Happy Scribe Logo

Transcript

Proofread by 0 readers
Proofread
[00:00:00]

You're listening to Comedy Central now. Hey, what's going on, everybody? Welcome to The Daily Social Distancing Show. I'm Trevor Noah. It is Monday, August twenty fourth. And here's your quarantine tip of the day. If you're worried about riding in an elevator with other people, here's all you have to do.

[00:00:19]

Just carry a mannequin around with you. Yeah. And then if someone tries to get in the elevator with you, he's put your arm around the mannequin and go, sorry, me and my lovely little privacy. Anyway, tonight, we step in for night, one of the Republican National Convention. We also look at how Kuhnen is taking over the GOP and we're going to be joined by the ever prolific Tennessee. So let's do this, people. Welcome to the Daily Social Distancing Show.

[00:00:46]

Charters Towers in New York City, take your account somewhere in the world. The daily social distancing show presents. The Republican National Convention. Celebrating Schrecker record come. Tonight was the start of the Republican National Convention, a week of speeches, celebration and white people walking up to Ben Carson saying, wait, aren't you the one that died?

[00:01:13]

And if the DNC was all about the people? Well, the RNC seems to be about one person, Donald Juiciness Trump.

[00:01:20]

The stage is set to now. Republicans will have their chance to make their pitch to Americans. And we've learned President Trump is expected to make an appearance every night this week.

[00:01:29]

You can expect a lot of President Trump, as you mentioned, and also a lot of people who have the same last name as him. There are someone with the last name of Trump speaking on every single night of this Republican National Convention, including the president himself, who you mentioned will appear in some form or fashion in the 10:00 p.m. hour, every single night of the convention slated to appear, all of the president's children except for his youngest son, Barron.

[00:01:51]

It's also a little nugget that a couple of the producers of The Apprentice are actually part of putting this production together as well. So maybe a little bit added TV value.

[00:02:00]

Oh, man, this is so exciting. The producers of The Apprentice are working on the RNC.

[00:02:06]

So does this mean Trump's planning on firing people? Because, I mean, he doesn't really have any staff left to fire. His whole team is like Mike Pence, Steve Manoogian, and then just 30 Jarrett clones.

[00:02:18]

But, hey, maybe if we're lucky, this week will end with Trump firing one of his kids. I'm sorry, Eric, but you're fired. But I won the challenge.

[00:02:27]

The real challenge is me having to see your face on fire. And, you know, Trump making a speech every single night may seem unusual in terms of convention traditions, but if you think about it, it makes sense. The Democratic Party has to give everyone a speaking slot because they're trying to appease a bunch of different groups, black people, Latinos, progressives, disaffected Republicans, fans of ABC shows the Republican Party. On the other hand, they only care about appeasing Trump because it's his party now.

[00:02:59]

And if you don't like it, you will shut the fuck up or join John Kasich in that field. Now, you might remember one of the highlights of the Democratic convention was the roll call of all the delegates who announced their votes from beautiful locations around the country. Well, this morning, the Republicans had zero coal and it was beautiful in a different kind of way.

[00:03:19]

Today, as a proud and independent, not mega, I proudly cast twenty eight spicy votes for President Donald J. Trump. We put forth common sense policies to help every day Rhode Islanders who love coffee, milk and Doughboy's dipped their clam cakes in chowder. And yes, we eat a lot of calamari. Rhode Island style. Maryland is home of the Underground Railroad and two of our greatest segregated abolitionists. I come from the great state of Montana. It's often been called the Big Sky Country, the treasure state and the last best place.

[00:04:05]

But currently we are affectionately calling it Trump Tanne. We fish, we hunt, we vote, and we have at least five guns in every home.

[00:04:18]

Honestly, if you need at least five guns in your home, it's probably because you misplace things a lot. You don't need to buy extra guns. You really just need to buy a notebook to write down where you left your gun and to start journaling because your ass is crazy. Either way, the RNC roll call is depressing. I mean, the DNC at least had a ninja chef posing on the beautiful beach. You know, the most interesting person here looks like he's getting his mug shot taken off to being arrested for sweating too much.

