Episode 57: Make america smell great again

Published July 30, 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. Okay, before we get started, imported reminder.

Aminatou: Mere weeks from now.

Ann: We will be doing a live show at the Ace Theater in downtown L.A. on August 18th with some incredible special guests who we have yet to announce.

Aminatou: But it's selling out. It's selling out really fast so buy your ticket now.

Ann: Oh my gosh, because we would love to see you there. We're doing a VIP thing for the first time ever. There are drinks and lots of good vibes and it is the perfect destination event if you do not already live in L.A.

Aminatou: Yes, please come see us in L.A. I'm so excited about all our friends that are coming from San Francisco and even one from New York.

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: So it'll be really fun and we're super excited to see you August 18th at the Ace Theater in downtown L.A. Look it up on callyourgirlfriend.com and buy your ticket.

Ann: Yeah. It's linked on the event section of our website.

Aminatou: See you in L.A., babies!

Ann: Yeah. See you IRL in Los Angeles.

[Theme Song]

Aminatou: Hi Ann Friedman.

Ann: Hey Aminatou Sow. What's up?

Aminatou: Not much. Hello from New York City.

Ann: Mmm. Like smelly, muggy New York City.

Aminatou: No, actually like . . .

Ann: Is it pretty today?

Aminatou: I was at Le Labo today.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: I look good. I smell good. I've not on the subway yet. I don't know about your life.

Ann: Which number Santal? Which number Santal  are you wearing?


Aminatou: You know, I'm trying to stay away from the Santals. I'm exploring some new scents. So, yeah, it's been a good morning.

Ann: You know, I have never had a signature scent. I've always wanted to be a woman with a scent and I've never really invested in trying to find the right one.

Aminatou: This is -- oh man, this is really funny. So it's like my . . . [Laughs] Because my dad is a business traveler (TM) my entire life probably, like whenever my dad gets back from a trip which is probably every other week when I was growing up, you would get from duty-free a bottle of perfume. Every couple of months you would get a watch, like a new watch, and also obscene amounts of Toblerone.

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: So I've been battling perfume issues since probably I was like ten years old and what my signature scent is. In the last couple of years I'm like oh, I don't have a designer perfume anymore and I'm just trying all of these weird -- I'm just going to say it, I just don't trust American people with scents.

Ann: Wow.

Aminatou: So my exploration of all of these weird, new-coming stores . . . and to be fair Le Labo is not American but it's very huge here.

Ann: I mean make America smell great again. [Laughs]

Aminatou: I know. It's really the heart of my struggle right now, and every time I'm in one of these stores I'm like where is my dad? Buy me a new perfume please. It's like I had no idea how expensive Chanel perfume was because I was blessed with it.

Ann: It's so expensive but I really . . . there is something that is learned femininity for me. I think some of this is also informed by the fact that my mom does not wear any makeup, not a lick of it, and owned no perfume or anything. So it was this very exoticized other thing.

Aminatou: Yeah.


Ann: And I sort of always thought by the time I was a grown woman I would have a bottle of perfume that sat on my dresser or whatever, and I just never committed. I never achieved it.

Aminatou: I know. My mom was very chic. It's like I knew on weekdays she wore Anais Anais. [Laughs] You know, it's like her . . . I can visualize her dresser now and that's such an African woman thing. And so I always feel I don't live up to it, but you know, I love a good scent.

Ann: Wow. Who knew that this is where this conversation was going to go today? My scent insecurity. [Laughs]

Aminatou: I know, because you tried to shade New York City. To keep it real.

Ann: That's true. That's true. You know, I am smell prejudiced against New York City.

Aminatou: It's okay. I like live in San Francisco where it's awful. [Laughs]

Ann: I mean, anyway . . .

Aminatou: Yes, anyway.

Ann: I know. This really is a luxury. What do we say? In a treat yourself update? Like luxury indulgence update from you?

Aminatou: Oh man, let me tell you, what have I bought? I bought these like . . . [Laughs] I've bought a lot of luxurious items recently. I bought these fawn baboush that I'm waiting for in the mail right now from Brother Vellies that I'm very excited about then. Vegan people, please don't email me. [Laughs] I'm legit wearing a calf on my foot. I'm very excited about it. What else?

Ann: Oh my god, I can see Gina on the booth applying perfume. Sorry. [Laughs]

Aminatou: And a good -- yeah, it's like my uniform this summer is tent dresses. I've just been wearing good tent dresses. Friend-of-the-podcast Marisa Meltzer has been sending me good shopping recommendations so it's good to be in the same city to try those together.

