Listen to This: Faux News, Verified Scam, No More Wire Hangers

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Hoja joins V Spehar, host of the podcast V Interesting, to chat about how CNN is shifting the way it covers news to mirror a right-wing media outlet. And how far would you go to get a blue checkmark on Instagram? We’ll hear about a verification scheme that cost users thousands of dollars. V and Hoja also weigh how effective some protesting tactics are – like wearing Handmaid’s Tales costumes and using coat hanger iconography – when fighting for reproductive rights. Plus, resources on how to safely receive emergency contraception and medical abortion pills. Later, V asks Hoja about public apologies, cancel culture, and owning up to your mistakes.

About V Interesting: Sometimes TikTok superstar V Spehar needs more than a minute to bring you the news. The Under the Desk News anchor is bringing their sharp outfits and sharper commentary to a new, twice-weekly show with Lemonada Media. On Tuesdays, V highlights the interesting parts of stories we often lose in the chaotic news cycle. Fridays are their chance to spend a lot of time going deeper into the complex, evergreen Big Issues that matter most, but don’t have a simple, Tweetable solution. Part explainer, part thought-starter show, V’s goal is to make you the most well-informed and “v interesting” person in any crowd.

Please note, I’m Sorry contains mature themes and may not be appropriate for all listeners.

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V Spehar, Hoja Lopez

V Spehar  00:00

Hey friends, it’s Tuesday, September 7th 2022, welcome to V INTERESTING, where we break down the viral and very interesting news you might have missed.

V Spehar  00:20

I’m V Spehar, And on today’s show, we’ve got c Lopez from the podcast. I’m sorry, she’s in the studio with us. I could not be more excited, and she is here to help us break down some of the more cringe worthy events of the past week. As we ease back into work after the Labor Day holiday. We’ll get into the accusations that CNN is restructuring their content to be more right leaning. We’re going to join a group of modern feminists who are calling for folks to stop using coat hanger iconography when discussing at home abortion. And we’ll dig into the Instagram scam that’s group people trying to get that coveted blue verification check. All that more on today’s V INTERESTING.

V Spehar  01:07

Hoja, welcome to the show.

Hoja Lopez  01:09

Hello. Thank you so much for having me V, it’s Virgo season. My birthday is September 9, and you can send presents to the annoyance theater in Chicago, Illinois.

V Spehar  01:19

Oh, I love Virgos my wife is a Virgo. This is a very special time. The first story for today we’re going to get into the headlines. The first story for today is about who tells the truth and how they tell it really. So first, CNN allegedly is going to start to make much more right leaning content. Had you heard about this?

Hoja Lopez  01:39

I heard well, I know about John Malone, and the sort of like the whole investor circle because of the Warner’s sort of HBO Max layoffs. So tell me more about this. But I I’m really interested in this story. Yeah.

V Spehar  01:53

Okay. So here for the folks who are listening at home, let’s get you all caught up. First. And this is why I tend to keep my opinions out of the news. But I thought it is an important place for folks to give their opinion on one side or the other. Sometimes that’s important, but it is dangerous. So CNN new corporate overseers Warner Brothers discovery, as you said, and they own what used to be Time Warner, which included CNN, and the leading shareholder over at Warner Brothers discovery is John Malone, a multi billionaire and cable magnate. So Malone describes himself as a libertarian, although he travels in very right wing Republican circles. In 2005, he helped 32% of the shares of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which I thought was very interesting, because Rupert Murdoch, of course, owns Fox News. And this John Malone guy is also on the board of directors at the Cato Institute, another very conservative leaning organization. And in 2017, John Malone, donated $250,000 to Trump’s inauguration, so decidedly, very much on that side and overseeing now the content at CNN. And Malone said that he wants CNN to be more like Fox News, because in his view, Fox News has, quote, actual journalism, and Malone wants the news portion of CNN to be at minimum more centrist.

Hoja Lopez  03:12

Yeah, it would be so extremely naive to believe somebody who says that this is not like an actual shift that they want. It just makes perfect sense. And it just feels like this insane corporate concentration mixed in with politics. It’s just causing everything to sort of become kind of monochromatic in terms of in terms of coverage. This is scary. This is not without its stress, you know?

