Episode 78: Bey-eus ex machina
Published February 3, 2017.
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, Beyoncé is pregnant. In way worse news, Cheeto Watch continues with the Muslim ban, his awful nominations, and general chaos; a hero lady spy who infiltrated a private GOP meeting; plus we're back to This Week in Menstruation with some news out of Zambia, a callback.
Aminatou: Happy Black History Month!
Ann: Ugh. Such a good month. Such a shame it's the shortest. How are you feeling?
Aminatou: Well, you know why it's the shortest right?
Ann: I mean white supremacy?
Aminatou: Exactly. Hello?
Ann: That's the answer to a lot of "You know why this thing is unjust right now?" questions.
Aminatou: It's no accident but it's also the best month of the year. I did my yearly tradition which is tweeting my favorite clip from Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown when some British journalist asked them about Black History Month and they just wiled out. It's my favorite thing in the world. Maybe Gina can play it right here.
Bobby: Black history month?
Whitney: We need a longer month.
Bobby: We need the whole year. Black History Year. How about Black History Year for one year?
Bobby: Out of every two years, one year, Black History Year.
Whitney: All right, all right, all right.
Aminatou: And it's off to a great start. Every year I'm like can this year get any blacker? And I don't know, it's off to a great start today.
Ann: What happened today? [Laughs] I'm going to ask like I don't know.
Aminatou: Well, many things happened. First of all, our president, Ivanka's dad, thinks that Frederick Douglas is still alive and doesn't know who Frederick Douglas is. [Laughs] Which a lot of people also laughed and made jokes and I was like but do you know who Frederick Douglas is? For real? The most photographed man of his century. But that legit made me LOL because if you listen to the press conference he just says nonsense about it and then the press secretary who's a complete buffoon also doesn't know what's going on. So at least something has made me laugh today. And then blessed of all blessed women Beyoncé announces she's with twins.
Ann: Oh my god, it's incredible. The Instagram photo is incredible. It's like Beyoncé as sort of a . . . I would say a referential to a Virgin Mary type pose with a veil and these very composed floral arrangements behind her. But it's incredible and I hope all the Beyoncé pregnancy truthers from last time around take a good, hard look at this photo and appreciate it.
Aminatou: I mean that's basically what she's saying. She's like "Y'all said I can't carry one. I'm going to carry two." Also I just want to note that friend-of-the-podcast Dodie (?) sent me the best text message about this: "Donald Trump is a Gemini so he can only be defeated by twins." [Laughs]
Aminatou: And I was like anybody who makes horoscope references to me will forever have my heart, so that's been the top of the day so far.
Ann: I legitimately, when I saw the news, was like wow, if Beyoncé feels comfortable bringing two children into the world as it is right now maybe it's not as hopeless as I feel it is.
Aminatou: I know.
Ann: It was like -- I know.
Aminatou: You know, and while I really want to celebrate this news, I really wish somebody would tell me with clarity what this means for my Coachella tickets, kind of what it means for the Grammys and other things. You know I love a working mom and pregnant ladies but also I'm like what does this mean for me? So clarity is much appreciated soon.
Ann: Let's enjoy the period of just having a glimmer of renewed hope in the future of America and work out the details about how we get access to Beyoncé's genius later.
Aminatou: True. The AP sent out a breaking news alert. This is how you know you're a real Them and you've arrived is when there's a breaking news alert for your pregnancy. But can we talk about the photo for two minutes though, Ann?
Aminatou: It's pretty LOLio.
Ann: Oh my god, like I said, it's like a Virgin Mary referential. I don't know. It's so over the top.
Aminatou: It's pretty over the top. Somebody made a side-by-side of Beyoncé and her veil and her picture and then George Bush at the inauguration fighting his poncho.
Aminatou: It's like trend watch 2017. [Laughs] I was like the Internet is undefeated. Thank you.
Ann: It's true. It's a strong look.
Aminatou: Thank you. Yeah. Ugh, so happy for Blue Ivy. Okay, that's good news. Black History Month, good news.
Ann: Okay, but I want to go back to sort of -- like just briefly to Trump's obvious lack of knowledge about black history.
Ann: I think that this is . . . in a way this is a public service because while he is way worse than a lot of Americans on a lot of issues regarding race, this is one of those where I'm like you know, I hope we can all sit back and recognize how little most students in America learn about black history. His awkward implication that Frederick Douglas is still alive is the strongest case for Black History month that I have ever heard, you know?
Aminatou: No, it's true. It's true. They don't teach black history. They don't tell y'all in y'alls schools what's going on. [Laughs]
Ann: Oh my god, are you kidding? I'm still learning. I went to an all-white school in Iowa. I am still learning things beyond George Washington Carver that are blowing my mind.