[00:04:45]

And also, why is the camera so close to their faces, huh?

[00:04:51]

That's how you zoom into a work meeting when you don't want people to know you're still in bed. Yeah, guys, I looked through the proposal and everything seems good.

[00:04:59]

Now, as you heard, practically every member of Trump's family will be giving a speech this week. But one person who won't be speaking is President Trump's oldest sister, Marianne, who's a retired federal judge.

[00:05:11]

In fact, she almost never says anything publicly about her brother at all. But now we're learning what she's been keeping to herself.

[00:05:22]

President Trump's sister, Maryanne Trump, Barry blasting her brother in a batch of secret audio recordings, first reported in The Washington Post.

[00:05:30]

There's no trace of the leaked conversations between the president's sister and their niece. Mary Trump were secretly recorded by Mary, who says she taped 15 hours of their face to face talks between 2018 and 2019. The retired federal judge labeling her brother free and phony as the light.

[00:05:54]

Oh, my God, I'm talking freely. But you make sure your story is a lack of preparation. The lying. No, man, come on, are we living in the 12th season of a soap opera? No one in real life does a sister come out of nowhere to start a feud with the main character? Who is she? Where did she come from? I hate my brother. You know, things are bad for Trump when he's having a hard time wrangling the Trump votes.

[00:06:23]

It's going to be hard to win independents in swing states when you're polling poorly with people you share parents with.

[00:06:29]

And I got to say, this made me a fan of Trump's sister, not because she just likes her brother, but because she's eighty three years old and she apparently loves cussing.

[00:06:40]

I just want to go out to dinner with her. I'll have the cooking show. And hey, if I got wings, would you ask to help me beat the shit out of them? OK, we'll have somebody else for the wings.

[00:06:55]

Now, as he goes into the convention week, Trump finds himself down big in the polls to Joe Biden, in large part because of his handling of the coronavirus. It has been an absolute disaster. So now Trump is trying to change that perception with some fresh blood.

[00:07:13]

President Trump has announced an emergency authorization for a coronavirus treatment that his administration hails as a, quote, major advance.

[00:07:21]

President Trump making that dramatic announcement late Sunday that the FDA has authorized the use of convalescent plasma for emergencies. But now some Democrats are demanding answers, asking if the FDA is being pressured by a president locked in a tough re-election battle.

[00:07:36]

The decision for emergency use comes after an internal debate at the FDA over whether the agency had enough data to authorize such a move. It also comes a day after the president, without any evidence, accused the FDA of impeding clinical trials for political reasons. Tweeting Saturday, the deep state or whoever over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics.

[00:08:03]

God damn, Trump hasn't bullied nerds this hard since the first one to take his SATs for him. I mean, we all want a cure for covid, but new medicines shouldn't be rushed out to the public like the Taco Bell menu items. And I mean, of course, Trump has a problem with the FDA. They're the same ones who told him how many calories are in his burgers. If these things are eight hundred calories apiece, then how come I couldn't eat them?

[00:08:26]

Still, let's try to be positive here.

[00:08:30]

Even if these treatments aren't proven safe or effective, maybe they'll work and coronavirus will be gone. And then the only reason we'll need to wear masks is to hide our brand new mutant faces.

[00:08:41]

All right.

[00:08:42]

We have to take a quick break, but when we come back, we'll tell you why Kuhnen is the future of the Republican Party.

[00:08:50]

Shopping for life insurance can raise a lot of questions, how much coverage do you need? Which insurance company is the best one for you? How much should it even cost? That's where policy genius can help. As a life insurance marketplace backed by a team of experts, policy genius is keeping track of all the changes in the market so you don't have to. Policy genius compares quotes from the top life insurance companies in one place. It takes just a few minutes to compare quotes from the top insurers to find your best price.

[00:09:21]

This doesn't just save time. You could save 1500 dollars or more a year by using policy genius to compare life insurance policies. Once you apply, the policy genius team will handle all the paperwork and red tape for free. So if you hit any speed bumps during the application process, they'll be there to take care of everything if you need life insurance, but you're not sure where to start. Head to policy genius. Dotcom policy genius will find you the best rate and handle the process completely.

