May 23, 2019

#142 We Didn't Start The Fire

by Reply All

This week, an epic Yes Yes No spanning an entire galaxy of internet fights. Plus, Alex Goldman reveals a dark, personal secret. And an update on Sal’s quest to get into college in Canada.

Tweet from the episodes:

Transcript

[THEME MUSIC]

PJ: From Gimlet, this is Reply All. I’m PJ Vogt.

ALEX GOLDMAN: And I’m Alex Goldman.

ALEX GOLDMAN: Welcome once again to "Yes, Yes, No" the segment on the show where our boss Alex Blumberg comes to us with something he doesn't understand from the internet and we do our best to explain it to him. Alex Blumberg–


PJ VOGT: Question mark?


ALEX GOLDMAN: Welcome- what the–what do you want from me?


PJ: Welcome to the show?


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs)


ALEX GOLDMAN: Would you like to be welcomed?


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs) Oh man.


PJ: (laughs)


ALEX BLUMBERG: Why do I do this?


ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughs)


PJ: People are bad at knowing what's going to bring them pleasure and what's gonna bring them pain. I think that's what it is.


ALEX BLUMBERG: I think that's true.


PJ: Yeah.


ALEX BLUMBERG: I–should I just dive in? Gonna dive in–


PJ: Yeah–


ALEX GOLDMAN: Let's do it–


ALEX BLUMBERG: It's a tweet call–it's a tweet from, their handle is LxDx.


PJ: Mhm.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh man, nothing about this tweet makes sense.


PJ: Yes!


ALEX BLUMBERG: Lx–LxDx at wokestbloke. Here's the, here's the tweet, "Showering is classist now. People mad at aperol. Uber strike. Wiccan life. Gamer blocked his elf wife. We didn't start the." 9,000 retweets.


PJ & ALEX GOLDMAN: (laugh)


ALEX BLUMBERG: 40,000 likes.


ALEX GOLDMAN: So Alex Blumberg, do you understand this tweet?


ALEX BLUMBERG: No.


PJ: Any of it?


ALEX BLUMBERG: I understand the, um, form that it is taking. It is the–that Billy Joel song "We Didn't Start the Fire".


PJ: Okay.


ALEX BLUMBERG: So I understand that.


PJ: Yeah. That's it.


ALEX BLUMBERG: But that's it.


PJ: Noth–none of it?


ALEX BLUMBERG: I knew there was an Uber strike.


PJ: Yeah. Uh, Alex Goldman.


ALEX GOLDMAN: I got–I'm at about 30% on this one. I'm like a–I'm not very yes on this. I'm more no than yes.


PJ: Ooh la la.


ALEX GOLDMAN: PJ Vogt?


PJ: Fully understand this tweet.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Woah.


PJ: Partly because so many people tweeted at us saying that we had to do this for "Yes, Yes, No." That I was like, "I should Google some things."


ALEX GOLDMAN: Well that–


PJ & ALEX BLUMBERG: (laugh)


ALEX GOLDMAN: The- the–that is like a characteristic difference between the two of us, I think. Because people kept tweeting it at me and I was like, "You know what? Out of defiance, I'm not going to learn about this."


PJ: You have oppositional authority disorder.


ALEX BLUMBERG: We have–


ALEX GOLDMAN: Is that a thing?


ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah- oh–


PJ: It sounds like a thing.


ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughs)


PJ: So we're at: yes. No? No. Yes, kinda no.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah. I know about the gamer and his elf wife.


PJ: You say that with such disgust for that knowledge.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Like, "everybody knows about that."


PJ: (laughs)


ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughs) All right.


PJ: Okay. So like maybe the first thing you have to know is like, this is the category of tweet that we run into sometimes on "Yes, Yes, No" where it's just sort of like, an omnibus bill of memes.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.


PJ: Like, none of these things are related to each other. They are all just themselves things.


ALEX BLUMBERG: So we're going to go on a mean- a- a–a meme tour.


PJ: Yes. We're gonna go on a meme tour. And it’s actually a meme tour of a series of fights that all happened on the internet on one week a few weeks ago. Uh, some high stakes important fights, mostly small ridiculous petty fights.  


ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.


PJ: Okay. So, showering is classist now, I have to say I find this one pretty enjoyable. I have to say. So there's this like (laughs) there's like certain, um, there's certain debates on the internet. There's certain questions you can ask at any time, that just strike some deep chord in being a human being. And every single person, no matter what they're doing, like they're like an EMT at the scene of a horrific accident and they look at their phone, and they see that this debate is happening. They just like have to drop what they're doing and like run towards the argument.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm.


PJ: Like, are hot dogs sandwiches.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Declaw- what–should you declaw your pets.


PJ: I didn't know that was one.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Oh my god. No one feels more strongly about anything than pets being declawed.


PJ: Um, Okay, so, so one of these which has been around for a few years, is- and it- it–it comes from Black Twitter. It's literally just the question (laughs quietly) I feel like I already know the answer for both of you. Do you wash your legs when you shower?


ALEX BLUMBERG: Do you wash your legs when you shower?


PJ: Yeah, like when you take a shower in the morning, do you use soap specifically on your legs?


ALEX BLUMBERG: No.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Yes.


PJ: Shockingly, the opposite of (laughing) what I thought I was going to get out of that.


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs) Wait, people wash their legs with soap?


PJ: Yeah. (laughs)


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs)


ALEX GOLDMAN: See, this is a thing about me that I think is genuinely pretty cool. I present as like a filthy, terrible monster.


PJ: If you end the sentence right there, I totally agree with you.


ALEX GOLDMAN: But–


ALEX BLUMBERG: But you're- but- but–


ALEX GOLDMAN I'm actually pretty clean underneath these–


ALEX BLUMBERG: But my thighs are clean.


PJ: (laugh)


ALEX GOLDMAN: I'm actually pretty clean under these stained clothes.


PJ: So I feel like you guys can enact this right now, probably. Alex Blumberg, why do you feel like you don't have to wash your legs like the Alex Goldmans of the world?


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughing) Well.


ALEX GOLDMAN: I already know the answer to this.


ALEX BLUMBERG: I don't know–


ALEX GOLDMAN: It's because the soap rolls down your body thereby washing your legs by, by dint of rinsing, right?


ALEX BLUMBERG: No–


PJ: That's what I thought you were gonna say.


ALEX BLUMBERG: No, no, just because like, like soap- like, you don't- like soap- there's nothing–I don't know the water is enough like, it's not like- I don't–what are you rolling around in on your legs? Like there's nothing–like I wash my legs if like there's, if there's dirt on my legs. But normally you're just like walking along, you've got clothes on. Your, your legs don't get, they don't get dirty.


