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Welcome to the 20th episode of Love It or Leave It Back in the Closet. I say, wow, that song Amazing, sent in by one of the mad of Springfield, Missouri, we want to use a new one each week.
If you want to make one, you can send it to us at Hay, at crooked dotcom, and maybe we'll use yours and you can tweet it at me. There are more than we could ever possibly use. I am very grateful.
And if you so choose to make fun of me in these songs, I welcome it.
I think that they are almost too nice, frankly. Also, before we get to the show, just a couple of things I want you to know about.
This Sunday will officially be 100 days from Election Day, so votes of America is kicking off a week of action by launching vote Save America dotcoms every last vote with every last vote. We'll have tools for you to request your vote by mail ballot to call voters to get them to vote by mail, to volunteer as a poll worker on Election Day, which is so important. We're going to need people to step up because this election is on track to be quite a mess unless we have more people helping and doing what they can.
And we have a brand new fund to support aggressive on the ground efforts to mobilize marginalized communities that are frequently the targets of aggressive voter disenfranchisement efforts. So please go to vote, save America dotcom slash every last vote between now and election. We're going to try to be very deliberate in how we come to you and ask.
I know we've asked everybody to do a lot, especially over the last three years. But as we enter this homestretch, as we enter this last hundred days, we're going to try to make sure we give you what we believe are the best tools to make the biggest difference and the biggest impact in November. Every last vote is what we're asking people to do right now.
And I hope you'll go to vote, save America, dot com, slash every last vote to sign up. Later in the show, we'll be joined by climate expert Eric Holthouse and returning champion Guy Branum.
But first, to celebrate our 20th Back in the Closet episode, I thought I'd invite some of our friends from cooking media on to hear these jokes because they felt like they couldn't say no guaranteed laugh right here.
I don't want to get fired.
So no officially paying people to laugh here in week 20, please welcome our chief content officer, Tanya Eliminator, associate producer and graphic designer Melanie Johnson. And what a day newsletter's own Sara Lazarus. Thank you for being here.
Thanks for having us and paying us.
Happy to be here. We're thrilled. Happy to be here. Thank you. All right. They're going to judge the jokes. They're going to tell us what they liked, what they didn't like. And I want them to know. I'm not saying that. Travis, let's get into it.
What a week.
This week in Portland, federal officers dispatched by Homeland Security were filmed gassing a group of activist moms, as well as breaking the hand of a Navy veteran in two places and tear gassing the mayor. This is only brought out more and more protests, including the NRA, which said this is the tyranny we warned about. Just kidding. Get this, they're sitting this one out. And unarmed protesters are just scaring away secret police with open air vaginas.
I know that's not a joke because it's true. It's the true thing. Is it a joke or are you just reading facts now?
I feel like there was a missed opportunity for an alfresco vagina, but.
Oh, my God. That's why that's so good, Travis. Look at how much better that was a punch up.
I actually think I think OpenAir Vagina was my fault, but al fresco is definitely what was missing. I totally agree. Thank you, Sarah. I feel like any job.
Despite massive backlash over federal agents in Portland, including terrifying videos of them arresting people and throwing them in unmarked vans, Trump vowed to send hundreds of agents to Chicago and Albuquerque to, quote, drive down violent crime.
Trump added Gus Frings reign of terror ends now.
So that's just a just a completely flat Breaking Bad joke.
Oh, sure. I didn't finish it. I'm sorry. Honestly, Melanie, here's the good. All right. It's a not a spoiler. And B doesn't get better as you get deeper into the later seasons.
That's one of the nice things. I don't think better call Saul would help that joke. Tens of thousands of absentee ballots have been rejected in primaries this year. In Nevada, over 6000 ballots were rejected because they couldn't verify voter signatures. This is why you need to be super vigilant in November before you forged the signature practice.
Sure, sure. It's fine. I enjoyed it. Yeah.
So I guess, yeah, this is I think like in lieu of laughter, if it doesn't come and it needn't just a quick clock it aware that it was a joke. I guess it's good to know that Zoom's working. That's just a way of letting guys zoom is working because if they're Cylons, I don't know if maybe I need to do it again or it just didn't work. And I think in this case, it's good that that like Lazarus chiming in with just a yeah, that was a joke.
That was good. It was helpful. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. No, no. You just love that. No.
Well, in the chat, that does nothing. This is all rough.
So the Republicans are finally considering new unemployment benefits for Americans suffering during the pandemic, but only one. Dollars per week, 100 dollars a week is also what Ellen pays her non-union crew. Oh, I don't know. I mean, just as we all know where that joke came from, we are just airing grievances.
