tv After Words Lindy West The Witches Are Coming CSPAN December 15, 2019 12:00pm-1:06pm EST
great way together. we can start to do the things we want out of our government and community. it will allow us to have a healthier and more together nation and neighborhood and family. >> to watch the rest of this program, visit our website, booktv.org and search for john or his book title, it's up to us is in the search box at the top of the page. ...
>> all "after words" programs are also available as podcasts. >> hi lindy, it's so nice to be here with you. talking about your new book, "the witches are coming". i want to start by asking you about humor. because your writing in this book and always, is very funny. would you call yourself a humor writer? >> i guess so. thank you. people always call me a comedian which i don't feel is accurate because i don't do standup comedy. i have but it was a long time ago but it's very hard and i didn't like it and i wasn't good at it. i'm a comedy writer. i have a comedy tv show and i'm a humor writer and i certainly do nothing but try to be funny all the time.
that's my main mission. >> i guess i want to ask you as a writer, a feminist writer, political writer, a cultural critic. how is humor a useful entry point for the things you want to say? >> it's always been really useful to me i've found.maybe that's, may be very convenient for me to say it goes that's what i like to write. but it feels like a great way to sell challenging concepts to people. or even kind of caught people - - con people into consuming challenging - - back when i was a film critic. i always tried to make everything funny. make each piece of writing a piece of entertainment in itself. because if you can make something funny, you can get people to swallow stuff things
they may not think they're interested in. or things that are really challenging to talk about like abortion. we put an abortion in my comedy tv show. i always think of it as hiding, for you to give your dog a pill, hide it in some liverwurst or something. because humor is palatable. people crave it. and if you're writing about politics which is a horrible thing to have to do - - are very grueling to think about. humor is such a great coping mechanism and it's helpful just as a human being to be able to, you know, share in that cathartic humor about how bad everything on earth is right now.
>> i'm really interested, in part, i've written about women in anger. one of the - - in your book is about fury. i am interested in the connection between - - and rage. does being funny help you be angry? >> i think so. it's such a, like a fruitful vehicle for humor. when you're really mad about something and you're ranting and raving about something. at least for me, it's really easy to be funny in that context. again, when i used to write movie reviews, it's easy to the point of laziness to hate the movie because it's so easy to write something funny about something you hate. to trash something and say this was a nightmare. this movie is trash.
it's much harder to be funny and thoughtful and positive about something or to give and wants to take on something. and in a more constructive way, yeah, i think that again, i don't mean to see it's lazy to be angry. because it's not. obviously there's justified anger everywhere right now. but i think laughing and being funny and making jokes in a really scary, infuriating time is helpful to just get through day-to-day and not just burn up. i also think that both humor and fury are like active feelings.
as opposed to despair and depression. it's helpful just to stay awake and stay alive. >> i think about the liverwurst in the pill. especially anybody who's on the margins. i.e., not a straight, white male perspective. if there fury feels threatening and monstrous. but if you wrap it in jokes. >> which is also not fair. absolutely not fair. the fact that you know, i don't want to get into it to you immediately but the fact that brett kavanaugh can sit there and wail and scream and cry and be outraged at people. and people find it dignified. marginalize people have to do a whole song and dance to please, beg you to take our pain
seriously. our legitimate real pain and depression and marginalization. that's not fair. a thing i also do in my writing, deliberately, is i try to make it really funny, sometimes. and then i balance that by going real hard into some - - because there's a political statement in that too. and just actually saying, i'm allowed to have these feelings and i'm going to put them out here without trying to make them palatable to you. but i do think having the balance of both. no one wants to read 300 pages of a sad woman holding you. so balance is important. but not every page is funny. sometimes i go long stretches of time being really vulnerable and really direct and sincere in a way that i think for its
with courtney. but i like doing that. people are afraid of sincerity in a way that's not always healthy. i think it's okay to be corny sometimes. life is big and messy and squishy and scary. it's okay to feel those things. >> right from the beginning of the book, you combine the very funny, inviting approach and you tell a story that i will ask you to tell here about a man you referred to as larry barry. to get into a serious essay about the reversals of oppression and victimhood. can you tell the larry barry story? >> happily. my husband was on a trip in chicago for work and he went out to a bar that someone recommended it was like a bar
owned by queer people of color and it was a dance night that night. someone said you should go hang out there. he's sitting at the bar and a certain middle-aged white man sat down and struck up a conversation. basically said, you know, that looks like so much fun on the dance floor. i wish i was dancing. my husband was like, why don't you go dance? he said well, i'm not allowed to dance. husband was like, why? the guy was like well, i came here last week to this queer people of color dance night as a 45-year-old white man and i started dancing with this woman and then she said i don't want to dance with you and then all her friends got weird about it. like if i'm not allowed to dance. which is like, just an
