Backtalk: We Don’t Need to be Civil to Inhumane People

This week, Dahlia and Amy survived another week where hell is empty and all the devils are here on earth. It’s been a couple weeks of horrifying news and the last thing we need to hear is how progressive folks need to be civil to the inhumane Right. It feels the the least possible harm that Stephen Miller, Kirstjen Nielsen, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders can face is to have their restaurant meals interrupted while they’re supporting an administration that’s tearing families apart at the border and putting them in detention centers. More in bad news: Screw SCOTUS. But in an attempt at some fun: a new Amy vs. Dahlia!


CNN host of United Shades of America, W. Kamau Bell, has a new stand-up comedy special out and it’s it’s a good distraction from all the bullshittery. Check out Private School Negro on Netflix. 


A classic novel that’s equal parts haunting, beautiful, and devastating, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things is a dizzying multigenerational story set in Kerala, India.


Florence + the Machine’s new album High as Hope comes out tomorrow! Their single “Hunger” is a great sneak peek.

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[theme music] 

DAHLIA: Welcome to Backtalk. This is the feminist response to pop culture podcast. I’m Dahlia Balcazar, Senior Engagement Editor for Bitch Media. 

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

DAHLIA: We start every episode of Backtalk by talking about a pop culture moment. Amy, what’s yours this week? 

AMY: My favorite pop culture moment is about the American Library Association! Yay! So exciting. So, I guess they give this award, I think it’s a annual award for, and it’s a big children’s book award, and it’s called the Laura Ingalls Wilder medal. Or it was called that until just this week; they decided to rename it to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award. And the reasoning that they gave about renaming it was because they wanted to sort of like investigate the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder. And I guess that in her work, she’s said disparaging things about Native folks or about Black folks. And this is the American Library Association’s way of saying like, hey, we’re not saying we need to ban Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book or anything, but we also don’t need to have an award named after her. And I think that when things like this happen, it’s so hopeful, you know? ‘Cause we often think that these things that are institutionalized—this award has been called this for many decades—that it’s they’re sort of unchangeable. And here’s an organization that was like, let’s look more deeply into her work and see if her name should represent this award, which is a huge deal for children’s literature. 

And so, just to hear that they were conscientious enough to say, hey, we’re not saying to not read or books. But we’re saying let’s think about what her books are saying, and maybe let’s not name this award after her. And it’s just as simple as renaming it! 

DAHLIA: Mmhmm. 

AMY: And I think that their process is maybe perhaps a standard that other organizations can use to reframe how they think about awards or legacy and the impact of it in terms of how it celebrates a writer. So, shout out to the American Library Association for doing this. This is amazing even though I don’t really read children’s books! But this makes me happy for kids who are learning about books and about literature so that they know that books that win big awards don’t necessarily need to be named after people who write problematic shit. 

DAHLIA: Mmhmm. I kind of have a hopeful pop culture moment too. 

AMY: [squeaks] Yay! 

DAHLIA: Yay! Which is so unusual for both of us. This week Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her primary challenge against Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley. This primary election was the first time someone was facing off against Crowley for his seat in 14 years. This is New York’s 14th Congressional District. And there was a reporter on the scene the very moment that Alexandria found out that she had won her primary, and it’s delightful. Let me just play a little clip of it. 

[recorded clip starts with Ocasio-Cortez’s screaming happy cheers] 

REPORTER: She’s looking at herself on television right now. How are you feeling? Can you put it into words? 

ALEXANDRIA: Nope. [crowd laughs] I cannot put this into words. [crowd cheers]. 

REPORTER: All right. Your supporters here are really excited for you…. [cheering continues] 

DAHLIA: We’ll get to Nancy Pelosi later, but people like Nancy Pelosi have already said that it’s not a big deal that this 28 year old unseated someone who hadn’t faced a primary in 14 years. But it is a really big deal because she ran on an actually really progressive platform. And you know, we need all of the hope we can get in, oh god, this has been a terrible week. And so, I mean this is an optimistic moment for the primaries to come. Hopefully. 

