The Rich Roll podcast. We are back, it's 20, 21, after a much needed respite, Mr. Skolnik and I are in the saddle with a hotly awaited new edition of Roll On. This is the edition of the podcast where we check in on our respective goings on pontificate on certain current events of interest. We share some wins, do a little show and tell and as always, answer some listener viewer questions from our voicemail, which you can ring up at forty four, two, three, five, four, six to six before we get into it.
Quick reminder that if you enjoy all the free content that we diligently toil week in, week out to create, it would be very meaningful and easy for you if you could take a second to hit the subscribe button on YouTube or wherever you enjoy the audio incarnation of the show. Leave a comment, share the show with your friends or on social media. Also, I should mention, we recently created a clip's channel on YouTube, which is rather anemic right now in terms of subscribers.
So if you're into sampling the show or you want to indulge in just the short nuggets, check it out. I'll put a link in the show notes and in the description below on YouTube. Or you can just search ritual podcast clips on YouTube. Today is very exciting. We have a tweak on the tweak of our roll on format. We're going to try something new today for the first time in the history of roll on. How many roll on episodes have we done?
I think it's like over a dozen I thought was 14, 14, something like that. Yeah, I know we have some momentum here. Well, today we're going to bring on a couple of guests in a few. Arthur Jones and Giorgio Angelini, who you guys know is the filmmakers behind the wonderful movie Feels Good Man know you're most likely familiar with them, if not from the movie, from a recent episode of the podcast, which although it just posted the other day, we actually recorded it back in early December, sometime in December.
So I haven't seen these guys for a minute, even though they're just up on the podcast the other week. These guys are our Internet culture decoder ring and they're coming in hot to help us make sense of a few crazy recent events.
Just in culture cultures. Just a few, right? A few. But first, Adam, how are you doing? I'm good.
You know, I just subscribe to the YouTube channel or the clips channel, the original Chooky.
This long you're actually on my show. You don't even subscribe. I don't subscribe to myself. Here's the thing. Like when you look at the analytics on our YouTube channel, we're doing great. But like something like 96 percent of of the watches are from people that don't subscribe to the channel. Right. Which is odd. So you guys subscribe. Yeah. Look how long it took. But, you know, I know I'm embarrassed about it, but you have a pretty good it seems like the subscriptions are pretty solid on it.
It's doing well. We're we're in a groove right now. Yeah. As as as I tweeted the other day or shared the other day, the Andrew Kuperman podcast eclipse four million views. It's going to hit like four point five.
And it was our. Yeah, that was four point five already. Was it for his a four. I thought it was when I checked it out or something like that.
It's insane. Like that podcast was, I don't know, nine months ago or something like that. And it's still cranking the YouTube algorithm gods for whatever reason, maybe Arthur and Giorgio can help us figure this out. Like I don't know why they decided that one. It's a great episode, of course, but that one is crushing out there and it's bringing all kinds of new people to the show, which is fantastic. Welcome new people. Back to my question.
I'm sure you know everything is good. We're let's see that I took January like you just a little bit half speed. I was working, you know, maybe 15, 20 hours, or at least that was the plan was to just do some reading, catch up on some books that I've been wanting to read for forever and kind of pitch in a bit more with Zuma and hang out with the family a bit more. And then all hell broke loose in Washington.
And I was like glued to the television for days on end doom scrolling. But so that was my possible not to do that. It was impossible.
From January six to the twenty eight, I was like, I could do it now.
It was crazy but but ran a lot around, you know, maybe one hundred and ten miles this last mile. It's got to be your biggest month, biggest month ever running. You're looking svelte. I thanks man. I mean it's on too so I'm not that svelte but but yeah. So that that's good. And Zoome is doing well. And, you know, my wife wants to buy a house. So, you know, we're I'm growing up, Larry, you're living the dream, the adult.
You don't dream right. Late comer to the adult world. And maybe if you weren't so late to GameStop, you could be buying that house right now.
Know it's possible. I don't what I don't want I have some material for games. We're going to get into that. Hold on. Hold on. Materials. Cool. Well, this is my first podcast after taking essentially an entire month off to Hawaii. Yes. Like. How are you? Like, that's good. I feel really good. I feel refreshed. I feel energized. It was certainly needed. I wouldn't say I was teetering on burnout, but I definitely needed a break.
I've been grinding the entire year without taking any time off whatsoever. She had like one day off a week. Generally, not even I pretty much work every I mean, every once in a while take a day off.
And I do like they'll be they'll be like in the middle of the week pre pandemic. I would like go to a matinee or like just take a little mini breaks and in the weekends I work less. But the show goes up every Sunday night. So typically there's a scramble on Sunday afternoon to kind of do last minute tweaks on the show to get it up. So I feel like I'm always kind of working. So one of the goals I'll get in my break, but one of the goals for this year is to really utilize this new studio and the manpower that we have now to systematize and make things more efficient and create a little bit more bandwidth for intermittent rest throughout the year, in the weeks.
But yeah, it took a month off. I started this year before I went to Australia for the month of December this year, I decided to go to Hawaii for January so low and bring the family well.
Mathes went with me for a week. She had a friend that she was with. She went back and then I was solo the whole time and it was fantastic. When's the last time? The Big Island? First I will say I got tested a lot of times, so I did it safely. Hawaii has things pretty dialed in. If you go to Hawaii, you got a you got a quarantine for 14 days. But on the other islands, they require that you get a test within 72 hours.
You got to fill out all this paperwork. You get a QR code when you land in the airport, you got to show them all the paperwork. They scan your QR code and they test you in the airport before you can even get baggage claim. So they have it. If you're on an island, you can control things a little bit better. Yeah, and the case incidents on the big island was very low. It was something like 10 to 30 a day.
And people were wearing masks everywhere you went if you went inside somewhere. But overall, it felt much safer to be there, I'm sure. And I was just in. You mean safer than the hot zone on the coast of Los Angeles? Yeah, I got I got out of the way and it was good. You know, I just I just took care of myself and, you know, rented a bike and rode and ran and swam in the ocean, swam with dolphins, which was incredible.
I rented like a high end bike from a good bike. I did there's a there's a shop called Bike Works in Kona. And I have a good relationship with them because I've spent so much time there and race there so many times. So Grant, who owns Bike Works, is a friend and he hooked me up with a super sweet ride. That's cool. So that was great and just went out of my way to not create an agenda for myself.
Like I have friends there and I saw a couple of friends, but I tried to not commit myself to anything and to double down. I like to go out of my way to not work, which is its own kind of effort. Right, right. And I do want to highlight, like swimming with dolphins. I've been I've been open water swimming like my whole life. Never had the experience of swimming with dolphins. Never. And I just was out off the cailloux appear where they do the Ironman swim and found myself in a pod of like forty to fifty dolphins.
It was like, were they spinners? Were they spinning around.
They weren't. I didn't see a lot of spinning, but they were like at all depths and just playing with each other and surfacing. And it was just the coolest thing that is. So that experience alone made the whole thing worth it.
But the Kona Coast is known for that, right? Because they hunted now, which is to step where the free divers go. Just past Captain Cook, if you go south from Kona. Right, they know they're known to have spinners around voices in the ocean. That Susan Casey book, which is about dolphins, she did. There's a woman who works out of Kona and does these charters where people go and she didn't like it's very controversial. And Kona, like not every diver likes this one.
I forget her name, but like, she takes these people out to swim with dolphins off boats. And like, she has people like like she she talks to the dolphins and things like dolphin songs and dolphins or something. And I saw one of her acolyte not in a bad way, like one of her disciples, I guess, in the hona. Now, once and I remember April, I had just gotten in not too long ago. I was out there for for work.
And this woman is like singing in the water. And I'm like, what's she doing at first? You like like she seemed a little kooky to snorkeler, just singing like dolphin songs or whatever.
Squeaking And all of a sudden the dolphins came right to us. I just stuck with her, you know, I stuck with this, you know, eccentric dolphins.
Why is she controversial? That's it sounds cool. It's controversial because some people just are haters. You know, it is cool, right? Right. It's some. People are haters and they think like, oh, you know, they don't believe it and, you know, there's like you've got to read voices in the Ocean Shield, like there is a spiritual side to it. There is like a whole thing beyond just like it's cool to swim with dolphins.
Right. But yeah, there's a hater aspect to it around there. But it's mostly I've found, like, the women who are free divers, they're they like it. They like the woman, they like the people. And the men are the ones that are dismissive.
That's not shocking. No. Right. Who's the free diver, instructor, coach guy that I texted you about who was doing a course in Kona? Kurt Chambers. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So my friend Anthony Ervin, who's in Oahu or was at the time, I think he still is I think did did something with him and alerted me to this guy. And I was tempted to take the guy's course.
But then I was like, I just I really just need to rest and not do anything.
So I opted out of that. Yeah. Kurt broke Nick marbleized American record. I think he might still hold it or you held it for a while as the deepest American ever. Wow. If free diving over 100 meters, he competed Team USA, he's in one breath and it kind of just aside. Interesting guy, great, great photographer and a very prolific teacher out there. Right. He has a cool Instagram too. Yeah, very cool. Chambers below.
Yeah. Yeah. Chambers below. Yeah. Yeah. But the upshot is I'm back. I feel energized, I feel fit. I've got good momentum with my fitness. I'm excited about twenty, twenty one. I do want to take a moment to welcome Jason Carmello. Yeah. To, to the studio. Jason, for people that have been on this podcast journey with us for a while, know him as the audio engineer slash producer slash guy who takes care of all kinds of behind the scenes stuff.
He had always been living in the Phoenix area and all of our work was remotely performed. And now he has moved to Los Angeles and he's here full time managing all the dials right now. So welcome, Jason. We're excited to have you. And it's going to be an amazing year. So I'm pumped to ask you one more question about Hawaii. Yeah. Where are you getting Iron Man? Pang's like being on the terrain. I mean, you're basically riding and running and swimming similar terrain.
Yeah, but I've spent so much time on the big island. Like for me, it's not that exotic to go there because I've because I have logged so many hours training there and just like living there basically. So it's more like a feeling of coming home, like it's nice to ride on the queen. And I got off the beaten track and did some other rides and tried to explore other aspects of the island that I'm less familiar with. But it's very comfortable for me to just kind of go there and it doesn't feel like vacation.
It just feels like another place that I've lived in the past.
Yeah. So how is the water so good? Seventy six of you and there were whales breaching.
I, I was in a condo for half the time and then on this beautiful house, on the water in a little neighborhood called Puerco, which is a pretty cool area that north of Kona or so it's north, it's just south of Akuna Beach. OK, and Kyohei, if you know where that is so. Right, right. Kind of a couple of miles before Kyohei turn, you know, if you know the island at all.
But it's this little like hidden neighborhood with all these beautiful homes right on the water and whales breaching. It was crazy.
So they didn't leave. Yeah, but part of the goal was to, you know, be off digital devices and, you know, really live an analog life. But the world exploded. Yeah. Like yourself, I found myself Dhume scrolling and I could not detach myself from the news cycle, which seemed to be just, you know, getting crazier by the second, which is what we're going to get into.
It went crazy. It went goofier than anyone even felt like you could say that about the entire presidency in the last four years. It went goofier than we ever thought. But like the end, it was like it was like a fireworks.
You know, when they have a fireworks show, it was like the finale to the fireworks show a little bit. Right. So shall we now just dispel the idea that somehow twenty, twenty one might normalize that everything is going to kind of settle into place. Instead, we give you insurrection games, stark Jewish lasers and who knows what else. So what else. So let's take a quick break. And when we come back, we'll be joined by George and author.
I will be back in a couple of few, but first, Adam, do you know what Boehland Branch is? No idea. Come on, thought.
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It's not good. Chequered history, which right now it's getting spit up on by a baby. Right. OK, well, you're in you're in the market that I'm in the market.
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Let's get back to. Right, and we're back with the boys choir in the house. We got Arthur, we got Giorgio. I'm disappointed Giorgio, though I was told that you were going to dress up today as the Cheonan shore, and I had my top down on my convertible and didn't happen. The helmet flew off the Viking. The Gord's somewhere I want to go on right now. So, you know, you say what you want about Kuhnen Sharmin, but at least he eats organic.
He's organic, right? Wasn't he on food strike when he was incarcerated? Yes. What's the latest update on that guy? Well, there was a there was a fake news so that a friend of mine sent me a National Post article, which is some bullshit tabloid from Canada that tried to claim that the judge actually gave it to him, gave mortgage related, and that started proliferating through social media and outraging people. You know, how could he get this special treatment?