V Spehar  03:42

And it would be scary, no matter which way this was going. I mean, sort of this like authoritarian, single viewpoint single narrative, that state TV people, we don’t want that that’s very scary. That’s somebody they do in Russia, you know, we don’t want to be a part of that.

Hoja Lopez  03:55

I’m from Venezuela, I experience firsthand when you have literally not one outlet that saying anything critical of the government. It feels really scary. It feels like your world gets a lot smaller when that happens.

V Spehar  04:09

Right. And we saw that happen with the local news channels, you know, being bought up, newspapers getting shut down. Gannett just laid off 400 local news reporters and that kind of stuff. It just it really does a disservice to society. Yeah,

Hoja Lopez  04:25

that’s so pivotal and especially if you think of John Malone because I knew John Malone from like, purchasing like Liberty Media, and I don’t know how long ago that was, but it was like a big merger between Liberty Media and I heart media. Reason I had friends who work for like, like Nation and Ticketmaster and they own Sirius XM, Pandora, TicketMaster, AT&T, Warner media and now CNN HBO all the Discovery Channels. It’s too many things under one umbrella and that’s when, you know, like Senator Warren will come in and be like, we need to break this shit up. Like this is what they’re talking about, they’re talking about one person or one investor with a huge point of view that essentially deploys their, you know, deploys their owned companies to kind of a bet whatever their point of view is. And so we’ll see how that kind of continues to develop, you know?

V Spehar  05:19

And I think social media is so important now, because it’s not owned by one person who can direct a narrative. I mean, I have just as big of viewership as some of these big cable networks. And so we have this chance to break through those clouds break through that noise and bring back this idea of local community journalism, and citizen journalism. But one of the things that I wanted so badly, when I started to get big on TikTok was that verification badge, because it’s so many people copying me, and creating accounts and pretending to be me, and I was like, once I get that blue check, man, that’s, I need that validation. And it’s gonna, like, do all the stuff for me, it didn’t do anything for me, it does nothing, it doesn’t change, you don’t get paid. It doesn’t change your life. It’s very validating in terms of like, okay, I’m now I guess, an official public figure. But people chase this, they chase it, and they want it so badly. And you were telling me just before we got on that you had just read a story from ProPublica, about an Instagram blue check scam?

Hoja Lopez  06:17

Oh, my God, yes, the story has everything. It has a surgeon; it has a DJ with a double life. It has MTV reality stars, essentially ProPublica puts out this, you know, piece and ProPublica is a nonprofit org that essentially, he’s in charge of just kind of looking up abuses, and they decide what that is. And ProPublica is a really great site. But it’s essentially a verification scheme. And it’s sort of spectacular. So it’s a false verification, I’ll kind of tell you how it works sort of like step by step. So it you know, essentially the step, the first step is that a client, a client of this particular guy that I’ll talk to you about more in a second is kind of taking pictures of them and creating content of them and like designer clothing and like, luxury locations, and like recording studio, so you got to kind of like look the part, which honestly sounds like a fun photoshoot, I’m already like, kind of into this scam.

V Spehar  07:13

This sounds like a fun afternoon.

Hoja Lopez  07:15

The step two is essentially this guy would go to Spotify and Apple Music and they create music profiles for the clients. And then they just start uploading basic songs with like dumb album art. And then they purchase fake streams to make the songs appear really popular. So they’re kind of establishing this, again, the you said like a breadcrumb trail of why this person deserves to have a blue check. They ended up figuring out who was at the center of the plot, and he is a Miami based, aspiring DJ. So it’s just this guy. And he’s like, if you give me $25,000, I will do all of this stuff. And you will be verified, which $25,000.

V Spehar  08:00

These people are also sadly misled on how much influencers make; do you know how to make $25,000 without a challenge? They pay this guy; he does the stuff.

