At the end of every month, The Federalist Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky joins Inez Stepman to discuss a docket of stories.

This month, they discuss the class dynamics of the Omicron wave that is sweeping the nation, and who really has more political power in 2021, West Virginia because of a powerful Senator, or AOC’s Brooklyn, NY district. Emily and Inez also delve into disturbing surveys showing Millennials and Gen Z have given up on friendship.

High Noon is an intellectual download featuring conversations that make possible a free society. Inviting interesting thinkers from all parts of the political spectrum to discuss the most controversial subjects of the day in a way that hopes to advance our common American future.


TRANSCRIPT

Inez Stepman:

Welcome to High Noon, where we talk about controversial subjects with interesting people. As always at the end of the month, we have Emily Jashinsky. She’s the culture editor over at The Federalist. She also trains up the next generation of fearless journalists on the right over at Young America’s Foundation and does many other things. You have seen her on NatCon Squad, you have seen her on Rising, you have seen her everywhere. I know her as the person who texts me about The Real Housewives.

Emily Jashinsky:

Most people know me that way.

Inez Stepman:

It’s really the thing you should put on the top of your resume.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah, that’s true.

Inez Stepman:

So we always talk about at the end of the month, here at these After Dark episodes, we talk about sort of what the last month has brought us in this rollercoaster that is modern political life and the future of the left and the right in this country, and then the future of the country going forward. So we go through a few stories. Some of them are from this week, some of them might be further back, and we’ll give you guys our flawless analysis on where we’re going and some predictions as usual.

But, Emily, I wanted to start with the fact that BBB is dead, right? Build Back Better. The bill, it looks like, it’s not coming back this year. There might be some more attempts to pass it, but we are going to go into an election. And it seems unlikely that, in that form, that the Democrats are going to be able to pass that. And that’s because Joe Manchin, Senator Joe Manchin, delivered a pretty emphatic “no” in public, saying he will not support the bill. And so there has been an explosion, as you might imagine, on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, saying that this is the problem with the American system, that West Virginia has a say as strong as this in the Senate. What do you think? Were they unable to pass this because it’s really radical and they couldn’t get a lot of people on board? Were they not able to pass this because they really, just like the Republican Party, don’t truly represent the interest of the people who vote for them? I mean, a combination of both? What’s your take on this?

Emily Jashinsky:

I think it’s a combination, but I would say it’s more the former than the latter, and I think we have a perfect test case, which was the BIF, which I hated calling it that, but the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that passed earlier with the support of 13 Republicans was a much less radical piece of legislation. And it was indeed bipartisan. Now, I don’t think it was smart for any of those Republicans to vote for the bill, but I do think the fact that it got over the hump and passed and was signed into law is what you can do when you’re not trying to dramatically remake the American economy along sort of progressive fantasy of energy consumption and Child Tax Credits, which is not remotely a tax credit. There’s no reason to describe it as a tax credit. It’s a monthly handout. And whether you support it or not, that’s what it is.

This was a really radical bill. It was a really dramatic rethinking of the federal government’s relationship with every individual American. And I think Joe Manchin reportedly had a lot of problems with the child payments, had a lot of problems with, of course, the energy things. But the left sort of insisting that Joe Manchin single-handedly brought down this bill is ridiculous because, as we often know, when it’s Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema or John McCain taking this important vote or this important stand, often there are many other moderates behind them who are letting them sort take the flak, first of all. That is very often the case, and I think that’s very much the case in this situation. And secondly, if they wanted to pass their soft infrastructure bill and they wanted to do it in a way that could get through the Senate, meaning that they don’t need 100 votes and they have 99 of them — that’s not what’s happening here.

So to act like Joe Manchin single-handedly brought down this bill, when in fact it was all of the other Senators who are not voting for it and all the other ones who are not saying they’re not voting for it but probably wouldn’t vote for it. I mean, this is how they twist themselves into very unhelpful delusions, and they do it time and again because they own our institutions, so they don’t get challenged often. But putting this on the shoulders of Joe Manchin really distracts them from what they need to understand, which is why that was a very radical piece of legislation. It was considered a radical piece of legislation by the Senate, by the public. And if they really want things to pass through Congress, they’re going to need to do better than having 51 Senators or 50 Senators. And they’re going to need to develop a consensus platform to run on a consensus agenda that can get passed. This, as you said, just wasn’t it.

Inez Stepman:

Let’s pick up on that institutional point because it… Predictably, there’s the rage against the fact that we have a Senate, a representative Senate, that is not based on population but is based on the states, our states, right? This is a very old idea, civics 101. But folks like AOC are very angry about the fact that West Virginia, which is not the most populous state, can defy the will of the more progressive wing of the party that represents more populous centers. Right? But I guess my thought, aside from the obvious civics rejoinder — which is that this is how our system works, it’s intended to be working that way, it is intended to throw roadblocks on a pure Democratic referendum, there’s a reason we have states to begin with…. But the larger point I was thinking about when I was listening to this kind of rage and response to how the Senate works, which happens every time there is a counter-majoritarian “result.”

In this case, it’s not truly counter-majoritarian, but they perceive it that way. And so every time there is some kind of like, for example, the Electoral College kicks in, right, and there’s a different result for president than the raw popular vote, these kinds of arguments crop up. And I have a very hard time understanding how it is that when AOC, for example, talks about her Brooklyn and Queens district, right, and how many people it has, the views of the people in Brooklyn, whichever way you actually look at political power in this country, whichever realistic way you look at political power in this country, hold sway far more than the views of the people in West Virginia, right? It is true that the people of West Virginia have this “disproportionate” representation in the Senate. It’s also true that the views of the people in Brooklyn, who are not representative even numerically of the country have far more sway in the federal bureaucracy, which makes a lot of our policy way more than Congress.

And if you think about whose views are more likely to be represented in, say your child’s school, for instance, way, way more likely that the assignments that your child’s teacher is giving comport way better with AOC’s views than they do with Joe Manchin’s or the average West Virginians, right? And that’s, frankly, that is true even in West Virginia, which a lot of conservatives don’t want to admit that schools, for example, in red states have quite a bit of this ideology, this left-wing ideology, woven into them.

And so, to me, leaving aside even the obvious civics rejoinders, this is so disingenuous to talk about how the views of AOC’s district are not being represented fairly. When in fact they are, if anything, vastly overrepresented. They’re just not overrepresented in the Senate. They’re overrepresented in the federal bureaucracy, in the education system, in academia, in Hollywood, and how that shapes our culture. They are overrepresented in virtually every center of power, of course the media center of power in this country, but the Senate. And so it’s like focusing on this one spec, this one lack of defiance when, if you look at the entire ocean, literally we’re swimming in the views of AOC and her crowd. And half of us don’t even know in how many ways because, in the same way, a fish doesn’t know that it’s swimming in water, right?