They would never treat a posse that way, blah, blah. But it turns out he didn't it wasn't true now.
Yeah, I think he's he's agreed to to be deposed in Congress and speak against. I guess presumably Trumper was like speak to the movement. Wow, so that should be interesting. Yeah, sure, he'll take it. He'll take an invitation to a microphone. Exactly. He's been building his brand for a while.
Like, I mean, he's been showing up to all the Save Your Children rallies for four months before the capital. I mean, he kind of is the face of the whole thing on some level.
This has to be going exactly as he hoped it would. I would have perhaps until he ends up behind bars, I suppose. Well, his lawyer not asking his lawyers ahead of that.
You know, his lawyer said, you know, he's not a bad person. He's a practitioner of yoga. That was one of the early defense lines, I swear to God. Just like the bigger guy.
Right? Well, it feels it feels a little bit Bikram also, frankly. Yes, he is. It feels a little bit weird and dated to, like, talk about the capital insurrection because it feels like it's a hundred years ago. Could you could you have imagined when that was going on that, you know, a month later it would feel like old news in comparison to some of the things that are happening now? It's just crazy, right?
I do think we need to, like, track it a little bit. But what I wanted you guys here for is to help us understand, like decode, you know, how we move from Pepe the frog, how that becomes Q and on how that leads to the interaction and the interrelation between that or the interplay between that and kind of what we're seeing right now with GameStop and the gamification of Wall Street? I mean, it's insane.
It is insane and it is a lot of ground to cover, right? Yeah, no, no, it's true. There's that amazing meme of it's someone standing in front of a a line of dominoes. And the first domino is very small and the last dominoes very huge. And the beginning push of the domino on the small domino is basically GamerGate. And then the final one is all of the covid deaths.
Yeah. And it's all on my screen. I did that that graphic, right? Yeah. Yeah.
But basically somewhere in the middle of that to say, well, he's a player right now.
He's basically, you know, front and center in terms of which means get traction, which don't.
He's a merchant of chaos at this point. But chaos is a good place to start.
Like where were you all where were you guys like like when when it started happening and the riots broke out? I mean, I think we got we should start there. Like, where were you? What were you guys thinking?
I mean, I was in Hawaii trying to be off the computer and off my phone and I just could not see you getting worse. Or you like how how do you feel? I mean, I would you know, I would check in. It wasn't like I was trying to be completely off the phone. But, you know, I would look at Twitter and then, you know, you'd see the news and you're like, I have to understand.
It's like I just could not. Put distance between myself and the device, it was just so compelling and and strange and interesting and disheartening and unbelievable, like every adjective under the hood. Yeah, yeah. The the guy in our film, Joel, who is part of the network Contagion, which was I can't remember the the acronym and I don't remember I mean, he works out of Princeton. He has a he has a consortium of people called Drama Lab, and they had been sort of modeling behavior on all of these different platforms.
And so a lot of this stuff, I think was predictable by the academics that followed it. And it was also predictable because this notion of stop the steel specifically in when Trump addressed the crowd, he talked about stop the ceiling is like this is something you came up with. But the reality of stop the SEAL is that started in 2016. That was something that was something that Roger Stone came up with before the election. Yeah, well, they assumed I think a lot of people assumed that the race with Hillary Clinton was going to be very close.
And so they were already sort of seeding this notion of stop this deal that early to the point where Stone bought the URL. Hmm. And so this idea that this was like an organic groundswell is ridiculous. Stop. This deal was also used sort of in the midterms. So they're just kind of pulling on the same thread that's been there for a while. But I don't think anyone could have predicted that the Capitol Police response would have been so lax.
But I think this was a moment of coalition building where they had all of the Oath Keepers, the proud boys, all the Kuhnen people, all the Christian fundamentalists, the the white supremacists, all sort of emerging around this one thing. And, you know, in the weeks before, you know, we can't forget that all of these people were coming to different state capitals and showing up in real life as well.
So and it was the day that they were supposed to certify. Right. So it was everything was kind of we knew they were all going there. That's why we were all tuned in to begin with. Like it wasn't like I wasn't going to watch the news that day anyway. Right. So it was almost like a plot twist.
But but the inauguration was meant to be the ultimate moment in Kuhnen history, right? It was all supposed to go down at that moment. So there was a lot of energy and anticipation that was searching of that. And in terms of the Capitol Police response, like in the wake of what transpired, you saw all of these Internet sleuths sharing screen grabs from 4chan. And it's like anybody who spent any time or or exerted any due diligence leading up to the inauguration could have easily discovered that this was a possibility or or more more likely than not, like a plausibility.
And so where is like where was the where does the fault get? Leveed in terms of that anemic, you know, kind of response, I think. Yeah, I mean, that remains to be seen. I mean, they haven't released surveillance video today. Today, something came out because tomorrow, I guess, the impeachment proceedings or the trial begins.
Right. And so all his lawyers quit. Right. Because he wants to maintain the stop the steel argument and they just can't abide by that. So now he's got these new they don't want to lose their standing in the bar.
So Don Winslow tweeted out a letter that looks looked accurate to me, but it was from Christopher Miller, the the defense secretary, because they or the Army secretary, someone else had just left that post and he got put in as the acting secretary. And in this letter, it basically said it was basically it was before January six. It was before January 4th. There had been requests to have National Guard on standby. And in this letter, he basically is saying, you can't have any of that on standby.
You need to clear everything through me or nothing happens at all. And so now there is a paper trail. That's the first thing that dropped. And that just happened right before I got here today on Twitter. So if you look on Don Winslow's Twitter, you know the guy that wrote the cartel book? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Well, yeah. I mean, that's so Joel from our film reached out to me like a year ago and he's been researching Q this whole time. And he basically told me that a year ago that at that stage like that. Q and on was essentially like fully operational at this point. And what the thing that was very concerning from his perspective was that it was kind of the first time that there's a leaderless movement like this. And that kind of was that it was kind of irrelevant whether or not people discovered who CUV himself or herself was at that point, because it was like the self aggregating, self-motivated machine.
And that's like what the capital insurrection sort of proved up, because at that point, you hadn't really spoken right at that point in like a month. And yeah, where we go from here, who knows? But well, what was important, though, was that the Q prophecy was actualised and that certainly did not come to pass. So this bubble gets popped and then you have a fracture in that community. You have the hardcores. You are still reconfiguring the narrative to say, well, because of this and this, like it's still a thing.
And then you have a whole other larger fraction of that population coming to their senses. And now we're seeing like, did you see the Anderson Cooper interview with the former Kuhnen guy who had to apologize to him for thinking that baby? We're seeing, you know, a lot of that right now, which is kind of encouraging.
Yeah, I think on some level, but. It had to be fascinating for you guys who are so steeped in all of this to kind of watch that transpire, knowing what you guys know about the power of these movements that, you know, for the most part don't catch the attention of mainstream society.
I mean, Adam, you were saying you were you were before the park as you were talking about how you were researching, voting yes for a proposal you didn't even you didn't even know anything about.
I didn't know about Pepé. No, I was spending a lot of time in the ocean, though, so. Yeah, that's good. Yeah. You know, right down the street from my house. So I don't know. I wasn't like I wasn't on the queue. I wasn't in the 4chan because like by then I think we'd have we'd had I mean, this goes to why it's important to dive into this like dark or kind of murky, shady stuff.
Right. As as awake human beings. It's great that you're talking about this because you'd think like when you 4chan, I always associated with the UC Santa Barbara mass shooter who, you know, these in cells and these like these righteous, righteous in cells. And I just like I don't want anything to do with that. So I kind of tune that stuff out. So when I when I'm looking at an election that happened with how Trump won, I wasn't looking at like 4chan at all.
I wasn't even on my radar. My radar was like, how could I was thinking where analogue. I was like gerrymandering. You know, I'm not a gamer. I'm not out of that world. So I wasn't thinking like that at all. So to which is why I love the movie so much, because it kind of wakes you up. And this shows like if we'd been tuned in, if the Republican Party had been tuned in, maybe like if anybody had been tuned in, it could have been stopped, but maybe it couldn't have been, you know, maybe it was like when you have a groundswell like this.
There's there's nothing that I don't know I don't know that they were necessarily against I was going to say I think they were tuned in. I think they chose to ignore it. Yeah. And I think there's evidence of that. I mean, you know, we've we've been in contact with this Republican Congressman, Deborah Riggleman, who was the one sort of voice in the wilderness, the one Republican that spoke out against CU over the summer. And he claims that he was basically chastised by the rest of the party.
They told him to stop talking about CU because they felt like that was their margin in certain states. And so, you know, he he tweeted out and said that, you know, Q There was no coincidence that he had the same number of letters as moron. Q And on and on and on. Excuse me. And then also that it's mental gonorrhoea. And so, you know, the Republicans I think knew this, but they realized that it was something that was to their advantage.
Yeah. I mean, and to back up I mean, it's to the kind of encel shooter aspect of going on and sort of the nexus of when these two coalitions, the 4chan community, like the the burgeoning Trump movement, coincided in the film. We kind of tease it out, but it's sometimes it just kind of whizzes past people. So it's worth kind of refocusing on it here because it's really central to the conversation. But it's like there's a mass shooting in Oregon in 2016, 15, 20, 15 years.
And we don't know for sure. But most likely the shooter himself posted on 4chan a kind of warning that, like, don't go to school tomorrow, there's going to be a shooting. And then at the bottom, there's a Pepé holding a handgun. And then two weeks later, Donald Trump, who at that point is like a dark horse candidate, posts a meme of himself as like smug pepé. And for a lot of people, like first of all, that was the first time that Pepé really made it into national news was during that shooting.
But people didn't really know what it was. He was referred to as a Grinch of sniveling Grinch or something, right? Yes. But then yeah. But then also, like people didn't really understand the significance of what Trump was tweeting, but in a sense, it was a kind of a wink to this collective of online trolls that were really the vanguard of, like hacking the Internet at that point. Right. And like this the burgeoning click based economy, like they really understood.
They were very savvy at understanding how to manipulate the flows of media. And so Trump at that moment. Ah, well, who knows if there's one question I would ask Trump, it's like, did you know what you were tweeting for? The self-awareness around that is is up in the air, totally, totally dubious. But like, you know, Pepé at that point represented something very significant. It was a kind of like a or to the stand back and stand by moment.
Right. And so what he really set off was this kind of wink to that community who all shared a similar sort of hatred towards PC culture and, you know, minorities and women. And they all kind of shared the same anger towards the same group of people. And he those people basically started creating like of like a meme revolution that helped him kind of buttress this burgeoning movement of online meme lords into like, you know, actual political movement. As older people are starting to join social media and stuff, they start like, oh, it's this funny Frogmore, him, you know, this is fun.
And you start to realize that, like, memes are actually really incredible ways to, like, capture the imagination of people. And they kind of coalesce around a movement around meme iconography, I guess. So what's the connection? Where's the link from Pepé like you were asking from Pepé to Q where? When does that happen? When does that start happening? Is there a direct link where they were one where Pepé becomes like a Q basically.
Well, Pepé in the constellation of Q iconography, Pepé is sort of a satellite figure. You know, it is interesting. So Pepé became very popular on 4chan and that's where Kyuss started to. Q started out as one of many jokes where people on 4chan to be they pretend to be someone they're not and they post using various sort of aliases. And so people would post often on 4chan pretending to have like some sort of government access or secret knowledge. And usually this is sort of all taken as like a LARP or a joke.
But Q really started off, you know, when a group of people when one is sort of cohort of people who are all trying to create their own personas very much based on Infowars, kind of found this these Q drops and they started to signal boost them with their YouTube live streams on Twitter in these sort of places.
And then you started to see Q Resonating with a different audience than Pepé resonated with Pepé resonated with a younger audience, Internet savvy audience, an audience that was like very irony, you know, like very irony.
Q Found. Sort of audience of an older generation, most of whom were evangelical Christians, and they were looking for some sort of way in which Trump was going to be part of God's plan, was basically going to be their savior, essentially. And the narrative of Kew was that ignore all of the hypocrisy, the corruption, you know, ignore all of that, because Trump is actually kind of running a covert deep state sort of espionage sting where he's going to sort of show up triumphant.
He's going to maybe kill Hillary Clinton, maybe hang or maybe in prison or different think. Different people thought different things.
And so this was a moment where this really like caught wildfire in Facebook groups and it caught wildfire in Twitter. It was another moment where things moved off of 4chan and into the mainstream. And while this was happening, a lot of the old school people that were using Pepé maybe in our film were just laughing. They were like, I can't believe these people believe this stuff. This is 2017. Yeah. Yeah.
