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Aysha and Sarah get together to talk radical leftism in Homestuck and abroad. Topics: Better Call Terezi, self-radicalization, wage theft, and loser ideologies. Prepare for the 2020 election at voteforbernie.org or we'll cry.

Listen to this episode at https://pgenpod.com/updates/episodes/77

Transcript[]

Sarah:  The Perfectly Generic Podcast contains spoilers, occasional adult language, and June. You've been warned. This show is supported by listeners like you on Patreon. We'd like to thank the following Crockertier patrons for their generous support per episode. [Names]

[Intro music]

Sarah:  What's the... ugh fuck. What am I trying to say? God, I'm so tired. I literally- I tried to go back to sleep. I was planning out my trip. And after that, I was like, you know what, I'm gonna go get some sleep, lay down for like 30 seconds and then said no, instead, I'm going to go get donuts. So I walked to the store and got doughnuts and then I came home and I ate some of those. And I was just awake. And I'm like, Alright, well, I'll just power through the day. And then I felt like this sudden wave of exhaustion so I set every alarm in my room. I'll just take a quick nap. And then I was out just gone for a while. Just passed right the fuck out and now I'm conscious again debatably.

Aysha:  It be like that sometimes. 

Sarah:  It really do be like that occasionally, from time to time. I guess that's how we're starting this episode. Hello Aysha.

Aysha:  Hi.

Sarah:  How are you today?

Aysha:  Oh, you know, I think I slept sort of? Like, you know, sometimes I sleep.

Sarah:  Yeah, you know, sleep. It's sort of an odd thing. Because how do you even really know that you've had any, you know? 

Aysha:  Yeah. 

Sarah:  Like the only evidence you really have of sleep is that while you're awake, you don't feel like garbage and who amongst us doesn't feel like garbage all the time anyway.

Aysha:  [Aysha laughs] Yeah. Um, I feel like working from home and being my own boss means that not getting sleep is not as bad as it used to be when I used to have to go work eight hour shifts pretty late into the night, so if I hadn't slept the night before, it was like hell. It still sucks to not sleep, but it's a lot more manageable because I can just sleep during the day.

Sarah:  Yeah, that's been my experience too. But it's also really bad because I do my best work in the morning. I hate that I've become a morning person, but that's just how I am. But for the last couple weeks, I just keep staying up until like 2 or 3am despite all of my best efforts, and I keep, you know, sleeping in until like noon and it's like well, there's no cops here to like, come into my room and shake me awake and say that the labor force demands your input right this second.  I can just do whatever and it's really dangerous.

Aysha:  Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I guess I have my girlfriend to tell me to go to the fuck to bed. So there's that.

Sarah:  Yeah, yeah, that helps.[Both laugh] My girlfriend lives, like six time zones away from me, so. 

Aysha:  Yeah. 

Sarah:  [Sarah laughs] Yeah. Now, I did have this moment of like, going to the grocery store the other day, and I was like, You know what, I should cook, I should be healthy. And I was looking at ingredients for things. I'm like, man, I don't want to deal with this shit. So I bought a thing of Oreos. And I just ate Oreos. And it felt like– I think everybody goes through that stage whenever they're in their, like, early 20s where they're like, wait a minute. My parents can't tell me what to do anymore. I can just eat Pop Tarts and soda for the rest of my life. And I can be the Pop Tarts and soda guy.

Aysha:  Yeah, I started taking a certain kind of antidepressant in my early 20s that just like basically decimated my appetite for about two years. So I just was an early 20s person who barely ate anything. Um, but I get the ‘wait if I want ice cream right now I can just eat it’.

Sarah:  Yeah, yeah, that's my biggest problem as I get the urge for ice cream like, well, the store is right over there. I can throw four bucks at a pint. I don't give a shit.

Aysha:  Yeah

Sarah:  Anyway, this is the perfectly generic podcast, a show about something?

Aysha:  About sleeping and 

Sarah:  About sleeping and

Aysha:  About Pop Tarts

Sarah:  No it's about– we're here to talk a little bit about Homestuck I guess, and there's some stuff to talk about. This week in Homestuck

Aysha:  

This week in Homestuck. Yeah. 

Sarah:  Besides the fact that we got Jake's sprites, which are wonderful. Every time there is an awful character that I hate that we get sprites for I realize that I was wrong. And actually, I love them.

Aysha:  Yeah, he's, I mean, of course, because Jake is a boy, everybody loved his sprites and had no problems with them. I say–

Sarah:  Oh yeah, of course. 

Aysha:  I'm not bitter, she says bitterly with a bitter expression.