ALEX GOLDMAN: They get sweaty.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah. And so then like, you know, you use–the, the fresh water rinses it off.


ALEX GOLDMAN: You don't want your legs to be fragrant?


PJ: Fragrant? Is that how you really feel?


ALEX GOLDMAN: I just feel like if I'm going to use soap on my body, I'm using it on my entire body. Also you use a washcloth to exfoliate.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Well, by the way–


PJ: (laughing) What's going–your skincare regimen is really not what I would've expected.


ALEX BLUMBERG: But if- if–if it was so important then people would have been like, (lowers voice) "Hey dude, your legs are like smelly." Like somebody would've like–


PJ & ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughs)


ALEX BLUMBERG: Like somebody would have pointed out to me in the 52 years I've been on the planet.


ALEX GOLDMAN: I mean the other thing that I think encourages me to wash my legs is I–the one great joy in my life is sitting in the shower.


PJ: Sitting in the sh–okay, we're back to–


ALEX BLUMBERG: This is–


PJ: We're back to normal Alex Goldman territory (laughs).


ALEX GOLDMAN & ALEX BLUMBERG: (laugh)


ALEX GOLDMAN: Sitting in the shower is the best thing in the world.


PJ: You just sit down in the shower?


ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah, criss cross applesauce.


ALEX BLUMBERG & PJ: (laughing)


ALEX GOLDMAN: Put on a podcast.


PJ: I don't want a–


ALEX GOLDMAN: Clean the hell out of my legs (chuckles).


PJ: One of my little interior goals for this was to not have a vivid mental image. (laughing) And I really have it now. So just let's–


ALEX BLUMBERG: This is like, of all the years that we've been doing, "Yes, Yes, No’s" and like exploring the, the most horrific (PJ laughs) corners of the internet and the images that arise. And like that is like really one of the most- I can't–I wish I didn't know that.


PJ: Yeah, you can't un-know it.


ALEX BLUMBERG: I know.


PJ: So you–just to make sure we fully know it though.


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs)


PJ: You get in the shower.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Mhm.


PJ: Monday morning.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Every morning.


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughing)


PJ: Turn on probably local news radio or a podcast.


ALEX GOLDMAN: I put on a podcast.


PJ: Turn on the water, you wait for it to heat up, you take your clothes off.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Mhm.


PJ: Water’s a good temperature, you get in.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Close the door. Then I sit down.


PJ & ALEX GOLDMAN: (laugh)


ALEX BLUMBERG: You're making your legs dirtier by sitting on a mildewy shower floor.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Listen, you animal!


PJ & ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughing)


ALEX GOLDMAN: My floor is not mildewy. I regularly clean it with bleach. It's fine.


PJ: Also–


ALEX BLUMBERG: I guarantee you, I guarantee you if- you–if people were to swab our legs (PJ laughs) coming out of showers, your legs would be dirtier.


PJ: Wait, so just to continue with this, uh, you're sitting on the floor criss cross applesauce.  And then you put soap on yourself while you're sitting down?


ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah.


PJ: Do you stand up at any point?


ALEX GOLDMAN: When I'm done.


PJ: (laughs) Did you grow up in like a different kind of household?


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughing)


ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughs)


PJ: Like what was the day where a young Alex Goldman was standing in the shower and was like, "This is a waste of muscle mass."


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughing quietly)


ALEX GOLDMAN: You know what it was? It was when I was in high school-


PJ: (laughs)


ALEX GOLDMAN: And I was like, "I'm really tired. I bet I can catch a few winks if I sit down and lean forward."


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughing)


PJ: (laughing) Oh my god.


ALEX GOLDMAN: So, I did and I fell asleep for a few minutes.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh god.


PJ: And there's not even like a moment where you just stand up and have a normal shower for a second before you get out.


ALEX GOLDMAN: No.


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughing) You're trying–


PJ: What that tells me is you have a dirty butt.


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs) Wow.


ALEX GOLDMAN: I don't do it in stranger's showers.


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs)


PJ: (laughing) Wait, why?


ALEX GOLDMAN: Because I don't know, I don't know how often they clean their showers. That's gross.


PJ: Hotel showers?


ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah, no.


PJ & ALEX BLUMBERG: (laugh)


ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh my god–


ALEX GOLDMAN: I don't know who's using it.


PJ: Oh my god.


ALEX GOLDMAN: I don't know their cleanliness level.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Wow.


PJ: So, as you guys can see–


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm.


PJ: It's a question that really (ALEX BLUMBERG laughs) teaches you a lot about people that you thought you knew.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh huh.


ALEX GOLDMAN: I feel like we got really derailed.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Wow.


PJ: No, I think, I think that was exactly where we were supposed to go.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Wow.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Okay.


PJ: So like, every- it feels like ev–I'm sort of just making this up, but it feels like every six months, every–like, this just comes up. Like someone will just ask the question, and then thousands of people will chime in and start like yelling at each other because they'll be like, "Oh, men don't wash their legs." Or like, whatever, like people really dig in on it.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm–


PJ: Uh, usually it's like 80% of people say they do, 20% say they don't.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Hm.


PJ: Is what I've noticed.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Who's the weirdo now, Alex Blumberg?


ALEX BLUMBERG: I get–


PJ: You're definitely the weirdo now.


ALEX GOLDMAN & ALEX BLUMBERG: (laugh)


ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah, I know. All right, so wait. So this- this- this–this comes up on the internet all the time.


PJ: Yeah–


ALEX BLUMBERG: Leg-washers versus leg-not-washers.


PJ: Yeah. Historically it's been a thing that exists on Black Twitter but then this, uh, just like random guy, Connor Arpwell, he tweeted a poll–


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm.


PJ: That was this poll. It was like, "do you wash your legs in the shower?" And for some reason this just like, uh, made it explode in a way that I think it hasn't before. This one got–he literally just asked "do you wash your legs when you take a shower?" 80% yes, 20% no. 2,500 retweets. This was early May.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm.


PJ: And so then, a week after this, this woman, she's an internet writer, her name is Sophie Weiner. She writes for Splinter. She retweeted the poll. And the first thing she said in her thread was "Gotta stand up for the dirtbag women out there yet again." And she like goes on to basically say, she's like, "I don't like use soap on my whole body when I shower. I don't think I'm gross. I pretty much just wash my face and my armpits with soap and I shower like once a–once or twice a week lol I think it's fine." Which I think people already started to kind of react against.