And so, you know, you started to then see the people who were Kuis adherents really got kind of addicted to the same sort of like online behavior that a lot of the 4chan people were kind of, you know you know, it's the same stuff that was the shut in culture of 4chan, the people that were spending all their time online. This is now happening with a slightly older generation. And they were following themselves. They were going down a rabbit hole.
They would call themselves white rabbits or they would say follow the white rabbit.
And it was this willful kind of crazy making where it was exciting and fun to feel like you were a part of this other movement. And while this was happening, this is fitting it into like biblical revelation. It's fitting into a lot of others sort of presume prophecy that people are already thinking about as the general good versus evil, right? Yeah. The revelations parallel, I think is pretty powerful, like it was all going to culminate in this reckoning.
Right. And trump sized chess maneuvers were going to come to play and everything was going to change. And Trump represents a really great kind of imperfect hero. Right. Which I think is like very familiar kind of character within evangelical community. Right. Like, you kind of explain away the fact that he's been married three times and he's a pathological liar. He's like an imperfect person under the light of Christ or whatever, and he's viewed as a protector.
Yeah. You know, I mean, he delivered the Supreme Court nominations. You know, one third of the Supreme Court now is, you know, oops. Yeah. Is now Trump appointees.
There were certain things that he was doing that were really viewed as he was a protector of Christian America, whether and they be white, perfect white Christian America, right?
Very much so, yeah. Very much the right.
I mean, for single issue issue voters where it's all about pro-life, it's much easier for them to overlook all the other indiscretions because he's taking care of that issue for them. Yeah. Yeah. And then of course covid happens and then just hypercharged as all of this because now you can't leave your house and you're stuck inside of your computer and like the funnel, you know, just gets tired.
But that's that's kerosine, which is why that's kerosine on the community aspect of this, which I think is super important, whether it's 4chan and Pepé or Facebook groups and Kuhnen, it gave these people something to engage with and created like a really robust community that that provided a sense of belonging, that game of hide the whole thing. And on some level, I suppose, was addictive and just too compelling to not walk away from it was extremely addictive. I mean, yeah, there's an alienation problem in America, I think, for a lot of people that preexisted covid.
Right. We are a culture that spends more time commuting than any other culture in our cars by ourselves. You know, like the the film we worked on together. The previous film was about housing and like one of the central points of central data points that really fascinated me, that got me into the making of the film was the idea that 60 years ago the average size of the family was three and a half people and the average size of the home was nine hundred square feet.
And today it's two and a half people and it's almost three thousand square feet. So we have like fewer people inhabiting more space. And like there's just something inherently distressing and alienating about that. And I think, like, Kuhnen just kind of exacerbates all these problems and and then covid layers on top of it. And all of a sudden you feel like you're part of a community solving this global cabal of pedophiles. And it like it becomes inescapable. The seduction.
Yeah. I mean, I think in addition to the alienation and the disconnection that so many people experience, it also gave a lot of more or less people a sense of purpose. Right. Like I'm thinking of Cloete Kellar. You know, he got a lot of attention. The Olympic swimmer who showed up in the rotunda. I don't know him personally, but I have lots of friends that that do know him well. And this is a guy who.
Excelled at the highest level in his sport, went to multiple Olympiads, nettled like a huge athletic champion, and then in the wake of retiring, hit like some really tough experiences. He got divorced. He lost custody of his kids at one point for an extended period of time. He was homeless, living in his car. He could not find his his groove with his career, and he couldn't supplant the sense of purpose that he found in swimming in other areas of his life.
And in so many ways, he's almost like the perfect test case for somebody who's going to be susceptible to these kinds of ideas. Like I tweeted about him being kind of the the convergence of Kevin Russa's Rabbit Hole podcast series with the weight of gold HBO documentary like he experienced what so many Olympians experience when they retire. They have mental health issues, they have depression. They can't figure out what to do with their lives, meets, you know, Kuhnen or these other ideas.
And then there you go down the rabbit hole and he shows up in the rotunda and thinks it's a good idea to be wearing his Olympic jacket, you know, at the time. So what is the mentality of somebody like that? And I'm when I look at that, I'm trying to look at it from a perspective of compassion and curiosity, like I want to understand what led him to that place rather than just vilify you.
Like like there's something obviously there's a huge mental health component that we're touching on here, the alienation, you know, this specific case. But everybody there was part of this who decided to enter the rotunda rotunda, whether they plan to in advance, which there's certainly evidence that some of them did. I mean, a lot of them did, or whether they just happened to get caught up. There's something about this, a performative attempt to create an alternate reality that you are starring in.
And whether, you know, you see people strange and selves, Clete's wearing his outfit. So you knew the connection and made sure you knew who he was. People are like, you know, Darren, what's his face? It's Darin's in the Rotunda. You know, the guy in West Virginia. There is something about a pride to be a part of this kind of alternate reality that they managed to create together where anything could have happened. I mean, like really anything could have happened.
Like if they had run into AMC or Pelosi or Pentz, there would have been bloodshed for sure.
But but in reality, it was just people milling around and doing kind of just vandalizing is what ended up having, but fueled by sense of righteousness.
That's why they were so brazen about taking the selfies and live streaming it, because in their minds, they were doing the right thing.
And at the behest of protect them, Trump and Cruz and all these other people who in their minds had discharged them for this purpose. Yeah, yeah. I was I was listening to a podcast recently called Design Matters, and Marina Abramovic was on and she was talking about her piece in nineteen seventy four, this famous performance art piece that she did in Naples, which maybe you've heard about. But like she basically erected the stage and laid out a bunch of different things in front of her and basically invited the audience to do whatever they wanted to her.
There was no rules, but the only agreement was that you were coming up on stage. So you were part of the performance and it went on for six hours. And I'd heard, you know, descriptions of the performance before, but I never heard it from her perspective. And what was really striking to me was like her description of what happened afterwards, because during the performance, things escalated like very quickly. And, you know, she was fearful that she was going to get raped.
A guy at a certain point picked up the revolver that was on the thing and put it up to her head. And someone intervened and pulled it out of his hand and she got cut on the neck and someone, like, sucked the blood out of her neck. And then she said that at a moment where she thought she was going to get raped, women in the audience were yelling at the men on stage to do something to her, like something terrible.
But so after the performance concluded, she walked out into the audience and no one could look at her in the eye. Everyone was so ashamed of what they know. And I was like, that is the capital insurrection. It's like the shock or or it's it's the Stanford prison experiment. Yeah. Trump gave them bardos. Yeah. Trump gave them the permission. And you hear it now when like after these people were arrested, they're like, well, Trump said I could do it right.
And like, that is a really powerful the sheer incredulity that they would be held to account for these actions.
Like the surprise, like, wait a minute. What do you mean why is the FBI calling me confusion? The guy crying in the on the airport terminal? Because he got he was already he got on the no fly list. Yeah. But the thing is, Trump didn't specifically say they could do that.
And so, like, everything in the whole culture is about cryptic drop's. Right. Right. Where you have to read the. And yes, and there's a reason he's the best con man in history. He knows what not to say and how to say what he's not saying. Yeah. And get off scot free every time, right? Yeah, it's wild.
I mean, cute, cute sort of now, I think doesn't necessarily represent sort of the Adreno chrome and the baby blood and all that sort of stuff anymore. Now it's just basically you're signaling to the world that you have some sort of a spiritual war against the deep state, that you are a person who feels as though you are working on behalf of divinity in some way. And so over the summer, it went from the evangelicals to kind of a new age crowd.
And within that New Age crowd, it was a lot of influencers as well. Q Initially was a lot of people alone in their Facebook groups trading. Q drops and then over the summer it really moved into a street movement and it had like a slight it had a different group of people who are attached to it at that point. And I think a lot of those people who are in the rotunda started from those sort of protests that were happening during the summer, the anti lockdown protests.
Yeah, those sort of protests. And people were oblivious to their own sedition at that point. They did not understand what they were doing. They couldn't define sedition. If you ask them to do most of these, I mean, let's not let's not be super nice. Like, there are some morons in this group, like there's some real idiots. I mean, they're not right.
And some truly evil people doing. I mean, you can't count the fact that they're amongst the group of clueless, like just sort of live streaming. Well, it certainly wasn't a monolith. Like there were actual white stumbled in there accidentally and just thought it was like a frat party. And then you have the highly trained, you know, super militarized group of people who are wearing earpieces and have zip ties and look like they're in military formation, going to the Capitol, like those are two different types of people.
And then there's just like the baby boomers that are like about to be fun to go to a protest. Right. I mean, seriously, man, right. No, I yeah.
I mean, I have some friends who who found out afterwards that their parents were there. They weren't like it's part of the siege, but they were there. And then they left before things went really bananas or so they said. Yeah. Or so they said. I went to the Hyatt Regency and had a chardonnay. Yeah. Yeah. Lobby. Yeah, yeah.
I mean, I guess the larger issue is, you know, like I have a bunch of family who are very conservative and they would sort of watch the Capitol riots with a lot of the same sort of surprise and revulsion that maybe we would. But ultimately they're sympathetic because they do feel like the election was stolen. They do feel like the Biden doesn't have a mandate from the people. And I don't know what you kind of do with that thinking. Right.
So so issue.
So when in the settling of the dust, are we in a situation in which there's a calcification of, you know, like a doubling down on these ideas by a certain subset of this group? Or is there a moment of awakening happening where people are just kind of coming to their senses? Like, what is your you know, how do you take the temperature right now on the culture in terms of what that produced and what will happen next? I mean, for me personally, I think it just has to come from accountability.
I think the Republicans are still, you know, for like a day after that, there was like just like little breadcrumbs of that they were offering up to the public for, like, I don't know. Like recognition that this was maybe had gone a little bit too far, but that was immediately raised like the next day, and now they're saying like, oh, let's just get over this. Why are you going to where are you going to impeach the president?
He's just a private citizen now. So, like the reality is, is that the Republican Party has always been a party of trolls. And like now, it's just only intensified and they can't sort of relinquish that power because to do that is to admit that they're actually not interested in governing. Right. Like they want all of the power of being in office, but they don't want any of the responsibility. It's much better to just, like, keep people voting for them just based off of fear and anger rather than like offering material solutions to people's problems.
And so until the Republicans decide to like. Throw out, you know, Ted Cruz out of Congress, I don't know that that's ever. Yeah, I mean, there was a sense in the immediate aftermath that there was a coming to the census and some rationality being injected into the GOP shortly. And perhaps this whole thing could be stabilized. But as of late, most of the news is about Josh Holly and about Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Bobert and this extreme faction that that, you know, is a magnet for all the attention and press.
Yeah, I mean, I think it's ultimately going to play out on social media and we don't know kind of how that's going to play out, in part because there's been these mass bans. And, you know, the data scientists we talked to in the course of making feels good, man. All sort of talk about how whenever there's a massive platforming, there is some sort of reactionary response. I don't know exactly what it is, but that is going to happen.
There's a lot of people who I think feel a real sense of like loss without the ability to hear from Trump constantly. There is a weird there there is a there's a vacuum. And I think that's happening in the Lestrange like even like just let them tweet for five minutes or whatever, you know? No, the dog needs to hunt.
Yeah, but there was that stat that don't do that after Trump was was D platform that there was a 70 percent drop in all of the kind of hate speech that surrounds. Oh yes. Like it it was impactful for was a great it was a great move. I mean, it should.
And then you have the migration to parler and everything that happened in Parliament. Well, so I think that, you know, I think that it was more than just.
Just for a couple of days, there are a couple of significant things have happened, right? So one is Twitter platform. All these people parler, got the plug pulled. You know, they'll probably get back up at some point if they're not yet.
But at some point, they're getting Russian money to be back up and running. Are they back up and running now? Not that I know of, but I didn't check today. But then the corporate America stepped in as the as like the moderator of the political world after being the people that pumped the money in and made it kind of created these conditions. All of a sudden, corporate America is like, well, we're we're keeping track of who's saying what and we're suspending our donations, which is why I think McConnell was originally against, you know, very vocal anti Trump, why you had that change and Lynne Cheney speaking out.
That had to be part of the consensus or part of the math. But I've always thought because the numbers are on the side of. So they are the numbers are still on the side of of people who want to create a workable country, they still are. And we've had 6000 people in the last few weeks leave the Republican Party in North Carolina. Ten thousand in Pennsylvania. Now, if you've been watching these elections, that's enough to swing an election.
Five thousand in Colorado, five thousand in Arizona. Those are concrete numbers. They're reported by Colorado Public Radio today. I sent you that that link. Right. We can link to it. That's significant.
