Bourbon 'n BrownTown

Ep. 86 - W.O.R.K. in the Age of Spin

Episode Summary

BrownTown chops it up about WORK. Building on previous episodes about labor, unions, and trying to do liberatory work within capitalism, BrownTown contextualizes recent inflation hikes, the state of "hustle culture," and the seven-decade growth of corporate profits on the backs of the working class. While the majority of adults WORK, the propaganda that you must "earn" the right to live and be productive constantly in order to have any value has normalized harmful policies, language, and attitudes towards one another. Though COVID, the great resignation, Striketober, and other large phenomena have chipped the armor of capitalist logics and apparatuses, how do we better utilize that energy to sustain better material conditions forever and for always? Originally recorded October 25, 2022.

Episode Notes

BrownTown chops it up about WORK. Building on previous episodes about labor, unions, and trying to do liberatory work within capitalism, BrownTown contextualizes recent inflation hikes, the state of "hustle culture," and the seven-decade growth of corporate profits on the backs of the working class. While the majority of adults WORK, the propaganda that you must "earn" the right to live and be productive constantly in order to have any value has normalized harmful policies, language, and attitudes towards one another. Though COVID, the great resignation, Striketober, and other large phenomena have chipped the armor of capitalist logics and apparatuses, how do we better utilize that energy to sustain better material conditions forever and for always? Originally recorded October 25, 2022.

Full Transcription Here!

“The reason all workers deserve a living wage is because all workers have to be alive. Not very complex” --@existentialcoms

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CREDITS: Intro soundbite from The Young Turks. Outro music Pimpin' Benjamin by Coast Contra. Audio engineered by Kiera Battles. Episode photo by Aidan Kranz.


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Episode Transcription

Ep. 86 W.O.R.K. in the Age of Spin 3

BrownTown chops it up about WORK. Building on previous episodes about labor, unions, and trying to do liberatory work within capitalism, BrownTown contextualizes recent inflation hikes, the state of "hustle culture," and the seven-decade growth of corporate profits on the backs of the working class. While the majority of adults WORK, the propaganda that you must "earn" the right to live and be productive constantly in order to have any value has normalized harmful policies, language, and attitudes towards one another. Though COVID, the great resignation, Striketober, and other large phenomena have chipped the armor of capitalist logics and apparatuses, how do we better utilize that energy to sustain better material conditions forever and for always? Originally recorded October 25, 2022.


(Soundbite from The Young Turks)

[00:00:52] Reporter: The price increases that we've been experiencing, that we are experiencing through companies are a result predominantly more than half of those companies expanding their profit margins. Not paying their workers. And not only is that the result, this result has been particularly obvious and onerous in the year since the pandemic when all this money was created, as well as we were talking about in the other segment.

[00:01:20] But these two years have created a situation where companies can use the fact that there is inflated prices, there are higher food and fuel costs, there are things that cost more- there's supply chain disruptions, there's problems, there's geopolitics, but what they've done is they've sort of bootstrapped from that. They've expanded, they've increased prices by so much more than they have in the past cause they have that cover. 


[00:01:45] David: I wanna welcome everyone to another installment of Bourbon 'n BrownTown. I am your co-host David. Out here chilling in the Malik Alim Studios, with my boy Caullen, bro, how you doing today? 

[00:01:57] Caullen: I am doing okay. I wanna think about it for a moment. 

[00:02:01] David: That's fair. 

[00:02:01] Caullen: I was real stressed yesterday. I was just like in my feels, in my brain. 

[00:02:06] David: Oh, man. 

[00:02:07] Caullen: Today's been long, but I've been highly caffeinated. I would not encourage others to do the same, but I'm feeling good. I'm happy to be here. It's kind of an honor to be here. It's cool. We're in The Breathing Room space again, in the Let Us Breathe campus. Again, again, again, shout out to the Airgo gang. Shout out to Let Us Breathe. Shout out Jennifer for letting us record here. We've had some troubles, as of late, on a spot to record. We've gotten used to this in-person thing. Again. We're being safe, y'all. Don't worry. So it is nice to be here in-person, seeing your real face, seeing Kiera in the background. So I'm feeling decent. Feeling in better spirits than I was yesterday. How are you doing? 

[00:02:45] David: Man, that's crazy cause yesterday was one of those late October fall, summer days where it's like, god just letting us and preparing us for the butt fuck weather that we're gonna get until like, May, you know what I'm saying?

[00:02:57] Caullen: (Satanic god voice) "it's coming. y'all motherfuckers enjoy this"

[00:02:58] David: Like, it's what- the fake end of summer. But, yeah, yesterday was fantastic for me. I went to a Bulls game for the first time this year, so shout out to the Bulls 2022. 

[00:03:08] Caullen: They get that Dub? 

[00:03:09] David: They did! Against the Celtics too. Man, it is what it is. 

[00:03:13] Caullen: Fuck the celtics.

[00:03:14] David: I'm so dead. No, but we're doing good. Yeah. You know, once again, we just want to continue mentioning the space. Cause I think for me a cool thing about is having-I feel like I've experienced the Let Us Breathe campus in a very unique way. It's like, I hadn't been to it in the years where we started working with organizers and organizations throughout the city, and then in a matter of like six months, I've been here probably more times than... I would've been somewhere else. And so I think being in that space and growing different relationships, we're incredibly grateful for. also understanding the space that we're in. So once again, here we are though Bourbon 'n BrownTown coming ready. Things are flowing. We're definitely chilling. And here we are bringing you another episode. And so let's just dive straight into it. 

[00:04:03] Now, for folks who don't know, let's take us back a little bit. Feel free to check out episodes 39 "Creative Jobs, Life Balance, & Working towards a Liberatory Future Within Capitalism", episode 57 "Labor Day" with our boy Taylor Maness, shout out. And then episode 59 with our boy again, Genta Tamashiro, "Creative Jobs, life balance". 

[00:04:20] And all of these episodes we want folks to go back and use these as ways to reflect on the conversation that we're currently having. For multiple reasons, right? And I think something that I like to take with this is, every time we try to get on a mic again, there's so many things to talk about- sometimes I think it's hard to decide what. And I think as we've been doing this over the course of the years, it's kind of been fun how we craft things from other things. Because the larger term here is: working. Just like, doing shit, things that everybody listening experiences, or will experience in some capacity. It's a big ass topic. And so I've really enjoyed the opportunity in bringing in the professionals when is necessary to dive into this. But you know, this one- so once again, if you haven't, definitely check those out. But Caullen, any other notes or thoughts for our listeners as we dive into this?

[00:05:17] Caullen: You're very kind. I'm like, Hey y'all, pause this motherfucker right now. Go back. Listen to what? Six hours of content

[00:05:22] David: we have to be gracious. 