agonizingly it's such a contortion of reality to go into a space that explicitly not for you and try to violate people's foundries and then be victimized by their response. it's not that he's not allowed to dance. he's just not allowed to dance with whoever he wants, whenever he wants. touch whatever he wants.make himself the center of this moment. go ahead and dance by yourself and don't touch anyone. have a good time. but that's not what he wanted. he wanted interaction with these people. he wanted to do whatever he wanted and being told he wasn't allowed to felt like victimization to him which i think is very telling. >> there are a couple overarching themes in these
essays and one of them is this sense that challenge or critique of those in power reads as itself, a witchhunt which is the metaphor you returned to very often. and victimization of the powerful. so that powerful people who have been critiqued for sexual harassment and have perhaps lost their jobs open century briefly or forced to stay in their mansions for a few months before going out sold-out comedy chores. the language they use about themselves is the language of victimization. that they've been killed. their lives have been entered. their career is ended. by the way, language that actual victims have been denied the use of. you know what i mean? how much - - when do we hear
about all the women who quit the various fields because they were sexually harassed at work? all of those people are invisible. we are starting to talk about in a little bit it but think about how many that is. >> the question of what happened to their careers. working in an environment that meant harassment and discrimination didn't have those avenues. nobody talks about their quashed careers or ambitions. >> but it's an emergency to figure out how these men can be retained and get everything back they've ever wanted. >> and the thing that frustrates me is it supposed to us as can we forgive? can we permit people to even all? which is something i want to get to. this is always posed with regard to powerful people who have abused their power when they want to get another job or position of power.
and it's framed out our sort of collective ability for forgiveness, redemption or understanding that evolution is possible. >> i've been thinking about this a lot. people are always asking me, i'm sure they're asking you constantly. what's the path to redemption? we have to have something. i've been trying to come up with an answer. i realize that the answer is, how about, it's not my responsibility to figure it out. how about you workshop it. troubleshoot. keep trying stuff until people forgive you. how about you figure it out? you issued a halfhearted public apology and it didn't work? people didn't forgive you? then they didn't forgive you. try something else. wait longer. figure out active ways to atone and make amends. i don't know what the answer
is. try stuff until something works. >> also, why is the question always about you? my interest has never been in the repercussion for those who have abused their power. i'm not particularly interested, honestly and whether they go to jail. i prefer they not continue to profit from their abuse i'm just interested in what happens to the other people. >> also there such an entitled position to take. can you imagine being like, 17-year-old girl and suddenly going on the news and being like, where's my career? >> imagine being a 58-year-old woman and saying that. >> where's my path to being a millionaire again, this isn't
fair. the idea that you're entitled to the exact career you want no matter how you behave, is frankly, alien. it's completely bizarre. i work in like eight different uncertain fields where the entire industry could end tomorrow. and i'm really lucky to have these jobs and opportunities. but i have to wake up every day and be like, okay, should i sign a mortgage. because maybe next year newspapers, blogs and television are all dead. and i don't feel an impulse to go out and go, someone else needs to figure out what i'm going to do. and i haven't even abused my
power. i guess i just never get to have $1 million. thanks to you. why do you get to have a yacht? >> i want to talk about this question of abuse of power and to the degree we are complicit. and the question of evolution for the people who are amy for evolution and self reflection. you have a funny line and one of the essays about trying just a on the right side of history. where you say there is a vegan lady that yelled at you on - - that says drinking milk is ray. because of what it means to raise our standards for behavior, equality and justice. often those of us who lived in the world and benefited from
our own power and degrees of privilege, we've been on the wrong side of that. can you talk about that process and what it's like? >> the answer is i have no idea. this is why it's life, it's infuriating when people demand a roadmap because were all figuring this out as we go and just doing our best. that's all you can really do. fully happy to admit the vegan lady probably is right. i don't know. i mean, she sucks. hearing stuff i wrote 10 years ago that's mortifying to me now but that absolute doesn't hold up. i think not just saying this in a self-serving way although, who knows? it's not necessarily productive to, you know, spend all of our
time self flagellating about previously having been behind. my husband recently tried to watch the 40-year-old virgin with our 18-year-old daughter and she was like, what is this? because it's full of homophobia. she is like why are we watching this? i don't remember it that way at all. i'm sure at the time it was a product of its time. i don't want to say that was normal because obviously we knew about homophobia in 2006. but that's not that long ago about how much things have shifted. do i think that like everyone who laughed at that movie then or now is an evil monster? of course not.