And all we've ever needed is five to 10 percent of the leadership in the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, the rest of the Democratic Party to kind of agree on certain things, like to be able to deal with climate change and loss of biodiversity and health care and racial justice and criminal justice reform. And that stuff's out there like that's possible. So it is possible that the radical right have succeeded in creating a consensus that never that did not exist before.
It is possible that the breaking of the glass is the breaking of the problem. It is possible now. We'll see. You know, like obviously that's admittedly a very optimistic viewpoint on where things are going. But, you know, the Senate right now, as you know, by the time this airs, it may be old news, but today was kind of trying to guarantee that it will be.
Yes. The way the but like they're trying to work with Biden, like there's five or 10 senators are trying to work with Biden on a plan to deal with pandemic aid. So there is there does seem to be still possible the building of a consensus of people who are not living in that alternate reality, in that magical land, in that fever.
I mean, on the subject of de platforming, as I just I wanted to make this point. I mean, I think I think de platforming Trump was an easy call in light of everything and should have happened much earlier than it did. So as late as it was, I still applaud Jack and Twitter for taking that action.
But I also think that there is an interesting conversation to be had about the powers that are now held by these gigantic tech conglomerates and the stack that supports these platforms. When AWB pulls the plug on parler, we can applaud that because parlor's such a shit show or whatever, but let's take a step back and look at what that actually means. And when that much power is vested in one organization, it's not just the platform. It's like these platforms need all of these other things in order to exist.
How does that play out when there's a paradigm shift in the powers that be?
Your question is very I mean, I think, yeah, Facebook seems to be doing a marketing move right now where they're basically asking for regulation. They're like welcoming it, like we're we're ready to be regulated. And it feels like they're just kicking the can down the road because it's not something that they necessarily want to instigate internally. You know, I think I think it's also important to point out the parlor wasn't sort of a passive takedown. It was actually a group of like first generation hackers who came in and basically showed all these security breaches, caused a lot of havoc on the backend, like they downloaded the entire app.
And everything is seven different moderators deleted. Those are all now on a hard drive. So. Yeah, and that one that helped the FBI find a lot of these. Right.
And a lot of that group was like first generation anonymous people. You're actually the real the hacker collective Anonymous. Yeah. Yeah.
And they and in part they were mad just because. Q Anonymous was stealing kind of their branding. Right. And so it came from the Internet before corporations came in their due diligence, super interest.
So no, I don't know the anonymous guys who with the film too. But I know, but it's out there too.
It's it's all out there in the public record if you want to look for. Yeah, but I do think that, you know, Dorsey has been sort of acting like a moderator. But the reality is, I mean, he made a lot of money off of Trump. There was a lot of friction caused on his platform. A lot of people spent time on it. It's where Kuhnen really became like a place of radicalization was wasn't Twitter as these drops would sort of come in and speed along the agenda of.
Q I don't know. It seems like he needs to start acting like a CEO and not like, you know, I don't know, passive, passive moderator sitting on the beach waiting for his employees to come and tell him to do something, which is what was happening. It's also in terms of the broader conversation, of the ethical conversation about do platforming. It's also important, I think, to understand that there's basically two cohort's to the conversation. There's like the general user who maybe fearful for whatever reason of of losing their several hundred followers.
But then there's like the opportunist, right? Like, you have to be wary of the bad faith argument that's often made during these conversations by people. Like Alex Jones, who wrap de platforming in this First Amendment argument, which is, of course, completely specious bullshit, because for them it is an existential crisis for them. If you are a grifter like and I mentioned this their last conversation, but I think it bears mentioning, like before the Internet, like you'd have to print pamphlets and open up a fake church and, like, really do the work to bring in people into your flock and, like, convince them to give you their money.
And then social media came out and just basically, like, if you want to be a grifter, it's like it's a gold rush, right. Not only is it easier to find people, but people will put in their own bios, like, please take my money, like hashtag you, you know, where we go and where where we go when we go all like you're basically advertising to the sheep. I mean, as a sheep to the wolves, like, please take advantage of me.
And so, like in these conversations about the platforming, the most vocal people are often the ones who stand the most to gain from like being able to be trolls online and the most to lose. Should they be exactly platform. Exactly right.
So how do we on this on this theme of like creating some kind of narrative through line from Pepé?
All right. The point tracking this through cue like now we have you know, we've got we've got Josh all we've got Marjorie Taylor Green, you've got Lauren Bover. We got the Jewish space lasers. And now we have now we have GameStop like is there like have you kind of forensically tracked how we have gone in lock step through these various phases? I mean, Pepé GameStop seems the most similar to the early days of totally. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Rating like that's basically a big part of 4chan is about rating and like that's the most rating is basically the idea of getting all your online friends to go and focus their energies on doing like one thing and affecting real and affecting reality. And Pepé, essentially all you have to really think about in terms of people's relationships, all of this is that for a long time Pepé was just the icon for trolling, the icon for that kind of duplicitous online maneuvering, mischief making.
So but there's a Gally and, you know, that comes with this collective energy like, oh my God, we're all on the same page and we're we're going to actually move culture through our keystrokes. Yes. And that's so intoxicated. Yeah. Yeah.
Especially if you're, you know, in your mom's basement and it's a pandemic and, you know, the oldest on Robin Hood or whatever, like. Are you kidding?
Like, that's it's impossible if you're like a young male to step away from the computer. Well, and there's a real sense of back to the idea of alienation. I mean, in some of the threads I've read for GameStop, you know, there's still a simmering anger from the housing crisis and the bailouts. Yeah, right. There's a lot of people who saw their parents lose everything and never recover. I mean, there's some really I'll send you guys the some of the links.
But there's some harrowing stories, personal stories that people have posted on Reddit and stuff about like why they're all invested in this thing, both literally and emotionally. Yeah. And like the idea for them is like, look, I've been poor my entire life. I'll invest three hundred bucks even though I only have six hundred because, like, it's all it doesn't make a difference to me. Right. It's more important for me to like use what little power I have collectively with my other friends to like, like screw over a bunch of.
Yeah. It's not about making money, it's about sticking it to the man. And that's why they're able to hold the line even when the stock price, you know, is starting to fall and they're refusing to sell. And the power of that is unbelievable. And to kind of canvas, you know, the reactions of the institutional investors in the hedge funds, I mean, the schadenfreude is is delicious, of course, because it's the people, again, you know, it's like let them eat cake.
No, you eat cake, you know, and who's going to who's going to. It's a game of chicken and who's going to blink first.
And it's Bob. Right. That's really I think you made a very good point, which is I think we're at a point culturally where the gap between the haves in the haves and have nots is reached such a point of division that it's inevitable that we're seeing these things kind of happen. And if you look back in history, when that gap gets to a certain point, that's when the government becomes destabilized and you sow the seeds of this for, you know, this is just this is a revolution and in a certain respect, using tools that never existed before to exert power against control.
That's going to be the central struggle for the Bush administration, is that he has to show the public that government has a purpose and it has to like people have to see material improvements in their lives or else we're all fucked. Yeah. Because of that gap. Right. Yeah, because. The acceleration of them is happening, it's happening and I think it's also, you know, talking about context, it's you know, we've experienced the covid shutdowns in the stock market has in many cases had gains there.
You know, there's a lot of CEOs that have made a tremendous amount of money. People are aware of this now and then. We're also dealing with people have a deeper literacy of cryptocurrency on all of this online trading. And people no longer have a sense of reverence for any of this stuff because they don't see the way that it's affecting them. You know, they're not sort of thinking about their mutual funds in the basement. They're just thinking about causing chaos and then also hoping that this will improve some sort of future that they recognize needs to happen, will recognize that change.
And it's not just causing chaos. I mean, they're out to make money. I mean, you know, you have they're banding together. Right. So, like, just for your listeners, correct me if I'm wrong about that, but just to recap it, for listeners that maybe haven't read all the games, is there anybody you.
So I guess I'm just assuming everybody knows. I don't know how you could know what this is a little capsule of.
You have a group of young investors using Reddit forums and ticktock, and they recruit and explain these kind of mass mobilized stock purchases. And GameStop was one AMC theaters the other. It turns out it's all these block analog analog stocks. It's like instead of like, you know, the Bushwick hipsters that would use a BlackBerry, these people are buying BlackBerry stock and doing it together. But first. But obviously, it was it was GameStop was the number one.
It's the first guy out of nostalgia, out of nostalgia, but also as a fuck you, because it's strategic. They see all these hedge funds who are shorting specific stocks and they know it's the aggressiveness of the short positions that these hedge funds were taking. They had commandeered more shares than we're currently available. Like I'm no expert. I don't know how that works. But I think if they're short positions hadn't been so aggressive, this might not have ever happened yet.
The Wall Street bet, Subrata, it, you know, made everybody aware of how egregious this was. Right. And marshaled all of these people to take a stand against it. And I think the other important point to make is that the tools to flex your control over this became so fluid that young people who weren't even old enough to get Robinhood accounts could get them not only get them, but knew intuitively how to use them. They're so easy to use right now.
And so those things coalesced to create a perfect storm for this event to occur. Yeah, I mean, I think the irony is, from what I read about how the GameStop thing started, it really started like two years ago by one particular user on this particular sub. Read it Wall Street bets. But like it was, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. But it was kind of rooted in fundamentals. Right. Like he noticed that they actually had a lot of cash on hand.
They were undervalued. Yeah. And so it really starts from a pretty shrewd position that came from well, you know, this is the lie that that Wall Street tells the public, which is that they know best. Right. And here's a perfect example of someone who doesn't have a huge institution behind him, just does a lot of research and sees a hole in the market and an opportunity. And, you know, everyone else piles on. But it took it like two years.
Michael Burry piled on to like Michael Burry was early on. This is well, he was saying the exact same thing. He went all in on GameStop like, I don't know how long ago, but quite a while ago. But what's funny, too, is that this is a return. You know, it's worth pointing out because we've kind of trashed 4chan for a while here when 4chan really got it in its heyday and its early days, it really came from a more kind of hacktivist position.
It was really during Occupy Wall Street that it started doing its first big raids. And, you know, some of the first famous ones were against like the Church of Scientology and other sort of financial institution based things. But this is an interesting cultural turn back towards what you might otherwise call like a kind of collectivist perspective on like home raids can benefit. Oh, and and the things that they're trading are you know, GameStop is something that people love.
Yeah. Like, it is nostalgia. And it's like people have gotten rich off of their passion. Yeah. And therefore there's some just desserts that are happening on your guy. You're talking about the guy that started it invested like fifty something thousand dollars and topped out at over forty million at one point and who knows what. But like so that but it's also a police operation, right. Policing these hedge funds. Now the hedge funds are going to have to watch.
And now they're hiring their own meme departments. So there's so there's like a countervailing war of fighting for in the attention economy.
Right. So they're hiring a bunch of young people who are going to create their own Meems, that are going to contravene the means that are coming out of Wall Street bets. And there's going to be a war of ideas afoot. But essentially, when you step back from this and look at it, what's to stop? This community of people from every week just deciding, OK, here's what we're all going to buy this today, and millions of people like by this, like they could just repetitively do this at will and commandeer the entire market.
It's hard, though.
I mean, like you ask Michael Bloomberg because he spent a lot of money creating Meems and it got him nowhere. Yeah. Our ask us we're trying to sell our film to the same community of people and as best as we can. It's hard to, like, get a huge movement. But, you know, the truth is hard to go viral. It's hard to go viral because that's the point.
Yeah, no, but this is a lightning in the bottle kind of moment where I think people are dying like people are having a system awareness they weren't aware of before. And they realize how easy it is to game these systems. And there's more people willing to sort of be part of that. I think it's also just generational. There's there is a younger generation who is really enjoying this that doesn't feel secure in their future. And how are they going to find meaning in America?
Yeah, it's a super important point. Yeah, it's the grand narratives of America are going away and we have to figure out new narratives that we can all latch on to to find meaning in our lives. But the problem is you have these two now. There's two dueling stock projects, right? Yeah. Ben Mezrich and the so this is so I mean, on the subject like this, the velocity of the news cycle, like Ben Mezrich hasn't even like all he has is a book proposal on GameStop.
Right. There's no book yet. He sells the book and the movie rights get picked up by essentially the same team that made the social the social network. With the exception of Fincher. He's got like the same producing team. The Winklevoss are involved. Oh, wow. No, the way the Winklevoss are involved in this project.
