Episode 33. Not So Mellow Yellow: Joe's Blond Hair, Sarah Jeong, and Free Speech Indecision On the Left

Hello, SWOTI-boos! After Joe gives an account of his life as an amateur model in Provincetown (aka gay Mecca) and Brie offers a sneak peak of her leftist-themed, farewell-to-NYC party (aka She Left), the SWOTI hosts dive into some thought-provoking topics. First, they discuss the implications of Alex Jones being removed from Facebook, YouTube, and iTunes. Why has it been so challenging for these companies—and even liberals—to come up with a rigorous, consistent policy to address what does and does not constitute hate speech? Is there room for nuance, context or humor when making these decisions? And how do we draft rules that treat both Sarah Jeong, the now notorious New York Times writer who tweeted about enjoying being cruel to old white men, and Alex Jones, outright bigot and conspiracy peddler, fairly?

Next, Joe makes things personal by talking about how his decision to go blonde may be influenced by Eurocentricity. What does it mean, if anything, to dye one's hair? Is it a political statement? A sign of freedom from society's attitudes about what an Asian person "should" look like? Or is it just a cool, Instagram-worthy look?

Finally, the SWOTI hosts talk their U Glads (BoJack Horseman) and U Mads (Queer Eye). Is BoJack the most insightful, hilarious (and bleak) show on Netflx? Are Brie and her boyfriend partners in life *and* binge watching? (Sorta.) Does Queer Eye reinforce capitalist notions of what it means to be a whole, healthy human being? Does Joe now identify as a Marxist?

As always, let us know what you think. And please rate us and leave us a review on iTunes!

Theme song: Comfort Fit - Sorry

Episode 32. Now Play Nice: Debating Civility, Ocasio-Cortez's Victory, and S. Johansson: Trans Icon

And we're back! After Joe gives an update on his whirlwind adventures to Hawaii and Iceland (including the joy of traveling internationally with a sibling), the SWOTI hosts dive in to talk politics and pop culture. First, Joe and Brie offer their thoughts on Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's primary victory in New York City. Is this a harbinger for a socialist wave come November? Or is socialism still too much of a dirty word for the average American voter? And why is it, our hosts wonder, that people can't wrap their minds around the fact that many of the public programs American citizens value most—Medicare, Social Security, and Disability, to name a few—are, in fact, socialist programs? Are we all actually socialists in capitalists' clothing?

Next, the SWOTI hosts wax philosophical about civility. In these troubled times, many have pushed for the notion that we must remain "civil" to one another, in spite of our political differences. But how can we agree on *how* to be civil when there isn't a shared definition of the concept? Must we reconcile how easy it is for us to opportunistically argue for civility, but only when it's our ideas that are being attacked? In other words, is one man's gay wedding cake baker another woman's Scott Pruitt? Is it ever all right to kick Sarah Huckabee Sanders out of a restaurant?

Finally, we also talk about some U Mads and U Glads, specifically Joe's disapproval of casting everyone's favorite Asian actress Scarlett Johansson as a trans character in an upcoming film, and Brie's delight in "Sorry to Bother You," a mainstream film that centers POCs, union organizing, and social revolution. And stay tuned for the SWOTI hosts fawning over Cate Blanchett, the most ravishing actress of modern cinema.

Again, we have to apologize for the delay in getting this episode out, but we promise it was worth the wait! As always, let us know what you think. And please rate us and leave us a review on iTunes!

Theme song: Comfort Fit - Sorry

Episode 31. Everyone's A Little Bit...Advantaged?: Calling Out "Privilege" + Spotify’s Inconsistency

So...we need to talk about privilege, both as a concept and as a rhetorical tool. Privilege is a framing device that's been embraced by liberals to surface the various advantages and disadvantages bestowed upon individuals because of their identities. Unlike some folks on the right, Joe and Brie can agree that privilege exists. (Also, news flash: The Earth is round.) But has the term privilege outlasted its strategic utility? Rather than revealing various power structures and relationships, is the word now only used to shut down conversations with those on the right? Are there better alternatives that we might use? And, practically speaking, are there ways that we can highlight the privilege of others without putting them on the defensive?

We also talk about Spotify's "Hateful Conduct" policy and the company's decision to pull R. Kelly from its playlists. Even though this policy was recently reversed, it's worth re-examining, particularly in light of recent events involving the erasure of men like Bill Cosby. Are we being consistent in how we treat public figures who have been accused of heinous behavior? And what are we actually accomplishing when we remove them from our cultural archives?