we all growing and learning things. all you can do is be open to the world and be permeable. especially for white people. please don't go through life assuming you know everything. when you've been told, and dropped the needed into this idea that you're the default human being. especially white men. for white women too. it's very easy to fall into a trap of assuming your instincts are correct. you know? this feels okay to me so it's okay. you absolutely can never do that. you have to be a person that is curious and listening and is seeking out new perspectives and not demanding other people bring them to you on a platter. there's just work to be done all the time. and by the way, if someone wants to dig up something
horrendous i wrote in 2009, i would be thrilled to engage with that and apologize and talk about my own behavior and my own growth and a tone in whatever way. go through that troubleshooting process of hoping that people will take me back. i think that it's a fiction that that's not possible. i think people are hungry for apologies and accountability and i think it's a gift when someone gives you the opportunity to be better. >> this seems to get at one of the things you write about in the book are several places i found that a century and write about america's propensity to lie to itself. there's an essay, one of my favorite essays in the book begins with celebrity internet - - and the rise of the old right. i'm going to read - - i feel
like it's going to be like this snl skit. a paragraph you wrote. i think it's in that essay that i loved.you write, white americans hunger for plausible deniability and swaddle themselves in it and always have. the sublime release of deferred responsibility.the soft violence of willful ignorance. the barbaric fiction of rugged individualism. the worst amongst us have deployed it to seduce and heard the vast complacent center. it's okay. you didn't do anything wrong. you earned everything you have. and fitting from genocide is fine if it was a long time ago. the scientist will figure out climate change. the cat is tartar sauce. which goes to the - - of your internet chat essay. this is what you're talking about here. resting ourselves out of a comfort offered as white women.
even more comfort at different kinds of comfort offered to white men in this country. is it our responsibility to be permanently uncomfortable? >> i think so. obviously, that's not something you can make - - a lot of people somewhere inside want to be good and want to be on the right side of history or whatever you want to call it. and i think, it's easy to be seduced into this comfort that is offered to us. that is a massive privilege. and is tremendously destructive. i think absolutely it's a responsibility. it's a responsibility that most
people, myself included. are not fulfilling. for 1 million reasons. among them that everyday life is really hard and compensated and we are all stressed and have kids and jobs and were trapped in a capitalist hamster wheel. but it's still a responsibility. still part of the work of being a person. especially if you want to think of yourselves as a person who cares about justice and equality and the future of the planet. i don't know the tidy way to achieve that or - - because it is hard. it's hard to be uncomfortable and people are not drawn to discomfort, naturally. it's also, i don't know.i say that but there's nothing that's
been more rewarding in my life than constantly going through this process and thinking about ways to hold myself accountable and ways i have benefited from the absolute horrors of history. it is so much better to be in that place than in a place of denial and entitlement. once you recognize and realize that that's where you are, it's a mortifying, devastating feeling. >> i was so interested in the book - - i don't think their internal but you are exposing them. the tensions between your call to discomfort and a discomforting honesty and opposition to the lies america likes to tell ourselves. that we fix our problems the word bad ones but we've made it better.