[00:09:53]

They'll get you and your family protected and hopefully give you one less thing to worry about. Try it today. Support for this program and the following message is brought to you by Manscape the best in below the belt. Grooming Manscape offers precision engineered tools for your family jewels. They obsess over their technology developments to provide you the best tools for your grooming experience. The Manscape engineering team spent 18 months perfecting the greatest ball hair trimmer ever created and just released the new and improved Lawnmower 3.0.

[00:10:27]

Their third generation trimmer features a cutting edge ceramic blade to reduce manscape accidents thanks to manscape advanced skin safe technology. When Manscape tells you this is premium, they mean premium. The battery will last up to 90 minutes so you can take a longer shave. The water resistant technology allows you to groom in the shower. One of the coolest features is the LED light, which illuminates grooming areas for a closer and more precise trimming. And don't forget about the charging stand show.

[00:10:57]

You're more off loud and proud because this intelligently designed stand is a convenient charging dock powered by USB get twenty percent off plus free shipping with the Code Daily Show at manscape dotcom. Your balls will think you get twenty percent off and free shipping with the Code Daily Show at manscape dotcom. That's twenty percent off with free shipping at Manscape Dotcom and Use Code Daily Show. Welcome back to the daily social distancing show. For the last few weeks, you might have been hearing about something called Q Ainun, the biggest thing on the Internet since that time, Kim Kardashian, but was thirsty.

[00:11:38]

It has been all over the news, social media. And this weekend, Kuhnen supporters even held demonstrations in cities across America. But what is on? Well, let's find out. In another installment of our ongoing segment, if you don't know now you know.

[00:12:01]

If you know anything about Kulen, you've probably heard that it's a conspiracy theory, but the truth is it's more like a political cult built around a conspiracy theory and then crossed with a big book of word search puzzles. And if that sounds complicated. Well, wait till you hear what they believe in for believers.

[00:12:20]

Q is an anonymous government official who post classified information about a covert battle between the president and a malicious ring of celebrities, political elites and the so-called deep state.

[00:12:32]

This anonymous poster who was giving secret clues about becoming, quote, Great Awakening.

[00:12:39]

The central theme here is that Hillary Clinton and many of the world's other politicians and celebrities are members of a murderous child sex ring.

[00:12:47]

Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and others eat children in order to extract a life extending chemical from their blood group.

[00:12:56]

They believe that a group of military generals recruited President Trump to break up this conspiracy and end their control of the government in the media.

[00:13:05]

Donald Trump and the cheating on you is going to save us from this in a moment called The Storm.

[00:13:11]

His tweets are misspelled for a reason. When he does favor the smoking gun, it's all code for what is this telling us?

[00:13:23]

OK, I want whatever these people are smoking because Trump's typos are a secret message. Man, I wish people with this forgiving when I did stupid shit. No, you guys don't get it. When Trevor threw up at that party, he was showing us it's what's on the inside that counts. But look, this guy's also not wrong. President Trump's tweets all misspelled for a reason. And that reason is. He can't read. Now, look, if Hillary and Oprah were eating children to live longer, I would be horrified because that is such a waste of magic blood.

[00:13:58]

You feed those kids to Ruth Bader Ginsburg people priorities that there's no way this conspiracy theory is actually true. And look, I believe a lot of crazy shit, OK? I believe the TSA confiscates all our lotion in order to secretly sell it back to us at Walgreen. I believe possums are just dogs that make I believe no one has actually ever broken up with me. They've just all been abducted by aliens. But this conspiracy theory is crazy, even for conspiracy theories.

[00:14:21]

I mean, set aside everything else you're telling me Trump is doing something heroic, but instead of taking credit for it, he's keeping it a secret. That is the most unbelievable thing I have ever heard. Plus, if you're wondering how it's possible that Trump can be leading the fight against the paedophile ring when he was friends with Jeffrey Epstein for years as well, according to Q, Trump has been undercover since the 90s, which I believe I mean, if there's one thing Trump is known for, it's his famously long attention span.

