V Interesting

Student Loans, Return to Office, Teaching Reading Right

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V Spehar is out from under the desk and into your ears! They’re starting off by sharing some of the headlines you may have missed this week, including exactly who’s rewriting the national reading curriculum, how Biden may have actually started the U.S. student debt crisis, and how people feel about returning to the office after working remotely during the height of the pandemic (spoiler alert: not great!) Then, a conversation with Jules Suzdaltsev, a Ukrainian-born journalist and creator of the hit TikTok show, “Good Morning, Bad News”. V and their news bestie discuss how Jules has navigated the ever-changing media landscape, why news outlets are censoring graphic content, and how citizen journalists are using social media to teach us about events like the war in Ukraine.

Follow Jules’s work on TikTok at @goodmorningbadnews and on Twitter at @jules_su.

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V Spehar, Jules Suzdaltsev, Speaker 3, Speaker 6, Speaker 4, Speaker 5

V Spehar  00:00

Hey friends, it’s Tuesday, June 7th, 2022. Welcome to the very first episode of V INTERESTING, where we break down the viral and very interesting news that you might have missed. I’m V Spehar. And on today’s show, I will attempt to convince Joe Biden into canceling our student loans. Again, reading is what? Well, yes, it’s fundamental. But it’s also fundamentally screwed. It turns out the lady who’s been writing the curriculum for K through 12, reading programs, since the 70s, hasn’t based her work in science at all. And later, I’ll be chatting with my friend Jules, the popular creator behind the account, Good morning, Bad News. Jules is here to talk about mainstream legacy media, and how citizen journalists are changing the way we learn about events like the war in Ukraine.

Jules Suzdaltsev 

The volume of information and footage and really access is something totally new. I mean, this is the first work to be like that, because we didn’t experience that with the war in Afghanistan, or the or the war in Iraq.

V Spehar

All that and more on today’s episode of V INTERESTING. Let’s be smart together. And now for the headlines. Wait, oh my God, you guys, I am trying to be professional and keep it together. But this is the very first show and I still can’t believe this is happening. So we’re going to have shown on Tuesdays and Fridays, and they’re quite different from each other. So let me just set some expectations for what’s going to happen during a Tuesday show. Tuesday’s are all about spending more time with some of the news clips that y’all were most interested in. Finishing the story with what happened after it was a trending headline, and then giving you more on how these stories even turned out. Because we always lose that. It’s like we get the headline. We hear a little bit about it. And then it goes away forever. Not here, not on Tuesdays. That’s what we’re going to cover here. And then on Fridays. Well, you’ll have to tune in on Friday to see what happens next. But for now, we’re gonna get to those headlines. First up, literacy expert Lucy Calkins rewrites the national curriculum on reading. Now, are you the kind of person who loves learning but has never been described as a voracious reader? Did the Pizza Hut Book It program give you the same level of childhood anxiety? It gave me something I still talk about in therapy. Well, listen, it turns out our love of learning but distaste for reading is all this lady Lucy Calkins fault. She is the foremost expert on literacy education. Her program units of study which relies heavily on the idea that children are, quote, natural readers and can also quote, guess words has been taught in 67,000 schools since the 1970s. She’s literally trained like every generation of teachers. In units of study, Calkin rejects the idea that phonics or the method of sounding it out letter by letter would be in any way helpful to a child learning to read. units of study is almost entirely built outside the idea that learning disabilities, neuro divergence, or speech dysfunction even exists. To make things worse, her methods insists teachers give children heavy reading assignments, and an ocean of books to drown themselves in.