Yeah. Because Mesmeric also wrote a book about Bitcoin where those two guys are like the staring. Right, right. Right. In that at the same time, Netflix just announced another GameStop movie project as well. Right. Right, right. So the reason that is important, though, is that like, you know, it's going to be these movies are going to be like, look at the little guy got rich at the expense of the big guy.
And we're telling the same story in America. And the story is the answer to your problems is money. And listen, for someone who's been broke a lot of his adult life and just scraping by but like and now has made some money. Money does doesn't buy happiness buys happier. It's true. But like the idea that we need to recalibrate who we are and how we function, I think goes that deep. Like we really need to start to ask important questions about like meaning a life shit, because otherwise this stuff is going to keep happening.
It's the cycles are just kind of key, but it's more complicated than the money. So much of this is is just the fuck you to the man, right. Against a system that has overlooked these people and not given them the opportunities that they feel that they've been promised.
And so the American dream and it's like that's, you know, the guy who's not worried about losing his 300 bucks, even though he doesn't have any money because of the point that's being made is is more important. And that's the sense of emotional connection to a movement and the community aspect of this that's so that's so powerful. But if the story is like the answer is, you know, fuck you and we made some of your money. Yes, hopefully the movies are more complex than that.
But like because because we don't know how it ends, but some of these people are going to lose all their money and it won't just go back to the beginning. But like you're saying, you to see some tangible like government has to improve people's lives. There has to be some tangible change in the way we relate to each other and in the way government is is viewed. Because a lot of what you're saying, like this entitlement is like I'm getting screwed.
Some of that's just it's just a story you're telling yourself. It's not all true. You know, like there are opportunities here in this country to do to do better. It is harder. It is hard, and the rich are getting richer. It's true. But there is opportunity out there. Every day you wake up and we all know that. And so not all of those things are true. But that doesn't mean that people aren't embittered. And so there's this, especially when you look at the rotunda, people who show up like that real estate woman who showed up in a private jet.
There are people who are I know people who have done very well and are still embittered, so embittered that they think the 16 19 project is somehow a personal affront to them. Like this crazy shit like that doesn't make any sense. There's a there's a bitterness level to to this that that is hard to kind of quantify, quantify.
And then you have people like Holly that you brought up who's trying to ride that basically to the presidency, or you have these other, you know, Marjorie Taylor Green and Lauren Broberg, who are just riding the wave because maybe they're part of the wave, you know, calling for the assassination of the speaker of the House. And that person is now sitting in Congress. There's a bitterness level that's just really we haven't quite figured it out yet, right, like where it's coming from and how to fix it.
But I think there's a fundamental questions in this country that need to be answered. And, you know, this is a nice story, but like to fix it in order for the Wall Street to be safe, in order for all of us to be safe, in order for people to feel good in their own neighborhoods, got to fix this stuff. Yeah. The throughline the thing that connects Kuhnen and the Wall Street that's a GameStop thing is that it's two groups of people who are experiencing it, kind of like.
I don't know, rejection of of the American dream, but for two completely different reasons. Like the Kuhnen, people have had to confront a reality that, like the truth about America, American exceptionalism is kind of eroded around them, whether it's like the BLM protests this summer or just the fact that the Internet exists now and that you were exposed to information that you maybe were hidden from for years before. And now you're having to, like, confront this reality.
And there's a certain level of of what's the term looking for here? Sure. Like intellectual. What's this cognitive dissonance? There's a cognitive dissonance that's happening. And they want to maintain that that that perception of American exceptionalism. And so. Q Very neatly gives them that, that they're on the side of good and the other people are evil. And then with the GameStop people, it's similarly. A rejection of the American dream or feeling that like it's not there for them and they're like using their collective energies to make an impact in ways that they think will help ameliorate the problem.
So they're both out of pretty dire. I think it dovetails also with just the the the religious nature of America. Yeah, we've always been obsessed with apocalypse. Even people who aren't necessarily religious have just become part of who they are. And they're thinking, you know, for all of these people we've talked about, you know, they believe we're living in the end times. Josh Holley believes that we are living in Babylon. It's something where he thinks that, you know, the rapture is upon us.
There's a lot of people out there who are just hard wired to think that there is no future because they can't conceive of it. And I think that sometimes even understanding that is part of the problem. You have like we were talking about, like the GameStop movie, like, I'm sure the end of that movie will be kind of like an anticorporate idea at the end of it, but it's being made by a corporation making money off of that. So this awareness of the futility is only making us more bitter, right?
You know, and ultimately, that's the story. Ultimately, this is the way this is going to shake out is like any casino where the house where it's like, OK, Wall Street gets upended these hedge funds. But at some point there's going to be a recalibration where these hedge funds are going to come out on top. If history tells us anything, whether through regulatory measures or what have you, something's going to occur that is going to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.
But also it's only going to fuel like that level of frustration and discontent alone in terms of the House winning, like BlackRock owned a significant chunk of GameStop before this and they made something like three billion dollars out of strikes.
So they're also, we should point out, you made a good point on Twitter the other day, Georgio. It would be terrible and disheartening, like we need to know more about who's invested in these hedge funds that took these short positions, because, you know, chances are there are pension funds and teachers' union funds and things like people's retirement is tied up in these massive hedge funds. And when those short positions tank and those people lose all their money, those are those are the very people that are know the same community.
It's like the parents of the Wall Street bets people are losing their retirement funds as a result of this.
Yeah, it wouldn't be the first time if that ends up happening. Wouldn't be the first time that a fortune has gone backfired. Why? Here's a question for you.
We were talking about this out. Yeah. In this conversation around. The regulation of these social media platforms or how to deal with speech, it seems like. Reddit has gotten somewhat of a pass here, and there's a there is the conventional wisdom is that Reddit has done a better job than Facebook and Twitter. I don't know enough about it to know if that's true or not.
But what do you like The Donald did on television? Yeah, they've had a nasty I mean, so Ellen, when Ellen Pao is the CEO, I tried to get her to be part of the film, but she politely declined. But I would have really loved to talk to her about this. But, you know, she was removed as CEO during the midst of the GamerGate thing. And I think. In hindsight, that was probably a really bad move, and I think they had been like living with.
I mean, as the board, I guess they had been living with that guilt of that mistake probably. And I think they've taken pretty proactive attempts at like, you know, they took down the Donald. Moderation just operates a lot differently there. By no means an expert, but for sure, they have definitely skirted a lot of blame. But they also took down the Wall Street bets thing. Well, they did it, they made it private, right?
And then it went public again, but I think they pulled that and now it's their private. It was it was private for a while when that when the trading volume was insane, they made a price for a minute. Yeah. I mean, I'm not an expert on it either. I think that they always try to like when they pull down like the Donald, they pull down several lefty boards at the same time. So they try to give people the illusion of parity, which I think ultimately is probably good.
But I don't think radicalization happens on Reddit the same way it happens on Facebook or on Twitter. I think also I mean, taking parler down all these all these sort of things are cursory moves. But, you know, everyone uses multiple platforms and the problems still remain on Twitter and Facebook. And those are the places where people, I think, really lose themselves. So it's also like understanding the nature of their mechanics. Right. On Reddit, things get upvoted and downvoted.
So there's kind of a consensus there that's much different than, for example, the way 4chan works, which things flow to the top just simply by virtue of the engagement. So in 4chan, if you just post something really incendiary and get a lot of posts replies to it, it'll it'll move to the top. So those are it's like kind of nuanced, but it produces much different thinking. I think it's more of an entertainment site, whereas these other more lifestyle sites, you know, so if you're on Facebook, the way that radicalization will often happen on Facebook is you have these sort of extreme ideas coming in to places that are not extreme.
You have people liking and sharing this stuff and then ultimately normalizing it in the same feed that they're sharing pictures of their grandkids or, you know, memes about Bible verses or whatnot. And Reddit, the flow of information isn't quite so chaotic. You're going there for specific reasons to to be part of a specific community. Facebook, though, you really kind of end up absorbing these ideas in what seems to be a relatively organic way. They're fed to you.
Yes, they're fed to you.
And so, yeah, we're just we have this problem right now where there's just a lot of toxic waste in the system and it's mutating people.
And I don't know how you could do that. And I know he's out there. Yeah, I thought it was absolutely right. But it's hard. It's hard, you know, unfortunately, as it related to Pepé, like the big thing people will say when they haven't seen feels good man yet is that, like, Pepper isn't a hate symbol. You took the bait, you normy. Right. There was there was some YouTube comments on our podcast.
Yeah. Like exactly. Those guys. Exactly. Did you watch the podcast.
But it's like that Pepé represented a way to like what we call Arthur referred to earlier as like being irony poisoned, that there's a moment at which you can't tell what is joke and what is real. And for a lot of new users of social media in general, older audiences, it's even harder for them to discern what's newer or what's real or what's a joke. And it just like reminded me I was trying to find the article before we came today.
But I remember when The Colbert Report went off the air and there was an article in The New Yorker or something about it, and they said that something like some astonishingly high number of regular viewers of the show did not discern that it was satire. Like twenty percent of the regular audience didn't understand it was doing a bit. And so I think about that. And then so like we should have. Yeah. So anyway, I would love to I'm pretty sure that I'm not making that up for you.
It was Pepé in the rotunda. Yeah. Yeah. But not as much as he would have thought. Well I mean there were a handful of people there wearing Pepé masks and then there were some Pepé signs. But I mean, it is interesting to see older people, some of the people Masferrer younger, though it was interesting to see, like at the rally in Georgia before the election there, there was a number of people who were wearing like Pepé stuff, like there was a guy wearing a shirt, but he was an older guy.
He was like 65. And all the people who were who were commenting on it underneath the posting were all like older women who were like Pepé Pepé. So the generational shift is apparent in that in that moment. I mean, obviously, Meems played a huge part in the Rotunda riot. You saw the Pakistani flag, you saw all this different stuff. And people were often, you know, a lot of the proud boys were wearing anti Semitic. You know, the Holocaust didn't happen.
Six million is not enough. Kind of, Meems. It was a very Mehmed thing in part because I think people really wanted to participate in it through social media and this was a way to do it. And then obviously to find each other in the crowd because it was so chaotic.
Yeah. Despite the presence of Pepé, though, it does feel like culture has kind of moved on like it is. Sure. It wasn't omnipresent in that at all. Like it was kind of there. But it's the sense that I got. I was like, OK, we're we're on to other things, that best place, yeah, it's played out right. There is a must there's a much bigger relationship like positive relationship. People have to be open.
For example, on Twitch, it's like the number one. If you look at a list of the hundred most used emotes on Twitch, Pepé occupies like 50 of the top 100 and they all are like back to the original Pepé version of just being a funny reaction.
Yeah, it's getting well made. Yeah, that's true. I'm still trying to wrap my head around wearing Harnik Holocaust denial Mirch to just stand out in a crowd so your body can see you. Yeah. Over your age I'm wearing, you know, the six million dollar t shirt. The only guy on the video. The guy. Yeah. There's a big space around me. It's OK, folks. Be careful because of a laser. Might get you from space, right?
Oh, my God. Like, can we talk about is she the the.
The dumbest Congress person of our lifetime, I will say, Denver five, Denver Riggleman, the former Republican congressman who we shot a little bit with last last year. He's gotten into it quite a bit with her online, but he made something very, very simple point to make, which was just that the starting salary for a congressperson or the salary for congressperson is like one hundred sixty five thousand dollars or something. He's like, that's more money than most people have ever seen or will ever see.
And like, yeah, we're overpaying for.
What you're seeing is the in is the enmeshing basically of like social media personalities and government. And it's like if you're going to be a grifter, it's never been a better time to be in government as a grifter, basically, because you also can can raise money on that.
Like, look, I didn't want to disclose that Trump made like raised how many million dollars there was already one. Oh, well, in the two weeks after the election. Yeah. Two hundred something million. Yes. And he spent zero on the it was all under the. Well the one I read was like thirty one or thirty two million dollars specifically on emails that were about Senate in Georgia and he spends it literally zero dollars.
It was like I can't wait for that. There is an accounting by the way, we don't have to spend this on this. I can keep it, boy. Yeah.
I don't know if she's the dumbest or not, but she might be. I mean, it's pretty astounding. Pretty bad. Like Bobert and her are wild. Yeah. They're they're they're basically just assemblages of memes. I mean, even when you hear them talk, they can't say, yes, it's like a regurgitation of Internet gab. Yeah.
I mean, they're which is why I think this is worse, because I didn't know about Holly's feeling about living in Babylon. Like I think I was reading, you know, the reporting on Holly is that he was thought of as this star and really an intellectual giant. And and the fact that he is like. You know, it's great to see his him disavowed by his mentor, who doesn't have to run for. Yeah, but I like the way he's saying it's the biggest mistake of his entire life.
