Ann: But you should be able to at least know what it means to be this face.

Aminatou: Right? I'm just like you're a young person. Look at how your dad and all his friends are setting you up for failure. I know your SAT scores are not that high but look alive, like dad!

[Music and Ads]

(21:20)

Aminatou: What else is exciting?

Ann: There is exciting This Week in Menstruation news.

Aminatou: Ooh!

Ann: Which is that the state of New York is going to be providing free pads, tampons, menstrual supplies in essentially public buildings.

Aminatou: Yay! [Clapping] I'm clapping. This is making me very happy. Now this for every city and state around the country.

Ann: It's really so great and I just hope it's not those super quadruple thick pads. Like in my high school the only thing you could buy in the vending machine in the bathroom was the super, super thick pad that was like -- they were honestly like a pool floatie, they were so big. Those. I'm just like you know what? Keep those in stock but maybe some more variety would be very exciting.

(22:08)

Aminatou: No, this is great. I hope this also extends to women in prisons. I've been watching Orange is the New Black and there's a tiny subplot and mention of this that's so crucial and I was like man, this should be the burden of the state to make sure that women who are menstruating can if they're incarcerated have easy access to this stuff.

Ann: Well it does extend to prisons and to shelters and public schools.

Aminatou: Ugh, clap, clap, clap all around.

Ann: I know! The best news.

Aminatou: Great news. Okay. I already feel better.

Ann: Great.

Aminatou: What else is going on?

Ann: I don't know.

Aminatou: I feel like it's just me asking you like "Ann, read the Internet for me."

Ann: No, I mean honestly do I have anything to say about Hills and Elizabeth Warren? Kind of no.

Aminatou: I mean I thought the pictures looked amazing, but I'm not going to lie, I was too crampy and sick to actually pay attention. But I will say this: I love that Elizabeth Warren is the only one that can get under Ivanka's dad's skin, like he's so visibly upset about it.

Ann: Yeah, I mean and I had to do a deep dive the other day to be like where did this Pocahontas thing even come from?

Aminatou: Oh, you don't remember this?

Ann: I forgot.

Aminatou: Actually let's talk about it because it's very controversial in the Sow household. So Elizabeth Warren, I think it was in her book. You know how politicians always have to have a memoir when in national politics?

Ann: Of course. Hard choices, big decisions. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Dreams of my father.

Ann: A more holy union or some shit like that.

Aminatou: Always. Always. Get to know me better, the Marco Rubio story. So anyway, I'm just like who reads these things? But I don't know. I'm really hoping that in our generation politicians our age will just be like "Ugh, I had a Tumblr. Please review my Tumblr. I don't need to put all of these thoughts in writing."

Ann: Right, all of the receipts are online.

(24:05)

Aminatou: Right? It's like here's my Instagram. So old-school politicians, they all put these sham memoirs out there all the time. Elizabeth Warren, I believe she's from Oklahoma -- because this is my stereotype of white people from Oklahoma -- she claims that there are passed-down stories in her family about how she is part Native. Which, you know, the way that she framed it wasn't like I am 1/32nd Cherokee or whatever but she definitely implied that the passed-down stories in her family, which people from Oklahoma black and white always do this, that's like my number one stereotype of them.

Ann: Sounds like a white girl college admission essay.

Aminatou: Right? But here's the thing.

Ann: To tie it all together.

Aminatou: This to me is only nefarious if she used that as a way to get -- like she used it to her advantage in college admissions or for job purposes or whatever. And as far as I can tell nobody has proven that she has done such a thing. And to be fair to everyone all of our family lore is garbage. People always tell you "My grandparents said XYZ." Let me tell you, I did 23 and Me. My grandparents have been lying to us.

Ann: My grandma lied to me about a castle in Ireland until the day of her death, God rest her soul.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: There is no castle.

Aminatou: So real. Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. The Irish Friedmans. Who knew?

Ann: Oh, Reni O'Leary though. That was her name.

Aminatou: Man, that sounds so plausible though.

Ann: I know, doesn't it? She was like the castle . . .

Aminatou: I'm going to let her have it. But, so anyway that's where this Pocahontas situation was born, right? But nobody has proven that this is true. And when asshole politician Scott what's his face? Scott Brown?