[cutesy bells ring] 

AMY: Backtalk is supported by a special group of listeners called the Pollinators. These are folks who contribute just $8 a month, who get a subscription to Bitch magazine, a bitch mug, and a sticker for perhaps your laptop. And you can join by going to, and it’s just $8 a month! So, I was thinking about what’s $8. And this is gonna sound so ridiculous, but it’s on my shopping list [laughing] right now. It’s laundry detergent. 

BOTH: [laugh] 

AMY: You can really help us out. 

DAHLIA: Sorry, sorry. 

AMY: Dahlia’s looking at me right now like I’m coocoo for Cocoa Puffs.  

DAHLIA: [laughs] 

AMY: But head over to to support Backtalk and our clean clothes. 

BOTH: [laugh] 

DAHLIA: Another way you can support Backtalk is by writing us a review on iTunes or rating us. That helps us pop up into other people’s feeds, so you can share our raging with even more listeners everywhere. 

[cutesy bells ring] 

AMY: It’s time for another installment of Amy Vs. Dahlia!!! 

BOTH: Yay!!! 

AMY: All right. So, yesterday I was pooping. [laughs] I’m just gonna tell you guys everything ‘cause the world is gonna end. So, I just realized that I don’t need to keep things inside anymore. You guys just need to know my full self. So, I was pooping, and I thought of [laughing] a new Amy Vs. Dahlia question. And I floated it by Dahlia, and she was super into it, of course, because it’s about horror films! So, the question is, what is the best horror trope ever? And I knew what Dahlia would say, and I also have an idea of what I wanna defend. So, Dahlia what do you think is the best horror trope ever? 

DAHLIA: One of the things I love about this is that Amy and I both immediately had our answers to what I think is a very difficult question. But here is my answer: I think the best horror trope is that of the final girl. The final girl is sort of a film theory that if you wanna read more about it, I recommend the book Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film by Carol J. Clover. But in that, I have a source, because I’ve been obsessed— 

AMY: I was gonna say, you have a reference too!!!! 

DAHLIA: Yeah. Well, I’m very into the final girl. So, the final girl is someone that you see in movies like the Halloween series or in the Alien movies. But it’s basically the idea that there will be a woman heroine in most horror films who is sometimes coded a little bit differently: like she can be coded a little bit more masculine, maybe she doesn’t have a boyfriend, or she’s somehow an ugly duckling. But she will be the one to ultimately overcome the bad monster or the bad man, the killer in the end of the horror movie. And we see this trope again and again. And I think it’s one of the reasons why I came to really love horror film is because it’s really easy on the surface to see horror and be like, oh, that’s not meant to be for women. But I really think that so much horror film is actually about gender, you know, like Rosemary’s Baby. Ok, now I’m on a tangent. Rosemary’s Baby is actually about motherhood and giving birth. And so, there’s so much to horror, and the final girl is such a fundamental trope to every horror film. And so, before I just keep going on and on. 

AMY: [laughs] 

DAHLIA: I mean think of every great horror film that just has a woman smashing the evil killer monster at the end. And that’s why the final girl prevails. 

AMY: Ok, I see your final girl. 

DAHLIA: [laughs] 

AMY: And also, I’m well aware who our audience is, so I’m kind of a little bit ready to be defeated in this Amy Versus Dahlia. But I also have an impassioned argument for the scary house or the possessed house trope in horror. And I think that the scary or possessed house, the house that’s full of demons, a house that’s gonna try to fuck you up is such a powerful and effective trope. Because your home or the space that you live in is supposed to be a safe space that you can go home to and rest and be protected from the outside world. And when that space becomes unsafe, it is so fucking horrifying. 

DAHLIA: Mmhmm. 