What else, apparently? Well, I'll see what America has officially passed four million cases of covid-19.
But now that everyone has it, they're, of course, going to come out with covid-19 Pro.
You got two people who just said, yes, Joe, I got yeah. I don't know.
I probably could build on it with, like, you know, now it has more ram I guess. I don't know, but I think best not to even try to fix it. I don't know what to do. Try it again.
Say it again. Let's try maybe like a covid-19 plus one that read. Oh it was like a Disney plus over nineteen plus.
I think it's probably better, but it's still so far from good for sure.
Finally, finally, after months of hashtags and protests outside the White House, America ultimately got what it wanted a reboot of the Trump coronavirus press conferences even as the administration pushed reopening schools.
A new poll this week found that only one in 10 Americans think schools should reopen normally this fall.
But to be fair to Donald Trump, they only ask parents who love their children because I thought. Because he doesn't. Yes, everybody was treating them because I've raised this before.
But did you see the smile on Trump's face when he was throwing a baseball with baseball man?
Sports guy? Yeah, I know. It's Mariano Rivera. I know I said it quick because I don't totally sure that I know.
But I think that the Newlander something I believed it. You knew it was baseball. So that's always about that.
Two things about that moment. One, Trump had such a grin on his face, throwing a ball around, and also poor Eric and Don just being like, I have a glove. I could get a glove. You know, I don't need to love you. I don't I shouldn't come.
This is the whole reason Trump became president because his daddy wouldn't throw the ball at him.
Fred never threw the ball with little Donald and Donald never threw the ball with Eric or Don Jr. Damn it for it, man.
Now, 140000 people are dead.
Yeah, they need my little acts of kindness. So fucking save humanity, throw balls into a ball once or twice. Avoid four million cases in the future.
Yeah, check in. Check in. Oh, rough.
You can tell that it's just not something he did by by the manner by which he was playing baseball. Yeah. I mean this is a podcast but it doesn't look good. His hands are too small.
They're also so they were very close to one another too. They were very close. Also in his very first press briefing of the week, Trump said of Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged human trafficker, I just wish her well, frankly. I've met her numerous times over the years. People say Trump doesn't have an ideology, but between this and reopening schools, he does seem to be consistent on trapping children in unsafe places.
Harsh but true. Sad. I laugh. I want you to know that I wasn't sure. That is one of the darkest things I think I've ever said. It's a testament to how dark the times are that it faced not a one of, you know, not a with the new talent.
What can we send in stride? I do think it is Gehling though. It's Ghyslain. Yeah. Isn't that fucked up.
Ghyslain. I mean she sucks. So Hatake sorry to mispronounced her name.
I didn't mean to be disrespectful, just going through the sex registry lists, making sure we're pronouncing everybody right.
This week, Michael Cohen was rereleased from prison after he sued Bill Barr. A judge agreed with Cohen that he was in prison to stop him from finishing an unflattering tell all book on Trump. But to be honest, writers write, Michael, being in jail isn't the real problem here. Set a deadline, keep a routine. Being in prison didn't stop Hitler from writing, just for example.
I felt like it came from a real place.
Well, it like staying on writers deadlines, something, you know, having been a writer who on more than one occasion hid from a deadline by literally driving to a different state.
Michael, I get it. I get eating everything to be just right.
He got arrested to avoid it. That's right. That's procrastinating. That's procrastinating commitment. That's amazing. Baseball is back this week and America is already bored. Dr. Anthony Fauci threw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals season opener. His first pitch. How about everybody wear a mask?
Oh. Oh, that was like watching his actual pitch.
That's I think it's good that Foushee can't throw. That is it was truly one of the ugliest pitches I've ever seen. And I say that as a man. So I was I was always smaller than the other kids, but I was an OK pitcher. And I do think in part in hindsight, due to latent homophobia, I was rarely given the opportunity to pitch. But I did have good form, even though I was quite small and man. You watch his feet, they're not doing what they're supposed to be doing, all right.
That was a terrible throw, terrible throw, not sport.
Like I think it's reassuring. Like, he shouldn't be good at sports. He's the top doctor in the country. He should be terrible at throwing the ball. Good on him. Exactly.
Yeah, exactly. He didn't have time to practice.
It's also a good example of, you know, you can say no to stuff. You can't throw a baseball. It's an easy. Now, that's a couple hours of your time to make a fool of yourself. That's that's like a real diversion from your day to walk into trouble.
