Plus, re-examining re-examining Karen.
In responding to the backlash about their handling of the Citibike Karen story, Jesse made two statements: we didn’t get anything wrong factually or made a final verdict, and this is a nothing story.
For the nothing factually incorrect and didn’t make a final verdict remark...what the hell is a final verdict? This is a podcast, not AP News. That’s some moving the goalpost bullshit. As far as factually correct, there have been dozens of episodes on this podcast about narratives creating facts.
The NewsOne story that is at the heart of this fuck up “came out May 25th, the day we are recording.” Jesse calls it a “slightly weird article, but the long and the short or it is there seems to be a lot of evidence that it was his bike. He was there first.” Then Jesse talks about a Citibike Angel program that doesn’t matter at all, which I appreciate he corrected in this episode. Later when the woman comes over: “this woman apparently came and sort of reached over and scanned it and it looks like she acted like she was the victim. I found this to be a compelling article. What do you think?”
Well Jesse, I think you used a bullshit source published the same day you were recording, got criticized for your fuck up by a community that supports you, and then you responded by saying it’s nothing so who cares.
Later in the first episode, Katie then tries to throw you a life preserver by pointing out the article’s author and NewsOne’s bias in covering this story, and you respond “no one can just like be a bad person anymore.”
I encourage everyone to read the NewsOne article. If you follow this podcast or are interesting in how media perpetuates narratives which create facts for everyone, it’s a delight.
I’m happy Katie called him out on the second remark of this episode: why are we doing two stories on a nothing story? But BAR makes it living on nothing stories. There have been some episodes on doll making subculture blowups, adult baby diaper lovers, rage on remaking a dress from a hundred years ago. The podcast says it’s about “internet bullshit,” but it’s a media criticism podcast focusing on stories of the internet’s role in manufacturing consent. Jesse was unprepared for the segment, got rolled by an incredibly shitty source, and became indignant at being questioned. You didn’t understand the impassioned response from the community you built, and so you dismissed it. I’m happy it’s resolved for you.
The response to the Citibike fuck-up would have been very disappointing if it wasn't exactly what I expected.
K&J once again pointedly ignored the existence of their thoughtful subscribers in favor of quoting at length from reddit. The "amazing community"' here is worth acknowledging only when asking for subscriptions and is apparently too deplorable to consider otherwise.
Jesse proceeds to selectively (and once again, wrongly) distort the facts which have come out (and which were available at the time of the original fuck-up, had he decided to apply some reading comprehension to this story in the first place). Superficiality is suddenly a valid excuse from someone who has repeatedly (and correctly) accused other journalists of laziness.
He still fails to mention, omits or misinterprets details in order to minimise any errors (the timeline, the authorship of the NEWSONE article; how Comrie wasn't "caught on video" - which implies something neutral like a surveillance camera when she was filmed by one of the kids and the video was shared by them in order to defame Comrie as a racist; that they didn't just "push the bike" back in the dock - which also depersonalises the situation and implies they were just moving an object when in fact they forced HER - a person - and the bike she was already on back into the dock; etc)
He then devotes even longer to bemoaning how he is "grossed out by this whole thing" and the "cavalcade of commentary" over something "that's not a story" and that "we end up getting dragged into it as a show" What the actual fuck? Who put a gun to his head, dragged him into the studio and made him feature this non-story on the show? It was HIS choice to focus on it. The hypocrisy of these grandstanding denunciations is what's grossing ME out.
Katie then pipes in to say "There were hundreds of comments in the reddit thread. I didn't read them. I was hoping you would have something more substantive that we got wrong than just like, it's a matter of opinion. Frankly, I'm not sure that I trust your analysis of this." No shit. To which Jesse's response is that it's "so discouraging that we're now litigating this". What is discouraging is that instead of a simple "I got X and Y wrong and should probably read things more thoroughly and critically next time" we're treated to a lot of self-serving obfuscation and deflection.
People get things wrong. It happens. Those with integrity own their mistakes. Others continue to evade or minimise them and attempt to shift focus by whining "why is everyone even talking about this?!". I have very little respect for the latter.
I've turned off my subscription renewal and only mention that (here, knowing they don't even read this) because I will miss you smart and witty people, your variety of perspectives and the intelligent discussions. But I'm done supporting lazy, self-serving and contemptuous bullshit. Summer is coming, I'm going to touch a LOT of grass and use the BARpod money for an ice cream cone.
One thing I don't really recall being touched on in the original episode and certainly not in this one is that the PA had every right to feel threatened by a group of strange men. Jesse's got his dudely privilege on display here, he doesn't realize how unsettling that can be (I'm not saying there's no risk for men but it's very, very different).
