Episode 62: Rumors and Creeps
Published September 2, 2016.
Ann: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend.
Aminatou: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.
Ann: I'm Ann Friedman.
Aminatou: And I'm Aminatou Sow. This week on Call Your Girlfriend we discuss Clinton conspiracy theories, Ivanka's dad's just general grossness, we do a creep update, and check in with our girl Ariana Huffington and just generally a brilliant period idea.
Aminatou: Hello from Palm Springs!
Ann: Hey, we're in the same room.
Aminatou: I know. We've been in the same rooms a lot lately.
Aminatou: Not that I'm complaining.
Ann: I know, I was like you say that like it's a bad thing.
Aminatou: No, I say that like it's . . . you know, it's not that we're not in the same rooms a lot. I think that we've been recording the podcast from the same room a lot.
Ann: That's true.
Aminatou: That's the clarification.
Ann: It's true. 2016 has been a strong year for recording IRL. What're you drinking?
Aminatou: I am drinking a Modelo Especial, a tall boy. I'm so happy right now.
Ann: I am shocked by the lack of lime slice. Like if I were drinking a Modelo tall boy right now it would have a lime slice.
Aminatou: No. I'm ready to just mainline this. No need for dressing my beer. We're in Palm Springs for fun times. I like that this is the destination this family always takes.
Ann: Listen, it's conveniently located, it's not that far away, and it's built for relaxation.
Aminatou: I know. We're in a very great Airbnb. What're we talking about today?
Ann: Well I have a right-wing Hillary conspiracy theory that I'm dying to chat to you about.
Aminatou: Tell me. Tell me everything. Just one theory?
Ann: I mean, listen, as with all anti-Hillary conspiracy theories they are interlocking, like she and Huma are lesbians meets all of the shit about her and Bill in the past meets . . . it's like a mashup.
Aminatou: Hit me, hit me, hit me.
Ann: But anyway the headline is that Hillary is weak and ill and doesn't have the stamina.
Ann: And the most hilarious right-wing post that I saw to this effect featured really bad Photoshopped arrows pointing at the various pillows sitting on the back of her chairs where she does interviews as if to say she's so weak that she needs to be propped up by pillows.
Aminatou: This is amazing. I'm okay with people being of any conservative flavor that they want to be but I think it should be acknowledged that people of the right flavor -- I mean of the right side of the spectrum, a.k.a. conservatives -- notoriously bad at the Internet and technology tools. These memes are killing me because the Photoshops are so bad.
Ann: Oh my god, they're so bad.
Aminatou: I'm like they're so bad, or they make memes in the meme generator and they're not subtle enough. Like the one I showed you earlier that was like Huma is arranging papers for some congressional inquiry for Hillary and then the caption was "I'm not Hillary's aid. The Muslim brotherhood planted me here."
Aminatou: [Laughs] I was like that's not how memes work but thank you for doing that.
Ann: Right. So I like that all of these intersecting memes, Hillary is really tired and Huma is actually taking over on behalf of the Muslim brotherhood because Hillary does not have the health or stamina.
Aminatou: The longest con.
Ann: Oh my god.
Aminatou: So if I summarize it it's Hillary is dying, Huma is not her aid, is her nurse/lesbian lover/was planted here.
Ann: Slash infiltrator.
Aminatou: Infiltrator. And also the other thing that is really funny about this is they keep pointing to a fictitious colostomy bag that Hillary Clinton is wearing.
Aminatou: And I don't know how to tell you this, the number one category of jokes for me is colostomy bag jokes. I am here.
Ann: Also isn't it just like a clutch?
Aminatou: I mean, yeah, but I'm just like where are they getting it? Where is that tweet that I read to you? It was so good. Let me try to find it.
Ann: There's also a Drudge Report headline that was like Hillary Needs Help Walking Up the Stairs.
Ann: Like I can't even. Also I have to say that just in terms of, I don't know, we're on a little bit of a retreat and thinking a little bit about self-care. And it's like if any human being were not exhausted by what it takes to run for president/be Hillary Clinton you're lying. It's just not possible to go through what I'm sure her schedule looks like and not be exhausted.
Aminatou: Here it is. The account is Hillary is a Liar by @byebyeobama1. [Laughs] First problem. Second problem, this tweet is amazing. "How can Hillary Clinton live with herself? Compulsive liar. Colostomy bag drippings on her pants. Cheating husband?"
Ann: Question mark indeed.
Aminatou: I know, so many question marks. You know, the thing about this, it's funny to me but at the same time I realize that with a certain kind of voter this kind of shit works, you know? And clearly that certain kind of voter does not vote the same way I do. Trump really . . . remember how he kept saying that Jeb was low-energy and that's how he got him out to paint?
Ann: Okay, low-energy is kind of a good insult though.
