1.26 Identity Politics Arms Race 

INTRO: Welcome to the BiCurean podcast. Where we explore and embrace the seeming contradictions of life. What actually is BiCurean you ask? What's happening right now in terms of the divisions between us is a focus on that which is different. And lack of understanding and empathy for people's beliefs  is no longer an excuse. And it is in the differences we carry in ourselves  that we find the BiCurean moment. When you really dig into something you are going to see some depth to it. It's not just a race thing, it's not just a conservation thing. It's letting go of the 'or' to make room for the 'and'. We embrace all of you. Welcome to the BiCurean.  

A: Hi I'm Aicila.  

E: And I am Erik. And we are very excited about our guest today ah Tyler Bettilyon. I said it wrong and I wanted to say it right.

T: Bettilyon.

A: Bettilyon. Tyler Bettilyon. Who is a writer. And ... we came across him on Medium.

E: On Medium. Yeah. Where we've been finding a lot of very interesting articles lately. I highly recommend ... checking out you know all of the people that are on there. It's very kind of raw. And and and there's some you know strange things on there. But there's a lot of good material for sure. And we found some so.

A:  And I was just  really struck by the content. And we're very excited that Tyler was interested in being on our podcast to talk about some of those things. So  welcome.

T: Yeah. Thank you for having me on.

E: So tell us about yourself. Because we're just getting to know you for the first time since this is the first time we've chatted.

T: Yes. So I am a writer. I am a former software engineer. I'm living in Berkeley, California but I'm originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. I kind of came out here to pursue every young  software engineer's dream of making it big in the entrepreneur  land of Silicon Valley. ... And I I quickly became kind of disenchanted with some of the the ways I saw technology deployed out here. And so a lot of my writing career has kind of come out of that. Fledgling writing career I should say, ... has come out of that kind of looking around at Silicon Valley and seeing that you know the promise of technology might have been to raise everyone up. ... But that's not really the goal of a lot of people out here pursuing the- the entrepreneurial dream.

E: Well in our listeners know that I I don't usually have much good to say about Facebook and the ways that it's been used to manipulate things. But ... I'm intrigued to hear your thoughts on on such things because I I  too work for a tech company. We're actually based in Palo Alto. ... We have an office out here in Colorado. So I get the benefits of the Silicon Valley life without actually having to be in the Bay Area. That said we make a website development platform. Like we're not you know revelo-   we're not disruptive technology. One of my favorite Silicon Valley terms. We are we are problem solving in a world where people need websites. So we built a platform for doing that. But yeah I mean maybe you can you know this kind of bonus content cause we'll post the article that we found from you as well as any others that you would recommend. But ,.. tell us what some of the writings that you're doing along those lines.

T: Sure so one piece I'm working on right now I'm gonna talk to someone from the EFF on Monday about is ... interesting idea I read about in the MIT technology review- a Data Bill of Rights. You know speaking about Facebook obviously we've got huge issues with data privacy  and what is to be a steward of our data. You know Facebook clearly not a good steward but some other companies maybe slightly better stewards, like Apple does a pretty good job. But you know in this article I want to explore some of the challenges of building something like that because it sounds like a really wonderful idea right on the surface of it. But very quickly you start getting into some some challenging aspects. Like what data qualifies as personal data that should be protected and have absolute protections.

E: Well Europe already answered that question for us because GDPR   was a big part of my daily life when  that hit because the internet is who that was really targeting. And and the ways in which your information is being bought and sold by just the sites you visit. So Europe is starting to make that. And I've heard tale to California's gonna be next in line to pass GDPR    style legislation.

A: Our last guest actually was a privacy attorney who practices in the tech industry in California and she said that she's involved with the movement around the data privacy bill of rights. So it's interesting cause the first time I heard about it was when she mentioned it in our last recording. And so it sounds like it's getting some real legs.

E: So do you feel like the companies out there want to be responsible with the information. Or is this kind of lip service from some of them.