You know, Fox Sports also announced that during baseball games they would fill the stands with thousands of virtual fans to cheer boo and do the wave and to make them even more lifelike over the course of the game. They will get drunker and drunker until they throw up on the road in front of them and yell something homophobic at the bat boy.
It's all that that deserved a snort and nothing, Greta Sunberg won a humanitarian prize worth one million euros upon receiving the prize, Greta said, don't worry, the money won't change me. I'll still fight for climate justice as she revs the engine on her Bugatti, they run.
And I like I like picturing her. Anybody you know, they say she can't drive.
Right, because h I don't know. She's growing up before our eyes.
You know, I just feel like that that flat monotone like look and delivery and a Bugatti is like a real imagery destroyed my generation.
Yeah. Guns it. There's blood on your hands.
It's that Arianna Huffington a little bit as though I only have one.
It's best to stop Twitter bad more than 7000 Kuhnen accounts and will limit one hundred and fifty thousand more after classifying human material as coordinated harmful activity. Just like you planned it. Oh, also on Sunday, Trump sat down with Fox News's Chris Wallace and boasted about getting a perfect score on his cognitive assessment. Donald. Please, we get it. You're fit to stand trial.
Huge movie news this week. All of the Avatar sequels have been pushed back again, with Avatar two slated for release on December 16th, 2022 and Avatar five set to come out on December 22nd, 2028, just a few days before Tennet.
Very specific tenet delayed.
Yeah, that's that's. Yeah, that was written by The Hollywood Reporter.
And finally, Taylor Swift announced a surprise album that she recorded entirely in quarantine and in a surprise to no one.
Emily Fabro immediately went into labor perfectly. OK, so welcome, Charlie. Congrats to Emily and John and grandparents Mark and Lil and Marnie and Tim.
And thank you to Tanya and Sarah and Melanie for taking time out of their day to join us for this monologue in which they got to experience some real highs and some some real lows. And half of that is true.
I was just like feeling very anxious for you and for me. I had a great time.
That's the vibe we're going for when we come back. OK, stop.
Don't go anywhere. There's more of love it or leave it coming up.
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I love it. And we're back. He's a comedian, writer and host of Tru TV's talk show The Game Show. Please welcome back. Fan favorite returning champion Guy Branum.
Good to be here, John. I was trying to remember what we called you last time, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There's another one. Oh, I learned handy. That's.
Yes, that's very good. It's a deep cut.
So, everybody, it's been 20 weeks inside the closet. And that means it's been 20 weeks without a segment that has been near and dear to our hearts for a long time. So this week, just for Fonzie's and because there's been a series of absolutely incomprehensible interviews, we decided to bring it back.
Now it's time for OK, stop. We'll roll a clip and or I can say, OK, stop at any point to comment. This week, Donald Trump attempted to revive his campaign with a series of interviews that mainly consisted of bragging about the size of his brain. And after he was roundly mocked for this by Chris Wallace on Fox News, Trump went back on TV to clarify. Let's roll the clip.
If you're in the office of the presidency, we have to be sure. I said to the doctor who was Dr. Ronnie Jackson, I said, is there some kind of a test and acuity test? And he said, there actually is. And he named it whatever it might be.
OK, I just want to be clear that, like, Trump definitely did not float, the idea of taking a test about his cognitive capacity did not happen.
I also would just like to know the very rough situation that his hair is considering. He has to interview people outside. These are truly dark days for President Trump. I almost start to pity him. Also, one way of showing your cognitive acuity is remembering the name of the test.
Well, yes, I do think that the pandemic has had some kind of impact. I mean, first, I think moving to the White House, I think created a challenge for him in getting his usual hair service. Yeah, I don't know exactly what it is, but there's been some good reporting about a certain kind of lattice work and some kind of an attachment or individual hairs that used to happen in Trump Tower at an office in Trump Tower. That's obviously not been available to him.
So they've definitely had to move the the contraption and machinery to the District of Columbia, though it does seem that there's a dye issue lately. So I do think he's going through something with the hair. And I just say that, like, look, I said this before. I begrudge Trump many things. I do not begrudge the man the crazy lengths he's gone to preserve his hairline. I respect what any man does to keep their hair in line from Joe Biden to John Travolta to Donald Trump.
I respect all of it. I think it's important to respect that aspect of it. That's all.
I mean, my performance in some areas. Cut your losses. Yeah, you. Yeah. You know, retreat. Fight another battle. Yeah.