Emily Jashinsky:

Well, and I think that’s absolutely true. And I think part of your point is salient in the sense that Joe Manchin, part of the reason his constituents want him to vote against legislation like this and part of the reason he’s going to vote against legislation like this is because they recognize they’re culturally underrepresented and they do not trust the people in Washington, DC, who often take their cues from what’s considered mainstream and the broader culture. They don’t trust those people to put forward good legislation when it comes to certain issues. And so I think that actually factors into the public opposition to especially the Democratic Party, the broader Democratic agenda. And I think that’s very much part of what motivates Joe Manchin. And the sad thing here is that it’s a vicious cycle for the AOCs of the world and, of course, we should talk about the Bette Midlers of the world.

Bette Midler tweeted that — and it was just a perfect tweet, I’m really glad she sent it — that Joe Manchin wants the country to be like his state: poor, strung out and illiterate. Just disgusting bigotry. And Chris Bedford said on Outnumbered today — I think it was really interesting. This was Tuesday. He said, “Well, that’s true. It’s true that West Virginia is disproportionately poor, that it is disproportionately strung out and disproportionately illiterate. But you have to speak with compassion. That’s exactly the point. That’s the point of why people don’t trust the federal organizing and the cultural centers to handle any of this well.” And Bette Midler is using that as an insult and is speaking with judgment and not recognizing at all that like…I’m a part of it; is Washington not understanding what’s happening in these communities, and it’s New York not understanding what’s happening in these communities when they are in the boardroom at a pharma company when they’re in the…

By the way, Joe Manchin’s daughter has made some bad decisions from the boardroom of a pharma company, so being West Virginian doesn’t in and of itself give you good judgment over understanding these problems, but they feel completely lost. And even when people bother to understand what’s happening in those communities, their solutions are good for the people on top. They’re not good for people because they don’t fundamentally understand them because they can’t fundamentally respect them.

And I think exactly what you just said, it’s all true. It’s of course true that Brooklyn… What people love about New York, what New Yorkers brag about, is the fact that they’re a cultural center. They’re the center of the universe. Inez, you moved there partially because of this, because you love the fact that New York is the cultural center of the world and that means that power is disproportionately there. It’s one of the things New Yorkers brag about. And so, yeah, that all factors into this. But it also, I think, factors into the distrust of Washington and New York and the trust of somebody like Joe Manchin, who is, for all of his waffling, he’s fairly well liked in the state of West Virginia. And so, when you have all of this playing into it, of course West Virginians don’t want to give more power to Washington and New York, and that’s actually part of the vote behind those.

Inez Stepman:

So I was listening to a previous podcast guest, actually, Batya Ungar-Sargon, both of this podcast and of the podcast over at The Federalist Radio Hour, who has a lot to say on this subject. But I think, especially with regard to what you just said, right, that this is really a conversation about contempt and dignity. Those two words. Because I think the rejoinder of the Bette Midlers of the world are, “Well, you just killed a bill that would give these folks a family tax credit handout.” Right? And I think the most important thing to understand, whether you’re in favor or against the Child Tax Credit, this is sort of irrelevant, but that kind of thinking that you can just write a check and continue to disrespect people, that’s not what folks want. They don’t want you to just write a check and continue to hold them in contempt.

Which is why, for example, Donald Trump’s promise to bring back good jobs in terms of the manufacturing sector was a lot more popular than writing a check. Now, there are high levels of welfare in West Virginia as well, but that’s something that people are ashamed of, and they don’t want to live on the handouts from Silicon Valley’s backdraft. And that’s fundamentally not a solution that has much dignity in it.

And, yes, conservatives have been talking about this for years. Of course, you and I have been talking about this for years. The Heritage Foundation has talked about this for years, right? Ronald Reagan talked about the best social program is a job, right? And we can talk about it from that perspective, but I think Batya does a really good job talking about it from the dignity perspective and why that’s so important. Even if somebody will take a handout because that’s the best thing that’s available to them right now, that doesn’t mean that you get to heap contempt on an entire class of people the way that this tweet does and the way that that comes through, frankly.

Very, very often with the way that politicians in the Democratic Party talk about these issues and commentators in the media talk about these issues. It comes through, and you don’t get to slap a Band-Aid on that contempt by saying, “Well, I want to write you a check. I’m the good guy. I want to give you a check.” That’s not actually treating people like human beings. That’s just treating them like a problem that you’re willing to pay to have go away. And people understand that when they’re being treated that way. They’re not stupid.

Emily Jashinsky:

Well, I think that’s… I was going to say I just think that’s one of the fundamental flaws of contemporary progressivism is that they ran this experiment with the Great Society and with various state-level programs and everything over the course of the last half century plus. And they’re not sort of willing to reckon with the results of it because what’s baked into contemporary progressivism is this mentality of writing a check. And there are a lot of really well-intentioned people who believe it and have created social science and have studied this deeply and say that’s the best thing. Like UBI proponents who do have a lot of data and statistics. And they really, really fundamentally believe in this.

And I get that, but it also makes it really easy for the left to have this mentality that Hillary Clinton did when she compared the GDP of her voters to — the GDP of the red states that voted for Trump to the blue states that voted for her. It’s just this extremely disgusting, bigoted, deplorable, reminiscent way that we saw from Bette Midler just this week. And that we saw from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez this week. It does sort of condition people who don’t think super deeply about this on the left and for whom West Virginia is just sort of a caricature and not a very real place. It’s so easy to say, “Well, they’re voting against their interests. Just give them the program. Just give them the money.” And that’s actually not what’s best at every case. And I think having some nuance on that, if not being outright conservative, of course, as maybe you and I would think, but at least having some nuance on that would do them so much better.

Inez Stepman:

Well, I mean, I hope they don’t figure that out. For the sake of our country, I hope they don’t figure it out. But let’s keep going with the whole Brooklyn theme here. There was a piece that came out in New York Magazine, the center of culture as you say. My God, I hope New York Magazine is not the center of culture. So there’s a New York Magazine piece that came out, called COVID the media variant. They’re calling Omicron the media variant. And that’s because everybody in Manhattan and Brooklyn caught COVID, including me.

Emily Jashinsky:

I mean, it’s running rampant through DC right now, but, yes, this is a sober episode for Inez.

Inez Stepman:

Yeah. That’s why I’m not drinking and that’s why I sound so… Well, I mean, I love it. I like to sound more Emily.

Emily Jashinsky:

Like Elizabeth Holmes. I get that a lot.