V Spehar  03:27

Y’all remember those summer reading lists? I do. My parents, my grandma would be like reading books off of my third grade summer reading list, and then trying to like give me the cliff notes just so we could get halfway through it as a kid with dyslexia. And you know, like, very important things like cheerleading camp in the summer musical to worry about, that reading list made me hate reading. And when a child can’t grasp reading at the same level as their peers, the shame and frustration they can feel lead to feelings that they just can’t be good at other things, either. It’s one of the first chips to our self-esteem as a kid, that uncomfortable, ugly vibe of having to read in front of your class and stumble through it. Like somehow the shame of that experience was going to make you magically read better. If you weren’t a natural reader, listen to me. It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t your fault at all. There is nothing wrong with you. There was everything wrong with the lack of lesson plans provided to you. Mark Seidenberg a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin Madison claims there’s little controlled research to prove the efficacy of Lucy’s methods. And it’s not just him. There are 1000s of Reddit feeds, parent teacher Facebook groups and hordes of child psychologists, literary scientists and learning experts that have torn units of study down page by page. So after decades of criticism, she’s just gonna say oopsie maybe phonics and the science of literacy should play a role in education. I’m gonna make a couple edits, maybe learning disabilities are real, maybe kids aren’t dumb and they just need multiple avenues to learn? Because there’s not this one size fits all perfect approach to reading. I love a person with a change of heart. But with decades of damage that she has done and her supporters have continued to do, can we trust them with the next generation of learners? I heard from one Texas teacher who is incredibly fed up with the current system, and how it blatantly defers to those lacking real classroom experience. So I’m going to close the story with her voice, because I think she says it best.

Speaker 3  05:28

Hey, V. I’m a teacher from down in south Texas. And I believe that something that all teachers have in common, despite the, state, region, or area that you’re working in, is that we all get instruction from the higher authorities that haven’t been in a classroom in years, decades or some not even at all. And so when you receive curriculum that everyone expects to be used across the board, for all students equally are the same. It’s impossible to do that.

V Spehar  06:08

On to other things that continue to make me super mad. Big headline, President Biden has canceled more than $25 billion in student loan debt, more than any other president in history. Okay, great headline, great headline. But Joe Biden is also the guy who is at the root of how the student loan crisis in this country began. He is the literal architect of the student loan crisis. In this video that got 4 million views on TikTok and almost got me uninvited to the White House briefing. I break down his whole voting record. Take a listen. When I say those student loans are between Joe Biden and God, this is what I mean. In 1972, a 29 year old Joe Biden won his first seat in the Senate and quickly rose to be the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, the committee that oversees bankruptcy legislation, he personally led the effort to make it more difficult for Americans to reduce their debt through bankruptcy. In 1977, he sided with a group that argued student loan borrowers were just using bankruptcy to get out of their loans, something that had only happened 1% of the time and in 1970, even though the rest of the Democratic Party told him it would be unwise and unjust. He was one of three Democrats who pushed through legislation that made student loans unforgivable through bankruptcy. So the banks started giving up more money and colleges raise their tuition by 400%. The rate of American personal debt rose two thirds of the last 40 years. In 97′, when Clinton tried to cancel student loans Biden blocked them, to which the credit industry said they consider Biden vital to deflecting pro consumer amendments.

V Spehar 

And in 2005, he helped George Bush signed a law that means student loans pretty much never forgivable. So when he says student loan repayment starts getting in February, I say those loans are between you and God. That is right and we have it on a t shirt. Those loans are between you and God, Joseph. So we’re gonna need a little bit more forgiving of the debt. What’s been cleared so far is mostly debt from borrowers who were duped into taking out federal loans to pay tuition to a for profit College, like Corinthian or ITT Tech. Fake schools that lost their accreditation under Obama. And for the folks who throw criticisms like why didn’t tell you to go to art school and get a degree in gender studies. If you had the privilege of going to college, you should have a good job and be able to pay back your loans. I agree with you. I agree with you, they should. But what you might not know is the majority of debt is not held by liberal arts degree grads. It’s helped by our nation’s teachers, social workers, scientists, small business owners, nurses and medical support staff. Service related careers that are central to our being able to compete in a global economy and take care of each other. And this is gonna blow your mind. In 2019 Trump, President Trump, 45, proposed forgiving all undergrad debt after 15 years. Reports say Biden is leading towards canceling $10,000 in debt. And in April, he said you know he’s gonna come to his final decision on what he’s going to do in the next couple of weeks. Well, it’s June, I’m gonna need you to show me the money, Joe.

