Backtalk: Stoneman Douglas & The Olympics

This week, Dahlia and Amy talk about the growing anti-gun student movement that’s happened since the shooting at the Parkland, Florida, high school and an update about the Winter Olympics. After the latest horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, students have rallied together to demand serious gun control and that the NRA get out of the pockets of politicians. And at this year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, a #MeToo moment with Shaun White and some incredible performances from Chloe Kim and the American figure skating team. Plus, a Petty Political Pminute and a new Amy vs. Dahlia poll! 

WATCH: Black Panther has shattered box office records for a reason. Get yourself a ticket to Wakanda now!

READ: “Do You Believe Her Now?” by Jill Abramson expertly lays out the case for impeaching Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and it’s a must-read.

LISTEN: All the best house vibes from Yaeji’s “Drink I’m Sippin’ On.”


Banner reads: 37th Annual Gender Studies Symposium Lewis & Clark College, March 7-9, 2018 This episode of Backtalk is sponsored by Lewis & Clark College’s 37th Annual Gender Studies Symposium in Portland, Oregon, from March 7–9. inSECURITY will explore subjects including the prison-industrial complex, community justice, intimate violence, global politics, and creative resistance. Don’t miss out on this exciting series of free lectures, workshops, panel discussions, and an art exhibit. We’ll see you on campus!

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DAHLIA: This episode of Backtalk is sponsored by Lewis & Clark College’s 37th Annual Gender Studies Symposium, titled “Insecurity,” which will take place March 7th, 8th, and 9th in Portland, Oregon. “Insecurity” will explore subjects including the prison-industrial complex, community justice, intimate violence, global politics, and creative resistance. Don’t miss out on this exciting series of free lectures, workshops, panel discussions, and an art exhibit. Learn more at, or click on the Gender Studies Symposium ad. We’ll see you on campus! 

[theme music] 

Welcome to Backtalk. This is the feminist response to pop culture podcast. I’m Dahlia Grossman-Heinze, Senior Engagement Editor at Bitch Media. 

AMY: And I’m Amy Lam, Contributing Editor at Bitch Media. 

DAHLIA: And we start every episode of Backtalk by sharing our pop culture moment. Amy, what is yours? 

AMY: My pop culture moment was something that I sincerely never thought I would to get to do in my lifetime. So, I don’t believe in bucket lists, for really kind of maybe random reasons, but I actually had a very secret bucket list. Because it was this thing that I wanted to do before I died, and it was to sit courtside at an NBA game. And I got to do that thanks to a very generous hook up of mine, a friend of mine! And I got to see the Oklahoma City Thunder plays the Memphis Grizzlies, and it was everything I thought sitting courtside would be like! [laughs] It was just incredible to see these people that I’ve seen onscreen play basketball for years and years now, and to see them in real life. And I got to see one of my favorite players, Russell Westbrook, on court and to see some of his teammates that I just admire their play, like Steven Adams, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony on court. It was amazing. I’m not a huge Memphis Grizzlies fan, so there wasn’t anybody on their team that I was super excited see. But they played an amazing game and was a good, close game. It was such a fun game. 

And it was just one of those things where my partner was with me, and we just sat there, and we watched this game together. And it was just one of those moments where I literally ,every five minutes, I would just look at him and be like, “Oh my god! We’re sitting courtside.” I just had never thought I could ever do that ‘cause it’s just one of those things where you either have to have a ton of money to buy the seats, or you need to have a hook up. And luckily I had the hook up. But I just, I cannot say enough about how everybody should chase their dreams. 

BOTH: [laugh] 

AMY: ‘Cause one day, it could happen for you! So, put it out in the universe. 

That’s the other thing I think I learned from this was that I told a lot of my close friends and people who I knew and mentors this. I was just like, you know what? I don’t really have any things I feel like I need to accomplish in my life, except I want to sit courtside. So I told enough people in my life this story, and so that when it came time for somebody who was unable to attend the game, they passed their ticket on to me. That’s how it happened. But it was so much fun. And I just had heart eyes the entire time. 

DAHLIA: [laughs] 

AMY: And it was also on Valentine’s Day too. It was just like the best timing.  


AMY: Yeah, it was so much fun. But that was my favorite pop culture moment. 

DAHLIA: I think you’re totally right. I feel like I totally agree: If you tell enough people your dreams, you know people will try to make them happen for you. 

AMY: You never know! You just gotta like just keep talking ‘cause that’s what we do. We just talk a lot! [laughs] 

DAHLIA: Ha! We just talk a lot. 

AMY: And it happened for us! [laughs] What was your pop culture moment?  

DAHLIA: Oh my God. I had to get tickets to this quite a bit in advance, but some time ago, Amy and I were talking—I don’t really totally know how to say his name, but Amy and I were talking about— James Damore perhaps “Dahmer.” I don’t know, but the Google employee who circulated his personal memo about how he felt like diversity initiatives were excluding conservative white men from Google or from tech jobs. So, Amy and I talked about this on an episode of Backtalk, and James came to Portland State University to give a talk. When I got tickets to this talk, it was billed—it was James and a white man professor at Portland State University—and the talk was titled We Need To Talk About Diversity. 

AMY: Ugh. 

DAHLIA: And I was like oh boy! This is gonna be a shit show. I cannot wait to go! In between the time that I got tickets and the event actually happening, they added—I think ‘cause it looked kind of bad for them to have two white men on a panel about diversity—so good on them: They added two white women. That really mixed things up.  

BOTH: [laugh] 

DAHLIA: And I was saying that I don’t really know how to say his name, but the other day, Andi our co-founder, pronounced his last name “D’More,” and I was like, “Oh, is that how you say it?” And she’s like, “Oh, I don’t know.” And then I just had it sort of like in my head. I don’t even know that song, That’s Amore? 

AMY: Yeah. 

DAHLIA: Yeah. So, while I was like searching for info about James, I came across this tweet. The account name is actually, I don’t even know how to pronounce the word, but @TSERCELE, who is exactly on the wavelength that I was on. Because they tweeted in the style of this song, That’s Amore, [Dahlia sings] “When you’re just spreading hate, but you claim it’s debate, that’s Damore.” 

AMY: [laughs] 

DAHLIA: And then basically, all weekend, I’ve been coming up with those. [laughs] So, here’s one of mine. Ahem. Excuse  me. I’ve never sung before on a podcast. “When your takes are quite bad, can’t defend them, how sad. That’s Damore! 

And so, I know I’m just talking about my jokes about the talk instead of actually talking about the talk, but it was wild! There was a huge line to get in. There were protesters that walked out during the talk and turned the microphones off. But it was kind of a hot mess. The panelists all more or less agreed with each other that one of the panelists said, “Diversity is a Trojan horse for a political agenda.” 