Inez Stepman:

Yeah, exactly. I want to have that sexy rasp to my voice. But no, no. So that’s why I’m not drinking. That’s why my voice sounds a little funny. I’m recovering from COVID, from the Omicron variant that is just ripping through and, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, is probably going to rip through wherever you live quite soon. It’s extraordinarily contagious. But what I wanted to talk about with regard to this piece is immediately when I saw this piece, it was like, wow, this is going to be the end of the pandemic finally. Because when these people catch it and put it in their rear-view mirror, despite being vaccinated.… This variant does not care. At least for a transmission, it does not care much about the vaccine. I could tell you that from personal experience and the fact that every single one of my friends, of which there are many who have this, was fully vaccinated.

Emily Jashinsky:

I like how you just had to say, Inez… I get what you were saying is that you have many friends who have Omicron, but what it sounded like is you were saying “all of my friends, of which there are many,” sort of defensively being like “I have many friends.”

Inez Stepman:

[inaudible 00:18:34] out here. We actually are going to get to friendship and loneliness as a topic, but no. Among my few friends, many of them have COVID, and it doesn’t seem to care much about vaccination in terms of transmission. And I think we need to retire the phrase breakthrough case. It’s very clear that it’s not breakthrough. Apparently, the vaccines are still quite protective in terms of preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. So for that reason, I think the vaccines are a very good thing. I’m very grateful to have them. But in terms of transmission for this variant, they are doing diddly-squat from observed experience here.

But this article on the one hand filled me with hope, and on the other hand filled me with a rage and frustration. Because I think when these folks all have actually gone through COVID, statistically, they will get through it. We see that while it is a very serious illness, it is not Ebola. It has a relatively low death rate for the individual person, especially if you’re not old or immunocompromised. Once they get through it, they will have natural immunity, which although they pretend to ignore for political purposes, I suspect they will not ignore for personal purposes. I think a lot of these folks will be ready to move on after they recover from COVID, and that will have a huge impact on our discourse surrounding the pandemic. And indeed, just a few days ago, Brian Stelter flipped, right, and gave this big speech about how we really shouldn’t close the schools, how much our children are expected to take on to protect the elderly from this virus, and so on, and arguments that a lot of folks on the right have been making for over a year.

So do you think — and I got a lot of pushback on this on Twitter, so there are two minds. So I’m wondering which mind you are in, Emily. Do you think that this may finally mean that some of these restrictions start getting dropped and we start treating this like the endemic virus that it’s clearly headed towards being? Or do you think this is just going to make people double down? They’re going to say, “I got this, and I made it out the other side; it wasn’t that bad. It was more like a flu. But I was just lucky because I was quintuple vaccinated and therefore we need to double down on all of these restrictions”?

Emily Jashinsky:

Well, I want to throw one wrinkle into your thesis, which is that often people in elite media circles and legacy media circles, and just elite circles in general think that they are more suited to handle various crises than the average American. They think so very highly of themselves that, if they get Omicron and they get COVID and they now feel like they have natural immunity and they can be responsible patrons of restaurants and parties and all of these things, that may not necessarily translate into a prescription for the broader population because they have this deep distrust and this deep sort of skepticism of the average American. I think about Taylor Swift’s video for “You Need To Calm Down,” which was, I think I wrote at the time, grotesque. Where the people who were —

Inez Stepman:

I think everything Taylor Swift does is grotesque, to be honest.

Emily Jashinsky:

Oh, such a Lana stan, such a Lana stan. But just aggressive as a Lana stan. But I’ll say I do think that was a good illustration of how people see the opponents of full progressivism or how… She had gay marriage protestors in the video, which is not even a thing anymore. But they all looked like they were in the Westboro Baptist Church, right? They were toothless. They were all White, which is wildly out of touch with reality. The Black community still has the highest rate of opposition to gay marriage. And so it just shows this weird prejudice that people in elite circles have of the public.

And so even if they survive it and they’re fine, I just don’t think that they trust the average American to do the same. And so to make you or prime you for an even deeper sense of fury and rage, I truly think that could be coming down the pipeline. These think pieces about they were responsible with their natural immunity, but here’s why the average American won’t be, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So I still also think they have a sort of a fear and a contempt for ordinary people that will drive them to want regulations to be protected from the contaminated, the literal unwashed masses.

Inez Stepman:

Two thoughts, I guess, to that one…. I mean, I can definitely see that, and that has been the problem to my mind with all of the sort of public health apparatus this entire pandemic, right? They have given us the advice at any given time that they thought would make us most likely to do the things that they wanted instead of actually just telling the truth, which more often than not was “we don’t know. This is a new virus. Here’s our best guess.” Treat people like adults and give them the information and then allow them to make decisions based on that information. Of course, that’s not what happened. We were, and Fauci even admitted to this, right? That he literally tell… He says what he thinks will be most likely to manipulate people into doing X, Y, and Z.

And of course, what you do when you do that is completely tank your own credibility. And then you get a backlash where people don’t trust anything that anyone has to say about this virus, anyone in authority anyway. And actually, to that point, I had a second point, but I actually want to forget that second point and move directly to this which is, speaking of authority, do you think that Donald Trump coming out and saying that he’s vaccinated, he’s boosted, encouraging people to go get vaccinated, to get the booster shot. Do you think, because you’ve said many times that people who have lost faith with all of our institutions, they trust Donald Trump. Perhaps unwisely sometimes, but he has represented their interests and they believe he represents their interests much better than any of the institutions. We both agree they’re right to mistrust the institutions. Now that Donald Trump is giving the same advice as those institutions, is that going to shift people’s opinions or are they just going to mistrust Donald Trump? In other words, I guess, which one is more powerful, the distrust of institutions or their trust in Donald Trump?

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah, I think it’s the central question when… Yeah, so I think the answer is no, because I think Trump has actually had a consistent message all along. And even with the sort of conspiratorial streak that runs through the life and times of Donald Trump, he’s never been conspiratorial about the vaccine and he’s never been especially sharply skeptical of the vaccine because he wants to take credit for it, and he has this frustration that I think is very fair that he gets no credit for the development, the rapid development of an mRNA vaccine from three companies under his Operation Warp Speed. That is very much a singular product of his administration, and I’m not an expert enough to say whether it was a glaring success or not. I do think it was an impressive sort of private-public partnership, and as much as I hate pharma, I think it probably has spared a lot of elderly people and vulnerable people a terrible fate over the course of the last year. And hopefully will continue to do so as people who are vulnerable get boosted.