You you're like. So I take more of a quadrennial defense review position on hair, which is you need to be able to win one war while simply maintaining defensive line on the other. So like I my personal view is you have to kind of either give up on the crown and maintain the front or try to save the crown while holding the line in the front of the head. There's a lot of different strategies people take. Donald Trump refuses to give up.
Sounds like he said, you know what, we should just move on.
Yes, it was 30 or 35 questions. The first questions are very easy. The last questions are much more difficult, like a memory question. It's like your go person, woman, man, camera.
OK, stop. I feel like, you know, there been a few people that have tweeted this at me and it's been some version of, you know, when you make fun of Trump for these things, you're being in some way able. And I actually think that there's some truth to that. Like when we were making fun of Trump about the ramp, about the cup. Like, I do actually think that there's a sincere problem with that. There is a problem when you want to make fun of someone who takes great pride in masculine ideas and strength and toxically masculine ideas, because when you make fun of them for not living up to them, you're also, in a sense, upholding them.
I get that. But in this case, this is not about making fun of someone who may or may not succeed in this cognitive assessment test. It is making fun of someone for bragging about having taken it and having passed it. That's it.
So, I mean, this is somebody who has been upheld by institutions like the University of Pennsylvania. He's got the best words. She went to the best colleges. Why isn't he just bragging about the fact that he paid some kid to take for his great pride that he can draw a clock?
You know, he can't let any pitch go by, can't let it go by. He feels insulted. He feels embarrassed. Yeah.
I mean, like the truth of it is like this test is a sad test, you know, like if you just think there's no God, it's again, like, you know, you argue with Trump and you're stupid no matter what happens. It's like, yes, this is a test you give to people who are in Trump who are having difficulties. And you want to know, like, are you experiencing some kind of dementia? Is somebody with Alzheimer's?
Is somebody having had a stroke? And you're trying to see the effects of the stroke like this test is given not to celebrate the victory of having passed it, but to be relieved by having passed it.
That's what it is to see how sad you are. Yeah, it's just about saying, like, wow, OK, OK. Like, we've noticed some decline. But you know what? You've made it. You've passed these benchmarks. You're doing OK right now. These are tests that are given consistently to people with dementia to see where they are. It's so perverse that the president is bragging about it, saying, oh, a world war.
I would like it to be more normalized to brag about how you did on standardized tests. Like I work real well on the LSAT. You know, I want to be able to look, you know what?
It is an unfortunate reality that if you do well on a standardized test, you want people to know, but you can't talk about it. Right. Like, I all I want to do is shout some scores into this microphone right now. The idea of it is intoxicating to me. I want you to know how I do it on my desk, but I'm not going to I'm not going to cry because it's not appropriate.
It's not appropriate her so that she could you repeat that? So I said, yeah, so it's person, woman, man, camera, TV. OK, that's very good. If you get it in order you get extra points. If you're OK. That was. Yes. Can you. Other questions. Other questions and then ten minutes, fifteen, twenty minutes later to remember the first question, not the first but the tenth question. Give us that again.
Can you do that again. And you go OK, stop.
Amazing. I'm at Friendly's all right. They put the placement in front of me. They give me a yellow crayon, a red crayon and orange crayon.
They say, connect these dots first. It's pretty simple. Connect a couple of dots. Yeah, you're looking at a dog. OK, next thing you know, there's a mess. All right? You're trying to navigate a maze and you think, oh, this is going to be easy. It's not so easy, Guy. There are dead ends.
I mean, I don't know that I would pass a basic assessment of skills. The thing that makes me happy is to know that with any luck, a couple of months from now, when they have someone who has received blunt head trauma, do you know who the president is, that answer? Well, sure.
That's a very good point. That's a very good point. I remember when my my grandfather, before he passed away, had fallen, and he was he was disoriented. And again, it's just a reminder that, like God, Trump is so without humanity that he's like raising this test, a test that is like it's a measurement tool for people in bad circumstance. It's a unhappy tool. It's not something to brag about. It's not something to elevate.
When my grandfather was disoriented, one of the questions was, is like, do you know what day it is? He knew what day it is, you know what year it is. He knew what year it is, you know who the president is. And he said, yes, I know who the president is. Barack Obama is the president. Hillary Clinton is the next president and Congress is full of assholes. So nice.
Nice Bernie Sanders supporter, my grandfather, woman, man, camera, TV. If you get it in order, you get extra points. They said nobody gets it in order. It's actually not that easy. But for me, it was easy. When you go back about twenty, twenty five minutes later and they say, go back to that quiet, they don't tell you this, go back to their question and repeat them. Can you do it.