DAHLIA: Out loud. Yeah. I was like, oooh. Like out loud? And the professor is like, “Oh, you think that’s—Oh, you haven’t heard anything yet.! And I was like, oh great, this is gonna be real fun for everybody here. I mean I found them to be kind of engaging in bad faith, and they were asked questions about like why are you doing this biological essentialism when you’re talking about brains of men and brains of women? And it was wild. They added ,you know to make the panel more legit, they added a biologist who studies frogs. Not humans, just like lizards or something. [chuckles] I’m so glad I went, though. Just because I was surprised. 

Oh, and right before the talk, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Google had not violated federal law by firing him. He was saying that he was being discriminated against. So, he submitted a grievance to the National Labor Relations Board. They’ve ruled though that Google was totally within their rights to fire him, and Damore has also filed a class action lawsuit accusing the company of discriminating against white male and conservative employees. So basically, the talk was like, I don’t care about diversity in terms of race or in terms of gender. But you know what? You know who’s really missing out ? Conservatives. And their views should really be more, like let’s add their views more into the mix. We need to hear more from them. 

You know that I love to hate-watch and hate-listen things. So, I was a little surprised by how hesitant Damore seemed to be to actually engage with people. It seemed like the rest of the panelists spoke a lot more than he did. I should have asked him a question. I wanted to ask him about how he did an interview with Milo Yiannopoulos, as if he’s not actually a troll. He’s such a troll. But anyway so, I have these Damore songs stuck in my head all weekend long. 

AMY: [laughs] 

DAHLIA: And now I hope they’re stuck in your head! And I encourage you to come up with some more of these tunes. Let me sing one more. When your essentialist case falls flat on its face, that’s Damore! 

AMY: Damore! 

BOTH: [laugh] 

AMY: You know, if anything came out of this huge, gigantic mess from this dude, I’m really grateful that I got to hear you serenade us with these songs. 

DAHLIA: [laughs] 

AMY: I’m surprised that he wasn’t that engaged because he strikes me as a coward. You know what I mean? The thing that he got in trouble for, and that he ultimately was let go from Google for, was just for writing this like this ridiculous memo, right? He sat behind his screen and wrote a screed against policies that are made to help marginalized communities succeed in this gigantic corporation, and he wasn’t having any of it. So, I’m unsurprised that when it came time for him to sit on a stage and to answer to the things that he wrote about, that he was unable to because he’s a fucking coward. And I’m kind of glad that maybe his name rhymes with that song. 

BOTH: [laugh] 

AMY: We can hear more of them! 

[cutesy bells ring] 

AMY: All right! Now we get to the part of the show where we ask you, our dear listeners, for your support, and we have a special guest today. 

KATE: I’m Kate, Kate Lesniak. You’ve probably seen me email you if you’re on our e-mail list. But I’m the publisher here at Bitch, and I butted my way into Backtalk so I could talk to you today. 

AMY: OK so, why are you here? What is the urgency that’s led you here? 

K: I’m here because, as folks know, Bitch is a reader- and listener-supported organization, and it’s really important for us to ask for support so that we can continue to do our work. And Amy and Dahlia do a really good job on it every other week on their Backtalk show, but this week is especially important because we’re trying to reach our 1000 new member goal by the end of the month. And if you can believe it, next Wednesday is the end of February. So, I’m just here to make a special pitch to increase support from Backtalk listeners in our membership program the B-hive. 

About 15% of Backtalk listeners are already Pollinators or B-hive members, which is pretty awesome. 

AMY: Wait! Just 15%? 

K: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s good. But Amy, I can hear the anger in your voice even though I can’t see you. 

AMY: No, I am beside myself.  

DAHLIA: [laughs] 

AMY: Where are our listeners at? You guys!!! 15%? I’m really disappointed in you. 

K: OK, OK. Wow. Whoa. OK, play it cool.  

But anyway, I think that’s great, but I think we can do even better. And if just 100 more Backtalk listeners join the B-hive today, it will make a huge difference towards our 1,000-member new goal by the end of the month. And it’s really cool to be in the B-hive. I’m a B-hive member. I’m a Pollinator : $8 a month. I got a mug. I’m supporting Backtalk. On the day-to-day basis, I’m just a regular Backtalk listener, and I love it just as much as all of you do.  

DAHLIA: You’re one of 15% that supports us! 

K: I’m one of the 15%! Anytime anybody says anything that’s like, “You’re one of X percent,” I’m always like, what does that mean, you know? But in this case, it’s good. Usually, it’s bad.  

AMY: This actually gives us sort of this weird, vague goal of getting 100% of our listeners to be Pollinators. I don’t know how we can possibly track that, but that would be amazing! 

K: Well, I was shocked to hear while I was cooking dinner the other night, Amy, that I think you said if somebody gave us thousands of dollars, they could be on our Slack channel.  

DAHLIA: [laughs] Yeah, Amy did say that. 

K: Every time I— 

AMY: I think I said $26,000.  

DAHLIA: You did say a really large number.  

K: Every time I listen to Backtalk, I’m like, wow wow OK. We gotta figure that out, OK. ‘Cause I never know what you’re gonna give away. 

DAHLIA: I mean, I think it would be an incredible perk. Amy and I have, I have to say, really fun text conversations with each other. [laughs] 

K: You really do. And we are working to try to figure out how to get our listeners into those conversation ‘cause they’re hilarious. And right now, it’s just me and Ashley creeping in on them. Ashley, our producer over here. 

DAHLIA: Yeah, if you think it’s funny when Amy and I talk to each other, you should see us planning talking to each other.  

ALL: [laugh] 

AMY: It’s so true! 

K: Actually, it is. 

AMY: Yeah. But you she us planning to talk about the Amy Versus Dalia segments. They are so ridiculous! 

K: They’re so good. OK. 

AMY: Well, thank you so much, Kate, for joining us. 

K: Yes. But let me just make my final pitch. Definitely join the B-hive. Bitch wouldn’t be here without our B-hive members. And you can do that at Or you can just go to and navigate around the site and figure out. 

ALL: [laugh] 

K: And figure out how to become a member, and then we’ll know how good our website is. But really, become a member, please. And thank you.  

AMY: [laughing] Just show up. 

K: We’ll be there waiting for you.  

AMY: Just hit the letter B on your keyboard. And that’s how you can donate. 

K: OK…and that is fake new. 

ALL: [laugh] 

K: OK. Thanks for having me. Thanks, bye. 

AMY and DAHLIA: Thanks, Kate! 

[cutesy bells ring] 

DAHLIA: In our new, extra-special segment Amy Versus Dahlia, here I am to reveal the results of our latest battle. In the last episode of Backtalk, our question to each other was, which is the best noodle soup? Amy was Team Phở. I was Team Ramen. And here I am unveiling the results: 388 people weighed in on their favorite soup. 

