Episode Number: 97
Episode Title: Money, Politics, & Lies (listen to this episode)
Transcript by: Susan the Great
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Renay: Hello friends! I’m Renay.
Ana: And I’m Ana.
Renay: And you’re listening to Fangirl Happy Hour: Question Tuesday Edition.
Renay: Today we’re gonna ask each other some questions, we’re going to continue answering the survey questions sent into us by Catlin, and then profit! I guess!
Ana: Let’s do this.
Renay: Okay Ana. You’ve started your Kickstarter, and now I wanna know how you feel. Not so much about how the Kickstarter is going, cause anybody can look that up, but how you feel about it. How do you feel, Ana?
Ana: Okay, so we are recording this on Tuesday, twelfth of September, and it’s exactly one week since we launched the Kickstarter. And to start with, I was very excited, and very optimistic. Right now we’ve reached the infamous Kickstarter plateau, which apparently happens to everybody except for the really really lucky, in which things stall or go very, very slowly after the initial outpour of donations. So right now I feel very anxious. Very, very, very anxious. I’m still excited, hopefully that it will still work out, but it’s very nerve-wracking to put ourselves out there, to ask for money, to ask for people to believe in us, and what if they don’t, do they even care—it’s a lot. I thought it would be easier.
Renay: Remember when we talked to Tansy and she was like, “Here, have some realism about Kickstarters!” She warned you!
Ana: I know. Everybody warned me. But if you don’t have that degree of optimism and self-confidence I don’t think you can ever release a Kickstarter. Even if you do, there’s always moments of doubt.
Renay: Why did you go with Kickstarter instead of one of the other sites?
Ana: It just seems the best platform. The one that people in our community know more. And I have seen other similar campaigns for similar stuff that we do on Kickstarter. Of course the problem with Kickstarter is that it’s all or nothing, so we’ll either get everything that we ask for, or we get zero.
If we had gone with Indiegogo you get whatever people donate to you, but I feel like Indiegogo’s not as popular platform as Kickstarter is. Though Kickstarter’s own platform is very good in terms of generating people to come and back you. And they made us a Project We Love on day one, which was really cool. and that has brought people from within the Kickstarter community that don’t really know US, and they have backed us up, which is really cool. Another thing that I found is that people are just so generous! There are so many people who have just like given us money for no reward! That’s really cool!
Renay: I haven’t given you any money.
Ana: We have talked about this.
Renay: But I really want to, Ana.
Ana: Give me one dollar.
Renay: Give you one dollar?
Ana: There is a pledge that is one dollar. And I can give you a hug.
Renay: But you owe me so many hugs already. you’re going to be in hug debt.
Ana: I don’t mind.
Renay: I’m really excited about your kickstarter. you have some great rewards. Just think of what might have happened if you had created a card game.
Ana: Oh my god, I know right, or any kind of game. There is this one Kickstarter right now that was asking—it’s a game. ot was asking for ten thousand dollars and it’s got a million. And I’m like, “Guys, I just need a little bit of money! Share the love, share the love.” So by the time this episode is released, it’s gonna be exactly the second week and by then I hope we will be by the halfway mark, and if any of you were thinking of donating, please just donate. just don’t wait until the end, so that I don’t get too anxious.
Ana: Thank you! Thank you so much!
Ana: Right, so my question for you is about politics. You once talked about how you thought about going into politics. Why did you change your mind? And I can see that you’re kind of like coming back to it right now, so what’s your relationship with politics in that way?
Renay: Well, I did a thread about this recently, because I was mad about the reaction to the media and every single dudebro out there who wants Hillary Clinton to sit down and shut up. So I did a thread and I talked a little bit about Girl State.
So when I was in high school, I was told that I couldn’t go into science fields, because I didn’t have the math. Like, I was told, directly, by my councillor, “You don’t have the math and you don’t have the ability to get the math.” So that was out.
And writing; everybody wanted me to go into journalism, like newspaper writing. But I wanted to do fiction or non-fiction and everybody’s like, “No no no, that’s a bad career choice, don’t do that. You won’t make money.” They were right, but they were also like, “Don’t waste your time on writing.” So at that point I had no idea what I was going to do.
Around the same time, my dad was trying to run for mayor. Spoiler: he lost. And every time he would talk about politics he would have these, like, ideas and I would be like, “That’s a terrible idea!” Because I have always come from this place of progressivism where you have to lift as you climb, right? As you do better, you pull people up behind you. At that particular time, politics was still about public service, right? It was still about helping people. Right now, in America, politics is largely about power. It’s largely about getting and amassing power and it’s stopped being so much about public service. For example, I can’t get my senators to meet with me. I can’t get my congress member to meet with me. I can meet with their staff, but them? Forget about it. It’s like I don’t exist.
So there’s this program in America called Boys State/Girls State. Your high school nominates you to go, and so I was nominated to go to Girls State. And then this whole two-week long program where you learn about civics and local government and you get elected into positions; city level, county level, state level, national level. At the very end, the elected official who gets the highest gets elected as like the representative of Girl State, gets to go to the National level. So I went to this program and I was super excited except that the whole time that I was there, it was mostly about how to be a political wife. and maybe that was the program. Maybe that was the people who were our councillors. Maybe it was a function of the time period. But the message I got is that I wasn’t skinny to run for office; I would never get elected. I was not pretty enough to run for office; I would never get elected. I was too mouthy to run for office; I would never get elected. I was too feminist to run for office; I would never get elected.