V Spehar  09:05

Speaking of the architect of other people’s misery, no, I cannot keep having these, like very punny segues or can I? Are you enjoying them? Let me know. Here’s the next headline. Sheryl Sandberg is leaving Facebook. Yes. The same woman who demanded that we all lean in and who would have almost certainly been the Secretary of the Treasury if Hillary Clinton had become president. The human accomplice that has weathered 14 years as the right hand of the Avatar we call Mark Zuckerberg, she hustled her way through multiple Congressional investigations of impropriety and antitrust violations. She sort of kinda I’m for legal purposes, not saying she did this, but she might have stoked a civil war in Ethiopia by ignoring the need to have content moderators that speak the language of the country Facebook operates in, she girl boss her way into billions by forging a path to monetize users personal data, which is, you know, basically led to the destruction of privacy. This, this brave American woman who profited at the radicalization of our uncle’s through Facebook memes during the 2016 election cycle. Yeah, she said, you know what? I did it. I did it. I’ve done it all I’ve done enough here. Sheryl is claiming that nothing in particular is driving her decision to step away now. She’s just taking some time to plan her wedding. Sheryl Sandberg, girl boss to the end. Speaking of people who have girl boss too close to the sun, again, I will work on these segues. But that was just that was too easy. We had to do that one. I know that you’ve seen this headline a whole bunch already. And we’ve talked a bunch about it. Elon Musk tells employees to return to the office 40 hours a week or quit. But here’s a reminder on what he actually said, this is directly what he said. Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum and I mean minimum with little stars around it of 40 hours a week or depart Tesla. This is less than we ask of our factory workers, return to work? In this economy? Musk, like many other corporate overlords is demanding workers returned to in person office life despite the fact that productivity has not suffered over the last two years, and almost 65% of workers say they prefer their work from home life. Look, micromanager is wanting their minions back on the cube farm is nothing new. That has been going on since the original like two weeks, let’s flatten the curve days. But, what I’ve noticed is a stark change in the narrative around luring people back to the office. Turns out the promise of pizza parties free beer and ping pong tables in the office doesn’t slap like it used to. So now executives who I might add work remotely themselves when not enjoying the pleasures of their cush corner offices, have taken either the super strong tone the way that Musk did demanding a return to the office or and actually think this is kind of worse. They’ve begun spouting rhetoric that your main street is dying and poverty shall swallow up all of humanity unless you return to the office, right? Commute to the cube farm or resign, well resign it may well be then here’s what you had to say about the importance and value of working from home.

Speaker 4  12:22

If I could work remote, as long as some of these people have worked remote. And my job told me that if I didn’t come back, I’d be fired. I wouldn’t go back. Why? Why do you need to physically be there? If you’re doing your job from home and it’s being done correctly, why do they have to physically be there in person?

Speaker 5 

A lot of us learned how to work remotely and like it better. We save time because we don’t have to commute. We can dedicate that time to work. We save money because we don’t have to buy lunches out, dry cleaning, gas. And we have better work life because we’re able to spend more time with our families, with our kids, with our dogs.

Speaker 6

I’m disabled and when the pandemic happened, and they allowed people to work from home, I was not retroactively furious that they didn’t try that for me. Because I cannot adhere to any kind of schedule, I cannot sit at a desk. I can’t do my job effectively anymore. However, if you gave me the ability to work from my house and on my own hours, I might be able to work. The fact that they are forcing people to go to work when you don’t have to is ridiculous.

V Spehar 

Oh my god, Rachel, we are running out of time for us, who are, Rachel is my emotional support producer who does all the tracking with me because I need somebody, we need somebody who like helps us through these moments. And that’s Rachel for us. So everyone’s snaps for Rachel but okay, we’re running out of time. But here are three quick stories that are fairly self-explanatory and also made me giggle that I wanted to make sure we got in this episode. So here we go. One, more people are being attacked by animals in the wild than ever before. Is it Instagram’s fault? Yes, please stop trying to take photos with animals in the wild. You will get gored by a bison in Yellowstone park like that lady from Ohio did. In better nature news. Millions of tons of dirt that was dug for the New London subway, not New London like new in London, England. Their subway was used to create a bird sanctuary. We love that. And you probably heard this one too, but it just cracked me up. A man threw a cake at the Mona Lisa. He claims that he did it to show that people need to quit looking at the past and start looking at how climate change is affecting us. Now there is little in this world that I love more than a good a pie to the face gag. But I’m not sure that dressing and drag helped us keep the focus on climate change, my angel. And lastly, breaking news. No. The new head of CNN has told staffers you got to cool it with a breaking news banner. It’s an attempt from CNN to make the network less sensationalist. You know, what did make the network less sensational? CNN plus, then CNN. Okay. That is enough laughing at CNN for one episode. All right. Also, on Tuesdays, I’m going to take some time to talk to someone smart about something that’s happening in their world. Again, this is just more time for us to spend learning about the news. In a minute, we’re going to speak with my pal Jules, the creator of Good Morning, Bad News. I hope you all follow him on Tik Tok. We’re going to be talking about how he’s navigated the shifting sands of the media world. And we’re also going to get into how the mainstream legacy media is censoring graphic content.