AMY: I also think that the trope of the scary or possessed house also speaks to gaslighting a lot because when you’re in that home, it’s really difficult for you to express to the outside world that shitty and scary stuff is happening to your home; like, nobody’s believing you. And I think that often happens in horror films where there are demons in your house, or there’s some fucked up stalker that’s fucking trying to scare you in your home, but nobody believes you. And I think that when I’m watching and experiencing it with the protagonist, who’s often a final girl, it’s so frustrating! And I think it really mirrors this experience that we have in reality world where maybe we’re going through a fucked-up situation, but nobody understands or believes us. And I think that the reason why I love the scary or possessed house trope in horror is because at the end, often the protagonist is able to defeat it ,and people believe them. People will be like, “Oh my god! You’re right. Your house was fucked up.” Or they’re able to take control over it and be empowered some way. So, I’m making an argument for the possessed/scary house because it’s supposed to be a safe space, and then it becomes unsafe. Yet somehow, we are able to make it safe again by our sheer will [laughs] or to teach ourselves to get away from it. 

So, that is this installment of Amy Versus Dahlia: horror edition. 

DAHLIA: I’m nodding my head because I feel as if you made a very compelling argument. 

AMY: [laughs] But I don’t have any sources!! 

DAHLIA: [laughs] 

AMY: Maybe I need to write it and get it published on and put people to it. But you can vote by heading to where we will have a post for this podcast episode. And we love it when you vote and let us know what you think. 

[cutesy bells ring] 

DAHLIA: Ever since Trump was elected Amy and I have had a really hard time figuring out how to address him and everything terrible that’s happening on Backtalk. For a while we had a segment called Mr. Trump’s Terrible Toad Ride where we tried to summarize every bad thing he was doing. Then we had a segment called Petty Political P-minute where we tried to summarize every way that the administration looked ridiculous. And now we’re gonna do a Screw SCOTUS Minute. 

AMY: [chuckles] 

DAHLIA: Because this week the Supreme Court has said and done a bunch of really terrible things. I’m gonna try and say all of the bad things in a minute. I have an alarm set. Let’s see. 

AMY: You can do it. 

DAHLIA: Let’s see if I can. All right. You ready? I’ve been thinking a lot of this quote from The Tempest by Shakespeare. It is, “Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.” And that really applies to just everything I’m about to say. So, keep that in mind. 

This week the Supreme Court made a lot of fucked-up decisions because the Republicans fully stole a Supreme Court seat from Merrick Garland. Merrick Garland reminds me of sad Mikhail Baryshnikov. I feel so sad every time I look at him. But his seat was fully stolen! Because of that, we’re having a whole bunch of 5 to 4 fucked-up Supreme Court decisions. Here are some of them that happened this week. 

The Supreme Court dealt a major blow to public sector unions in a case that’s going to shake up the financial structure and undermine the future stability of unions. It’s sort of people are saying it may have signaled the end of the union era in politics. Oh my god. I’m running out of time. The justices struck down in Illinois. That happened because the justices struck down an Illinois law that required non-union workers to pay fees for their collective bargaining. Oh my god! I’m running out of time! Also this week the Supreme Court said that crisis pregnancy centers, which are places that try to. [cell phone alarm rings] Oh! I’m out of time, but I’m gonna keep talking just because there’s so many bad things to say there. [alarm continues] 

AMY: I want to grant you another minute. [laughs] 

DAHLIA: Thank you. OK. This week the Supreme Court ruled that crisis pregnancy centers do not have to say— Oh my god. It’s so disgusting. These are places that are not medical facilities, that do not provide medical advice, that are not staffed by doctors or anyone with any kind of medical degree. And now those places that try to lie to you about your body and your rights and your health will no longer have to say that they are not medical facilities. They will no longer have to refer or provide information about any kind of Medicaid, accessible birth control, or reproductive care for patients who are low income. And also this week the Supreme Court upheld Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban. And yesterday, on Wednesday, Justice Kennedy announced that he was retiring. So, Trump gets another Supreme Court pick. We’re all extra fuck fucked. Hell is empty, and all the devils are here. This has been my trying to explain everything terrible in a minute and a little bit more. 