Aminatou: I know, but he's doing the same thing with Hillary. He's like "She's exhausted." I think it's funny but also at the same time people really believe that.
Ann: Okay, here's a question for you: if you were to have a ridiculous right-wing slander directed at you what would you like it to be?
Aminatou: Wow! You know, if low energy is already taken by Jeb, exclamation point Jeb, what do I want?
Ann: I know, that's why he needed that exclamation point.
Aminatou: Listen, colostomy bag drippings on my pants, I want that. [Laughs] This is my problem with Ivanka's dad and his entire ilk, right, is they do these things then they don't own them. If he came out on TV and he was like "This lady is exhausted. She's lying about her medical report," which they have made up fake medical reports.
Ann: Oh, totally.
Aminatou: Like Hillary Clinton's doctor had to come out and be like "No, she's strong like an ox."
Ann: Hillary's medical report is the new Obama's birth certificate.
Aminatou: I know. Claiming that Hillary Clinton doesn't have stamina for any kind of race is the most ridiculous thing in the world, but the shit works, right?
Ann: You also mentioned the potential voters that these things are aimed at and I was just trying to picture the person who was really on the fence between Ivanka's dad and Hillary and goes into the voting booth and is about to cast a vote and is like "You know what? She seems really tired. I'm going to go with the other guy."
Ann: Like what? How compelling.
Aminatou: Exactly, right? But also let's bring this back to Ivanka's dad himself.
Aminatou: The worst weave in the west.
Ann: Oh my god.
Aminatou: Like if anybody looks tired and they're faking shit and they're probably going to die tomorrow, it's like the man that's always eating KFC on his plane. I cannot believe you have made this this far in life.
Aminatou: With your diet and how disgustingly -- like he does not look healthy.
Ann: He probably travels with a surgeon prepared to give him bypass surgery at campaign stops.
Aminatou: Oh my god, that's the rumor we should start. We're like Trump is dying.
Ann: You know who travels on his plane, right?
Aminatou: Oh my god, there's a surgeon, there's a nurse.
Ann: Ivanka's so involved because she might have to step in power of attorney style.
Aminatou: He's been losing his hair since he was seven years old.
Ann: Have you seen the sculptures of Trump that have appeared? I have some feelings about this.
Aminatou: Ann. Okay, explain to the people what the sculptures are. It's like I can't believe we talked about colostomy bags and I was down and then the minute you bring up Trump's body I want to die.
Ann: So there's this artist named Joshua Monroe who has made five different sculptures -- I would say life-size sculptures but they're a little bit exaggerated -- of Ivanka's dad nude with certain features exaggerated and certain features perhaps underplayed.
Aminatou: [Laughs] I'm using my imagination and I want to die. Please just tell me.
Ann: I mean they have like -- well it's interesting because I think they're kind of fat-phobic. They've exaggerated his stomach and he's like . . .
Aminatou: The paunch?
Ann: Yeah, exactly. Which is like I don't know what Ivanka's dad looks like naked, thank god, but it seems like maybe . . . I know, I know. Gina is cowering in horror right now.
Aminatou: When we get Melania on the show we can ask her.
Ann: Totally. We can be like "Melania, does his physique match the sculptures?"
Aminatou: But you know what, plot twist, Melania has probably also never seen his body.
Ann: [Laughs] Oh my god.
Aminatou: Dun, dun, dun. We're just in the business of rumors this week. [Laughs]
Ann: I know. This episode is 100% rumor mongering. But anyway.
Aminatou: I'm tired of rumors.
Ann: But anyway, so these sculptures feature very large stomachs which I would say are probably exaggerated although again I don't have all the information and a very underplayed set of genitalia. Again do not have the personal information about what Trump's nether regions look like.
Ann: I know, it's terrifying. I think there are a lot of good reasons to shame Ivanka's dad but having a big belly is not one of them.
Aminatou: Yeah, no.
Ann: The other bonkers thing about these sculptures is that the artist says he was originally a supporter of Ivanka's dad and is a late-breaking Hillary convert.
Ann: I know.
Aminatou: Do you know what it was that changed it for him? That Hillary, like she didn't look tired or something? [Laughs]
Ann: Yeah, he was like "She seemed so energetic and that's what won me over." That's totally . . .
Aminatou: Voters are such bullshit. It's like just go do your civic duty and stop pretending that you care about this stuff. We live in polarized politics. Nobody is choosing between Hillary and Trump. Grow up.
Ann: Yeah. That's the thing, right? It's like I think that this . . . I'm suspicious that the artist is just making that part of his story retroactively when in fact he wanted to make a cartoonish and garish Ivanka's dad sculpture.
Aminatou: Yeah. I'm like not down for fat phobia at all. I just want to clarify that. But I do think that calling Donald Trump names about his body will probably ruin his day.