Ann: Scott "the body" Brown.

(26:08)

Aminatou: Scott Brown v. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Senate Election 2012, they tried to put her on the Summer Jam screen and say that she used this part-Cherokee situation to get into Harvard and law school and whatever. There's no proof that it is true. It is cringeworthy when people claim a cultural heritage that is not theirs. I want to be really specific about that. But also this is America. Everybody has fucked up cultural heritage stories, and as far as we can tell Elizabeth Warren didn't check the Native American box on her college admissions essay. If that happened I'll be back on this podcast to read her to filth.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: But anyway, they pushed this whole thing in 2012. It's not true/Elizabeth Warren beats him so bad.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: Scott Brown. Fast-forward now, Ivanka's dad is calling her Pocahontas. One, that's racist. Just want to put that out there. Also Ivanka's dad for a long time claimed that his ancestors were Swedish. Also proven to not be true. And recently Scott Brown says -- who's like a surrogate for Ivanka's dad -- is saying that Elizabeth Warren could take a DNA test to prove that she's part-Cherokee. Let me tell you one way that you can actually prove to people that you're a racist is by telling people to take DNA tests to prove their heritage.

Ann: Oh my god, I can't even . . . or like using that as the metric. Yeah.

Aminatou: Ugh. Let me tell you, I'm very pleased to be observing this whole thing as a black person because this again is so embarrassing for white people all around.

(27:50)

Ann: I feel like it's not even worth cataloguing the embarrassments Ivanka's dad has visited on white people. If you are correct and we do not find out that she has claimed this heritage in any kind of official way I don't see her as being too great a cause for white shame in this particular moment. I've got to say it. I mean everyone else -- and obviously Ivanka's dad, cause of all shame.

Aminatou: No, totally. I just think that the thing she could do is be like "Here is the story. I'll clarify it." But she really doesn't have to. But for me all of that is negated by somebody calling her Pocahontas. Like I don't know why we're arguing other things when there's actual real racists in this story.

Ann: I know. I know. Like so obvious and unashamed racists.

Aminatou: Yeah. I can't really fuck with Republicans right now. I'm like your candidate is actually racist. The thing that he's doing with the judge in Indiana is crazy. I'm like that's racist. Saying that you're going to round up all Muslim people into camps, that's racist. Calling Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas, that's racist. This is your candidate. Deal with it.

Ann: I mean, yeah, I was reading the New Yorker article about how the Republican Party figures were reacting to Trump and there was a section in it about Susan Collins who is a long-time senator from Maine and the last of the moderate in some ways Republicans. And she at the beginning, or during the first interview for this article, was like "I don't know. We'll see how it goes. I'm not loving him but also not disavowing." And then by the end of the article it was like "Oh god, I can't." [Laughs] You know?

Aminatou: I know, it's so shameful.

Ann: And she's really the only . . . there weren't that many. There weren't other examples. Pretty much everyone else, like all the -- let's be frank -- men who were interviewed early on who were like never-Trump had by the time the article gone to press kind of come around. She was maybe one of the only ones who was like pause button.

Aminatou: Well, Paul Ryan said it was like textbook definition of racism but he's still endorsing him.

Ann: Right?

(29:54)

Aminatou: So that's crazy. Or what's his name? That stupid pundit, George Will, who is like "I'm leaving the Republican Party over Donald Trump." And I was like you didn't leave the Republican Party when Donald Trump was asking to see Barack Obama's birth certificate? Everything that he's doing now is the natural continuation of that.

Ann: Right. And also the way that shit like that -- his attempt to frame himself as some kind of truth crusader, what is this country's history of not asking people of color to prove themselves again and again and again and then constantly moving the goal posts? And he just makes it so literal. "No, actually, prove yourselves at the border or prove yourself with a birth certificate." It's almost . . . it's just like distilled.

Aminatou: Yeah, no, it's ridiculous. And for me too it's just such a line in the sand, right? There are some people where I'm like okay, I'm willing to hear you out and I'm willing to hear a conservative argument for XYZ. With this I'm like no, this man is a racist and if you are saying you will support him over whoever the Democratic candidate is you should really look inside your heart for what it is you're actually saying because Ivanka's dad is a racist. He's a fear-mongering racist.