[cutesy bells ring] 

AMY: In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen stories about how the people who are working in the Trump administration are now facing challenges to being able to eat out the public, which is literally the least-challenging thing ever in the face of all the fucked up shit that they’re propagating. First, there was White House adviser and thumb-looking guy Steven Miller [laughs] who was out for a meal when other folks in the restaurant began to call him “a real-life fascist begging money for new cages.” Then there was the secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, who was forced to leave a restaurant after hecklers began to shout, “Shame in family separation,” and “If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace.” Actually, we have a clip of the hecklers heckling her. 

[recorded clip plays of multiple voices shouting] 


SECOND PERSON: How can you enjoy Mexican dinner as you’re deporting and imprisoning tens of thousands of people who come here seeking asylum in the United States? We call on you to end family separation! 

FIRST PERSON: End family separation! 

SECOND PERSON: And abolish ICE. 

THIRD PERSON: Abolish ICE! Abolish ICE! 

[all join in chanting “Abolish ICE” and “Shame” repeatedly] 

AMY: So, fun fact: both Miller and Nielsen were eating in Mexican restaurants in D.C. Oh my god. And then also our favorite press secretary Sarah Huckabee Fuckabee Sanders— 

BOTH: [laugh] 

DAHLIA: That’s better. Huckabee Fuckabee. Yeah. 

AMY: Yes!  Was politely asked to leave a Virginia restaurant by one of its owners after the restaurant staff told the owner that they did not feel comfortable serving an amoral demon defender and mouthpiece. So that’s not a quote from the staff. [laughs] That’s a editor’s note. But the co-owner of Red Hen, Stephanie Wilkinson, told The Washington Post, “I explained the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold such as honesty and compassion and cooperation.” And with that in mind, she asked Huckabee to leave. And the thing about this is that you know what? Even somebody like Maxine Waters thinks that this is great. Maxine was at a rally to bring attentions to the heinous shit that’s happening with ICE, and during this rally, she said, “For these members of his Cabinet who remain and try to defend him, they’re not going to be able to go to a restaurant. They’re not going to be able to stop at a gas station. They’re not going to be able to shop at a department store. The people are going to turn on them. They’re going to protest. They’re going to absolutely harass them until they decide that they’re going to tell the president, ‘No, I can’t hang with you’.” 

But in the face of all this, there are calls from the right and left that we must be civil to Trump supporters! In fact Nancy Pelosi— 


AMY: —Nancy Fucking Pelosi tweeted this in response to the report about Maxine Waters calling us to make Trump surrogates’ lives uncomfortable, Nancy Pelosi said, “In the crucial months ahead we must strive to make America beautiful again.” 

DAHLIA: Damn. It’s almost like that’s a sentence Trump would have said. 

AMY: Ugh. I know. Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea.” But Dahlia and I are here to say that we do not need to be civil to inhumane people. Period. Like fucking Stephen Miller? White nationalist. Fucking white supremacist. Fucking Kirstjen Nielsen, Department of Homeland Security, thinks that putting children in detention centers is a-fucking-okay because she says that it’s lawful; that’s how it should be. Fucking Sarah fucking Huckabee Fuckabee Sanders is a fucking liar! She lies for a living. These people are protecting an administration who does fucked up shit every day to marginalized and vulnerable communities. 

And it’s not like Maxine Waters is asking us to go to our neighbor who’s a Trump voter and to go harass him and steal his mail and put dog poop on their lawn. She’s not asking us to do that. Although that might not be a bad idea, but that’s not what she’s saying. She’s saying that there are these people who support Trump who are in power who maybe don’t deserve to have a peaceful lunch. And I don’t understand this notion that we need to be civil to people who are inhumane to people on a daily fucking basis, not just to individual people, to entire communities of people. 