Sarah:  [Sarah laughs] No, of course. Yeah, no, that's– it's fine. It's fine. It's fine and normal and okay, and great and good. The Jake sprites are wonderful.

Aysha:  They are wonderful. They're gorgeous. Yeah, not to say that they're not. I think every sprite has been gorgeous, though. So

Sarah:  Yes, no, they really have. I saw somebody point out that we'd never seen Jane have talk sprites before. 

Aysha:  That's true

Sarah:  And I realized like we actually haven't seen the alpha kids as much in this kind of setting in like a visual novel way so this feels different for them. So it's just there's something fun about seeing them revealed over time that's like, I don't know, new in a way that it didn't necessarily feel for me with everybody else. But beyond that there is also the homestuck two update where the game is talked about extensively. And  everybody lost their minds because there is a lot of lesbians on display.

Aysha:  Yeah, yeah. It be like that. 

Sarah:  Yeah. Those– so we.  Yeah, we've seen Rosebot and Terezi now, and they both are [deep sigh]. 

Aysha:  Yeah. 

Sarah: Those designs are so good. I'm actively mad at how good they are. Part of why I couldn't sleep last night was because I was just thinking about how fashionable Terezi is.

Aysha:  Terezi is so fashionable. Terezi really is. Like Terezi– I've seen people redesigning Terezi's costume and being like, wait, this looks better. I'm like, No.

Sarah:  No it absolutely does not.

Aysha: The point of Terezi is that she looks like shit, but she looks great anyway.

Sarah:  Yeah, that's the thing is that she looks like a Saul Goodman style criminal lawyer. But she owns it. Like she's not afraid  she knows exactly who she is.

Aysha:  The point of Terezi is she doesn't care what she looks like. She cares what the clothes taste like and  what they sound like and what they smell like, so she doesn't care what people with sight see when they look at her.

Sarah:  Yeah. Ugh, no. And that's that's what's so fun and it's just... I've never been one who felt compelled to cosplay but as soon as I saw this design I really... I don't know, I don't know. I'm tempted.

Aysha:  Yeah those shoes like the big like What are thooose kind of

Sarah:  Yeah, yeah the scalemate shoes, yeah. There's so many great details. Xam did the designs like the character designs right?

Aysha: Yeah Xam did the designs and Gina Chacón did the actual panel art.

Sarah:  Gina did a fantastic job.

Aysha:  Yeah. And Pip did the sprite panels. All the Ecto biology and stuff.

Sarah:  Ah, okay. That was also very good. Yeah,

Aysha:  Yeah, it's a good update. The memes have been very powerful this update and I've been enjoying them.

Sarah:  Yeah, we got the– my favorite 

Aysha:  I've seen a lot of Dirk holding the abomination a lot of like, Don't talk to me or my son ever again.

Sarah:  Yeah, I love Terezi walking out of the cave and just like, you know the share zone like if you don't like it, you can just leave.

Aysha:  Yep, you can leave. Anime analysis relationships with men. Anything you want, you can just go.

Sarah:  Yeah, it's great. So beyond that, what we're here to talk about... we talked a little bit personally about how various projects have gone a long way towards radicalizing us. And I guess we're here to talk about Antifa to sort of take a hard left turn.

Aysha:  Yeah, let's take a hard left turn now. But you know, let's not bring politics into fiction because real life has no relevance in fiction at all. So

Sarah:  Right no

Aysha:  Why would we make fiction political?

Sarah:  Exactly, I Find it deeply offensive, that you and your fellow SJW cohorts keep trying to bring politics into this beautiful ideologically pure work of art that says nothing substantial about human beings or how we relate to each other or how society constructs our identities and the ways that we fight against society whatsoever. I like it because it has fun relationships, and there's– I love gamzee and now I'm making a political statement.

Aysha:  I mean, this is not anything new. I'm not the first person to say this, but everything is political. If you think something is not political, it means that you agree with its politics.

Sarah:  Exactly. It's, obviously I've hammered on this a number of times in my own work. The idea that anything is apolitical when even people who actively try to be apolitical in their art, they're still making a political choice in doing so. And what they think is or is not political is reflected in the work. A quote unquote “apolitical” story that still involves casual misogyny says a lot. 

Aysha:  I mean, I remember a couple years ago, I think it was Jonathan Franzen, some writer who wrote this article about how he doesn't write about race and why he doesn't. And it was like, buddy, your books are all about white people. Yes, you do write about race.

Sarah:  Yeah.

Aysha:  You do. We call that writing about race.