I don't know, seems like Jesse is being willfully obtuse about this.
Jesse, people were mad at you because in the previous episode you said “turns out she was acting like a karen” and used a completely biased article to reach that conclusions
Re: Citi Bike - let us all remember how shitty you feel when you’re pregnant. She was probably getting off a 12-hour shift, feeling sick, and her feet were killing her. These kids were being assholes, but they’ve never been pregnant, so they don’t know. Anyway, I’m not surprised she went a little crazy. I probably would have done the same. But then again I am a white cisheteronormative woman, so.. we all know how bad I suck.
Anyway. Why is this even a story.
The Lululemon story and the reaction our hosts had to it is illustrative of some of the conservative / liberal divide.
Jesse was puzzled at why someone would care about something that doesn't have a material impact on them. The reaction that conservatives have to stories like this isn't about the material impact. It's about the differing treatment between people who are pro-social and anti-social, an inversion of how they ought to be treated.
The shoplifters are defecting on society and its rules. They're placing their own material benefit ahead of the good of society. The workers are apparently obeying the rules in working a job. They're also chastising the rule breakers.
Lululemon, in its non-confrontation policy, is also defecting. As the hosts acknowledge, they've made a calculation and determined that their own benefit is maximized through a non-confrontation policy.
I think there's widespread agreement that thieving is a moral wrong, with narrow life-and-death loaf-of-bread exceptions. I think there's also agreement that telling a thief to get out is morally permissible, probably even praiseworthy.
And yet, we see the retailer punishing the pro-social and telling its workers they have to let the anti-social go without even a tsk. This inversion is the outrage.
I think conservatives are likely puzzled at how liberals can reduce these stories to mere material terms. It's not about the material goods. If they were stealing far cheaper or far more expensive things, I think the reaction from conservatives would be the same. In this case they stole $7,000 worth of clothes.
Imagine instead each thief stuffed a single Lululemon keychain, priced at $24, down his pants. The employees yelled at them to get out and followed them. Lululemon fired the employees. The reaction would have been the same.
This episode pushed me 1 step closer to unsubscribing entirely . For only the second time I fastfowarded through the preliminary banter. And the reading of the bad reviews was just ...why.
The part about the bike race was pretty fucking funny.
However. What really pissed me off is Jesse being like why was the Citibike story national news and I don't get why people on Reddit were mad at us. Well. First. If you don't know why it is a national story, why the hell did you cover the story at all? Second. Did you read the substack comments at all? Where people are paying and as you say you wouldn't be able to do all this work without the paying subscribers. Because here, I didn't see anyone mad. Mostly it was just confusion as to how you could read these stories and think the woman was at fault at all. There was no anger just confusion. Which is honestly what I saw on Reddit too
Third. You groaned about the author of the News One story comparing what happened with CitiBikes to Emmett Till, but it was HER story that led you to say that maybe the woman did do something wrong. But maybe just maybe the fact that a reporter would make such over the top claims would lead you to carefully analyze what she was saying.
Fourth and final. No one was asking you to revisit the story. I honestly just expected you to say we read the timeline wrong. We were wrong. That is it. 30 seconds
The second half was pretty good. Iwould just add that employees might not want to see people stealing because they find it morally offensive
Jesse on the citibike story think you missed the part where the kids sister is online being a massive racist demanding that Sarah lose her job and have her crowdfunding money revoked. On another note the reason this is a national story is because the left has a racial grifting problem that you could address.
I’m not canceling anything. I still like the show and “ants on the keyboard” was really funny. However, I’m bummed that the fact that the Newsone article was written by someone who led the pile on against Comrie didn’t get mentioned. That is a really interesting angle, and it’s the kind of journalistic ethic (or complete lack there of) that this podcast has covered in the past. Even if it is a “non-story,” the journalist’s attack on Comrie is a meaty subject, because a journalist shouldn’t do that and still call themselves a journalist. I hope you aren’t resting on your laurels, because that would be boring.
I share some of your criticisms of the way Jesse framed the Citibike story and his comments in the correction this episode. However I think it would be a mistake to make comments about unsubscribing from the podcast.
If we go down that road just because we're not happy about the coverage of one or two stores, then we're no better than twitter. We are all wrong from time to time so I think it might be a good idea if you're feeling frustrated to keep in mind all the great stories Jesse and Katie have brought to us. And even when they do get it wrong, you can always find a good discussion here or on the Reddit.
Be kind to each other and Jessie and Katie too 💖
Ok- does Jesse seriously not understand why an employee would be upset about shop lifting?? I’m pissed off hearing about it third hand!! It’s a moral injury. Societies can’t function in an atmosphere of rampant theft. It’s like one of the most basic rules of the social contract.