DAHLIA: Civil is a social construct. You know like, what is civility? If we’re talking about American politics, the people who are governing what civility means or is or how we define that behavior, those are the people in power right now. And I think just as there is no Trump person who can answer the question when was America great, I think they can’t answer the question when was America civil? When have we had any kind of nice, peaceful, utopian America? That has never existed. And that kind of call to this false, this ahistoricity is really dangerous because it’s the kind of rhetoric that really fuels white nationalists and really violent American terrorists to have this idea that it is the change that we have seen in whatever, the past five years, that is what has changed America and made America not great again. But when the fuck were we great? When the fuck were we civil? Like never. Never. 50 ago, white men poured bleach on Black people in swimming pools. This was never a fucking civil country. 

AMY: And it’s just incredible to think that this is the time that we’re going to ask for civility when so many people are being so violently harmed in very real ways. And I saw this tweet that that was fact checked, and it was like a clipping. I think it was from the New York Times or from one of those newspapers that’s been around forever, where people were saying, hey, maybe we need to be more civil to Nazis. And this is before the Holocaust, right? Like, they have funny opinions about Jewish people, but you know, they should be able to express it. And then look at the what the fuck happened, you know?! And there are now Senators or people in Congress who are saying, you know what? We should have fought harder for Merrick Garland’s seat. We should have been a little uncivil. Maybe we should have shut down Congress. 

DAHLIA: Maybe? 

AMY: Yeah, maybe! I mean that’s what fucking Mitch McConnell did to get it Gorsuch in, right? 


AMY: So like, that was uncivil. How is it that some people are able to be able to be very uncivil, but just because they’re able to couch it in policy, then it’s OK? 

DAHLIA: I really feel like it’s progressives and Democrats, they just don’t wanna be seen as being bad, or they don’t wanna be seen as being in the wrong. And all of this attachment to decorum and politeness and civility, it’s just like it seems like we obviously have to change tactics. This is ridiculous. 

AMY: It doesn’t work! 

DAHLIA: It is ridiculous for Nancy Pelosi to say that what is important is for all of us to make America beautiful and civil just like it used to be. When the fuck was that? I also find it really, it’s like fear mongering, this kind of rhetoric that I also see that’s like, well, progressive people, people on the Left, if you’re not nice, then the Trump voters are gonna vote for Trump again in 2018. Or they’re going to vote Republican at the midterms. They’re gonna vote for Trump in 2020. We have to show them that niceness is better. Like that’s just straight up bullshit! 

AMY: No! 

DAHLIA: There is nothing that we can do that’s going to stop Trump voters because they have already shown— You know, every fucking month, it’s like we’re at a new stage of how can you possibly defend any of this? And every time you think you can’t, it keeps happening. And I think again, we’re at a new stage of anyone who supports this administration supports—I mean I know it sounds like an exaggeration, but like—human rights abuses and the abuse of children, the abuse of immigrants, it’s just so beyond the pale. And any person that’s trying to blame any of that on people speaking out about it, it’s like saying, oh well, if you’re mean to that kindergartener, then they’re just gonna be mean back to you. It’s like that’s not how we should be forming policy. 

AMY: No, and it makes no sense because Trump supporters and people in the Trump administration do not see the humanity in people who are not them. 


AMY: So, it doesn’t matter how nice we are to them because they don’t think of us as human fucking beings. They don’t think of us as deserving of very basic human rights to exist in this country. So, the fuck does us being nice and using nice words and serving them in our restaurants have to do with it? 

I’ve also heard this argument that, how can you say it’s OK not to serve Steven Miller or Kirstjen Nielsen and Sarah Fuckabee Sanders at a restaurant when you guys say that it’s not cool for these bakeries to refuse service to gay couples who want a wedding cake? Well, it’s not the same fucking thing! 

DAHLIA: It’s not the same! 