I don’t know the long-term anything about this, but I can at least say that. So I don’t think it changes anybody’s minds. Maybe it changes a few people’s minds, but I guess broadly, I don’t think it does because he’s always said the same thing and it’s always been people interpret it as… I don’t know. I actually don’t have a good explanation for why Trump supporters aren’t interested in the vaccine. Maybe some things are actually deeper than Trump. I mean, I think of course that’s true. Distrust of media is deeper than Trump, and it’s always been there. And opposition to endless wars in the Middle East deeper than Trump, et cetera, et cetera, you can go down the line. But it’s never mattered that Trump has boosted the vaccine. So I don’t know. I think it’s deeper than him. So I don’t think him alone changes anything.

Inez Stepman:

I mean, my gut instinct is that you’re right, that institutional distrust is way deeper than the dictates of Donald Trump, which is why I think very consistently the left… I hear the left getting this wrong. With the whole disinformation debate, all of that “disinformation,” right? They always think that people are sort of these brainwashed, passive masses, who listen to something on Tucker and then they go out and do a stupid thing because Tucker told them to. And whatever one thinks about Tucker, to the extent that I’ve seen it — I don’t watch cable news — but to the extent I’ve seen clips and stuff like that, I think that Tucker is an interesting guy to listen to. But I think people are getting it wrong and they’re imbuing him with a power he doesn’t have. I think the opposite is true. People listen to Tucker because he says things that are skeptical of institutions they deeply mistrust already.

And to some extent, the same thing is true about Donald Trump, right? As in, people listen to Donald Trump and trust Donald Trump because he expresses skepticism about the institutions about which they already are skeptical. And they already have deep mistrust in. Which is why none of this stuff, all of these tyrannical ideas about making sure that Fox comes off the air and that various hosts are spreading misinformation that’s killing people. I mean, this is common rhetoric on CNN, MSNBC. Every single week there’s a New York Times article, chin-stroking article, written about the fact that… What do we do about the misinformation? And the reality is that people are seeking out skeptical sources of information exactly because they’ve lost faith with the CNNs and the New York Times of the world. And not because those skeptical sources are manipulating them like dancers on a marionette, right? Which is, I think, the backwards way to think about it, and one indication that that’s probably the right way to think about what I just laid out is if Trump’s boosting of the vaccine doesn’t really change people’s minds.

Although I guess I slightly disagree with your characterization. It’s true that he’s always boosted the vaccine as a great thing and something that he’s proud of in his administration, which frankly, I think he should. It is a remarkable achievement and not the least of which is getting through a lot of the red tape in the FDA and elsewhere. But I think he has always kind of winked-winked at people about it. He’s always been quick to follow it up with “nobody has to take this,” which obviously I also agree with. The way he’s presented the information, I think, has always been a little bit of a nod because he loves to play to his crowds. And I think he knows this is not necessarily a popular position with the people who come to Donald Trump rallies.

So to me, this was a break where he very firmly sort of laid out his position. He said that he personally took it. He said that it’s a great thing. He did say “we don’t believe in mandates,” but he did very firmly say that it was a great thing. And he also downplayed how many people were not taking the vaccine. He said, “Oh, you guys in the back who are booing, there’s just a few of you.” So to me, this was a bit of a break from his rhetoric in the past on this.

Emily Jashinsky:

Can I say this reminds me of, and I think this is a function of a problem that I posed as a question to Alex Berenson on Federalist Radio Hour. I said, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot because it’s not just a problem with vaccines, it’s a problem with a lot of issues in that conservative media and conservative figures necessarily have to spend so much time batting down the BS that is being peddled by mainstream institutions, major institutions, especially in the media, but also from people like Fauci and Collins and you can go down the list. Every celebrity. It becomes such a huge but necessary time suck that it also transmits a false signal or an unhelpful signal, not through any fault of conservatives or conservative media about, for instance — and this is what I asked Berenson — the fact that the vaccine, everything we know is that the risks are totally outweighed by the rewards for elderly people and vulnerable people.

So what is Tucker supposed to devote his show to? That fact, which we can all agree on, and is he supposed to be doing a ritual throat-clearing every time he wants to make an argument about the vaccine or about the fact that all of these major institutions and major politicians, lawmakers, celebrities are outright lying or are peddling outright falsehoods about the vaccine, about the pandemic, et cetera, et cetera? I think it is a serious dilemma for the right because there’s no good answer. I don’t think it’s the fault of conservatives, the fact that the priority of the time is on debunking nonsense. And it’s not every night doing propaganda about how great the Trump vaccine is. I think it’s a… And I don’t support the sort of ritual throat-clearing. I think that it’s very much true that elderly people should get the vaccine, vulnerable people should get the vaccine and get boosted.

I’m not an expert. I don’t claim to be. I don’t claim to know anything about what the effects will be 30 years from now, 40 years from now. But I think that’s a serious problem. And I do think what you’re talking about with Trump and the fact that he always gave a wink to sort of like, well, you don’t have to take it. I think that’s also partially the fact that everybody on the left and in the center would love to mandate that everybody has to take it and is transmitting that constantly.

Inez Stepman:

I mean, so I have not found Jonah Goldberg’s writing as of late fascinating in a way that I used to. I really don’t mean to be insulting. I just, I haven’t. He also kind of has… He writes more casually now. He’s not doing long, in-depth research pieces the way that he used to. But I don’t mean that to be insulting, genuinely. I just don’t. I no longer click on Jonah Goldberg’s pieces because I don’t find them helpful even in disagreement. But something he wrote about why he quit Fox, which was sort of cloaked in the usual condemnation of the right that I find so sort of ritualistic and boring. But there is an interesting question in there aside from why he quit and all that stuff, which is there is this very easy way out for people on the right, which is to criticize the excesses of the media and the left instead of talking about whatever the subject is in a serious way.

And like you say, they make it very easy because they usually have the most hysterical takes and it’s very easy to sort of sheer off from the subject at hand and to criticize the way the subject is being treated in the corporate media or among Democratic politicians or whomever. And I do sometimes find that, I don’t even want to say disingenuous because I don’t think it is. Because you can honestly critique and honestly spend all your time critiquing the narratives of the left because, frankly, those are the narratives that govern our lives more often than we want them to, right? So it’s not that it’s a completely cheap shot, but I do think that sometimes it sheers into avoiding the point, right?

Emily Jashinsky:

I think sometimes that’s true. Yeah. I think sometimes that’s true. No, I think that’s absolutely true sometimes. I don’t dispute that. And it’s more with even some people who I think are bad actors or just sort of bad in the sense that they’re not the best sources of information or the smartest sources of information because they’re sort of focused on click bait or whatever else.