Stay tuned for some guilty pleasure karaoke involving early aughts chanteuse, Vanessa Carlton. (Or is that Michelle Branch?) Plus, some U Mads and U Glads about Janelle Monae's new album (#glad) and the sexual politics of your mother's favorite sitcom, Frasier (#mad).

Apologies for the delay in getting this episode out, but we're positive you'll enjoy it! As always, let us know what you think. And please rate us and leave us a review on iTunes!

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Episode 30. Brie's Mooney Mooves, Peace in Korea, Issa Rae-cism, and the Lies of Joy-Ann Reid

After an unexpectedly long hiatus, Joe and Brie are back to catch you up on who's wrong on the internet. First, they dish about what's new in their lives: Joe struggles with how he'll manage to take thirst-trap selfies with a broken phone. And in almost as gripping news, Brie dishes on her new job at The Intercept.  How does she feel about leaving the law behind? And will our favorite leftist co-host be censoring herself now that she's an editor at The Intercept? (Nope.)

Then, after a brief detour to give their initial impressions of the Crazy Rich Asians trailer, the pair tackle what's going on in the Korean Peninsula. As a Korean American, Joe shares his feelings about the official end to the Koren War. What does this mean for his family? Is it possible—dear god—that we have Trump to thank for all of this? Is denuclearization actually in the cards? Plus, Brie admits that she may have the hots for a certain South Korean president, and Joe reveals a cosmetic connection to North Korea's Kim Jong Un.

Finally, Brie and Joe grapple with some U Mads; after all, it's been over a month, and there's a lot to be mad about! First, what exactly was Joy-Ann Reid thinking? Did she forget that the internet saves all receipts? And is she genuinely holding herself accountable for her past homophobic comments? Next, the co-hosts discuss the Michelle Wolf kerfuffle at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Joe and Brie are on the fence about whether the "smokey eye" joke about Sarah Huckabee Sanders was misogynistic. But are liberals incorrectly digging in their heels by defending Wolf? And finally, everyone's favorite awkward black girl, Issa Rae, has been in the news for her suggestion that black women should exclusively date Asian men because they're a better "intellectual match" for one another. As ostensible intellectual matches, Brie and Joe explain why this is all kinds of wrong.

We are so glad to be back! As always, let us know what you think. Rate us and leave us a review on iTunes!

And don't forget to visit our sponsors:

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Episode 29. Michael Brooks, Fish Sex, Me Too, Farrakhan, & The West Virginia Teachers Strike

The illustrious Michael Jamal Brooks of the Michael Brooks Show joins us for the entire episode, and it's a real treat!

We chat about his run in with "Tiger Mom's" progeny, the new Rachel Dolezal Netflix special, and the Oscars, before drilling down on The Shape of Water and the ethics of casting able-bodied actors to play characters with disabilities. (Brie also questions the public's acceptence of woman/fish bestialtiy #fishsex). We also debate Kobe Bryant's acceptance of an Oscar in the era of #metoo, and the recent Louis Farrakhan/Tamika Mallory anti-semitism controversy.

We had so much fun with Brooks we almost didn't get to the meat & potatoes, but we close out with a discussion of the recent West Virginia teachers strike, and get Brooks's read on where the movement goes next.

Please forgive Brie for calling Octavia Spencer "Olivia Spencer" half a dozen times!

As always, let us know what you think! Rate us and leave us a review on iTunes!

And don't forget to visit our sponsors:

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Episode 28. Should We Be Better?: Parsing the Morality of Material Consumption & Black Panther

This episode is late but great! Joe and Brie catch up on some very important cultural events: figure skater Nathan Chen and his...physique, and the hottest queen in the game, Janelle Monae. Her music video "Make Me Feel" is definitely making us feel some things. Are Brie and Joe bisexual? Maybe. (Probably not.) Then, they take on the hottest Black Panther take, which asks whether the film is actually anti-revolutionary because it associates global black liberation with a murderous villain. (It's a no from Brie.) If you want to miss spoilers, pause when they start talking about Black Panther and skip to 26:36.

The pair is then joined by founder and editor of Current Affairs magazine, Nathan Robinson, to discuss two of his recent articles which asks what moral obligation individuals have to be more ethical consumers.  The first article, "Meat and the H-Word," asks whether our indifference to the suffering caused by our meat consumption is properly analogized to the holocaust.  How should we understand the value of animal lives? Would Brie really eat her own dog? How's her vegetarianism going?

The hosts then go on to examine Robinson's piece on the morality of consumption using his piece "Does Caring About Others Mean You Have to be a Joyless Ascetic?" Is there such a thing as a maximum moral income? If so, how do you set it? Is it 30k? 60k? 100k? How do we decide what type of consumption is justified insofar as it creates a life full of joy and beautiful things -- a life worth living -- and when do we decide that doing so in the face of poverty is simply inexcusable? *Should* we buy that extra umbrella? Or those thigh-high boots?