Hoja Lopez  08:13

Then he pays, he does paid articles about the client songs. And those paid articles are published and they kind of add legitimacy. And then step four the client to kind of uses their timeline to like, you know, post music content, spacing it out, they pay for the engagement, so they pay for the likes, they pay for the followers, they pay for everything, and essentially sort of providing that as proof of their popularity. And then step five, they use Google to essentially search engine and add their clients music and articles to the indexes. So Google has this thing called a knowledge panel. But essentially, like, this is what we know about the specific topic. And in that specific knowledge panel will brand this oh, this person is a musical artist. This person is an influencer. It’ll brand, somebody basically who searches for their name. And then the step six, which I think is the fanciest step, essentially, it’s kind of the final step before verification where they edit their Instagram, bio and feed, and they completely highlight the musical career and sort of get rid of anything that doesn’t have to do if it’s a picture of them and their beautiful wife and children. They’re like, get rid of it. It’s useless for this. And then after that, they submit to meta for verification. And then if everything you know, goes well, then they get their blue check. But yeah, it’s like I think it’s something like 400 people that Meta has discovered so far that specifically come from this particular person.

V Spehar  09:55

Interesting story from Texas, members of a Texas Women’s March group An email went out to this whole group of women that show up for like, you know, reproductive health rallies and women’s rights rallies, asking them to stop doing these three things. One, they were asking them to please stop showing up in Handmaid’s Tale costumes to these rallies. They were asking them to stop putting up signs that say, like castrate all men, right?  I can see that that’s very scary. And then also stop using coat hanger iconography at abortion rallies. And a lot of people were pissed about this. And they were saying you can’t turn police how folks show up to protest. Eventually, the top brass at the women’s march like the big Women’s March group clarified that folks are free to do whatever they want to show up in whatever costumes they want to with whatever signs they want to. But I wanted to kind of talk about like, these tactics, as like, are they effective? Or are they perhaps like worth exploring as something we move on from, you know?

Hoja Lopez  10:58

My first inclination is to say that it makes sense for people to use those in some ways, or at least are known to this day, best way of galvanizing people is to shock them with the most sort of like egregious aspects of a policy and you say, hey, if you implement this policy, this is the very worst thing that can happen. And granted, I could see how using that iconography might indicate to you know, people who can have children, or want to have abortions, that maybe that’s the only way to do it, you know, I could see how there’s a, it needs to go in tandem with education. But I also think that there’s 1000 ways to misinterpret something, and to not get the full story.

V Spehar  11:46

Let me tell you a little bit more because I thought the same I would my gut reaction, honestly was I would like to move on from those things. Because folks get made fun of a lot. And sometimes that can like cloud, the goal of the protests, people are making fun of the costumes, or the thing that I thought was scary. Okay, so I have never been pregnant. As a lifelong gay, I’ve really very little experience with women’s health and like different things that go on. So I had seen the coat hangers, and I thought, well, that must be you know what they did back then. And it turns out, that is not true. And if I thought that I’m sure many other people thought that, well, these two activists were saying, especially when it comes to the coat hanger iconography, the Wright has adopted and corrupted the symbolism of the coat hanger to mean that all kinds of self-managed abortions are dangerous, and they’re not first of all, so that’s one. And then this Canadian midwife and author, Molly Dutton, Kenny was saying, in choosing to elevate the coat hanger symbolism to promote clinical abortion care, essentially, the need for clinical abortions, the movement effectively demonized all forms of abortion care that don’t take place in a doctor’s office or a hospital. And that that iconography promotes inaccurate historical references in order to distill a nuanced and complex history of community abortion care, as generally dangerous.

Hoja Lopez  13:05

So the suggestion is, I guess the suggestion is that as a symbol that the coat hanger is essentially out of date, and that it can be harmful, because it suggests that all abortions that are not in a state where it is legal, where you have a clinic or a planned parenthood can be unsafe or will be unsafe, really, but that is not actually true.

V Spehar  13:26

And you actually should not use a coat hanger of performing an at home abortion. And in fact, that was never a thing. I was like, oh.

Hoja Lopez  13:34

Okay, I totally understand it totally understand where they’re coming from a night. And usually you can see both sides of a thing. And I think there’s so many questions around the pill, and where to get it, you know, legally, where to get it safely, that I can see the murkiness, I can see the gray area that they’re dealing with.

V Spehar  13:56

Well, maybe we’ll get some signs for the services that are doing this work. So like, you can go to that’s one place that will or visit our pals at Discreet, confidential, does not require a doctor’s note to get the medical abortion pills or plan B or a host of women’s health stuff that they offer.