V Spehar  16:06

I am so excited that my first guest on V Interesting is none other than my news bestie Jules, Jules runs the very popular account at Good morning bad news. He’s also a Ukrainian born journalist with more than 1 million followers. Me and Jules friendship is further proof that there is room enough for everyone when it comes to storytelling. We both bring you the news, but we each do it in a slightly different way. Where I share quick rundowns of the day’s news in a calm way from a safe space and my community of followers tends to lean a little bit more positive. Jules and his team do deeply researched explainers that use lots of fast moving video clips, and his followers tend to lean a little bit more pessimistic. So I brought Jules on to talk about how we make the news. And if it’s making the impact that drives change, we hope it is. Hi, Jules. Welcome to the brand new first episode of the show.

Jules Suzdaltsev 

Thank you, I’m so excited. This is great. I love that you’re doing this.

V Spehar

Jules, let people know who might not be following Good Morning, Bad News, yet, like what made you start that account on TikTok?

Jules Suzdaltsev 

I mean, honestly, the account itself the idea of coming on Tik Tok to do news, politics, economic explainers kind of came out as a whim, I never jumped on Tik Tok to try to create a news show. But I’ve been in the explainer news space working for major companies for you know, now it’s been like eight or nine years. And the whole point is finding that sliver of engagement finding that way of connecting to people, and then giving them information. And I think it’s so incredibly hard to get people engaged with good information. Because there is so much misinformation, there is so much obfuscation of what’s happening, there’s so much, like I said, the idea of pulling your personality and opinion out of the news, I think, is a huge mistake. And the fact that we’ve both dived into it with our personalities, which is, you know, I’m willing to look at the negative side of things and figure out why is it so bad, and you’re willing to look at the positive side of things under a desk, and, you know, provide that incredibly necessary context. I just think there’s so much more value to that than there is to this. Blank, boring, you know, this is what happened. And that’s all you need from us.

V Spehar  18:34

And you and I did get a very big pat on the head recently of when we were invited to the White House press conference on the invasion of Ukraine. Can you talk just a little bit about what that experience was like?

Jules Suzdaltsev 

That was surreal, the legitimization of this kind of TikTok news creator, or even social media news creator. I think that style of news is the future. I don’t think people trust institutional news organizations nearly as much as they used to. And I also think that’s a good thing. Because, you know, there’s a million individual creators out there, and there’s so much, it’s almost like, I hate to say it like this, but it’s almost like the free market of news. I think there’s positives and negatives about that being the future of news. But I do think that it is the future of news. And I think that the White House legitimizing it is an incredibly good thing. I think it’s an incredibly like valuable feather in the hat of what we’re trying to do that we’re seeing incredible success with that is being just outright ignored. I think that of the things that you that are very legitimate criticisms of the Biden administration or the White House in general or the way or the interplay between, like Washington and like news orgs. I think that inviting creators on a call to be briefed on Ukraine As they actively report on Ukraine, I think it’s a great idea. I think whoever thought of that, you know, thumbs up. Great, great move. Let’s do it more. Let’s do it more, let’s do it better.