the tension between that called - - i think it's a call to white women. to white people. in general. and then also specifically to a lot of white women. at the same time that amongst white women has risen a sort of desire for extra comforts which you tackle in your hilarious essay about doing when is paltrow's- - stuff. get uncomfortable with ourselves, our history, our complicity. and this is happening too many of the same people that are also in the student wellness and crystals and hand cream. >> it's interesting because, and i hadn't taught about this. i'm just articulating this for the first time. i'm sure that almost no one at
that conference voted for trump. but, the impulse - - what i imagine to be the impulse behind being a white woman who voted for trump is similar to being a white woman at that conference and talking and talking about wellness, without talking about the systemic problems that make most of the people in the country unwell. like to be a white woman who voted for trump and to say, i'm independent. i'm freer than the professional victims on the left and people mired in their own victimhood. i'm voting with my brain and whatever. i'm actually more of a feminist. to say that is to throw your lot in with whiteness and
expect it to protect you. but you are literally, you are voting for family separation at the border and are voting on the stripping of abortion rights. to destroy the lives of millions and millions of women. to pretend like that can be a feminist a vote is just ludicrous. it's a fantasy. similarly, to go to this bonus conference and go, i'm invested in wellness that i care about people being well. women specifically. women need to take care of themselves. to then sit there and talk about gluten and speech therapy - - leach therapy. if you want to talk about women's wellness - - you should be talking about.
>> drinking water in flint. >> exactly. there's a refusal to engage with reality. and that's not to say, okay, if you're a white woman with money and you want to buy $1000 can claim and put it on your face and your politically engaged who does think critically about the systems in which we live. fine. but, you know, i don't expect every event to be of political rally and a teach in. but there was something so disturbing. i can't remember what year i went. can't remember if trump was president or not. regardless, these problems predated trump. i just think it just feels like
- - not everything has to be a political rally. but how hard would it have been to spend time making sure that this event at any level of diversity. or even one panel that addressed politics in any way. there was a panel about having it all as a mom and no one talked about how they're all millionaires with eight nannies. >> they did not talk presumably about subsidized daycare or family leave policies or higher minimum wages.>> because none of that is relevant to them. where i'm aiming - - if you only care about things that are personally relevant to you, without taking it too far, that's bad.
if you're a white woman who only cares about white women's problems, that's not feminism. that's white supremacy. i guess i did go all the way. that something people need to think about. any social justice issue. if you don't take it to the finish line that's an oppressive, that's a hate movement. [laughter] you're only fighting for justice for yourself. you're not doing it. i'm sorry. >> this gets to something else you write about in terms of representation and the whole notion of what wellness means. tie to a very specific end racialized view of what well looks like. which is thin and white. >> and and largely an
attainable but makes it an incredible thing to monetize. every single person, 99 percent of people will fruitlessly chase that forever. and conveniently, there are 1 million products that cost anywhere from $9.99- the sky is the limit that you can buy and buy. this didn't work maybe you need this. it's like, you know, maybe you think i sound like a conspiracy theorist but it's all right there in front of us. >> i think it sounds like capitalism. >> i was the people are exploiting you for money. i say that wearing makeup and whatever financial distress was unethical. i don't know, it's a process. >> i feel like i let you down a path where we inadvertently
ended up calling a group i hate group. [laughter] but i want to defuse that slightly by pointing out that one of the things that's interesting where you're calling for discomfort and self-examination. you're also pretty generous about a lot of the problematic stuff. you write that i get it. why we like face cream and crystals. lots of us fear dying and wants to do things that we are told will make us well and healthier. and you apply that to culture. there's an essay about atoms and their movies. >> i do try to be generous because i don't think it's fair to constantly berate our past selves. and also not realistic to expect perfection from every
single person in the world but not just going forward but looking into the past. sorry, the ship has sailed. august we need to hold ourselves accountable. but it's not productive to just, you know, spend a bunch of time thinking about how bad you are for having laughed at a movie in the context of today. stuff from three years ago, already doesn't hold up. it was interesting. i wrote a chapter about adam seller and i like adam sandler. kind of. less so after - - >> what you love to the movies. part of why you wanted to go back and look at these movies is because you had loved saturday night live. that view, i was also somebody
- - i'm a little older than you. but it in front of a certain view of who was the person. who was funny. and it was a very masculine, very white you. there's a funny line that says was it my youthful though that is this why i once cried over a man with a handlebar mustache? looking back at what informed us as children in terms of pop culture and what we read and see. it forms our ideas of what relationships are supposed to be. and that's not adam sandler's fault. >> someone gave this kid a bunch of money to make a bunch of comedies that were very funny.