Ann: It's hard because I think that I'm largely reacting to a lot of the articles covering the sculptures have photos of people standing near them.
Ann: And there's something about watching people kind of mock . . . and for some reason it feels . . .
Aminatou: Like a mock a realistic body depiction?
Ann: Yeah, exactly.
Aminatou: Listen . . .
Ann: Yeah, that I'm just like ugh.
Aminatou: I 100% agree with that. I just hate this man so much. And it's also so juvenile that it's like insulting somebody by talking about a thing in their body that they don't have control of is so ridiculous.
Ann: Totally. I feel like that is actually the left-wing flip side of the right-wing you have no stamina.
Ann: It's like it's an equally bullshit reason to dislike someone.
Aminatou: Totally. But the thing with Trump too is he's so childish and petty. He's not as handsome as he thinks he is. I'm like you have money. That's why beautiful models from Estonia marry you. It's not for your physique or your ideas. Let's get that right. He doesn't have as much money as he says he does. If he did we would've seen those tax returns a long time ago. He just doesn't have the range.
Ann: So it's all ego.
Aminatou: Yeah, it's just all ego. You are running for an office where you can't be private about this stuff. The tax return stuff, I am really baffled.
Ann: How have we gone this long?
Aminatou: That we've gone this long and it's not . . . probably us and Donald Trump make the exact same amount of money. I'm putting this out there.
Ann: That is terrifying. You mean in terms of take-home?
Aminatou: Yeah, no, in terms of take-home. It's like, one, he works in real estate where you can notoriously not claim so much shit because it's like an investment.
Aminatou: But also there was this amazing article, I think it was in the Washington Post, about some very special tax deduction that he got that only families that make under $250,000 get. And it's like if you got audited and they changed that I would be curious to hear. But I'm like that man has a Chase Sapphire like the rest of us. I just don't believe it.
Ann: Donald Trump has never been audited.
Aminatou: He's such a liar. His reason for not releasing his tax returns right now is he's being audited. And then, yeah, he's like "So I can't talk about it." So there's that then there's the charity stuff that is like . . .
Ann: Oh my god, that is so shady.
Aminatou: He is the most non-generous, no money having asshole.
Ann: Did you read the article -- I think it was a New York Times article -- about all of his claims about donating money directly out of his own pocket to Celebrity Apprentice contestants? Where he was like "I will personally write a $10,000 check." And the Times followed up with every time he made that claim, sometimes the show paid people, lots of times no one paid people.
Aminatou: Yeah. Yeah, it's like this Washington Post reporter has been on him about the charity stuff, like literally went through a list of every plausible . . . because he keeps saying he gives money to veterans, and I'm like show me the receipts. And he called every single organization and could not account for like $10,000.
Ann: He gives money to veterans of New York City real estate himself.
Aminatou: Yeah, he just doesn't have money. He is not good. And somehow people are still like "This guy."
Ann: It's frustrating. The facts are damning enough when it comes to Ivanka's dad. It's like I could fantasize all day about the ridiculous rumors we could start but none of them would be as bad as the facts.
Aminatou: As the actual truth.
Aminatou: Yeah, you know, but there's also something so like man, this is the state of sexism, right? It's that we have this over-qualified woman running for president. No matter how you feel about her.
Ann: Oh, totally.
Aminatou: It's like you know what I mean? She has the range. She can do the job. She's running literally against the biggest doofus the other side could field and that's supposed to be a competition. Which woman cannot identify with that?
Ann: It's true, right? And it's like in some ways I'm like this makes it so one for the history books, right? We will tell women who are decades younger than us someday and be like "Listen, not only did we not have a woman president until, god willing, 2017."
Aminatou: She had to compete against a sentient Cheeto.
Aminatou: That's what happens.
Ann: Exactly. She had to compete against a human poop emoji.
Aminatou: And it was a close race. [Laughs] That's how far we've made it, little girl.
Ann: Or alternatively that's why we live in Canada, little girl. [Laughs] That's how our family moved north.
Aminatou: Yeah, that's why our family lives in Canada now because Justin Trudeau would have us.
Ann: Talk about caricatures I'm like also cannot be true but I'm so amused by.
Aminatou: Wait, who, Justin Trudeau?
Ann: It can't all be true.
Aminatou: 100% scam artist.
Ann: I know!
Aminatou: Oh my god, please, I'm glad we're on the same page about this.
Ann: Oh yeah.
Aminatou: If there are any Canadians listening to this your prime minister is a scam artist. You know it and I know it.
Ann: I feel about Justin Trudeau the way I feel about extraterrestrial life which is I want to believe but ultimately I don't really.
Aminatou: Oh my god, here is the deal with Justin Trudeau: why is he doing paid media in our country?
Aminatou: I was like that's the first damning fact. You don't go here.
Ann: Global charm tour. Global charm tour.