T: Most most do not, right? Most do not want some regulatory statute telling them what they have to do with people's data. And what they do they have to give you access to and those sorts of things There are some that I think do a pretty good job like Apple for example is a company that cares deeply about privacy. And also critically doesn't monetize the selling of your data. So they're not an advertisement company, they're hardware company.

E: Right. Ultimately they are. They're selling hardware, and they're selling access, but not necessarily the information. Yeah I mean ... yeah I I think about the  Icloud. And I'm I'm a fully connected Apple person. I've got a whole ton of you know Apple computers an iPhone and all of that. And I love the connection that I have with everything. My files are always in the same spot. My keychain is global across all my devices. And I do. I trust them fundamentally not to mess with me around that.

T: Right and-  and importantly not to do something like what Facebook did, which is so your data to a third party without indicating to you that they've done so. And then you know basically profit off of gossiping about you in a digital way and in a huge massive scale.

E: Right well and I think that's what people missed about Facebook at the time we are not Facebook's customer they're giving us this free service and what we're paying for that free service is all of our information that they use to target advertising or whatever that's right you thought that Facebook the website was the product you are the product you are the product the advertisers are the clients. And the website just happens to exist.

A: Yeah.  

T: As an excellent way to collect you, the digital  version of you, that they then sell to advertisers.

E: Yeah that was a thing. ... You know and and it actually struck me, it was a few years ago, ... and maybe remember this. When Google had something going on on around ... Despicable Me. And so they had Minions maybe it was even the Minions movie, it was a few years ago. But they they added on to a lot of people's outgoing emails this Minion doing a mic drop. And that meant that some people were sending like condolences for you know a recent death to somebody and at the bottom is a Minion doing a mic  drop. And people were pissed that  gmail would dare do that. This is a free product. Like they could just turn it off on you tomorrow. You're not even  paying. There's no guarantee about it. But we live in a world where we get these free products. Not only do we have expectations about how they're going to work. But we have expectations about the service that they're going to provide with this free product. And yet we don't think that there's a double side to that of how they track our information or monetize us in some way. Google is not one of the largest companies in the world because they give  gmail away for free.

T: Right. Yeah I agree. I think that in the future we'll look back on this period of time, and especially you know maybe the previous ten years. And we'll go "oh wow, we we were pretty naive about what really made the internet go around". And what was paying for all these products. But we're waking up. We are seeing a lot of push back against Facebook. Even you know internally Google employees are starting to be like ohhh you know maybe no let's not support project dragonfly and Chinese censorship. And maybe we should walk out over issues of sexual harassment in the workplace. So we're starting to see the beginnings of, and you know I hope the beginnings of a bit of a labor movement in tech.

A: Yeah. I think I think it's time. And I I do have hope. There's definitely steps forward so hopefully that will continue. And we'll keep working on making it continue. ... I do want to ask you about some of the stuff that was in your piece. Like some of the things that you said that I thought were one-  one of the things that caught me right at the beginning was the Pew Research statistic ...  siting that said that in an America ... black people and white people have more in common than Democrats and Republicans.

T: Yeah. This was a really interesting study. So the report covers it's a Pew Research Center  Report. It covers questions that they've been asking since 1994.   And you know they get all kinds of demographic information along with all the responses to the questions. And they show you know two very interesting things. The first is that the the median Democrat and the median Republican have been moving extremely in opposite directions. So it used to be the case that if you represented as a Democrat, you still probably shared in common, you know among these twelve or fifteen or whatever however many questions it was that the Pew Research Center Survey covered. You typically shared at least one or two or maybe even at five or six, depending on how close you are to the political center or not, opinions with people who identified   as Republicans. And now the median  Democrat and the median Republican share essentially nothing in common. They're very divided strictly along party lines. And then they also showed that the same time that this was happening, that Democrats and Republicans are moving much further away from each other in terms of their political alignment, the the effect was still there but not nearly as pronounced among people of different demographics. So you know Black people, Latino people, White people, still share more, they still look if you look at a little charts the graphs, they still shared many more features  in common about you know their political leanings and their political ideals than a random Republican and a random Democrat.