And that carries water. Like I'm from I'm from Missouri. Yeah. And so Danforth is definitely a very powerful and well-loved politician in Missouri. I'm curious to see what Ali's future is in the state, in part because Missouri has often been a bellwether. You know, people like, you know, Roy Blunt and John Ashcroft and these sort of people have come out of Missouri and then come in to the international stage and had a lot of power. Yeah, Holly is an ideologue.
He's unlike Bobert and Marjorie Taylor Green. He has like a very specific ideological framework that he talks about. You know, he talks about it in Christian media more so than in national media. But, yeah, he's someone who, like a lot of a lot of the insurrectionist, have given up on democracy. Mm hmm. It was a coalition of people who have given up on democracy, and he's one of them. He doesn't believe that freedom can exist in a civil society because we're not all Christian evangelicals.
He just wants power. Yeah, completely. And it's frightening because. Because it's divine. Yeah.
Yeah. He thinks it comes from Jesus Christ and he's not a dummy. You know, Politico the Politico article was very revealing. It was it interviewed a bunch of his professors at Stanford and David Kennedy, who's a professor that I had. It's like I know David Kennedy said that Josh was the most talented student that he ever had, you know, and like, this is a guy who's bright. Yeah. His ideas might not align with yours, but he should not be underestimated.
And he cannot be lumped in with the Bowerbirds and the Taylor Greene. He's a different animal than when he was 15. He wrote in his Lexington newspaper, Lexing, the Missouri newspaper in defense of the militia after the Oklahoma City bombing and saying a militia, people who are in militia shouldn't be maligned as racists. They shouldn't be called terrorists as a 15 year old. So, you know, so even though it's not opportunists in his idealising, he is an opportunist.
Like to say you're well, but it's inbred. It's not. It's not he's not a Johnny come lately to these ideas because it's opportunistic to be that way. This is the person that he's been. I'm curious, though, because masking it, because the company he comes across as such an egghead, I think there's a part of Republican politics that doesn't necessarily like the Ivy League education. Right. You know, I'm curious to see I think him, you know, sort of coming out basically in support of the insurrection was him trying to seem alpha with him, trying to sort of play Trump's game to Trump's audience.
Right. And I think they're going to see through it. I think they're going to realize where they see through Ted Cruz, maybe. But, you know, here's the thing is that, like so I was I gave you my optimistic view on how this is going to work out. Well, I mean, we got to we got to plan this. We got to go hardcore party. It's going to sit well with that front runner. And that is like people were talking about Kristallnacht as the as like the Nazi equivalent of what happened at the Rotunda.
But that's not what it was. It was the push. I don't know how to pronounce it right. But in nineteen twenty nine or thirty, I forget when it was when Hitler's first attempt to take over government. He had a mob like this and he was arrested and he was put in jail and he was eventually pardoned and came out of it and ended up, you know, we all know that. We all know where that went. So the question really is, you know, it's easy.
I also my instinct is that anyone who tries to play Trump's game is going to lose because only Trump can play it. Yeah, I think Holly will lose. But there is like if there's any one of those people that scares me, it's him. And and we won't know what happens. Like you said, like this is there's a ten year timeline to where this is going and hopefully will come out of it. I think we can come out of it.
I think we mapped out how we'll come out of it. But there is a there are multiple realities. So we'll see.
And if we know anything we know by next week, be something else, crazy will happen and we'll be having a different conversation in the meantime.
Yes. This movie.
Thank you. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, if you were in the church. That's amazing. Thank you. I love having you guys here.
That was super fun. Please, everybody who's listening or watching go out. Check out feels good man on Apple plus preferably it's a fantastic documentary if you have not listen to the podcast that I did with these gentlemen a couple of weeks ago. Check that out. I'll link that up in the show. Notes in the description below. How's it going with the movie before we end it here? It's it's Oscar week. People are voting. People are voting.
If you've got to get her attention on this movie where a dark horse, definitely dark horse, we're going to say. But but it's gone great.
We did a big we did a big twitch live stream, actually, with a number of gamers, lots and lots of Academy voters on to exactly, you know, no Academy voters. But Fury was Fury was on the line with us. It's. Great, it was a very positive, interesting, engaged conversation, we continue to meet people who the film means something to them.
Yeah, it it's a long tail film, the long tail film that. And yeah, it's something we've been so passionate about. It's great to see it out in the world and people responding to it. Yeah. I mean the best document of the year is definitely time on Amazon, which you should definitely watch. So by no means do we think we have a chance in hell of winning anything. But it would be nice to just get shortlisted as a rookie.
Sure you can. You can. I like your movie better. Oh yeah. I would say time. Yeah, it's really fascinating. That was one. If there was a movie theater that's that's one I really put my heart. There was that and that was the last film we saw at Sundance last year. And it's like it's a beautiful movie and Sundance is going on right now. Are you guys doing any panels or you have any involvement with that?
No, but our our producers who worked on Feels Good Man with us have a couple of films there. They have a film named Cockup that I haven't seen, but I'm excited to see it. And yeah, it is too bad it's all online.
Yeah. I mean, it's a fun experience to go there and just. Have you seen their virtual waiting room. You know, it's really just how big is it really.
Yeah. And it's such a fun person. So like I just can't imagine the virtual version of it. Hopefully that's how the world will change between this podcast being recorded and put out in the world.
And it will help. It will help if people can hang out 100 percent. True, it will 100 percent absolutely fast. But kids can go back to school.
That's the title of this podcast. I just have the title of the. Yeah, we don't do well on our own. Moussab. Yeah. I mean, in a weird way that the anti maskers are really just people are just dying for a hug. That's really all they want to deal with. That's right. That's right.
There was a I think it was it was either an Onion article or some other kind of, um. Satire piece on the Internet that said Proud Boy gets turned with one hug from dad or something, it's hard times, hard times like this. It's true. She feels good, man. Thanks for coming on. Thank you so much. Back anytime. Let's continue this conversation and thanks for having us. All right. And let's all go. Hardcore, happy, hardcore, hardcore, happy.
Well, that you brought your you have a guest coming up that can teach us how to be how to connect with each other, right? We do. Yeah. Yeah. Let's talk about that after the break. All right. Cool. So we'll take a break. We'll be back with more.
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All right. Business completed back to the show. All right, and we're back. I love those guys. Oh, man, it's hot. I thought it might be like 30 to 40 minutes. How long did we go? Like, an hour, right. There's no way I was going to interrupt.
I'm start with you, Rich, especially when I'm talking. All right.
So this is going to be yet another marathon on, right? Yeah, but I think we during the break, we decided to eviscerate the outline a little bit to not make it too long. But I do want to do a little bit of show and tell a couple of wins of the week and we'll get to three listener questions. And at the top of my list of show and tell. I've got two things. The first thing is, and this is nothing new, but I just felt like.
Amidst all the darkness, we can all use a little bit of innocent happiness. Yes, and I wanted to draw a little bit of attention to David Lynch's wonderful weather reports. Are you familiar with this?
I am. I am I because I listen to the RW and so he pops up on morning becomes eclectic.
Does he do the weather report on his their weather? Oh, I didn't. Yeah. So I don't know when he started doing this, but on YouTube every single day he just looks to camera and he says good morning. Today is whatever it is. And then he looks out the window and he tells you what the weather is going to be and it's just the best.
He looks great. I love it. You know, there's a short list of people that can stay cool for like four decades. The coolest Bowie and David Lynch. There's only a few people. Prince, there's a Miyu, my son Tyler and Trapper just love David Lynch. They just can't get enough of them. And how old is he now? He's in his 70s. Yeah, that's what I mean. He's still the coolest guy in the room.
Right. No matter what he is.
And all he does is say this is what the weather is going to be like today. And I don't know what it is about his energy, but I'm always glad that I watch it.
Yeah, he's happy.
He's a he's like he makes you feel happier, you know? Yeah. It's great. We all need more of that. It was trending on Twitter, I think, today because he announced that he was thinking about not doing it anymore and all the fans revolted. And so his big announcement was that he would continue with his weather. He's going to keep doing it, supplemented with also I don't know if you know this, he also does the number of the day.
Yes, but not everyone has a number of the day. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So that is that like what does he play the numbers.
No, he just basically says the number of the day is and he just says a number. OK, and that's the number of the day when according to David Lynch, when or if like his his parents played the numbers back in New York.
I don't I think you're attributing too much. I really thought I'm reading too deep. I just take it for what it is.
I would say a second cousin to this is Anthony Hopkins, little videos that he on and they're always full of love and happiness. Really?
Really. Yeah. You mean Hannibal Lecter? Yeah, he's great. Full of love and happiness.
Anthony Hopkins. Not to be confused like Hannibal Lecter. All right, let's keep it moving. You mentioned earlier Babylon Berlin, which is a TV show that I wanted to share with all of you guys that I've been enjoying. It's a German series that's airing on Netflix. It was created by writer director Tom Tykwer, who is the guy behind Run, Lola Run and also Cloud Atlas. And I find this I mean, I'm like near the end of season two, there's three seasons currently available that are streaming right now.
And I find this show to be really fascinating for a number of reasons. First of all, it's it's exceptionally photographed. It's visually arresting and stunning. And essentially it's a story it's multiple stories that take place in Berlin, post-World War One in the midst of this newly emerged Winmar republic, where it's a new democracy, but it's a fragile democracy. And we see this extraordinary wealth disparity. On the one hand, you have this roaring 20s culture of nightclubs and fabulous music and dancing and drinking and revelry juxtaposed against extreme poverty.
And the storylines elucidate the fragility of democratic institutions, it's about corruption and it's about the nationalistic creep that ultimately later leads to Naziism through the lens of the protagonist, who is this police investigator and all the kind of people that he encounters.
And a World World War One veteran of World War One veteran. And so there's a lot of there's a lot of, you know, guys with disfigured faces and maimed and and he this protagonist, you know, also has these essentially PTSD panic attacks where he has to down some unknown pharmacy like that. I assume like morphine or something like that. He just goes into these these shaking fits. And I don't know. I just think it's. Standing in and of itself, it's a fascinating look into a particular culture, but I think it also is prescient and relevant to some of the things that our culture is grappling with right now, the fragility of our own democratic institutions and the nationalistic creep that you see when that wealth gap becomes as extreme as it did in Germany at that time and as it's quickly becoming in our country.
Great movie. I mean, a great show. Thank you for recommending. I just saw the pilot last night and run Lola Run was one of my favorites when it came out. Right. And so I was really excited about it. It's really good. I'm into it. And the best part is that through that show, I finally figured out how to get to subtitles in Prestige Foreign Television on Netflix, because before it was always these horrible dub things.
I couldn't get through one to just select audio. Now it gives you all these options. Hey, I did it. It's interesting that you you opt for subtitles. I do. And I opted for the dubbing. You like the dubbing. I don't want to read when I'm watching. Yeah, but here's the thing. You get the dubbing. Of course, it's it's jarring.
I can't watch the next match. I can't do that. I can't doesn't quite work. But at some point you get over it and you just go with it and the acting is not as good. It's not as good a voice. Yeah. Yeah. And then if you go back to just the subtitles, the when you've gotten used to the dub voice, when you hear what their voice actually sounds like, that's also very jarring.
Yes. But anyway but anyway, I think that the reason it's important what you're saying is that even today there's no country that really mirrors what we're going through better than Germany, not because it's as diverse as we are or has exactly the same problems, but there is this far right kuhnen worshiping kind of militia like white supremacists element that has infiltrated into politics and into even police departments and and the military itself shut down an entire Special Forces unit. That stuff's all been really well reported by The New York Times.
I think we've even maybe touched on it once. And and so they're going through the same thing we are. So it's interesting that he's using the 1920s, because when it really first start, you know, the cycle repeats. Same stuff with how familiar it's a period of time in Germany.
I'm just not that familiar with. Right. We know about World War One and we know about World War Two.
But what happened in between those that led to the rise of Hitler, that that same kind of proto fascist like Biggin, like leading towards fascism, that leaned the tear between socialism and what was going to become fascism? Those same threads were that same those same currents are running through America at the same time, when you had the Lindbergh candidacy and all that would be so all of that stuff was happening. We've been mayors of each other for a long, long time.
So it's really interesting to watch it now because it's still entertaining, because it does transport you. You're not thinking about our problems when you're watching it, but it is it does give it like that, that relevance. Yeah. And what's great is there's three seasons of it. So I could be enjoying this for quite a while.
Exactly. How cool.