Aminatou: You don't go here. Focus on your own shit. The man is never wearing a shirt when there's a camera around, rescuing people in the subway. No.
Ann: Like meeting up with families in the woods.
Aminatou: All the trademarks of a serial killer, I'm telling you. Another CYG rumor. [Laughs] Allegedly.
Ann: It's true.
Aminatou: Too good to be true. Sophie Trudeau though, so real. Remember that time she sang and everything was off-key? I'm like this is a real human. I believe this.
Ann: The realist thing about him is Sophie.
Aminatou: Oh my god, and he's doing the yoga and he's wearing turbans.
Ann: I want to believe though, you know? I want to believe.
Aminatou: I don't believe it. I don't believe it. It's like him and that . . .
Ann: But do you want to? Do you understand?
Aminatou: No, and you know the best thing is I grew up with Justin Trudeau posters in my room.
Aminatou: He was like number one crush.
Ann: Wait, okay.
Aminatou: International kids, you know how we are.
Ann: Please tell me you literally did not grow up with posters in your room.
Aminatou: No, 100%.
Ann: Please describe the poster.
Aminatou: He just looked handsome in a suit. I feel like the only person who knows this about me is my college roommate Brittany who understands the depths to which my personal version of Teen Beat was all like European royalty and random Canadian prime minister sons. The first time I went to Whistler I went because I was like Justin Trudeau works here.
Ann: Oh my god. Wait, so okay, is it just like a poster of him, like a media shot?
Aminatou: Yeah, it was like a media shot. It was like a picture picture blown up.
Aminatou: It was just like bad news. Yeah, so it's like I've been very aware of him. His mom is like number one favorite tabloid political wife for life. Love her. But now I'm just like Justin, why are you doing paid media here? I don't need to see you in all this. I don't need to see you here.
Ann: Wow, and so it's really funny when you said that he was the person on a suit on your wall. I definitely had a Johnny Mnemonic poster featuring Keanu Reeves.
Aminatou: Ahh! [Laughs] Genuine reaction.
Ann: Genuine reaction. And let me tell you I do believe that Keanu Reeves as a celebrity crush has aged well.
Aminatou: If you say so.
Ann: Okay, okay, not in a literal like he has physically aged well but in a like okay, heartthrob role in a Nancy Meyers movie. Check.
Aminatou: Check, for real.
Ann: Donating lots of money to charity and being good to the people who work on set with you.
Ann: Part of a meme that you are totally blameless and emerged with a better reputation for, check.
Aminatou: I was into weird princes and then David Beckham. That's how I role.
Ann: Okay, that is the shameful -- that is the shameful secret.
Aminatou: David Beckham is not shameful. He still looks great.
Ann: Oh my god, are you kidding me?
Aminatou: I am owning my David Beckham crush. 100% loved him then. I love him now. Call me David.
Ann: I would kick David Beckham out of bed.
Aminatou: Wait, based on the squeaky voice or based on appearance?
Ann: Based on a lot of things. I mean like . . .
Aminatou: Ann, nobody kicks a corner kick like David Beckham. What are you talking about?
Ann: Okay, first of all you know I don't care about football.
Aminatou: I'm so glad you called it football. Thank you.
Ann: You're welcome but I don't care.
Ann: Second of all . . .
Aminatou: So much attitude.
Ann: The voice is a little weird.
Aminatou: Wow. You know, as women who do podcasts we talk all day about people talking about how we can't control what comes out of our voice boxes. I think it is very sexist of you to hold this against David Beckham.
Ann: Listen, I'm not writing David Beckham emails asking him to change his way of speaking; I'm telling you about my personal feelings about whether I would let him stay in my bed.
Aminatou: Dude, would not kick David Beckham out of bed at all. Like David Beckham is flames. Emoji flames.
Ann: He's like mainstream flames.
Aminatou: What? Listen, I don't lust over David Beckham because I have so much respect for Victoria Beckham, you know?
Ann: Wait, so you curb your lust out of respect for Victoria?
Aminatou: I curb my lust. I'm like yeah, these two are going to make it and I support everything that they're building here. I don't know, ask me how I feel about the children. Different story.
Ann: I know. I was just about to say do you also endorse the photographer's son?
Aminatou: Hmm, that one is a victim of nepotism.
Ann: A bridge too far?
Aminatou: I'm really into the daughter. I'm really into the daughter. The daughter is super cute. Man, it's like if you had told me at the height of Spice Girl era that I would be rooting for Posh one day I would never believe you. She was my dead last favorite. And then her post-Spice Girls life I'm just like you have everything I want.
Aminatou: Minus the children. [Laughs] But yeah, David Beckham is flames.
Ann: So you like David Beckham in a clothing line? Is that what you mean?
Aminatou: David Beckham is so hot. I cannot even believe we're debating this.