Ann: Yeah. Also just like, ugh, how's Ivanka going to . . . I really hope that this has the appropriate effect on Ivanka's brand. I'm going to say it.

Aminatou: You know it's not. You know it's not.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: Because her entire family is grifters. This is so on-brand for them. Honestly, like her dad, it's so on-brand for them and more and more I'm convinced this is actually what people like about them is that they're liars and they're grifters.

Ann: Well I'm depressed.

Aminatou: I'm telling you it's like . . . it's like if he wins it will be depressing. If he doesn't win it will be the most entertaining. Like how's he going to quit?

(31:50)

Ann: Yeah, that concession speech.

Aminatou: He's been the worst at being a candidate, right? Can you imagine this man not being nominated president? That's going to be insane. And then obviously he's going to get some sort of television job because that's what hacks like him are for.

Ann: Ugh.

Aminatou: You know, it's like being president, it is not financially lucrative.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: And we know that they're only in it for the money so the money is going to have to come from somewhere.

Ann: [Sighs] Yeah. I mean although it seems like if you read -- and I'm sure you did -- the article about his casino grifting, it's the same exact thing with the campaign, right? Like oh, I'm just going to buy all this wine from my son's winery and it's for the campaign. It's not illegal. That isn't illegal. It's just like let's just enrich the whole family with this giant scam.

Aminatou: He is maybe the only candidate who is ever going to make money from running for president because all they do is pay back into their own businesses.

Ann: Ugh.

Aminatou: It's insane. No, yeah, Trump family, original American grifters and American Grift Story.

Ann: I feel like you just created the FX miniseries, like American Crime Story: The Trump Grift. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Oh my god, it's like it's insane to me. But I'm telling you, Ann, this is what people like about him is that he's a liar, and because they're all liars too. They're all like "Oh, yeah, he's going to stick it to Saudi Arabia. He's going to tell him one thing then do another thing." I'm like and then we're all going to die.

Ann: I can't -- it's really difficult for me to actually grapple with what it would mean to have Ivanka's dad be president and to have him "deal with Saudi Arabia" or whatever the scenario is. I just can't.

Aminatou: Let me tell you, this stuff is probably keeping him awake at night too because he's just like I have never grifted this hard.

Ann: [Laughs]

[Music]

(34:08)

Aminatou: Ugh. November is going to be the worst. We're going to have our own Brexit. It's going to be crazy over here.

Ann: I mean I don't know that I can talk about my truly worried feelings about November and just how plausible I think a terrible outcome might be.

Aminatou: We literally have seen that British people hated brown people so much that they were willing to tank their economy. Like we have tangible evidence of that. It is going to suck in November.

Ann: I mean I think that that is a not inaccurate way to phrase it, but I also think what you see going on is white people who used to have really stable jobs don't have them anymore for reasons some of which are big, economic choices that politicians did make and should be accountable for and some of them are just like the world is changing, none of which should be blamed on immigrants. But they were just fed straight-up lies about both the reasons for those problems and what could actually constitute a solution and that feels pretty similar to me.

Aminatou: No, no, I hear you. I hear you. It's like I think about what's going on in England right now and I'm just like why can't people just read the news for themselves? And also too, if you don't like foreigners, maybe don't become a global superpower that colonizes people.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: That seems fairly accurate to me. I just feel like we're living in a post-fact society. Like all over the world populists are saying insanely . . . are telling these big lies, and they're getting away with them.

(35:45)

Ann: Yeah, I mean there's a couple . . . one thing that I don't know the answer to in the US in terms of how, I don't know, whether or not there's a real parallel, is 72% of people voted in the UK. What?

Aminatou: Oh, we can't get 72% of people to vote for American Idol.

Ann: Exactly. I mean exactly. So the question then is -- it's partially about demographics and whatever, all the stuff we just talked about, but it's also who's actually going to show up in America because America hates voting. Like that's documented.

