Jakob Lazzaro and Rachel Hawley Can't Let Go of Roy Moore, Alaskan public radio and a really wild pet shop. Lila Reynolds is stuck on childhood sexisim and falling on her butt. Stories featured in this episode hail from The New York Times and Slate.
[Music: Little Lily Swing]
Jakob Lazzaro: Hey, welcome back to Can't Let Go, the NBN podcast where we discuss news and personal stories from the past week that we can just not get out of our heads. I'm your host, Jakob Lazzaro, and I'm here with two new guests. I have Lila Reynolds and Rachel Hawley. Guys, you want to say a bit more about yourselves?
Lila Reynolds: Sure, I'm Lila, I’m the executive editor of NBN and I'm actually Jakob’s managing contact for audio.
Jakob: Yes, so this is my boss so you know, I gotta be on my best behaviour.
Rachel Hawley: I'm Rachel, I edit the news. That’s all there is about me.
Jakob: Alright, so to get started today, for the first time in the podcast’s run here in our first season, we’ve actually had two people come in with the same news story. That’s me and Rachel. Rachel, do you want to get us started?
Rachel: Yeah, Roy Moore needs to stop fucking kids. Am I allowed to say that?
Jakob: Yeah, yeah, I mean to be fair I don’t think he’s been actually accused of going in all the way, but definitely creepy molestation.
Rachel: Gloria Allred came forward with a second woman who is accusing Roy Moore of molesting her when she was a teenager.
Jakob: She was 16, yeah, I've got this right in front of me.
Rachel: He signed her yearbook with something horrible, like to the most beautiful young women I've had the pleasure to know – Roy Moore. And then in parentheses.
Jakob: I just found it. “To a sweeter, more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas.”
Lila: And then what’s the parentheses?
Rachel: Roy Moore, parentheses D.A. – District Attorney.
Rachel: I know!
Jakob: Yeah, so he totally used his power in the Alabama judiciary to get with these underage girls, which is one, really creepy. I know that the first girl who came out, who was I think 14 at the time, they met at his court. She was there with her mom.
Rachel: Yeah, she was at a custody hearing. Her mom brought her to a custody hearing and then Roy Moore walked by, saw her and was like ‘Oh don’t bring her into the room, I'll stay out here with her and keep her safe because I'm an attorney and an adult and not someone who abuses children.’
Lila: Oh my god.
Rachel: Also, not to make light of the situation in any way, but why did their yearbook come out at Christmas?
Lila: That’s true.
Jakob: It was… it was a different time. The ‘70s. You know, what can we say on that?
Rachel: The yearbook is supposed to come out on the last day of school.
Lila: This is true. And also, why was he in a place to sign her yearbook?
Rachel: Yeah, why was he -
Lila and Rachel: At the school?!
Lila: I mean I have such mixed feelings about all these women coming forward, because it’s been part of such a larger thing that’s been happening in the past few weeks. And I feel like it’s great that these people are feeling empowered to come forward, but I'm just so disgusted and I feel like I can’t trust anyone.
Jakob: I just want to get this on the tape. So the woman who came out today, the second woman who was 16 at the time, this is what she read in a statement in the press conference. Quote “I tried fighting him off while yelling at him to stop, but instead of stopping he began squeezing my neck, attempting to force my head onto his crotch.” And then she also said that Mr. Moore warned her that quote “No one will believe you” unquote if she told anyone about the encounter in his car.
Lila: So many men in powerful positions have been doing this and just using the assumption that nobody will believe these women, nobody will validate their stories. And they’ve been proven true! These women haven’t felt comfortable to come forward until so many years later.
Jakob: Roy Moore is a very controversial figure nationally and also in Alabama, as the judge who was removed two times over the Ten Commandments thing.
Rachel: He put a giant stone slab of the Ten Commandments in his office, and they were like don’t do that and he was like I'm gonna do it and they got rid of him.