Sarah:  Yeah, Just  because you're not doing it actively doesn't mean that that's not what you're doing. And I, there's something I identified a long time ago just for myself. I went through a period in my mi- 20s after I... after I wrote my first book, that didn't go anywhere. And where I felt like all of my worst biases were revealed to me as a... as a, presumably cis white person. And I spent a lot of time digging through my awful upbringing in that regard. And asking myself like, to what extent is it an author's responsibility to address society and talk about something substantial, I guess. And the conclusion that I came to that I think still kind of holds true for me at least, is that it's not an author's responsibility to say something substantial any given topic, but it is their responsibility to understand the choices that they're making in their work even if they wouldn't necessarily think of them as choices. It's like, it's your responsibility to be aware that Yes, you are. You are making a commentary on race, whether or not that is something that you are doing intentionally.

Aysha:  Right, right. I agree. I don't think that agreeing to be an artist or agreeing to participate in fandom or anything means that you are agreeing to be an activist. And I think that assuming that of people is detrimental to both art and activism, actually  like conflating the two because like, yeah, art is not activism, it can be, but it doesn't have to be. And I think demanding that each of those things are each other can get us into a lot of trouble. And can make us feel like we're participating in activism when we're actually not. And I think it's one of the reasons people are like ‘This work of art is promoting a certain kind of lifestyle’. It's like, well, that's not the point of this. The point of activism is to promote something, but art is not always that so that's just my little side. I'm not saying that art has to be activism. I'm just saying that all art has an ideology.

Sarah:  Yeah. There's always this debate of art that has meat to it, I guess versus art that is escapism and making any sort of authoritative statement about one is somehow saying that the other is not important or allowed, and I find that sort of knee jerk reaction to it always vexed me and I've gotten in trouble for it a couple of times. Because the idea that I, as somebody who makes videos about popular media, would say that popular media has no value or that escapism has no value. It's like I don't know. I feel like it's pretty transparent that Yeah, anybody who says that's full of shit.

Aysha:  Right? I guess then you have to ask what is value? Where does value flow, from? Like,

Sarah:  Exactly. Yeah, then we're getting into a whole epistemological discussion. 

Aysha:  Now we're getting into Dirk and Rose territory, which is dangerous.

Sarah:  And we don't want that yeah, it's dangerous. We don't want to get there.

Aysha:  But then we're getting to– do you know what the watchmakers analogy is? Yeah, okay, well, great. I'm gonna say it anyway, cuz I like to hear myself talk.

Sarah:  [Sarah laughs] Oh, yeah, I do. I do love that. They're talking about the analogy of the cave, and  Dirk and Rose stay in the cave while Terezi leaves. The blind girl leaves.

Aysha:  Yup yup.

Sarah:  It's just *chef's kiss* delicious, delicious stuff.

Aysha:  The blind leading the dumb.

Sarah:  Yeah.

Aysha:  But yeah, anyway, I guess like my initial pitch for this. I was like, we could talk about activism I guess or we could talk about politics in Homestuck because people are always like, you know, Homestuck didn't used to be political. And I think that there's fewer people saying that then there used to be. But Friendsim for me was very much kind of the beginning of like, my sort of radicalization as it comes to like– like I used to be a *shudder* centrist way more than I am now. 

Sarah:  Yeah, who amongst us wasn't?

Aysha:  I had pretty neolib outlooks on things only just a couple of years ago.

Sarah:  You mean, you weren't a perfect bastion of leftist ideology for your entire life? Scandalous.

Aysha:  Right? I mean, I was one of those people in 2016, who was like, we can't nominate Bernie because there's no way that he's going to win. Because I was like, I agree with him. I agree with everything he says, I think he would make a fantastic president. But I don't think that other people will vote for him. And then we all did that. And look how fucked we got. 

Sarah:  Right. Exactly.

Aysha:  So it was like, Oh, well, we neolibbed ourselves into failure. So let's not do that again.

Sarah:  Hosted by our own petard again.

Aysha:  Exactly. But, I don't know, I've talked before a little bit, I think the first time it was ever on this show was right after the end of Friendsim dropped. And Kate and I talked a little bit about the kind of like the themes that sort of evolved throughout it. And it was never gonna be apolitical because it's about  Alternia and Alterna is a fairly heavy-handed you know, fascist allegory. Like Hemospectrum is not subtle. Like no can accuse it of that. And I kept finding myself doing these jokes that would go like Reader would see something fucked up in Alternian society and would then think oh this sucks well at least on Earth... well on Earth it sucks too but at least on Earth it makes sense that it sucks because it makes sense. Yeah, well, it doesn't make sense on Earth either. Maybe everywhere is bad.

Sarah:  Yeah.

Aysha:  And I kept doing that. And I kept setting up these jokes about how bad Alterna is and then realizing that like, Oh wait, all of our garbage society ideas are also bad and don't really have any grounding in reality and basically don't exist except to, like, propagate themselves.