Hoja Lopez  14:23

No, I think that’s so wonderful. And I think it’s the idea of sending people resources like this. Right now. It has to be a community, gaining momentum for itself and, and being there for each other. And I know there’s a really great website called Plan C, And essentially what they do is they don’t kind of cosign on any pills. They just say essentially, like we’ve ordered these. We’ve particularly tested these pills out, we know they’re functional, they’re not duds, they’re not being sold to you because there’s so many providers you can go to so many different websites that will sell you pills that can be shipped to your house. So can help you choose the right one for you. So it’s definitely there are really great resources out there. You know what you’re advocating for is like this general knowledge what we’re all talking about and making sure that it’s not confusing for people.

V Spehar  15:19

Yeah. Hoja, at this point in the show we do just a couple of quick hits, hot takes us to some crazy headlines that I will read for you. Here we go. Are you ready?

Hoja Lopez  15:31

I’m ready.

V Spehar  15:31

Russia is unhinged right now. Very suspicious shit happening. Right before the holiday weekend. The chairman of a Russian oil and gas giant Lukoil who spoke out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine died after falling out of a hospital window. But their media didn’t tell people he fell from a sixth floor hospital window they said the Chairman has died after a long illness.

Hoja Lopez  15:57

What? They lied? Boldface?

V Spehar  16:02

Oh, I know so surprising, Russian media life.

Hoja Lopez  16:04

My God. Because I know this is so crazy because it’s like Mikhail Gorbachev passed away. So there’s a lot of Russian people dying one Mikhail Gorbachev I would have believed a long illness. I think he’s like 92 or 93. But not this guy. I’m so sorry. I do not mean to laugh about the death of a human being but I find Russia to be sort of like the fuck boy of political countries. It’s like they’re telling you one thing but the truth is they mean something completely fucking different.

V Spehar  16:40

They’re knocking them out. I mean, not to accuse people of anything, of course, all hypotheticals but they also the daughter of Putin’s number two was just killed in that car explosion. Now this guy’s fallen out of hospital window. Russia’s coming on Done. Russia’s coming on Done. Demi Lovato. Famously used they/them pronouns is now using she/her pronouns. What do you think?

Hoja Lopez  17:03

I think it’s amazing, gender is a journey. That’s exactly right. I think the criticism is annoying, and comes from lack of, you know, knowledge. But, you know, I live with somebody who’s non-binary. And as a person who has witnessed that upfront and very close, you know, they gone through an entire journey. And sometimes they don’t want to make a big deal out of it. And they beg, you know, they beg me to just say she/her and other times, they feel really confident with they/them. And I think part of it is getting comfortable trying things out, seeing what fits you and seeing what doesn’t. And Demi just has to do it in front of all of us. You know, I hope more people can come out about, you know, whatever they’re feeling at any moment, and we just get to respect it and not make a big deal about it.

V Spehar  17:53

I used to do that they them pronouns. I was very, very strong about it. I liked them the best. And then I became a figure of the internet. And I was like, you know what, I’m just gonna use all the pronouns, because people will weaponize them against you. And then it’s like, this is just hard. I don’t want to think about gender this much. So I’m just going to, you tell me what you perceive. And I’m just going to live my life. And I’m grateful that I’ve been able to get to that point. I know for so many folks. They’re not at that point. But it’s just if someone tells you that they changed them, they just changed them. It’s no bigs.

Hoja Lopez  18:22

I’m sorry that, that happened to you V and I hope that it becomes really simple one day, and it doesn’t have to be this thing that is marred by complication of your professional life and your personal life. So yes, we’ll pray for that.

V Spehar  18:35

Well, we shall we’ll pray to the gods of puppies and Madonna. Exciting news. The first Native Alaskan and first woman ever will represent Alaska in Congress, which is so fun. Mary Peltola, did you hear about this?

Hoja Lopez  18:53

I did. I am I’m so excited.

V Spehar  18:57

I’m very proud of her.