A: Wow.

E: I can't see I'm truly surprised by that. It it does  definitely feel that way.

T: Yeah.  It flies in the face of some of their kind of rhetoric that has become very popular. But I don't think that it's a crazy idea to think like oh well people of different races are not monolithic groups you know. They have a wide array of different political opinions and beliefs inside of them- just like gender identity groups, just like sexuality identity groups. You know we're all not monolithic singular beings. And being white tells you less than you might think about one's political ideology. The same way that being latino or being black tells you less than you might at first want to think about someone's political ideology.

E: Yeah, I mean even even the broad strokes that I've heard people bring up. ... There's a lot of fallacies in there. Like people don't really understand that the majority of Latinos that are naturalized citizens in this country, actually are very conservative and tend to go Republican more often than not. So you know here you have this thing like you think ... I I run into people that think that you know they're one of those groups of brown people who are disenfranchised and and think progressively. And it's not even the case.

T: And there's been a lot of interesting stuff like that throughout history. One of the you know most interesting periods of time for this I think was shortly after 2011   and the September 11th attacks right? At this moment in time, 2001    let's say, Muslims and Christians looked like very very natural political allies. Both with conservative leanings. Both with family values. You know, very much looking like Republican voters. And then immediately after 9/11  we're very hawkish on Muslims. You know we all became somewhat more xenophobic regarding Muslims after that moment. But especially hawks on the right say things that started to sound very racist to a lot of Muslim people right? And they go well now I can't have my political alignment  there even though on many other issues I might feel very similarly. You know think about the social issues overlap between Muslim ideology Muslim  you know ...  theology and Christian theology. They're quite similar. But suddenly, that's not a political alliance but a stark political division.

A: Yeah well and one of the things that you talked about was the relationship between Martin Luther King and and Johnson. And in the and how they got changed even in the movie Selma. And it really made me notice in terms of just our current political landscape the politicians that are willing to genuinely work across the aisle definitely get called names around being sell outs. Like I really respected Senator Jeff Flake. I don't know that I agree with him politically. And I do feel like consistently he stood up and made some attempts to honor his integrity around what he thought he was representing in terms of his people and his party. And then also stand against some things, or for some things that he thought were important they were maybe not traditional for for his particular senatorial position. And and really nobody   gave him any kind of break for that. He just got called all kinds of sell out on every level. It was just like wow. And you know I don't know him and and I'm sure there's it's more complicated than that. And there's just there's a lot of ... if it is almost it's almost like a violence there's a lot of political violence if people even seem to be comfortable with the idea of representing beyond their party.

T: Yeah. I agree. I think we we are seeing especially in the political class a huge amount of polarization, unwillingness to compromise, dis interest in working together. You know we're in the- we're currently in the middle of a government shutdown over you know what is not ultimately a ton of government money. I mean five billion dollars is a lot of money but at the scale of United States GDP it's not a ton. And there's literally no movement, right?  we are getting nowhere. There's no idea about what a compromise will look like. And it's mostly political game playing right?

A: Yeah.

T: Because

A: That affects people's lives.

T: Yes. Yeah. Well of course. It always affects people's lives.

A: I'm just saying like it's this big game up there. Like it's this big game up there. And there's people who are like, I can't pay my health care bill.

T: That's right.

A: I I My mortgage is  starting to be in jeopardy because so many people live paycheck to paycheck. And it's it's that you think the consequences are now. This is it. And yet still- T: Nothing happens.

A: Yeah. No.

T: This    is very frustrating.