Ann: I swear, George Washington Carver was the centerpiece of Iowa black history because he went to Iowa State which is in like the pantheon of people historically considered as black history icons by really traditional textbooks is the only one with a tie to Iowa. So that's all I've got for you.
Aminatou: Shout out. Shout out. Oh my gosh.
Ann: I know.
Aminatou: But, you know, at the same time I'm just like you're the president. People give you briefing books. You can't look ignorant when you're reading from a piece of paper, you know? But this goes hand-in-hand with my other conspiracy theory that he can't read so, you know . . .
Aminatou: I don't know. I'm just like which is it? Does he not know about Frederick Douglas? Or can't he read?
Ann: Oh my god, my favorite episode of My So-Called Life.
Ann: Why Donny Trump Can't Read. [Laughs]
Aminatou: Oh my god, the Jordan Catalano of presidents.
Ann: [Laughs] Oh, please, don't give him that distinction.
Aminatou: It's true though. Listen, either he can't read which is the strong case or he's some sort of blind because did you see the thing yesterday? Also we have to start timestamping these podcasts because so much happens.
Aminatou: Today is Wednesday, February 1. Two lifetimes are going to happen before this episode drops on Friday. But when he was trying to introduce his new chief of cybersecurity, Rudy Giuliani . . .
Aminatou: Which is the funniest thing I've ever heard. But they're sitting around a pretty small conference table and he keeps going "Rudy? Where's Rudy?" Rudy is right in front of his face.
Ann: [Laughs] Maybe some of the hair dye dripped down into his eyes and has caused some visual impairment or something.
Aminatou: Something's going on. Something's going on because there's that and then you know how he held Theresa May's hands because he was so scared? Theresa May, my favorite frightful bitch [Laughs] in the like western world. But he's holding her hand which is weird and then her people leaked to the press that he specifically wanted to hold her hand because he was afraid of stairs. And now, Ann, if you do a Twitter search for his feed plus the word stairs the best tweets come up. He's obsessed with staircases.
Ann: I can't . . . I can't even. I mean . . .
Aminatou: I'm just turning into Alex Jones now. I'm just like a conspiracy theorist out the wazoo and I'm like this is what you get.
Ann: It's true. I have to say that one thing that has become a sign for me that I've spent too much time reading the news or scrolling through Twitter is when I find myself on a left-wing, vaguely conspiracy-minded post on Medium they're always organized by bullet point and it's like they always have some grand explanation for what the Cheeto is up to and who's really controlling him and they always conclude with just how bad it's going to get. And it's those moments . . . I mean obviously I feel despair when I read The New York Times and The Guardian and, you know, all of the press that is real.
Aminatou: But it's when some Silicon Valley engineer connects the dots for you . . . [Laughs]
Ann: Yeah, that's when I realize it's time to close browser. When I'm like oh my god.
Aminatou: I know.
Ann: I'm breaking out in a cold sweat because some random dude has aggregated a bunch of news in a way that supports his left-wing conspiracy.
Ann: Which could end up being true but I don't need to hear it.
Aminatou: No, the Medium posts are all bananas. They're always like "This is the sounding bell for a coup." And I'm like why coup when you're already president? Like this is not how coups work, people.
Aminatou: But it is bringing out like the worst instincts out of everyone. Like today there was this two hours in the president's schedule where he just got on a helicopter and we don't know where he's going. And everybody's like da-dun, illuminati. What's going on? This is not normal. Blah, blah, blah. And then turns out he went to the funeral of a servicemember. And, you know, that's actually a very honorable thing to do.
Ann: Right. That's his job technically.
Aminatou: Right? It's his job. But we're all conspiracy-minded people. It's like oh my god, two-hour lull. This is where he gets the new blood in and they take the old blood out. What's going on? [Laughs]
Ann: I mean these are difficult times we're living in.
Aminatou: Because it's so easy to descend into this whole oh my god, he's afraid of stairs, can't read, now he's disappearing for hours on end. And it's like actually I don't need to make up stuff because the stuff that's happening is also frightening and I have evidence for that.
Ann: Yeah. This is what I mean. It's like I do feel despair when I read actual sources of reported news but it's not the same type of rising panic in my throat that I feel when I read the kind of aggregated Medium posts. And trying to find the difference between I am informed by real sources and holy shit this is really happening versus a total unproven speculative flight of fancy is a line that I'm trying to find.
Aminatou: I mean it's not that hard. Don't read posts by engineers on Medium. [Laughs]
Ann: But it happens so quickly. You click a link then all of a sudden you're there and you're like oh, can't look away. I mean I don't know. I find I don't go Googling Medium posts by conspiracy theorists, left-wing engineer.
Aminatou: I don't believe it. Show me the browser history. Yeah, but you know the thing that's crazy is my dad and other people who send me forwards now, all of this stuff is bleeding into each other. I'm joking about the Medium post specifically because I have real adults in my life who are sending me the Medium post.