AMY: Whoa whoa!! 

DAHLIA: I’m sorry Amy, but I was the winner. I got 204 votes, and Amy got 184 votes. So, very, very close even though ramen won, and I won this again. Sorry, Amy.  

AMY: Well, I still feel like phở won for existing. 

DAHLIA: [laughs] 

AMY: And for those of us who understand that phở is the superior noodle soup, I mean shit got a little heated on Twitter. [laughs] 

DAHLIA: It’s true. 

AMY: I kind of loved it, though. But I did think more about this because I was just like, at no point was I winning, I don’t think. But I was just like, maybe it’s just because people haven’t had the access or opportunity to try phở. I think that maybe it’s less ubiquitous than ramen places are. So, that’s the the place I’m going to, to make myself feel better about it. So, if you’ve never tried phở, definitely seek it out. And enjoy some of your new favorite noodle soup. 

DAHLIA: Yeah. But we have a new Amy Versus Dahlia for this week and will each make our case. But here’s the question: Other than Olivia Benson on Law and Order Special Victims Unit, who is the second best SVU cast member? Amy, please make your case. 

AMY: My case is the character after Olivia Benson who’s the most valuable crew member of SVU [laughs] is Dr. George Huang. So, the reason why I love Dr. George Huang so much—who’s played by the irreplaceable B.D. Wong—is that he’s always empathetic, and he’s a tireless advocate for not just for the victims and survivors but also for the rest of the SVU crew. And I think the thing about him is that whenever he shows up, he’s super calm, and he changes the vibe in the room, so you can really feel amped up for whatever fucked up crime has just been perpetrated. ‘Cause I mean you’re feeling so amped up from it, so that he kind of calms you down from it. 

And the thing about him is that he’s actually no longer on the show. The show wrote him off. And when they wrote him off, they said that he had to go work in Oklahoma.  

BOTH: [laughs] 


AMY: But whenever he—‘cause he still makes guest appearances at least once a season—and whenever he does, he always makes a quip about how it’s hard being a gay Chinese American man in Oklahoma. 


AMY: So, I was just like, yeah. So, I just really have loved George Huang as a character, but I’ve also really loved B.D. Wong. And fun fact about B.D. Wong is that B.D. stands for Bradley Darrell. That was such a good revelation that I learned. So, that’s why I loved Dr. George Huang so much. 

DAHLIA: Oh my God. Well, now that you revealed your favorite character’s real name, I’m gonna tell you what I learned about my favorite character today. So, my counter is may I present to you, Detective Fin Tutuola, played by the rapper also known as Ice-T. And in my preparations for my case, I’ve learned what Ice-T’s real name is, and his name is Tracy. 

AMY: Oh! I also, you know what, I did counter-intelligence, and I also looked up Ice-T. 

DAHLIA: [laughs] You did counter-intelligence? Oh my god.  

AMY: [laughs] 

DAHLIA: OK, well, here’s my case. One, it was recently Ice-T’s birthday. He turned 60. Happy Birthday Ice-T. Two, this week he tweeted this sentence, “I’m positive but very much into revenge. So, I’m in some ways a contradiction.” And I just thought what a delightful tweet, especially considering because the newest issue of Bitch is the Revenge issue, so I’m thinking a lot about revenge. 

During my research, I learned this: When Ice-T asked Dick Wolf—you know the famous producer of all of Law and Order—how he should perform, Wolf told Ice-T, “Just do what you would do if you were a cop.” And I feel like there’s so much irony because, you know Ice-T famously had this song called Cop Killer in the ‘90s. And this is just like, personal anecdote about this is that, when I was in 7th grade, I wrote a paper about parental advisory warnings on albums, and I quoted a whole bunch of the song Cop Killer. And my teacher was like, “Uh…you can’t use these words in your paper.” And I was like, “Pretty sure I can. They’re in quotes. That’s how you write papers!” 

BOTH: [laugh] 

AMY: Damn, Dahlia! 

DAHLIA: And then my other point in favor of Fin is that do you remember that story arc when Ludacris played his nephew for several episodes? Because I do, and I love the idea that Ice-T and Ludacris reunite in this alternate dimension SVU world where they’re no longer rappers but still engaged in the crime game. It’s such a contradiction, as Ice-T, said in many ways he’s a contradiction. It just tickles me so much that this man went from this rap career to a long longstanding, lucrative, big-deal career on an NBC cop drama. And he’s so funny. Every joke he makes, I’m here for it. So, my my case is for Detective Tutuola, otherwise known as ICE Tracy. 

AMY: [chuckling] Ice Tracy. OK. While I accept your your statement about Fin Tutuola, I will say that your argument is heavily based on the fact that you were talking about Ice-T and not Fin, OK? 

DAHLIA: Well, OK. So? 

AMY: I’m just saying. I’m just saying. 

BOTH: [laugh] 

AMY: Dahlia!!! I wanna win one of these!! 

DAHLIA: OK, I really do think you’re gonna win this one. Even I love B.D. Wong too, so. 

AMY: I also love Fin Tutuola. I mean I think he’s a great presence on the show, and he adds a different voice to the crew. ‘Cause the crew’s kinda like, sometimes they’re very two-dimensional, and he’s like a whole new perspective. But we all agree that we love Olivia Benson. 

DAHLIA: Oh yeah! 

AMY: And we love the entire crew, but just that we’re just picking one person to stand for in this case. 

DAHLIA: Yeah. And so, this is our new Amy Versus Dalia. And please weigh in; let your voice be known. We will have a little poll in our post for this podcast episode on, and we’ll also tweet about it. Amy and I have been low-key/high-key campaigning our various sides. 

AMY: [laughs] 

DAHLIA: With a lot of gifs. So, expect some B.D. Wong and some Ice-T gifs in the next week. 

[cutesy bells ring] 

DAHLIA: I have a really quick petty political p-minute. Last week, Bob Mueller’s team indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies in connection with alleged interference in the 2016 election. The indictments, their main emphasis is on propaganda efforts of the Russian group The Internet Research Agency, which I have to say if I’ve ever heard of some covert op election fraud Internet company don’t name it The Internet Research Agency. Mueller’s indictment lays out that they were using social media, online ads, and organizing rallies to influence the vote, especially to denigrate Hillary Clinton’s campaign and support Donald Trump’s. A really important point that’s being made is that this campaign happened not because Vladimir Putin thought that Donald Trump would be a great president for the United States or an advantageous president for the United States, but rather that this election process culminating in Donald Trump would be disastrous for the United States and would undermine Americans’ confidence in our voting systems, in our electoral process, which it absolutely has done. And in response to these indictments, Donald Trump who’s, I don’t know, every time he— I don’t even know what to say about his tweets. But he tweeted, “If it was the goal of Russia to create discord, disruption, and chaos within the US, then with all of the committee hearings, investigations, and party hatred they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart, America.” 