A: And it's weird. Because I know I have like it's funny because Erik is ah over the last year that we've been working together. I've been involved in you know politics in terms of like community organizing and working on different campaigns for a really long time. And I actually have worked with a lot of politicians that I really respect. And I know that a majority of people get involved in politics because they care. They want-  they want to make a difference. And they- and- and it's not I mean yes there are some perks to it. And it's kind of a thankless job you know. And and yet at the same time I can see that you know the situation that we're in right now something had to shift. I mean I'm excited about people like Alexandria Ocasio, who are coming in from a different perspective. But ... you know she doesn't have political clout in Congress. She has personal clout outside. Like she's got a couple million people who think she's doing a great job. But she's not gonna make it in Congress if she doesn't actually have the ability to also build a coalition there. Like that's a thing.

T: That's right. And    you know you see the wheels turning against her. The hate machine is turned on full force. And that's gonna continue for her absolutely.

A: So what would you say like that like that King/ Johnson partnership, what do you think is necessary for that to happen? Do you see that being possible in our modern situation?

T: I mean in the immediate short term, no. We're very entrenched in our ways.  You can always look forward to some big changes in some big you know the next big election is going to be definitely a big one. And if we change the players, we can change the game. But the current players that we have right now, I don't think are are interested in iota in  in coming together to discover what the real grievances of the people and  trying to address them. I think they have shown that they're pretty much interested in playing politic-   political power games. And you know this is the least productive, one of the least productive Congresses  we've had in history. No legislation gets passed. And when it does get passed, you know for sure that Trump at the top is gonna say oh Democratic Congress passed something, I'm gonna veto that, Woo!  

E:  Yeah, well. And I mean I I hate to say it but there's a little part of me that actually likes that about the current situation. Is I'd rather have stalemate  for two years and maybe the country will start leaning back towards fixing some of these issues. And and actually looking at it. It's funny cause I saw a ... a news piece and one of the big things that Trump campaigned on, he's all about the wall right now, but one of the big things he campaigned on was Draining the Swamp. And he literally in in in an interview, after he was elected, said yeah it just sounded good. I just said that. And I was like man that was the kind the one thing I could kind of get behind you on. Was this idea of cleaning up, having less politics and more coalition stuff.  I didn't expect him to do it. But I I you know it's funny because that's not the thing that he's of course all hung up on about his you know campaign message of how important something was. But ah yeah I mean I feel like maybe Congress with a whole new batch of fresh younger blood is the beginning. Being nice. I don't know for sure.

T: I do think it helps you know whenever there is some kind of long term stalemate changing out the players makes a big difference. But I do think like there were there were some big opportunities you know  Trump also campaigned on the idea of infrastructure. And fixing our crumbling roads. And updating our bridges. And Ocasio- Cortez, diametrically opposed to Trump in so many ways, campaigned on a New Green Deal. Which is functionally ...  Hey let's fix our roads and in places where it makes sense let's lay down some solar panels next to it. And places that make sense, let's build some wind turbines. And let's clean up the electrical infrastructure. That's a big deal to me as a Californian. You know PG&E  is probably, that's our utility, they are probably going to be found guilty of causing Campfire. And they're gonna be on the hook for a massive lawsuit right? So we have serious infrastructural problems that cut across party lines you know. The roads are not Republican or Democrat. And the fact that people are dying because of bad roads and bad infrastructure is not a partisan issue. We have people on both sides campaigning for essentially the same ideas. But what did Trump lead with instead of infrastructure to start out his you know Big Bang I'm in office? It was, you know, Muslim travel ban.

A: Yep.  

E: And now the wall. Yeah. Like yeah. I mean  so yeah like I said there's a little part of me that likes two years of stalemate but-

A: Well I mean if he if he put something forward that was infrastructure, then there wouldn't be. I mean I I do think that the part there maybe maybe it would be. But I I think that people would actually get on board with doing something that was genuinely good for the country. Nobody, like you said nobody can argue with roads.

T: Yeah.  There could be movement on this. We can hem and haw about like where exactly that money should go. You know how much should be going to West Oakland and how much should be going to rural panhandle Florida places right?

A: Yeah.