We wrestle with some REALLY tough questions in this one, but Robinson's wit, plucky demeanor, and unbeatable accent make it fun.

As always, let us know what you think! Rate us and leave us a review on iTunes!

And don't forget to visit our sponsors:

Current Affairs: Does Caring About Other People Mean You Have To Be A Joyless Ascetic?

Current Affairs: Meet and the H-Word

Theme song: Comfort Fit - Sorry

Episode 27. "Do You Like Brazilian Music?": On Quincy Jones, Immigration, & Twitter Tiffs

Joe and Brie do a deep dive into the GREATEST INTERVIEW ON EARTH! Last week, New York Mag interviewed Quincy Jones and uncovered stunning revelations about Marlon Brando's sexual relationship with Richard Pryor, and Pryor's public courtship of people across the gender spectrum! Brie and Joe talk about the cocaine on Pam Grier's cervix, Ivanka Trump's legs, & why Brie is an alternative Dope Queen.

Then the pair welcome immigration lawyer Stephen Robbins to talk about what a progressive immigration policy looks like. Using articles by Brianna Rennix of Current Affairs, and John Judis (linked below), they investigate whether the Democratic party's bad messaging is the result of a failure to commit to open borders, while using language which suggests that open borders are an ultimate goal.

Finally, Joe and Brie discuss the Twitter beefs Brie endured this week, and unpack what the word "perm" means across ethnic lines.



    And don't forget to visit our sponsors:

    Theme song: Comfort Fit - Sorry

    Episode 26. Should Aziz Pay? Should MoNique Get Paid?

    What exactly did Aziz Ansari do wrong on his now infamous date? Joe and Brie make sense of this divisive issue by breaking down all the factors which militate in favor of Aziz, as well as those for which he was properly called out.

    Next, they discuss whether comedian MoNique is being undervalued, as she claims, for a prospective Netflix special. Is she being lowballed, and if so, can she properly attribute that to her gender and/or race?

    Joe and Brie then devolve into some hilarious chatter about bad-but-fun black movies #almostchristmas, good-but-tragic black movies #precious, and great-in-every-way black movies #thecolorpurple, before tackling an ethical issue relating to Brie's latest piece in #RollingStone: did she mischaracterize the argument of Atlantic editor Adam Serwer in her latest piece?

    Finally, Brie and Joe discuss Brie's recent foray into vegetarianism (already over by the time this episode was posted), their thoughts on #StarWars and Adam Driver's sex appeal, and Lady Bird: a love letter to Joe's native Sacramento.

    Lots of musical interludes, accents, and laughter!

    Don't forget to subscribe on iTunes and leave us a 5-star review and a comment! And thanks to those of you who have done so already. We'll shout you out on episode 27!

    And don't forget to visit our sponsors at www.burrow.com, www.helixsleep.com, and www.harperwilde.com!

    Intro: Sorry by Comfort Fit

    Episode 25. After #MeToo: The Questions Folks are Scared to Ask and Answer

    Weeeeee're back!!!

    And we're jumping right into the fray with a no-holds barred episode about the #metoo movement and sexual assault.

    Does acknowledging the impact rape culture require us to reconsider culpability for bad acts which happened in the past under different ethical standards? #georgetakei

    Why is it controversial to acknowledge that all sexual assaults aren't equally bad? And does failing to distinguish between them open up a slippery slope where crime and punishment may not match up? #alfranken #donaldtrump

    How do we manage the tension between our desire to seek extreme punishment for sexual assault (especially given how rare punishment has been historically), and our #goodliberal feelings about rehabilitation and reintegration with respect to other, non-sexual violent crimes?

    Also, Joe and I catch up, talk New Year's resolutions, and generally revel in each other's company: you know how we do. Catch up on old episodes in the interim! https://soundcloud.com/swoti. And follow @SWOTIpodcast!

    Theme music: "Sorry" by Comfort Fit

    Episode 24. A Hillbilly & A Black Republican Walk Into A Bar: Race, & Talking Across the Aisle

    What do a "hillbilly," a black Republican, and a Bangladeshi-American centrist have in common? They all spoke to us for this PACKED season finale! We interview two POC Republicans and one liberal Appalachian about how to talk to Republicans: what's really motivating them, and how does race affect their politics? Are POC Republicans able to help us learn how to reach across the aisle? Are they able to bring added empathy to the question of how to address Republican racial issues?

    The episode ends with a bang as we have an intense back and forth with our black Republican about his feelings on gay marriage, and whether liberals are wrong to make personal issues like gay marriage "personal."