What does he think he’s saying? Yeah, they are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Yes. 

AMY: ‘Cause we elected you! 

DAHLIA: It was their goal to create discord, disruption, and chaos, and they did that by electing you. This is what is happening right now. I don’t know. So, we’re still waiting for more info from Bob Mueller about the indictments. Over the weekend, there was a piece in The New Yorker and The New York Times about Donald Trump’s harassment of women and the ways that he has covered up various affairs during his many, many horrible years on earth. And so, I think that there is reason to believe that there will be a lot more coming out about relationships that he had. 

And just to be super, super petty: Stormy Daniels, who is an adult film actress, who signed an NDA, allegedly, about her affair with Trump, her lawyer has said because Trump’s lawyer has spoken about paying her off, they think that that invalidates the NDA. So, fingers crossed that she’s gonna talk way more in the near future. Not that I want more details about what sex with Donald Trump is like, but that detail about how he wanted to be spanked with the Forbes Magazine with him on the cover, that’s just so like him. Not that I know, but you know that’s just like him. So, I’m hoping/terrified for more of that information to come. 

[cutesy bells ring] 

AMY: And an update to a segment that we did a couple episodes ago about Rose McGowan, who had a confrontation with the trans activist Andi Dier. So, we got some really great feedback from our listeners about how Andi Dier has been accused of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. And we wanted to let you all know that we heard your feedback, and thank you for letting us know. Because we didn’t know this when we did that segment. 

DAHLIA: And if you wanna read more about it, there is a piece over at The Stranger written by Katie Herzog that lays out the allegations. 

[cutesy bells ring] 

In our first segment we’re gonna talk about the school shooting that happened in Parkland, Florida last week. I wanna start by pointing listeners to a piece that we have at Its title is This Won’t Stop Happening: Men, Guns, And Toxic Masculinity. I just wanted to read a little piece of it. 

“Toxic masculinity is real. Yet it’s a topic of conversation usually reserved for niche feminist spaces. The correlation between domestic violence and large-scale massacre has been clear to anyone familiar with feminist theory for a long, long time, and yet corporate news media still treats it as a minor biographical detail, if it’s mentioned at all. 

We can’t talk about school shootings without talking about toxic masculinity, and we can’t talk about toxic masculinity without talking about how American culture equates masculinity and guns. This is a critical moment for intersectional feminist critiques of toxic masculinity, and of our government, and of how mainstream media botches headlines and coverage to gloss over the disparate threads we know lead us to this again and again. 

When it comes to gun violence and toxic masculinity, this isn’t just about what just happened. This is about what keeps happening.” 

And the piece also has a roundup of what you can do to take action around gun violence, how you can be involved in the political action that is coming out of this moment. 

What I particularly want to talk about in relation to this shooting is the activism that has come out so quickly from this moment, from the teenagers, from the students, from those who were there who are dealing with these repercussions. Because it’s been phenomenally inspirational and phenomenally powerful how quickly and how righteously these students have turned their grief and their anger into political action. So, several of the students have been tweeting at Donald Trump, at that Tomi Lahren, at various conservatives who are saying things like, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. Thoughts and prayers to everyone in Parkland,” you know, all of that sort of empty rhetoric that does nothing to solve our problems with gun violence in this country. 

And I think it’s another really fascinating and powerful sort of case study in how social media has power to change things. Because of course, sadly, horrifically sadly, this isn’t the first school shooting in this country. It’s not the first school shooting this year. But when we think about Columbine, when we think about Sandy Hook, you know either this happened before social media really existed the way it does now, or the survivors haven’t chosen to use their voice in this way or haven’t been able to use their voice in this way. But these teenagers, these students, are completely inspirational. So I just wanna play a little clip from a rally that happened over the weekend. The voice you hear is Emma Gonzalez. She’s a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and this is a rally that happened over the weekend. 

[recorded clip plays] 

[audiences applaud, cheer] 

EMMA: If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m gonna happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association. 

[crowd cheers] 

DAHLIA: First of all, like I said, I’m clenching my chest. I feel so…inspired and moved by what these students are doing because they are so correctly turning the tables back on the politicians who take money from the NRA. Because when these politicians sort of wiffle-waffle and say “thoughts and prayers” and all of that bullshit, we know that it’s because they are in the pockets of the NRA to the tune of millions of dollars. Like Emma Gonzales said, the NRA gave Donald Trump $30 million. 

There have been these mobile billboards, so basically trucks with a screen on one side, that have showed up in front of Marco Rubio’s offices in Doral, Florida. And the signs read, “Slaughtered in school and still no gun control. How come, Marco Rubio?” And the answer is that because the NRA gave Marco Rubio $3.3 million. And it’s really hard to think about how we can make political change in an environment where a corporation like the NRA can sway so much because they have so much money. But as one of these student activists said, David Hogg, said on CNN, “If you can’t get elected without taking money from child murderers, why are you running?” 

AMY: And this is so heartbreaking that, in effect, these are children having to perform this labor of checking adults and their behavior and the thing is that they are so powerless, and this is the only opportunity that they’ll have to speak out against it after this massive tragedy happened at their high school. And it’s also not an accident that the way that they’re doing this is through Twitter. ‘Cause they don’t have any other platform. But like you’re saying, I completely feel what you’re feeling in that it’s really empowering to see them be able to use their own voice to share their perspective. But it’s also disheartening when you think that children have to do this because the adults can’t get their shit together, because they’re too much in the pocket of the NRA. 

DAHLIA: And that’s something that the same student, David Hogg, said in a separate interview where he said like, “We are children. Can you be adults and protect us?” And I think the sad fucking truth is no, they’re not interested in protecting you. They’re interested in protecting their pockets. They’re interested in protecting their friends at the NRA. And for the rest of the children who are being killed in their schools, who are being killed because of gun violence, thoughts and prayers to you! But that’s about it. 

AMY: [sighs] It’s really hard for me to understand this inability to take action to do “sensible gun reform” or whatever when literal children are being killed by these weapons that people don’t need to have access to this ammunition, that a lot of people don’t need to have this stockpile of or whatever. But it continues to happen. 

I mean, after Sandy Hook happened and all those children died, literal little children died and were murdered by somebody who was heavily armed with something that he really didn’t need to have for any reason whatsoever. And there was zero gun reform that happened after that. I think that was a moment where we were like well, I guess it’s just never going to happen. 

DAHLIA: Yeah. 

AMY: But to see these teenage kids be like no, fuck that. This happened at my school, and I’m not going to allow it to happen to any other school because we literally saw the carnage of it. 