Ann: Okay, this is the perfect transition because friend-of-the-podcast Maris Meltzer wrote an incredible dispatch from what do you even call this? Like some kind of lady retreat?


Aminatou: From a cult, Ann. She wrote a dispatch from a cult.

Ann: I mean so I had a hard time connecting the dots to cult, I won't lie. It definitely sounded like an annoying retreat.

Aminatou: What?

Ann: I know. Sorry.

Aminatou: Okay, we'll go through the bullet points. Tell me.

Ann: Well, okay, it is a group of mostly white ladies gathering in Mendocino County to basically appropriate a variety of other traditions of spirituality and, what, get in touch with some sort of feminist essence? Is that like a good summary?

Aminatou: Yes. Marisa went to the fourth annual spirit weavers gathering. So this is like a three-day or two-day long, like weekend-long summit in the woods and honestly . . . so she wrote this for Harper's Bazaar, and I had to read it twice before I could even communicate what I was thinking because I didn't want to miss anything.

Ann: I also had to read it twice. There was a lot going on. [Laughs]

Aminatou: There was a lot. There was a lot going on. Can you break it down for the people at home?

Ann: Well, there's a lot of things . . . I mean there are things to like like flowing, silky garments and, you know . . .

Aminatou: You're already being an apologist for these people. [Laughs]

Ann: Listen, I'm starting where the articles . . . basically this is my personal emotional journey, right? I started with an open mind and was like I also like to hang out with women in flowing garments, and then it just sort of slowly breaks down.

Aminatou: Ann, you need to start out with the fact that this thing costs $700 to go to.

Ann: Sure. I don't know how to put this but I feel like any weekend retreat with lots of vegan food options costs that minimum. I was not that surprised by the dollar amount. I'm sorry.

Aminatou: Listen, the dollar amount to me is the red flag. Not in the sense that I don't think that that stuff is not worth $700 but it's really interesting that people who purport to be amount feminine and ancestral ways and energy, it's very commercialized.


Ann: Oh yeah, of course. It unravels from there. I mean I feel like maybe the best way is to just pick out a few details such as when one of these women believes she can communicate with Tinker Bell style forest fairies and she is calling everyone into solidarity with the forest fairies which I can't even imagine being someone who thinks that imaginary, tiny forest creatures are an issue of pressing concern in this political moment.

Aminatou: I know. Can I read Marisa's line about this?

Ann: Please.

Aminatou: Because it made me laugh so hard. "We all pick and choose what we believe, but what I thought about with my dry eyes as women cried over tree reparations was that the oppression of fairy folks is pretty far down my personal list of priorities for getting the world in order." [Laughs]

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: I struggle a lot with this because in one way I'm happy that there are spaces that women can truly be themselves. You know, honestly if you're all about ecstatic ovulation and fertility, by all means please. But I think that the thing for me that this stood out so much of is how much of femininity is performed just like we were talking about in our little perfume interlude.

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: And the second thing is also just how hungry just like white people are for culture.

Ann: Yeah!

Aminatou: Like just thirsty to the max. I'm like you can't embrace your Hungarian values so you have to like, I don't know, just make up weird mashup cultural touchstones of everybody else? There is something about it that is so gross to me, and just . . . ugh.

Ann: Or that your protestant upbringing did not come with very good accessories so you need to find a spiritual tradition that is more aesthetically attuned to what you're into right now.

Aminatou: It's so insulting. And the thing is I'm not a religious person or even a spiritual person but I just find it so insulting when people do this kind of stuff. It's like commodify ten separate religions and then make it into your weird mashup thing and wear a flower crown to top the whole thing off. I'm just like white people, what are you doing?


Ann: Yeah. I mean it is really interesting because there is something about the perceived void that is white culture. You know, for me -- it's so funny, reading this especially during that fairy convo or things that feel so far out of the realm of my intelligent, logical brain, I mean that is totally how I feel about my Catholic upbringing. I'm just like you're going to really sit here and tell me that this wafer is the body of a guy that lived -- you know what I mean?

Aminatou: Transubstantiation, hello. [Laughs]

Ann: I mean wasn't going to pull out the catechism on you but yeah.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: It's funny. So I get I'm missing the God gene as well. I've never had it. I've never once believed in a higher power or anything. And so I think when I read this I have the same difficulty making the leak to forest sprites and letting your menstrual blood flow into the earth as an offering as I did with showing up to confess my sins to a priest. Like it feels the same to me.