Ana: Oh my god fuck everybody.
Renay: And it was awful. I think at that point, I hadn’t realized yet how progressive I was, how different I was, than everybody around me in my hometown. Like it woke me up to the fact that I don’t think I could’ve survived a political climate in that area. I could have gone ahead and gone to political science, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that some of the things were going to be true anywhere. The sexism was always gonna follow me around. And I couldn’t handle it. Like, I could not handle the idea of pushing through that like constantly.
A lot of women who are in politics do, they push through it. If you see a woman politician in her fifties, sixties, seventies: she has put up with so much shit. You will never put up with as much shit as that woman has put up with. She has got you beat on the putting up with shit level. Don’t even try to play.
I just gave up, to be honest. I gave up. I gave up the idea that I would ever be able to be elected to a position because of my ideas, because of my opinions, because of my body. And I’m getting back into it now, which is actually pretty handy because I’ve always been active, voting-wise. I’ve never not voted. But I’m getting back into it now because our country’s on fire? Dunno if you noticed but we elected a racist, sexist, fuckmuppet, and we’re at war with Russia. An information war which is even worse in some ways than a war with guns, because half the people in your country don’t even believe you’re fighting a war. Because it’s invisible and they can’t see it and obviously if you can’t see things they’re not real. And I’ve just realized I have a lot of the skills to teach people about how to be civically engaged. I know how to do the research. I know how to find out the candidates. I know how to find districts. I know how to do all of these things that I learned when I thought I was gonna go into politics that I can now communicate to other people.
Ana: And you can also inspire people.
Renay: Well, I don’t know how much of an inspiration I am considering I quit. I gave up.
Ana: Augh, oh my god, Renay. It’s just part of the journey.
Renay: Sometimes I think I would wanna run for city council.
Ana: Do it.
Renay: But I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. Number one it’s too expensive, number two it’s a lot of fucking work, number three I gotta talk to SO many racist sexist assholes. I would really encourage progressive women to run if you have the emotional capacity and the patience, cause those are the two things that you need in spades to be able to run. I have the emotional capacity for it, I believe, I just don’t have the patience.
But I really do think that we need more progressive women to be in local offices to put our ideas out there? Even if you can’t run, even if you can only go to your local city councils and be present, with your body, that matters so much. That’s why I go to city council meetings now. Half the time, it’s just about showing that you’re there and you’re listening and you’re watching. And so often I think that my generation stopped letting them know that we were listening and watching, cause we stopped listening and watching. They thought the fix was in and they were going to be able to hoard power.
There is a book out today called What Happened? by Hillary Clinton. In an interview she gave with Pod Save America she talked about the fact that the Republicans are only a handful of votes away from calling a Constitutional Convention. What do you think the Republicans would do to the Constitution of the United States if they called a Constitutional Convention?
Ana: Well, I don’t know what a Constitutional Convention is.
Renay: You change the Constitution of the United States of America.
Ana: Oh my god.
Renay: What do you think the Republicans would want to do to the US Constitution? I know I just read a book recently that talked about the Constitution being suspended.
Ana: Yes. exactly. That’s what I was thinking! This is just the beginning of the Handmaid’s Tale.
Renay: Possibly even worse is having them change the Constitution to undermine the First Amendment, to strengthen the Second, to roll back protections that were put in place to protect people like me and other marginalized communities. So when I say that all progressive women need to engage in politics, any way they can: go to city council meetings. Start there. That’s the basic place you can start, they’re right in your city, they happen twice a month, and vote every single chance you get for the most progressive candidate you can in your area. Even if they’re not perfect. If they’re progressive, and they’re on the ticket, and there’s somebody else on the ticket who’s not progressive? Vote for the more progressive one.
Ana: That’s scary.
Renay: I’m still really sad that when I was a kid I gave up and I didn’t keep going. Because I also think that my community lied to me about my electability.
Ana: Of course they did.
Renay: I could have gone into student government and learned a lot, but because they depressed my ability and Girl State was such a trash fire, I just gave up.
Girl State took a trip to the capitol, and at the capitol I got to talk to a state legislator and he asked, “Who’s your favourite politician?” And I was like, “Oh, Hillary Clinton,” because I grew up in Arkansas. I don’t think people realize that Clinton’s been on the national stage for a long time, she’s also been on the Arkansas stage, because she was Bill Clinton’s wife. Bill Clinton was our governor, he’s from Arkansas, so she’s been on my radar since I was a little wee tiny baby. She’s been the woman politician I followed her—almost her whole career. As soon as I was aware enough of her to follow her, I followed her. I paid attention to everything she did. When I talk about Hillary Clinton being, like, my favourite politician, that comes—that’s not just because she ran for president. It’s because I’ve followed her for a long time. He looked at me and he said, “Oh no. Oh sweetie, don’t be like Hillary.”