But then she said that she wanted to acknowledge that as a middle class cis-white woman, she has a lot of privilege to not worry about stuff like body hair. And then she said that if people thought she was stinky in real life, she's open to feedback, but she thought that the obsession with cleanliness was weird, classist bullshit, which everyone just lost their minds over.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Does she–?


ALEX BLUMBERG: Wait what's classist–?


ALEX GOLDMAN: Does she, does she explain her argument?


PJ: Not well. Like basically, it sounds like what she's saying is that cleanliness is something that belongs to like rich people. And so shaming people for not being clean, is unfair and it's like class warfare. And a lot of people chimed in and they were like, "Dude, as a person who grew up like really poor. Please don't argue for my right to be stinky. Like you are not helping me. You are not on my side."


ALEX BLUMBERG: The argument that cleanliness is classist, is a classist argument.


PJ: The argument that she’s accidentally kind of making is that you can’t get mad at people who stink because they stick because they’re poor.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Yes.


PJ: And then she was sort of like, she realized she stepped in it. And she was like, "I get it. I'm the asshole on the internet this week. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Please stop at yelling me, whatever." But it was like too late. It was like thousands of people. And there was also–I think the other thing about it, it's just there's so many times on the internet, particularly like in 2019, where your last acceptable prejudices get taken away from you. Like, you're like, "I don't like this thing." And somebody's like, "Well, there's like an intersectional reason why your dislike of that is like not cool."


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm.


PJ: But she had overstepped that. And I think people were excited to be like "No, no, no. We don't like smelling body odor. That's fine. (ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.) You are wrong."


ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh huh. She like privilege checked too far or something–


PJ: Yes! She like aimed the wokeness gun wrong and it exploded and hit her.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.


PJ: But the weird thing is like, actually, like in the middle of this tweet thread. She tweeted a link to this article, which I'm very sure nobody read.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh huh.


PJ: She tweeted this link to an article that was just like talking about how a lot of–like a lot of what we think of as hygiene has been constructed by companies to convince us to buy stuff like cologne and like perfume and like, you know, Listerine telling people that halitosis is a thing. Like I think that is valid.


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs) Huh.


ALEX GOLDMAN: All right.


PJ: So that’s “showering is classist now.”


ALEX GOLDMAN: Okay.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Got it.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Got it.


PJ: Okay, what's the next one?


ALEX BLUMBERG: Let's see, "people mad at Aperol."


ALEX GOLDMAN: What is Aperol?


ALEX BLUMBERG: What is Aperol?


PJ: You guys don't know what Aperol is?


ALEX GOLDMAN & ALEX BLUMBERG: No.


PJ: It’s like a bitter, I think you call it an aperitif.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh it’s like a–


PJ: It’s like, like Campari.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Its- oh, it’s like a- it’s like a–what are those things called? Is it called a digestif?


PJ: I think–


ALEX BLUMBERG: No, it’s not a digestif.


PJ: Oh, boy. I can like hear us getting yelled at by somebody who knows.


ALEX BLUMBERG: We’re going to get in trouble with cocktail Twitter (laughs).


PJ: Yeah, cocktail Twitter is not a Twitter that I would like to engage with.


PJ: Okay, so the big fight about Aperol is ridiculous for a lot of reasons, one is just like most people have never heard of aperol, I certainly hadn’t. Um, but what happened was a couple of years ago the company that makes it decided to make this huge marketing push. Let me show you an ad from that marketing push.


[video plays]


ALEX GOLDMAN: So it's a beach and there's a band playing “Happy Together” by The Turtles.


PJ: They also all look like what an old person would think cool young people look like. Like, they all look like they got kicked out of Coachella for not being cool enough.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Yes.  


ALEX GOLDMAN: And they're all running toward each other.


SFX: Aperol Spritz for everyone!


ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh.


PJ: So, the ad’s cheesy but I think they got bartenders to push Aperol really hard which that part worked.


SFX: Aperol Spritz. Happy together.


So, last summer suddenly every single intimidating literary person was suddenly drinking this obscure European drink.  And the big fight that the tweet is about, it’s actually not like everybody versus Aperol it’s Aperol versus The New York Times.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm.


PJ: And the reason is that a few years ago, The New York Times started doing this thing, which they claim is not on purpose and to me seems extremely and obviously on purpose. But like, you have to believe people when they say things, I guess. Which is like, like, once a year-ish, they'll post, usually it's a recipe, like, so like, a few years ago–


ALEX GOLDMAN: Oh, the guacamole and peas.


PJ: Yeah, they were like, "Hey, guys, we got a great new recipe for guacamole, you put peas in it."


ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.


ALEX GOLDMAN: And everybody lost their mind.


PJ: Everybody lost their mind because it's like a weird–and also they were just treating it as if it were normal.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah, yeah. Exactly.


PJ: I think it like worked. Like it, like, generated lots of traffic, people talked about it. And it was like sort of a meme, at the time like Obama tweeted about it. He was like–


ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah–


PJ: "I love The New York Times. But I wouldn't put–"


ALEX BLUMBERG: I, I remember the pea in- in–in guacamole controversy. Yeah.


PJ: So then there was one after that. There was one where they were like, "We have a ramen recipe using American cheese." That also kind of got people like, "That's–"


ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.


PJ: "Why are you ruining everything?"


ALEX BLUMBERG: Wasn't there like a, um, was there a coleslaw one? Or like.


PJ: I think there was a coleslaw one.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah.


PJ: And sort of in that vein, they publish this like polemic of you–(laughing) very recently that was just like, "All of these people are drinking Aperol Spritzes. And Aperol Spritzes are garbage."


ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughing) What a dumb thing.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh, woah.


PJ: They were like, "Drinking an Aperol Spritz is like drinking a hot Capri Sun on like a summer day, but worse." Basically, they were saying that like all these people who were enjoying this very, very niche cocktail, were like, you know, slovenly morons who are drinking like juice packs and couldn't figure it out.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh huh.


PJ: Which is a weird piece because it's like, the Venn diagram of people who even know what that drink is.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm.


PJ: Is already pretty small. And then the amount of people who want to be told that this weird niche thing they like is the wrong thing and they suck is like even smaller.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Who wants to be told that anything they like sucks?


PJ: People want to be told that something somebody else likes that they don't like anymore sucks, but I don't think there's anybody who's like "I've moved on to a better spritz already."


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs) Is this like a crossword where the thing in the first sentence is going to apply in some weird way to the second sentence because this is what's classist.