Aminatou: I'm like you guys need to calm down and read NYTimes.com. Like everybody focus.
Ann: Right. Calm down, read NYTimes.com, then get totally incensed and scared based on that fact -- those facts.
Aminatou: Oh, god, it's just . . . it's going to be a long four years. Can you believe it's only been like what, ten days? What is it, two weeks?
Ann: Okay, Cheeto Watch week two.
Aminatou: Yeah, Cheeto Watch ten days in. Like the presidency is supposed to age him. It's not supposed to age me. [Laughs] It's just I feel so tired.
Ann: I know. Listen, I had a moment on Sunday when I was headed to the airport which is the last place I wanted to go. Like the airport. I mean I was . . .
Aminatou: Shout out to the airport protestors.
Ann: It's true. But, you know, I started feeling on a gut level the kind of feeling I have felt in several workplaces in my life or in some relationships, that feeling of just a man is taking up so much of my time. You know what I mean? Like Trump is taking up . . .
Aminatou: Right? I could be at Sephora right now.
Ann: Totally. And obviously I'm going to show up to protest a wide-ranging and illegal ban against Muslims. Like obviously I'm going to show up and do that. I'm not complaining about my obligation to democracy. But I'm just like man, this dude is taking up so much space in my life. I'm resentful.
Aminatou: I'm really resentful. The other thing I'm really resentful about is just the level of incompetence of everything that's happening, right? Because they're incompetent they scare people on a mass level and then it's hard to put the genie back in the bottle. If you want to do a Muslim ban and not call it a Muslim ban and be cheeky about it there are actually ways that you could do this and implement it fairly well and not have everybody freak the fuck out because we don't know what's going on, right? So it's like they make all of these decisions in secret, incompetent people do them, and then everybody freaks out and then they can't walk it back.
Ann: Well you also can't walk it back when the people who are actual professionals, i.e. people who know the law or know the way immigrations and customs work, or people who, I don't know, are career civil servants at the State Department, when those people are like hmm, red flag, this seems pretty chaotic and poorly-designed and maybe we should reconsider it/not do it at all, you fire them all . . . like that is a way to instill total panic. Great job.
Aminatou: It really is, right? And it's the kind of thing where, you know, it's like if you think about this ban on a small scale it should've been something that was not as disruptive, right? So we're talking about the new directives -- the executive order basically that bans people from seven countries coming in but also completely pauses the refugee program which I think a lot of people don't realize. It's like all refugees from everywhere, so for 120 days. It's like there is a way to do that in a way that doesn't send the global economy tanking and people mid-flight not knowing what they're supposed to do. It's like be precise, say what you mean, mean what you say, execute it well, tell the people who need to know. Instead they run these Gulag type operations and all of the press for them is bad.
Ann: We're just temporarily destroying some lives. It's just temporary.
Aminatou: We're just temporarily destroying people's real lives. Sure. We can't go like this for four years. This is too much. Because, you know, it's like imagine when they actually start fucking up shit that affects more Americans. You know, like the next natural disaster we have, they're definitely going to fuck that shit up. The terrorist attack, my god they're going to fuck that up. Everything.
Ann: Right. The point of government is to not notice the government, right? Like the point of government is stuff happens, your roads are fixed, there's a process for you to go in and out of a country or get health insurance or all these other things. Government is supposed to do that in a way that takes up less of your time and is less intrusive. And that doesn't mean government doesn't exist. I think that this is sort of a . . .
Aminatou: It's supposed to be low-touch. [Laughs]
Ann: Exactly, low-touch government.
Aminatou: That's right. It's like this pothole is here. Somebody fixes it the next day. TSA, chill out. But instead all you're getting is huge government encroachment into your life which is so ironically weird coming from the small government people.
Ann: Yeah. And the other thing, I was listening to the See Something/Say Something podcast episodes directly in the wake of this Muslim ban and they had a few advocates on who made the really well-taken point that if you are from any of these countries or if you're Muslim or have a Muslim-sounding name or meet any of the criteria that this ban is designed to target it has always been the case that when you are coming or going from America you are questioned more intensely. You are held for longer. You are subject to, dare I say, extreme vetting.
Aminatou: Right, the vetting is already extreme.
Ann: Right, exactly.
Aminatou: It's like what's the step that you're adding? Because it's bananas.
Ann: Well, so the advocates are basically saying it's the same song but the volume has been turned way up in as much as before if you kind of had bad luck with a security agent or with a particular airport where they really cared, you could be stopped for a long time but it was never a given. And now it's basically making explicit and enabling anyone who would've already had the tendency to just pull someone with a Muslim-sounding name out of line and detain them. Just being like cool, go ahead and do it. And to me that is exactly a microcosm of what this administration is all about basically. Like this stuff is not brand new in America, never has been, but it's like cool, go for it. It's like that's what this administration is saying.