And you go person, woman, man.
OK, camera, TV. John, I want to make an argument. I want to make an argument that this isn't just hilarious and truly sad, that this is an important. Lesson for our country during the primaries four years ago, people were trying to ask him questions, Trump questions about what he was going to do with his businesses, and he did not answer those questions. And then after he was elected and there started being all of this trouble with the emoluments clause and stuff like that, people kept saying there should be something that says you can't sell a deal like that.
When things have been so many times with Trump that people have said there should be a law that does not allow. And the beautiful thing about our Constitution is there's one God damn law that is supposed to stop these things from happening, and that is us voting. And there isn't a requirement beyond being born in this country, being 35 and having lived here for 14 years. Like, the only other thing is that you have to get enough states to vote for you, that you can be president.
And we need to remember that this is the shit that can happen when we don't care and pay attention to the politics in our country. Not all of us are going to give all of ourselves the way that so many activists do. So many people get so much of themselves of politics and so many of us rely on them to be thinking for us and to be doing for us. I think this is a reminder that we're the fucking taxed. Yeah.
Like we are the fucking test that is supposed to tell whether this dude is able to remember five words in order. And then we get to the star that's asked whether she gets the extra credit for remembering him. And we are the test.
We are the test. I like that. We are the test.
And if we don't get that test right, we're the ones who are failing.
Let's see him push a square peg through a hole shaped like us or something.
They say that's amazing. How did you do that? I do it because I have like a good memory, because I'm cognitively they're he's cognitively they're.
What a relief. Everybody. He can pass that baseline test. It's worth remembering, you know, everybody's armchair mental health expert. The one thing I have learned from observing Trump for many years, it is quite difficult to tell the difference between a person in mental decline and a person who has such a malignant form of narcissism and egotism and ignorance that he learns nothing, absorbs nothing, cares about nothing. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference. That's what I've learned.
If only he cared about America as much as he cared about knowing the name for an elephant. And that's OK.
Stop. Thanks to Guy Branum for joining us. When we come back, I'm going to talk to climate expert and meteorologist Eric Holthouse about his book, The Future Earth, which imagines what the world look like if we actually solve the climate crisis, if we actually do what it takes. And it's an unusual way into this conversation that I know is really important, but sometimes feels depressing or difficult to have. So really worth a listen.
Don't go anywhere is love it or leave it and there's more on the way.
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Caught you looking at some ports of travel. Yeah. Yeah.
You know sometimes you, sometimes you're trying to figure out where to go on a trip and you go to Port Hub and you look up some of your report hub, you want to see videos of destinations.
There's places like Port to keep it all going to go to gay destinations. Right. Some of these port websites have gay sections. So you can go to like Port Tube Gay. Right. And then it's just for gay people. So you have to see what straight people want to do on vacation.
And we're back. He's a meteorologist, a climate journalist for the correspondent. And his book, The Future Earth is Out Now.
Please welcome Eric Holthouse. Hi. Thanks for having me. Thanks for doing this. So I was excited to talk to you because I feel like I don't totally understand why I'm talking about climate change on this show when it is a show primarily listened to by a lot of progressives and liberals and people who understand the threat of climate change, understand why it's so important, want leaders to do more and want to push for their leaders to more.
So I sometimes feel as though it can be a kind of pessimistic conversation about people who aren't listening. That's why I was excited. Talk to you because this book does something different. The Future Earth is a book that imagines what happens if we just start getting it right. And so can you talk a little bit about why you wanted to write this? What is the goal of the book that imagines what happens if we actually take the emergency steps we need to take to solve climate change?
Thank you. I think that's a great question. It really cuts to the heart of this whole debate. Climate change is something that has felt even in the best of times, it's something that's sort of being forced upon us to talk about. Like it's not fun for me to be thinking about the end of the world all the time. Right. It's not a career that is very supportive of my mental health. I mean, not even just speaking of of myself, but the fault of that the reason why that's happening is because we've done a lot of work for the fossil fuel industry.
For them, saying that we can't really imagine a world without fossil fuels is partly a failure of imagination because it's not inevitable that we use fossil fuels at this point. It's not even the cheapest path forward, even setting aside all the subsidies and everything, you know, just like completely levelized cost of energy of new energy, renewables beats fossil fuels almost everywhere in the world now. So it's just it doesn't make sense anymore to think of, wow, we are on the steamroller towards dystopia and there's nothing we can do about it other than I live in a cave and eat plants that we find in our yard growing wild.