[00:14:52]

So how did this insane theory take off? Well, partly it latched on to fears about the real phenomenon of human trafficking. Partly it fear of ancient anti Semitic tropes about elitists who drink the blood of children. But mostly it was just the good old Internet.

[00:15:08]

Kuhnen first emerged in the months after President Trump took office, starting on fringe Internet message boards before spreading to social media.

[00:15:15]

The pandemic has only made things worse. And so these people are just there all day. Facebook groups have grown exponentially with Kuhnen.

[00:15:23]

In just four months, membership of the biggest public Kunsong groups rose by 700 percent.

[00:15:30]

We saw a lot of groups who were wellness communities, people who were interested in alternative health. People would the algorithm would sort these people together with the Cuban people. They would say alternative health. Maybe they're into antibiotics. If they're anti vax, maybe they're into Donald Trump. And within one or two clicks, people would go down these very bad paths. Yep.

[00:15:50]

That's how the shit always goes on the Internet. Feels like at this point, the entire purpose of Facebook is to funnel everyone towards the craziest conspiracy theories possible because people will join a group about cycling and then five hours later, they're like, Hillary Clinton is a mountain goat people.

[00:16:06]

She's an actual girl.

[00:16:08]

And it's not surprising that the pandemic turned out to create the perfect conditions for people to get radicalized. Some people join Kuhnen, some people ordered Pelton's, and neither of them will shut up about it. This also shows you how much the Internet is ruining our brains. When Shakespear was quarantined during the plague, he was like, maybe I should write King Lear. Now people are sitting around during coronavirus going, I wonder if I could prove that Tom Hanks has sex with the devil.

[00:16:35]

Either way, starting from the swampy parts of the Internet, Kuhnen gradually picked up followers and eventually grew into a major online movement. And it hasn't seemed to matter that many of the things it predicted over the years just never came true.

[00:16:51]

Early on, they were claiming that Robert Mueller was secretly investigating and not to indict the cabal of Democratic leaders and that President Trump was secretly working with Mueller's team. President Trump was secretly created a police force, by the way, to arrest them and force them to wear ankle bracelets.

[00:17:06]

The belief is that somehow the late JFK Jr. is alive and helping Trump clean up the deep state.

[00:17:13]

Nearly all of these clues, including that Hillary Clinton was arrested, turn out to be wrong. But the batting average doesn't seem to matter.

[00:17:20]

You can present them with evidence. You can demonstrate how the predictions have gone wrong and they don't seem to care. It's just again and again that Q is bigger than anything that they can be presented with to the contrary. That's right.

[00:17:34]

It doesn't matter how many of Kyuss outlandish predictions fail to pan out, it never seems to have an impact on the movement. And that, my friends, is the classic sign of cult behavior. Once you're invested enough in something, you will make any excuse for its failures. So please don't be looking for logic here. That's not how cults work, OK? Cults don't follow logic. They follow whatever the cult tells them. That's why you always see cult leaders go so quickly from the sacred.

[00:18:02]

Aliens have chosen us to weird news guys. The sacred aliens told me I should bang all of your wives. I guess it must be for our redemption or something to go somewhere I pick. So thanks to this religious fervor, Kuhnen took over the Internet and it would have been fairly harmless if it had just stayed on the Internet. You know, like Momoh. Nothing was a joke was I was weird.

[00:18:28]

But the scary thing about Kuhnen is what happened when I jumped from the screen to the streets.

[00:18:33]

This is not just a bunch of online crazy talk. It's dangerous in real life.

[00:18:38]

The FBI says Kuhnen in there are many conspiracy theories are a potential domestic terrorism threat. The North Carolina man who shot up this D.C. pizza restaurant looking for nonexistent. Pedophiles believed in similar theories on more than one occasion, people believed to be followers of Kuhnen have shown up, sometimes with weapons in places that the character told them were somehow connected to anti Trump conspiracies. In June, a man armed with a rifle and a handgun drove an armored vehicle to the Hoover Dam on what he said was a mission from Kuhnen Curan.

[00:19:07]

Followers have allegedly been involved in a foiled presidential assassination plot. The devastating California wildfire, an armed standoff with local law enforcement officers in Arizona in July.