Jakob: He ran, got reelected after that. Then was removed again after refusing to recognize gay marriage in the state of Alabama. Now he’s running in the general election as the Republican nominee against Doug Jones, who is the Democratic nominee for the senate seat. And it’s just really interesting because the Republican establishment, like Mitch Mconnell, they already really did not like Roy Moore. And it was almost immediate, like hours or so after the second woman came out, that Mcconnell was like yeah, he should step down. And we’re thinking about mounting a write-in campaign to put another Republican party person as a candidate for the senate seat, because they really don’t want anything to do with Roy Moore. But then Roy Moore is infamously stubborn, he’s like saying I'm never going to step down and all of this is just fake news. There’s plans being floated that if he wins, the senate will vote to expel him from the senate – which they can do, they just need a 2/3rds majority. So that could possibly happen, or we could have a massive upset and Doug Jones could win and be the democratic senator from Alabama until 2020, which would be quite an interesting political development.
Lila: Ok, so my story this week is about sexism, shocking. So essentially it’s an article about how young kids learn sexism, and I think yeah, everyone agrees that it’s something about classroom settings and whatever, but it’s even earlier then that when you have a teeny-tiny little baby and are saying things like “Oh, what a handsome man!” And “Oh, you’re so strong!” and using those gendered concepts to very young kids. And then in the classroom it becomes a question of saying “Oh, I need girls to answer this, what about boys?” Like there’s always this breakdown, which I guess I didn’t really think of when I was growing up.
Jakob: I feel like kids are little sponges and they just soak up everything that goes on around them, so stuff like that’s really going to have an impact. And that’s true for sexism, but it’s also true for a lot of things.
Lila: Yeah, I feel like the learning of stereotypes happens at such a young age. When you’re a little kid and you hear this is what a girl is supposed to do, or this is what a boy is supposed to do, it becomes things that you do in day-to-day life.
Rachel: You want your kid to be perfect, and that’s what really fucks up a lot of kids. The first tests that you can put your kid through, you will. And the first test of social acceptability or whatever is gender performance.
Lila: I think part of the problem is that there are such prescribed ways of being perfect, and the article even says something about how you’re rewarded for fitting into those gender roles. For example, if your dad offers you some sort of gender-appropriate toy like a Barbie and you’re playing with it, you’re going to get rewarded for it as opposed to if you start playing with G.I. Joes because that’s not considered right.
Rachel: Right, adults in your life, when you’re a little kid, nudge you towards appropriate gender expression. Like, I don’t know. I'm 21 years old, and I still have an aunt who every year will send me makeup and stuff for Christmas, and it’s very uncomfortable because we see each other at the holidays and she knows that I'm this butch little person, and like…
Lila: You’re like, I don’t wear makeup!
Rachel: Well, yeah! I've always felt like I'm being sort of nudged, it’s funny.
[Music: Little Lily Swing]
Jakob: So now it’s time to move on to our personal stories, Rachel do you want to get us started?
Rachel: Yeah, so the other day I was shopping at Trader Joe’s, and I walked by… so there’s this pet store near Trader Joe’s, and it’s called…
Lila: The Fish Bowl!
Rachel: But it’s not called The Fish Bowl, it’s Thee Fish Bowl. T-H-E-E fish bowl. Which is inexplicable.
Jakob: I am confused by that.
Lila: But it’s the greatest place in the world!
Rachel: The thing about it is, if you actually look it’s…
Jakob: Are they a big fish seller?
Rachel: I don’t know. I haven't even been in this place until today.
Lila: Right, you’re making a mistake – you’ve gotta go in there.
Rachel: So the problem isn’t even that it’s called Thee Fish Bowl for some reason, the problem is that the kerning on the word thee – kerning being the space between letters – is so bad that it looks like it might be called tree fish bowl, which makes less sense than Thee Fish Bowl, but also maybe it doesn’t because Thee Fish Bowl also makes no sense. So for the first time ever, I mean I walk past this place all the time, but for the first time I walked in. And in Thee Fish Bowl, there is an 80-pound tortoise named…
Rachel: Betty. She does not live in a cage, she simply roams.
Lila: Did you meet Louis, the bunny?