[00:05:24] Caullen: and come back. No, I think those episodes are important to kind of ground us where we're coming to have this conversation now. I love how you said, "Taylor Mane". I'm thinking of like, "Taylor Mane", like his rap name like "Taylor. Mane. Taylor. Mane." 

[00:05:38] David: Nooooo! Damn.... 

[00:05:40] Caullen: No, I think just to add on to that, looking at the trajectory of when we've had those conversations, one was 2019, pre-COVID, and we talked a lot about just being- working in a creative industry and also being movement workers in some capacity. And how capitalism doesn't love that, right? Being a gig worker in some capacity, I think back then too, we weren't getting paid every two weeks via Soapbox. So it was kind of project based type things and what that's like. The- not update to that, but the newer episode with that, with Genta Tamashiro, who is definitely a gig worker and works on concerts and does audio engineering.... we call him "the Sound Wizard", does all these things; but it was interesting talking to him about that. With those same themes during COVID, during more of the onset of COVID and how that affected him and all of us in certain ways. 

[00:06:34] David: All of our jobs. Yeah. 

[00:06:35] Caullen: All of our jobs. 

[00:06:35] David: Physical jobs, yeah. 

[00:06:36] Caullen: Moving forward a little bit from that, cause I think we recorded that in the spring of 2020 and then in the fall of 2020 talking to Taylor about workers' rights. What Labor Day really kind of comes from. Looking at May Day and the history of that in Chicago, and socialist organizing, union organizing. And that was an interesting moment cause that's when- I'm not sure if it came out in October, but- that was an interesting moment cause that was kind of right during Striketober, right? Where all these different workers with different corporations and even grad students, and then large nonprofits were all striking and demanding better wages and stuff. And I think things people already kind of knew they were being exploited in certain ways, but it became very, very apparent in that first year one of COVID. And so it's- now we sit at this stage in the pandemic, I will say, and it's not like "what have we learned?" because I feel like that's like, 

[00:07:34] David: we're learning! 

[00:07:35] Caullen: Yeah, we're learning. It is happening. But, you know, David, yours and my work is different not only with Soapbox, even outside of that it's different now. 

[00:07:44] David: Yeah. 

[00:07:46] Caullen: The pandemic is different now. We're still in it, but it is different now. And we've seen kind of the- I won't say the overcorrection, but.... 

[00:07:59] David: to a degree, though.

[00:08:00] Caullen: To a degree, right. There was Striketober in 2020. There was "the Great Resignation", which I kind of get into; a lot of folks being like, you know what, I don't wanna break my back for this fucking system like this anymore. Or, I have more options now. And I think generationally that has been changing for a while. And even the folks under us, the "Gen Zers" and all that, folks have realized that this shit was never meant for us to thrive. And we're- COVID helped us realize that a little more so. But I think with folks getting back in the office and things like "going back to normal", actually no air quotes, I think it's... trying to... folks are trying to make that happen when they shouldn't. And I feel like those lessons that I thought we learned... the broader "we", were correcting too much and not making those systems and structures and safeguards that actually hold people as whole people.

[00:08:56] So in planning this episode, we were kind of like, didn't wanna repeat the episodes we just named. But I think cause of this moment, because of the aftermath of some of the things we've seen and some of how our work has changed and how we haven't previously named some of the systems at play, especially with some of the geopolitical events of the day; the war in Ukraine, "inflation going crazy", and the Fed adding to that, and other things with the economy and how we see that as a tool to distract and to normalize these things that are not natural. And the sociologists in me encourages all y'all, when someone says something is natural, do 1) call bullshit; and 2) ask questions. Cause there's rarely anything that's actually natural. 

[00:09:53] So with that, we had some fun. We tried to have some fun trying to have an acronym with all this. Do you wanna speak to the "work"? What W-O-R-K kind of means? We try to kind of tease out a little bit. We had some fun. We struggled y'all. I'm not even gonna lie. I won't lie to you. 

[00:10:12] David: Yeah, no, definitely just a little bit. And I think in that, we sit with the messaging of every- language has power, words have power. And so in playing with it, looking at acronyms, I think one concept that we really sat with and the idea of work is: Ways Oligarchs Rule Kingdoms. It's like the way in which-- I think it was brilliant because it simplifies to the highest degree; this is the way a group of people control their population, their geography, their like, whatever you do.

[00:10:40] And I think with "control", some folks would be like, oh no, but I love my job; and, how you gonna...this, that, the fifth, and I think y'all taking it way too heavy. Like, we're speaking back then. But I still think this manifests, and this goes into what you were talking about earlier with regards to people kind of not settling for less so to speak. I know I've seen a lot of changes within the hospitality industry that had a ginormous effect during 2020. I know we speak to a little bit of that. But even after, I know so many restaurants that were alive 15, 20 years, they're gone. They're 86'd, you know what I'm saying? And some of them like, good, they're gone. Everyone's like, oh, boo, Tavern on Rush. I'm like, good. Like,

[00:11:21] Caullen: Damn. You're taking shots out here!

[00:11:22] David: It's fine. It's not taking shots, but you know what I'm saying? But I'm saying to the effects of ways in which- because also, this is Ways in which the Oligarch Rules our Kingdoms, right? That's because you need working class. You need people to- when it's labor... like, when you're off, you need them to be doing shit for you, type shit. And so I think that was really fun. But you know me, I was like, we can get a little work with it. Like WURK, like "u". So I thought like, Why Ugly Republicans Kill, you know what I'm saying?

[00:11:48] Caullen: The handsome ones kill too. 

[00:11:48] David: Or Ways Ugly Republicans Kill. And I think that's more like Americans. I think we're really thinking of- to our homie in hell, Reagan. You know what I'm saying? 

[00:11:57] Caullen: We're waving down at Reagan right now. (laughing)

[00:12:00] David: And those were some of our ideas. If you definitely have something better, definitely feel free to let us know at Bourbon 'n BrownTown on the socials. No "o"s. So no "O" in "Brown" and no "O" in "town" for the Twitter. But yeah, and I think it's fun when we think about it because sure, it's like funny like why Republicans kill us or whatever, but there's also some truth in that type of conversation, right? In ways in which policies and people putting across those policies have affected and continue to damage people's lives and basis of like, jobs. I know one thing that we talked about recently was the SAFE-T act, right? If you don't have money for bail, you get put inside a jail and then guess what? You didn't show up to work on Monday, so you probably got fired unless they may be leaning on you, maybe they give you probation or whatever the fuck it is. But that, it puts more struggles and red tape into ways in which the system controls its subjugates, to a degree. 

[00:12:58] Caullen: That's a nice tie in, I like that. And how you gonna pay the bail if you can't work? That's all they care about. 

[00:13:02] David: But that's the whole thing. But, you know... 