Sarah:  Yeah, this is something that really perked my ears when you suggested this because the idea of self-radicalization is really interesting to me.

Aysha:  Yeah, I radicalized myself. Yeah.

Sarah:  Yeah. Through just through the process of working on this game. And I've been trying to think about what my journey down this particular rabbit hole was and I'm trying to remember what it was that really, I think like a lot of people it was 2016 that really put the crack in the neoliberal, rose- tinted glasses. And that's when everything started to clarify. Although looking back, I've always had weirdly communist beliefs even though I was one of those kids who is like, well, communism is a good idea in theory, but in practice. So how is that continued over time? You notice, I guess, as you're making these jokes about comparing Earth to Alternia and realizing, oh, everywhere is bad Earth is very bad. How did that extend out beyond Friendsim for you?

Aysha:  I guess it was sort of just the realization that things that to me seem entrenched and seem normal and just a natural system, are not and are actually completely reversible, like capitalism. It is so entrenched in our thinking. It's so where we live that it's really hard to... it's so nefarious, it's just so deeply ingrained in everything we do. And it feels like a monolith, it feels like something that could never be taken away. But that's not true. Just because like when you– like the point of science fiction is to show you a world where something could be different.

Sarah:  Right.

Aysha:  And I think part of that is to show you just how fragile and arbitrary so many tenants of our own society and our own– like, I mean, Homestuck did this too. It wasn't just– I mean, the trolls were partly just kind of jokes about like, they're just humans but gray, but also their romance systems completely different from ours. The sexuality– You know what, what the fuck is a homosexual conversation. Like all of these things that just seem so normal to us are just complete nonsense to them. And that's really just what science fiction is for. So if you're doing science fiction that just doesn't challenge any presuppositions of our world then why are you doing it? Why don't you just write realistic fiction? There's no point.

Sarah:  Well, yeah, there is escapist sci-fi that's like techno fantasy, utopia type storytelling, or the sort of thing that you and I have talked about before that's like cyberpunk aesthetic. That is, as it's trying to critique something, it's still just sort of falls back on the same tired tropes. I do think that people don't consider why it's often called speculative fiction quite enough. Like just in literal terms. Yeah, the trolls' allegory like you said it's not subtle whatsoever. And I think for me, they were always a– like everybody, I think you know, act five is when Homestuck starts having more heart. At least for me, that's when I started to really understand why so many people love Homestuck I guess. And Alterna as a society doesn't make sense on any level whatsoever. And that's why it works so well as an allegory because it's so fucking over the top and just comically bizarre that every time it relates back to our society you cannot help but lay bare a lot of the assumptions that we take for granted. And I think, you know, getting around to the point, Homestuck was always political in that way. And the idea that somehow politics are a recent addition is a comical misunderstanding of the source text.

Aysha:  Right and even putting aside Alterna, like even if we're not speaking about friendsim or anything,if you're just going to give a basic overview, like broad strokes brush of what Homestuck is about, it's a group of queer teens fighting a nameless, faceless monolith structure that doesn't care about them and exists only to perpetuate itself. Which sounds pretty political to me.

Sarah:  Yeah, that's, not– Again, this is not subtle.

Aysha:  I mean, I have sat bolt upright in the middle of the night and gone is Sburb just capitalism?  And then just like oh god it is.

Sarah:  Right. It is just capitalism. And there are so many ways, once you peel back that reading it opens up the text because the way that  Vriska is villainized in a general sense I think says a lot because she explicitly is like no, the only way to win is to break the rules and we have this sense of to break the rules is to be unfair, or you know, unsportsmanlike. But she's right, the only way to win is to break the rules.

Aysha:  The way she was in Alternia too, when she was at the top of her game and acting in accordance to– like she was being a perfect troll on Alterna, she was ruthless, she was violent. She was brutal. And everyone around her was like, What the fuck are you doing? So, she lived up perfectly to the system, but the system still destroyed her. And I think that that's what happens in capitalism. If you perform capitalism perfectly, you turn into a monster

Sarah:  Yeah, you turn into Pete Buttigeg

Aysha:  Right and even [Aysha laughs] and even people who are part of that system and believe in that system will look at an individual participating in that system and think, man, what a piece of garbage.