T: And we can figure that out. But that's a negotiation   that I think people are willing to have.

A: Yeah.

E: So we've been talking about this article and it is about ... it is about the you know aspects of uh polarization and that sort of thing. Maybe you can give us a little wrap up on what your kind of conclusions were regarding that.

T: Sure.  So my point for Medium was that we are currently in a situation where most of the time individuals are responding to their worst fears about the people that they see as not like them. So here in Berkeley, I get a ton of people, who as soon as the conversation turns to politics, "They're like oh and Trump voters. I can't believe how many racists there are in America." It's just like everybody who voted for Trump, many people here ascribe Trump's exact level of vitriol, or you know Milo Yiannopoulos's   exact level of vitriol,  to all of the people who voted for Trump. And well you know there may be some truth to the idea that if you were willing to vote for Trump you're willing to kind of dismiss some of his more racist ideas. But at the same time, that is not what I think the majority of Republican voters who voted for Trump were voting because of. That wasn't the conscious  choice they made. At the other end of the aisle you have people like you know Richard Spencer saying things like Hey we're Republicans and we call for an ethno state. We want America to just be for white people. And so people in Berkeley are responding to that you know  rhetoric and going wow that's republicanism? That's pretty shocking and terrible. Which it is. And then we have people who are Republicans responding to people like my friends in Berkeley that say uh Hey the only thing I know about you is that you voted for Trump and therefore you're racist. Let's not have a conversation. Bye-bye.  And this is the level of conversation that we're having. It's not a very productive one.

A: Yeah, it's not really a conversation. And I feel like one of the things that you said that I really appreciated was that in the initially some of these identity ... isms and politics and sort of awarenesses  were more of a spotlight.  Like Hey let's let's notice that to be a woman or to be transgender or queer or a person of color or an immigrant brings you into these different ways of being that have a set of challenges that people who don't share those identities don't experience. The spotlight,  let's acknowledge that. And it's been turned into, and I really like that phrasing, a sword to say Oh because you don't have those identities you kinda need to shut up we don't care what you think. And that's that doesn't help us at all. But I really really appreciated that distinction in terms of recognizing that there's a purpose that they serve. And in the the spotlight's  maybe  a good one and the weapon is maybe not.

T: Yes absolutely. And you know it comes down to the kinds of conversations that we want to have with people. So like let's say you're talking about the police. This is obviously a great issue where there's a huge difference in experience between white people and people of color right? People of color  are more likely to be arrested for the same crimes. They are more likely to be convicted for the same crimes. Once they've been convicted, they're more likely to serve longer sentences for the same crimes. Once they have been sentenced, they're more likely to serve the entirety of their sentence rather than some portion and get off for good behavior for the same crimes. So knowing all of that. It is super important for people to recognize like I am not going to have the same experience in the legal system as someone who is exactly like me; grew up in exactly my same you know class background; but has black skin, you know. They will have a different, and almost certainly worse experience, in in our justice system than I do. And that's very important to know. And it's a huge part of our ongoing political struggle. This has been part of the United States from the very beginning. And then at the same time, if the conversation that you have with someone when you're trying to point out those facts, if you start that conversation by saying they are racist. What happens to that person is that they're gonna be defensive. And they are going to dig in their heels on whatever it is you thought they were being racist about. Regardless of how correct you are in identifying that perhaps racists tendency or racist thought, by not inviting empathy, by not choosing to try and help them see your perspective. But accuse them of being bad people. You make it very difficult to change those attitudes. E: I think you just gave one of the best explanations, without actually using the terminology, because it is an abrasive terminology uh to say white privilege. But that's right there, what people don't understand. That's what white privilege is. It's just the acknowledgment that you will have a different experience than someone else based on the color of your skin. And it doesn't have to be a negative thing. And it's not accusatory. It's just a awareness. We went to a White Privilege Symposium a few months ago. And it was fantastic because it really opened my eyes that that not it's not always an attack. And it's not always a you know some sort of like guilt mongering type of tactic that people are using. But just this basic understanding that  what you can do is be aware of it and not necessarily let it happen while you're there.