Ana: Oh my god. I regret my question now.
Renay: Don’t regret your question.
Ana: [laughter] It was a great question. it was a great answer. I’m sorry that you had to put up with all this bullshit all your life!
Renay: So in case you guys are wondering why I’m always like “Call your reps!” It’s not just this trash fire year. It’s the next trash fire year, and the next trash fire year, until we pull ourselves out of the muck that we’re in because we stopped paying attention and let some conservative racist sexist assholes take control of our government, like across the United States. Get involved. Go vote. Woo!
Renay: Catlin asked us to answer some questions from a book survey called Books Of My Life that Entertainment Weekly asks authors. And this week we’re answering the question: The book that cemented you as a writer.
And I think for us, because we’re not fiction writers and we don’t really write long form non-fiction, I think this question is more aimed at us as fan critics. What piece of writing made you become a fan critic?
Ana: Right, not a piece of writing, per se, for me. I was thinking about this question and what made me want to start the blog was just romance novels, right? I was really reading a lot of them, and I got so excited and I just wanted to talk about them. And then at that point I was reading other romance blogs, like Smart Bitches, Trashy Books was a really huge influence on me. And the RWA forum had tons of book discussions, too. There were tons of like, little blogs popping up here and there that were just writing about romances, and I saidm “You know what, I wanna do this.” So I would say romance novels inspired me to start blogging.
Renay: Do you remember the romance novels in particular? Some of the early ones that you read and loved and reviewed on the blog?
Ana: Julia Quinn’s novels, Laura de Chase, Lisa Kleypas, Julie Garwood. They were kind of like newish at that point, I guess. Or in the middle of their careers? But it’s been ten years already so…
Renay: You’ve been blogging a long time Ana.
Ana: Ugggggh, dinosaur woooooo!
Renay: So my answer is a book, but not the book you might expect?
Renay: So when I was a kid, my mom had these collections of books that you could buy about topics. And she had a collection of encyclopedias. Because back in the day, you didn’t have Google, so you had your own home collection of encyclopedias where you looked up information. That was a thing. Apparently. That a lot of people did. Unless you were poor. She had some almanacs, she had some annuals, she had this National Geographic set of books talking about different topics like the desert! And the jungle! And Cuba! The topics were so random. Snakes! I would spend a lot of time reading these books.
One of the books I happened to open once was an encyclopedias, because one summer I was just reading an encyclopedia, like a nerd. In the encyclopedia was an entry for a writer. And it was like, “King, comma, Stephen, author of horror fiction.” And he was in this encyclopedia. And I’m like, “Wait, you’re in an encyclopedia and you’re a fiction author….you can be in the encyclopedia for being a fiction author?!” And I read books. I read plenty of books, but until that point—I was very young at this point—I didn’t realize that books came largely from regular people. I didn’t have the capacity to be like, okay, somebody sat down at a com– at a typewriter, because compu– no, not computers, typewriter, and typed this book up, printed it out, and then sent it somewhere, and it became a book. Apparently as a child I just thought books came from the aether—
Renay: Fully-formed, like Athena. That’s when I started, not only having the idea that books came from regular people and that writers were regular people, but also that I could possibly become a writer. So this rando encyclopedia article that I was reading one summer when I was bored is where I started to realize, “Oh, I can write. I like to write. I write stuff all the time.” Cough Mario Brothers fanfiction cough.
Renay: That’s what cemented me. That’s where it started. That moment that I can remember, on this ugly orange carpet. It was a super hot day. I had thrown open the curtains and opened the windows, and I was laying on the floor, by the bookcase with the encyclopedia open, reading it, when I came across it. I can remember the exact position I was in. I can remember the hallway. I can remember looking up and staring into the distance and because I was laying where I was, going, “Oh, I can be a writer,” I could look down the hallway, through the open door of the back bedroom, through the window out into the sky, and I just sat there and thought about it for like a really long time. But I can remember that whole moment.
Ana: That’s amazing. That is so cool, that you have that memory. That’s beautiful.
Renay: Books are made by people and you can become a person that makes them.
Ana: Thanks to Catlin for sharing her survey full of questions with us.
Renay: Our interstitial music this week is by Chuki Beats and BoxCat Games.
Ana: Our show art is by Ira, our transcripts made by Susan, with help from our patron bees over on Patreon. You can read them at fangirlhappyhour.com.
Renay: We’re on Twitter at @fangirlpodcast. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org, you can write to us any time, with comments, questions, or concerns.
Ana: We are out of questions for our Question Tuesdays episodes, so if you want your question featured on a future Question Tuesday, now is the time. You can ping us on social media, use the handy form on fangirlhappyhour.com, or check our show notes.
Renay: Have a snack, drink some water, and contact your reps.
Ana: Listen to Renay. Go to your council meetings and become a baby politician.
Renay: Thanks for listening to our show, space bees!
Ana: See you next episode.
Renay: Our intster—well, now I can’t say it. Our—
Ana: Happy girl.
Renay: Was it “please remember to eat avocados, cause they’re delicious.” Is that not your advice?
Renay: I mean, it’s good advice.