Aminatou: One thousand percent.

Ann: But what I think is really interesting is there are clearly a lot of women full-stop, but I think in this case primarily white women, who don't see them as the same thing and that kind of blows my mind.

Aminatou: You know, Marisa touches on this piece in a couple of places of just how white this gathering is. But clearly there are some people of color there.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: You know, a smattering of them. I would love to read their version of this article. And I think the other thing that this made me so aware of when I was reading this is why -- you know, it's like people write us a lot about this and our skepticism around Etsy vagina products. [Laughs] You know, that whole cottage industry.


Ann: Right, the limits of our new age consumption.

Aminatou: Totally, right? And for me that starts at Diva Cup, right? I'm like that's the slippery slope. And I hear you Diva Cup ladies, Soft Cup ladies, live your best life. But I realize for me in the same way that I'm really skeptical about organized religion I'm skeptical about this kind of stuff.

Ann: Yep.

Aminatou: And menstrual products really are the big indicators of how far I'm willing to go down this rabbit hole.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: It gave me a lot to think about, like about my own biases and the things that I'm really dismissive of. Because I realize why women gather like this. Society sucks and the medical-industrial complex is awful. You know, there's so many reasons, psychological and historical and even just practical, that white people do things like this. But at the same time I'm just like I don't know that this is the answer.

Ann: Yeah. And I think that too -- I mean if I'm going to argue with myself and that point about why wouldn't I just go back to Catholic Church instead of going to this spirit weavers thing in the forest, is yeah, it's true that a lot of traditional organized religions are pretty derogatory on the subject of what women are capable of or how powerful they are or what roles they're able to fill. And Marisa gets into sort of the downsides of getting super, super into praising the traditionally feminine, mainly everything kind of then defaults to biological, womanhood, motherhood. The very basic physical functions historically associated with being a woman.

Aminatou: It's womb worship. It's like what they're doing.

Ann: Yeah. And I just -- that doesn't sit well with me either. It's like can we have a middle ground? [Laughs]

Aminatou: Yeah. It's like first of all not all women have these reproductive organs that you're worshipping.

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: And again it's like the performance of it is really interesting. And she gets into this, right? It's like ugh. And I look at the Instagram of this place. The aesthetic is like one -- it's just very beautiful women, very thin with long hair. You know . . .


Ann: I went to a crab festival in Topanga Canyon once. I know. I know what this looks like. [Laughs]

Aminatou: I know. I'm like this is some Charlie Manson shit all over again. [Laughs] Like the aesthetic . . . and it's like what happens if you don't present that way? Does that mean that, you know, womb worship is not for you and that you don't deserve to sit in a Mongolian yard surrounded by Moroccan rugs just braiding each other's hair?

Ann: Yeah. It's weird. It is weird to think about then where the lines are, right? I'm someone who generally thinks that gatherings of women can be a really powerful and supportive and safe space, but it's like obviously that can go so far as to be not that anymore. You know, it's like you go so far in one direction you're back where you started.

Aminatou: I know. It's a delightful read though. Some of the details are hilarious. It's like Marisa running away to her tent to . . . [Laughs]

Ann: To watch Unreal on her laptop? Yeah.

Aminatou: To watch Netflix. Just like "I can't believe they have Wi-Fi at spirit weavers. What are you supposed to do with that?"

Ann: My version of womanhood definitely accounts for binge watching on a laptop. That is acceptable. [Laughs]

Aminatou: I know! I just -- man, it's like I really want to get down with my hippy, dippy natural sisters but at the same time it's like when you're black it's really easy to be skeptical of all this shit. I don't know.

Ann: Yeah. Or like I said if you're missing the God gene full-stop it's like there are aspects of community-building and things that I think are important but it's also like yeah, I can only go so far with you down that path.

Aminatou: Yeah. I'm like people have been trying to get me to go to Burning Man for years. Spirit weavers is definitely not going to happen.

Ann: Wow.

Aminatou: We'll see. Okay.

Ann: I think that was also inadvertently a This Week in Menstruation actually. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Oh, one thousand percent.

[Music and Ads]


Aminatou: What else is going on? Enemy-of-the-podcast Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, is the running mate for Ivanka's dad, dawg.

Ann: I know. I mean it is . . . he is truly like a cartoon-level terrible villain.