Why don't you hit me with your win of the week? My win of the week was the k two climbers, the the Nepalese team of nine climbers that. Got up to the top of K2 and winter for the very first time, it was the last of the 8000 meter peaks to be climbed in winter. They've all now been conquered. And spring, summer or winter, K2 has by far the highest mortality rate on its slopes compared to any of the others.
It's nine days more dangerous than even Everest. And so it was just I did that story for The New York Times when it happened. I was turned on to the story because I knew Collin Brady was among the many climbers that went out. So he's still like at base camp. He's still at base camp four months. Yeah. And so he was he was one of that part of that group. That's how I first got turned on to the fact that people were trying for this.
And then I'm one of the people who I knew about that he told me about was Nîmes Dei or Nîmes Purger, who is the the guy that set the record world record for climbing all the 8000 meter peaks in within a certain amount of time. And he saved he shaved over seven years off the record. Wow. And and so Nimmons Perdu is this great Nepalese climber, a former British special forces and all these other. And he's not Sherpa.
He's not from the Sherpa culture, but everybody else was that was in that group. And so this story is about how they got up to the top and how that all happened and and was cool. They they were greeted back in Kathmandu recently with a hero's welcome, like a big, big motorcade. They've been treated like celebrities or the toast of the town. They were they were flown out from base camp by the Pakistani military and got an audience with the prime minister or the president of Pakistan, like right away did become a big story.
It's a it's a big deal. It's a big deal because what's cool is all of the 8000 meter peaks in Nepal, we're all credit, even though there were there was always a Nepalese climber right behind whoever got the credit. It was always the European or Western climber that got the first ascent. That's who got credited. So so this is this is basically a correction. It's very cool. Yeah.
So everybody check out Adam's article in The New York Times is called How Climbers Reached the Summit of K2 in Winter. For the first time, you've got comments from Rinnan, Jimmy Chin, you have Bélanger, all kinds of cool people. Yeah.
Hat tip to Richard, all to get Jimmy Chinta to connect. Yeah, you did that. You're the journalist here.
Good stuff, dude. Well, my my one of the week hands down goes to Jim Walmsley, who is an ultra runner extraordinaire guy who's in Arizona. For those who aren't familiar who just the other week. Attempted to break the world record in the 100 K at this event called the Hoca on a project carbon X event that was in Chandler, Arizona. He ran 100 kilometers in six hours, nine minutes and twenty six seconds, and ultimately came up just 12 seconds shy of the world record, which was set in twenty eighteen by Japan's Nayo Kazami.
That's great in that correctly. But he did set an American record by 18 minutes and a PR of 45 minutes. So this is insane. Just so people can grok exactly how extraordinary this is, he ran 556 pace for over six hours straight and he clipped a fence at about three and a half hours into this thing.
And his shoulder was bleeding like it's just it's bananas. And in and of itself, this is an unbelievable accomplishment. But when you set it in the context of this guy's career, it's really noteworthy because what's unique about Jim is that he excels not just in ultra running, but in many distances across many terrains. He's won a ton of Ultra's. Of course, he was the victor in the twenty eighteen and the twenty nineteen Western states, one hundred, which is kind of widely considered one of the one of, if not the most prestigious ultra running race in the world.
He set the course record in twenty eighteen and then he broke it again in twenty nineteen by twenty one minutes. But he also qualified for the Olympic trials in the marathon by running a sixty four minute half marathon and then running a 215 marathon at the Olympic trials. So this is a guy who can kill it on the road, he can kill it at the half marathon, he can go 100 miles and then some.
So was he incredibly versatile in the Olympics? No.
I mean, he he ran the Olympic trials. He did. He ran 215. So he was going to make the Olympic team with that. But for a guy who it's unusual for somebody who who specializes in ultras or hundred mile races to be a decent marathon. Right. Because usually by comparison, the marathon is like the level of speed that you have to run the marathon. And to be at the elite level is a completely different pursuit than running one hundred mile trail race at altitude.
Have you ever run just a marathon like. Not not that I have of the Ironman.
I have I ran the Long Beach Marathon before I did any of the Ultra Manz and it was not a good experience, but it was before I knew what I was doing. But I'm not. But I would never go down. I'm not I'm not a fast runner. You know, I'm. I'm a tortoise. I was just curious if I had ever done it, like done the New York I could see you wanted to do the New York Marathon.
Maybe at some point. You know, see, here's an interesting fact about Jim before we move on. He went to the Air Force Academy and worked as a missile year in Montana, working underground on nuclear weapons, a twenty four hour shifts. So he's also you got to I would suspect you got to be a pretty smart dude. You do.
But see, this is always curious to me about people who have dangerous jobs. They shouldn't have. Twenty four hour shifts.
I agree. I agree with like, why why are surgeons. Well, the article that I read this and it just kind of put the twenty four hour thing at the end of the sentence, but it doesn't make sense. Doctors, what I don't want my nuclear weapons guy did not get eight hours of sleep. I did agree with that. I'd agree with that. All right. Let's do some listener questions.
OK, we didn't get to the Adam Grant book, by the way. Do you want to get.
Oh, yeah. So so today's Monday on Wednesday, I'm interviewing Adam Grant for the podcast. For those that don't know, he is an organizational psychologist, multiple New York Times best selling author, Wharton's most popular professor, really all time named the most. But, you know, he's got millions of views on his TED talks. He's just an incredible person. And his focus is really on trying to help people figure out how to live and pursue meaningful professional lives, like it's all about like work life.
He's got a podcast called Work Life. Anyway, he's got a new book out called Think Again. And so he's very much in the press at the moment. And he wrote a New York Times op ed the other day that was kind of relevant to what we were talking about with Giorgio and Arthur in that it was about how you interface with and communicate with people who have a very different perspective on either an issue or a worldview. And our inclination is to kind of come at them with facts about why they're wrong and why you're right.
But that never seems to work. And his ultimate conclusion is really we need to enter into these kinds of exchanges from a perspective of of empathy and curiosity and a true desire to. Try to understand, like from a question asking perspective, as opposed to an indicting kind of telling point of view. Yeah, and that's relevant, I think, when, you know, we're in a divided state at the moment and whether, you know, it's politics or some other, you know, choose your issue.
Everybody's in their information silo and saying, you know, you know, fed a certain type of news that. That that satisfies their respective cognitive bias, and it's important for us to understand that just because we see other people with their cognitive biases doesn't mean that we don't have our own. We all have our own. And in order to kind of create that ability to communicate healthily, we need to be objective about our own biases. And I think when you when you endeavor to communicate with another person from that perspective of curiosity, you're in a position to perhaps learn something that you wouldn't.
Otherwise, yeah, and I liked it because, you know, I definitely fall prey to, like my emotions when I get, like, locking horns on, like these issues that are that I find so important because they are so relevant to people's lives. Right. So you want to you want to I kind of try to tilt towards justice and in that realm and, you know, everyone getting an equal opportunity and feeling good in life and having opportunity.
So when I end up locking horns, I typically do get a little too emotional. So it was really helpful to see it laid out because of the times I've been effective at. Communication has always been when I've been more, you know, taken a step back and just ask simple questions. Right. It's a really great article. I can't wait to read the book because one point he makes is process matters in these conversations and how you approach these things matters and who you are and how you feel about yourself ultimately.
Right. So there's there's that take home. Take home as well. Yeah.
So more on that in my conversation with him. All right. Listener questions.
Let's keep it up here from Adam and Kevin from the St. Louis area. And I have a question about productivity of sorts. So I'm sitting here today watching the events unfold at the Capitol building, trying to comprehend what's going on and how we've gotten to this point, all also using this time, amongst other times in twenty twenty, to reflect on my privileges, actions in my role for a better tomorrow. I also have full time studies as a medical student, but today in particular, I find very difficult to focus on in the midst of a global pandemic as well.
I find it difficult to be productive. I feel the expectations of my physician as a student and during normal times of school is hard enough as it is. My mind tells me that what I'm doing has less importance when our country is hurting so much. My question for you and which is your advice on how to focus on school and maybe for others their job and to maintain some semblance of what you're supposed to be doing. And that's all that's going on.
I find it hard at times to get in the groove. So feel free to play this on the iPod. Thanks for all your insights and discussion to both of you. They mean a lot to me. Have a good time. Thanks. All right, thanks, Kevin, for that question. Obviously, this question was lodged some weeks ago. Yeah, it's to the insurrection. And I think, you know, the sentiment that he's conveying is pretty human and pretty normal.
I suspect a lot of people will will relate to that. And it's indicative of, you know, a very strange and extraordinary time that we're all living through where we're all trying to do our best. I was glued to their holding. We're holding ourselves to a standard of behavior of how we would operate in a normal situation. And these are not normal situation. So the first thing I would say is like, give yourself a break a little bit right now.
Be a little gracious with yourself. And that's not to say let yourself off the hook. But I think it's OK to take a breather and not beat yourself up for feeling unproductive in in this moment in terms of how to move forward. I mean, my my advice is pretty straightforward and simple and basic. I mean, the first thing is try to control the control levels. There's so much about this that we have no control over. We have no agency over it.
The only things we do have control over is our behaviors and our thoughts and our interactions. You're in medical school. So what's you know, the thing in front of you that you need to get done and break those tasks down into bite sized chunks and try to execute on them, you know, in the best way possible. Just do the least amount that you need to do to engender a little bit of momentum and and just look for the next right thing.
You know, I think it's incumbent upon you as a medical student and somebody is clearly very busy. It's OK to take a break from the news, like the news will be the news. And you don't have to be, you know, hamstrung in your life because of the news cycle. Like, you can take that in chunks as well at certain points of the day if you feel you need to. But the news will continue and exist, whether you're consuming it or not.
I also sense a little bit of of guilt or maybe even shame, like I feel this person feels like they want to contribute and be of service in a way that they're not feeling connected to in the moment. And I think it's important to just figure out how to be a giver in your own way. That doesn't mean that you have to raise your hand and be some kind of prominent voice in a political movement. But in your own universe, you, you know, can be of service to I don't know if you're dealing with patients yet, but your fellow students and your professors, like how can you exercise small gestures in a giving type of way that make you feel more connected to the people around you and engender, you know, a tighter a tighter community on the privilege base?
Look, you know, it's fine to acknowledge your privilege, but I don't think that you should feel guilty about the position that you're in. I'm sure you worked very hard to be where you're at.
And, you know, if there's anything, you don't have to atone for it. But like, I think it's you should make the most of it and just to be the best doctor that you can be in service to other people. So to the extent that you may not be able to make a difference, you know, geopolitically you can find meaning and fulfillment in your work and that is your unique lever for making a difference. And I think as a doctor, you can make a tremendous amount of difference in so many people's lives.
So give yourself a break. It's a pandemic. Things are weird. They're hard. It's all OK. Just do it in front of you. Beautiful. I agree, I think sometimes, like these bigger storylines that are floating over us. They take on this incredible importance because they they call into question kind of these stories that we've been telling ourselves about where we are and where we live and what the people around us are up to.
And they're paralyzed and also and they're paralyzing. But in reality, real life happens. Super local. It's on the ground right around you. And all that, unless we lived in D.C., didn't affect us really like so it affected us emotionally. But it wasn't like it didn't change our abilities to move around in our in our localities. Right. And so I think you're right. Like finding keeping it super local, keeping it simple sometimes is the answer.
But, you know, that's coming from a guy who literally couldn't do anything for like five days.
So I'm with you. Yeah. You St. Louis.
All right. Let's go to John John, Sierra Nevada. Hi, guys.
My name's John. I live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. It's OK to play this clip on the air, and my question for you guys is more so directly rich, but, you know, how do you how do you address. Failure, Mike. Like the colossal type of failure, the type of failure that makes you feel like your life's falling apart or, you know, the wheels are falling off and you can't grab onto the reins and get control of things again.
You know, when. Like, you know what the higher version of yourself needs to do, but you can't do it because all you can feel is the the lower version of yourself, you know, and how do you tackle things like guilt and shame and how do you address and adjust your lifestyle to set yourself up for success? Anyway, thank you, guys. I love the show. I love you guys. You've done a lot for me and I appreciate it.
Thanks again. That's heavy. I can feel the pain in this one. Yeah. It's tough, you know, it sounds like John's going through something extremely difficult. We don't know the details of what that is, but an intuitive sense of powerlessness and in what he's relating right. It's the idea of the two worlds like which one do you feed? And the dark wolf is the one who's getting the best of him at the moment. And there's a sense of an inability to kind of arrest that negative impulse.