It's up to us to start to articulate visions that are inclusive, that put justice forward at the center of this debate, because that's, I think, really where the fossil fuel industry sort of sidetracked the conversation decades ago. It's like not really about the science or not really about disasters or individual action. It's about how do we organize society? How do we live and work together in the world on a planet where we have a finite amount of resources.
We cannot continue to have eternal economic growth forever. We just can't. And that's just not a conversation we really ever had. We haven't really had a conversation about what a circular economy would look like. What would an economy that prioritizes meeting the needs of everyone and living a good life for everyone. How would we reorganize the world if we had to do it from scratch, starting right now, knowing what we know? Like, that's kind of what I try to do in the book.
This is a very, very short and limited exploration of that, but that's just what I'm inviting readers to do, is to do some of that work together.
Yeah. So in reading the book, I felt like there were like a few different areas where you were sort of going on a journey of imagination. Right? There was policy imagination, like what if we really did put in place the actual scientifically derived policies that would help us meet the one point five degree warming goal that would actually address climate change in a meaningful way. Then there is the sort of economic question like what if we just reimagine our relationship to the economy and as you'd say, no longer focus on permanent growth, but have a different conception of what the goal of an economy might be?
And then there was this other piece of it that was about reimagining our relationships to each other and to the earth. Right. Just a much less capitalistic, a much more humane and compassionate view of what our job is as human beings. And I found them all really fascinating to think about as I was reading. I'm also a cynical person, and what I thought to myself is, wow, we are having such a tough time just getting some basic climate policies.
And you're talking about reimagining the way people think about the economy. You're talking about reimagining people's relationship to one another.
That puts a lot of pressure on people on the work they need to do for themselves. And in your own words, like we are talking about a systemic problem caused by a bunch of corporations, a history of colonialism and capitalism that is the source of most of these ills. That is the kind of overarching cause. And and I wondered, as I read, is it more effective to put the work back on individuals or is the most effective strategy to say everyone needs to come together and make changes in the political system to enact the incentives on these big corporations, on government to get to the ends we want, rather than requiring individuals to sort of take on the work, take on the pressure, take on the job of being better in small ways, without government intervention, without economic incentives.
Does that make sense?
Yeah, they really both need to happen. At the same time, there's a ticking clock when it comes to climate. We're locking in worse and worse outcomes. Every year we wait. Every day we wait. You know, at the same time, the real work that we need to do is culture changing work. And that only happens person to person with trusted relationships that you build over time. You know, one of the interviews that I have is with an indigenous scholar on environmental activism, Kyle White, and he talks about how the perception of time is different in the way he thinks about it.
He sort of bristles at the idea that calling it a climate emergency or calling for urgent action because everything that has ever been sort of urgent or an emergency has been really bad for indigenous people in the Americas. So I think he's hard to think about. You need to do the 100 year work at the same time as you're doing the day to day work. And I think that's why I like I sort of hesitate when people say, like, all you have to do is just go and vote, because once you vote, once you get your person in there, then everything will get better.
And that's just not the way the world like we have to make transformational change no matter who's president. We have to make transformational change in our communities at the family level to trust each other more, to rely on each other as all of these changes are going to be happening, because the changes will happen regardless of whether or not we do them consciously or not, because we have sort of locked in that that level of climate change already. Right. Right.
We are going to have a destabilized society, but we can bend it towards the sort of justice seeking society or we can just sort of continue on the current path, right?
Yeah. So the way the book describes this right is no matter how much we try to do, there's a period of what you call a catastrophic success in the book, that there is a period of really acute consequences of climate change that causes us to finally take a set of actions to sort of stabilise the planet in the long run.
And that that requires individual action and requires corporate action. It requires government action, and it requires sort of a reimagining of the culture and a lot of different ways. My only question about what happens right now is on the one hand, I agree, right? Look, we want everyone to make this personal. And as you say in the book, people need to talk about this, need to stop being afraid to talk about it, needs to come up and be part of our ordinary conversation.
But at the same time, I have this worry that, well, doesn't that just raise the cost of being part of the climate movement? Like is the best thing to have a bunch of people who see their job as both pushing for not just voting, but like pressuring legislators and doing the political work, but also constantly demonstrating their low carbon footprint, constantly encouraging others to lower their carbon footprint? Or is it a better just pure strategy and amoral as it may?