[00:19:16]

A twenty four year old man was charged in the shooting death of a reputed mob boss. His attorneys argued he was motivated by Kuhnen written on his hand in the courtroom where Kuhnen symbols.

[00:19:27]

You cannot be serious. Can you imagine being a mob boss and you get whacked by a kid from a message board? Not a rival, just some random kid.

[00:19:37]

You almost want them to line your obituary and say you were a snitch. But this is insane. Khlong people out in the world doing real things. Shootings, hijackings, kidnappings. Of all the bad advice I've gotten on the Internet, nothing ever came close to making me murder a mob boss. The worst advice I ever got was to use toothpaste to get rid of pimples. But I ate the entire tube of toothpaste. All I got was a tummy ache, didn't go anywhere.

[00:20:02]

And even with sporadic real world violence, it might be tempting to dismiss Kuhnen as just another lunatic fringe.

[00:20:09]

But it's actually becoming pretty close to mainstream.

[00:20:12]

In fact, there are roughly 50 Kuis supporters who ran for office in the Republican Party this year, and it's almost certain that one of them is actually going to be in Congress next year, although maybe that's a good thing. Nothing will prevent them from getting anything done better than being in Congress, Congress. The only people with a low approval rating than Kuhnen. And then, of course, there's President Trump. He's the big hero in all these Kuhnen stories, so he could just shut this down quickly by saying, guys, none of this is true.

[00:20:46]

Hugh is isn't a real person. And besides, if there was a sex group with all the most important people in the world, you know, I'd try to be in it.

[00:20:54]

Yeah, that's what he could do. But instead, he has come out and declared that Kuhnen are some very fine people at President Trump's rally in Tampa.

[00:21:04]

The image was hard to miss the letter.

[00:21:06]

Q On signs and T-shirts, we are finally putting America first. The Trump campaign even included Kuhnen signs in and out.

[00:21:14]

President Trump has used his own social media accounts to promote Kuhnen on followers and content.

[00:21:20]

Nearly two hundred times, President Trump praising supporters of the bizarre Kuhnen conspiracy theory. He told reporters he heard that Kuhnen followers are people who love the country and him.

[00:21:31]

Well, I don't know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate. But I don't know much about the movement. I have heard that it is gaining in popularity and these are people that love our country and they just don't like seeing it as. Part of the theory, it is this belief that you are secretly saving the world from this satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals, if I can help save the world from problems, I'm willing to do it.

[00:22:02]

I'm willing to put myself out there.

[00:22:04]

Yeah. You see, it doesn't matter that Kuhnen is a dangerous cult and all of their beliefs are a complete fiction. President Trump is on board. Trump's approach to Kuhnen is basically the same as the Backstreet Boys song. He doesn't care who you are, where you're from, what you did, as long as you love him. And honestly, people nobody should be surprised that Donald Trump is embracing Kuhnen. Donald Trump was always going to embrace Kuhnen. The surprise is that he's president.

[00:22:34]

So that's Kuhnen in a nutshell. It's a violent delusion that spread from the Internet to prey on vulnerable people and infect an entire political party.

[00:22:44]

Or maybe I'm just saying that to throw you off the real story and if you don't know now you know, don't go away, because when we come back, we'll be talking to a Republican.

[00:22:54]

Yeah, that's right. A real life Republican who doesn't like Trump.

[00:22:59]

Stick around. Welcome back to the Daily Social Distancing Show. So today I spoke with former Republican strategist Stuart Stevens. We talked about his work with the Lincoln Project and his latest book, It Was All a Lie How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump.

[00:23:17]

Check it out. Stuart Stevens, welcome to The Daily Social Distancing Show.

[00:23:22]

It's great to be here. Thank you.

[00:23:25]

You are part of the Lincoln Project, which is a group of Republican never trump us, who have gained a lot of notoriety online for putting out slick memes and anti Trump pictures or GIFs or whatever it may be that have really targeted the president from a Republican point of view. Tell me what that means from your perspective, because, I mean, for some people, they might think that's a paradox. How can you be a Republican who is never Trump?