AMY: No. Because it’s very obvious! Just use your brain for three seconds. Because when bakeries or businesses refuse to serve LGBTQ folks, they’re refusing to serve an entire community based on their identity, not based on specific actions of being heinous demon folks. You know what I’m saying? So, it’s like the refusal of service for these people doesn’t mean that LGBTQ folks don’t deserve to be served. 

Also, fun fact: back in 2012, a baker refused to serve Joe Biden. There’s this story that’s been floating around. And the Right celebrated it. The Right celebrated as like, here’s an American— 

DAHLIA: [laughs] 

AMY: —exercising his freedom to serve whoever he wants or not. And you know what? That’s constitutional. You don’t have to serve a specific person if you don’t like them, if they’re being disruptive in your establishment or whatever. And so, it’s unsurprising that the Right is being so hypocritical and ignoring that they celebrated this baker in 2012 who did not serve Joe Biden and are now being like, gosh, why can’t these people have like a meal in peace? You know why? ‘Cause they’re locking up children in prisons and calling them “tender age camps” or some shit. Fuck this. 

DAHLIA: And Fuckabee Huckabee doesn’t wanna tell anybody this, but her fucking meal was on the house! [laughs] 

AMY: Yes! She got like a free appetizer, yeah. 

DAHLIA: Yeah! She got free apps. They were like, “No, it’s on the house. Please just leave.” 

AMY: And the owner sounded very civil when she did it. And then still talking about the bakers who refuse to make wedding cakes for LGBTQ weddings, sometimes people refer to the ruling that happened in Denver where the baker refuse service for a gay wedding. And the Supreme Court heard this and ruled in favor of the baker, and lots of Republicans are saying like, oh, this is a victory for the Right and refusal of service for a protected communities. But that’s not the case. When we speak about this case, we have to speak very specifically about this ‘cause this case and this decision was very specific and very narrow and sets no precedent. Because the Supreme Court ruled essentially that when this baker saw the Denver Supreme Court, that they were being hostile towards him and his religious beliefs. And that’s why they ruled that like that ruling was overturned. Not because he’s able to discriminate against gay folks. Be informed and read more deeply into this. 

DAHLIA: Are we, the American people, according to Nancy Pelosi and the Republicans, are we to say that this administration should face no consequences of any kind for the things that they do? And are we to say we, the American people, were not allowed, like it’s not within our rights, it’s uncivil for us to hold our Representatives, the people who we pay with our tax dollars, we’re not allowed to hold them responsible in any way? We’re not allowed to show up with science, we’re not allowed to take a knee, we’re not allowed to protest, we’re not allowed to make these people face any kind of public consequence for the criminal and inhumane and, like, I mean uncivil isn’t even a meaningful word, but of course, uncivil policies? 

DAHLIA: And in this case, for these three specific people, they were made to feel uncomfortable. That’s literally it. 

DAHLIA: Right. 

AMY: They got some kind of social consequence, right? But they still get to go home into their lives and know that their families won’t be deported. They still know that they still have basic access to health care. They still know that their communities and their people that they love won’t face exponentially harsh punishment for small crimes. It’s like these people, they are not facing anything that’s going to create long-lasting trauma like the thousands of families that are being separated and being put into detention camps. And I just don’t understand this argument that we need to be nice. Be nice for what? When has that gotten anybody anything, you know? 

Now I’m thinking of that fucking Drake song! 

BOTH: [laugh] 

AMY: Now I’m thinking of those bumper stickers that say like, “Nice women rarely make history.” And it’s because the things that we think are civil or are supposed to be polite society, that are supposed to be true and right aren’t necessarily true and right in history’s eye. We talked about the Supreme Court, right? At one time, the Supreme Court said and supported the detention of Japanese folks, right? 

DAHLIA: Right. 

AMY: They supported the fact that women don’t have the right to vote. 

DAHLIA: Right. 