many people still find it very funny. and i certainly watched those movies when they came out " to them with all my friends. whatever. but, it's a consecrated conversation because i'm not being like him adam seller, - - lindy west claims adam sandler caused trump. but i do think it's a systemic situation where like, these other movies that got made. this is who gets to be the hero. these are the roles of the women got to have. not every movie has to cater to me as a 12-year-old girl. but, did any? kind of the point of the
chapter is i realized that boys got to have, - - little white boys got to have so many movies about how - - adam sandler always played a very every man kind of dopey guy who barely tries. has anger problems. and then gets like the hottest woman at the end. didn't have to do any kind of personal growth. i watched like 12 in a row and every single one is the same journey. and i just wonder how that manifests in the boys and men i grew up with. you got to see on the screen over and over as a kid, the idea that the world is yours.
no matter what you do. >> mediocrity made good. >> i'm not even saying that like, making those movies was bad. it's just in a landscape where especially at the time in the 80s and 90s, we didn't have this vast media landscape. the big comedy came out and everyone went to see the big comedy. a big comedies in a row are the staple of their minimum mayor and had and the women are nothing in these movies. and so much as they exist, they are white. there's nothing that caters to
you. nothing about you or me.but if there were going to be a - - about a girl. it would probably be about you and me. >> do black people exists at all in atoms and their movies? and i was thinking about how interesting it is that one of the people who had gone back and on exactly this kind of self-examination is eddie murphy who was on snl originally talked about a lot of the humor he did in the early parts of his career, he's thought differently about the jokes. he did his own version of watching the atoms in the movies except he was watching his own. >> yeah. that's really interesting. i don't know what more to say about it.
i really liked writing that chapter. part of what i liked about it is it didn't go the way i expected. basically i was sitting around and i watched half of billy madison and i was like, this is what this is? i remember this being way funnier. i don't even understand this. this doesn't register to me as having any jokes in it at all. why does he talk like a baby? why is an adult woman having sex with him? so i end up doing this re-examination that will be fun. it's easy to be funny when you're trashing stuff. - - but then coincidentally
when we were riding season two of - - 80 bryant who is on snl and is one of the co-creators, invited me to snl the week that adam seller was hosting which is also while i was writing the book. i felt like maybe magic is real. and it was really emotional to be there because it was a lot of baggage. you could feel it. like he was coming home to this place that had been, where he worked and he was young and was the beginnings of his career. exploded and i don't know. you could feel - - you could see the cast and the wings tearing up. he sang a song about chris farley.
and i felt it too. i have that nostalgia too. as much as i can make fun of these movies, justifiably. i also, i love them too when i was that age. it sort of ended up in this place of like forgiving ourselves for not having always been perfect and also that i don't think that white men shouldn't be allowed to make art. probably not the case for adam sandler but there's a process of winging its value. >> we can't - - cinema. >> how do take michael jackson out of music? >> you don't. but you don't listen to it uncritically either. the thing i think it robs you
of is comfort. you don't get to return to the ease of, i love this. right? >> the answer is not to quote adam sandler. or even to be mean to him. i hope i wasn't too mean because it then i met him. he was literally so nice. sorry sir. you don't know it yet and you probably never will. anyway, the answer is not to punish sandler. he's just representatives. i chose him because comedy was a big part of my life. there could have been 1 million versions of that chapter. it's not necessarily fair to pick on him. but he was monumentally influential among my generation. the answer is not to berate him
or cancel him. it's to continue to build a future where those opportunities are given to a wide diverse array of people. for women and people of color and trends people - - any of the vast array of people's stories that are never told it gets to be the hero and write the jokes that speak to their lives and get to be part of the - - defining the culture. not just as actors and writers. but on every level of the chain to the top of the system. and that's a big ask. that's the whole point of everything. change it all.