Ann: Listen, if we all had the same tastes this world would not function.
Aminatou: I know, but this is one of those things where I want to share my lust with you. Like this is one of those . . . like some people you're just like hmm, I'm really into this person because you know nobody else is or whatever. I know how you alt kids do.
Ann: I'm sure there is someone who is mainstream hot, very universally thought of as sexy, who you are not attracted to. I'm positive.
Aminatou: Like who? Like who?
Ann: I don't know.
Aminatou: Hit me. Who do you think is mainstream hot that you are into?
Ann: Let's do it on People Magazine grounds. George Clooney.
Aminatou: He is very handsome. I'm not attracted to him but he's handsome.
Ann: Oh! [Laughs]
Aminatou: He's handsome, sure. That's like unimpeachable facts.
Ann: See, listen, I did not ask you who do you think is very handsome? I was like who would you be like "Yeah, get in my bed?"
Aminatou: Not George Clooney.
Ann: Yes, exactly. Perfect example then.
Aminatou: Ugh, fine Ann. David Beckham is flames.
Ann: Gotcha journalism. [Laughs]
Aminatou: Gotcha. Fucking gotcha journalism. That one was too easy.
Ann: Listen, if he's not in my bed he can get into yours.
Aminatou: Ugh, keep him. Keep him. Keep him.
[Music and Ads]
Aminatou: What else is going on in the news? Many creeps in the news recently.
Ann: Oh my god, it's been a real week. A couple of weeks for creep news.
Aminatou: I know, a couple of millennia for creeps. But they're just like . . .
Ann: Creeps are having a millennium.
Aminatou: Oh my god, creeps have been having a millennium. You know, like forever creep Johnny Depp finally divorced from Amber Heard and she gave away her entire seven million dollar settlement. Good for her. Awesome, because she was painted as a gold digger throughout that entire process.
Ann: Oh, totally. Yeah.
Aminatou: Where she hooked up with this older, more successful man -- that's what they're trying to tell you -- and it's like no, this guy has been a drunk and an asshole and a degenerate his entire life. He's been making these bad pirate movies for the last decade, like phoning it in, just piece of shit behavior, and somehow she is the one that is aspirationally like "Johnny Depp is what's going to get your career started." Fuck that shit.
Ann: It's true. One of our listeners tweeted at us about this that even though it's definitely well-known that he was abusive towards her and they reached this settlement and there's all this testimony to that fact, he is not really -- abuser is not like the first word attached to his name.
Aminatou: Yeah, he's not going to professionally suffer.
Ann: You know, there's an article about him in The Guardian from not that long ago and the headline is "An unruly misfit who has a trouble relationship with fame." Like not a trouble relationship with women who he abuses.
Aminatou: I'm like cracking my neck, just ready to go into this.
Ann: I know.
Aminatou: You know, it's the kind of thing where Hollywood specifically has this entire narrative around the bad boy and Johnny Depp is like classic bad boy behavior.
Ann: Right, but the bad boy behavior, it's always some lovable scamp shit. It's never like bad boy behavior where people have serious fallout and abuse. Yeah.
Aminatou: I mean completely agreed, right? Like he's a bad boy and abuse falls under his bad boy behavior. He's not going to professionally suffer for it, because guess what? Society has decided that Amber Heard also is not a perfect victim which is complete garbage.
Ann: Well it is true there are not perfect victims, but yeah.
Aminatou: Yeah, you know? But in the sense where you were not innocent; you were dating an older man. You were complicit in all of this and you're probably a gold digger and you hear all the things you wanted. And nobody stands up to say "Hey, your husband hit you. That's wrong." There's just no . . . that's where that conversation ends.
Aminatou: There's no justification for that. In Hollywood there's mouthy women and there's bad boys and somehow bad boys keep getting rewarded and the mouthy women's careers fall off.
Ann: Right. Also like family-friendly Disney which is so invested in his career. Oh, to be a fly on the wall of your meetings where you decide that you actually don't give a shit about this and you're still going to make all your Pirates money. Cool story.
Aminatou: Outside of Amber Heard being a person that was like -- you know, she's a Who.
Ann: She's on Magic Mike. Important.
Aminatou: No, you know, but daily Mail Who to me. I'm not familiar with her catalog of work and I knew her mostly as Johnny Depp's wife person. You know, because they had the dog quarantine issue.
Ann: Oh my god, yes. Important. Important.
Aminatou: Please Google this for yourself. But, you know, one thing about her story that kind of gave me a little bit of hope is she's one of the first public Hollywood women who's like "I'm not going to stand for this shit." It's probably generational. People of Johnny Depp's generation, when they get into this kind of stuff, there's lawyers. There's a settlement. Everybody is very quiet about it.
Ann: Bury it.