And I think another really impactful thing about what happened at Parkland is that not only are the students using social media to talk about anti-gun legislation and calling out politicians, but during the actual event, they were tweeting and snapping and doing insta stories of what was happening in those classrooms. And I think even for me, I remember seeing the very first school shooting from my childhood was Columbine and seeing it on the news and everything. 

DAHLIA: Yeah, me too. 

AMY: Even knowing that that happened in a school, I couldn’t really imagine it, you know? People say all these people died in the school. Even with Sandy Hook, you just kind of imagine one moment there’s a classrooms full of children behind their desks. And then the next moment, there’s a gunman in there, and then they’re dead. You don’t think about the sound of it, like the sound of the bullets ricocheting down the halls. You don’t think of the way students are screaming, the way they’re huddled. You don’t think about how the rooms are all dimmed, and they have to push things against doors and things. You don’t think about— I mean, I know I didn’t think about those things. 

So, I see other aspects of how social media’s interacted with this tragedy is that, as fucked up as it is, but I think we got to see just small snippets of how fucking horrific it was. And I don’t know what it will take for, ‘cause what it comes down to is just, legislators and politicians to fucking not rely on the milk of NRA money do real change. Because that’s really what’s keeping them in their pocket; it’s just like there’s no other reason to not have good gun reform. 

And I was even reading this really great piece called Touting “Sensible Gun Control” Hasn’t Worked. So Let’s Switch To Yes, I’m Anti-Guns” by Lily Herman on Refinery 29. And so, she makes this argument that like, let’s fucking stop talking about sensible gun control because nobody wants to hear about sensible gun control, and nobody wants to do anything about it. And also, what the fuck does sensible gun control look like? Let’s just real about this and just proclaim that we are anti-guns. ‘Cause to an extent, we have to have conversations about what does it mean? Why do Americans feel this strong affinity for having to own guns? I think we often hear it’s because it’s in the Constitution. But there’s some fucked up shit in the Constitution in the past? You know what I’m saying? 

DAHLIA: [laughs] 

AMY:  And we’ve reworked them to make it work for a an ever-evolving culture and country, right? 

DAHLIA: Yeah. 

AMY: But also, in my History class, I learned that the reason why we have the rights to bear arms is because the people of this country were fucking scared of their government coming into their homes and fucking with them, right? So, we have the right to bear arms to fuck with our own government. And so, what does it mean then, we’re living in a country where we feel so insecure against essentially our own government that we need to bear arms? I mean, because that’s at the core of what the NRA also espouses. It’s not just protection from one another but also for protection of one day if the government tries to fuck with us. But I think that we need to re-evaluate our own culture’s relationship with guns, and then why we continue to allow this. ‘Cause you know, this is happening because we are not putting enough pressure on the people who are in charge of putting together laws that would take away these types of weapons from people. 

DAHLIA: And Amy, to your point about sort of seeing the reality of what these crimes and what these mass shootings actually look like, I mean that reminds me of course, of reporters not being allowed to photograph coffins coming back from wars. It reminds me of Emmett Till, who was a teenager who was lynched in Mississippi, and his mother intentionally had an open-casket funeral for him so that the press, so that the world would be able to see what that brutality and what that violence actually looked like.  

I’ve read a few pieces, and I’ve also been talking to people who know more about guns than I do. And I think that there is a devastating reality about what bullets, what guns, what these kinds of guns do to human bodies that I think most people do not consider. I think most people just think you get shot. That’s it, you know. But the reality is that these weapons blow your body apart, that bullets ricochet inside of your own body, that bullets can ricochet from one person to another, that these kinds of weapons cause enormous devastation to the human body, completely senseless devastation. 

There are people who are saying like, “Well, cars kill people. Would we ban all cars?” Well, guns’ only intention, guns exist only to kill. So, if cars existed only to kill, yeah, maybe we would ban all cars. But exactly to your point, these weapons exist only for death, and maybe some people have it in their heads that that’s the death of a rabbit or the death of a deer. But it is only death. And I wonder if it will take these snapchats and these tweets and maybe more footage and maybe crime scene photos, I don’t know, but I think it might take something like that for people to really have an idea of how devastating these weapons are how and how easily they can cause enormous devastation. You know we saw that in Las Vegas, in the Las Vegas shooting. It is so easy for these weapons to cause enormous harm because that’s what they are designed to do.  

AMY: And it isn’t even as if there aren’t places that exist that don’t have very good gun control. There are developed countries where guns are outlawed, essentially, like the UK, Australia, Japan, and Germany where they have reduced gun homicides because of their gun control. It can work if we wanted it to work. 

DAHLIA: Right. 

AMY: But yeah, I mean this really just, like the lack of gun control just really reaffirms my cynicism about this country and who this country is about and who this country is for. It’s like the folks who are making this legislation, they don’t care about people, you know, the people who aren’t their donors, essentially. They don’t care if they’re not making money from people who are giving them money. And to the point where they don’t care if children are being just brutally murdered. 
DAHLIA: Yeah. 

AMY: Because there’s access to these weapons that legitimately, nobody who’s just trying to, even if they’re just trying to be hunters, need access to these types of weapons, right? And then this notion that we have to go— Why do you have to go hunting? I don’t get that impulse either. And that’s a whole other conversation, but this notion where it’s like, I don’t understand why you feel a need to go out there and shoot a 200-pound animal. I don’t understand that either. Maybe that’s a very personal preference. But I mean I think that if we don’t start talking about where these impulses and why these connections are happening in our culture and in this country, we’re not gonna get anywhere, obviously, because very small children have died. 

And since those incidences, nothing has happened. I don’t know what it’s going to take for a serious change to happen, but it is really heartening to see that these kids, essentially, from Parkland are speaking out. Because trust if I was one of those kids, I would be catatonic in bed all the time. But a lot of these students are, the day after, behind a podium, at a rally, speaking out about this through tears. I don’t know where they get the strength to do something like this because they’ve been through a very traumatic event. And so, that’s why I keep thinking that it’s so shitty that we’ve had to put this onus on these children to do this. Because they need time to recover, and they’re not even doing that because they have to immediately speak out against this while there’s still media attention on them, you know? I think these kids are kind of savvy too. Maybe they understand that a week from now after they’ve relieved some of the trauma or something, that then they’ll be able to speak about it. But they’re like, “No, we need to speak out about this now because there are actually still cameras here.” I mean the way our fucking news cycle works, two weeks from now, there’ll be something more horrendous that will happen, and nobody will think about Parkland anymore. 

DAHLIA: Yeah, and what feels so powerful is that they’ve been using the hashtag #NeverAgain. But what they’ve been saying over and over is that this cannot happen in this country ever again. It has already happened far, far too many times, and this is gonna be the last time this happens. These survivors of this horrific shooting are taking it upon themselves to protect other children, other students, other people their age at other schools. And they’ve organized, actually, there are three walkouts in support of their protest. There are national school walkouts that are going to be held on March 14th and April 20th, which is the anniversary of Columbine. And on March 24th, students are marching on Washington DC to demand gun control what they’re calling the March For Our Lives. 