doesn't just apply to show business. it applies everywhere. the answer is to keep moving forward and fighting for progress. and to do that, you don't get to be comfortable. you have to be constantly thinking and be self-critical. and unfortunately, this is the thing white people don't like, give up some real estate. give up ground, money and opportunities.be active in that process. well i don't have - - own a movie studio. while you have influence in your own sphere. live your values is corny but you can, in 1 million little ways. >> there's an essay that compares the way we treat ted
bundy, the mass murderer of women. to how we treat elizabeth warren, a presidential candidate and senator of massachusetts. can you talk about that and how we are able to see humanity and feel warmly and some people but not in others? [laughter] it's a very provocative comparison. >> it's so bizarre. there's this big ted bundy documentary on netflix. last year maybe. and everyone wants to. everyone watches true crime right now. and the people are like, - - this has been the ted bundy narrative the whole time. i'm from seattle. ted bundy is a hometown guy. >> he killed a woman on your mother's block. >> yes! he was killing women my
mother's age in her neighborhood at the time. so, i grew up around the old ted bundy narrative was, he was so handsome and charming. women couldn't resist him. and - - it always smells off to me. when i was younger but i didn't have the sort of experience. i wasn't able to really articulate why. but now of course i'm ready. put me in, coach! [laughter] part of the narrative was like, yes, ted bundy was so hot. he was so hot and he would
approach women and be like hey, i have a broken arm. can you help me put this in my car and that he would kill them. and it's like, what's left out is, we teach women to take care of broken men. and to exploit that. that caretaking instinct. indoctrination. and directive from the world. like this is your job. >> and the ones who we are also told are the hot ones. >> and to strive for their approval. he's exporting that deliberately to rape and kill women. and we're like, some people got it. he's a coward! a disgusting coward and a predator who's exploiting a
systemic ability and - - sorry to say it 1 billion times. a really toxic system that literally trains women not to take care of themselves. were not to prioritize their own comfort and safety and care. >> and to put themselves in the hands of the people there taught to empathize with and see as human and attractive and desirable. >> and that's racialized too. you're supposed to defer to handsome white guys. although handsome is debatable. >> but then after, then even not before you know he's going to kill somebody.
but after you know he's killed multiple people. they're still the impulse to treat him as fascinating. you see this all the time. i've always been obsessed with the fact that dylan roof who killed nine people in charleston, nine african americans thank you rate our women. that he was then offered a hamburger by police. i want to be clear. everyone who is arrested should be offered food. it's not that it's incorrect. but he was treated as human. whereas black young man who are in many cases, have not only not killed anybody but her unarmed are between killed by police and have committed no crime whatsoever except being black in the world. so it's the ability to humanize. i'm not think giving a hamburger is wrong. i'm not even saying nothing ted
bundy as a human being is wrong. it's right. it's just the way it's the way we should see lots of other people. >> the fixation of the genius of the white male serial killer. why don't we focus on the the property and the cowardice of the white male serial killer. it feels like just another way that white men have set us up to worship them. even when they do the worst possible thing. it's just worth examination. i think this is where i end up in the chapter to contrast back with the way it's absolutely impossible for any woman to even be likable. whereas you can murder a bunch of people and you're a charisma king. and you are the british the judge who is sentencing you to death his light, he would have made a great lawyer.
meanwhile, whatever the 35 percent of people that just said they find all the female candidates unlikable. >>. >> or any woman that would run for president is unlikable. because we haven't fully humanized women. there's no comprehension of why they would have the ambition. >> as far as anything can be objective, donald trump is the most objectively unlikable human being that has perhaps other lived. and there's no handwringing about that. republicans certainly were not like double ãi don't know if we should run this guy. he's unlikable.
i know there were never trumpeters. but it was never is he likable, is he nice enough? - - i think it's really instructive. maybe it feels like a wild contrast. but i think it's instructive to look at the ways, the benefit of the doubt men are afforded in the amount of generosity we extend to not just a mediocre everyman, but an actual serial murderer. i don't know, it's hard because i too am in the true crime trap where i'm listening to murder podcasts. but there is something like, what if they never talked about
these people again. and then to be like elizabeth moran might be unlikable. people like her because you don't like it when you're mean mommy makes you brush your teeth before bed. because we haven't fully humanized women and people on some level hates women. >> i also wonder when we do humanize them. thinking about the treatment of ted bundy as human in a way that a mass murder is not a good looking white men wouldn't have gotten treated. it was hard for me not to think about amber geiger. the white woman who shot - - and was convicted. at her sentencing was given a hug and a bible by the judge. we do fairly dearly - - very
rarely see the humanization of women. but there are lots of instances in which white women are also not seen as fully human. but in this moment where the crime she's being sentenced for his killing a black man, she becomes human in a way that somehow becomes comprehensible. i keep thinking about that and power and what a figure like a woman who is running for president. by definition is threatening to displace - - take up space where historically has only belonged to men. she is impossible to understand, that humanity. >>. >> i think to some extent, the more competent she is, the more threatening that is.