But, yeah, I mean, I could say as an editor to a conservative publication, there’s a serious sort of question about, well… This is what’s governing our institutions. This is the ideology that’s governing our institutions. And we already said that. We already said this is true. We already said X, Y, and Z. The focus here should be on all of this other nonsense, not sort of having to atone for the alleged sins and sort of cleanse ourselves of the alleged sins that everyone says anti-progressives are guilty of at every different turn because that’s ceding ground to bad actors. But, no, I don’t dispute that. And I think to the thing that I just said, it does make it easier for people who are already prone to be bad actors to be worse.

Inez Stepman:

Yeah. I definitely think there’s a fair amount of kind of… I think there’s a genuine question to grapple with if you are trying to maintain intellectual integrity and to maintain some sense of proportion, which is important when you’re talking about issues that affect the country, right? I mean, you could spend all of your time on some incredibly minor issue, but that also wouldn’t be… I really hate those arguments, right? You can’t spend time on issue X because you’re spending all your time on issue Y and therefore you are ignoring the problems, but there does have to be some sense of proportionality and what you focus on.

Emily Jashinsky:

Can I give you a hypothetical counterpoint with race? This is something that comes up a lot with race. So in every single… The mainstream media doesn’t take any piece of conservative argumentation on race seriously, unless it does the sort of ritualistic throat-clearing at the beginning where it talks about how —

Inez Stepman:

Actually, I was thinking about that while we were talking about before that that is one instance where I’m very firmly against the throat-clearing.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah. So that’s the only sort of counterpoint that I would make. And I mean, I guess that there are other ones, sexism, transphobia, you can go on down the line. But, yah, I think there’s a sort of parallel there, I guess.

Inez Stepman:

I guess I’m less concerned that maybe we’re really sussing out what the problem is because, on the one hand, I think it’s actually the problem. If you are doing the ritual condemnation and the throat-clearing before every single thing that you say because you are worried that you will be lumped in with “those people on the right,” which, frankly, even a lot of the thinkers I admire and the intellectual dark web and so on, they are guilty of that. They’re just so afraid of being lumped in with evil conservatives that they spend half of their time — I mean, I’m thinking of Andrew Sullivan, whose columns I love, but he really can’t write anything the Trump administration has ever done without spending half of the column convincing us as, if we needed to know that Andrew Sullivan doesn’t like Donald Trump, right?

Emily Jashinsky:

Right. Or isn’t homophobic.

Inez Stepman:

Right. No. And I think that is a species of sort of surrender in the rhetorical battle that is going on, right? When you accept the frame of the left and you go in with a defensive crouch, I think that it does harm our ability to make the argument. I think what I’m sussing out from that is more where you get a question or a topic from either… Let’s say you’re going on a television program or a podcast or something — and this could happen all mentally, internally — you’re just reading something, right? When you’re reading something that challenges you on a specific topic and challenges what you think on a specific topic politically, there’s kind of a mental escape. Well, you can say “but the left does this too,” right? And I don’t want to say something as cheap as whataboutism, but the left’s version of this is crazy, right?

So if you’re reading, for example, about COVID or about whatever. If you’re reading about BBB or whatever it is you’re reading and you read something and you’re like, “Oh, well, that really seems kind of off to me, but the left does stuff like this all the time.” Or “but the way the media’s spinning it is definitely wrong, so this is better than the alternative.” That’s, I think, more what I’m talking about than the making sure that you denounce the right people and the right ideas, thereby sort of cleansing yourself from mainstream discussion, which I think is really damaging and bad. But I also think it’s not intellectually honest to sort of go off on a tangent about what the other side is doing with a problem if you haven’t actually squarely addressed what the subject or the problem is to begin with.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah. No, and I mean, I started this off by saying I do think it’s a dilemma for conservative media with the vaccine, right? I do think it’s true that it’s hard to make a clear argument. And I think the Tucker example is maybe a good one. For him…. I mean, he would say, “There’s no reason for me to be promoting the vaccine in a sort of propagandistic way every single night when my time is better spent because the entire corporate media is doing the whole vaccine propaganda thing.” But I genuinely think that’s a dilemma because the reason we do what we do is because we hope that readers take cues and our job is to sort of like… People trust us on the right to think about these issues. They sort of outsource that, in a sense, to research the stuff, to think about the stuff and to synthesize it and analyze it in a way that people trust. And I’m not saying we always get it right, or that people should trust us above all else, but I think that’s what the service that is performed by sort of conservative media.

Inez Stepman:

Only trust High Noon: After Dark.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yes.

Inez Stepman:

We are the only people who will tell you the truth in the entire world.

Emily Jashinsky:

Capital T truth.

Inez Stepman:

Also, we have some Kool-Aid that we’ll pass out at the end of the program.

Emily Jashinsky:

But, yeah, no, I think it’s true. I actually — and I’ve been talking about this a little bit lately — I think that presents a serious dilemma. And then, at the same time, though, I think conservatives need to think about it. But I also think if we didn’t — and I think I’ve done a monologue on this before — I think if the left wasn’t so decadent and ridiculous in governing all of these institutions, that it wasn’t quibbling constantly about pronouns and spent more time getting stories right than virtue signaling and writing about nonsense, we wouldn’t be in this position to begin with. And so I feel like it’s still more constructive to attack the source, but I don’t think that negates the fact that it presents a dilemma for the right.

Inez Stepman:

So speaking of sort of continuing to attack the corporate media and talking about pronouns, there’s another New York Magazine piece that is on our docket for today. And this one just came out, I think, a couple days ago. We’re recording this on Tuesday. It came out just a couple of days ago. And it is the story of Gabriel Mac who is — let’s use the proper terms for things — a woman who has had a lot of surgeries to make her appear male, including the construction of a penis-like appendage. And so she was photographed on the cover of New York Magazine. It’s very obvious to me that it’s a woman underneath all of those surgeries. You can still see her hip-to-waist ratio. But to me, this cover really disturbed me. And I don’t think I was alone in feeling disturbed by this.

And my feeling of being disturbed was increased manyfold by actually going back and finding out that this person who now calls herself Gabriel Mac was a journalist beforehand and went to a war-torn country where she witnessed apparently some heinous sort of rape-as-a-warfare-tool kind of situations and then responded in a very bizarre way to that. Staged her own rape as sort of a “healing experience.” She wrote about all of this and then comes out as gay. And then finally ends up on the cover of New York Magazine as “a man.”