Aminatou: He looks like a Bond villain. Like he actually does.

Ann: He's slightly doughier than your standard Bond villain, don't you think?

Aminatou: Boo.

Ann: A little bit jollier.

Aminatou: You know what? I'm going to give credit where credit is due, the man looks veldt. (?) You know what? But let's not forget he's an idiot. I was watching his interview on 60 Minutes with Trump and Leslie Stahl who shout-out to Leslie Stahl, man. That lady has been interviewing people for I don't even know. She just couldn't handle any of it. This is the best -- it's the best 60 Minutes I've ever seen in my whole life because first of all they're sitting on these gold, gaudy chairs. There's Persian rugs all over the floor. It just looked like a scene straight out of a Saddam Hussein textbook.

Ann: [Laughs]


Aminatou: I'm like I'm African and I'm really offended at this whole scene.

Ann: Like ornate interview setting? [Laughs]

Aminatou: Yeah. It just looked like my grandparents' living room, like the living room that we're not allowed to sit in because that's where our potential suitors will come one day. People who are immigrants will get that reference.

Ann: My grandma has a room I wasn't allowed to sit in.

Aminatou: [Sighs] It's just crazy.

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: Everything was gold and just like . . . it was so tacky, and I'm like where did you get this first of all? This is so offensive. And Trump would not let Pence -- he would not give him one word. I don't know. It was the kind of thing where I was like you know what? Mike Pence says that he's a Christian. What's his line? He says "I'm a Christian . . ."

Ann: "I'm a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican in that order."

Aminatou: And a Republican in that order. And I was like you are the most hypocritical of Christians. Anybody who says they're a Christian, a Jesus-fearing Christian and they support Ivanka's dad, I'm like you are the biggest hypocrite in the world. This person is crazy. If you haven't seen this interview, Ann, it's 20 minutes but you should listen to it because you'll die, it's so funny. It's like Leslie Stahl is like "Well, Mike Pence voted for the war in Iraq. Hillary Clinton did too." And Donald Trump goes "He's allowed to make a mistake once in a while." [Laughs] And it's like "Do you think you'll listen to him?" "Yeah, sure, why not." Like they're both so dopey and you know the marriage is going to end poorly. It's like whether they win or lose it will end badly.


Ann: Oh my god. Also have you seen the headlines this week about Mike Pence's comments about Mulan when it was released?

Aminatou: Yeah! Promoting women in combat? [Laughs] Listen, I deeply identified with that because I went to a really religious Christian high school and we weren't . . . sometimes we weren't allowed to watch even Disney movies for witchcraft reasons or whatever. But Mulan was a very divisive one. We watched Mulan like three times and then somebody was like this is too much.

Ann: Yeah, there's a lot of honor and family prose.

Aminatou: Yeah, it's like I'm a 17-year-old and the only thing I'm allowed to watch at boarding school is Mulan then they take that out of the rotation. [Laughs] This is like insane. So I'm very familiar with this level of evangelical hypocrite towards Mulan.

Ann: The thing that it made me think of is you know how Disney princesses are the most reclaimed pop culture thing? There's a billion listicles that are like "Disney princess remade."

Aminatou: One hundo.

Ann: Like actually racially-reflective of the makeup of the world. Disney princesses rewritten to be super powerful, and not enthralled to male characters. There's like a whole run-down of reclaiming and I'm just like . . . in some ways I'm like okay, those people definitely agree with Mike Pence. Change some Disney princesses and you can change hearts and minds.

Aminatou: Can we talk about Karen Pence though?

Ann: Please.

Aminatou: Our future second lady. [Laughs]

Ann: Stop. Don't even say that. I can't.

Aminatou: In the New York Times profile this week of who Mike Pence is there was this very charming situation. So this article is about Mike Pence and Ivanka's dad and Ivanka's stepmom. So anyway, it's like even their wives are cut from different cloth. Mr. Pence's wife Karen, a former elementary school teacher, sells distinctive towel charms at a company she created called That's My Towel . . . Charm. 

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: Mr. Trump's wife, Melania, a former model who has posed naked, markets a line of gold jewelry and time pieces branded with her name. So Melania is selling legit jewelry and the New York Times fails to recognize that Karen Pence is selling wine charms.


Ann: Yeah. They're $6.25 apiece and promise to help you keep your towel distinct from other beachgoer's towels.

Aminatou: Yeah. Also do you think that really she was like because they're religious they can't sell wine charms so she had to make it into a towel charm?