PJ: Yeah, this was classist. (ALEX BLUMBERG laughs) or at least like very snobby. But like aimed at rich–it's like, "Your monocle dealer is the wrong monocle dealer."


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs)


PJ: And, and so the group of people who had started drinking Aperol Spritzes were just like, "Fuck you The New York Times." Like everyone was just–everyone who reacted to this article on Twitter was unanimously just low-key mad about it. Like, this is a bad take and it's one thing everybody gets to agree on for a second.


ALEX BLUMBERG: So that’s Aperol. Let’s move on, shall we?


PJ: Yes.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Uber strike.


PJ: Uber strike. Okay. So you know that there was an Uber strike.


ALEX BLUMBERG: I know there was an Uber strike. Yes.


PJ: So I actually kind–find the dynamic that's going on pretty fascinating. Basically, drivers who sign up for these ridesharing companies, whether it's like Lyft, Uber, Juno, like whatever like local ones are in different cities. They're in this really weird position because the companies don't want to acknowledge them as employees. And because they're not employees, they don't like offer them health care, (ALEX GOLDMAN: Mhm.) or like, give them minimum wage. Like they're all independent contractors.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm.


PJ: And the companies they’re working for are just constantly losing money because they're like venture capital backed so they don't have to be profitable. I mean, until very recently. And so, the companies just want to acquire as many customers and drive everybody out of business. So they're trying to lower prices for customers and the way they do that is to like lower wages for drivers all the time.


So, the drivers decided to do this like a multi-city strike, for a few hours in New York, LA, like all these major cities. They’re just like, “A lot of our drivers are not going to drive.” Um this is a driver talking at a press conference at the New York strike.


RIDESHARE DRIVER: [MORE FROM DRIVER] I used to make thirty seven dollars in 2014.


PJ: He's talking about like how, for his experience which is a lot of people's experience, is he took this job, in the beginning it was lucrative, and then once he was hooked in, they just started paying him less and less money. He actually has, I think, graphs of how his wages have gone down.



RIDESHARE DRIVER: Anybody wants a copy. I'll give you the copies. For $10 an hour, does it pay? How many of you will work for ten dollars with your car that you have to buy the car? You have to buy the insurance. You have to maintain the car and you have to buy the gasoline. And I still have to take out the tolls out of $9.87.


PJ: So, people are really mad.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Mhm.


PJ: And, and part of the reason that they’re also so mad, it's that they say that they have a hard job and that for a lot of them, their wages have just been progressively going down. But also Uber and Lyft just did their IPOs (ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.) and so the executives of the company made tons of money. And also in the IPO you have to say the obstacles your company is facing.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm.


PJ: And Uber really straightforwardly said, “We know our drivers are pretty dissatisfied. One of the ways we are going to make more money is to pay them less and so they're going to get angrier. And that's just a thing that we're forecasting.” Which was public, like the drivers read that.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Just feels very cynical.


ALEX BLUMBERG: That's, that’s so crazy. And I remember, I remember when Uber first came out because I was, it was, I think I was still doing Planet Money around that time or I had just come off of it. And so I was like, interesting new business and how is this working for the people who’re driving the cars? And I would ask people, like, “How do you like it?”


And everybody was like, in my experience, like every Uber I got in, back around that time was like, “It's great. I make a lot of money.” You know, they were, like, they felt really good and I remember thinking like, “This is weird. (ALEX GOLDMAN & PJ laugh) Doesn't normally work this way, but that seems pretty great. But I wonder if it's going to keep on going that way.” And obviously–


PJ: Yeah.


ALEX BLUMBERG: It has not–


PJ: And I mean this guy is saying it, like the difference between 37 bucks an hour and nine.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah.


PJ: Yeah. So that's Uber strike.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Depressing.


PJ: Depressing. Okay, what's next?


ALEX BLUMBERG: Wiccan life.


PJ: Oh, okay. So this was the one where when people started tweeting at us about this tweet, I had no idea what "wiccan life" was. I asked producer Anna Foley, she didn't know either. And so, we just spent the better part of a day just trying to figure out what this was.


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughing) Uh huh, okay.


PJ: Anna figured it out. Okay, so Wiccan is a Marvel superhero. And he sort of figures into this fight that is taking place about Marvel superheroes. Uh the best way to explain it, uh wait, have you guys seen the new Avengers movie? Avengers End Game?


ALEX GOLDMAN: Yes.


ALEX BLUMBERG: No.


PJ: Okay, there was one scene in the thing that flew by my head but that was very important to people on the internet.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm.


PJ: Which I'm going to show you. I got a bootleg that somebody taped off like a- it's like a–I think it's from maybe Sri Lanka, like some theater, not- it's like–has like subtitles. It's really great.


ALEX GOLDMAN: I watched the whole thing that way.


PJ: Really?


ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah.


PJ: Why don't you go see a movie?


ALEX BLUMBERG: While you- while you were in the–


ALEX GOLDMAN: I saw the movie too.


ALEX BLUMBERG: While you were sitting in the shower?


PJ & ALEX BLUMBERG: (laugh)


ALEX GOLDMAN: I–how am I supposed to watch TV in the shower?


PJ: You put an iPad in a large Ziploc bag. I've thought about this. Sometimes you're binging.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Why are you bootlegging it? It's the- been out for–like you only get the bootleg if it hasn't been out yet. Why are you–


ALEX GOLDMAN: Some- sometimes–no you get the bootleg if it's not out on- at ho–at home yet.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh.


PJ: But you saw it in the movie theater and then you were like, "I want to watch this again, but shaky and with people laughing over it."


ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah.


PJ: So literally like, what were you going back for?


ALEX GOLDMAN: I just–there were a couple of things that I wanted to see again.


PJ: Like what?


ALEX GOLDMAN: I don't want to get into it.


PJ: Scenes that gave you feelings that you wanted to have again?


ALEX BLUMBERG: This is–this is too personal. It's too personal (laughs).


ALEX GOLDMAN: No, not scenes that gave me feelings that I, that I wanted to have again. I just–I had some plot hole questions that I had to go back and look at.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Ohh.


PJ: You had plot hole questions that you had to go back and look at?


ALEX GOLDMAN: Well, I was wondering–in all the other ones people can't even hold the infinity stone.


PJ: (laughs)


ALEX GOLDMAN: If they do, it like- they–they like actually can't hold them. But in this movie they're all running around with them.


PJ: (laughs)


ALEX GOLDMAN: Hawkeye, a straight up human with no superpowers is running through fucking The Avengers secret hideaway in upstate New York for like half an hour holding the infinity gauntlet. How is he doing that?