Sarah:  Yeah, I think the way that capitalism, or any ideology really, distorts and affects our mind and how we see the world is obvious when you think about how we discuss prisons, how we look at prisoners, where, you know, you'll have somebody in your family who's nice and sweet, generally a good person, you politically agree with them. But then for whatever reason, the topic of prisoners comes up and it's like, they say, Well, I don't think prisoners should be able to vote. Or I don't know if I want those kinds of people out on the streets. And there are so many assumptions underlying that statement that have to do with how, under capitalism, there must be an exploited class, there must be a criminalized side of that, the other side of the behavior that is endorsed so that you would draw clear boundaries between that which is acceptable and that which is not. And then you widen that boundary by taking it away from being a question of choices made under duress to being a problem of character. Like a person who goes to prison is a bad person. Because if you were a good person, you wouldn't go to prison, which is basically a tautology. And you see these conversations happen with regards to how– the carceral system in the United States or the war on drugs, homelessness, what have you. And once you see it, once you understand what's going on. I feel like a crazy person sometimes. I feel like a conspiracy theorist like I feel like Charlie Day with Pepe Silvia. Just like pointing out like everything. Everything is capitalism. Don't you see?

Aysha:  Yeah. 

Sarah:  It's maddening.

Aysha:  Yeah and I mean I remember thinking about how deeply entrenched it is in the way that we look at the world and I realized this. It was a couple of years ago kind of concurrently with working on Friendsim, so I think when I was still working at a cafe, doing my coffee job. And we had a store meeting, and the manager said to us, okay, so we're going to have to start cleaning the bathrooms. And because we all care that we're the ones who care the most about our Co-Op, so we've got to be the ones to take care of it. And I remember I raised my hand and I said, Why don't you hire someone to do that?'' And he said, Well, you know, we all care, we all have to pitch in and make sure– I was like so Okay, are you going to pay us more to clean during our shifts? Where we're handling food by the way? Are there going to be separate shifts for cleaners? Are we going to shower in between doing these things? And everyone started shouting at me to shut up and sit down and stop being so lazy.

Sarah:  Ugh

Aysha:  And I was like, you guys,

Sarah:  You're the ones who are gonna have to do this work.

Aysha:  Right Look what he's doing. He's making this a moral purity test. And he's saying that if you are a good worker and you care about your fellow workers and you care about the product, then you will do more work for no money. 

Sarah:  Yeah

Aysha:  And he's making like– and it is like oh, I'll come in. I don't need overtime, I'll stay. It's like, no Stop. You're making it worse for you. You're making it worse for your fellow workers. Do not scab.

Sarah:  Right, 

Aysha: Basically. And everybody kept shouting at me. And I was like, All right, bye, I guess. Yeah, you know, I'll get shouted down. Okay. And then I was like Shit. Shit. This is so nefarious. We are all so brainwashed. 

Sarah:  We really are.

Aysha:  And the thing is I don't think the manager was a bad person. He literally thought this.

Sarah:  Yeah. No, that's why it's so pernicious. And this is something that a lot of people who are center leaning right have a hard time understanding when we're talking about any sort of oppressive system. I remember getting into this wild argument, with somebody that I don't talk to anymore, about feminism, because he was one of those people who is like, I don't understand why feminism needs to be a thing, but we got around to, he didn't understand how feminism as an ideology could make sense if there wasn't somebody at the top, twisting their villain mustache saying, Yes, I am going to oppress women. And that is what feminism is in reaction to. And the thing is this is not– there is no 

Aysha:  Who is the patriarchy? Where are they? Where are they? Let's just shoot them.

Sarah:  Yeah, let's go to their evil lair and find them. Like No, this is it. There are genuinely awful people who are so corrupted by the systems that allowed them to get the power that they have *glances vaguely in the direction of the US Senate* that I find them completely irredeemable and I would go so far as to call them awful human beings. But generally speaking, most people are just behaving. They're just doing their best within the system that they're raised in. And that's why it's so fucking pernicious.

Aysha:  I mean, I've started thinking about this more and more recently, as I've gotten more into the business, like into the games industry, and I've gotten more in the comic industry, and I've just seen so many things that it's like, actually, I feel like everybody is trying, and is just like, not very good at it. And we all sort of pick our sides and pick our allies. And we all pretend that we're the ones who are right but nobody actually knows what's going on. And it's like, we're all just kind of like, we're all just fighting each other when we should be fighting the people who are putting their boots on our throats. But you know, that's hard and you don't know because like How do you fight that? You can't. Especially not on your own. So them, when I say them, you know, I don't mean a mustache-twirling monster. I mean the institution. It literally exists because it forces us to fight each other instead of it.

Sarah:  Yeah, it's a self-defense mechanism, part of the ideology of capital is the idea that your self worth is tied to your labor output, and therefore, like, you should feel honored to be able to give as much of your labor as possible because people are giving you the opportunity to do so because this is morally good and the idea of like, no, maybe you should hire somebody else to do this extra work. That suddenly becomes like a moral failing.