Maybe just say do whatever you want as a person, because together we're going to do this as a system to try to get as many people to see themselves as part of the climate movement as possible.
Yeah, I mean, my my gut instinct is probably a little bit closer to that second one. But I will say something that is probably a little controversial that I think that we should just sort of erase or reject anything that you have in your mind that is related to the climate movement, as you might know it like immediately, because I think that the framing of the past has been really not.
I did it. All right. It's gone OK.
I think that there has been such a tremendous amount of transformational work among climate activists over the last 18 months since the Green New Deal became a sort of focal point since the youth strike, since the IPCC report in twenty eighteen, those all three happening simultaneously has really shown that the climate movement had failed up to that point in that we were talking about everything and doing everything in the wrong way. And so I think that for climate activism to succeed, it has to align itself with broader movements for justice, which it is doing now.
This year, you can see it happening. You know, the sun rise movement, for example, has almost totally aligned itself with the movement for black lives, like they tweet about racial justice just as much, if not more often than they do about climate. Really, what we're fighting against when people are reluctant to think and talk about climate is this is work for protecting national parks or protecting species or protecting people that haven't been born yet. Like, this is not for me.
But I think what we've seen in the last six months is that people with covid, people who are in very high air pollution areas that probably have a history of systemic racism and redlining are dying at a greater rate because of climate change and because of police brutality. It's all the same thing. It's just really all the same thing.
It's the same disregard for the environment writ large that produces climate change is also leading to coal-fired power plants and other kind of polluting industry to be located in neighborhoods that are poor, that are more likely to have less influence and are more likely to be populated by, you know, people of color and not the elite parts of our society that make the larger decisions right. Like, to me, that's the connection.
Exactly. I think the easiest way I can say it is that climate change is a symptom of the problem. It's not a problem itself. Climate change wouldn't exist if we had the sort of like society where we all care for each other and our focused on meeting each other's needs and are not focused on extracting from other people and from the earth resources without any regard for what the impacts are.
So talk about the changes just in terms of the politics of even in the last year, there's the green New Deal on the Hill. You had candidates like Jay Inslee putting out, I think, the most far reaching Democratic proposal.
You had Joe Biden at the time come out with a policy position that I think aimed for the same targets, but refused to set targets on the way.
Right. To sort of signal the pain that would happen for certain industries. Right. Avoided that work, had fewer investments, was not a significant part of a plan. They've now just come out with their new consensus plan, part of this team with AOC and John Kerry and others. How do you feel about that? Do you believe that the current version of the Joe Biden campaign plan puts us on a direction towards the future earth you're writing about? Or is it a sign that we're still not taking it seriously enough?
It's not a plan for one point five, I don't think, but it is the most progressive major plan in US history. But that's, again, not saying much. I think that there should be more explicitly talking about ending the use of fossil fuels. Just say that's just what needs to happen. There is no path to having it both ways anymore. You know, for the past 10 to 15 years or so, we've been talking about natural gas as a bridge fuel, and we've seen natural gas emissions now become the largest single source of emissions in the United States.
And the US become a fossil fuel exporting country on that because of that policy. And and I think that that there's just no room left for the fossil fuel industry to have influence in the future.
So you also talk a little bit about geoengineering in the book and the prospect of a system of basically, you know, in this period of time. It's it's funny, too, because the book is the optimistic vision of the future. But it's still has these periods of time where there's just tremendous dislocation and immiseration caused by the. We've already done one of the possibilities you describe is at some point in the future, when we've already taken the steps we need to reduce carbon emissions, there will be so much destruction caused by the carbon that's already in the atmosphere.
We might want to consider something like geoengineering in the form of putting particles high in the atmosphere to provide some amount of cooling to counteract the effect of the heat trapping gases in the atmosphere.
What do you think about that? Where is your head out right now on geoengineering?
Sure. In our current context, in the politics and an economy that we have today, it's absolutely a horrible idea. I think it's sort of a Band-Aid without addressing the issues. It's sort of like adaptation on steroids without really figuring out who would be harmed in the process.
What do you think about my plan? Here's my plan. We keep burning the fossil fuels completely. We take off all the restrictions. We go hog wild. Then we build a consortium to put the particles in the air. But they have to do it for 10000 years because if they ever stop for even a year, there's catastrophic climate change. So we just build that and kind of like put our hopes in that. And we just say, like, please never stop doing this no matter what, because then the earth becomes an unlivable hell hole in about six to eight months.
I think it's bizarre. I think it's a solid plan. I'm like pretty excited about it. It's like a doomsday switch.