[00:13:04] Caullen: and it's not just private prisons, it's all prisons cause they're all trying to make money off you. Anyway, we can.... there's the abolition episode, we can figure that out. Thank you for that. I appreciate the- I always like the personal insights and stuff because I don't see you enough. You know, we don't get the personal stuff. It's always work with us. 

[00:13:18] David: It's always work. 

[00:13:19] Caullen: The other day someone was like, you don't see enough of each other? We're like, no. 

[00:13:22] David: Like, I see him once a week. Really! I was like... 

[00:13:26] Caullen: See, now we're just vibing too much. I'm sorry y'all. I'll say on topic. But to zoom out a little bit, I did- the acronym for the episode title whatever was fun and everything, but I think two things I want to table set here.

[00:13:38] 1) the Age of Spin; we've mentioned that and used that in previous episodes before. Hip-hop in the Age of Spin...something else- oh, the one with Sophie with the Age of Spin. And I think the thing that's important is that we are in this age, with this episode I'll kind of center it there of, you know, "America so divided politically" and that we hear that a lot, we've heard that since Trump. And with the war in Ukraine, and inflation, and the multiple climate crises and the school shooting that was what, yesterday? two days ago? in St. Louis and what have you. Things seem very polar, very dire. And they are, and I don't want to gloss over that. We are always in the age of spin. The odds weren't easier in the 90s. Weren't easier the 80s. Shout out Reagan, or shout down Reagan? How do you shout out in a derogatory way? 

[00:14:33] David: I mean, that's why I say shout out to our boy in hell.

[00:14:34] Caullen: Whatever that means. Shout down, Reagan. So I guess all I'm trying to say is I think- language has power, language normalizes and can challenge power. And the way we normalize a lot of these words, we normalize what work is, we normalize this myth that you have to work in order just to live in the most powerful country in the world in the most prosperous age in human history. It's bullshit, it's a myth. And it's created and propagated to benefit off oppressed peoples.

[00:15:04] David: It's like "the cost of living" as a term, my guy. It's like, the cost of living? Like, first of all, I didn't choose to be here. And then we made it. And then after we made it, we got a bill cause we made it. You know what I'm saying? Like, oh my goodness! 

[00:15:16] Caullen: When you hear those phrases and stuff- and again, there's always watershed moments that get us especially fired up and enraged and politically active. Or wanna make us sit at home and watch Hallmark movies. Shout out, Miriame Kaba that's all good. I guess my point is just that we are always in the age of spin. Things are always as dire as they seem. COVID put a match on what was capitalism. And so these things are more exposed than before. And so I wanna name that with how we had fun with this acronym, Ways Oligarchs Rule Kingdoms- it's something you normally think of when you hear about work, but when work is what it is, especially in America, but really globally cause capitalism is global and oppression is global and anti-Blackness is global and the the list goes on, I think it's important to understand how we see and feed into this idea. Even as folks like you and myself, David, who understand this but also have to do the thing to survive, and also that starts to affect how we think about certain things and think about certain moves we're making. 

[00:16:18] Kinda on that, just to pivot a little bit: hustle culture is a term we hear a lot. And not to repeat anything we've already been over, but what do you think of when you hear that? How's it been brought up to you within you and your friends or what have you? 

[00:16:35] David: I do think it's developed- and I'm curious to hear what my thoughts were on that episode 39 when we're talking about hustle, because I think at that time, working for this industry that you see opportunities to make dumb money some nights- like if you're behind the bar, or your section is packed 

[00:16:52] Caullen: service industry, restaurants.

[00:16:54] David: But I think in that, my definition has kind of moved in regards to hustle. Because there's the hustle of the motherfucker who has four jobs who like, this, that, the fifth, who's just trying to buy apartments and then renting that out. So there's the moves of making type thing. Then there's the hustle with regards to just the making of money,. Because there's people who are hustling the stock market, but they're like...they're not really doing anything. I mean, okay, I'm gonna say I don't think you're doing anything, but that's still a hustle, right? That's still a, oh, you're making money. Like, have money in when you sleep type hustle. 

[00:17:31] So it's like, now David here sitting, the way you're saying. I think really just listening to you, I'm like, I think hustle is still something that we strive for because we're in the system. But when we hustle, it's....I've been sitting more with like, the system doesn't stop, why should I, type mentality. Which is something that I have been able to use when I may not feel like I want to do shit. Where I'm feeling discouraged maybe even, or when... and this relies more in the thesis of what Soapbox's type of work is. Cause at this point we've had the opportunity that that takes up the most of our life. And some of that work is a little difficult. Some of that work has been difficult during this year. And so I think to me, hustle is still that. It's understanding that we're playing within it, but with the end goal now, not to fill my pockets at the end of the night and go get trashed with my homies. Now it's like, to be able to change the system so that 1) if I can feed my homies. And so that's been the move over the last few years. And I think, sitting with it, I love these episodes cause we get... I think 

[00:18:43] Caullen: we get that real! 

[00:18:44] David: not only that, but we're really... it's a process in reflection, right? Because it's like, 

[00:18:50] Caullen: *vocalizing* 

[00:18:51] David: no, and I think I'm blessed in this opportunity because I would not have thought of that if I wasn't forced to have to talk to you about it, as a perfect example. Why? Because we're sometimes so caught up in that work, that hustle, that whatever the fuck flow we're doing in that we sometimes lose sight of that. And I think that's then where that, where we've talked about also the self care conversations and like...what is what have you. I think that's an overcorrection of trying to solve or heal. 

[00:19:26] Caullen: Connect and commodify. And that turns into a thing you can sell people and that's not the capitalism, 

[00:19:29] David: I mean, it's not that they can, it's that they've been selling. 

[00:19:32] Caullen: That's facts. Y'all, there's two episodes on that. Y'all can peep that for sure. 

[00:19:36] David: But no, that's a very long-winded way to answer that. But I'm curious to hear like, has that- how do you feel your terminology to- or your definition to hustle or your own experience with that hustle culture? Cause I think we talked about, you as well definitely having that sort're moving around constantly doing shit. So in other people's eyes, everyone would be like, oh no, Caullen's a hustler. So I'm just curious how you've had that over the last few years or how that changed? 

[00:20:03] Caullen: Yeah, I mean, I think like... I never use that term in that way. And I know it's definitely a thing. And I think to your point of folks understanding how it is toxic, just in the "mainstream", I feel like I've seen that more as of late. However, they're not naming capitalism as being the culprit, which is always kind of annoying. However, I mean, I think, yeah, it's definitely something- especially in social media and what have you, people talk about it a lot and like, I don't feel valuable unless I'm working. If I'm not productive then what am I doing? 

[00:20:39] David: You ain't grinding, you ain't doing shit. 

[00:20:41] Caullen: Exactly. And that's incredibly toxic. You are worthy. You are whole without having to work for a thing. However, I do wanna...and I think we know that, I think listeners probably understand that as well, as far as, you shouldn't have to work your ass off just to live.