[00:23:51]

It's a group of us who worked in a lot of Republican campaigns, and we really feel that Donald Trump is not only a threat to the Republican Party, it's a threat to the country and democracy itself. He represents everything we thought we were working against. We thought we had joined up a party where character counts. Personal responsibility mattered strong in Russia, the debt was important free trade. Donald Trump is against all those things. So we can have three choices.

[00:24:20]

We can be for Trump. That wasn't going to happen. Or we'd sit it out with sort of sucked or use the skills that we have to try to beat Trump.

[00:24:28]

So we're going with juror number three and trying to beat him to say that you have helped many Republicans get into office, but then turn around and say that you are against Donald Trump might be confusing because people would say, well, Donald Trump is the natural evolution of the Republicans that we've seen come into office. The party has aligned around him everyone from Marco Rubio to Mitch McConnell. So the question then is, is Donald Trump not just a crass version of what the Republicans wanted, but a Republican nonetheless?

[00:25:00]

Well, look, you know, I asked that question. Let me write this book. It was all a lie. I think you're right. It is what the Republican Party wants. I think the Republican Party became Donald Trump. I don't think that Donald Trump is an aberration or a black swan who hijacked the party. I think this book I try to trace the history of the party. And I think there's always been talk to elements. You go back to the 50s.

[00:25:22]

There was Joe McCarthy and Dwight Eisenhower, kind of a crazy wing and a governing wing. And I think that's continued. I was involved in Governor Bush's campaign in ninety nine and President Bush and we tried to create a new model of compassionate conservatism, as he called it, and we felt we were the dominant gene of the party, that it was inevitable that the direction we wanted the party to go into, we triumphed. I think now we have to conclude I have to conclude anyway, personally that that was wrong.

[00:25:52]

We were the recessive gene and that darker side of the party really was the heart and soul of the party, at least as it's constructed now. When you when you release a book with the title, it was all a lie. It's a it's a fantastic title, in my opinion, because it speaks to so many truths. The question I have for you, though, is, were you fooled by the lie or because you were helping these politicians get into power?

[00:26:13]

You were you part of the lie?

[00:26:15]

Yeah, that's a great question. And the answer is both. And I've tried to be as honest as I can. And this is a book that isn't blamed them. I mean, I start out by saying, blame me. I can't in good faith say I believe in personal responsibility and was drawn to the party because of that without taking personal responsibility. I was part of this. I think that I felt that we were building towards something that was greater and better and bigger than ourselves.

[00:26:45]

I think I look too much the other way when we saw this dark side. But the the essence of it that we now have embraced the Republican Party as a white nationalist party. I never in my wildest dreams perhaps naively thought that was possible.

[00:27:03]

So what do you actually hope to achieve, seeing how Trump has just completely owned and controlled this political party, which we see more every day?

[00:27:13]

I think that it's important to just go out there and fight. And the end result of that fight is never clear in any of these battles. You have to believe in what you're doing at that moment. And look, one of the things that shouldn't be overlooked here is while Donald Trump says he has 95 percent popularity in the party, that's probably an exaggeration. But it's eighty nine or 88 percent probably. But the party's getting smaller. So as he keeps that intensity, because a lot of people who are independents, who are self-identified as Republicans no longer identify as Republicans.

[00:27:50]

So he has shrunk the party since. Nineteen sixty four Republicans have not attracted African-Americans in any number, which is a huge, huge failure of the party. But we admitted it was a failure and we tried to aspire to something better. Now, Trump is just comfortable with this. So the party is getting smaller and there's really not a future for that party in a changing America as it is now.

[00:28:14]

Where do you go back to isn't isn't about defeating Donald Trump and then going back to the Republican Party and then continuing many of the policies that have helped create Donald Trump? Or is there another way? Because that's that's the one thing that I'm left with, is what do you go to? And way too many of your fellow never Trump is go back to if in many ways the poison is still within the party, even if Trump is not in in the White House.