Rachel: Yes, the bunny. So there’s Louis, the bunny. He’s so huge, like bigger than a cat.
Rachel: And he just walks around, there are all these animals.
Lila: That place is chaos.
Rachel: It’s crazy, I can’t even imagine being there all the time.
Jakob: So in my life this week, every year there is an audio festival, convention, whatever you want to call it, in Chicago called the Third Coast Audio Festival. So it’s an audio journalism festival in Chicago that runs for three days, so audio journalists from the United States and around the world come and there’s talks by people like Ira Glass on audio storytelling, and there’s panels on pitching stories and better ways to do audio journalism. It was a really great thing. And Medill, for a while, has gotten three passes to this conference because it costs like 500 dollars to go, it’s one of those expensive conference pass things. And they give them out as little scholarships – you can write a little essay if you’re interested in audio journalism to get one of these passes and then you can go for free. So I wrote an essay about a month ago and then I got one, so I was really pumped! I went down to this conference on Thursday, Friday, Saturday of this week and met all these really cool people working in audio journalism who I admire, went to all these cool talks. I had a really great time. But one of the most interesting things that happened there was I met this woman named Zoë who was just really cool. She went to Wellesley, which is where Hillary Clinton went which is already pretty cool, had an internship at Maine Public Radio in Portland, Maine, then worked at WBUR in Boston for 3 years. But now – and get this, this is the interesting part – now, she works for Alaska Public Radio in Unalaska, which is on the Aleutian Islands!
Lila: Why? Why would she go from boston to Alaska?
Jakob: First of all, career goals. Like isn’t that so awesome. Second of all, she was like you should apply for an internship at Alaska public radio because we pay our interns, so I was like tell me more. So maybe this summer you’ll be able to catch me up in the Alaskan wilderness.
Lila: I wonder if they’ll listen to this as they’re trying to decide who their intern will be.
Jakob: They might, I don’t know.
Lila: You better be doing a good job, Jakob!
Jakob: I hope, yeah.
Lila: So this week, as usual, I fell on my butt. To be fair, there was snow so it was slippery, but I do regularly fall on level surfaces. I'm walking, cruising along, talking to my pal on the phone, and I just go silent for a second. And I had literally ate shit and fell on my face.
Jakob: Is this the day it was snowing and really icy?
Lila: Yeah, yeah! So it was icy, ok!
Jakob: It was the first snowfall of the winter.
Lila: So understandable, right? But I think the worst part was that I was on the phone with my friend and she was like “Oh my god, what happened?” And I was like “I just fell.” It was also really embarrassing because Michele Enos, who’s the Social Justice Educator at Northwestern and definitely one of my top campus crushes, she was walking right behind me and saw me faceplant and was like “Lila.” She doesn’t know my name, I wish she knew my name. She was like “Are you ok?” And I was like “Yeah, I'm fine.” And I was fine, but augh. That’s not how I want her to see me.
Jakob: You were physically fine but not mentally fine because you had been embarrassed.
Lila: Not mentally, at all. I was not fine at all.
[Music: Little Lily Swing]
Jakob: So that’s going to wrap things up for this week. Can’t Let Go and all other North by Northwestern podcasts can be found on iTunes and the Google Play store. Just search North by Northwestern, hit subscribe, and you’ll get a notification whenever there is a new episode – which is great, because then you’ll know whenever we have new content. This will actually be the last episode of Can’t Let Go in 2017 because we are finishing up our publishing for this quarter, but do not worry. Can’t Let Go will be coming back with a limited release schedule in winter quarter, probably around mid-January because I'm going to be actually in D.C. for Medill on the Hill. So I'm going to have less time, but I'm still going to try and record episodes for you guys – probably on a two week basis. Our theme song is Little Lily Swing, by Tri-Tachyon which is under a Creative Commons Attribution License. I'm your host, Jakob Lazzaro.
Lila: And I'm Lila Reynolds.
Rachel: I'm Rachel Hawley.
Jakob: And this is NBN Audio.
[Music: Little Lily Swing]