V Spehar  20:09

I know, I wish that they would invite us back, you know, for that same kind of thing, that same level of respect that a normal press briefing, if we want to call it that would have they I think they quickly realized, like you said, from the people in the room and the questions that were being asked that this wasn’t a kids gloves moment, this was actual people who know what they’re talking about who are deeply involved in it, who are having big conversations on this massive platform in front of at like, million billion people, you really kind of got to like, have a little bit more like respect for that a little bit more, it is a professional, it’s a professional thing. And the way that we’re handling these topics is so different from the way that traditional news media outlets have handled them. And that’s why I have you here today. Because I want to talk a little bit about how we’re covering mass shootings or gun violence in general. I like many others, I’m still very wrecked following the shooting that we experienced here, just 40 minutes from my house in Buffalo, New York, never mind being immediately followed up with the shooting in Uvalde, Texas. And I grew up just outside Sandy Hook, Connecticut, where that went on. And my sister did like the friggin funeral arrangements for these kids when we were like 20 years old. Like, there’s just it feels like so much, so much so much. But that coverage really doesn’t diversify. Right? It’s like, shock. Here’s what happened. Maybe we call him a lone gunman or talk about mental illness. It’s an AR, these are the victims. And then we like move on. And there’s a conversation that’s emerged around, do we show the pictures? Is there some good, some change of heart that can come from taking an uncensored approach to mainstream storytelling around a topic as divisive as gun control gun violence, and with photo images that are so grotesque, grotesque, the word gruesome, graphic? Just, you know, so I want to know, we’ve been talking about it? What’s your opinion on it?

Jules Suzdaltsev  22:15

When we talk about how to cover, you know, how to cover these shootings? And the question of do we want to use graphic images to essentially reflect how bad it is. I may be, I may be kind of alone in this opinion. But I don’t think that we should show the intensity and the graphicness of literally dead bodies. And I think that comes from a from a place of sensitivity towards the people whose bodies they are. Because I think a lot of times when there is a push to use more graphic footage, it’s in an effort to shock people into action. It’s an effort to sort of say, look at how serious this is connect to this viscerally. Because it’s, I would say most people with you see a dead body. It is a deeply piercingly, unsettling thing that stays with you. Realistically, that’s not how we should be looking at big serious problems, we should be able to identify big, serious problems that require change, without needing to be shocked into change. So in a way, it almost feels like it’s an attempt at solving a problem that has much deeper roots.

V Spehar 

It’s a curiosity for people too, to understand death, destruction, just to these things that are censored. We have a producer here who was talking about growing up in a border town in Texas, and how the Mexican media when there is something that goes on in Mexico, they don’t censor it at all. It’s the front page of the newspaper, it’s the graphic photos. And it is to in that way, I guess the thinking is exactly like you said, put it in people’s face, so it can’t be ignored. I think we let people decide if they want to see the pictures, and they’re visual learners, and that’s what they’re going to do, then maybe that’s something that they’re going to seek out a little bit more privately than trying to decide this is the way that we move forward for everyone. The question I have here is, we have done that, to this point, not with school shootings necessarily, but in the case of the destruction of Ukraine, or in Afghanistan, even before that, we showed the pictures, we showed the body bags coming back, we showed the bombing, we showed the destruction of the cities and towns and of people and we didn’t get truly from America. Aside from of course, the flag draped caskets coming back with US soldiers that evokes a certain kind of feeling, certainly for Americans. But generally, the accusation was that the media was creating propaganda narrative shifting to justify the war in Iraq or to promote Islamophobia or to justify how much money was being sent to Afghanistan, or in this case now how much money is being sent to Ukraine because they’re putting that humanitarian cost in the faces of people. And I wonder is just so when we do it, it didn’t work? Or was it that it was the mainstream media that did it, and they just don’t have the trust level to be able to respectfully hold space for people to experience that and talk about it.

Jules Suzdaltsev 

I think that the idea of trust in media plays a really big factor here. You know, when it’s actually not just trust in media, right? It’s you know, when we talk about is showing these images of war mongering, or people, even when people talk about Ukraine outside of the graphic intensity of like, how brutal that war is, you know, people will say that even like, defending Ukraine, or reporting on Ukraine is war mongering, because there’s a version of it that is like pro-Western imperialism and pro-NATO. And it’s such a, like, kind of complicated and nuanced argument that’s going on. So it’s not that they’re wrong. It’s that there’s just no trust in the basic reality of the fact that like, okay, that’s all true, like, yeah, America is a terror to the rest of the world. And yet, it’s also true that Russia has its own imperialist ambitions, that they are actively moving through in front of us. So it’s as much nuance as there is, there’s also, you know, some stuff that’s not nuanced at all. And, you know, we should talk about the nuances, we should talk about Western imperialism, but we should also maybe focus kind of closely on the fact that like, a country is being invaded, and we don’t need to qualify. Oh, well, you know, well, Putin is afraid of NATO expansion. Sure, but he invaded a country and is killing its people. And you know, that there is a, you know, now like a genocide kind of happening within Ukraine, there isn’t nuance to that that is helpful to the conversation.

