pay for your podcasts for f*ck's sake

I am a member of fan Facebook groups for several podcasts. If you’d like to lose interest and joy in a podcast, just join some fan groups. They take the joy out of everything.

Several podcast producers use Patreon, which is a great idea. They provide extra content for those who pay as both an incentive and a trade of labor for money. However, in one group, there is always complaining about how some of the best content is behind a paywall, and DEMAND they get access to it. The precedent of podcasts is that they were free, open to all, an open source utopia of knowledge and entertainment.

But then people decided they wanted to get paid for their labor. Not just for hosting fees, but for the labor, yes actually labor it takes, to be likeable and interesting.

My point is, if you like a podcast, pay for it. Either join the Patreon, or give a small donation whenever you can. It sucks to think that everything needs to be paid for, but it’s better than expecting someone to do labor for you- to give you something to listen to when you commute, to “get you through some tough times”- just pay them for their labor. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but people should be paid for labor.

Besides recording the podcast, the best podcasts do background research, while others just read Wikipedia. Roxanne Gay’s podcast is premium content only available with a Luminary subscription, and during the podcast she called out people who criticized her for that decision. If someone creates something you like and use, pay for it.

the world's latest hot take

I’m back for a late hot take.

You’ve all read Caroline Calloway’s friend’s manifesto on being the less confident friend, and read all the takes on the state of Instagram fame and debated whether Caroline was an evil narcissist or Natalie was in for a cash grab and a Netflix deal.

I have nothing to say that hasn’t been said, but I find the talk about this whole friend break up sexist. Some people are talking about how talking about it makes us shallow because we care about something as shallow as an Instagram influencer. I find this more interesting. Saying you don’t care about it some virtue signaling about taste and what people should actually be spending their time on. And something like Instagram celebs is devalued because it is feminized. Comic book arguments are SERIOUS because it’s masculinized.

In this fucked up cultural economy, social media fame is one area in which women can succeed, one of the only types of feminized social capital is actually…profitable. I’m not claiming that Caroline Calloway is an innocent victim and had no choice but to post her “adventuregrams” and procrastinate on her $500K book deal, but she was only following the incentives of a type of labor that gets the most profit in the shortest amount of time.

And then there’s Natalie. She is doing nothing different than what Caroline did. The market for confessional articles, the laying out of shame, is profitable.

But Natalie played herself.

She tried to beat Caroline at her own game, trying to make Caroline the villain. But Caroline doubled down, and because she has already bared everything on social media, shame no longer affects her. She’s reached some sort of social media nirvana, where everything is content at all costs.

I’m a Natalie. I have attached myself to charismatic friends hoping that the association would elevate my own self worth, only to be the one that ends up giving more than receiving in the friendship. It’s a compelling story. But if Natalie was trying to garner sympathy, there is a sense of ownership that needs to happen in a parasitic friendship like that. Natalie’s story was relateable but there doesn’t seem to be growth. It’s an airing of dirty laundry masquerading as a personal essay.

Despite the supposed Netflix deal she may have received, Natalie tried to play at Caroline’s game and lost.

the advice returns


I want to make a difference with my research, and to me, that means doing on-depth field work. I believe that in order to write about a group of people I have to put in the work. Many people tell me it is a waste of time because it will just prolong me finishing my dissertation, and to do fieldwork later off of a grant. But I think it is crucial to my study. What do you think?


Fieldwork Fran

Dear FF:

What is going on with this fad of shirts having these two extra flaps of material hanging in the front? It has no functional purpose. It hangs right over your navel like some sort of knotted umbilical chord. Just two limp strips hanging over your crotch like decorative labia. It’s so stupid because as I am going through the racks at TJ Maxx I get excited about the pattern on a shirt and then soon discover that its got those awful tie flaps. Who decided that THIS was what people wanted? I don’t understand trends. I want this to stop. Even cropped gaucho pants were better than this.

Yours truly,


Stop, collaborate, and listen

Have you ever found a pop culture thing that is so completely your jam that you both love it and resent it because the idea is so good? I just learned, via the New York Times, about the American Girl Podcast, in which two women with PhDs in history discuss the books. I already love the hosts Allison and Mary, although I am totally a Mary.

The semester is starting tomorrow, and I am not nervous about that per se, but nervous about making sure every second is amazing because it will be my last year of coursework ever.

So, enter me listening to all episodes in a row while I scrub my kitchen with cleaning vinegar.

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