Ann: [Laughs] I don't know. Actually what do these look like? I'm doing a . . .

Aminatou: Oh my god, I'm looking at them now and I'm dying. There's a baseball glove one. There's a clam towel one. There's a hotdog. Oh my god, I'm getting you the hotdog.

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: Most of us -- here's the thing.

Ann: Ooh, there's pizza.

Aminatou: Most of us . . . oh yeah, most of us have matching bath and beach towels so it's easy to get them confused. Who is taking . . . [Laughs] getting their beach towel confused with somebody else? Also who is "us" Karen?

Ann: When you go to the website, the That's My Towel Charm website, towelcharm.com, it says "Thanks for your interest in towel charms. The business is currently on hold." Much like your husband's campaign soon will be, fingers crossed.

Aminatou: Oh my god. Ann, these quotes are killing me. "I've had so many times where I was swimming at a friend's beach house, pool, or lake house using their matching, beautiful beach towels. Lo and behold I would go in the water for a dip and up to the house for a beverage and when I came back, my towel, it was gone! Someone else had grabbed my towel unknowingly because all the towels look the same." This is not a problem people have.

Ann: Also they're working so hard to be like we're normal Americans, like we go to Chili's even in New York, then you confess that you hang out at lake houses all the time? Get it together. These are contradictory.

Aminatou: Yo, you know how midwestern people are. They all have that secret money, all of them.

Ann: I mean . . .

Aminatou: Oh my god.


Ann: I'm going to let that one go.

Aminatou: Ugh. All Karen wants is a towel of Karen's own. Just let Karen have it.

Ann: [Sighs] I mean, yeah, I . . .

Aminatou: This lady. I can't believe these people are trying to be our president and vice-president. You can't have a towel charm company and be a second lady of America. Get your shit together.

Ann: I mean I think you can kind of do whatever you want. Mike Pence also in 2000 was like "Smoking doesn't kill."

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: So I feel like -- seriously, he said "that concerns about the lethal impact of smoking are a product of hysteria from the political class and the media."

Aminatou: Yeah, Mike Pence is also the man who signed a bill that women had to pay for their own fetus funerals.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: He's like a bad person.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: He's a bad person and he's also the person where during Hurricane Katrina when Congress was like "Maybe we should throw some money at Louisiana because this situation is serious," he literally said something to the effect of "I love the people of New Orleans but I don't believe this relief should bankrupt the rest of the country." Like he's a bad person.

Ann: He's also at the forefront of kind of the post, I don't know, the stealthy anti-gay rights move of passing laws that allow private businesses and employers and healthcare providers to refuse to serve anyone who is LGBTQ just because it's against their beliefs that those people exist.

Aminatou: No, he's definitely one of those culture warriors. He claims that liberal culture is the problem and I'm like no, you're literally a bad person Mike Pence.

Ann: We're going to send Mulan to take you down.

Aminatou: Yeah, so, you know, if you're listening to this podcast and your parents are voting for these people remember to tell them these people are bad people. Oh my god.



Ann: We need to talk about the other scandal rocking our nation.

Aminatou: Oh my god, there's so many. Which one?

Ann: I'm talking about Kimye versus TayTay.

Aminatou: Oh, this is so perfect Ann because literally just now somebody tweeted at me this: "I'm behind on CYG but I thought you were a T-Swift fan?"

Ann: Ooh.

Aminatou: "Was curious which side you would take in this whole thing, TBH." TBH I'm only on my side and TBH I'm only on the side of the truth. 

Ann: And what is the truth?

Aminatou: I enjoy both Kanye's and Taylor's music for very different reasons, and you know what? I pay them enough money to enjoy that that when they do stupid shit I can comment about it on my podcast.

Ann: Please.

Aminatou: That's what the money's for. So here's what's going on. It's like, I don't know, people are going to hear this podcast on Friday so probably by the time you hear this, who knows? People might be in jail. It'll be a lot has happened.

Ann: [Laughs] This has gone to federal court for wiretapping or something.

Aminatou: Oh my god, just wait. As of Monday afternoon here is where things stand. If you are a Kanye fan you already know this and if you're a Taylor fan you're vaguely aware of the song on Kanye's album called Famous with the lyrics "I think that me and Taylor might still have sex. I made that bitch famous." Those are the lyrics. The lyrics that launched a thousand Snapchats. If you recall, years prior, Kanye snatched a VMA out of Taylor Swift's hands and said that Beyonc deserved the award for All the Single Ladies.