And I really wanted to talk with you about sort of genuinely disturbed people, whether from experiences and reacting naturally to really, really traumatic experiences in their lives or, for example, teen girls who are having difficulty sort of transitioning after puberty to living life as sexually mature women with the attendant male attention that comes with that or the body sort of insecurity that comes with that. It seems to me that we have a real pipeline for people who frankly do need help, who are vulnerable in some way. And instead, all of their problems are being shoved into a box called trans, which then gets them enormous adulation both from their immediate communities and, in this case, if you’re sort of connected enough and famous enough, you can land yourself on the cover of a magazine.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s true, and it actually reminds me — and this is probably wildly offensive to some people, and I want to say it carefully because I don’t want to imply anything that’s actually offensive. But it’s the same thing that has been papered over, I think, unhelpfully with same-sex attraction for a really long time, and that there are actual sort of nature and nurture factors that are at play here. And, in a lot of cases, there’s a similar sort of nurture factor. And I’m not saying there’s a mental illness, but I’m saying that there are things in life that affect people, and then to sort of hold up as a solution something that may not be a solution. I don’t think it’s helpful in all cases. And I think what we saw was that happened first with one issue and then, when that was successful, it happens with another issue.

And in this case, I think there are a lot of people that are suffering what Abigail Shrier, I think, perfectly named her book, Irreversible Damage. And that’s not the same thing with same-sex attraction at all. I mean, people are undergoing hormone treatments. They’re undergoing surgeries. And adults is one thing, children is another. And the adults have to take responsibility for how them enforcing those norms in the pages of New York Magazine affects the way that we treat children because it absolutely does. And there’s no question about that. So even if they’re not all-out endorsing it, which almost every single one of them would, that absolutely affects children. And so it’s this sort of impossibility of having nuanced conversations when it comes to what the left has deemed human rights, that you can’t even talk about the reality beyond what progressives insist is reality because it’s politically incorrect or because it’s problematic in some way or the other. It just leaves us way more poorly equipped.

I mean, you can be a full defender of LGBT rights, as Abigail Shrier is, as JK Rowling is, as plenty of people who have raised this issue with same-sex attraction are. And you can also agree that these conversations like nuance and then, if that we had more nuance in these conversations, we would understand the issue better. We would understand people better. We would understand our culture better. And I think, in this case, a lot of people are sort of the collateral damage. A lot of young women are the collateral damage to something that is entirely unnecessary and has been mainstreamed as a giant virtue signal for people who don’t really need to have any more intellectual capital than they already do. Or, in most cases, literal capital than they already do. It’s just a virtue signal for elites and it’s hurt a lot of regular people.

Inez Stepman:

Yeah, I guess that’s what really gives me the creeps about this is that the institutions that are supposed to be help of, in many cases, last resort are to my mind preying on people who are in crisis. Very obviously, and I’m not a psychologist or a wannabe psychologist, but…there’s something that Caitlin Flanagan wrote a while back. I can’t remember the context, but I think it was actually, it was about sex positivity, for example, in pornography. And she said, “What has happened that a society can’t see the telltale signs or can’t acknowledge telltale signs of a girl who’s in trouble?” And I kind of feel that way about this, and of course it plays into… There’s aspects of this that are becoming all too clear in all of our urban environments, right? With regard to mental illness and homelessness.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yes. The same thing.

Inez Stepman:

At what point is it cruel to acknowledge what is obvious: that somebody is in crisis now, that that crisis might range from something less serious to something more serious, right? Like most of the people on the street, they’re untreated schizophrenics, they have lost touch with reality. But in the case of a lot of these teen girls, for example, these are the normal crises of adolescents but nevertheless can feel really intense and can really shake who we think we are. There is something particularly messed up about reaching out for help in those moments and having somebody not acknowledge what is obvious that somebody is in crisis, somebody who went through their entire lives to that date never questioning the sex they were born into, which is often the case with female-to-male transitioners until, essentially, our culture gave — and that is YouTube, the internet, schools, unfortunately, reinforcing this — gave them the idea that changing sex is the solution to the way that being themselves makes them feel.

And I don’t know what to do with this other than I have this super skeptical, Slavic whatever instinct that I’m like, “Oh, I’m not interacting with any of these psychological institutions. If I have a child, my child is never going to therapy. I think these people are evil.” No, but obviously it is important for many people. And it is where they turn to for help in the inevitable sort of crises of life. And to have institutions that take advantage of that for this, let’s face it, is a virtue-signaling trend. It’s what you said, right? But the doctors and nurses who perform these procedures, they’re not the ones who have to live with them.

I mean, how do we talk about this, I guess, would be the question, right? Because it is such a difficult and personal thing to talk about. We can talk about the issues — that I have and you have — about the differences between men and women on a sort of the political level or the cultural level, but when it’s very obvious that somebody is frankly going through a mental health crisis, and that’s what they’re connecting to this transition. I mean, how do we talk about that issue without slipping into talking about people in a sort of insensitive way? Because that’s exactly the opposite of what I’m trying to do here.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah. We talk about it bluntly and with not ceding any ground to anybody who would consider this an unsettled science. And it’s actually a sort of difficult thing for me to talk about, not like emotionally, but also just because it’s a very sort of like… It’s something that is an intimately familiar thing to me, and I don’t sort of understand how the transition from gender dysphoria being what is actually a completely real condition that should elicit sympathy and understanding and actual medical treatment that doesn’t involve irreversible hormone treatments and surgeries, by the way, to the only possible treatment, the only solution lest you be condemned as a bigot. I don’t think it’s helpful for people that are — most normal people I should say, most humans, who oppose this ideology — I don’t think it’s helpful to anyone for them to be wishy-washy on this, but I also don’t think it’s helpful for them to act like everybody is a performer at Drag Queen Story Hour, right?

To act like everybody suffering from this is a performer at Drag Queen Story Hour… I actually think Abigail Shrier has had an incredibly helpful impact alone, single-handedly on the way the right talks about these issues, because she’s both blunt and compassionate at the same time. I think people like Christina Hoff Sommers are really good, and I think the right has really started to a) pick up a lot of people that were previously not even talking about this and that were on the left but didn’t really see the value in talking about it because it seemed abstract and not like it actually affected people. And then also at just having more and more people comfortable about talking about it in general, because it has become a social contagion, et cetera, et cetera.

So I think that right is like not doing a bad job, but I also think, yes, of course, there’s always an instinct to say everybody’s doing this is in Drag Queen Story Hour and to say let’s all filet the parents who are doing this to their children. Look, parents love their children. They love their children. They’re not intentionally setting out to abuse their children. They’re being told by medical professionals that this is the only way to treat their children. They’re being told by corporate media that this is the only way to treat their children. And they’re probably personally very confused about that. They’re probably personally very up in the air, for the most part. Some of them aren’t. It’s hard, and 99.9999% of parents love their children and want the best for them. And they’re doing that, but they are doing it in a cultural climate that tells them everything up is down.