ALEX BLUMBERG: Wait he has no superpowers?


PJ: He can just shoot a bow and arrow.


ALEX GOLDMAN: He can shoot arrows really well.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Well, how does he do it with that accuracy?


ALEX GOLDMAN: So–practice.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh. All right.


PJ: Were you- were you waiting–were you waiting for the moment where they were like, "Oh, it's cool that we got these special gloves or whatever." Like were you trying to find some justification that you'd missed the first time?


ALEX GOLDMAN: Uh, I, yes, I was trying to see if there was like something that would–indicated- that–it was like that and a couple other things I was–


PJ: Anyway the point is, I bootlegged The Avengers to show you guys this one scene.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Okay.


PJ: Which, as far as I know, contains no plot holes. And like, this is not a big spoilery scene if somebody hasn't seen it, but like, it takes place after this big apocalyptic event has happened.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Yes.


PJ: Okay.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Infinity war.


PJ: Yeah, they like come back and like they're showing you all the people that you saw survive the first movie, just like what they've been up to since then.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm.


PJ: And Captain America, instead of being Captain America, runs a group therapy workshop.


[video starts]


ALEX BLUMBERG: Okay, so this is–


PJ: Just like an establishing shot.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Panning over a, an empty stadium.


MALE CHARACTER: So I, uh, I went on a date the other day. First time in five years. You know, I'm sitting at dinner, I didn't even know what to talk about.


PJ: So, he’s just a guy in therapy talking about this guy that he went on a date with.


CAPTAIN AMERICA: What did you talk about?


MALE CHARACTER: Same old crap, you know? Things have changed and my job, his job, how much we miss the Mets. And then things got quiet. And he, he cried as they were serving the salads.


CAPTAIN AMERICA: What about you?


MALE CHARACTER: I cried just before dessert. But I'm seeing him again tomorrow, so.


CAPTAIN AMERICA: That's great.


PJ: The, the reason this was a big deal for people was because for the first time in a Marvel movie that there was just a gay character at all.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh.


PJ: And you've heard all of the lines of that character. Like they're not like a superhero. They're not like a main person or whatever.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.


PJ: But there were people who were just like really excited about representation. There were also people who were like, "The filmmakers bragged a lot about this, but it's a very small role." Actually, the guy playing it is one of the filmmakers. And he was like–


ALEX GOLDMAN: One of the directors.


PJ: One of the directors. He was like, "It's so important. I wanted to be there." And there were people that like, "In a movie with like 300 superheroes in it, you could have had a gay superhero." Like I don't think–


ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah–


ALEX GOLDMAN: Not in a movie with 300 superheroes in it, in the 18 movies that preceded this one.


ALEX BLUMBERG & PJ: Yeah.


PJ: Yeah. Some people were excited about it, a lot of other people were like, “Come on, you could do better." But then people found out that like Marvel has had this whole plan where they're like, there's like four phases and there's going to be like, Iron Man One and Thor One and then Iron Man Two and Thor Two and then eventually, it's going to end in this End Game movie and like, the cycle will be complete. But because there's like an amendment in the U.S. Constitution that says that we have to watch superhero movies every year or we all die. They're rolling out a new phase with the like Young Avengers who are the newer superheroes.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.


PJ: So do you know about Hulkling, Alex?


ALEX GOLDMAN: What?! (laughing) Hulkling? No!


PJ: Okay, so, Hulkling, it's not like oh, this is Hulk's son. It's just like, here's a young character who's also like the Hulk and we'll call him Hulkling.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm.


PJ: He's a character. And then there's a character named Wiccan who's somehow related to Vision, I think. This is like on the outside of my comic nerdery. But um, basically so, so these characters were written in like the early-2000s. And the writer wanted them to be a gay couple.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Wiccan and Hulkling.


PJ: Wiccan and Hulkling.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Got it.


PJ: And he was worried that Marvel would just be too conservative, they wouldn't let him do it. And so he came up with this whole complicated story, which is that Wiccan is a shapeshifter. And when you first met her in the comics, she'd be a woman. But then over time, she'd like go on this journey, and she'd realize that her true unshaped-shifted self was a man.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm.


PJ: And then the two of them would have to decide if they were really in love. And if it like crossed gender lines and all this stuff.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh, cool.


PJ: And he pitched it to his bosses, and they're like, "That's really complicated, man. Why don't you just make them both men and they could be in love?"


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs)


PJ: And he was like, "Okay." So they're a gay superhero couple and people are excited because they're like, "Oh, we're gonna get a Wiccan movie. We're going to get gay superheroes who are in love with each other."


ALEX GOLDMAN: Huh.

PJ: I think. That is me and Anna's best guess for "Wiccan life." That is the most sort of Wiccan, uh, bubbling up story that has happened this week.


ALEX BLUMBERG: So wic–it has nothing to do with actual wiccans.


PJ: Not that I know of.


ALEX GOLDMAN: All right.


PJ: If people know better than me.


ALEX GOLDMAN: I'm looking forward to meeting–


PJ: They should tweet at Alex Goldman.


ALEX GOLDMAN: No, no.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Um, okay.


PJ: All right. Alex Blumberg, what’s next?


ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh, what’s next is, okay, so we’ve gone, “showering is classist now.” We’ve gone, “people mad at aperol. Uber strike. Wiccan life.” And we are now on, “gamer blocked his elf wife.”      


PJ: Right. So, “gamer blocked his elf wife.”


ALEX BLUMBERG: Yes.


ALEX GOLDMAN: This is the one I know.


AB: Yes


PJ: Okay, so, there's this guy named Jared Knabenbaur. In his former life, he was a snobby assistant manager at GameStop, which is not a rare thing. The way he got out of that job was that he started posting video game reviews online, which he got sort of famous for on the internet. This is like the trailer for his uh, YouTube page.


[video starts]


JARED KNABENAUR: One minute review! Ready, go! Here’s an indie game that’s worth a damn. BioShock Infinite is one of the most gripping games I’ve ever played. These trees are trying to kill me. (Bleep) you nature.

[video stops]


PJ: Anyway, that’s Jared.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Okay.


ALEX GOLDMAN: He reminds me of everyone I worked at the video–at a video store with, including myself.


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs)


PJ: Uh, yes, yes. Exactly. Everything you like is bad and everything that is obscure is good.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Right (laughs).


PJ: But video games. So, he has a big following, over a million subscribers. His fans really like him. They also really like his wife. This woman named Heidi O’Farrel. She is a cosplayer. Do you know what a cosplayer is?


ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh, cos–dressing up. You dress up.


PJ: In costume.


ALEX BLUMBERG: In costume. Cos!


PJ: Yes.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Is short for costume.


PJ: So it means that she has these YouTube videos. She, she sort of has two types of YouTube videos. She plays video games. But also there's a lot of videos where she's explaining to people how to make, like, for instance like a Sailor Moon costume. So this is her, she’s doing prep for Dragon Con.


[VIDEO S

Hello and welcome to Dragon Con Crunch time in my workshop  


[video stops]


PJ: You guys get the idea. Anyway, so the two of them, Heidi and Jared, for years have just been this sort of happy nerd couple online.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Uh huh.


PJ: People really like, uh, until very, very recently.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Got it.


ALEX GOLDMAN: So about two weeks ago, he posted something on his Twitter, which said, it was called, "A Statement." And–


ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh oh.


PJ: I can–I have it.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Never good.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah–


PJ: Uh, I will–I can read it.


ALEX BLUMBERG: "A Statement."


PJ: "My wife Heidi and I have filed for divorce. I know this may come as surprising and upsetting for many of you but know that we do this so that we may both seek happiness for ourselves. During this time, you may see a lot of rumors, speculation, and gossip going around, I ask that you make your own observations to come to your own conclusions.


I will add that this decision was reached after extensive individual therapy on my part and couples therapy together. But that said, this is all I plan on saying publicly regarding this matter. Heidi's privacy, mental well-being, and discretion has always been and will remain my highest priority through all this. It is my hope that we both exit this marriage with style and grace. I plan on continuing to do everything I can on my part to make this happen. Thank you for your understanding, patience, kindness and respect for our privacy."


ALEX BLUMBERG: All right.


PJ: Yep.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Seems fine.


PJ: So he tweets that. Half an hour later, (ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh huh.) his wife Heidi tweets.


ALEX BLUMBERG: (gasps)


PJ: She says, I'm not quoting her, but she says like, she's like, "Apparently my husband tweeted something about me. I can't see it because he fucking blocked me."


ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs)


ALEX GOLDMAN: It goes downhill from there pretty sharply.


PJ: So first of all, people were very amused by the idea of someone blocking their wife.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah. Right.


PJ: It just feels like a severely internet-y thing to do.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh huh.


PJ: But she proceeded to say that it was not an amicable split and, in fact, she said that he'd been cheating on her with–


ALEX GOLDMAN: With another YouTube gamer.


PJ: The other woman who his wife said he’d been seeing–she started releasing stuff on the internet.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Oh.  


PJ: She was like it wasn't cheating. It was an open relationship.  But then Heidi was like no we had an open relationship, but we closed it and so it was cheating. I think at one point both women accused each other of being abusive gaslighters, it’s just got very, very messy.  


ALEX : Right.

PJ: And then-


ALEX BLUMBERG: And then there’s another and then-


PJ: There's another and then okay things got substantially worse for him.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh-huh.


PJ: He had a Tumblr where his would fans follow him and in a way that was sort of seem joking sort of honestly did not seem joking. He would constantly say that people should send him nudes, like nude photographs.


ALEX BLUMBERG: On his Tumblr?


PJ: On his Tumblr.  And- and fans have come forward and said that they did send him naked pictures. So, what happened was Jared's fans considered him to be kind of a heartthrob.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Got it.


PJ: So some of them made a video game. Do you know what a dating simulator is?


ALEX BLUMBERG: A dating simulator?


PJ: Yeah.


ALEX BLUMBERG: No.


PJ: It's a- it's a genre of video game. A lot of times it takes place in a school.


ALEX GOLDMAN: And basically what you do is you have conversations with someone-


PJ: With a potential suitors.


ALEX GOLDMAN: With a  potential suitor that you might want to date. They're like conversation trees. So if you answer correctly to whatever they say to you, then maybe you can get further flirting with them and eventually like the way you win the game is if you guys get together.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh-huh.


PJ: So, in this game you play a Japanese high school girl, you're choosing who to date. But all the people that you can date in the game are actual YouTube personalities including Jared.


This is the intro for it. It's a lot-


[MUSIC PLAYS]


PJ: So, it's like an anime school house. And it's almost like the intro to like a 90s sitcom like it's all these like-  


ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah, establishing shots of the exterior of the school.


PJ:  This schoolgirl is the character you play, Hannah.


ALEX BLUMBERG: An empty classroom. Then there's Hannah looking, having various expressions of-


PJ: Almost all shyness and then these are the boys.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh! Wow, this is some full beards for high school boys.


PJ: Well, because they're really video game YouTubers.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh, right.


PJ: There's John with his catchphrase I can’t live without you PBG here take my hand and don't let go. And Jared, you captivate me Hanna.  And like his illustration of the game is significantly more dreamy than him in real life. Fandom is insane.


[MUSIC STOPS]


PJ: It's a fan-made video game about having a crush on a real-life person named Jared.


ALEX BLUMBERG:  Got it.


PJ: The fans of this game- according to a bunch of them what happened next was that he already had his public Tumblr where he was joking about when I see everybody naked


ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh-huh.


PJ: According to them and they have like they have screenshots of the gave to The Daily Beast. He allegedly set up an additional private Tumblr called “Sin Jared” and he called his fans his Sinners.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Hhm.


PJ: And what they said is that he would ask them to send naked photos of themselves. He would send you naked photos of himself and also ask them to draw erotica for him.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Okay.


PJ: Even in the screenshots he provided, this private Tumblr had a notice that said that he didn’t want to hear from underage fans. The women who came forward most of these fans were very young. There was even one young woman who said look I sent him naked pictures, I was underage and he did not seem particulary concerend with checking to see if I was 18. people the people that liked this video game were very young and a lot of the people that came forward ALLEGED that they were underage when they sent phots and that he did not seem to particularly care about that fact.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.


PJ: And this came out in the wake of all these like flying adultery things.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Hm-hm.


PJ: But after this, I think people were like, it doesn't really matter what kind of open polyamorous relationship he had with various cosplayers. This is guy who is facing accusations that he was swapping naked pictures with young fans. Like people just did not want to be involved after that. So, he had had over a million subscribers. He lost a couple hundred thousand like he seems like a complete pariah at this point.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Huh. Gamer blocked his elf wife. Wait, why elf?


ALEX GOLDMAN: Oh because she dresses up–


PJ: She cosplays as an elf.


ALEX GOLDMAN: She cosplays as an elf.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Ohhh. (laughing) Oh got it.