Hoja Lopez  18:58

I know we talk about representation a lot. And it feels like the sort of like Marta shoe, but when it’s in politics, specifically, when it’s in policy making positions, specifically, representation is where it is really fully at. I mean, somebody who can advocate for community that they’re in somebody who understands the kind of ins and outs of a real place and is not isn’t trying to exclude people is a really exciting prospect for the people of Alaska. So I’m very, very excited. That’s so cool.

V Spehar  19:29

She’s so cool. She’s got such a great wish and she does have a lot of bipartisan support as well. She is so educated on things like fishing and wildlife and natural resources that’s been her career all to this point. I mean, if that’s not Alaska, I don’t know what is like, I’m just so excited to see what truth she tells us about this place that we don’t really get to hear about a whole ton, you know, and I really think it’s gonna be a big power move for the state of Alaska and I’m just so thrilled for them. Another thing I’m super thrilled for, and I don’t know if you saw it yet. Twitter is testing an edit button.

Hoja Lopez  20:02

I didn’t even know about this; I’m going to text Mohanad right now about this edit button. He’s been wanting to be thrilled. He’s been wanting it monitors my co-host, I’M SORRY, as well as Kiki. I don’t know, this seems like a lot of really fun opportunities here to say something, and then lie about what you said. And I love that behavior.

V Spehar  20:23

I think that’s what they’re trying to say. I wonder if you’d be able to see the revisions. Like I think the other way that the Twitter edit button can happen, which I would love as a dyslexic because I spell shit wrong all the time. And then I’m like nobody even knows what that said. But it’s probably not that nice. Why people want edit button.

Hoja Lopez  20:41

It’s usually to say something pretty egregious. And then gaslight other people.

V Spehar  20:45

And then everybody had retweeted it. And lastly, what do you think about quiet quitting. I’m so sick of hearing about it. But I want to know, quiet quitting. What do you think?

Hoja Lopez  20:55

I’m going to be a very cool kid and say that I’ve been quiet quitting my entire life from essentially every job until I started doing comedy and entertainment. It is a way of life for you people who are coming on board. Now these days, I have always given up exactly, you know, 10 to 12 months into the job. I believe it is the Gen Z and Millennial way. If I don’t care about the job, that is what you’re getting out of me. You cannot have any more of me other than that. I know that we’re supposed to be people who are advocating for ourselves at all times. And we’re supposed to be hustling all the time and looking for the next position when you no longer care about the role that you’re in. But that’s not how we operate as humans, we sometimes need some time to stew in our unhappiness before we’re ready to move on. But that unhappiness will present ourselves in the form of not responding to your damn emails.

V Spehar  21:50

The boomer generation that stayed at their jobs forever there was a reason they had incredible benefits there was these cost of life the world is just structured different so we can’t worry about you know, people saying oh, you’re lazy or you’re entitled like no, this is the way the ladder has moved, the ladder is now like a weird escalator situation you gotta go up one walk through the department and then go up the next one there’s no straight ladder.

Hoja Lopez  22:12

I know a guy at Twitter to get there.

V Spehar  22:15

Data analytics that we’re going to be on to the table pay.

Hoja Lopez  22:20

That’s right. That’s how you get ahead.

V Spehar  22:22

Oh my gosh. All right, we’re gonna take a quick break after the break. Hoja and I are gonna chat about some public apologies the best and worst of summer 2022 And how she is spending her last remaining months as a single woman now that she’s getting married very soon, all of that after this. Welcome back friends I am back with I’m sorry host and comedian, Hoja Lopez.

Hoja Lopez  22:57

Hello. And thank you for having me.

V Spehar  23:00

So, you are the host of I’m sorry, here on the Lemonada network and it only feels right to start off with some of the most iconic apologies of summer 2022 What’s the first one that comes to mind for you?

Hoja Lopez  23:12

Oh man, the first one that comes to mind. I mean, this is sort of like playing the hits but probably the sort of post Will Smith apology the most recent one because he did his sort of like quicker the next day but he did go on and kind of apologize to Chris and the rock family and in my mind I felt like it was a more sort of like thought out apology you know, so I’d probably go with that one as my number one just because we were waiting for a more like a more involved one versus like you know, the post it note or the sort of like you know screenshot of your phone one. That’s my number one.

V Spehar  23:57

Did Chris ever apologize to will or to Jada?