There is a reason why in the old
times horse theives were hanged and pick pockets got their hands cut off.
Really not sure why K+J didn’t actually talk about how to respond to the bike criticism or re-record the segment once Katie heard what Jesse was adding. Should have been a clarification with a brief acknowledgement that they got criticism and moved on. Instead I feel like this is only going to chum the waters. Seems like Katie thought the same and probably wanted to ignore it, which would have been better than this. But I also think that if someone is thinking of unsubscribing over this I imagine they’ve been moving in that direction for a bit and the general response on Reddit is being used as justification.
Personally I did feel that their take on the story didn’t make sense. How does one person using a single bike all day help a program that is meant to distribute bikes? If it was “his” then why could she scan it in the first place? Seemed like pretty obvious questions to ask if you’re going to cover the story. I appreciated them providing more clarity since the interpretation in the original episode was off, but the execution seems pretty botched to me.
Not directly related to this episode, but speaking of Lululemon: In 2011 at a Lululemon store in Maryland, one Lululemon employee, Brittany Norwood, murdered her coworker, Jayna Murray, after Jayna caught Brittany stealing merchandise and called the manager. Brittany was a black woman, Jayna was a white woman. Brittany initially staged the scene to make it look like there was a violent break-in, but once it became clear that there was no break-in and she was the murderer, even her own family sided against her. The CEO of Lululemon spoke at Jayna's funeral and the company erected a beautiful mural at the front of the store in her memory.
It's difficult not to look back at that story and wonder if the public would've responded differently if it had happened now. I'm sure a lot of people would've considered Jayna a Karen, maybe even tried to justify or excuse Brittany killing her. Would the company have honoured Jayna's memory to the extent they did in 2011? I somewhat doubt that they would. IDK, maybe I'm overthinking it.
Jesse, you're still clueless.
If white teen boys did this to a black woman, there would be no debate, even if the white boys were technically in the right. We would call these boys thugs.
It is a failure of civility and chivalry. No man can ever use intimidation and fear to settle a dispute with a woman.
Just reverse the races and tell me this is a trivial story.
It sounds like the kid squatting on the Citibike was the Karen all along.
I think both the Citibike story and the Lululemon story are related, and I haven't seen this point yet in the comments.
Both have to do with the idea of societal standards of what is right and wrong. So much of what is going on today (and in Jesse and Katie's stories) involves denying, ignoring, or destroying cultural and other norms of behavior. We used to have shared values in this country that most (not all) people could agree with most (not all) of the time. For example, you don't steal other peoples' stuff. Contrary to the progressive line, this is not a white supremacist value: I would bet that, 30 years ago, the vast majority of people of all races, religions, etc., would agree with that statement.
But now, in the name of equity, or inclusion, or non-judgmentalism, or whatever else, we're told none of these norms apply anymore. Shut up about my penis, I'm a woman you bigot! If you complain about setting a building on fire during a riot you're a racist. You can't say that, it might offend someone.
I'm a libertarian, but even I can agree we need SOME standards of conduct.
No, this is not an "important" story. But once it's in the news, it becomes a crucible (or as one person put it, a Rorschach test). for all of us to hammer out our beliefs.
So that's why Jesse's take pissed me off a little too. Can't we just agree that the boys were wrong, and she was right? The violation is separate from the punishment. We can say both that the boys were wrong, and that no, it's not the biggest deal in the world and they shouldn't get 30 years in jail. But there is a party who was "right" and another one that was "wrong."
Is it that hard to say, Jesse? Yeah, teenagers are assholes. They are also wrong sometimes. (Although, I don't think Jesse would have been as dismissive if 4 white kids were hassling a black, pregnant nurse practitioner. I also think it was a cop out to say the Go Fund Me was "weird." I submit it's worse than "weird." But Jesse doesn't want to say what it really is.). They broke the rules. Just say it--it doesn't make you a racist. The fact that it is a minor story does not preclude us from deciding what is the right side of the line.
Similarly, the outrage over Lululemon is about standards. Have we really fallen so far that people can just walk in and steal shit whenever they want, and we're like, "Meh...?" (You know who pays for all those insurance claims, don't you?) I mean, ultimately, it's a slippery slope. If you can disregard a store's right to own property, can't you disregard my right to own property?
I think Katie's take on these issues is much closer to the 'normie' take, on both sides of the political spectrum. She sees the bullshit. Jesse, while really bright, sometimes has a tough time looking past his own subjective context.
All that being said, I'm not going anywhere. I love the podcast. It's good for me to listen to smart people articulate ideas I generally disagree with.