Aysha:  Right. I mean, it perpetuates itself. It's like I mean, it's like the kids going to Earth C and then just creating, you know, capitalist democracy again for no reason.

Sarah:  Right. I think that is an excellent thought expir– not a thought experiment just an excellent example of how, when you're– you can create an entirely new world and step into it with the intention of we're going to make a better society on this world. But if you have questioned none of your ideological biases, none of your ideas of how the world should work unerringly, you are just going to replicate all of the same problems at the society you came from. And that's always been to my mind, one of the tragedies of Earth C, this was apparent to me even before the epilogues came out. When just looking at the credits it seemed like, oh, they're just doing it again. They're just doing Earth 2. And it really... I don't know, you see a lot of people frustrated with that fact, at talking about the epilogues and Homestuck 2 And sometimes I want to grab these people by the shoulders and just be like, yeah, yeah, that's the point. Like, it's supposed to be frustrating. I mean,

Aysha:  Like Dave said in one of the previous updates, it's like, maybe it's just a bunch of 20 something trauma victims shouldn't have been put in charge of a whole world.

Sarah:  Yeah, and of course, now you've got Rose and Dirk, not just starting fresh on another new world. But deciding to build a new life form. Two competing life forms.

Aysha:  Great. Well the complacency of the learned. Like we know better than everyone so we will be the best at this.

Sarah:  Exactly.

Aysha:  Which is very, I mean, I think actually, god who was I talking to about this? Um, I was talking to Jen Giesbrecht about this, about how overeducated our generation is, and how we spend so much time– like we're overeducated and underemployed. And so we spend so much time just sort of like arguing ourselves into these rationality spirals online, and being like, Look this– Oh, I figured it out. And it's like, no, like, that doesn't help. Like, just I mean, we– and I get frustrated with this myself. And I think that you've said that you get frustrated with it. It's like we can sit here all day and just be like, the problem is capitalism. And we do that constantly. It's like I feel like that's all I ever do. But it's like I don't know how to fix it. And it's really frustrating.

Sarah:  It is very frustrating. I haven't done a proper video essay since my video about fanfiction, I think actually, and part of the reason why is that every script that I've worked on, just goes back to the point of, you know, feeling like a conspiracy theorist. Every single one that I've worked on, has ultimately amounted to the problem is capitalism, please God see it, just to see it, please. And it's gotten almost demoralizing to the extent to which that's the case because it's just everywhere and you don't know what to do about it. Like you can only scream from the mountaintops or

Aysha:  The answer to it is volunteer– donate to Bernie Sanders 2020 is one thing y'all can do. But I mean, and then you just see like, there's just this like, ugh I mean, I spend too much time on Twitter and I'm trying to stop that. But like, just these fucking Neolib brain poisoning of I'm not going to vote for Bernie because his followers are mean. It's like Okay, first of all calm down. Second of all this idea that the best politician will be the nicest guy or the people who are right are always going to be the people that you are going to want to hang out with I think is really damaging.

Sarah:  Absolutely. The idea... there is... I go back and forth a little bit on the particulars of this because there is this whole section of the online left in my circle called the dirtbag left.

Aysha:  Yeah, I mean, like yeah, Chapo trap house like, the only war is the class war. Yeah. I mean, there's that extreme. And I don't agree with that. But yeah, I know what you mean.

Sarah:  Yeah. But at the same time, I think there is a tendency to say that if you are not 100% on the same page as me, then you do not have a place by my side and there are conversations to be had in that direction, but also even people you don't like deserve health care. Even people you don't like don't deserve to be crushed under the same wheel that you are. You can have class solidarity with people that hold opinions that you find offensive. And like I'm not carrying water for transphobes I'm not out here, like I don't know calling for civility. But we're at a moment where the problem is so much larger than any one particular issue. And–

Aysha:  Right when you say that the only people who can be your allies are the people who can pass 100% purity test.  That is counterproductive.

Sarah:  It is very counterproductive and it's especially so online where you don't know how old somebody is where they're coming from, what their education has been. Like we said earlier in this very episode,  it wasn't that long ago that we were, you know, unabashed neoliberals, neoliberal centrist, like people do change. And the internet sort of crystallizes everything you say into a present tense thing, even though you know, I said this dumb thing when I was like 21. And I don't know I was an idiot back then I don't know what to tell you.

Aysha:  Right. And also just this kind of nefarious idea that everything you say, and everything that you do has to 100% represent everything you are. And it's like, No, I just made a stupid tweet that I didn't think about kind of. And it's like, every piece of art that you create, you know, encapsulates all of your virtue, which is like a thing that I think gets lobbed at women and queer people way more than it does anybody else.