[cutesy bells ring] 

AMY: In our next segment, we’re going to be talking about the Olympics. But before I begin the segment, I do wanna fully acknowledge that the International Olympic Committee is a fucked up organization that often praise and overlooks some very fucked up consequences, especially for marginalized communities in host cities and how it has a history of ignoring some very heinous shit. But with that being said, we did wanna talk about some of the things that are happening at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. 

So, the first thing I wanna talk about is about the snowboarder Shaun White, who has won another gold medal in snowboarding this year. And while people were talking about him, it came to light that he had allegations in a lawsuit against him filed by a former drummer in his rock band Bad Things. The drummer’s name is Lena Zawaideh, and she alleged that White had sent her really fucked up, sexually and explicit graphic text messages and forced her to watch porn and kind of forcibly asked her to dress provocatively. And this lasted really for many, many years. And she evens says it got worse after he didn’t medal in Sochi in 2014. 

So, in 2016, she filed this lawsuit against him. And originally the lawsuit was that she was asking for backpay because he just stopped paying her since she was on a retainer. And then she added on that he had also a consistently sexually harassed her. And after that happened, I think it was in 2017, where he settled the lawsuit. So, after he won the gold medal during this Olympic season, a reporter asked him about whether or not he thinks that this lawsuit will tarnish his image. And it was during this press conference that Shaun White said, “I’m here to talk about the Olympics not gossip and stuff.” And then he went on to say that he doesn’t think this will tarnish his reputation because he says, “I’m proud of who I am, and my friends love me and vouch for me. And I think that stands on its own.” 

And the thing about this harassment and this settlement is that he ended up fessing up to the fact that he sent her these fucked up text messages because they’re recorded; it’s hard evidence, right? But he continues to deny that there were any harassment beyond the texts. But the texts themselves were harassment! 

So, I think that it’s just another example of how people can get shit twisted. But I think it’s also important that this has come to light because Shaun White is like a staple at Winter Olympics. And when he was there to compete, hardly any media outlets were talking about this harassment suit that wasn’t filed that long ago and how he had to settle out of court for it. And so, I’m really grateful that there’s this sort of Me Too moment in the Olympics and how after a couple outlets started to talk about this lawsuit, then more and more people are picking it up. To the point where a reporter asked him about it at the press conference after he won the gold medal, which is kind of wild to me. And then he even got asked about it during a Today Show segment. 

DAHLIA: Whoa. 

AMY: Yeah, which is also huge. And of course he did that thing where he was just kind of like, “You know, I’ve changed a lot. I’ve grown a lot as a person.” You know, still not really admitting to it. But I think it means something that he’s being asked about this at a press conference after he won a fucking gold medal and on the fucking Today Show. So, this is something where I’m watching, and I’m realizing that this is how the Me Too moment has changed how we talk about sexual harassment and sexual assault, especially when there are allegations against powerful people. 

And I also read that at the Olympics, there are these Olympic sponsor sites called the Gender Equality Support Centers, and they’re support centers for anyone who has faced sexual harassment or assault in PyeongChang. And they’re staffed with counselors, and there’s a hotline number and their staff to help with the medical treatment, legal measures, and to also provide counseling. So, this is another way I think that the Olympics in PyeongChang are trying to be proactive in the time of a Me Too moment, being like, “Hey, we know that this shit happens, and sometimes it even happens here. And if it does happen here, we have actual support sites for folks to come to, to get the care that they need. Which I feel like I’ve never heard of this existing in previous Olympics, and also I don’t feel like I’ve heard this being discussed as openly and without judgment at other times. 

All right! But! One of the selfish reasons why I wanted to talk about the Olympics is because there have been some amazing highlights! And so far, some of the great highlights have been in figure skating and in snowboarding. In snowboarding, 17-year-old Southern Californian Korean American Chloe Kim won a gold medal, and I saw her her ride. Is that what it’s called when they go down the thing? 

DAHLIA: [laughs] 

AMY: And it was so amazing! She did two 1080s, which I guess is a really difficult thing to do. But she made it look so easy. And today, I just saw that she’s on the latest cover of Sports Illustrated. With. Her. Dog!  


AMY: As if I couldn’t love her enough, right? 

And also, in the figure skating world, there is like a bunch of, I think this is also the Olympics for Asian Americans. In the figure skating world, there’s like Mirai Nagasu, Nathan Chen, Vincent Zhou, and Shib sibs— 

DAHLIA: The Shib sibs! 

AMY: —Alex Shibutani and Maia Shibutani. They’re killing it. I’m also really loving the figure skater Adam Rippon— 

DAHLIA: Yeah! 

AMY: —who’s unapologetically open about his queerness. And there’s also skier Gus Kenworthy, who who shared a kiss with his boyfriend that was broadcasted for all of Olympic viewers to see after he came down the slope. I just think that just small things like this make the Olympics look so much more interesting and make me way more invested in it as a viewer. 

DAHLIA: Well, much like you, Amy, I love ice skating. And in fact, I think that’s the only kind of sport I’ve watched during this— I mean there’s been a little bit of other things, like curling. But there’s so many big personalities in the skating sections this year. Even behind the camera, I’ve been really pleased because Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are doing commentary for ice skating, and I love both of them, and their vibe together is amazing. I also want to say that I, like so many, am intrigued and drawn in by this story about the Canadian ice dancers Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, who have been dancing together for 20 years, and they have very sexy dances to Moulin Rouge songs. And I’ve read several articles that are like, “OK, so they’re dating, right?” But apparently not. They’re just so steamy on the ice that everyone thinks that they must be dating.  

I think one of the things I love so much about ice skating is that it exposes the slowness of my brain, which is like I see them doing these quadruple axles. And I’m like oh my god! I didn’t even notice. Like my brain can’t even process how they’re moving so quickly. It’ll be like they jump and they land, and I’m like what happened? Did something happen? 

AMY: [chuckles] 

DAHLIA: It’s so incredible to me. It’s unreal that you can move your body in that way, that you could feel confident in moving your body in that way instead of terrified. 

So, I’ve just been going wild watching all of the figure skating, Adam Rippon, especially. I’ve also been really into Nathan Chen and the Shib sibs. And also all of the Japanese skaters are amazing! It’s wild; I’ve never seen ice skating so smooth, I guess. Like they make ice skating seem not dangerous and not scary at all, and I’m like, Oh yeah. I could totally do that. That looks totally fine.” But I don’t feel that way about the ice dancing at all. 

AMY: Yeah, they have literal knives at their feet. 