Aminatou: Yeah. And it's also just like very explicitly breaking the promise of legal immigration, right? In the sense where the people who are here, it's like for people who . . . if you think you're woke and you're liberal and you're progressive and you don't know how immigration works, I would really challenge you to find out what your friends like me who are immigrants here, what we have to go through to actually be in the country because the steps are really hard. But a very common refrain that we hear from people, especially people on the right, is if you wait your turn and you get in line and you do all the things you're supposed to do that America is generous and would love to have you. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Aminatou: The thing that we saw this weekend is that's not true. All of the people who did wait in line, did wait their turn, are legal permanent residents, are protected under the constitution, and their rights were taken away from them in the blink of an eye. It's not nothing to leave where you're from and come live somewhere and you pay taxes here and you follow the rules or whatever. It's like immigration is a thing that people take really seriously. It's like people don't just come here because the food is better or some shit. People have the right to move around borders. I think the United Nations has an entire charter about this, but what do I know? [Laughs] People forget that in the shuffle of all of this, right? It's like they think that a refugee has a certain profile which it's like people are vetted to the extreme maximum they can. It takes years to come into this country. And you come here and you're humiliated for having a different name or a different religion or being from somewhere else. It's like religious tests are bad for many, many, many reasons but today it's Muslims; tomorrow it's going to be you, you know? Whatever your religion is. So ugh, I'm just ranting now but I'm so upset.
Ann: No. No, and your point is well-taken. The kind of general cluelessness about how this process works, even if you are in favor of a more open immigration system, is real. And after I listened to these advocates, and obviously if you asked me check yes or no, do your friends with Muslim-sounding names have a harder time coming into the country, I know which box I am checking. That would've been the case a year ago or two years ago or three years ago. But was I at the airport holding a sign about it? No. And so weirdly I'm like I am not in any way grateful for or happy about the ban, but on some level I am happy about the forced conversation of what are our values here? Who deserves to be put through this even after they followed the steps? And in some way it's hard to imagine a big presence without a galvanizing event. It's hard to figure out how to respond to a sustained, slow drip of injustice and sometimes a moment like this to be like okay, this is no longer a slow, subtle thing; this is a huge, explicit, in-your-face action that we have to stand up against. You know, in a way I'm happy that it's at least a prompt to have the conversation if there's any sort of tiny, teeny, silver lining.
Aminatou: I know. It's going to be a long . . . it's really going to be a long four years. I remember being at JFK this weekend and just so galvanized that the rest of my crew was there and all of this stuff happening, but really thinking can we really do this every weekend? [Laughs] Because this is honestly where we're heading towards. It's like my protest sign that I'm making for next time just says "I can do this every Saturday."
Aminatou: Because I really just want to remind myself too that, you know, it's going to be a long, hard road.
Ann: I know.
Aminatou: I am so tired of calling Congress. I am exhausted.
Ann: I know.
Aminatou: You know, but just keep doing it and keep doing it because obviously it is getting their attention.
Ann: Right. I definitely made a multi-use protest sign that just says "This is not okay" on one side and then on the other side I taped on my "No ban, no wall" so I can swap on various other messages as I need them to protest but leave the "This is not okay" side. Modular protest sign is one way I'm committing to the every Saturday model.
Aminatou: I know. If some capitalist, entrepreneurial lady out there wants to really facilitate this for us please talk to me. I have a lot of money to give you.
Ann: Oh my god, yeah. I was actually thinking as I was writing out some postcards earlier this week that I bought ones that are blank on the front side and blank on the back side and I was like you know, I really want to just like . . . I need to print some that say "Don't do it" on the image side.
Ann: Or "Thanks for standing up to the GOP" or something like that. You know what I mean? A few standard things where you're like I know I'm going to use this all the time. I ended up just writing "Vote No" in giant letters and sending one for each of the different cabinet nominees but I'm like, you know, there is a sense of how do we get into a mindset of no, no, you're going to be needing this sign and these postcards and all of this stuff as an integrated part of your life for the next four years?
Aminatou: Right? It's like any time I read that there is a new draft of an executive order circulating, I'm like ordering new sharpies on Amazon. I'm like send more. I need more poster board. These people are ruining my life.
Ann: Yeah, I'm going to put in an executive reorder for my blank postcards and sharpies.
Aminatou: Yeah. I'm like is protest material tax deductible? Because . . .
Ann: That's a good question.
Aminatou: I'm saving all of these receipts. It used to be we went to brunch. Now the question is which protest are you going to today? Are we going to protest in front of Chuck Schumer's house? Are we going to this thing? Are we going to the airport? I'm tired.
Ann: I don't even know what to say to that. It's like yes, that is the new reality. The short answer is yes.
Aminatou: I know. Can I tell you my one rant, though? Like how frustrated I am by Democrats in Congress.