[00:20:56] And again...we are storytellers. We make media. And I believe in that so much now because the things you mentioned earlier about the myths of capitalism and how they're so insidious in our logics and our everything, they have convinced us that to be true. That we have to do all these things just to live. 

[00:21:16] David: Not only that, but that it's the only way. 

[00:21:18] Caullen: And also, that we have to aspire to have huge mansions, seven cars, whatever, whatever, whatever cause that's what success looks like. And again, I think that that facade is slowly cracking, but not nearly as fast or as big as it should.

[00:21:32] But I do- language is language, and that's... hustle is one word of a million. But the folks you mentioned who, they have to have several jobs just make ends meet. And folks who are working very often and hard in order just to 

[00:21:50] David: by definition, hustling. 

[00:21:51] Caullen: Yeah. Right. This isn't like, oh, just take a bath....or read a book ...or go on a walk.

[00:22:00] David: Go get a massage. 

[00:22:01] Caullen: Don't work so hard, just have self-care. That's not at all what we're saying. We understand the reality of that. And part of what I want to kind of transition to a little bit between social media, kind of toxic hostile culture, things you see out in the ether, and the insidiousness of these myths and stuff is inflation.

[00:22:21] David: But why is it a myth, Caullen? 

[00:22:25] Caullen: I won't-.. It's two things. I'll speak about how inflation is bullshit, it has all these different reasons, but one is the overarching one in a second. But I think, to the point to tie it to folks who are hustling to take care of themselves and their family, it's real and it affects us. Things are getting... like gas is more, so it makes everything a lot more. So like, I need to pay more money now. My wages are saying the same. It's affecting me. It's real in that sense. But it's not real in the sense of, all of these geopolitical issues: the reliance on fossil fuel in general, but also geopolitics has a hundred years or so,plus more, getting oil from the Middle East and so on and so forth. They buddy up against the UAE and Saudi Arabia and all these other things, and...We have an episode about geopolitics in the Middle East and America. But I guess my broader point is that these global issues do affect how we get resources, because our economy is now global. COVID does effect a lot of things in very real ways.

[00:23:42] But additionally, if the norm is and has always been- here's my age of spin thing again- if the norm is always mid-size and large corporations are always trying to make the maximum amount of profits. Not just like cover your bases, have enough for next year. Record profits. CEOs making record profits. We have the stats of Zucker-fuck, and.... what's his name? The bald dude with the penis rocket. All the penis rocket bald dudes. 

[00:24:09] David: Jeff Bezos. 

[00:24:11] Caullen: Yeah. Jeff Bezos making billions of dollars during COVID. That's all normal. They're always doing that. Always have been doing that. 

[00:24:20] David: Or it's respected! I think that's what even blows my fucking mind is, with my boys, I'm like... people who are doing 50 hours a week type shit and being like, no, but Jeff Bezos...that's how we want to get to, dude. That's the goal, that's how you should be, making money while you shit. I'm like, yeah, but bro, you can't. You shit on the clock. So that you... I don't know- I'm interrupting you. But like ahhh.... I think it's important to address, cause I think sometimes folks think it's normal. At least... for someplace's like you either... Yeah, folks think it's normal and don't, it's not normal. It's not okay. 

[00:24:57] Caullen: You can't earn a billion dollars. No one earns a billion dollars. Capitalists own the means of production, make prices and with the only means of production can make prices in a way that skyrocket over the past 50, 60 years. There's a name for that, it's called neoliberalism, along with other policies and different things, different logics as well.

[00:25:19] But because of that, it's not new because on the advent of capitalism and on, which again, is a newer thing. It's not human nature to compete for each other for different resources. But the advent of capitalism on, but especially after World War II on, it's only skyrocketed since then. We'll put it in the episode notes. We'll show you all the graphs and everything. Wages staying the same and profits going up and up and up and up and up. For whatever reason that's been normalized. And when gas prices "go up", when you hear these terms that seem like things are naturally happening, these are people making decisions. They're folks with immense power and wealth making decisions who own lots of these companies, who own lots of the means of production. And they're doing that so they're profit margins, which have always been very large, well have been very, very, very large the past 60 years or so, let me be clear, so they can keep that.

[00:26:09] So gas prices aren't, "just going up", they're charging more so they can keep these huge profits. They could not have these huge profits and they would be "fine". I say "fine" with air quotes, much much more than fine. My point to all this is that that's a large driver of "inflation". So when you hear about, the Democrats are like, oh, it's Putin in Ukraine, it this, that, the other. And Republicans are like, no, it's Biden not being tough enough on China, and nuhunuh; it's all smoke and mirrors. And I do think it's gotten to the point that I think some of them know better, but I think some of them don't. And I think that's the point; we've been so brainwashed and so propagandized to normalize these things, that even the folks in power are believing this. But I think not all of them, a large part of it is the folks that are actually giving to their campaigns to stay in power and things. And I do wanna just- I'll hate on America all day, but this is global too. Don't get it twisted. 

[00:27:03] So when we think about these terms and these things, these micro, meso, macro levels that are intentional and intended to defeat us in many ways and operate these machines and apparatuses to further the systems of oppression we keep talking about, that's kinda what we're getting at with these myths of normalization of these words we keep hearing in the news and we talk about amongst friends and loved ones. And that's why I think storytelling is really important to kind of break down these things in a way that's, hopefully, fun and accessible. But also in a way that we can stop believing it, and at least start naming it.

[00:27:41] One thing I did like- and I'll stop in a second- one thing I did like about when...hmm, this is a weird way to kind of say this... when Russia invaded Ukraine; when that happened- that's a different episode- but folks were like, why are we- yeah, Russia's powerful elite and government do act differently than in America, largely because most of how they act in America, as far as what is actually corruption in other places, is just legal. It's just super PACS here. And so Bezos...and we can name these individuals who have billions of dollars- those are oligarchs. Just by the definition of the word, these are oligarchs. Bill Gates, he's an oligarch. And that's like, just call it what it is. We don't use those terms in certain places, that's how much we've been brainwashed in a certain way. I don't wanna sound like a conspiracy theorist, but it's just... it's laughable to me about how even these terms carry so much weight. And like, oh, Russia's bad. I'm like, yeah, but NATO exists. Like, do y'all know what that is? ... I'm gonna take a sip now. 

[00:28:42] David: No. And I think just to continue adding to that, I think in that is the definition of monopolies, right? I think in the control of gas prices; we used to have seven oil companies, now we have three, if I'm not mistaken. Going to two or some shit like that. So the whole idea of, "but capitalism promotes 

[00:29:02] Caullen: competition," 

[00:29:03] David: blah", insert word here, my ass. That's not how it works. ...what it does.... And then not even that, but it's like the thought of competition in these markets, it's like, well, you should have been better so you wouldn't got bought out, or why'd you sell out? 