DAHLIA: I know! I know! They have knife-feet, and when they’re ice dancing, they like— I saw one couple who, the woman—I think it was Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue—she jumped on to his legs. He was holding her up. 

AMY: Yes! 

DAHLIA: I’m like, how come his legs aren’t sliced up? How is this possible? And it’s wild. I mean also the Shib Sibs have been, of course, skating together their whole lives. But they’ve had a few commercials where you’ve seen footage of them skating as children. And of course, it makes sense, but it’s just been really blowing my mind to think that these are people who have been working at this sport and at these skills for decades and decades. There’s some ad with Nathan Chen where he’s like, “I skate six hours a day, I do ballet four hours a day, and I lift weights two hours a day,” or something wild. And it’s just ,I’m not a huge sports person, but to see all of the different ways that you can move your body in ways that do not seem like they should be possible, and do not seem like you should be able to do it. Especially these quads where they just rotate in the air as if they’re flying. 

AMY: I think you’re so right. I think that’s one of the magical things about watching the Olympics, be it figure skating, or when I watched gymnastics over the summer or even the fucking swimming matches, I’m like what the fuck?! Look at their arm reach or whatever, you know, the way they glide through the water. I think it’s just being able to see the power that the human body has and the completely wild shit that they’re able to do that I’m very unable to do, you know! 

DAHLIA: [laughs] 

AMY: But to see that there’s another human being that resembles me who can do that, that’s amazing! To hear you say that Nathan Chen said he skates for six hours a day, I’m like, what do I do continuously for six hours a day? Sleep and breathe. 

DAHLIA: That’s literally it. 

BOTH: [laugh] 

AMY: Right? So yes, I often think about how the IOC is problematic, but I still have to understand that these people who are competing, they’ve devoted their entire lives to do this. And it’s really incredible for us to be able to view it and to see their hard work pay off. I think I’m very much like you in that I feel lucky that I get to see this. I think that because they’re so physically gifted, sometimes it feels like watching magic.  [laughs] 

DAHLIA: Yeah! 

AMY: Yeah, it’s completely wild, the shit that they can do. I just can’t understand. 

DAHLIA: I think that’s what I meant when I was saying like my brain can’t process it. It’s just like the human body spinning so fast in the air backwards, and then you’re like, oh, that was magic I guess. I don’t know how that happened. 

AMY: Yeah, one of my first memories of the Olympics are watching the skater who was French, Surya Bonaly, the Black skater, the Black woman skater who used to do the back flips. Do you remember that? 


AMY: Oh my gosh! You need to see these compilations online. People are bringing her up again. Oh my gosh. So, I remember as a kid watching her, and she used do a fucking backflip, and like she did it so flawlessly. But the figure skating committee or whatever was, was like, “No, that’s a very dangerous move.” But she did it, and I’m pretty sure she did it on the Olympics. And I died, even as a child. 

DAHLIA: [laughs] 

AMY: I just remembering thinking, how can somebody do that like on ice?! And she would land on one foot, which is the craziest part too. 

DAHLIA: Oh my god. 

AMY: And I just wanna say this also about Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy and folks who are very openly out, is that I also remember a time where Olympians weren’t out. And maybe it was like there was connotations that those people were queer, they just didn’t talk about it. I remember the diver, Greg Louganis, from the summer Olympics. I remember him because he hit his head on one of the diving boards, which is very terrible. 

DAHLIA: [gasps] 

AMY: Yeah, do you remember that? 

DAHLIA: No, I keep gasping, but not. 

BOTH: [chuckle] 

AMY: And he was gay, but he was afraid to come out because then people might accuse him of being HIV positive because he got blood in the pool. You know, just small things like that. Yeah. So there was a lot of stigma not that long ago. And to be able to see especially somebody like Adam, who’s just like, fuck you. I’m who I am, and I’m amazing. And it’s so heartening to see that, and I think that that makes the Olympics way more fun to watch. 

[cutesy bells ring] 

DAHLIA: We end every episode of Backtalk by sharing something we’re reading, something we’re watching, and something we are listening to. My read recommendation is a piece over at The Cut written by Jill Abramson. It is called Do You Believe Her Now? And it is about essentially the case for impeaching Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. And so, I just wanna read a little bit from it. 

“[G]iven the evidence that’s come out in the years since, it’s also time to raise the possibility of impeachment. Not because he watched porn on his own time, of course. Not because he talked about it with a female colleague — although our understanding of the real workplace harm that kind of sexual harassment does to women has evolved dramatically in the years since, thanks in no small part to those very hearings. Nor is it even because he routinely violated the norms of good workplace behavior, in a way that seemed especially at odds with the elevated office he was seeking. It’s because of the lies he told, repeatedly and under oath.” 

And so, this piece sort of draws out, you know, gives some background about Anita Hill, about Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearings, but sort of weaves in what we know now about Me Too, what we know now about conversations around sexual harassment, and really that Anita Hill, this story was like one of the first major news stories that brought sexual harassment, workplace sexual harassment onto the radars of many, many people. And this is the wild fact, I mean it’s obvious ,but I just didn’t think it through, is that recently, in 2013, Clarence Thomas was like, he’s voting on issues related to workplace harassment. In 2013, he voted to weaken workplace harassment protections for workers. And of course he did ‘cause he doesn’t care about things like that. But the fact that this man who I think very credibly sexually harassed many women in his workplace is still shaping our political dialogue, our ideas of of the Constitution. And so, I just think this piece is really terrific and also sad, just to think that people that we look up to now like Joe Biden really let themselves get sort of taken under Clarence Thomas’s spell. 

The piece lays out that Joe Biden had a lot of other witnesses he could have called, that there were a lot of other people who were prepared to testify that they had been harassed, or that Anita Hill’s descriptions of Clarence Thomas’s behavior were in concert with their own understanding of his behavior, but that they sort of tried to wrap it all up and just have the Senate vote to confirm him. And that he’s still making bad messes and still shaping our ideas of what is appropriate in the workplace decades and decades later. 

AMY: I think that this is definitely something worth revisiting, considering that he still has a seat on the fucking Supreme Court, and attitudes have really changed and shifted to the side of, let’s listen to what Anita Hill said happened and believe her. And I think that this is such an important thing. And I often think when pieces like this come up, I’m like thinking about the writer. I’m like, you’re so fucking smart, duh! 

BOTH: [laugh] 

AMY: I think that we’re so busy with our daily lives and just of the endless, endless news  cycle, especially with this fucking administration in office now, that sometimes we have to pause and think about what’s happening in present-day culture and what does it mean to things that happened a while ago but that still impacts us now. So pieces like this really make me reflect on that. I’m so grateful for them. 

And we would be remiss if we did not do this as our recommended watch, but both Dahlia and I went out this weekend and watched Black Panther. It is the Marvel adaptation. Is that what they’re called when they’re made into films? I don’t even know. [laughs] 

DAHLIA: I guess so. 