And I know what that feels like. It's really hard. And, you know, for me, that was in the form of alcoholism. And the solution that I had to come to was breaking the chains of denial and throwing my hands up in the air and literally surrendering rather than trying to control it, letting go and letting go for me, not letting other people in. So I think the first thing I would say to John is, you know, I'm empathetic and I feel you and I think the first thing that you can do to try to get on top of this.
Is to confront those feelings rather than repress them or compartmentalize them, to find a way to bring voice to them, because things like shame can't survive the light, you've got to shine the light on them. And that's scary. It takes courage to communicate with another person about what you're really going through. It requires a certain vulnerability and it's very frightening. But I can't encourage you enough how important it is to find somebody that that you feel comfortable talking to, that you can be really honest with that you can convey whatever it is specifically, particularly, specifically.
I think it's important to be really specific to let somebody in on this. And the relief that you'll experience just in that alone, I think is tremendous. You have to find the right person, somebody you can trust, somebody that you respect, somebody that you know can provide you with solid counsel. But I think the process of of that communication is in of itself a little bit of a letting go. And it will allow you to get a little more objectivity on what's happening with you to help you find the cause, the triggers of those behaviors that are sending you sideways and ultimately help you analyze this story that you're telling yourself that you're a failure and you can't you can't help yourself and everything's out of control to really deconstruct that and perhaps construct a better, healthier and less negative story for yourself.
You know, along the way. Can you find a way to listen to that, you know, positive Wolf at all? Can you make any kind of lifestyle adjustments that would move you in a positive direction in recovery? They call it taking contrary action. So when your instinct is, you know, whether it's like, I know I shouldn't drink, but I'm going to take that drink, whatever it is like, what is the control reaction like?
Oh, I don't want to pick up the phone and tell that guy what I just did. The contrary reaction is to pick up the phone and tell the guy what you did right. What is the smallest contrary action that you can take that will break the seal on that and, you know, initiate a different direction for yourself?
It's a great little super doable action step to do. Yeah. If your mind's telling you one thing and you know that's the negative thing, just do the smallest version of that.
Yeah. What would the good version of myself do. Yeah. As heavy is that to start or whatever it is. You know how difficult it is. If you can just do that one thing and you're like wow, I did that and I didn't die. Yeah right. I think the other thing is to reframe this word failure and recast it as learning. I don't know what this failure, colossal type of failure is specifically, again, that that you're experiencing, but.
Can we look at it instead as a learning experience, like what can you what can be gleaned from whatever it is that you're going through that you can then leverage to be better and grow? And I think in truth, success is about failure. There isn't. Success that exists outside of failure and success is about trying, it's about not being afraid to fail and not taking failures personally. And the thing that you're attempting to do may have failed, but it's important to depersonalize yourself from that.
You didn't fail. This thing failed. You had the courage to try, so can you disassociate your identity, your sense of self from the thing itself so that your identity isn't tied up in how the thing does, if that makes sense? Right that way, you create a little bit of distance between yourself, your identity and your actions, and at the same time keep showing up at the plate and, you know, swing the bat. Because if there's one trait that successful people share, it's that they fail way more than they succeed.
They just try so often and so regularly and we forget about the failures. We only see the successes. And this is another message or theme of Adam Grant's work, like his his book originals was all about this, like what makes people originals? And he looks at all these successful people and realizes, like, these people failed all the time, whether it's Picasso or or Edison, like they have tons of failures in their. And we don't look at those or think about those.
We just focus on the few successes they had. But they took more. That's a plate than anybody else. So if you can kind of re frame this whole thing from that perspective, that might make it easier to get, you know, back up to the plate and swing again and really try to objectively deconstruct what you're going through and find the lessons in there. And if you can do that and start figuring out how to implement those lessons to craft a better version of yourself five years from now, you could look back on whatever it is you're going through right now and say that was the best thing that ever happened to me.
And that sounds glib. And I don't mean to be insensitive to what you're going through, but I've heard this. I've experienced this myself and I know so many other people that have. And maybe that will provide you with a little sliver of hope to dig a little bit deeper to get yourself out of this hole.
Yeah, when I hear his message, I think of myself 40 years old. Marriage fell apart. Lonely Planet jobs like going away because maybe Lonely Planet is failing. That was what was happening then and that was the worry then didn't fail. But I saw all my income going away, which wasn't that huge of an income anyway. I saw my identity as a travel writer adventure going away. I didn't have the life I thought I'd had. And then that was just the beginning of like it seemed like everything was working against me, just like one thing after another.
And it's hard not to take things personally when it just keeps you just feel like you're in a vicious cycle. And so I totally feel that. And I know how that I know how that is. So, you know, the only thing is it's like whether eventually that luck turns, especially if you take these small steps like Rich laid out, I would add just like sometimes it helps if in the morning you could do one thing physically. That is not whether it's do 10000 salutations or sit down and try to meditate for five or ten minutes and turn your brain off if you can.
I mean, it's hard to at first, but like one physical thing you can do first thing in the morning, right when you get up. So at least that time, right after that, you kind of feel good. Yeah, a little self care, just a little bit.
And I quote chromo. Yeah. Can you look at this as something that is happening? Not to you, but for you. That's beautiful. I love that. Yeah. And I say that you have your version of this story. Look, you know, I hit bottom as an alcoholic. I've been unemployable. I've been in a situation where my family didn't want anything to do with me. I've had cars repossessed. I almost lost my house. I've been unable to pay my bills.
I've had so many, you know, versions of of feeling like a failure. And I've been able to claw out of it. So I don't know what John circumstances are. But I do believe in trust that no matter where he is, there is a better place for him. And there's always light at the end of the tunnel.
There you go. All right, one last one from Phoenix, Arizona. Hi, my name is Sarah and I live in Phoenix, Arizona. And I'm wondering if you're willing to discuss just something interesting that I've noticed. So I'm in my first year of sobriety. After a long struggle with drugs and alcohol, I am a long time athlete playing lots of sports and loving running. And I was wondering if you were willing to discuss how overcoming substance abuse has changed your mindset on fitness, your life, your goals, your athleticism, just things like that.
And I'm a huge fan of the show and I'm super happy to even reach out that hopefully you'll address these kinds of things in the talk because your story is really powerful. And I think it would empower a lot of other people to take hold of their life, their bodies, their fitness. Thanks again. And I hope that y'all are having a wonderful day. Cool.
Thanks for the question, Sara. Congrats on your sobriety. That's a huge deal. Amazing.
And it's a great question. It's an interesting question. I mean, the first thing I would say is sobriety first, like, don't be confused. Like there is a confused narrative out there that that somehow, like being vegan or being an athlete contributed to me getting sober and staying sober. And that's just not what happened at all. Like, I didn't get and stay sober because I went vegan or became an endurance athlete. I got and stayed sober by.
Overcoming denial, finding people to talk to, being honest, holding myself accountable, working a program in the secret rooms and helping others, and working with a sponsor and doing an inventory and making amends. And it's really only when I created a solid foundation of sobriety that I began to expand in other areas, like being vegan and becoming this middle aged endurance athlete came many years after I got sober at 31. I didn't start doing Ultra's until I was 42.
I got I got, you know, I went vegan at 40. So there's a decade after getting sober where I was trying to start my shit out and get my life back on track before any of these other things.
So this idea, this notion that personality can just go from one thing to then you can put an athlete, put it, make him an athlete instead and he can channel. And that that you could it's that's not how it played out for me. Like I had a decade of, you know, being a workaholic and like eating shitty food, I transferred many addictive tendencies on to other things that weren't drugs or alcohol. And it took me a long time in my spiritual evolution to, like, grapple with those things.
And as they say, the road gets narrower, like when you first get sober just to not drink. Is everything right? Anything else is fine. It's just like just don't drink. Right. And then the more emotionally sober you get, the less tolerant you become of other behaviors and proclivities that you have that used to not bother you. Like you just can't get away with it anymore because the more emotionally sober and mature you become, you realize that those things are at odds with you being the most, you know, actualized person that you can be.
So whether it's, you know, going to gamble or shopping too much or working whatever, your shitty self care habits, whatever it is like those things become, if you get sober enough, they become unbearable and they have to go as well. And this is a it's called slow brierty. It takes a long time. So in my case, these things didn't happen in lockstep. And so I just want to impress upon anybody who's listening to understand that things like, you know, running, cycling, just, you know, self care, physical fitness, diet, sleep, meditation, these things are all beneficial to sobriety.
And meditation is actually a core aspect of sobriety. But none of them can take the place of of working a program. And I know there's various different ways of getting sober and staying sober. But, you know, I got sober in 12 step and that got me sober. It's kept me sober. It's still the most important thing in my life. I tried all these other ways. They didn't work. This is just work what works for me.
But I will say in more specific response to your question, that getting sober led to performing more esteemable acts on behalf of myself, on behalf of other people, on esteemable acts, in turn lead to elevated self-esteem, which in turn expands your horizon of what's possible for yourself. In other words, you begin to believe in yourself. You begin to believe that you can do more and you can be more. And that means that you end up taking on things that you never would have previously.
You get more interested in bettering yourself and improving the quality of life of those around you and challenges that once might have seemed impossible. You end up welcoming and in my case, that took the form of these endurance challenges and later writing books, starting this podcast for you. It's going to be different, of course, but these are all practices that contribute and reinforce my sobriety. But they're not they're not interchangeable with the program itself. Running specifically, I think is interesting.
I think swimming is the same way as this practice of active meditation. It's something that's very honest and keeps you honest. It doesn't care who you think you are, who you tell yourself you are, who you tell other people you know who you are because it tells you who you are and. And that makes it this this amazing and beautiful template for for self discovery and self-improvement and just it's just one of the reasons why I love endurance sports and that's all great.
Just don't replace a program, your program for running as a solution.
Boom. That's it. We did good, how are you feeling? I feel good, man. That was feels good. It feels good man to like unload the list, give us a lot chamber.
There was like six weeks of roll on energy that needed to be expressed. I don't know how long you're going on for, but this is like a pressure valve. It's a filibuster. We're filibustering.
It felt good, man.
You know, I wanted to talk to you about this. I even suggested we do a remote one. Yeah, you know, I know. You tell me you like you, we got to do it. Maybe you could do a thing with go live. We got to talk about this. And I was tempted, but I was like, no, I'm not working.
I do this. Yeah. Yeah, I'm glad you did. And it was worth waiting. You know, it's funny. Like, there's the thing in journalism. The later you are, the smarter you have to be.
And so I think it was good you brought Arthur and Giorgio in because they look they make both of us look smarter. Yes, you're right. They made it seem like we actually know what we're talking about.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, right. Yeah. No, they I mean, they it's amazing how much they know the inner workings. And it sounds like Arthur's connected to Anonymous. Yeah. He was, he was cagey about that and it was interesting. Yeah. Maybe we'll do a little research on that.
You know, we should also point out that there's there's been lots of interesting articles that Adam and I read in preparation to talk about the subjects today, which will link up in the show, notes some cool pieces by Taylor Llorens and Kevin Roose, of course, who are the two journalists that I follow the most to stay on top of these particular issues, as well as that Politico piece on Holly and some other things. So check the show notes for that.
We will be back here in two weeks time. In the meantime, follow Adam at Adam Skolnick. You can leave us a message if you would like your question considered for the podcast. That number again is four two four two three five four six two six. I already told you guys to check out the show notes on the episode page. Rich Roll Dotcom. Don't forget to hit that subscribe button on YouTube, Apple, Spotify, wherever you listen to podcast again, we did create a channel on YouTube.
So if you do dig short chunks from the show or you want to just sample the guest before committing, you can find a link to that channel in the show notes or just search all podcast clips on YouTube. That's it. I want to thank everybody helping on today's show. Jason Carmello, new to Los Angeles in the house, audio engineering, production, shout outs, interstitial music, and so much more like Curtis for handling all the video aspects of the show.
Just Kamaran for graphics, Ali Rogers for Portrait's, Georgia WELI for Copywriting DKA, David Conn for advertising, relationships and theme music is always by Tyler Trapper and Ari. Appreciate the love you guys. See you back here in a couple of days with who's coming up next. Oh, Alexi Pappas. Good one. That's good. Yeah. Yeah. Have you checked out our book Bhairavi.
Not yet. Not yet. Really good. I agree. Right. I have to say, it's getting so much love and I can't wait to know Jake Tapper reading about it. Come on. I mean, she's one of the Adam Grant blurbed it. You know, I believe you know what?
I think that's an audio book because she's so cool. I want to hear her read it. So I think that's an audio book. I'm going to I've got credits with you on that. I'm going to grab it. Cool. All right, you guys, see you back here soon. Much love.