[00:29:19] Caullen: Natural selection, bro. Buy this NFT. 

[00:29:22] David: Oof. And then we go back to an issue that we talk about often, but it's like, that we're pointing the finger at the individual rather than looking at the true layers of why said person is where they are. Whether it's the dude selling NFTs or why it's the single mom doing three jobs. It's like, and that's not the same playing field. The more in which we're able to talk with the people in our lives. And I think using the examples of today's real world; I think social media, as we know, and we've talked about often in the age of spin, is so available to the touch. So...digestible in different ways, and that sometimes, it might create all of this misinformation. But on the other hand, we're able to look at information and conversations from all around the world, on people talking about the exact same thing. 

[00:30:18] And so don't get- ... Another point that I do wanna always touch on is, let us not be discouraged by the way in which the system has been able to put us to work, so to speak. Because, in that, I think, kind of going... piggybacking back on my original point of my hustle definition is now be able to provide and sustain the people who I care about and people who wanna do into this work. I think it's just that. It's for each of us as individuals, learning and understanding that we are within it. We can't individually change it, but we can create new things and ways and means to collaborate. 

[00:30:57] And I think one of the things we've often talked about is the Divest-Invest model. Which is, once again, we've talked about it oftentimes, but these are things that I just want to continue for us to understand and not forget. Because I do think, specifically during COVID, I know we've talked about a lot, but sitting now is like, we were literally stuck in our cribs for six months. And a lot of folks, that was their first time they were ever on "vacation". That was the first time they weren't working. I'm thinking about a few people in my brain who they were like, yo, this is the longest I've gone without working. And they kind of felt weird. They didn't know what to do with themselves. I know my dad cleaned his house up to the bottom twice. I'm like, bro, chill out. Because that's how good the system got him. That's where you have your worth. And that's not the truth. You should have a home even if you don't do shit. You should have roof and food and.. But it's... so to me it's crazy to think of that folks think that that is radical or that's wild. 

[00:31:59] And that, I think that leads us perfectly into the next point. When we started talking about those physical labor... like the physical labor in all of its fashions. But then really talking about how people make that up, and how we can- how we've seen it develop- we talked about the Mayday episode, et cetera. But just don't listen to that shit, people.

[00:32:18] Caullen: These effects are real, right? It's like folks... I think some of folks you're naming too, and us included- I'm not going to point the finger to other people- but it's like, yeah, we have to do something to pay rent and groceries. If we don't do that there are consequences to these things. 

[00:32:32] David: Insurance. Stupid tax things. 

[00:32:33] Caullen: So like that, those effects are real. They don't have to be real, they're not natural. People are making decisions that are actually trickling down and oppressing us. 

[00:32:42] David: Ooh, that's the real trickle down.

[00:32:45] Caullen: And at one- I will name this video that's been going, making the rounds- US Rep Katie Porter out in California, she's showing a graph of- really just during COVID as far as corporate profits going up like crazy and then wages staying the same. And I'm not sure who she's talking to, a bald white gentleman, and she's like, yo, homie, fuck is this? 

[00:33:07] Katie Porter: According to this chart, what is the biggest driver of inflation during the pandemic? The blue is- the dark blue is the recent period. 

[00:33:16] Mike Konczal: It would be corporate profit. 

[00:33:18] Katie Porter: And what is that percentage? 

[00:33:20] Mike Konczal: It is 54%. And that number does stay that level of high if you update that number to more recent numbers as well. 

[00:33:25] Katie Porter: So over half of the increased prices people are paying are coming from increases in corporate profits?

[00:33:34] Mike Konczal: Yes. The unit price indexes reflected in corporate profits as opposed to other costs. 

[00:33:39] Katie Porter: And how does that compare to, historically, to other periods of inflation or over other periods of economic time? 

[00:33:44] Mike Konczal: It is reflected there, and in other analysis, it is significantly higher in this recovery. 11.5%. 

[00:33:51] Katie Porter: And what is it today?

[00:33:52] Mike Konczal: 53%. 

[00:33:54] Caullen: But it's funny because that's.... it's nothing new. This episode's called Age of Spin for good reason. There's been a lot of shit happening in the past couple years which arguably is affecting everyone's lives for better or for worse. For better normally for folks at the top. However, this is nothing new, especially in the past 60 years. And I want to keep hammering home neoliberalism. So it's just funny and interesting when we see that, and at least when I see that, and I see folks of mixed political leanings be like, oh man, that's crazy. I'm like, it is crazy, but it's not crazy. That's the crazy part, that it's not crazy at all, it's normal. 

[00:34:29] ####: Wanna share a few other details with you to kind of help understand what these companies and these corporations are up to. So for instance, last summer, Kroger's, CEO Rodney McMullen said that, "a little bit of inflation is always good in our business because customers don't overly react to increases in prices". Kroger's, CFO Gary Millerchip told shareholders in October, "we've been very comfortable with our ability to pass on the increases we've seen at this point, and we would expect that to continue to be the case". The most enraging thing you can listen to is those investor calls. 

[00:35:06] David: The system has also done a wonderful job of pinning us against each other in some of these conversations. And this is a very unique area because I think it rarely falls within the lines of race per se, as other conversations do. Versus it's like, oh, why should X person working at this McDonald's- it doesn't matter if it's a young person, if it's an older person. And we're using McDonald's as the example cause that's what people get pissed off of, cause like, you know, it's like, "it's not a real job, they're just flipping burgers" or whatever, how the fuck they wanna define it. I'm just so baffled at how well the system has done in order to make us fight against each other. And to name the biggest thing that I'm hearing- and that's why I was asking where is it? A lot of folks are like, oh, well I had to go to college, and I had to go do this to start making $15 an hour, $16 an hour. As individuals, we...we took that course. There are- the large majority of folks who did not take that course. And so, like, 

[00:36:03] Caullen: I really  hate to, 

[00:36:04] David: I'm curious to hear in your circles, cause in's mixed. And so, I, oftentimes have a rebuttal to it. But to you- cause once again, we all understand this is stupid. People should like... it doesn't matter if they're... Okay, if you're... I don't know. Thoughts? I was gonna go into another tangent, but we don't have to. 

[00:36:25] Caullen: It is interesting seeing the folks who- with student loans, with minimum wage being raised, with free healthcare, with whatever- they are essentially saying, oh, right now when I have to...relieve myself, I use this bucket in the corner.

[00:36:46] David: Oh! 

[00:36:47] Caullen: They're making this thing called a toilet. Well, I had a shit in a bucket for 10 years. So everyone should have to shit in a bucket. Now that they have this toilet, that's not fair. I had to have this horrible thing, but they should have to shit in a bucket too. That's what I hear, essentially, with those arguments. 

[00:37:04] David: They'll respect the toilet more because of the bucket.