Aminatou: You bury it. And then it's like the millennial woman is like "Hell nah."
Ann: "We have Twitter now."
Aminatou: Exactly. She's like we have Twitter. Even the way I think she has carried herself through this ordeal has been really graceful and really just honestly badass because in her industry women don't speak out enough about this stuff.
Aminatou: She called out her abuser. She got money for it. She's like "Fuck you, never back down." And I think there's something about that that is really commendable and admirable even though I hate that she's going through it, but the way that she has made it such a public story I think is one of like, you know, maybe older men stop marrying younger women and abusing them because they're going to put your shit on the Summer Jam screen every single time. Every generation we get less patient for this stuff.
Ann: Yeah, I hope that's true. And I also think that one thing that I was really interested in about her donation is that definitely because of that gold digger narrative about why she had been interested in him, and then also part of his defense was "Oh, I didn't abuse her. She's just after my money." Like that was one of the things that he came out with right after she went public. For her to donate that money, in some ways I'm like you didn't have to do that. You could keep like a million dollars for yourself or something.
Ann: But donating it all is definitely a statement of oh, actually this wasn't about your money. I don't know. I'm into it.
Aminatou: I know. And it wants me want to support her in every move she makes in her career now because it will be hard for her to get work. She is somebody who has been public about something she is not happy about and you know how they do in L.A. You have to be happy and smile and just take it. So Amber Heard, please choose good projects.
Ann: Oh my god, more Magic Mike.
Aminatou: More Magic Mikes. Go Amber. Who is another problematic person in the news?
Ann: I mean Nate Parker, headline problematic.
Aminatou: Headline problematic. So if you don't know Nate Parker is an actor and director. He was in that fantastic movie Beyond the Lights which if you haven't seen it's kind of great. It features prominent Rita Ora lyrics.
Ann: It was on Netflix for a long time. I don't know if it still is.
Aminatou: Yeah, it probably still is. It's like a Rita Ora original soundtrack.
Ann: Oh my god.
Aminatou: It's so great. But, you know, actually now we're going to get into it. It's like can you watch work that Nate Parker has done? But he's also the director of this movie about Nat Turner's slave rebellion that was the highest -- the movie that's the most successfully sold movie at Sundance, so kind of a big deal.
Ann: Coming out imminently.
Aminatou: Oscar buzz, the full works. Like if you don't know him you will know him. He's somebody who is in the news for an old rape charge from when he was in college. Turns out he was a wrestler at Penn State, problematic school. [Laughs]
Ann: Should not laugh at that but like . . .
Aminatou: It's true.
Aminatou: It's like do you want to do the rundown of the sex scandals that have come out of Penn State?
Ann: But what major university in America is not problematic? That's the thing.
Aminatou: Yeah, but no, like Penn State.
Ann: I know, I know. Listen.
Aminatou: Like a serious history of . . .
Ann: Notorious school on this front.
Aminatou: Yeah. It's like colleges are bad but Penn State is extra bad.
Ann: Google it.
Aminatou: Google it, or watch Happy Valley, very hard documentary to watch. Yeah, so it's like when he was in college him and his friend who was . . .
Ann: An athlete.
Aminatou: Who was also an athlete, they were charged with stalking and raping a woman on their campus and Nate Parker was not convicted. His friend was. Then that conviction got overturned. Went to jail for a little bit, conviction overturned. The Women's Law Center at Penn State definitely sued the university over the case because it was part of their legacy of covering up bad things that their athletes did. And fast-forward, Nate Parker is this great director, sells this movie. His friend that was charged and convicted of this crime with him is his writing partner and has a writing credit in this movie.
Ann: Yeah, very much modern relevant to the story. It's not like this is decades old, done.
Aminatou: I know. And in another tragic turn it turns out that the young woman in question committed suicide.
Ann: Several years after the fact.
Aminatou: Several years after the fact. So all of this is in the news because PR people have got to do PR and Nate Parker is probably going to be on the Oscar circuit and they need to figure out how toxic he is and whether he can make appearances at things and whether people will go see his movie or not. This whole case is really tough because we do not have a healthy way or even clear vocabulary for talking about sexual assault and rape in general.
Ann: Right, and what it means to be someone who is accused.
Aminatou: And not convicted.
Ann: And not convicted, right, but with a lot of damning details surrounding that, right?
Aminatou: Yeah. Because one of the main reasons that the judge in the case did not convict him is because he had had a prior sexual relationship, like consensual relationship with that woman.
Aminatou: And I'm sorry, that's not grounds for never being a rape victim ever again.
Ann: Right. This case is from a different era of campus sexual assault vocabulary, politics, policies, everything.
Aminatou: Yeah. You know, so it's like that's really hard to talk about and we don't have a good way to discuss this. Then there is the question of can you support work from artists who are problematic people?