[00:28:39]

Well, we're going to fight Trump ism in all its forms, which I think is really fighting for American democracy. I think there is really three parties in America now. There's a Republican Party, which is basically a party that says no to everything. And then there's two parties inside the Democratic Party, call it an AOK Sanders wing and a Biden. And the future of America is going to be decided within that debate. Let me take National Health Insurance in 20 years.

[00:29:06]

Will America be the only country that doesn't have national health insurance or Western democracy? Of course we're not. But what's that going to be is going to be decided in the Democratic Party, not the Republican Party. So I want to be part of what's going to matter. And I think the Republican Party, as it has in California, where it's now in third place, is going to become increasingly irrelevant in the national debate about the future of the country.

[00:29:26]

You have written a book that people are talking about, so congratulations on that. And thank you so much for joining us on the show. Thank you.

[00:29:34]

Thank you again for joining us today. All right.

[00:29:36]

We have to take a quick break. But when we come back, we'll be talking to the town of Hastey Coates and Vanity Fair's editor in chief, Rodica Jones. So stick around.

[00:29:48]

Welcome back to the Daily Social Distancing Show. So earlier today, I spoke with Radhika Jones, the editor in chief of Vanity Fair and Tallahassee Coats, who guest edited a special September issue with Briana Taylor on the cover. We talked about that and more.

[00:30:03]

Monica Jones, Tallahassee Cotes, welcome to The Daily Social Distancing Show.

[00:30:07]

Thank you. Trevor, let us talk about something that is making news everywhere online. And I know you've sent me a special copy of it. It is Vanity Fair.

[00:30:18]

Well, I don't have that. Yeah, I don't I don't think anybody has.

[00:30:22]

It's going to be somebody to get this. You've got to be somebody to get this. But thank you very much. I literally just got my hands on this copy now and you sent it to us. But what makes this cover so powerful is that that's Brianna Taylor on the cover of Vanity Fair. We also know that Tennesse Coates is part of this. Let's start on your side, Widdicombe. You've released a cover and an issue that's really going to be making some news.

[00:30:48]

What is the purpose of this issue? Because I want to read this this part to you here. And it's really powerful when you talk about the great fire. What is it all about?

[00:30:58]

Yeah, I became editor of Vanity Fair about two and a half years ago. And I and I, you know, in a way, it's the magazine that's about aspiration. It's about power and personality. And I think that aspiration can be inclusive. It should be inclusive. So for this issue, you know, with 20, 20 is has been a year of historic import. It was that in March when the pandemic reached American shores, and it it became it again in late May when George Floyd was murdered in broad daylight and demonstrations and protests began and and they were just happening in Minneapolis.

[00:31:38]

They were happening around the world. And so we felt we wanted to capture the spirit of all of these months that have that have revealed real problems in the American system. If you didn't believe in systemic racism before now, if you didn't believe that our health care needed reforming. If you look around now, you probably do believe it. And and we wanted to draw on the most vibrant collection of artists and. And writers that we could to kind of shed light on this extended moment, so that was that was the plan and who better to help us do that than Tallahassee Coats, who was the person I most wanted to hear from?

[00:32:22]

At this time, let's let's talk a little bit about that.

[00:32:27]

Everybody wants to hear from you. To come on board for a project like this is no small undertaking because you know that everybody is waiting to see what you're going to write, how you're going to write it, how you're going to tell a story that we already know in a way that we don't know. And what you've done is really interesting. And this issue is you've talked about the life of Brianna Taylor and what has happened to her through a lens that many of us haven't seen it through before.

[00:32:53]

Talk us through, firstly, why you came on board. And secondly, what do you hope to have achieved by telling the story the way you have?

[00:33:01]

First of all, you as you just what you just articulated like that is the problem. I mean, it may sound somewhat ghoulish to say this, but that is the actual creative problem in the sense of how do you tell somebody a story that they already know in some sort of different way? A. I think, you know what it allowed me to do? It allowed me to do in partnership with Boudicca was assemble all of these artists and writers. And so to bring all of these sort of different perspectives, you know, onto the issues.