And I definitely think that is part of what the right needs to reckon with, but I do think that’s happening. The parents in Loudoun County, I think, have talked about it in good ways about how this is not compassionate to anybody. So I’m fairly optimistic on this issue.

Inez Stepman:

I guess…. So I think about this — obviously, what you said is true when we’re talking about teenage girls like those written about in Abigail Shrier’s book. But when I see this kind of photo, right, of Gabriel Mac, frankly, I wonder if she has friends or had friends, good friends, who would try to kindly sort of walk her off the ledge in terms of some of the things that she thought would solve her problems.

Emily Jashinsky:

She does say that in the article, by the way. It’s early in the article she says her friends said, “Just don’t get a penis.”

Inez Stepman:

I wonder how much of this overreliance on the medical establishment with regard to stuff like this is derivative of a general therapeutic culture that’s replaced the personal with a professional relationship, right? It’s not that I don’t think there are any uses for therapy, sort of Slavic jokes aside. I do think that a lot of the ways that therapy and psychiatry, frankly, prescription, right, writing prescriptions for various brain medications, hormone medications — which far predates this transgender moment that we’re in — forming out crisis that once was addressed either within the family or with close friends.

Emily Jashinsky:

A hundred thousand percent. And not [crosstalk 00:57:58] the public schools. Yes. No, no, no. The public school… This is a huge thing. Actually, it’s funny you say that because I did a podcast with Sally Satel recently who’s a psychiatrist. I think she’s a professor in, I think Columbia. She’s a visiting professor… Has been for a long time, but she’s at AEI. And she actually wrote a couple of books about the sort of… She wrote One Nation Under Therapy actually with Christina Hoff Sommers. She wrote a book before that on how we’re all sort of getting over therapy in the country and how we’re sort of normalizing different things that shouldn’t really be normalized because of therapy culture. She wrote that in the early 2000s, both of those books. And she’s now sort of a contrarian on the topics of treating every single patient through the lens of race and how that’s become very normalized in the industry and mainstreamed in the industry, and in fact, it’s mainstream to say anybody who doesn’t do that is bigoted and is perpetuating bigotry. And I think that’s a 100% a function of it. I think it’s very much…. One of the best things about Irreversible Damage — it’s in the book because it’s a deeper element of this — how many of these girls heard about it through Tumblr? Heard about it through social media? Social contagion spreads very differently in the era of social media. And when you’re being affirmed by strangers online who say they understand you, it’s a very different world. I don’t think that people were prepared for how quickly something so radical could take root in the culture because of technology and because of the way that technology gives elites shockingly more power than they’ve ever had to control our mainstream culture. They control the fringes less and less, but they have that sort of centralized mainstream control more.

And that, I think, is an essential element of this, and I think you’re totally right. And I do think a huge problem with this is public schools. And even you could talk about the lawyerification of American life. People are terrified. The HR-ification of American life. People are terrified to do anything but affirm because elites went through Ivy League schools where they were told to affirm, and they just top-down implemented that on the rest of the country.

Inez Stepman:

So I had Rod Dreher on this week or last week, and he pulled a stat out that I couldn’t find. I’m sure he has a citation for it somewhere — I’ll have to ask, but I couldn’t find it doing my own Googling — that 70% of Gen Z says they don’t have any close friends. And what I did find in my Googling is that Millennials, about 30% of Millennials, say they have no friends, no close friends. And then if you add the people who say they say they have no close friends plus the people who say that they have very few close friends or they have friends, but they’re not close, right, so if you put all of those people in sort of the same category, you get somewhere around 50%. So I don’t know where he got that, but it wouldn’t be surprising if that category, more broadly speaking, went from 50 to 70% between Millennials and Gen Z.

But this is actually… So the one thing I did find also was that Gen Z is the loneliest generation, meaning they’re more lonely than people above age 75. Which is not the typical pattern, right? Generally, we find that in our society and sort of modern American history, the elderly are the loneliest at any given time. And what we see now are that…. So I think you’re right to point to a certain nexus here with social media, which I think is very… It can be a great tool for meeting friends. I’ve used it that way. I’ve met in person many people that I’ve developed friendships with online and made them into real friends, but I can see how having no separation between those two things makes it very difficult, especially with the therapeutic…. I wonder if these things are all connected, I guess, is what I’m saying. Because the therapeutic culture, and it’s far from only affirm in this transgender context, right? It’s this general therapeutic language that even politics must be talked about these days. I mean, AOC is the most famous example of that. Corporations talk about like, “Oh, you’re joining our family.” Until you get fired and booted out of your family. But we talk about everything in this very soft and therapeutic way. And it makes me wonder if reliance on the therapy industry in general and on sort of medicalizing these problems and Silicon Valley is absolutely like this, right? How do I biohack my own sort of human crisis, right? There’s got to be some balance of nutrients and drugs and therapy that will cure the human condition, right? And instead, I think what we’re really missing is a certain amount of community purpose closeness with other people to know that you’re not the only — narcissistically, right? — you’re not the only person on this spinning rock that faces these crises at different parts of your life. And I really do wonder if IRL friendship is on the way out and what that’s going to do to us mentally because I know this is somewhat nebulous, and I feel like Glenn Beck in the 2000s with his board on Fox drawing lines between various things. But I do, deep in my soul, feel these things are connected. If you are outsourcing that kind of deeply personal crisis kind of discussion to a therapist that you hire who is part of this sort of institution and has certain ideas and biases from going through these various institutions, which now coincide with wokeness, right? But maybe in the past, there were other kinds of biases.

It strikes me that vulnerability, when revealed to one person or two people or three people who you already have a prior relationship with and know and feel and trust want to do you well and wish you well. And that is probably the best environment for that. And outsourcing that is second best at best, right, and can be really, really dangerous, especially if the institutions are as corrupt as they are now.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah. I think there’s a lot to that. And I think what people like Sally Satel were picking up on a long time ago is that this is really an adjustment to being human in this sort of age of technology. And I mean that not in the sense of being human in the age of Facebook. I mean that in the sense of being human in the age of the printing press, in the age of air travel, in the age of cars, in the age of globalization and all of the implications of those new technological innovations, which mark a blink in the scope of human history and the way that our minds and our bodies are built to deal with the material world. The new Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying book on this, A Hunter‑Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century, I think it is an essential read for people who are grappling with these issues and people who aren’t grappling with these issues who maybe are just depressed and struggling.