Ann: Oh my god, I was just . . . yes, please.
Aminatou: I am so incensed. Like in a sense I'm more angry at them than I'm angry at Republicans because I cannot believe that they're seeing all of their constituents. Like literally we're out there putting our bodies on the street and they still have the nerve to vote yes on confirming some of these people.
Ann: Looking at you, Dianne Feinstein.
Aminatou: Looking at you, Claire McCaskill. We used to be podcast friends.
Aminatou: You know, and it's like in some sense I get where they're coming from, right? It's their job. There has to be decorum. Blah, blah, blah. And also I get it. It's like the reason Republicans get away with this shit is because they don't believe that government works. The reason it's hard for Democrats is because we fundamentally believe that government should work for people. That said, shut the whole thing down. There are no political consequences for shutting down the government as we have seen before. And I just cannot believe how weak some of these people are.
Ann: Amina, if they approve Trump's Supreme Court nominee I am honestly going to show up and scream at the top of my lungs for as many hours as I can possibly handle outside Dianne Feinstein's office in LA. Like that is a promise. If she votes to confirm I am seriously going to just stand there and make the most obnoxious noise I can make in person, solo. That is one of those things where after Republicans' refusal to confirm Obama's pick, you know, for well over a year . . .
Aminatou: The Merrick Garland stolen seat.
Ann: Yes, exactly.
Aminatou: That I think about once a day and fly into a rage.
Ann: I know.
Aminatou: I'm angry at Obama. I'm angry at Republicans. I just cannot believe it. They're such liars and careerists. It's like oh my god, at least the one thing I respect about Trump is he's just nakedly, unashamedly a bad person, you know? And these people all hide behind fake principles. It's like no, just say that you want to keep your job. But it's so frustrating to call some of these offices and they're like "I don't know, the congresswoman or the senator is still thinking about it." And I'm like are you fucking kidding me? No.
Ann: In and of itself, the senator is still thinking about it answer on confirming the Supreme Court nominee is one of those things that I . . . I'm just like I want to put on my condescending voice and be like help me understand. Help me understand what you are actually still considering here because as far as I can tell the president has already filed a run for re-election -- P.S., that's happening -- and therefore if you want some sort of excuse about conforming a Supreme Court nominee while the president is a candidate or while an election is imminent, which was Republicans' excuse for not conforming Obama's nominee, maybe you should think about that.
Aminatou: If you want job security don't run for office. Go work at a fucking law firm. Like you work for us when you work in Congress. This is crazy.
Ann: I'm going to be honest, it doesn't feel that way. Like I actually don't . . . Kamala Harris is doing a great job -- love her -- but it is really hard for me at this point in time to think about government and all representatives as my employees as a citizen. Like I know that's true but . . .
Aminatou: I know, but that's how it should be. All of the ones who don't do what we need them to do, we should primary them. I just keep looking at the list of who voted yes on Ben Carson and DeVos and all of these people and I'm like these people are unqualified. You are literally telling me that it's okay for an unqualified person to head HUD or head education because you need a job in 2018 and also decorum. Are you fucking kidding me?
Ann: Yeah, if you really care about government you'll block someone totally incompetent from running a very important agency.
Aminatou: It's crazy. It's like the whole thing is nuts, and they're all so cordial to each other and palling around. And I'm like no, people's actual real lives depend on this. Like people live and die by the fact that you are chummy with Jeff Sessions. That's what happens.
Ann: And P.S., if you want to keep track of how your members of Congress are voting on all of this stuff FiveThirtyEight has a nice tool that they've built and ProPublica also tracks this stuff in a pretty user-friendly way and we can link to those sources.
Aminatou: I know. Now I'm just eating pita bread and calming down. Emotional hypoglycemia. [Laughs]
Ann: Rage-eating some pita. Emotional hypoglycemia I think is a real condition. [Laughs]
[Music and ads]
Aminatou: Tell me something else that's not politically-related at all.
Ann: Ugh, okay. It's sort of political but actually it's a domestic spy story that has gotten no press.
Ann: It has gotten no press, and I know there has been a lot of talk about the role that women are playing in the resistance against this presidency and obviously that is true but the Washington Post had a story this week about a total unsung hero, unnamed lady spy who went undercover to an event for . . .
Aminatou: Oh my god, the GOP retreat in Philadelphia.
Ann: Totally. Posed as the wife of a Republican which don't even . . .
Aminatou: [Laughs] Dying.
Ann: I know, I know. And basically went in with a mic on, recorded all of these private conversations, and sent them I think directly to The Post afterwards anonymously by email.
Aminatou: This is hilarious.
Ann: And of course all of these Republicans are all incensed. You know, they feel so violated. They're very upset. Someone called her -- "This could have been a very dangerous person."
Ann: But I love thinking about . . . we have no idea who she is but this is very creative guerilla moves against this administration and their enablers and shout out to this woman who probably put on her best Republican wife gear and went and got it done on her own.