    We'd apologize for the length, but we're going on hiatus, so this is the only podcast you'll have from us for a while. Savor it! And find more of us on YouTube until we're back later this fall!

    With John Friend (@K_NoiseWaterMD), Fairooz Adams, (@FairoozAdams) & Joseph Hunter (@BlkandRed).

    And don't forget to visit our sponsors at www.burrow.com, www.helixsleep.com, and www.harperwilde.com!

    Episode 23. Free Speech For Me, You, & White Supremacists Too

    Free speech is for me, you, and Nazis too, and with good reason. In this week's episode, we tackle the liberal backlash against free speech in the wake of Charlottesville and James Damore (the Google Memo guy). We take down the NYT article suggesting that the ACLU needs to rethink its approach, and discuss how failing to protect the free speech rights for the worst among us establishes bad precedent for us all. We also ask how and whether we should modify race language to better communicate with those who aren't already on our side and achieve better results.

    We also chat about Brie's moderate new internet celebrity, her birthday festivities (#glowup) and do our best impersonations of the Jackson siblings. Joe, of course, did Janet. 

    As always, let us know what you think! As always, let us know what you think! And don't forget to visit our sponsors at www.burrow.com, www.helixsleep.com, and www.harperwilde.com!

    Episode 22. So . . . Now Seems Like a Good Time to Talk About HBO's Confederate

    The Game of Throne producers are coming out with a new show called Confederate, about what would have happened if the south had won the Civil War. In the context of the current political climate, in which violence has erupted between aggressive white nationalists and peaceful counter protestors over a statue of Robert E. Lee, is this show appropriate? Is Black Twitter right to try to shut the project down? #noconfederate. Should we be happy that two talented show runners are turning their attention to a subject so important to the national conversation? Or should be wary given their poor handling of issues relating to race and sexual assault in the past? Joe and Brie discuss all the takes, and Brie gives Black Twitter some pushback.

    Next, they discuss R. Kelly, John McCain, and how to talk about people who make or do something "good" (e.g. Ignition/Health Care vote) but who have otherwise disappointing personal histories. What are our ethical obligations to distance ourselves from Kelly's music given recent accusations that he is inducting young girls into a "cult?" How should we process McCain's brain cancer given his complicated political record and reluctance to ensure all Americans can receive the medical care he benefits from?

    Finally, we chat about the new season of Insecure, Chris Pratt and Anna Ferris's break up, and when and whether Brie will become Joe's "beard."

    And don't forget to visit our sponsors at www.burrow.com and www.helixsleep.com!

    Episode 21. The Truth About Healthcare: How We Got It & What To Do If It Goes Away

    Joe & Brie catch up on life developments, including Joe's impending switch to a long-distance relationship, before going into a deep dive on healthcare. Specifically, they unpack the unique history of healthcare in the United States to better understand how we ended up with our broken employer-based model, and discuss the role of race in shaping our current system. The pair welcome healthcare expert Rachael Wolfgang to outline coping mechanisms to employ if the ACA is repealed. Finally, they answer relationship questions as part of their new segment: Unsolicited Advice. Also, R. Kelly, Joe Lieberman, and thoughts on a second viewing of Get Out.

    Episode 20. How to Define a Crime?: Hate Crimes, Free Speech, & the Bachelor in Paradise

    How do you define a hate crime in the absence of an explicit racial epithet? And why do hate crime laws matter? Joe and Brie discuss the murder of Nabra Hassanen, a teenage Muslim girl from Virginia, and unpack the psychic and cultural benefits of laws that specifically recognize the humanity of those whose lives matter less in the eyes of the criminal justice system and the public more broadly.

    Next, they use the recent sexual assault allegations on Bachelorette spinoff "Bachelor in Paradise" as a foil to examine the current "progressive" approach to rape culture. How does one balance the interest in crediting a woman's rape accusation--especially given under-reporting statistics and a long history victims not being believed--against the historical victimization of black men who are accused of having sexual interest in white women? How do we reconcile our belief that affirmative consent should rule the day with the knowledge that most consensual sexual encounters do not feature affirmative consent? How does one assess culpability when neither party is sober enough to reasonably assess consent?


    When America calls, SWOTI answers. It's clear that even after last week's episode, there's still quite a bit of confusion about what cultural appropriation is and isn't, and importantly, why it matters. Katy Perry is trying and missing the mark in her interview with Deray McKesson, Bill Maher is regressing to antebellum sensibilities, and New York Times author Kenan Malik is defending cultural appropriation using, of all people, Elvis Presley as an example. So Brie and Joe buckled down and came up with a six point litmus test that they feel is pretty fool proof. Let them know what you think!