Hoja Lopez  24:00

He sort of like tangentially said, like my apologies to Jada like it was more like Hey, I didn’t mean to offend anyone. So it wasn’t really a full apology. It was it was more of a little tentative. Oh fuck that just caused me to get slapped in the face. Let’s say something about this.

V Spehar  24:20

I’m sorry. I got slapped in the face.

Hoja Lopez  24:22

I got slapped in the face.

V Spehar  24:23

I wish to not be slapped in the face again. So I’m going to kind of apologize for my attempt at comedy. Yes. So I’m sorry, focuses upon like public gaffes and different like goofy things that celebrities and folks do. What do you find both fascinating and terrifying about cancellation, which is featured on the show quite a bit folks who have been canceled?

Hoja Lopez  24:44

Yeah. Well, I definitely think there’s a little bit of like fatigue, I think sometimes around the conversation of cancellation, and I think it’s taken on sort of this kind of larger than life feeling where it’s like we were all a part of this wave that like gets to cancel this person or gets to do that. And I do think that right now, views are evolving a little bit. And I think some of the progressive people are some of my best friends, aka the social media, justice warriors. I think people are starting to look inside and say, How can we be more effective at this, because obviously, you’re not getting the press you want, you’re not getting the end goals that you want, which is to like, neutralize bad behavior, and not just disrespectful behavior, but like downright abusive behavior. And so I think cancellation is evolving. I think we were in when this started, maybe, you know, me too. And all that I like to say we were kind of in like, the Mesozoic era of treating people kindly online and interpersonally. And I think we’re just getting past that very first sort of big shock wave of cancellation. And I do think cancellation has a place in culture, I think that if there is a predator out there, and you need to warn other people that there’s a madman, like, you know, doing horrible things does that, that talking about it and presenting our case online, might be the only, you know, place that we have. But, you know, there’s certain changes that I see coming about, like, you know, like revenge porn getting taken down, and there being legislation and policy around that. And there being just sort of like a very careful and watchful eye on things I think is going to allow us to get to the next level of this. So, you know, I’m sorry, I think we’re trying to move along with that. And we are trying to present sort of a hot take on what’s going on and so that you can kind of go back to your friends and, and talk about it in that specific POV. But we’re also trying to evolve the conversation a little bit on what it means to get canceled and what it means to have just a lot of people talking about you online.

Hoja Lopez  24:44

Yeah, Person of the day kind of stuff. And I think there’s power in owning your shit too, right? Like, there have been things under the desk that I’ve just gotten completely wrong. I’ve said it wrong. We’re going to, you know, every so often have a take that’s like, wait, I didn’t realize that that was going to cause harm. But intent doesn’t matter. What’s the power in owning your shit?

Hoja Lopez  27:14

Yeah, I do. I’m glad that I as an elder millennial, I’m glad that yeah, my fuckboys years aren’t on the, hey mama days.

Hoja Lopez  27:14

Oh, what a question. Well, I’ll tell you as a reformed bad girl, I grew I was oh my god, you guys, my 20s were essentially a string of thefts, relationship breakups and the loss of friends due to my own terrible behavior. So that is, that is a real part of my life, you know, and I think probably from ages 20 to 27. My little frontal lobe was still mushy, perfect for Leonardo DiCaprio to date. But all in cases, my frontal lobe was just not totally there yet. And if some of these people came out of the woodwork and started talking about the bullshit that I did when I was, you know, a young adult, I definitely think that the moment that it switched over for me was when I really integrated accountability into my life and into the way that I operate, and then to the way that I deal with my friendships and my family, and, you know, my professional life. Yeah, I mean, owning your shit is like, that’s the turning point. That’s the moment. And honestly, it’s like, there’s always a new thing to own your shit about, you know, as you get better and more evolved and have people that know what they’re talking about in your life. Hopefully, you can be a mirror to others, others can be a mirror to you about your own behavior. And I think my mom calls it like big boat skills. You know, when you have a little boat skill as you fuck up, you were late, you’ve made a mistake. The things that it can be kind of easy to apologize for, because they don’t like cut to the core of who you are. But the big vote skills like somebody who can apologize easily who the first thing that they do when somebody comes up to them and says, Hey, you mess this up. And that first sort of inclination may be defense, but 30 seconds later, you can like mellow and let the critique in. It changed my life. So I can’t imagine it wouldn’t change other people’s lives, you know?