AMY: They supported the enslavement of Africans. So, the Supreme Court and what they say and what we think are civil or OK changes over time. And what the Trump administration is doing right now is not OK. And just because we make some people’s lives uncomfortable for a few minutes, it doesn’t mean anything. But maybe they can’t feel the social impact of how they’re making us feel every fucking day. We’re holding anxiety and trauma— 

DAHLIA: The tiniest sliver of how we feel. 

AMY: Yes! It’s incredible. And I think it’s a huge betrayal when folks like Nancy fucking Pelosi go on Twitter and tell us that we’re responsible to be civil; we need to make America beautiful again. No, fuck you. You do your fucking job, and we wouldn’t have been in this fucking situation in the first place, Nancy fucking Pelosi. DAMN! I’m so angry! 

[cutesy bells ring] 

DAHLIA: At the end of every episode of Backtalk we share something that we are watching, something we’re listening, and something we’re reading. And Amy’s gonna start us off with our read and our watch recommendations. 

AMY: Yeah, so, for our read: I just finished the most beautifully-written, haunting, and also very violent novel. It’s the classic The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. And Roy’s actually been in the news lately because she’s speaking out about the violence in India. And I think that she’s just so astute and smart, and this book won the Man Booker Prize, and it was her debut novel! And it came out, I think, in 1997. So, it’s a classic, and I am kind of sad that I didn’t read it earlier. But I’m really excited that I just finished, was able to read it now. It’s a multigenerational drama set in southern India in a small village in Kerala. And Arundhati Roy’s writing is just so gorgeous, playful, and smart. And devastating! I think that if you need a engrossing, beautiful summer read, definitely pick up The God of Small Things. I cannot say enough about this novel. 

And then my watch pick is a new special on Netflix. It’s a comedy special by W. Kamau Bell who’s the host of CNN’s United Shades of America. He’s such a great ,smart social justice-y comedian, which I love that that’s like a type of comedian now. And the special is called Private School Negro. It is so good and so funny, and he talks about being a dad, he talks about Trump administration, he talks about social justice stuff. So, I definitely suggest watching his Netflix special Private School Negro with W. Kamau Bell. 

DAHLIA: I’m not a religious person, but the closest I think I have to having religious experiences is reading Shirley Jackson’s work and listening to Florence and the Machine. So, my listen pick is the song Hunger by Florence and the Machine. She has a new album coming out this week called High As Hope. I mean it’s almost an, it is an exaggeration to say I worship her but not by too much. So, this is Hunger by Florence and the Machine. 

AMY: Thanks for listening. 

DAHLIA: Thanks for listening. 

[Hunger by Florence and the Machine plays] 

♪ Ooh ooh. It’s just us.  

Ooh, ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh 


At seventeen, I started to starve myself 

I thought that love was a kind of emptiness 

And at least I understood then the hunger I felt 

And I didn’t have to call it loneliness 


We all have a hunger 

We all have a hunger 

We all have a hunger 

We all have a hunger 


Tell me what you need, oh, you look so free 

The way you use your body, baby, come on and work it for me 

Don’t let it get you down, you’re the best thing I’ve seen 

We never found the answer but we knew one thing 

We all have a hunger (we all have a hunger) 

We all have a hunger (we all have a hunger) 

We all have a hunger (we all have a hunger) 

We all have a hunger (we all have a hunger) 


And it’s Friday night and it’s kicking in 

And I can’t dress, they’re gonna crucify me 

Oh, but you and all your vibrant youth 

How could anything bad ever happen to you? 

You make a fool of death with your beauty, and for a moment 


I thought that love was in the drugs 

But the more I took, the more it took away…. ♪ 

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

♪ And I could never get enough 
I thought that love was on the stage 
You give yourself to strangers 
You don’t have to be afraid 
And then it tries to find a home with people, oh, and I’m alone 
Picking it apart and staring at your phone 
We all have a hunger 

We all have a hunger 

We all have a hunger 

We all have a hunger ♪ 

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.