Sarah:  Oh absolutely. 

Aysha:  I mean, like that tweet that I made a couple weeks ago where I was like, if a queer woman had made Disco Elisyum think of how people would have come after her ass instead of giving her Game of the Year.

Sarah:  Yeah, exactly.

Aysha:  And I just, like bummed myself out for like a night. But

Sarah:  Yeah, no, it's exhausting. And I think I had a really profound point that I was going to make and it disappeared.

Aysha:  I believe you, I believe you.

Sarah:  [Sarah laughs] Thank you. I appreciate your belief. 

Aysha:  Mm hmm. 

Sarah:  No, I don't know. The purity test thing is so frustrating because, you know, there are plenty of people that I don't want to spend time with. But you're right, like it's counterproductive. And that is another one of those things that seem so self evident to me. And I don't know what to do about this culture of–, oh, here. Here's what the fuck I was gonna say. I speak in fragmented sentences. I'm forming ideas as I say them. I am not a very practiced extemporaneous speaker. So I speak with a lot of pauses and I'm grabbing at ideas and putting them together as I'm talking. I don't have time– I prefer the written word because I just see it better from an argumentative perspective. As I'm saying out loud, I don't have time to like, test the structural stability of every declarative statement that I'm saying. And so, there are so many times when I was staying with Kate, where I would say something, and then I would see the look on her face. And I'd realize, Oh, that was a profoundly stupid thing that I just said. And then I talk it through with her. And there were times when she said profoundly stupid things, too. And that's how people learn. That's how people grow and change over time is, you don't know... You don't know what you're right and wrong about until you test it, until you say it out loud,

Aysha:  Right? And we're also not like logic machines, like most of the shit we say is not very well reasoned or thought out. We're not like, you know. You just talk sometimes.

Sarah:  Yeah, sometimes you just say shit. And you're like, why did I say that? Like there have been a number of jokes that I make that I've made that are weirdly deeply transphobic. And I said them and I laughed and nobody else laughed, and I looked back at the joke and I'm like, wait, what the fuck? Why did I say that?  Why did I think that was funny? . And it's just, you know, you're always in the process of deconstructing yourself.

Aysha:  Right. And so to quote a very controversial finger online right now, whether or not what side you come down on her contrapoints–

Sarah:  Ah shit

Aysha:  Who said that she wishes that people would look at the videos that she spent– the hour long videos that she spends hundreds of hours making and judge her then look at her tweets that she spent 10 seconds thinking about. And I understand that feeling.

Sarah:  Yeah, I have– my perspective on her is changed a lot over the last four or five months to be sure. And yeah, I do think that Twitter just in general is bad.  It's a medium of simple messages that's designed to disincentivize any complicated thought and gin up controversy.

Aysha:  I was thinking about it today because yesterday Johnny Sims, Magnus archives guy, tagged me in a thread where he mentioned me because he was talking about Homestuck and then he was like,  ask me anything, and he didn't untag me. So my mentions were in shambles with people asking him things, and then him responding to them. And I just kept being– I kept responding to them too, just because they kept showing up. And I was like, dragging him for, not untagging me, and he was like, Aysha I don't know how, okay, I'm sorry. And I was like, You know what? You know what? Twitter makes it hard to untag people because they wanted me to keep participating in this conversation. They wanted me to engage with everything that they could make me engage with. And I was like, You know what, Johnny? It was capitalism that did this. We're cool. No, I mean, it's literally, we all just get put in this chamber and it just makes us angry, and then these people make money off of our rage. That's literally what it is. I know that I say this constantly. But it's true. Fucking log off.

Sarah:  Yeah, log off, do anything. Do anything else and I

Aysha:  Log off or realize that you are being controlled.

Sarah:  Yes. Yeah. Some many thoughts all at once. It's just exhausting. And here's the trap that I keep falling into throughout my adulthood is that I see the big picture, and I get overwhelmed by it. And right now the issue is wow, capitalism is ruining everything. Previously, it's been Wow, my life is in shambles, and I don't know what to do about it. And the most frustratingly good advice I ever got was from my sister's ex-husband's current wife, who listened to me talk about all of my worries and doubts when I was like, 21. And she, like, stopped me and she said, How do you eat an elephant? And I like stared at her blank-eyed like, I don't fucking know. And she said, One bite at a time. And I fucking hate how true that is, as a stupid folksy thing. But it's like you see the big picture and you see all of the problems and you're like, oh God, pulling Your hair out, trying to figure out what to do about it. But there's nothing you can do about it, you have to take it one bite at a time. So you have to isolate the things that you can do and just work at it one step at a time. Which is why we right now in this moment are focusing on getting Bernie nominated for the 2020 election for President. Like that is the most substantial thing that we can do and every bit of labor we can put into making that possibility despite the DNC desperate attempts at rat fucking him out of the nomination.