T: That's right. And you know to me our goal, recognizing that I've lived a very privileged life, and I had a lot of luxuries. Our goal should be to make sure that everybody can have that same kind of life. That we should raise everyone up to this standard you know. We don't necessarily have to cause white people to have a worse experience in the justice system.

A: No we don't want that. No one wants that.

T: We need to make it fair for everyone else.

A: Yeah! So someone I was listening to, it's a black woman who works with in with the youth in the justice system. And she said, I don't know why people think that we want white people to have more problems.  It's never the goal. We we want people of color to be treated more fairly. We-  It's not about loss. We're not trying to take anything from anyone. But for some reason that is how it gets- it gets received. T: Yeah and I think you know some of that is the type of fear that we've been talking about. The response to the worst versions of these arguments. So you know although it's a smaller movement there are equivalents to like the Richard Spencer alt right on the other side of the equation. You know Nation of Islam comes to mind. So it's like there are prejudicial organizations. But we shouldn't be couching our thoughts as though like those are normal. You know Richard Spencer is not a normal, whatever that means, or average Republican or white person. You know he's a very extreme. And the Nation of Islam is quite extreme in its opinions about race on the other side.

E: Well and that brings up something. It's it's one of my favorite ... quotes and  I try to say it often when it's relevant. And that is do not become the thing that you're fighting. Do not become a monster while you're fighting monsters. Or a figure that you have to be just as fervent and hateful in order to counteract fervent hatred. It's not better. And and from a left or right perspective nobody is gonna win in that long term.

A: Yeah

T: Sure. Go ahead.

A: I was gonna   say one other thing that we had talked about, that you shared, ... in your article was sort of one of the things that you experienced in terms of the #metoo  movement. And the the ways in which you hesitated to be open about your experiences in some ways because you have privilege. And I thought that was really powerful. And it was kind of a vulnerable thing ... but I was really hoping that you would share a little bit about that. Cause I think it could be a good ... a good thing for other people not to feel so alone. Specifically you know white men, who I think do feel alone and isolated in a lot of ways.

T: Yeah sure. So for for listeners who haven't read my piece yet what Aicila's   referring to is that I am the victim of sexual assault. So both of mine assaults happened when I was in college. Both I think pretty typical. ... Well I guess I don't know what's typical. But both happened  in situations that you can imagine and that lots of other people experienced too. Parties, drinking, with people that I know. Both of my attackers, people that I'd known for a while before before it happened. And when we #metoo  started happening you know I wanted to talk about my experiences  a little bit more. But I felt really cautious just knowing some of the political .. .. .. .. We've already talked a little bit about how those are not necessarily places where you go to have and the discussions about challenging topics. And you know make you feel safe, good places to be vulnerable. And I think that's one of the things that was so powerful about the #metoo  movement  is people were able to say like hey you know, in a place that we know isn't necessarily a safe place to have this kind of political discourse. This happened to me. And tons of people, many many many so many women, at least in my feed you know, like, guh, almost all of them right? Saying Hey this this is what my experience was. And I you know I kind of wanted to say something too. But I saw one other person in my feed, one other man, who did you know  use the hashtag. And was immediately just like castigated. Five thousand comments, you know whoa this isn't your moment. This isn't your time. You couldn't possibly understand what it's like to be a  woman. Although you know maybe it's true you experienced sexual assault. And that's kind of the you know ironically it's kind of the tone of the messages. Maybe it's true that you experienced that. ... And I I thought that was a big missed opportunity for you know both for men to be like Hey the the patriarchy impacts us negatively too. And we should be able to talk about that as people who were very empowered to change the patriarchy, you know. We should- I I would like to feel more empowered to talk about those kinds of issues. And then also too, a place to find more solidarity between men and women. And say like Hey yeah wow that experience that we both shared sucks doesn't it. We don't want that to happen to anybody else, A: Yeah. I feel like it's a another friend of mine ... he did share an experience of assault.  And we'd actually talked about having him on the show to actually talk about it. And ... and what was was interesting to me in his experience of sharing was that he had a lot of people message him privately. Not publicly, right like, but privately and say thank you. Like I don't I don't feel so alone. Like for men there's like a there's a lot in that I know that when I was studying ... rape statistics. They said  like ... there were there were robbers who would rape men as part of the robbery because they knew it would be less likely to be reported if they did that. Like so there is this culture where men are they're not just not supposed to talk about it. It's not supposed to happen. You're not supposed to be a victim. You're not a man if you're a victim. In that you know obviously it's not true but that's the messaging that men receive. And so there's a lot of things. And so that's why I'm sad to hear that your friend was brave enough to share it. And then received so much negative because all that does is perpetuate the actual problem we're living in. Like it     .... perpetuates the the part of male toxicity that makes #metoo  happen. That females support if you will. Like or female toxicity supports. I mean I'll put it that way. So ... it's a really complex- it's a topic that actually I do really want to do a show on on the complexity of that. And maybe we can have you and our other friend on. ... And- and have like a larger conversation around it.