Ann: 2009 feels so long ago.


Aminatou: Ann, we were all so young and innocent then.

Ann: I know. I know.

Aminatou: My god. These were simpler times. So anyway, that was in 2009. They kind of dealt with it and they were fake award show friends and Kanye thought it was like their relationship had moved on to the point where he could write this song. The song comes out. Everybody is like "Oh! Darts have been thrown! What's going on?" One Taylor Swift issues a statement about the song where she basically claims that she never approved the lyrics and that she has warned Kanye not to release the song.

Ann: And it also contains a line where she's like kind of being finger-waggy, like don't say misogynistic things. I forget the exact wording but the statement is like . . . 

Aminatou: Oh no, no, don't worry. Yeah, we're going to get to there where it's like . . . I've pulled up the statement. It's from her publicist Tree Paine who has my favorite name in all of publicitydom but also maybe has the hardest job this week. "Kanye did not call for approval but to ask Taylor to release his single Famous on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the lyric I made that bitch famous." Fast-forward after the statement, there's a Grammy award where Taylor wins many Grammys. Oh, she wins a Grammy the day after the album drops essentially because all of life is dramatic and timing is perfect.

Ann: Suspiciously perfect.

Aminatou: I know. And then Taylor says during her award speech many feminist things including this line: "There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut you and your success, or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame." Direct blow to Kanye from Taylor. The next day Kanye goes on Twitter and he says -- he's like "I called Taylor. We had an hour-long convo about the line and she thought it was funny and gave her blessing." I'm quoting the @kanyewest account. Dun, dun, dun. This whole thing simmers for a while. A couple of weeks maybe or a month goes by and Katie Weaver who is a wonderful writer does this amazing profile of Kim Kardashian West, wife of Kanye West, for GQ Magazine. And it's all about Kim's fame and how she's aware of everything. The profile is great. If you haven't read it, what are you doing with your life? Just pause this right now and go read it.


Ann: Also some important life hacks in that profile.

Aminatou: Ugh. It's so good, but in the profile, kind of out of left field, Kim brings up this Taylor/Kanye situation. And Kim is incensed. She's just outraged. And she says that Taylor was 100% aware of the song, 100% approved the song, and that she knew it was coming out and that she's essentially doing it for publicity reasons. The reason that I say you have to go read the GQ thing is once GQ reaches out to Taylor's people for confirmation her publicist once again releases maybe the funniest celebrity statement ever.

Ann: It's so long.

Aminatou: It's so long. It's so good. But it essentially ends with the line "Kim Kardashian's claim that Taylor and her team were aware of being recorded is not true and Taylor cannot understand why Kanye West and now Kim Kardashian will not just leave her alone." [Laughs] I think about that once a day at least.

Ann: Leave TayTay alone.

Aminatou: So the allegation from Kim is that Taylor is a liar and a scammer, and two there is a video because Kanye is like Beyonc in that he has somebody filming him at all times for the documentary about his life.

Ann: Receipts for everything too.


Aminatou: Exactly, so they have it on there. People are like "We don't know who to believe. The stories are so different." I'm going to tell you what, I don't trust Taylor Swift. I don't trust Kanye West. I trust Kim Kardashian with my life. Everybody's just like what's going on? Everything is confusing. And in the meantime Taylor Swift launches into her Hiddle-Swift relationship that just confuses everyone.

Ann: Which is like a whole other spiraling sideshow to this.

Aminatou: Ann, it was for misdirection. It's because they knew the Kim story was coming.

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: But that's my own conspiracy theory and I know that we don't like to give air to conspiracy theories on this show so I'll leave it at that.

Ann: Can I just say how much I hate the word Hiddle-Swift? I hate it so much.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: It sounds like a Harry Potter house or something. It's like precious and I don't know.

Aminatou: What's the other name for them? Swoki.

Ann: Swoki. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Loki and Swift.

Ann: Sorry, I'm dying and this is now everything.

Aminatou: That's why I'm not even going to touch those two because they don't deserve airtime on this show. I'm just like I hate liars, Ann, so much. So anyway it's like a couple weeks pass by. The whole thing dies down. And then on Sunday night on Keeping Up with the Kardashians Kim finally just goes in and she's like here's what's going on. She's like first of all I'm defending Kanye because Kanye has always defended me, and she's like I hate it when people lie about my family and my husband. You know, like strong moral compass shit. Again repeats this allegation that it was taped and Taylor is a liar. She's telling Kourtney and Kourtney is so bored but also like ugh, I can't believe she did that. But at the same time that that's happening on the show Kim on her Twitter all day has been teasing out this attack. She lays out this trap. At first she tweets all these snake emojis and she's like "It's national snake day." Then two hours later she like . . .