Aminatou: And everybody falls differently on that spectrum.
Ann: But it's also an interesting question because it's like that basically means 90% of work created by men ever -- I mean I don't know.
Aminatou: 100%. But the thing is you acknowledge that but I think for a lot of people they need the People Magazine headline. That's the start of the conversation. Whereas I'm like please, all of these men have something in their closet.
Ann: Right, like have you ever listened to Led Zeppelin? You know what I mean? It's over already for you.
Aminatou: Totally. Like David Bowie?
Ann: Totally, yeah.
Aminatou: All of that is there and there's not hard and fast rules about this stuff. And as a society we've changed. I was telling you about rewatching Sixteen Candles.
Ann: Oh, god.
Aminatou: And how Sixteen Candles, hella problematic movie.
Ann: Oh my god, it's terrible. As soon as you said that to me I could basically -- I have the movie memorized, I saw it so much as a teenager and a preteen. I could say it back to you.
Aminatou: Yeah, date rape, racism.
Ann: Oh my god.
Aminatou: Just very awful things. I think I feel differently about a lot of those things now than I did then, not to say I condoned any of them, but even as a society the way we talk about sexual assault is forever evolving and changing.
Ann: Well, and that, it's interesting to think about that a little more too because I'm like the open racism and the total comfort with the idea of date rape that's on display in Sixteen Candles.
Aminatou: Like '80s movies, yeah.
Ann: And other '80s movies, right? I was not a teenager in the '80s but it doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility that yeah, two white girls at a wealthy suburban high school would make a racist joke to each other. And then the question sort of becomes -- it seems different to me when you're talking about behavior of a person who is an artist who you're thinking about supporting their work versus work that is reflective of the time. I mean this is sort of a version of the conversation about use of the N word in Mark Twain or something like that, right? The argument is always this is how people would've talked then or this is how . . .
Aminatou: Are you talking about the movie Easy A? [Laughs]
Ann: But seriously I think there's a different -- the issue . . .
Aminatou: Yeah, no, I mean I agree.
Ann: Yeah. But yeah, it's different when it is behavior of a person. I think I feel differently as well when it's about giving money or positive attention in real time to an artist versus . . .
Aminatou: Posthumously like . . .
Ann: Yeah. There is something about like okay, I listened to some David Bowie on Spotify. Like that feels somehow different to me than I buy a movie ticket to a Johnny Depp movie right now. And I'm not saying that . . . I don't know if that's justifiable to feel differently about those two acts but they feel differently to me.
Aminatou: I mean I don't have hard and fast rules about this. I think that it's just important to recognize that we also justify different things to ourselves.
Ann: Oh, yeah.
Aminatou: In ways that are our personal experience with them. Like in the sense that some sins will tend to feel graver to you on a personal basis just based on whether you've experienced them yourselves or whether you know somebody. It's like thinking about, what's his name, Mr. Annie Hall.
Ann: Woody Allen.
Aminatou: Woody Allen versus Johnny Depp. Woody Allen's crimes to me feel so much more personal than Johnny Depp and that's the thing I want to be cognizant of. But at the same time it's like art that is made by piece of shit people is made by piece of shit people and I don't think that it is necessarily a reflection of the art itself but I think that in this Nate Parker case particularly for me it's so different because I saw the movie before I learned about this. In fact the woman who told me about these allegations was right after the movie screening.
Ann: Oh wow.
Aminatou: So it's like I see this movie and I'm like this movie is pretty good. It's pretty and it's going to show a slice of African-American history to people that don't know it, even though I have my own conflicted feelings about Nat Turner specifically, and watching movies about slavery, and for how black artists it's one of the only ways to be recognized for your artistry is showing your pain.
Aminatou: Like that's a thing that's hard for me to engage in. So there's like that. I will not go to the theater to see that movie and would not support any of my friends in doing that. The way that he has handled this, because at the end of the day I'm not a judge, I'm not the jury, that's not the standard that we're using here, but the way that he has handled talking about this to me has added fuel to the fire in the sense that if you read the interviews that he's done he's making it all about himself and his own pain and how he's unjustly accused. But also using the women in his life as a cover for why he cannot be an abuser. He's like "I have a mother and I have a wife and I have daughters."
Ann: No one with a mother has ever abused a woman. Yeah.
Aminatou: Right, like "And I have four daughters." I'm like that makes me very uncomfortable. And men do this a lot where they will hide behind the women in their lives to claim virtuous character.
Aminatou: He is in a tough position of explaining who he is, but at the same time you have an entire fucking PR machine behind you. You have had years to prepare for this moment and your answers are not satisfactory to me.
Ann: Yeah, so we won't be seeing that.
Aminatou: Read a book about Nat Turner. Very important.
Ann: Lots of books about Nat Turner out there.
Aminatou: That's right.