We can elevate it. Number two on the list, there's no backup plan plan B and B is the look. It's it's called Operation Snowpiercer. And we have to get it exactly right. And again, we can't get it exactly right because we will not know what happens until we try, which is one of the exciting things about it. One last question. So I should make a movie about they should make a movie about that. They shouldn't make a movie about that.
And then it's like, what if all of our class politics were recreated but in like a small, warm space, enclosed space, enclosed and like moving.
Yeah, moving. We can all get a view. Yeah.
Like but then it's sort of like, you know, it becomes a kind of really kind of I think on the nose metaphor for being trapped in a certain station, you know, like literally you're in a part of the train that determines your station in life. She'd say, well, isn't that a pretty explicit but yet it works. Last question.
Last question for you. OK, you've written this book.
It imagines this very utopian vision, not just of our ability to fight climate change, but about the ability of human beings to adapt to a new way of thinking about themselves. Right. About their own relationship to the world, to each other. And it's a much more, I think, egalitarian, humane, ethical version of being a person in the writing. Did you ever feel like you were basically saying the way we defeat climate change is actually by changing human nature?
And while it's fun to think about it, it's impossible?
Yeah, I mean, that's a trap, right? I was just having honest I was just having that exact thought five minutes before the conversation. So, yeah, it's real. And I really don't think that my book is likely to happen, to be completely honest with you. I put it out there as an intentional provocation to say if we don't start thinking like this, then it won't happen. There's a one hundred percent chance that it won't happen.
So maybe my book gets us another point, one percent on that list, like that's better than nothing. I honestly, that's how I feel a lot of days. It's like harm reduction, like how can we do this work knowing that it's going to end up pretty bad for a lot of people who did nothing to cause it. I mean, I talk in the book about being in counseling and trying to figure out what my value is as a climate voice in this really important time.
And I just don't know. You know, I try every day again to try to think about what's needed right now, what can I do? And I don't know that I have any real advice other than to do what makes you get up in the morning and ask for help. If you can't get up in the morning, even if you feel like your contribution is small, it'll help trigger a thought and someone else that might otherwise not have had the confidence to do that.
Eric Holthouse, thank you for joining us. The book is The Future Earth. I really recommend it.
It is an opportunity to read and think about climate change in a way that you might not have, even though I think a lot of us feel like we should be talking about it more, but don't know why and want to give ourselves a reason. I think this book is a helpful way to give yourself a reason. So the future Earth, it's out now. Thank you to Eric Holthouse for joining us. When we come back, we'll end on a high note.
Don't go anywhere. There's more of love it or leave it. Coming up, I'm going to leave.
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And we're back because we all needed this week. Here it is, the high note submitted by you, our listeners.
They love it. This is Alex from Dallas, Texas. My high note this week is that I just got off my first phone bank with Iraq's new organization powered by people. I spoke to a lot of Democrats. I spoke to a lot of Republicans. It was enlightening. It was heartfelt. I spoke to a few people who were really enthusiastic about getting their support more than you'd expect, I think, in the great state of Texas. I hope all of them and more come out in November.
Hi, this is Kelly from Oklahoma.
And my Hinode for this week was actually AANA from last week's High Note. It is always, always, always amazing to find little blue dots in a sea of red and knowing that I am not the only one here in Oklahoma wanting change, fighting for change, thinking for change, actually really, really made my week. So thank you.
I love it myself. And my high note this week is that I am now officially registered to vote in Pennsylvania. So not only can I help turn people out to America as I go to Pennsylvania, but I also get to vote in a swing state that I would call again. Thank you.
I love it. It's Ashley from Massachusetts calling. And in the past week I have received two separate phone calls from local high school students who are not yet old enough to vote but are helping get out the vote, one to help support Senator Markey and his re-election campaign and another to elect an even more progressive congressional candidate, Alex Morse, and his run in Massachusetts against our representative, our current representative, Richard Hill. And it's super inspiring and gives me a lot of hope that even in our pretty comfortably blue state, that the next generation is pushing us to be even more progressive and getting engaged.
If you want to leave us a message about something that gave you hope, you can call us at four to four three four one four one nine three. Thank you to everybody who submitted those high notes. It is 101 days until the election sign up for votes in America right now to defeat Donald Trump, keep the House and win back the Senate. Thank you to Sarah and Tanya and Melanie for joining on the monologue. Thank you to Eric Holthouse. Thank you to Guy Branum.
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Thank you also to the moms in Portland. Amazing.
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