republicans are so proud of themselves for loving sarah palin. sarah palin should not be near any political office. she herself knows that because she quit. but you know, i also think and this is the argument i make. even framing it as likability is disingenuous. the same as conventional beauty standards. there's no finish line for likability. it's just something to chase. the criteria for likability, the nice, be quiet, be compliant. be a caregiver. be the kind of person that helps head bundy to his car. all coincidentally things that take you out of the public sphere and the political
sphere. the spirit of getting anything done or advocating for anything you really need. and that feels like a call on to me. i don't know what the answer is - - feels like a con to me. i wish people would do self-criticism before they say things like, i don't find her likable. i don't like her voice. i just don't like her voice? [laughter] who cares? literally. are we electing presidents based on who has the best voice? >> a few weeks ago, she had a line in the lgbtq forum that she said if you believe marriage is between one man and
woman, she said to a man, then you should just marry one woman, if you could find her. there was criticism about she made this joke. many people found it funny but some said it was offensive. several weeks later, her opponents start talking about her as angry and unyielding. there's not a breath of human experience. >> the last thing i want to talk about is the essay in the book about abortion and forcing an expansion of conversation. you put it in the television show. you write about your friend who had an abortion something she said about it which really struck me that you say always makes you cry was that she wrote, when she told her family and friends. i have a good heart. having an abortion made me
happy. i think that's an example of forcing an expansion of a conversation around human experiences. >> and this speaks to what we were just talking about. which is that the partisan divide in the way we talk about these things or don't talk about them is not - - how do i freeze this? anti-choice people are not arguing in good faith. people who are saying elizabeth warren can't make a joke and she's too angry and unyielding. that is not a group of people arguing in good faith if you're
arguing opposing ideas at the same time depending on what's convenient that day. that's not a good faith position and not something you can engage with. the fact that we know that republican women have abortions. we know because people at clinics tell us. someone will be outside the clinic protesting one day and a week later, they're in the clinic having an abortion secretly. we know that's true. and to let such a bad faith rhetoric - - not just dominate the conversation, but, be the totality of the conversation. the rest of us are living under the stigma that we are not supposed to talk about abortion. i don't know where that came from but i feel like someone tricked us into it. because why? it creates this absolutely skewed, bizarre alternate reality.
how are we supposed to protect abortion rights and access if we can't say the word abortion out loud. the only people saying it out loud are bad faith, propagandists. screaming that abortion is murder while secretly shuttling their mistress off to have an abortion in a cushy clinic. ... >> many have absolutely no understanding of how abortion really truly functions in people's lives.
it is not this constant, you know, it is not this melodrama in everyone's life. this moment of agony where people are missing these incredible agony complicated decisions. overwhelmingly, people express relief and gratitude when they are able to access abortion. when they need one. >> make decisions whether, when and if they will have children and alter the shape of their economic and professional lives. >> it is a big deal to be forced to be a parent. the conversation around abortion , and i wish these people would understand this. a conversation about who was free and who is not.
that is it. to let that conversation be snatched from us and let the terms be defined i completely disingenuous, monstrous liars is an unforced error that we are just using to let happen. you know, i am not like a policy expert. i am just a person with opinion to a pad abortions and is, of course, privileged enough to know that it is safe for me to talk about my abortions. i am not in really any jeopardy. of course, to some degree it is always dangerous to talk about abortion.
pro-life people kill people. you know, for the most part, i am privileged and lucky enough to talk about my abortion. i choose to exercise that in due that to exercise of the can this landscape is new. roe v wade was a long time ago. we decided. this has been a long game that the right has been working on for a long time. it's coming to fruition and it is really judicial appointees wl screw us over for a long time. whether he is impeached tomorrow and resigns or whatever happens. it is just the ball we need to keep our eye on. just encourage everyone to get t-shirts that say abortion on it
and wear it. [laughter] >> going for a very dark place. that is a lighter place to end. it's been really fun. >> thank you for doing it. >> thank you for your work. you are my hero. >> this program is available as a podcast. programs can be reviewed on our website at booktv.org. >> the house will be in order. c-span has been providing
america unfiltered coverage of congress. the white house, the supreme court and public policy events from washington, d.c. and around the country. created by cable in 1979. c-span was brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. your unfiltered your unfiltered view of government. >> you are watching book tv on c-span two. book tv. television for serious readers. >> joining us now is notre dame professor patrick demesne. here is his book. why liberalism failed. first of all, if you would, define liberal democracy for us in your view. >> i'm sure many of your viewers want to hear the or liberalism