We are sedentary. We are alienated. We are secular in all of these ways that people haven’t been throughout the course of human history, and it’s because of technology. And so I think that’s really the most important lens for all of us to look at our daily lives, a self-help lens. Jordan Peterson’s book was a runaway best seller because he took that and made it a self-help lens essentially. And it’s tapping into something nebulous that people are trying to put their fingers on. It’s fuzzy. But when you do put your finger on it, it’s sort of like everything clicks into place. I think that’s really important. I think we used to rely on each other in different ways. I think we used to rely on nature in different ways. And I just think that’s how our bodies and our minds are built.

And 50% of the problem is identifying the problem or 50% of the solution is identifying the problem. And I think that’s where we are right now. And the solution is not the metaverse. And the most powerful people in world, they’re trying to make it the metaverse. They’re trying to say we can do our meetings over Zoom or we can do our meetings over Oculus, not over Zoom. We can do our worship over Oculus and not in person. And I just think we’re heading both in a very dangerous direction and in a very positive direction.

Inez Stepman:

Well, that’s somewhat optimistic and somewhat pessimistic, as all of our conversations generally are. Before we wrap this up, I want to ask you, as I do every time — I’m going to ask you every time we do one of these monthly docket episodes — is there anything that stood out to you this month that you think that folks might have missed? Or maybe, if it was something that you think they probably saw, a take on it that might make them go back and read it or watch it again; something that made you think this month that you recommend to folks?

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah. I actually just recorded a video for you lovely folks over at IWN, Independent Women’s Network, on the Reuters deep dive into a deal that Amazon struck with president Xi Jinping of China and the Chinese Communist Party to make business in China more lucrative for Amazon, which of course involved making myriad concessions to the CCP. But a lot of people who were focused on those myriad concessions — as they should be — something stood out to me, which is a quote that Reuters found in an internal Amazon document from 2018. This is the quote: “Ideological control and propaganda is the core of the toolkit for the Communist Party to achieve and maintain its success. We are not making judgment on whether it is right or wrong.”

And I just recorded a video for IWN, which people can subscribe to, about how absurd that is. Because it’s using the word propaganda, which in and of itself implies something bad and not in a sort of Capra way, right? We’re not talking about Frank Capra propaganda. That’s clear what Amazon is talking about in this context: ideological control and propaganda. When you are openly acknowledging it and using, you have to necessarily define it with a negative, with propaganda, and then saying, “Well, we’re not going to pass judgment on it.”

The reason I think that’s salient is, for me, it made me rethink actually using Amazon. I am an urbanite begrudgingly, and it’s extremely convenient. I don’t have a car. I use Amazon more than probably the average suburbanite can possibly imagine. But no, I use it obsessively. I’m a crazy user of Amazon. And this is something that actually, as somebody without a car in the middle of a city, genuinely made me rethink whether I should touch Amazon in the future. Because I know that the company has a million problems, censoring Abigail Shrier, censoring Ryan Anderson, whatever it is, this is next level. This is absolutely evil. They’re under no delusions about China. And yet they will not pass judgment. And to see that in formal documents, I think was just… Maybe I should have given it up a very long time ago, but that put it into sort of stark reality for me.

Inez Stepman:

Yeah. That’s pretty bad. And of course, I know that this is an overused comparison, but I have to say it. They have very strong judgements about domestic politics. But no strong judgment about China. And on the point of sort of… I’m not a fan of extremes on this because I think it’s kind of hopeless. All of corporate America is bought in, more or less, on two things: one, domestic wokeism and, two, catering to China, which is a huge problem, which definitely deserves all the attention that it gets.

But it’s good to buy less on Amazon. I’ve been trying to buy less on Amazon. I use it sometimes. I definitely still order stuff from Amazon occasionally, but I have been trying, especially after the pandemic. Because I used to be a person, a bodega person. I used to buy my shampoo and my cleaning supplies and all that kind of stuff at the bodega or in [inaudible 01:11:48], the place across the street, right, and that was out of pure inability to organize my life because I would always just run out of stuff, and then I would run across the street. [crosstalk 01:11:58] I used to ordering it. And definitely [crosstalk 01:12:01] go back.

Emily Jashinsky:

I once had a bodega in my apartment building, and I lived on the ground floor, and the bodega was also on the ground floor. Can you imagine the luxury that that presented me with? I mean, just nonstop “oh, do I need more eggs? Got it. Do I need more beer? Got it.” Wasn’t healthy enough.

Inez Stepman:

But it’s more healthy than ordering from Amazon.

Emily Jashinsky:

True.

Inez Stepman:

So I hardly agree. Maybe we should make it one of our New Year’s resolutions, use Amazon less.

Emily Jashinsky:

Amen. I love it.

Inez Stepman:

So my thing that I think has gone under the radar is actually a PragerU video. We were talking about sort of the self and how things that you feel are right for yourself can often still… You can do you and you can lead you to ruin. And I think there’s a discussion that is well worth tuning into in a roundabout way about a very similar subject. It’s a discussion on Jane Eyre, it’s on PragerU, and it’s between two previous guests at this program, Madeleine Kearns and Michael Knowles, and they have a really interesting discussion about the novel, about self.

Emily Jashinsky:

Michael read Jane Eyre?

Inez Stepman:

I know. It’s impressive. But it’s about self-mastery and the pursuit of virtue, but in a, I think, a way that is still extremely relevant to all of our lives, and about the importance of sometimes denying yourself what seems to be something that would make you deliriously happy. And even if sometimes that thing would make you deliriously happy, it still can be the author of your destruction. So I think Jane Eyre is a good book for our times. It’s always a good book, and this discussion in particular. I will say, if you haven’t read the book yet, you should read the book and then go see the discussion because they talk about the whole book, including all of the twists and turns. So if you don’t want it to be “spoiled” — which is a little weird way to talk about a book that’s been published for so long — but if you haven’t read Jane Eyre, go ahead and read it and then watch this video at PragerU with Madeline Kearns and Michael Knowles. Or if you have read the book — so many of us have, it’s kind of a classic. There are a lot of folks got assigned in high school, for example. If you want on a fresh take that will make you want to go back and read it again, go ahead and watch that video. I highly recommend it.

So this will be our episode. If you’re listening to this, this will be our Christmas sort of week episode. So Emily, Merry Christmas to you. I am dressed festively for the occasion. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. We’ll see you in 2022 for whatever that roller coaster will bring us all in the coming year. I’ve given up on hope and now just along for the ride. So Merry Christmas.

Emily Jashinsky:

Happy New Year, Inez.

Inez Stepman:

Thank you to our listeners. High Noon with Inez Stepman is a production of the Independent Women’s Forum. As always, you can send comments and questions to [email protected] Please help us out by hitting the subscribe button and leaving us a comment or review on Apple Podcasts, Acast, Google Play, YouTube, or iwf.org. Be brave. We’ll see you next time on High Noon. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.