Ann: It was also national ice cream day, P.S. Anyway, go on.


Aminatou: Really? Exciting. What are you, a marketer? You know all the days?

Ann: You know what? I called my dad for his birthday and he was like "My birthday is on national ice cream day." Anyway, go on.

Aminatou: Aww!

Ann: Total sidebar, irrelevant. Apparently also national snake day. Did not mention that.

Aminatou: Oh my god. And then two hours later she releases an update to the Kimoji package that is just an emoji word bubble of the word savage. [Laughs]

Ann: Wow.

Aminatou: Because Kim has black friends and she knows. And then two hours later she's like "You guys, are you all following me on Snapchat?" Winkey face. At this point family friend-of-the-podcast Phoebe Connelly texts me.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: In all caps, and goes "IT'S GOING DOWN ON KIM'S SNAPCHAT." Phoebe is at the RNC. She has a big job. She's in charge of many things. But I cannot thank her enough for taking time out of her busy day for this. I go into the Snapchat and proceed to lose oxygen at every moment. Kim has every receipt. First of all, Rick Rubin was sitting in the studio with Kanye and Kim. Rick Rubin is passed out asleep. You know how Rick Rubin is a big, important celebrity for me.

Ann: [Laughs] I didn't want to fill in that blank. I was going to let you fill in that blank.

Aminatou: I know! Top five in the spank bank, for sure. Love Rick Rubin. So it's like I see him dozing in the corner of the studio and I'm dying.

Ann: When I saw that I was just like this is just the cherry on top of this for you isn't it?

Aminatou: Oh my god, Ann, it was like my Olympics. It was insane.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: Remember that picture I took with Rick Rubin where I hounded him for a photo? That's the only time I've ever done that with a celebrity ever.

Ann: I mean I do remember that. Yeah, yes.

Aminatou: Side bar.

Ann: Side bar.

Aminatou: Side bar. So yeah, I see Rick Rubin and I was like Kim would never lie and implicate Rick Rubin. Who would do that? Nobody. So anyway Rick Rubin is there. Kanye and Taylor are talking. It was the equivalent of that CVS receipt that's like two miles long. That's what she delivered. [Laughs] She was just like here's this and here's coupons. Kanye and Taylor talk. You know, it's like the whole thing, it's her essentially gassing him up. Kanye is using his what I like to call LinkedIn voice, his customer service voice.

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: That he uses with white people.

Ann: Yeah.


Aminatou: The whole thing is going down, but clearly she knew what was going on. My analysis of this is this: don't say yes to things that you don't actually want to do. If you don't want to do it, just say no. Also get everything in writing, you know? Like . . .

Ann: Also . . .

Aminatou: It's very plausible that she was trying to be friendly, but I was like now the whole world heard that conversation and that's not what it sounds like.

Ann: And also, right, at least the videos that Kim released do not show her saying "I'm going to need to hear the whole thing before I really sign off."

Aminatou: No, totally. They don't show that. But they do show that she was aware. She knew the celebrity implications of it. She definitely says that she's going to talk about the song on the Grammy red carpet. The whole thing is messy. It's like if you want, The Fader posted the transcript of it and let me tell you it does not look good. [Laughs] And to be fair Taylor did not deny that she had a conversation with him; she denied that she knew that the song was misogynistic.

Ann: But it's all about the bitch line, right? It's not about the "We might still have sex line," correct. This is the contentious point?

Aminatou: I know, but listen. Ann, all of these young girls, everybody is a feminist now when it suits you for your own purposes. It's very rich to me to claim that you are humiliated by one part of the lyric and not the other, and also or be humiliated that now that the Kardashian-Wests have released the transcript, I'm like literally your entire body of work is writing songs about men who can't defend themselves against these allegations and you're definitely not asking them for permission, #dearjohn. But also I'm like trust your publicist, man. Don't be releasing things. So anyway now she has posted -- Taylor posted a statement on Instagram where she says she feels violated by being recorded which California is a two-party consent state for recording.

Ann: Yep.