[00:37:07] Caullen: Exactly! Exactly! And it's like, guess what? They had a toilet the whole time. They just didn't want you to fucking have it. And they could've given it to you, but they didn't want you to. So you believe in and need to have this ideal to try to live to that was fake and made up. And you- not that you believed this and it's your fault- cause I feel like, they have to have the masses believe it in order for it to work. And like, you were duped and that's fucked up, but let's have solidarity: class solidarity, race solidarity, in order to fight these things. And so I hope that parable explains my feelings on that.

[00:37:38] David: It does. It does. 

[00:37:42] Caullen: Yeah... I think... I'm about to say "we're all in this together". Woof. Woof. The collar pull. The great majority of the people on this earth are oppressed by these citizens we keep naming: capitalism, and all the -isms that go with that, that includes patriarchy, that includes transphobia, that includes, -ism, -ism, -ism, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:38:07] There's more of us than are of them...which is why I'm like, man, I'm a storyteller, I want to put off these narratives and these values that are important and are giving or liberatory. But man, but they go crazy. And they're the ones with all the money, and the resources, and we got very, very little. But I know it's right, and I know it's fucking hard. Interpersonally, on the macro level, all the things, we're all struggling and we're all trying to figure it out, but I know we can fucking do it because we have to. And we're always building on our generations prior. And we're critiquing generations prior, too. We're going crazy with that. And we have to. So... I listened to Mariame Kaba talk during some panel about not really being a pessimist or an optimist because it's like, it's too polar. 

[00:38:57] David: Too extreme. Yeah. 

[00:38:58] Caullen: Which I understand. I get. She said it beautifully. I'll try to loop it in here if you can. But it was beautiful how she broke it down. And I was like, I feel that; now I'm like, yeah, I'm not in that camp either, but sometimes I'm like, "everything's fucked, I'm just gonna go to sleep". But also I'm like, "man... we did this small little win. We got this one thing". Or like, "this feels good". Or like, "I'm growing because of this and I was challenged in a certain way, which makes me have a broader appreciation and eyes for this. And I see it on all these different levels and it's tough, but like, this is right. This is right and I know it is". And I's... I couldn't see it any other way. 

[00:39:37] David: It's difficult when our people, well some of our people- by "our people", I mean maybe some family members or friends or whatever, like when they do. And I think one thing that I do want to clarify, cause I can hear peers and colleagues being like, "well, I'm not oppressed just because I got a 9-5. Just cause you don't like to work, lazy fuck". You know what I'm saying? It's just like...but I think in the term of oppression is like, you are tied down to this thing in order to go- once again- talk about the price to live, so to speak.

[00:40:07] Because it's funny, and I was listening to something, can't recall who it was by, but it was referring to how it changed the function of slavery. Originally it was like if you were a slave, you were housed, and you were fed, to a degree. Under the assumption. All that's moved to, is that now you are allowed to pick out your house, and you're "allowed" to pick out your own food. Cause also now, we could talk about farming, and how the state owns all the seeds and... that's a whole other thing. But that's something that I do want to clarify when we're talking about the large majority of us being oppressed. It's not like your right of a boot on our neck is not a thing that is going or continuing, but by us being oppressed, it is 1) taking our time from our family, from our friends, from our hobbies, from meaningful work that we find purposeful because there's a distinction between doing a job that is a purpose to you.

[00:41:05] There are countless people out there doing- who are workers, who love what they do. We're talking about teachers, we're talking about nurses, we're talking about, you know, call it what it is. And so, to that group, don't think about it necessarily in the way of like, someone has to be whipping you for you to be oppressed. It's that you are forced to have to be tied down to this specific thing. And that specific thing may or may not be it. Meaning: if you really love bartending, you really love doing that shit, oftentimes these places don't have healthcare. And in a system like America where you need fucking healthcare. That's the way in which ways that we're referring to as being oppressed; or having to be tied down in a way, shape, or form to something, or a job, or a location, or a profession that removes you or takes away from a larger purpose, that I'll define, as a larger purpose of the individual. 

[00:42:05] But that's a little more spiritual. This, that, the fifth. But there's so many ways we can take this conversation right now. But that's all I wanted to mention before anybody else. Cause I don't know why, but Caullen, as you were talking... I could just hear somebody being like, "but what do you mean just cause you don't like", you know... and that's not what we're saying. That's not what the fuck we're saying. It's a very specific thing. And it's like, great, you are in a position of privilege, my guy, girl, fam, whoever the fuck is listening. And therefore, as you are, you are the one who needs to be able to step up and join and understand and speak and bring, because there are other people who can't at that specific moment. And so you might be able to do more than you think. 

[00:42:48] That's what I wanted to address before we continue moving forward. Because as we talked about, so you know, wages have not really gone up. They've kind of gone up, and people are pissed off cause it went from 15 to 16 or whatever the fuck. And it's like, but milk went up like $3. Eggs went up like 90 cents an egg. These are all things as like.... folks, there's so many smoke in mirrors, don't get lost in the sauce. Because we out here. 

[00:43:14] Caullen: I've said this to you offline, probably a couple times; but I feel like, at this date, this recording, I'm 31. When I was 13, 14, 15, I was being radicalized. Reading Malcolm X, and a little bit of Audre Lorde. And then... shout out Taylor, he's white...white, CIS-het dude, but he was going through his class kind of thing, reading Marx and stuff. So we were feeding off each other a lot. And I feel like I was know your early radical stage, where you're like, if someone says something, you're like, "oh-" 

[00:43:49] David: Like, 3 years ago for David, but I hear you. 

[00:43:50] Caullen: "-that's racist". You're like, "Hey, in 1972, did you know that..." y'all had that stage, right? And you know... everything... it almost felt like I was in... I hear us talking now, and we have the stats to back it up, and we have all the things, and the narratives. I feel like I'm more equipped now with like, the respectable things that people will listen to. Like those stats, like what happened back sixty years.. The neoliberalism, you know, all that kind of shit. But I feel like when I was 14, 13, 15, whatever, I... was right. I could see the matrix. And then you kind of learn, like, oh, well, you can have these little reforms here and there, and things are bad, but vote for this person, you'll be okay type shit. And I feel like I'm just getting back to this sounds conspiracy theory and sounds like tin foil hatty and sounds like whatever, but it's like,

[00:44:46] David: Give QANON a run for their money.

[00:44:48] Caullen: I know... I'm seeing the matrix again. I'm just like....A lot of this shit is just laughable how much we've been propagandized to believe all of this. know... I'm a person who has a job and works in fitness, and if you saw me in the street, I'm like, a person in the world is doing shit. But it's's wild how the language and the belief structure and that the "nobody wants to work anymore".

[00:45:18] David: Oh my God. But thank you for bringing that up. 

[00:45:20] Caullen: That's been said for a long time now, and it's almost like it's not this moment that's a problem. It's that folks are- or capitalism folks are having a harder time exploiting folks for their labor. 