V Spehar 

I think it’s exactly that. And so it brings it back to you know, we watch, if you’re watching cable news TV, if you’re reading the newspapers, you having a very one sided experience, in which an authoritative figure, the news person is telling you what is being reported, you’re getting essentially third, fourth, person narratives. When it came to tic tac with both the evacuation of Afghanistan and with the war in Ukraine. We were seeing first person narratives in a way that we never had access to previously, I felt like the photo journalists were much more active not just on Twitter, but on their own social media accounts. Instagram, Tik Tok, they were showing us first person, what was happening undeniably, it’s me right here. They weren’t using that sort of middleman interpreter. And then we saw from a lot of citizen journalists, both from Afghanistan, Ukraine, and generally the TIC tock community who is consuming this or having greater conversations and then spitting it back out to each other. That is where I think the communities we’re building it and the stories we’re telling the way we’re telling them is creating more opportunity for us to build those compromises and have those conversations because we’re stitching off each other’s videos or you’re seeing it firsthand. It’s undeniable.

Jules Suzdaltsev  28:19

What the war in Ukraine makes me think of is there was a George Carlin quote that was about the Gulf War then he said the Gulf War is the first war to be televised. And it got great ratings. And you know, now we’re almost experiencing the most extreme version of that of you know, not only is, you know, when we say televised I mean, now it’s citizen journalists and photo journalists are relaying this stuff live it is so uncensored, it is there’s the volume of information and footage and really access is something totally new. I mean, this is the first work to be like that, because we didn’t experience that with the war in Afghanistan or the war in Iraq. Like there wasn’t this overwhelming, like, like volume of footage and organic stories and people on the ground, relaying that information directly to us. And I love the point you’re making about the interplay between different creators and different creators stitching each other and building on top of each other that doesn’t exist in cable media that doesn’t exist in you know, the best version of that is this very sanitized, like they’ll bring someone on to talk about something, right? We’re doing, you know, again, the most organic, the most like naturally built version of that, where we’re taking real sources from real people on the ground. We’re talking about them with our expertise and being stitched with people with other expertise or people who don’t agree with us and it’s all in the same space. It’s any of this has the opportunity to go viral. Any Creator, who is, you know, every creator has the opportunity to be criticized to all of their followers, because it’s all on the same platform. I think that’s incredible. I think that like I said, I think this is absolutely the future of news. And, you know, the war in the war in Ukraine is maybe like the spark that’s making this happen. Because it’s also like the Carlin quote, it’s getting great ratings, people are tuning in way more than they do for this is what you know, we experienced our Ukraine coverage does much better than our than our economic inequality coverage. I don’t know that that’s necessarily great. But it’s true.

V Spehar  30:49

It is true. And what I love about it is that to your point, anyone can be an expert, because you are an expert in your specific experience. And so it’s a way to get diversified sources, it’s way to get first person narrative that doesn’t pass through advertisers or a network boss, stuff like that. We need to know some of the things I’ve learned most about the news and the way that people feel about it are from just you know, some random person in Sacramento, California that I would have never otherwise met who’s like, well, actually up here, this is how I’m feeling about it. You’re like, oh, I can connect with that, because I trust you. Because we’re colleagues, we’re on the same level. We’re competing, like, We’re buddies. We’re besties. These TikTok language, where mutual’s whatever the case may be some more willing to give you the time to have that conversation. And I agree, I think I don’t see us going back to major news networks in the way that they were before. And I am just so excited to see more and more people finding their voice on this platform, and joining the conversation and learning when they’re wrong and learning when they’re right. And it’s like everybody gets their chance to be the star and everybody gets their chance to be the audience. And we’ve made some great friends. And like you said, I have some people that absolutely don’t agree with me whatsoever at all. But we have some of the most cordial and delightful DM conversations. Because if you want to be right, you want to actually be right, which means you have to know the other side’s point of view too, and what they value and what’s true for them. And that’s how you’re going to build the best possible outlook on like, what the truth is, and I love that about TikTok, I love it.