Aminatou: I know. I hope she has like a selfie with Kellyanne Conway in a bathroom somewhere.
Ann: Oh my god, I cannot wait for the Lifetime Original Movie about this story. I hope it gets made. I want to thank this anonymous patriot woman.
Aminatou: So good. But yes, way to plug the ladies of the resistance. Rebecca Traister wrote a great article about this which made me happy because she name checks all of the women who are making the resistance possible.
Ann: Yeah, women of the resistance and this lone wolf lady spy, shout out to all of you.
Aminatou: This is so funny. It's also like, you know, she's probably like tactically what can I do? And then it's what's the easiest thing I can do? It's like . . . [Laughs] she's like one of their wives.
Ann: I love -- okay, this is me totally extrapolating now but I love picturing this woman as like okay, what are the resources at my disposal? I have a really nice shoe collection and a sort of conservative but like a few borderline sexy elements like of a business workwear sort of look and I live near Philadelphia. I'm going to make this happen.
Ann: Like this is my personal resistance. I'm not into making signs but I can play the part and go in with my iPhone and get it done.
Aminatou: I know. May we all pose as GOP wives the next four years.
Ann: Ugh. I don't think that role is for me. It's not for everyone. But shout out to you if that's your skill set.
Aminatou: Listen, I'm going to pose as Candy Carson everywhere I go and I'm going to get away with it.
Ann: [Laughs] Oh my god, yeah. Like maybe -- wait, were you at the table during the Cheeto's Black History Month announcement? Was that you? Were you in disguise?
Aminatou: That was me today. I was all of them.
Aminatou: I was Omarosa. I was the crazy pastor who -- oh my god, that roundtable was bananas.
Ann: I know.
Aminatou: Like that one pastor who was like all of the top thugs -- like gang thugs -- in Chicago reached out to me and they want a sit down. And I was like what?
Ann: It's crazy.
Aminatou: Yeah, it's so crazy. Ten days. Meanwhile have you seen the Obama vacation photos?
Ann: Oh my god, backwards baseball hat? [Laughs]
Aminatou: Backwards baseball hat, hanging out with Richard Branson. You know, honestly there was a small part of me that was angry where I was like ugh, you left with this mess. And the other part was like you know what? If Obama is out there relaxed enough that he can wear a backwards baseball hat then it's not the end of the world yet.
Ann: Hmm. Or maybe he's just like you know when we were talking on a previous episode where I was like I just want to know I did what I could, maybe Obama is like I did what I could and even if it's terrible I gave it a good effort.
Aminatou: Yeah, he's like y'all people don't deserve this.
Aminatou: Sometimes I get really mad but that man deserves a vacation.
Ann: Totally. Agreed.
Aminatou: Michele was like when they go low, we go high. And I'm like when they go low we cut them at the fucking knees. [Laughs]
Aminatou: You guys aren't here to lecture us anymore.
Ann: That was a fun campaign.
Aminatou: I can be my worst self now. Thank you.
Ann: Yeah, they're off the clock.
Aminatou: That's right. Like I don't have to have that Obama guilt about being an excellent person. I'm like no, I want to be petty.
Ann: For real, though, I'm sorry, I don't want to go high when it comes to confirming these nominations. Like going high is not the answer. That's the bottom . . .
Aminatou: Yeah, it's also like here's the thing, right? There were kind of the good old days where you could just very politely disagree with some of these people and you'd be like ha, ha, school vouchers, I don't think so. Great. You know, or whatever. But now it's like the divide is too much. It's just like I don't know, man. You people don't recognize the humanity of people I love. I don't know that there's like a middle ground here.
Ann: Exactly. Well, and also this goes back to him not doing it in a smart way. Like I do think there is a way more nefarious way to say install someone who is exclusively a proponent of charter schools and knows nothing about public education in that role, but they just have to fake the knowing things about public education part to get confirmed which Betsy DeVos can't even do. So you know what I mean? There's like limits to . . . there's limits to how much you can screw this up.
Aminatou: That's true.
Ann: And still have people not notice, right?
Aminatou: Did you see how her tweet about the inauguration got roasted? I was like god bless the public school teachers.
Ann: No, I didn't see it. What did she tweet?
Aminatou: She tweeted "Congratulations to Donald Trump on his historical inauguration and swearing in" and all the Twitter teachers just went in. They were like first of all it's historic. If you'd have gone to public school you'd know that.
Aminatou: Second of all, inauguration and swearing in are redundant. Red marker everywhere. [Laughs] It was amazing. I was like all this lady has is a lot of money. She can't spell. Also she's actually a bad person. She's very dangerous.
Ann: [Sighs] Yeah, well shout out to public schoolteachers.