PJ: Alex Blumberg are you ready to go back to the tweet?


ALEX BLUMBERG: I g–I am. Yes, so, "Showering is classist now. People mad at Aperol. Uber Atrike. Wiccan life. Gamer blocked his elf wife. We didn't start the." "Showering is classist now." There was an internet debate about washing your legs that spun into side conversations. One of the side conversations is by a young woman on Twitter, who is trying to sort of establish like that she's checking her privilege and she says that–and she talks about how showering is classist. And then everybody's like, "Wait, what the fuck are you talking about? Showering is not classist. Showering is just the way you get clean. And you're saying that was classist is actually showing that you're a classist."


PJ: Yes.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Then next, "people mad at Aperol." There was an incredibly classist article in The New York Times taking issue with a fah-ncy drink that people drink in fah-ncy places in New York. And then the fancy people who drink that drink, the Aperol Spritz, got mad at The New York Times.


PJ: Yes.


ALEX BLUMBERG: For publishing that. "Uber strike." Uber drivers feel exploited but they can’t unionize because they’re not employees, and so they did a strike.


PJ: Yes.


ALEX BLUMBERG: "Wiccan life." We think is about people–we think is about people’s excitement about an upcoming Marvel movie with a same-sex superhero relationship.  


ALEX GOLDMAN: Mhm.


PJ: Yes, we think.


ALEX BLUMBERG: And "gamer blocked his elf wife." That is one where there is–where there is a YouTuber who reviews video games and he posted this very mature Twitter statement about his divorce, then blocked his wife, and then everything spiralled into a sex scandal.


ALEX GOLDMAN: And his wife dresses up as an elf.


ALEX BLUMBERG: And his wife dress–dresses up as an elf. And there we have it. All the week’s memes.


PJ: The only other thing that I have thought about this tweet is that I feel like the meta joke of it that I like is like "We Didn't Start the Fire" was like all these like cultural references, all these things that happened. And I feel like it spans like a decade or something like that.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Mhm–


ALEX GOLDMAN: It spans several decades.


PJ: This is a week.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Well, no–


PJ: Like these are things that happened on the internet in a week.


ALEX BLUMBERG: The very first reply is, "We Didn't Start the Fire (1989) - Events span 40 years, song is 4 minutes long. We Didn't Start the Fire (2019) - Events span a week, song is 28 minutes long.”


PJ: (laughs)


ALEX BLUMBERG: "We Didn't Start the Fire (2021) - Events span two hours, song is somehow three hours long.”


PJ & ALEX BLUMBERG: (laugh)


PJ: Okay. Are we at "Yes, Yes, Yes"?


ALEX BLUMBERG: We are at "Yes, Yes, Yes."


ALEX GOLDMAN: We are.


ALEX BLUMBERG: Thanks, guys.


PJ: No problem.


[MUSIC]


PJ: After the break, we check in with one of the callers from our call in show, Sal, about his quest to get into college in Canada.


BREAK


PJ VOGT: Hello, Anna.


ANNA FOLEY: Hi.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Hi, Anna.


PJ: What are we here for?


ANNA: Uh, so you guys remember a couple months ago we did the call-in episode?


ALEX: Mhm.


PJ: Yes.


ANNA: Episode 139: “The Reply All Hotline.” We basically just asked listeners to call in with their questions. It could be tech questions, not tech questions, like, whatever it was, we were just gonna try and answer it. And one of the people that called in was Sal.


PJ: Yes.


ALEX: Yeah.


ANNA: He’s an 18-year-old Syrian kid living in uh Turkey. His family has been there for a couple of years. They fled because of the civil war. He desperately wants to go to college in Canada. His dream school was actually McGill.


PJ: The school that I went to, weirdly.


ANNA: Um but he was running into this problem when he was trying to submit his application online. The system just like wouldn’t even recognize his name. Let me play you guys a clip from that episode.


SAL: I tried to register to the best of my ability on the internet. And I just, like, there was–the websites, all of them, were so bad and like–


PJ: Just like hard to actually use?


SAL: Like, so many problems. I've k–I’ve kind of missed all of my deadlines now. And it's been like, these three months have been super depressing for me. I've been like searching for counselors on the internet. I, I literally can't find anyone. And like, I don't know if that's even something that like–you said anything, so.


PJ: Yeah–

 

ALEX: Yeah, totally.

 

SAL: I, I don't know what I'm doing.


ANNA: So we said we would try and help him and we weren't totally sure how, so we put out a call out to our listeners.


PJ: Turns out a lot of our listeners work in college admissions.


ANNA: Yeah, like a ton. We heard from people, like, in the U.S., in Canada and like the UK and Ireland like all over the world. So, so that all happened and then actually after the episode came out I kept in touch with Sal. We've been DMing on Twitter and I thought it would be nice for him to tell you guys what he's been telling me.


PJ: Yeah.


ALEX: Yeah.


ANNA: So I thought we would give him a call.


PJ: Cool.


ALEX: Sounds great.


ANNA: Okay. (quietly) Okay. Let me try, okay. Add. I think I did it.


PJ: Sal?


ANNA: It's just saying calling.


ALEX: Oh okay, it doesn't ring. That's super unhelpful.


PJ: That is super unhelpful.


ALEX: Have you watched the Chernobyl show yet?


PJ: Nah, I don't think that's for me.


SAL: We're already talking about Chernobyl?


ANNA: Oh.


PJ & ALEX: Hey!


PJ: How's it going?


SAL: I'm doing great. Doing good–


PJ: Have you watched the Chernobyl show?


SAL: No, I heard about it. But like I don't have an HBO subscription. Okay? Come on.


PJ: (laughs) How are you doing?


SAL I'm doing great.


PJ: You sound great. You sound light.


ALEX: Yeah, you sound good.


SAL: Really?


ALEX: Yeah.


SAL: Do I not–do I not sound extremely dehydrated?


ALEX: I don't know. Are you extremely dehydrated?


SAL: Kind of.


ALEX: (laughing) Why?


SAL: Ramadan fasting.


ALEX & PJ: Ohhh.


ALEX: Right.


SAL: 16 hour fast, okay? But how have y'all been doing?


PJ: Pretty good?


ALEX: Yeah, fine.


PJ: Yeah, how about you?


SAL: Fine? Again I'm–I've been doing all right. It's been, I don't know where to start.


PJ: What–start at everything that's happened since the last time we talked.


SAL: Yeah sure. So I got connected with the people at McGill and (laughing) they were fairly nice and I ended up getting rejected.


PJ & ALEX: Ohhh!


ALEX: I'm sorry, man.