Jules Suzdaltsev  32:22

Yeah, I just love the fact that that in coming up together that the same time but from the opposite ends of this news personality spectrum. I think I love that so much of what I do is also informed by what you do. You know, it’s exciting to be like, you know, to have a news bestie that isn’t you know, we’re not doing the same thing. There’s no competition, there isn’t like this grab for views and that I think does kind of exist in other places on TikTok. But, you know, even with my community being the negative in your community being the positive. I love it. I love the interplay I love that so much of our audience is there’s so much overlap to both of our audiences.

V Spehar 

Jules, I love that too. Just like the way our audiences crossover and that community is one of the things that is so great about TikTok. In fact, the show I’m going to do on Friday, we’re gonna be talking all about that basically the creator community, how we all interact with each other how to become a creator, just everything creator community and the joy of TikTok. That’s going to be on Friday. For now, please find Jules on Tik Tok at Good morning bad news. I also think he’s on Instagram and Snapchat. As for me, I’m going to have some really good news for you after the break. And I know it’s not Thursday and I am wearing a banana shirt though. We’re going to be doing more good news because we need more good news stories. That’s the best part of this job. So I’m going to do it twice a week. This is my show. I can do what I want. More good news after the break.

V Spehar  34:10

So here’s something that we can feel good about, its pride month and I have to say the rainbow capitalism this year was, chef’s kiss, far better than in any year prior like targets merch was maybe even made by an actual queer person. So fetch. Here is something that you can be really proud of. The US embassy of Kuwait for the very first time, tweeted out a photo of the American flag and the rainbow pride flag with this caption. All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are, or whom they love. @POTUS is a champion for the human rights of LGBTQ is a person’s, #2022, #youareincluded. You guys. This is remarkable. And the caption was written in English and Arabic. Rights for queer people are heavily restricted in Kuwait, until this year, it was illegal to be a trans person, and it is still illegal for men to be gay. They can be punished by up to seven years in jail. So the Kuwait government got big mad over this tweet and demanded that the US not just retract the tweet, but apologize and they wanted them to release a note saying that the United States does not support homosexuality. How does that sound go? Yeah, so in response, the US State Department spokesperson told the BBC, The United States stands proudly, advancing efforts around the globe to protect all individuals, including LGBTQIA persons from violence, abuse, criminalization, discrimination and stigma and to empower marginalized populations and local civil society, including the LGBTQIA community. Speaking of things that were not supposed to say, Gay Days returned to Disney after a two year hiatus. Now, if you’ve never heard of this Gay Days began back in 199 as a single day, when queer folks and their friends were encouraged to wear red and be seen, it used to be called like hashtag red shirt day. So you’re visiting the world’s most popular theme park, and there’s all these folks wearing red, it was a really powerful moment of inclusion.

V Spehar  36:27

And now like all these years later, it is a multi-day gathering of queer people and their supporters. And it is completely supported by even Disney, they have a department of inclusion that puts out like pride merch and rainbow themed attractions and more, you can try to take the gay out of Florida, but Mickey bless you if you try to stop the Disney gays from spending all of their money on the happiest place on earth. Because after all, gay means happy. We did it, Joe. That cracks me up literally every time I say it, but we did it. The reason I started this show was to have more time to talk about the world with you, to figure some stuff out and maybe even like leave with better questions. The whole goal here is to spark a conversation and get you curious enough about the stuff we’re talking about. That you go and do your own research and explore more, have conversations in real life about this stuff. And then ideally, report back to me what you find because this is a conversation and I’m interested to hear from you. This pod is two times a week. And now you know what a Tuesday will be like. Hopefully you’ll join me on Friday for more of like a wind down hangout episode, where we’ll have on special guests. This week. We’ve got my friends; the dirty King of Pop and Chef John Kang and we’re going to be chatting about music and food and how to build a successful creative brand on TikTok. Now I don’t even have to ask. I know you’ll be here Friday because I can always count on y’all to join the chat. Thank you so much for being with me today. You are precious, worthy and loved and I will see you on Friday.

V Spehar  38:05

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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