Aysha:  Yeah, so in case you guys weren't aware this whole episode was literally just so we could say go fucking phone bank for Bernie Sanders. 

Sarah:  Phonebank for Bernie, canvass for Bernie text bank, do what you can.

Aysha  Right, give money. Give $2.

Sarah:  $2. Like the entire thing– the part why Bernie's campaign is so effective and what vexes so much of the establishment is that it's exclusively small donations from viewers like you. And

Aysha:  Yeah, I mean, I wanted to give– do like a Homestuck donation, but he doesn't take money from companies.

Sarah:  Right? Exactly. 

Aysha:  Homestuck is too big of a corporation for Bernie to take our Homestuck money.

Sarah:  God, God bless you, Bernie.

Aysha:  Yeah, I know, Bernie's like get that Homestuck money away from– get it away from me.

Sarah:  Get it– Get it away from me. Oh, Lord. Yeah, so is it, there's a website that Kate keeps plugging. Let's see is it voteforbernie.com no it's .org huge domains.com voteforbernie.com is for sale. Buy it for $3,400. No, I'm good.

Aysha:  Fuckin yeah 

Sarah:  Uhh let's see. Yeah vote for bernie.org it will show you how you need to go about doing that in your state of course every state has different regulations as far as the DNC is concerned like some states you have to be registered Democrat in order to vote.

Aysha:  Make sure that you are a registered democrat if you have to be in your state.

Sarah:  Yeah, and some states have weird deadlines. If you are a student, or just generally out somewhere you can get mail in ballots. I have my own mail-in ballots. And they're always weird deadlines with those and like, I've come to discover that these mail and ballots have to be notarized. So that's like an extra step that I have to go through to actually get my vote in which is really fucking cool. I love that.

Aysha:  Yeah, if you're, if you're not an American, harass your American friends into voting if you don't have any American friends good for you.

Sarah:  Right. No, God bless you. Good fucking luck. Good fucking luck. We're kind of having a bad time. But yeah, go to voteforbernie.org and do everything that you can and the little things really do help. And like it is

Aysha:  Yeah.

Sarah:  It is so crushing to live in this world right now. But it is not impossible to imagine a better world. And like the whole point of speculative fiction is to give us the ability to imagine a better world and just like to lay bare the problems of the world we live in now.

Aysha:  Or in Homestuck’s case to imagine a worse world.

Sarah:  Right to imagine the worse wor– to show us the worst world that is–

Aysha:  The worst of all possible worlds

Sarah:  The worst of all possible worlds. That is so close to the world we live in now that it can't help but make us feel uncomfortable. And so take that energy and use it to make this world a better place because it is possible.

Aysha:  Right. I mean, the real meaning behind Friendsim and Pesterquest is that the world is big and mean and dark. But really all that matters is the friends we make along the way folks.

Sarah:  Yeah the antifa resistance that we coalesce 

Aysha:  Yeah, the antifish lesbians that we meet along the way.

Sarah:  Yeah. Ah, that was something I was gonna bring up that I always found it interesting that Friendsim never had any fish to friend. But we're at the end of the show now. So we'll just leave that as an open thread for the audience to ponder. What could that mean? Who knows? It's up to you.

Aysha:  Yeah. Your city now.

Sarah:  Well, you can find us on overcast, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and more in pgenpod.com or at pgenpod on Twitter and music for the shows by Goomy. You can find links to more of their work in the description of this episode. Of course, you can support the show on patreon.com /pgenpod. Patrons get access to 20 bonus episodes and counting of Intermission. Your support is shared equitably with everyone who makes each episode possible at the end of the show. We like to thank our Skylark tier patrons for their support. [names]... and Zach. Gosh, so many people, 

Aysha:  Ahh Zach. 

Sarah:  Yeah, thanks, Zach. 

Aysha:  Thanks, Zach. 

Sarah:  And everybody else, of course, but you can find me at HMSnofun on Twitter, and Aysha, where can people find you?

Aysha:  I'm ayshaufarah on Twitter. I have a website ayshaufarah.com where you can find links to all the shit I'm doing. There's too much of it to list.

Sarah:  Yeah, you're busy. You've been busy.

Aysha:  [Aysha sighs] I'm busy. 

Sarah:  Yeah. But it's good. Everything that I've seen of yours is good, and I'm very excited.

Aysha:  Thanks. [both laugh] Alright guys. Have a good week.

[outro music]

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