AMY: Yeah, I just think it’s an incredible film with a very-mostly Black cast with powerful Black women about this amazing fictional place with some amazing shit happening that I’ve never seen on film before. And we both really loved it. 

DAHLIA: Not only did I see it; I saw it in IMAX 3D. So, everything was super intense. 

AMY: Whoa! [laughs] 

DAHLIA: It’s just the design of this movie is so gorgeous and thoughtful and beautiful. So, in Black Panther, there’s this fictional country that’s like the greatest, most technically-advanced country in the whole world. And just to see the design of their architecture and their clothing and their buildings. Also all of the women—I mean I was mostly only watching all of the women—because there is this amazing all-woman army that protects Black Panther, who is like the king of Wakanda. Lupita Nyong’o is amazing in it. But mostly I was just in love with Letitia Wright, who plays Princess Shuri. And she was actually in a recent Black Mirror episode. She’s in that episode Black Museum. And she is so good in Black Panther. I kind of wish that she was Black Panther or that she could have her own movie because she’s clearly smarter than her brother. 

AMY: Oh, she’s definitely going to have her— I already bought my ticket for the Shuri, the franchise version of this. No, it’s such a great movie, and Danai Gurira, who is Michonne on Walking Dead, is incredible in this as well. And there’s so many amazing, familiar faces. But I don’t wanna spoil it ‘cause I think there are some folks in the film that they weren’t publicized as being in the film. So, it’s really nice to see them pop up onscreen. And I think that this film, the plot is that like the Chadwick Boseman, who is the King of Wakanda, he needs to protect a valuable resource from his country and to protect his country. I don’t wanna say anymore because actually, I went into this film not knowing anything about it. 

DAHLIA: I also knew very little. 

AMY: Yeah, I knew zero, and that’s the other thing. You don’t have to know anything about superhero movies or superhero worlds at all to get this film. Because within the first five minutes, Ryan Coogler, who directed this, I was just floored by that the first five minutes, where they kinda do an exposition thing, where they kind of explain to you what what’s going on. 

DAHLIA: Yeah, I loved that part! 

AMY: Yeah, I was just like, the fuck?! This is amazing! And this is just exposition! 

BOTH: [laugh] 

DAHLIA: That part was beautiful. 

AMY: I couldn’t get over it. It was so beautifully designed as well, that part. So, you don’t have to have that, but just to go in and to enjoy this film. But the acting in it is incredible. The storytelling is great. think that there are some very valid critiques of the film. So, if after you’ve watched it, you wanna read up more about it, they are often about how the character that is played by Michael B. Jordan is portrayed. And I think that they are very valid critiques, and I think they’re worth looking into. Because this is an amazing film, and I think it’s being celebrated because of the fact that it was made by a Black director and it has a majority Black cast and it’s telling a story that we’ve never seen onscreen before, not in this way, not in a way where a huge studio gave Ryan Coogler like hundreds of millions of dollars and said, “Go do your thing,” you know. And to hear about the experiences of the actors on set, you just get this feeling that this was a place where they got to be their whole selves and got to make art that spoke to so many people. 

But I think that there’s also a place to talk about how are certain folks being being portrayed in this within this narrative? Because in the end, I hate being such a fucking Debbie Downer. But in the end, this is still like a Walt Disney movie, right? And I think it does rely on some types of tropes that don’t feel radical to me personally, but I am able to put that aside and still enjoy this film for the incredible piece of art that is, to the point that I am pretty sure I’m gonna go watch it again while it’s still at the theater. And I hope it’s in the theater for a really long time. 

DAHLIA: Oh, I bet it will be ‘cause it’s made some tremendously unbelievable amount of millions of dollars in the three days that it’s been out . 

AMY: Yeah, it broke a ton of records like never-before-happened shit. We often talk about it on this podcast that this is the kind of stuff that shows gigantic studios that look, these projects can make you money. You should fund these projects, you know.  

DAHLIA: Right, right. 

AMY: And it’s so shitty that it’s fucking 2018, and finally it’s happening. But now fucking so looking forward to the Shuri version of Black Panther. [laughs] And she’s gonna fucking kill it! I can’t wait! 

All right, now we close the show with a list and recommendation. I want to recommend this track. It’s called Drink I’m Sippin On. It’s by the artist named Yaeji. Her full name is Kathy Yaeji Lee, and this track actually came out last October. But I just really love it, and I didn’t know this was the type of music it was when I heard it. But it’s house music?? 

DAHLIA: [laughs] 

AMY: I feel like such an old person! It’s house music?? 

DAHLIA: Yeah, question mark question mark. 

AMY: But I thought to recommend this track because Yaeji is also Korean American. And since I was thinking so much about Chloe Kim at the Olympics fucking doing so well there, I was just like, oh wow, I remember this artist doing some really amazing music that I have not heard from artists that looked like her doing this type of work. So, this is Yaeji with the track Drink I’m Sippin On. Thanks for listening. 

DAHLIA: Thanks for listening! 

[house music] 

♪ Naega masin eumryosu  

Naega bwassdeon yeonghwado 

Naega eoje mwol haessneunji gieogi annaneun iyu 

Naega masin eumryosu (geugeaniya) 

Naega bwassdeon yeonghwado (geugeaniya) 

Naega eoje mwol haessneunji gieogi annaneun iyu (geugeaniya, geugeaniya) 

Bringing out the colors in me 

I feel so fine 

Making up for what you can’t see 

I feel so fine 




Aniya geugeaniya 




Aniya geugeaniya 




Aniya geugeaniya 




Aniya geugeaniya 

Naega jugo batdeon mal (geugeaniya) 

Naega ireonan sungan…. ♪ 

DAHLIA: This episode of Backtalk is sponsored by Lewis & Clark College’s 37th Annual Gender Studies Symposium, titled “Insecurity,” which will take place March 7th, 8th, and 9th in Portland, Oregon. “Insecurity” will explore subjects including the prison-industrial complex, community justice, intimate violence, global politics, and creative resistance. Don’t miss out on this exciting series of free lectures, workshops, panel discussions, and an art exhibit. Learn more at, or click on the Gender Studies Symposium ad. We’ll see you on campus! 

♪ Making up for what you can’t see 

I feel so fine 




Aniya geugeaniya 


Geugeaniya…. ♪ 

Thanks for listening to Backtalk. This show is produced by Ashley Duchemin. Bitch Media is a reader- and listener-supported feminist non-profit. If you wanna support the show and our work, please head over to and donate. 

♪ Geugeaniya 



Aniya geugeaniya 



Geugeaniya ♪ 

by Amy Lam
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Amy Lam was a contributing editor and co-host of Backtalk at Bitch Media. Find her at & Twitter / Instagram.

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