[00:45:36] David: Or for their time.

[00:45:37] Caullen: For their time. Cause that's what labor is actually. You're selling your time to capitalists for a wage that's like, not as much as you're actually making for them. That's what the definition of capitalism is in a Marxist framework and what have you. So it's like, you're selling your time and your body's labor for time. And like..we still break up work that way- even in our movement circles and stuff, right? Even in our creative fields. And I think a lot of us, we don't wanna abolish the wage system completely, but it's still tied to these real things we have to suffer under until we get rid of the whole thing.

[00:46:11] With the union thing, I think when we talked to Taylor last, I mean there were definitely folks making unions or struggling to making unions and what have you: beer corporations, and across the board, Amazon was one of the big ones with Chris Smalls, and all that. But I think what's interesting in the media scene like, grad students who unionize. I wanna say adjuncts, but I'm not really sure completely. But grad students are folks who are... I've been one- working all the time, then also TAing and stuff, and little pay and long hours, all the- like, laborers, right? And against these huge universities and colleges. 

[00:46:48] David: Corporations. 

[00:46:49] Caullen: Yeah. You think of a prime labor force to unionize. But not not sure the case, we started seeing more of that during different stages of COVID. I think more so recently- I don't wanna get into too many details, I'm not sure of all of them.. But a homie I went to film school with, he's in Hollywood now, he works in production. They're the ones who make all the schedules, all the logistics, and all the shit that matters, the backbone of production. I get it cause I work on production. But seriously, it's like....there's the union for.... IATSE is a union for cameras, union for like, all the other positions, not really for production. Production workers joined a larger film union very recently. Which is dope. And that, for some reason, wasn't a thing beforehand. 

[00:47:36] David: Love to see it. 

[00:47:37] Caullen: Not only not a thing beforehand, but in a industry that is highly- especially at the Hollywood level, the big budget movie level and all that. And so that's been a most recent thing. And I think one of the things that kind of highlighted that, or made it kind of more apparent that this should be necessary is the incident with Alec Baldwin killing the cinematographer. This happened because of a culture of not checking safety parameters. 

[00:48:02] David: Specifically during 2020 when they were like, they're trying to crank all these fucking shows out because they knew people were just sitting in their fucking houses. 

[00:48:10] Caullen: So they had demands. They were trying to do it just to make money and to keep the machine going. And not to like...Again, it's not to absolve fault for him or anything like that. I'm not trying to make that what this episode's about, but I think there's layers to it, right? This wasn't some single incident. It happened with a dude from The Crow in the 90s. This is something that, if it's not a harm like that, there's always little harms that are constantly happening that are constantly stressing folks. Which take years off their life. All of this is violent. And it's all part of larger -isms, and with larger institutions at play, and larger normalization of, from the beginning of the episode, this hustle culture to get product out, to make money, to keep the machine going in a very literal and figurative way. And all folks are engaged a participating in it where they want to or not. Alec Baldwin, he's got bread. He didn't have to do this movie. 

[00:49:02] David: He's good. 

[00:49:02] Caullen: I read a couple articles on it when it first happened, then recently to prep this episode. It was a passion project of his. He's like, I think one of the EPs on it. And I'm just naming him to discuss how... 

[00:49:15] David: white man in power? 

[00:49:17] Caullen: White man in power. He got bread. He didn't need this movie. It's a low budget movie. Certain folks were working for...not as much as they would normally would, or not normally their normal rate and what have you.

[00:49:25] David: Probably more than me, but, you know. 

[00:49:26] Caullen: And, you know, the tragic thing happened- and again, there's just layers to this. Not looking at safety protocols, not... 

[00:49:33] David: I heard the biggest thing was like, how many people had that gun in their hands, blah, blah, blah? It's like, really, two. 

[00:49:41] Caullen: And we know at all levels and all different folks, if you are working through a high stress environment, mistakes happen. This shit happens. Hopefully not as egregious as this incident, right? But it happens when we're highly stressed and highly overworked. And getting to our worst habits, across the board. So that's why when we had the self-care argument, we're like, you're not critiquing capitalism, so this "self-care" isn't really real. So I wanted to name that incident to highlight a larger institutional, but also hierarchy, and also how power shifted and we all suffer from it; including the white man with money. I'm not saying don't sympathy the white man with money, but generally speaking it's like, everyone's suffering because of this shit so it's almost like we should change, 

[00:50:32] David: abolish it 

[00:50:32] Caullen: do something different. Just try it out. 

[00:50:36] David: Oof, oof. And I think, oh... maybe let's dive into the way social media has talked about this subject. Or we're talking about this now, but really, Caullen, I know you mentioned that video you saw, you saw it on the internet, right? Of this legislator person, I forgot who you named. And I think it's so important to also uplift in a way, but also maybe demonstrate the power of social media and the way in which our ideologies, or our ways of thinking that the world should be can reach out to people in ways. And I think some of that happens in meme culture. So it's like, Caullen, for you, what are some things that you've been seeing as we've been traversing through the last two years, people are kind of like understanding their worth- if that's the way we can even put it? What have you seen from the meme world? 

[00:51:33] Caullen: Meme world, he said!

[00:51:34] David: Or what have you seen from the interwebs that has at least gassed you up? 

[00:51:40] Caullen: The internet is undefeated. 

[00:51:41] David: Undefeated. Tell me why though. Tell 'em why though. Let 'em know!

[00:51:44] Caullen: I mean, put aside the comment section, or like, oh, Zucker Fuck, and, oh, 4chan, and social media is crazy.... like, you're right. The comment section, you're right. It's all trash. 

[00:51:55] David: It's all trash. 

[00:51:56] Caullen: However, the non-trash is like, *blows kiss*. I think... it was interesting during the onset of COVID, especially, seeing folks post things about how the government wasn't doing shit. Folks who are not in my political home, I would say, would be like, oh... you... yeah? So we agree? 

[00:52:14] David: Ooh! And I think I saw that- just to interject- from January 6th. I think on a social media level- 

[00:52:19] Caullen: Where are the police?? Where are the cops?? They're there... 

[00:52:24] David: and so thinking about the way social media has been playing in this age of spin. From that moment, I think to your point, people kind of like, *snaps fingers* and that was during, what, that was January 6, 2020, right? 

[00:52:33] Caullen: 2021. 

[00:52:33] David: 2021! Mas pa mi favor. So, continue... 

[00:52:38] Caullen: I just... I've been on the record and prior conversations lots of times talking about watershed moments, ie: trump, January 6th, COVID, SCOTUS abortion decision, all these things, they're moments where people are angry and fired up, as they should be. And there's typically always a knee-jerk reaction to how to respond and how to be reactionary. We have to suppress that. And we have to ask the bigger questions. We have to attack the bigger systems. We have to not target us as individuals, but what has made this possible in the first place? You can read the most recent Soapbox editorial article if you want to hear more on me gab about that.