Aminatou: I'm okay not making sense for four years and just being like that lady's a bad person. [Laughs]
Ann: We're going to look back at this as the turning point when this went from a conversational podcast to just you and I both taking turns ranting.
Aminatou: I know. You know, but the thing about these nominations also that makes me LOL so hard is yes, like yesterday I was thinking about Harriet Miers. Remember Harriet Miers?
Ann: Ugh, yes.
Aminatou: And I was like poor incompetent Harriet Miers. All she had to do was wait like 16 years and she could've had this job.
Ann: She would've sailed through.
Aminatou: Yeah. Tom Daschle, he didn't get the HHS job because he took too many Uber rides and now we have actual villains, like billionaire villains, who lie to Congress about how much money they have and all of the stock that they forget to report. Like those people are going to get in.
Ann: Oh my god.
Aminatou: Like this is not normal.
Ann: Is villainaire already a word? Because I think you may have just . . .
Aminatou: Oh my god, villainaires.
Ann: These villainaire nominees.
Aminatou: It's like the minute somebody who is in government is like "Actually, I'm not taking a salary. I'm just going to take one dollar," those are the people you should be fucking worried about because the money is how we keep them accountable. If they don't need the money they get to do whatever the fuck they want.
Ann: Case in point, our president.
Aminatou: Ugh, yeah. Our president made a killing off of the campaign though. He just kept paying all his businesses, Trump Ice, Trump Planes, Trump Ties. I'm just like this is . . . what a great grift.
Aminatou: And then did you see Ivanka's dress this weekend though?
Ann: [Laughs] The baked potato?
Aminatou: Oh my god. Out here dressed like a Chipotle wrapper. What?
Ann: It's the little things really. I take pleasure in the little things now.
Aminatou: It is, but the thing about this that's really funny is her and Jared are obviously planting stories in Vanity Fair to see how people like them because you know the Shabit theory of . . . the Shabit. The Shabbat theory of all of the Trump disasters, right?
Aminatou: Is they wait until Shabbat when Jared has to go because they're very devout, and then the minute Jared clocks in and can't look at a computer, can't get in a car, the other people in the White House go world destruction 2.0, like start the clock again.
Ann: And here I thought they were just trying to ruin our Saturday.
Aminatou: Yeah, they're trying to ruin Jared's Saturday too. [Laughs] But the best part of all of this is how she's just like "We didn't know. We were all at Shabbos. And then we come out with my dress." And I'm like we see what you're doing. I'm from the Kardashian school of PR communication and crisis. Nope. I hope this whole thing ends with all of you in jail including Jivanka.
Aminatou: Those two are bad people too. That's my new podcast, Bad People, where I just read a list of names, like baseless accusations.
Ann: Cheeto Watch usually segues into Bad People (TM). That's I think our new mode of operating.
Aminatou: Everybody is a bad person.
Aminatou: Remember when this podcast used to be about menstruation?
Ann: Wait, what? Oh yeah.
Aminatou: That's how we started a long time ago before the revolution.
Ann: It was not exclusively about menstruation, but yes, we did talk about it more.
Aminatou: Heavy slant. [Laughs]
Ann: Yes. A heavy flow of menstruation news.
Aminatou: It's like the Beyoncé thing reminded me of Children of Men. I'm just like we're all so excited about this because it just feels like nobody's had a baby in forever.
Aminatou: That's how I feel about the menstruation news. I'm like nobody's bleeding anymore.
Ann: Okay, I'm going to hit you with some menstruation news. I did a Google News search for menstruation because I was like it's been a while. It's like checking in on an old friend, menstruation news.
Ann: Let me hit you with some news from Zambia.
Aminatou: Zambia, she's still around?
Ann: She is still around. There's a woman there who wants to make it a law that women get one day off of work each month when they have their period.
Ann: However, a few issues. This news article explains it as a law discretely called Mother's Day Law.
Aminatou: I don't understand what periods have to do with mothers.
Ann: Well, I mean like I suppose in theory you are shedding a uterine lining where you may have grown a baby if you weren't having a period at that point.
Aminatou: Ugh, Zambia, call us. This is bad.
Ann: I know, right?
Aminatou: I mean the branding is bad but I support this.
Ann: I know, right? That is exactly how I feel about it when I read it. Of course there are all of these men being like "Ugh, but women abuse the law. They don't really need it."
Aminatou: I would 100% abuse the period law by never getting a period and still taking a day off.
Ann: Yeah. I also feel like if you're not getting a period it's because you are doing something else to sort of maintain your cycle typically. Like if you are a woman who would otherwise be menstruating and you're not getting a period. So I'm like take a day off to organize your contraception prescription or do whatever. Do whatever you need to do. I think it's fine. This is just like a subsidy for people who have periods.
Aminatou: Yeah. When I'm king you get three days off.