Aminatou: Honestly I was feeling this. I was recently in real America and a couple of people were just giving me all these GOP talking points and I was getting so angry. Then I realized, I was like you know, the chances of you assholes showing up a day in November to vote for anything are like slim to none so I feel fine about this garbage. [Laughs]

Ann: And then, right, okay, so maybe it's that people like being lied to or maybe it's that people know what they want to hear and liars have no problem telling them exactly what they want to hear. Like now there's no way to say 350 million pounds have to go to the NHS as opposed to whatever.

Aminatou: A week, Ann. A week. A week.

Ann: Still though . . .

Aminatou: How crazy.

Ann: I guess what I'm trying to say is even if you're as a reporter reporting on a claim like that during the run-up to a referendum, you can say "Oh, this seems specious. Could they actually divert the money?" But in terms of countering that claim it's pretty hard before the fact to do that.

Aminatou: I know, but that's so depressing. I don't know. One thing that I'm real worried about in this election over here is a presidential debate with somebody like Trump is going to be insane because we don't fact-check people in real-time during the debates. The man is going to be spewing a bazillion lies a minute and what are they supposed to do? Stop the debate and correct him? Are we going to have chyrons with how many Pinocchios are happening right now? I just don't know how it's going to work.

(37:55)

Ann: Yeah, I mean . . .

Aminatou: Ugh. People just love being lied to. Let me tell you, watching what is it, six seasons of Catfish has really driven that point home for me.

Ann: [Laughs] Has really prepared you to watch a Trump campaign.

Aminatou: I'm just like people love being lied to. I don't understand.

Ann: Well no, I understand why: because simple narratives are attractive and hearing what you want to hear is never not attractive. So like . . .

Aminatou: I know, but the truth is a very simple narrative! It's the easiest . . .

Ann: Hmm, as opposed to issues of international trade the truth is not a simple narrative. Like that's part of the problem.

Aminatou: Oh my god.

Ann: And this is why Hillary's wonkiness is not the asset -- like the true asset that it should be viewed as, because the skills that are required to actually run a country are diametrically opposed to the skills needed to get elected.

Aminatou: Oh my god, that is so ridiculous. Ugh, god speed. I don't know. It's going to be weird.

Ann: Oh my god, okay.

Aminatou: Good luck. Good luck to all of us.

[Music]

Ann: Okay, on a happier note we have an announcement.

Aminatou: Ooh, yeah! We're doing a fun show in L.A. at the Ace downtown.

Ann: Thursday, August 18th at 8 p.m. I don't know, I feel like even if you're listening to this not in Los Angeles you should really consider a bestie vacay and come to the show.

Aminatou: You really should. Think about it for these many reasons. One, it's a Thursday which means you can make a weekend out of it. Two, it's L.A. which who has ever not had a great time on an L.A. vacation? And also you get to see us and hang out with us.

Ann: Oh my god, in a very large and beautiful theater too. I'm very geeked to do our show there.

(39:52)

Aminatou: I know, I'm very excited. Tell all of your friends and come see us.

Ann: There will be links to tickets, etc., on callyourgirlfriend.com and everywhere else you follow us I'm sure.

Aminatou: I know. And we'll be announcing some fun guests soon.

Ann: Oh my god, yeah, that's the other thing. We're still -- some of that is still under wraps, but oh my god.

Aminatou: I know. It's like we're the main draw, but let me tell you, we always pick guests incredibly so there's something for everyone.

Ann: Just picture the shine theory in action to book the guests for this show. [Laughs]

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Everyone.

Aminatou: Oh my god, see you in L.A. August 18th. Come, come, come! Tell all your friends.

Ann: Oh my god. And even if you don't come in August we still love you and we'll see you on the Internet.

Aminatou: See you on the Internet, booboo! You can find us so many places on the Internet, on our website callyourgirlfriend.com, you can download us anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts, or on iTunes where we would love it if you left us a review.

Ann: You can tweet at us at @callyrgf or email us at callyrgf@gmail.com.

Aminatou: You can find us on the Facebooks, search that for yourself, or on Instagram at callyrgf.

Ann: And last but not least you can even leave us a short and sweet voicemail at 714-681-2943. That's 714-681-CYGF. This podcast is produced by Gina Delvac.

Aminatou: Gina Delvac!

Ann: Gina D!

Aminatou: [Laughs]