[00:53:19] But what I like about memes is that sometimes it crystallizes and makes things... really complex things really cogent in ways that aren't reductive, and... just true and right there in your face. For example, shout out Upstream Podcast, one of their recent Instagram posts: someone says, "my favorite part about health insurance is how your teeth and eyeballs are add-ons". And we didn't even get into benefits, and 401k, and retirement, and how that's all not gonna exist. 

[00:53:49] Something you have to work for, and have the job that has benefits, and takes care of your health. We ain't even gettin into all that. Save it for a different episode. And hopefully if you're hearing this you know that's bullshit that you have to work for healthcare in the first place. But that's something I'm just like, oh yeah, the fact that I wanna have to find a job that I wholly like enough to just endure, but also they take care of my body when I get sick. 

[00:54:11] David: And my family. Cause that's... I know that's another...I mean, I don't know, cause I don't...we're not aware of that. But continue. 

[00:54:18] Caullen: You're not aware of families? 

[00:54:19] David: No, I'm not aware of how healthcare benefits my family yet. But, alas. 

[00:54:24] Caullen: And that's definitely part of it too, right? You gotta take care of your people. And I think part of it too, is the...When we talk about hustle culture, it's very hyper- individual. And I think that is a very much an American ideal that we have exported very, very well across the globe. And we haven't done anything alone as community since humans have been on this earth, as animals have been on this earth. And so it is a new thing that is toxic an adds all these -isms that we keep reiterating. One of my recent favorites is, "liberals love to quote 'violence is never the answer' until someone who can't afford a house tries to survive in the park and they need to blow the city budget to send several dozen armed cops who tear down their home and pepper spray children". I...don't even know how to unpack that because they include so many different systems of electoralism, of violence, of the prison industrial complex, how we criminalize how people trying to survive not having houses and what have you, what have you... the list goes on. But again, with how we talk about language, how we use these terms, like violence, how it's okay when it's making a ton of countries after World War II nuclear arms neighbors, but when it comes to someone trying to defend their home against an Israeli camp coming in, it's violent, right? 

[00:55:54] David: Or Native Americans protecting water resources in 2016, 2018. 

[00:56:00] Caullen: It's water bro. And forever. It's water. Anyway, so we're naming all these different things we're tying together about how violence is so insidious, but we get angry about when it's certain places or certain people doing certain things and not the larger institutions that we- without our actual consent are giving money to and are exported overseas, exported for arms dealing and weapons and so on and so forth. You want UBI? You want universal basic income? Work for Lockheed Martin. You'll be set every year. 

[00:56:36] David: My favorite thing about the meme world is when they put together cute- like Elmo or cartoon things, and then they mix it with real world things. My favorite one is like, it's SpongeBob and Patrick episode when they have the oyster and they're a family. And it's like, oh, but police only- like, this is only a single incident, it's one bad apple. And it's SpongeBob showing all the diapers, but the accumulation of diapers are all the proven facts and statistics on police abuse, police misconduct, et cetera, et cetera. And so you see him outside pointing at all the dumpsters in the dumpster truck outside. And then Patrick finally gets it. And I, to your point, I think it's funny, it's relatable, it's approachable, but I think it's also very, very true. And I think that's one of the things that the system does. It makes these things like, oh, that's just a joke, that's just like- they definitely do their best to minimize or defuse, or make it seem like, oh, pfff, that's just a meme. I feel like the system does a good job of that within our own people of like, why is it that not every... why does this post have 800 likes? When it hits everybody who has this 9-5 type job, as an example, right? It's because the system, again, does a good job of sometimes putting these things- sometimes that's memes, like, oh, but they're just memes. They're not looking at the people power behind the way memes become viral. As an example.

[00:58:16] Caullen: And I will say sometimes I forget about this, that like....there's Nazi memes. There's memes that are like, oh, other people are making those? I'm like, oh, I don't agree with that at all. Or, that's factually incorrect. So we should also understand this as a tool; I think in our lexicon, our environment, we see those tools working a little differently. It's a tool like anything else, and I think that's why I think it is important. That's why I think I appreciate our work so much, is that we are.... you can put us in a certain camp politically, but to quote Mariame Kaba, it's just true.

[00:58:51] I had this conversation with our homie James the other day about... I feel most- I personally feel most at home and the most educated I've ever been on the things I care about and are passionate about, and done the research, looked at the stats, objectively all the things; it's just true that police don't keep us safe. It's just true that capitalists are exploiting our labor. It's just true about all these things. And I wanna work toward a liberatory future. And that I'm unpacking those -isms within myself, as well as my community and much broader. 

[00:59:20] And so I think that memes that media like this, storytelling like movies- both documentaries and fictional films and narrative films, scripted films, whatever, they're all encoding our values in our culture and what we appreciate and what we demonize. And so we should hold them to a higher standard. And we take that shit home and take this shit into our head and our hearts without us really thinking about it, and that's a power that's very, very powerful. And so we have to wield that with respect and with care. 

[00:59:54] David: Caullen, no, no. And I think that's really wonderful, and I want folks to be able to take this with them. Whether that's unionizing your school, your job, whatever the fuck. Whether that's creating memes for the goodness with truth, with education- cause you can reach a lot motherfuckers like that. Or whether that's challenging the state- as an example here in Illinois, the SAFE-T Act, we're seeing all of these millions of dollars being put into lies and misinformation about this thing, because it's gonna change the dynamic in which our people are kept under these systems of oppression, as simple as bail.

[01:00:34] And so, as always, as we mentioned- get in where you fit in, and don't stop because the system is working just as hard. If that means you hustling, and you hustling for... I don't know, I like that type of hustling. But 

[01:00:47] Caullen: And if that means you need take a nap, just to rest to help you to do the work, then take that nap.

[01:00:51] David: I've been taking nap and saving lives. My favorite thing though, take caffeine before you take a nap so that once you get up, like... I'm gonna vouch for this. 

[01:00:59] Caullen: This is David speaking, not B'nB, not Soapbox. This is not an endorsement. 

[01:01:03] David: I am so dead! 

[01:01:04] Caullen: He is not a dietician. 

[01:01:06] David: No, I'm not a dietician. Not a dietician. But, once again.... we all we got, as we mention often. And so, at the end of the day we understand that it is the larger majority that is constantly dealing with this. And we're...if our ancestors have been able to overcome what they overcame... some would say that it's only meant for us to continue doing so.

[01:01:37] As always, from Bourbon 'n BrownTown in the Malik Alim Studios. Stay Black, stay Brown, stay queer. 

[01:01:44] Caullen: Stay tuned, stay turnt. 

[01:01:46] David: And we'll see you for the next one. 


(Music: "Pimpin’ Benjamins" by Coast Contra)