Ann: Great, I can't wait. Anyway, but of course, you know, the takeaway is a lot of women are like "Oh, I don't take it off. I would never take it off. I don't need to." And I'm like, you know, it is true that this is sort of early in the feminist revolution to be proposing this because then it's like we need . . . in the future when this is not politicized and everyone can take a day no matter what without it being a thing, that's what I'm looking forward to. It's like this is just a little early breaking.
Aminatou: I'll take it.
Ann: I know. I know. You're on the cutting edge though.
Aminatou: [Laughs] I'm like I want feminist reparations. I want three days off and I want a thousand dollars every month. Thank you.
Ann: One hundred percent. So anyway, yeah, there's a call back to when this podcast used to be not about the Cheeto.
Aminatou: I know. What else did we used to talk about that we don't talk about anymore?
Aminatou: Well, we are too blessed to be stressed so not going to be talking about work. [Laughs]
Ann: [Laughs] I know, right? Like our paying jobs separate from our resistance work you mean.
Aminatou: Listen, I heard we were all getting paid to protest though. That's what I heard.
Ann: Oh my god, when I was leaving the protest at LAX some very grumpy I would say 60-something year old white man in a minivan was screaming out his window about how we were unaware that we had all been paid by the Communist Party to be there. And I was like what? The Communist Party?
Aminatou: I'm not getting paid by the Communists. I'm getting paid by George Soros. That's what it says on my checks. [Laughs]
Ann: I mean I think that's what he meant.
Aminatou: On my protest checks.
Ann: I was like seriously, sir, do you know where I can get my check? I didn't get mine. Where do I go? Sir? Sir? Do you have more information?
Aminatou: Also the idea that Communists would pay you for anything, how ridiculous.
Ann: I know. I know. I like the idea, though. It was so funny. It was this stream of dozens of protestors leaving and this dude, like one man in a minivan raging against the flow. It was like oh, you are the past.
Aminatou: This is such a popular talking point though on the right. It always makes me laugh because I'm like so what if they're paid protestors? They're still showing up. Like I don't understand what the accusation or charge is supposed to mean.
Aminatou: The Soros conspiracy theories are really good though. If you ever have a day to just give to that, enjoy.
Ann: Yeah. Those appear on a different platform other than Medium but they are still available online.
Aminatou: Yeah. He's a great villainaire. [Laughs]
Ann: Ugh, yes.
Aminatou: Yeah, it's like one of the articles I was reading was like the protestors, a.k.a. us, we get paid $3,500 to go protest.
Ann: OMG. That would be so great.
Aminatou: And I was like literally where do I sign up for these Soros protests? [Laughs] You guys are crazy. Could you imagine $3,500 to protest every Saturday?
Ann: Imagine what that would do for turnout. You think it's good now, just wait.
Aminatou: Just you wait. I'm like . . . you're like you don't even know what my life is going to look like.
Ann: People quitting their jobs to show up and protest.
Aminatou: Left and right. I'm like I don't need to do this podcast.
Ann: It's true.
Aminatou: I don't need my many jobs. [Laughs]
Ann: We'll speak to you directly in the streets while we're collecting our Soros welfare. See ya.
Aminatou: Oh my god, when that Soros direct deposit hits, cha-ching.
Aminatou: We need predictions. What's the next thing that you think will break before we record this podcast again?
Ann: An anti-LGBT executive order.
Aminatou: Oh, that's good. That's good.
Ann: What do you think will break?
Ann: I didn't mean that cheerfully. Sorry. It sounded like I was cheerful about that.
Ann: It was more just like . . .
Aminatou: Just like yeah!
Ann: It was more like no, I have an answer for this. I've been thinking about what is the next terrible thing they can do? But yeah.
Aminatou: It's going to be around the Supreme Court nominee.
Aminatou: Either the Democrats are going to mount a filibuster against him or they're going to chicken out and the whole thing is going to fall apart. My secret hope though is that Trump will say something bad about Beyoncé and the Bey-hive will just get him out of here. Every morning I wake up and I'm like call Beyoncé a piece of shit so the Bey-hive can activate. Like that's our only hope.
Ann: You're praying for a Bey-eus Ex Machina.
Aminatou: [Laughs] Oh, my only announcement is please just go to callyourgirlfriend.com if you have questions about articles. Stop asking us.
Ann: Yeah, stop asking us on Twitter because they're all there.
Aminatou: You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website callyourgirlfriend.com, download it 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on Facebook -- look it up yourself and don't leave us a message there -- or on Instagram at @callyrgf. You can even leave us a short and sweet voicemail at 714-681-2943. That's 714-681-CYGF. This podcast is produced by the beautiful, smart, talented, incredibly sexy Gina Delvac.
Aminatou: Gina! I'm going to go finish eating my falafel.
Ann: [Laughs] Oh, all right. I'll see you on the Internet.
Aminatou: All I have is falafel and Beyoncé.