T: Interesting.

E: Well actually we're gonna highly okay okay go ahead-

T: I'm just gonna say  it's it's super tragic. And it definitely you know the same way that women are not encouraged to come forward because they won't be believed. Men are not encouraged to come forward. Not because they won't be believed, but because they will no longer be perceived as men. You know or they'll become a lesser class of men. And it's very you know it's currently very embarrassing  .. .. I think they both stem from the same root cause. And you know being more open and honest. And being able to you know share definitely would help.

A: Yeah. I agree with that.

E: Well  we're definitely recommend people check out your article. So we'll post a link to that. If there's any other links you want us to share, go ahead and send them over. ... We covered a bunch of other articles and stuff. And I think people would love to find them. So we we do share and share alike on all of that. So it was great to chat with you today. We'd love to have you back at some point.

A: Yeah it was really great. Thank you so much.

T: Yeah. Thanks for having me on.

E: Welcome to the BiCurean  moment. So  you first. Okay. ... I was pretty excited about this one. The ... so let's see Amanda Stemberg created a movie called When Hands Touch. And it is about a biracial teenager living in Nazi Germany who falls in love with a Nazi. And there's been a lot of fervor over it. The ... the person who made it Asante.  Sorry, Amanda Stenberg  was in it. Asante's the person that made it. And the the person that made it was ostensibly wanting to create a film that kind of talked about the difficulties of identity. Being biracial and living in this really ah time of upheaval. And ... there's been a lot of fervor. I haven't  obviously seen it. So I don't really know where it right lands. That it says that he was actually romanticizing something about the Nazis. Which is of course verboten.  So ... it just for me it was kind of an interesting ... BiCurean  Moment in that like there's this question of, we know that love doesn't decide for us. You know we we follow with who we fall in love with. And the story was about sort of that like someone falling in love with someone who is by design and politics being trained to hate them. And yet you know what does that lead to? And what kinds of questions? And you know you you mentioned Aimee and Jaguar before we started. That's the movie that was actually the true story of these two women  fell in love and one of them was Jewish and the other one was the wife of a Nazi officer in in Berlin under Nazi rule. And similarly the question of like what is that love relationship and the danger of it. So-

E: Was that one universally panned?

A: It was not. It did not have the same. So I don't know if perhaps there was something in this that that was-

E: Yeah it looks like something we might have to actually watch before we can pass full judgment on it. Because it does seem like- I watch out for certain movies like this and just entertainment in general. If it's trying to beat us over the head with something.  ... I tend to see a lot of negative reactions people can't put their finger on it. Or maybe there's something flagrantly bad. But yeah I mean when we're in a world right now where people  want to romanticize ... the world we live in. And so stories that challenge us or seem like they're challenging don't seem to be as popular right? ... The the stories make us think, you know.   People aren't really in the mood to dive into that stuff. So I'm curious to see it and maybe see what it's about.