PJ: What–did they say why?


SAL: I'm pretty sure it's because of my grades.


PJ: Oh, that sucks.


SAL: And here's why it sucks like so I went, in ninth grade, I went to a Turkish school. (ALEX: Mhm.) And so I, I really wanted to do well but I ended up doing terribly.


PJ: Because your English is a lot better than your Turkish.


SAL: Yeah, like I told–I told you guys all about it.


PJ: Yeah.


SAL: And, so my grades were obviously not too good. And so like I decided to go back to one of the refugee centers the–in like tenth grade. And there I did fairly well. I was catching up I, by 11th grade, I, I'm pretty sure I got–I was like second in my class. But then, by 12th grade, they decided to shut down our refugee centers, like educational centers, our schools, basically and we all had to go to Turkish schools.


PJ: Oh.


SAL: And, and so I was back in a Turkish school and my GPA got screwed over again.


PJ: That sucks.


SAL: Yep.


ALEX: I mean McGill is not the only school in the world.


SAL: Yeah, I–


ALEX: Have you thought about any others?


PJ: There's plenty of other school fish in the sea.


SAL: I (laughs) I had heard.


PJ: Right.


SAL: It's again like it–it's pretty depressing that I have like ended up with really bad grades towards the end. I mean when you think about it, like if I was born a year or two earlier, if I was just a bit older, our schools would not have been closed. I probably would have done better there and I wouldn't be banned from certain places. But like, ugh, I don't know. It's weird.


PJ: But you just have to get in and then you will never ever ever ever ever think about your high school grades again, I promise, if you live a million years, it'll never ever matter.  


SAL: Hopefully. Uh, also.


PJ: Yeah?


SAL: About the whole process.


PJ: Yeah?


SAL: Anna had sent me a list of colleges that–of like people that had reached out through email to help and I got in contact with a, it was like kind of pretty much the only university that still is open for the fall term.


ALEX: Mhm.


SAL: I got in contact with them and I talked to them.


PJ: Are you allowed to say what university it is?


SAL: Yep, it's Concordia. And they–


PJ: Concordia is great! Concor–okay so in Montreal, let me just tell you this, in Montreal, McGill is like the sort of like the school that Americans think is prestigious. Concordia is where like all the cool kids go. Like, like if, if you're like, if you go there and you like are out at a bar or something and somebody asks you what school you go to, Concordia is the cool answer.


SAL: (laughs)


PJ: I know this as someone who never got to give the cool answer.


SAL: Well, that's promising. And, anyway, yesterday I got my letter of admission.


ALEX: Get outta here!


PJ: Holy shit.


SAL: (laughs)


ALEX: That's fucking awesome! Oh my god, dude!


PJ: Dude.


SAL: And I got accepted into my first choice, Computer Engineering, that is.


PJ: Oh my god. That's amazing.


ALEX: How do you feel about getting in?


SAL: Yeah, it's pretty good and hopeful. Yeah, I’m pretty happy.


PJ: I was like trying to figure it out, I was like for a person who didn't get what you wanted, you sound happy.


ALEX: Yeah, you're laughing a lot. You seem like (SAL: laughs) you're in a pretty good mood.


SAL: Yeah, I mean, it's been a while since I got rejected from McGill. Kind of got over it. Um. But yeah–


PJ: Dude, that is so cool. That is so cool.


ALEX: Yeah, that's great.


SAL: Also, by the way, they had a decent website. I could like–


PJ & ALEX: (laugh)


SAL: I- I- like- I–for the first time I didn't feel like a complete idiot. Like they had everything in the same page. Like I just had to click next and fill it all up. And that's pretty straightforward. I don't know. Okay again [indistinct].


PJ: (laughs)


ALEX: What's the next step?


SAL: I mean, obviously, I'm still trying to get into all sorts of colleges. But now the next step is to get like a Visa. Try to get a Visa. I don't know how it's going to work. My passport is long expired, but hopefully now that I have an admission I can actually start my, my application for the visa.


PJ: So you have to find out if you can get a visa, like, how long is the process? Can–is Concordia–can they help at all? Like just figure it out and walk you through it?


SAL: I have no idea. But again, one of the people that Anna had connected me with was an, like, a, an immigration officer in Canada, and hopefully I'm going to be emailing him like today or tomorrow. And–


ALEX: That's great.


SAL: Be asking him about the whole process.


PJ: If you, if you get in and you go, I, I have a lot of advice for you about Montreal. Um, I can–


ALEX: I thought you were going to say I'll come visit. Which I will come visit you.


SAL: (laughs)


PJ: You have not been invited.


ALEX: I'm going to. I don't care if I've been invited.


PJ: Uh, Alex is going to stay with you in your dorm.


ALEX: I'm not going to stay with him in his dorm, (SAL laughs) but I'm going to go visit. So what's up–


PJ: I'll come visit you if you invite me, but I–


ALEX & SAL: (laugh)


SAL: (laughs) Also last thing Alex if you sent over anything, I know you told me you were going to do that, make sure like if you have a tracking code for it, send it over, because like my door doesn't work (laughs).


ALEX: Okay. Got it.


SAL: So–


PJ: You're just gonna one day open the door, and there will be like an enormous cardboard box and you'll open it and it'll be–Alex will pop out–


ALEX: It'll be me.


PJ: With like a cot.


SAL: (laughs)


ALEX: And I'll be like, "I hope you like sleeping in the hallway."


SAL: Oh, god. I don't know how to go on with this bit.


ALL: (laugh)


ALEX: Fair enough.


MUSIC


PJ: Do you mind if we just like keep checking in?


SAL: Yeah, obviously. I’m totally down with that.


PJ: All right, dude–


ALEX: All right, Sal. Thanks a lot.


SAL: Bye guys.


ALEX: Bye.


SAL: Bye.


Reply All is hosted by me PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. The show’s produced by Sruthi Pinnamaneni, Phia Bennin, Damiano Marchetti, Anna Foley, Jessica Yung, and Emmanuel Dzotsi. Our editor is Tim Howard. We’re mixed by Rick Kwan. Fact-checking this week by Michelle Harris. Our theme song is by the mysterious Break Master Cylinder. This is our last episode with intern Christina Ayele Djossa and we are going to miss her terribly. Christina, thank you so much for all your help. And for recommending to me so many good horror movies. Also, Christina is figuring out her next move right now, so if you work in radio and you have a job opening, hire her.

Matt Lieber is assembling a piece of furniture and not having any screws mysteriously left over. You can listen to our show on Spotify on wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you soon.