Aminatou: I feel like we should have regular creep check-ins on the show. Who are other creeps we're checking in on?
Ann: I mean personal point-of-view there's an Ariana Huffington creep/maybe evil woman check-in.
Aminatou: Oh my god, tell me about Ariana Huffington. What's going on?
Ann: Well she sold out in the best way, in everyone's ultimate dream.
Aminatou: Did she get Verizon movie? Which one of the big people bought her?
Ann: My god, good question. I don't even know. Ariana is leaving the Huffington Post which good job, she named after herself. I want to see more women naming . . .
Aminatou: The Friedman Post, the Sow Post.
Ann: Listen, Sow Post is catchy.
Aminatou: Sow Post is good. Catch me on the Internet.
Ann: Yeah. Friedman Post needs some workshopping. But anyway she . . . yeah, so basically she moved on and she's going to be running a company called Thrive based on her latest endeavor which is telling overworked people that problems in their lives are not really related to economic pressure to work lots of hours for really low wages, but the fact that they really just need to sleep more or get a nap pod/kind of joining in general self-care, the lucrative self-care business, which I have to say good for you. Nice move Ariana. No shade to a lot of the great reporters who work for your company. I feel like there is something about -- that makes me, as someone who makes my living mostly writing words on the Internet, be like hmm, if Ariana isn't in this game anymore maybe there is really no money to be made in it and we should all be worried. We should all be looking to become self-help gurus.
Aminatou: Money's in the sleep game.
Ann: So much money in the sleep game.
Aminatou: See you on the other side.
Ann: The office massages and nap pods game.
Aminatou: What's our personal menstruation vibe? [Laughs]
Ann: Oh my god, we were having a conversation earlier today related to menstruation that the real . . . like we know period advertising has arrived not when Thinx are putting sexy fruit images on ads in the subway and not when period ads are using red colored liquid instead of blue but when an advertiser says "For your chunky days."
Aminatou: I know, right? It's like I really . . . I'm dying for the period underwear ad that will just feature period chunk and gunk.
Ann: Totally, like a must for gushing days.
Aminatou: Oh my god. Maybe that'll be the name of our period underwear, Gushers. [Laughs]
Ann: Gushers. I mean that's a '90s fruit snack. I don't know if we can really . . .
Aminatou: I know. Oh, we can. If we don't put an E in there, Gushrs. [Laughs]
Ann: Red chunky is a candy bar. It'll all be named after . .
Aminatou: Chunkies and Gushers. Oh my god. It's like instead of the day-of-the-week underwear it'll be like the day-of-your-period underwear. What's your vibe?
Ann: Oh my god. Sorry, that is fucking genius.
Aminatou: Hey, thanks. We periodically have good ideas over here.
Ann: No, but like . . .
Aminatou: This is for the heavy flow days. This is for the chunky flow days.
Ann: This is for those days when it's really dark and kind of rusty and you're like has this been in there a while?
Aminatou: Yeah, the brown days. You're like what is this?
Aminatou: I'm still struck by that column, I think it was a column or maybe an article that Rebecca Traister wrote a while back where she talks about the reason that women -- we understand the mechanics of abortion.
Ann: Oh, yeah.
Aminatou: She's like all of these things, is because gross shit comes out of our body all the time.
Aminatou: Constantly, man.
Ann: I'm obsessed with days of your cycle underwear. I'm obsessed with it.
Aminatou: I know. The light ones would never apply to me. [Laughs]
Ann: But you know, what if you could make your own pack, right?
Ann: Like if you were like listen, I usually have one weird rust day, three chunky days, a light -- you know what I mean? You could personalize.
Aminatou: No, exactly. You know, or the in-between. The weird in-between bleeding that you get sometimes.
Aminatou: And you're just like what is this? You know it's not going to ruin your favorite pair of pants but you definitely need protection.
Ann: It's definitely white with red splotches on it. The spotty day.
Aminatou: Definitely. Man, okay, let's workshop this more.
Ann: Oh my god. This is why you go away on a retreat, you come up with these brilliant ideas. Or is this a pre-existing idea you've just been sitting on?
Aminatou: No, I just came up with it on the spot.
Ann: Oh my god, yes. Okay, so this is why. We would be billionaires if we did this once a month.
Aminatou: Yeah, legit billionaires.
Aminatou: In the shout out economy we're billionaires. [Laughs]
Ann: You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website callyourgirlfriend.com, you can download this podcast anywhere you like to listen to podcasts -- especially iTunes where we would love it if you left us a review. You can tweet at us at @callyrgf, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on Facebook or Instagram -- same handle. 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: Shout out to the city of Palm Springs.
Ann: [Laughs] Thanks Palm Springs for keeping it so warm and cozy.
Aminatou: See you on the Internet, boo.
Ann: See you on the Internet.