    Joe and Brie also recap their 10 year reunion. Were their worst fears fulfilled? Did they kill it?

    Finally, they give Bill Maher exactly the amount of attention he deserves.

    Episode 18. Party in the USA!: Miley Cyrus, Cultural Appropriation, and Ten-Year Reunions

    We need to talk about something important: Brie and Joe's upcoming ten-year college reunion. The SWOTI hosts discuss what we're looking forward to, what we're dreading, and the deep satisfaction of baring one's midriff to bypass some of those awkward reunion interactions. Next, we turn to Miley Cyrus and the ire she's drawn from the Internet due to her recent comments about hip hop: her complicated relationship with the genre and the parts of it she views as misogynistic. Is this outrage warranted? Has Miley used hip hop as a prop to further her career only to discard it when it's convenient? Why is she being read for cultural appropriation when some of her other pop counterparts aren't? Brie and Joe then do another deep dive into cultural appropriation. What are the connotations when minorities appropriate from other minority cultures? Can Joe wear a sombrero? Can Brie wear a qipao? And, moving back to Miley, who is "allowed" to borrow from black culture and black music? One of our takeaways? All music is black music. Except #polka. And #beethoven. Finally, we read some of our fans' iTunes comments because...it makes us feel good.

    Episode 17. When White Things Happen To Black People: On Shea Moisture & Jesse Williams

    Joe and Brie are back, and they're talking about the controversial Shea Moisture advertisement that raised heckles when it excluded the black women--the very women who comprise the product's user base. What obligation does a black-owned, black-targeted hair product company have to acknowledge its base? Are black products "allowed" to expand to a more diverse audience? Would black women abandoning the company for a white-owned one teach it the desired lesson? Then, Brie & Joe discuss #wokebae Jesse Williams and his recent separation from his wife. Does it undermine one's #wokeness to couple up with a person who is seemingly not-so-woke (though is quite hot)? Finally, Joe and Brie answer questions from their #viral (viral!) interracial dating YouTube video. This last segment is available on their YouTube channel so, if you haven't yet, don't forget to watch them in action here (and see pictures of the pair in college!). #thecomeupisreal

    Episode 16. United (Airlines) We Fall?: David Dao, Dave Chappelle, and a Rough Week for Asian Men

    Joe and Brie discuss Dr. David Dao's violent removal from a United Airlines flight last week. To what extent did his race affect his treatment? How did it influence the public's largely sympathetic response? And how are we supposed to interpret the role of United CEO—and fellow POC—Oscar Munoz in all of this? (Hint: implicit bias is a thing.)

    Also, though you might have heard about Dave Chappelle's controversial jokes about trans people on his new Netflix special, there has been next to no media coverage about the part of his routine that undermines Asian masculinity.  Don't worry: SWOTI is on the case. You'll want to hear this.

    Finally, Joe and Brie talk new career ambitions, Michelle Obama's natural hair, do a little Spice Girls karaoke, and opine on ideal running playlists.

    Episode 15. I Feel Some Type of Way About Allison Williams: "Get Out" & Interracial Relationships

    We watched Jordan Peele's revolutionary horror film "Get Out" and asked what, if any, message about interracial relationships we were supposed to draw from a horror flick about whiteness.  How generalizable is the subtext about trust and authenticity? What lessons should we take from the inclusion of an Asian and Latino character in a film that otherwise draws black and white boundary lines between good and evil? Joe and Brie are joined by original SWOTI members Lyse and Chef for a particularly energetic conversation!  

    For the last twenty minutes, Brie and Joe talk about their own interracial relationships.  Brie discusses her own somewhat rare Asian Man/Black Woman pairing, and how dating a person of color differs from dating white men.  Joe reflects on interracial dating in the context of a gay relationship, and unpacks anti-Asian prejudice within the community.

    Episode 14. Free Speech or Nah? Competing Speech Interests in Trump's America

    Nary a week goes by without the First Amendment making headlines, whether it's protests at Berkeley, Milo Yiannopoulos becoming a lightning rod for speech rights on the right (until he wasn't), Tomi Lahren's recent fall from grace, "PC Culture" corrupting college campuses, Republican congressmen snatching high school kids' paintings off the wall, or the fervor over our constitutionally-enshrined right to wear that Pocahontas costume on Halloween. In this first episode of season two, Joe and Brie break it all the way down, unpack the interests at play (including the interests of marginalized students who are often treated in a cursory fashion), and attempt to balance them all without running ink on the Constitution with snowflake tears. As usual, they interject with humor, personal anecdotes, and musical interludes from yesteryear.