[00:33:36]

And I guarantee that we got, you know, something a little different. And then I just fell back on my old journalism bones, which is, you know, don't sit on your your butt and try to come up with something, go see something, you know. So I went down to Louisville and spent a few days down there. And while I was there, I had the distinct honor of interviewing Tamika Palmer, Brianna's mother, and the first part of the story where she talks about finding out what happened to Brianna and how agonizing it was.

[00:34:10]

She told me that story in the first interview. And I thought at that moment, there really is nothing that I am going to say that is going to be more eloquent, that is going to be more expressive, is going to be more and more illuminating or enlightening than the mother, this woman who just got killed. And really what I need to do is find some way to hand her a mic. And, you know, it may be a bit more of a vessel to let her talk than thinking that somehow I'm going to have some sort of interpretive analysis.

[00:34:41]

You know, it's going to be superior to that.

[00:34:43]

There's something to be said about how much black art you've showcased in the magazine as well. You know, I don't want people to look at this magazine and think that this is only a story of pain in a in a strange way and in a paradoxical way. It's also a story of triumph. It's a story of of beauty. It's a story of of a journey. It does take you through the complex paradigm of blackness. Why was that important?

[00:35:08]

I mean, I think we want our whole product. My favorite part in terms of what I was directly involved in is listening to Rihanna. Taylor's mother, Tameka, talked about how she ended up in a motorcycle club and how she then went and taught her daughter how to ride motorcycles. Because if you just focus on what the police did or what happened to this person, you actually become a participant in the dehumanization. It is very, very, very important that people be reminded that there was an actual life that was taken not being chicken Brianna Taylor's door and shoot a slogan.

[00:35:50]

They didn't shoot a piece of legislation. They shot a human being, you know, with a mother and a little sister and a man she had been with for some time with relations in the community. They shot a person. And so if you're going to have actual people, you know, you really do need that that that range, you know what I mean? So that was within that piece. But I think across the magazine, it's very, very effective.

[00:36:17]

We asked Ava DuVernay, the great director, to interview Dr. Angela Davis for the issue. Dr. Davis says something that really has stuck with me. She says that art is the thing that makes you feel what you might not yet fully understand. And we thought in that in that vein, when we thought about photographing actors alongside activists and directors like Ava and writers like Isabel Wilkerson and Colson Whitehead, you know, people who have been moving the needle on the culture for a long time and and their work is so important and it does lay the ground for change.

[00:37:01]

And so we wanted that is something to celebrate. To answer your question, and we didn't want to overlook that in putting the whole. Shoot together. What do you hope people take away from this issue? Well, first of all, I hope they will keep it and and sit with it, because it's it's not this month and gone, as you said to. These stories aren't going away. And we created it that way. So that so that it could feel like a keepsake.

[00:37:31]

I want people to feel provoked by some of the arguments in this issue and want them to feel challenged. I want them to feel like maybe it's time to re-examine some old positions or some old prejudices and and think about them and consider them. And because that's what we've been doing. And that that really is, I think, the the goal of all this writing and all of this art is to make people think.

[00:37:58]

Rodica, Tennessee, thank you so much for joining me on the show again. And congratulations on creating what, as you said, I hope is a keepsake for many people for a long time to come. Thank you so much. Thank you, guys. Thank you. Well, that's our show for tonight.

[00:38:12]

But before we go, there are less than three months until the election and America is facing a nationwide poll worker shortage. And it's because most poll workers are over 60 and coronavirus is still in the air.

[00:38:25]

So they're not showing up because they can't. But fewer poll workers means fewer polling stations are open. And it also means longer lines that not everyone can afford to wait in, especially in poorer communities. The good news is most people working is paid, and in some states you can be as young as 16 to do it. So please, if you're interested and you have the time, this is your chance to save your granny, protect democracy and get paid to until tomorrow.

[00:38:50]

Stay safe out there, wear a mask and remember, check your microphones before you roast Trump. The Daily Show with Criminal Ears Edition, watch The Daily Show weeknights at 11:00, 10:00 Central on Comedy Central and the Comedy Central and watch full episodes and videos at The Daily Show Dotcom. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to The Daily Show on YouTube for exclusive content and more. This has been a Comedy Central podcast now.