A: Well and it was difficult to pan Aimee and Jaguar because it was actually based on a true story. You can't you can't say someone's romanticizing something

E: Right.

A: when what they're doing is telling the story of these women who fell in love. And and the Jewish woman pay for it with her life. I mean she was killed. So that you know that there was a horrible tragic ending. ... And and what Stemberg, the main character said, about the director is that they're very fascinated by the intersection of identity. And how it is and changed by our environments, our governments, our peers and our families. And I actually also am really intrigued by that. The ways in which we will, you know we can even see it today with something we were talking about some ways with Tyler. That people are responding to a belief about a group by becoming more rigidly attached to their ideas.

E: And being against that group.

A: And being against that group. Like there's a defensiveness in this id- this idea of our identity and the ways in which it is created by how we perceive the world around us.

E: Yeah.

A: It's a fascinating tale and perhaps and you're right, like we we'd have to read it- we'd have to watch it to have an opinion  on the movie. I just for me it was very interesting that it was getting such a mixed, you know the- the people who were in it and some of the people who watched like wow this is so powerful it really moved me. And then other people are like how dare you romanticize     that period of time. And to me it was just like there's a lot going on here that seems like it's worth digging into. And and maybe what you're talking about is really a lot of it. That it it it pokes something tender. And and and we don't really like that.

E: Yeah. Yeah. I mean there's something to be said about that.

A: So I don't know if I can recommend watching it. I think we're gonna watch it. But I can definitely say read a little bit about it. And you know give yourself a moment to think about your perspective on how your identity is influenced by external factors.

E: Yeah. So my BiCurean  Moment is actually a little lighter but still ... something that I'm sure people are actually feeling a little bit. And it's more about the politics of entertainment right now. ... People may have noticed some of the big % Marvel ... on Netflix all got canceled. Seems to be that there is a battle going on there because Disney wants to start its own streaming service. And I'm certain that they would like to start bringing home a lot of those franchises that have been out. And I have to say that I think the most frustrating part about it is as a consumer of such things it really just turns me off to you know have a show that I like canceled likely because Disney just wants to get it on their own streaming service. I get that it's all money and politically based when it comes to this stuff. But realistically all it does is kind of turned me off from wanting to watch Marvel shows on Netflix for a little while because I'm caught up in their battle in some way. So ... there's not really a conclusion there. Just mostly a voicing of frustration around that sort of thing.

A:  Well I would say, take note. We've been relying on streaming services and we've ceased to purchase physical copies. And they are not ours. If you really like something, now is the time to go down to the used store and get those DVDs of the things you like. Because there is no guarantee it's going to be available to you.

E: Oh yeah. No I completely agree. I mean it's still kills me a little bit. I'm I'm a huge music buff. And I still buy CD's for things that I really want to have a physical copy of. But otherwise I just up  you know purchasing ah actual copies. And I do I purchase ... you know files from iTunes. Which is so yesterday when you've got access to everything live all the time on Spotify. But much like the point we made in talking to Tyler. It's those are services you don't own that and you're not guaranteed it. ... And even if you're paying for it if they cancel a contract with ... one of the major record labels they could just pull down half of the albums that are on there. So I I as an art connoisseur I don't like the idea of having things be so fleeting. Because I do like the idea of owning things and being able to watch them or listen to them when I want to. So it is kind of a strange world. It's we'll have to see how that stuff sort of plays out. And on that note.

E: thank you

E: Thanks for listening If you have ideas, feedback, thoughts please find us on social media. BiCurean  on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Or you can always give us a call at 720-507-7309 or email us at podcast at BiCurean  dot com. A: And if you like what we're doing, please tell your friends about us or share the episodes that you find most interesting. E: Thanks for listening.