Hoja Lopez  28:53

I was a Catholic slash shamer. I was everything.

V Spehar  29:04

Yeah, I’m glad those aren’t on the internet. I know. We like I’ve given advice to my younger siblings in the past. I’m like, you just have to accept you’re gonna be somebody’s bad guy. You’re gonna be you’re not gonna want to be your good person in your heart. But something you do you everybody is somebody’s bad guy. Everybody broke somebody’s heart, you know, and owning that. And then knowing to not do that in the future and not getting the thrill out of that I think is definitely part of growing up. And I hope that there is grace for the kids who are chronically online who have been raised online, who have had every moment of their lives documented. Before we click off of canceled culture, though, is there something in American culture right now that most people are finding funny that you like totally or like uh-uh, let me give you a warning people who are finding this funny, you’re going to be apologizing someday.

Hoja Lopez  30:01

Oh, man. I mean, the first thing that comes to mind is Amber Heard-Johnny Depp, I just think even just us protecting the whole situation and the whole idea of like, now it becoming part of a more like political discourse where like, people on the rights and men’s group or like investing in pouring money into, like coverage against Amber, like there’s something really insidious going on right now, in terms of pop culture and politics, sort of like bleeding into each other. And we have always known that politicians are famous people. And we’ve always known that politicians lie. And there’s this sort of sheen on politics that we can already see clearly. But the sheen on other things becoming political. I think, also a Venn diagram of where you’re showing our show, I think, sort of like clicked together, you know, because I, that’s really, I think, part of what worries me when a women in media are always going to be something you know, when we look at the early aughts, early 2000s, and you know, the 90s. We are constantly going back and revising, you know, how we treated people. And so that’s a really great question. But I would say that, I would say, don’t laugh at all about this trial, because it has a larger significance I think, than what we think it does.

V Spehar  31:21

As someone who adapted improv, can you talk about what it’s like to have to commit to something once you’ve said it or done it? Regardless of someone’s reaction? We had Rose Kelso on a couple of weeks ago, he was talking about bombing a joke and how sometimes you have to see it through my boy, you got to see it through. What is that like?

Hoja Lopez  31:38

100%. Well, I feel in improv in particular, I feel when you say something that people can hear the way we describe it, as you’ve made a promise to the audience, that that we’ll have, that they will be able to see this thing that you said through if you drop something in the middle of your set, like you were a, I don’t know, like an old drunk Italian, you know, picking out a gift for their millennial child or for their Gen Z child. You know, like you, you have to carry that character through until the very end, you can’t drop the physicality, you can’t drop. Even if you’re not getting laughs The worst thing you can do in an improv scene is give up midway and not commit. Because I really love that notion of seeing it through, you know, sometimes you have to take big swings and figure out how to how to earn it later. And that’s what we do call it an improperly called earning it like if you say that you’re you know, you’re a badass business bitch on stage. Like, you have to do things that a badass business bitch would do. And that’s the way that you earn that. And I think that’s probably what your comedian friend is saying, sometimes a joke falls flat because you haven’t earned it. And if you can just push the audience a little bit further, you can maybe bring them back because you earn it in posterity. You paid off your debt. You know?

V Spehar  32:53

I love that whole idea. I think that works so well for the regular world. What you say is a promise and if you’ve said something, you’d have to commit to it all the way through. Geez, so insightful, my friend.

Hoja Lopez  33:05

Hey, improv is philosophy. And I know that it’s a cult and that if your friends who are an improv asked you to go to a show you probably shouldn’t because the truth is, there’s an aura around improv, but I’ll tell you once you’re in baby, woof, that is the most supportive, kind, magical community in the world, and there’s a lot of gays in it. So we love to date somebody, go to improv.

V Spehar  33:30

Go improv, get yourself to the black box theater. It’s scary, but it’s yes and right. Yes, and yes, and queer and supportive communities. You’re getting married soon. Congratulations,

Hoja Lopez  33:43

Oh my God. Thank you. I never thought it would be me. I thought it would be a wonder less fuck boy for the rest of my life.