Aminatou: And so the latest word is she is going to sue them for posting the phone call. Listen, I'm not a lawyer but I watch a lot of Law and Order and there's this thing called shield laws that journalists . . . 

Ann: Oh my god, you cannot even.

Aminatou: Kim is doing investigative journalism.

Ann: I cannot. This is where I bow out.

Aminatou: She is protected. She's protected by the shield law. One, she's going to win a Pulitzer. If you gave Kim 20 minutes with Donald Trump's file she would get him out of here for us.

Ann: I would love to see that.

Aminatou: She would figure it out.

Ann: I would love to see her use the full force of her formidable skills against Donald Trump. I would love that so much.

Aminatou: That's it. Okay, so that wraps up that story but I really want to go back to that person who tweeted at me about whose side you're on and tell you something. First of all if you're on a celebrity's side for anything you're a fool. Be on your own side. Like these people are all scammers and they are all playing on your emotions.

Ann: Wait, I thought you were on Kim's side.

Aminatou: I mean Kim is separate. [Laughs]

Ann: Factcheck.org, are you not on Kim's side?

Aminatou: Also, listen, Kim has no dog in this bone. This isn't her fight. She just merely provided receipts and stepped away.

Ann: Oh my god, this is totally her fight. Please, come on now, she made it very clear that Kanye's fight is her fight and that's the whole point which I respect.

Aminatou: Listen, she provided her receipt, and to be fair to her what she said she'd do is what she did. And obviously I'm being very tongue-in-cheek and facetious about even being on Kim's side. Let's be honest. But I really think a thing that people don't realize is both for Kim and for Taylor and for Kanye this is all good, like the fact that they're fighting publicly or whatever.

Ann: Oh, completely. Completely.


Aminatou: So don't take this stuff personally on their behalf. These people, that's what their millions of dollars are for so they can handle this stuff. They have teams of people that are working on it. I guarantee you right now that their lawyers are talking to each other. In a couple of weeks you're going to see an Instagram photo of all of them and they've all made up and moved on.

Ann: I have to say for me anyway the real beneficiaries of this whole thing are all of us who have been so exhausted by the news cycle, to focus on this non-scandal scandal has felt so nice. Like as opposed to like consuming the other news.

Aminatou: No, 100%. So cathartic.

Ann: Like we all win. Like I think they're clearly on our side, right? [Laughs]

Aminatou: We all win. Then watching Selena Gomez come out and try to defend her friend, then she did it badly because she's like "Everybody should use their voice to talk about important things," and everybody was like what have you said about Black Lives Matter recently, Selena? You know?

Ann: And she's like oops.

Aminatou: She's like oops, let me delete my tweet, then all of these people . . . it's like listen, celebrities, they're going to be just fine. They make enough money that they can handle this heat. If they couldn't handle the heat they wouldn't be on social media first of all. You know who's not on social media? Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Ann: They can't handle the heat.

Aminatou: They can't handle the heat but also they're like we make different kinds of money than you fools. We don't need to do this.

Ann: No, they're like we're going to bring the heat to UN testimony as opposed to Twitter.

Aminatou: Totally. It's like yeah. Yeah. We're going to rebuild homes in New Orleans.

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: But, you know, it's true. It's like listen, there is really something to be said about how overexposed all of these people are and you need to know that they're doing it on purpose. The overexposure is how they get paid.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: And so they're playing into it. If they really wanted to be private people, it's like think about some celebrities you know that you don't know that they're married or you don't know who they're dating or whatever. It is very possible to do that stuff and not get caught in the crosshairs of paparazzi. So don't get sanctimonious about those of us who enjoy this late-night drama because it's been a long week and it's been a long year and we're all tired so we'll take what we get. But don't trust any of these people.


Ann: Ugh, correct. Amen. And we're out.

Aminatou: Oh my god. We're out.

Ann: I feel like that's just the mic drop. [Laughs]

Aminatou: We're out. We're out. You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website callyourgirlfriend.com. You can download Call Your Girlfriend anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts or on iTunes where we would love it if you left us a review. You can tweet at us at @callyrgf or email us at callyrgf@gmail.com. You can find us on Facebook -- ugh, look that up yourself -- or on Instagram at callyrgf. You can even leave us a short and sweet voicemail at 714-681-2943. That's 714-681-CYGF. Thank you to our friends at Argot Studios and this podcast is produced by Gina Delvac.

Ann: Gina! See you on the Internet.

Aminatou: See you on the Internet.