V Spehar  33:50

You’re that girl. You’re getting married now. What does married life look like for a queer Latina in Chicago?

Hoja Lopez  33:56

Very heteronormative. Very, very heteronormative. Very, no, just like, I don’t understand sarcasm. Listen V. Who’s the man and who’s the woman is what, this what is what I’m asking. Okay. No, no, no, listen, I’m married life in Chicago, Illinois for a gay Latina. I mean, I think not much different than what it is right now. It involves me. Staying home not cleaning anything barely cooking. Being extremely preoccupied with like writing bits about SOC lawsuits and Star Trek.

V Spehar  34:36

Just breaking every stereotype possible breaking them all. Hoja, how do people keep up with you? How do they find you?

Hoja Lopez  34:47

Yes, you can find me on Instagram. You can find me across all platforms at @AlohaHoja. I am all over the place. isn’t producing a bunch of stuff and writing a bunch of stuff in here in Chicago too, I’ll be in something called splatter Theatre in October which is the annoyance theater sort of like epic Halloween show. That’s one of the shows I’m most excited about. And yeah, go to the annoyance theater and do some cool improv.

V Spehar  35:18

I love it and I will be tuning in as I always do to the I’m sorry podcast. It is one of my favorite places to relax. Hang with you and Kiki and Mo such a great show.

Hoja Lopez  35:28

Thank you V.

V Spehar  35:31

Thank you again to Hoja Lopez from the I’M SORRY podcast for keeping us company today and bringing that great story about the drama with the Instagram verifications. I loved that one. We’re going to take a quick break, but when we return, we will have some good news from Hoja’s neck of the woods Chicago so stick around. And now it’s time for my favorite part of the show. Good news. Now we will get to Chicago but for this story we have to start in Texas. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas has been busing migrants from the Texas borders to sanctuary cities around the nation in this kind of very cruel PR stunt. Well, oh boy Abbott messed with the wrong city when he sent a bus of migrants to Chicago this weekend, thinking that the city of Chicago would complain and reject these folks, not so much. A spokesperson for Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago said Chicago is and will continue to be a welcoming city. We are collaborating across various city departments and with local, state and community partners to ensure everyone who arrives in Chicago is greeted and treated with dignity and respect. City officials maintain that temporary shelter solutions for those arriving from Texas will be found and support will be provided. You gotta love Chicago. This is a city with open arms all of the time. Chicago doesn’t always get painted that well in the headlines, but truly a vibrant and beautiful city. Let me tell you a couple things I love about Chicago, one, Chicago boasts 28 miles of lakefront with 24 beaches. There are more than 600 parks and 8800 acres of green space. There are eight major league sports teams, a little bit of something for everyone. And for my artsy folks, they’ve got 200 theaters, 60 museums and 7300 restaurants. The chocolate brownie, Cracker Jacks, deep dish pizza and the Twinkie were all invented in Chicago. So if you’re listening from Chicago, I want you to know I personally appreciate you and I’m just so grateful for what your mayor is doing for these folks just trying to find a better life here in the United States. Be sure to tune into Friday’s episode where we are going to be chatting with Stephanie Wittels Wachs one of my favorite people on earth and one of the cofounders of Lemonada Media. We also want to know what you think of the show. If something is good. If something is bad, what’s happening in your life. Do you have some good news? Please leave me a voicemail at 612-293-8550. Subscribe to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts. Follow me at @underthedesknews. And remember, it’s not quiet quitting. It’s doing only the work that you’re being paid to do. You are golden, take care of yourselves. We will see you on Friday.

V Spehar  38:34

V INTERESTING is a Lemonada Media Original. Our producers are Rachel Neel, Xorje Olivares, Martín Macías, Jr. And Dani Matias. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Mixing and Scoring is by Brian Castillo, Johnny Evans and Ivan Kuraev. music is by Seth Applebaum. Please help others find the show by rating and reviewing wherever you listen and follow us across all social platforms at @VitusSpehar and @UnderTheDeskNews, also, @LemonadaMedia. If you want more be interesting, subscribe to Lemonada premium only on Apple podcasts.

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